Saturday, 31 May 2014

Eight Straight, Hundatora and STOP

"Eight Straight" :- There's no better time to share this image with you all than today as I have just read in The Argus (our local paper) that these columns are going to be removed (full story here :- West Pier columns to be removed from the beach). The West Pier has become one of my muses over the years. I have grown to love her more and more as I have watched her sorry decline as she slowly gives way to the sea and elements. The huge posts that once supported her decks are as much a part of her as the main skeletal structure is that was once a grand Victorian theatre. They provide a roost for birds and also home for many mussels and I personally find them a wonderfully surreal addition to the landscape and famous Brighton coastline. I will be very sorry to see them go as they take part of my muse away.

"Hundatora" :- The stark, majestic beauty that is Dartmoor (a vast area of moorland in south Devon, England) never ceases to amaze me. Its harshness eats into your soul and bites hard as its soft heathers, mosses, ferns and colours act as an anaesthetic. Everything has a desaturated look and feel about it. The only vibrant colour to be seen is the rich, lush green of the grass as everything else around is a mixture of subtle earthy browns and edgy granite greys. This barren, hard collection of rocks is known as Hound Tor. It's located just a short drive from the B3387 between the wonderfully named Bovey Tracey and Widecombe-in-the-Moor. The tor is legendary for several reasons which are :-

It's near the site of the remains of 13th Century farmsteads, on land originally farmed in the Bronze Age.

The entire area in and around the tor is famed for its ghosts.

It's reputedly to have been the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'

It's featured in countless film and TV dramas the most notable being Eastenders, Dr Who (the 'Sontaran Experiment') and of course the BBC television series Sherlock.

The highest point of the tor stands at 1,358ft (414m)

I chose 'Hundatora' as the title for the image as that's the name that was first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.

"STOP" :- This is the sort of shot that nobody would even think of taking. I found myself standing at a bus stop (at the bottom of New Steine Gardens) late at night and just happend to have my camera with me ( I nearly always have my camera with me). I wasn't even sure if the shot would work or come out right but thought it was worth a try anyway which is one of the huge joys of digital photography, it costs nothing to experiment. Considering it's a night shot it's surprisingly colourful. On the far right of the image you can just make out a few of the lights on the famous Brighton Pier (formerly & preferably known as the Palace Pier). There was the odd car (mainly taxis) drving past but due to the time of night (it was nearly midnight) the roads were fairly clear so it was relatively easy to get a clean shot. This stretch of road is "Marine Parade" (A259) which runs between Brighton Marina and the Pier.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 30 May 2014

Stones & Inn, Top Secret and Sea Behind

"Stones & Inn" :- I was going to say that this is a unique bit of England but it's's a unique part of the entire planet. This is the village of Avebury in Wiltshire and it's situated in the middle of an ancient henge and cirlce of standing stones that's said to be 2000 years older than Stonehenge! Like most villages there's a village pub which makes the 400 year old "The Red Lion" the only inn in the world to be located within a stone circle. You can sit, chat and slowly drink whilst gazing on the stones that are just outside the window! It's also said that the pub has a ghost that goes by the name of "Florrie" and that she was a former landlady of the Inn. The story goes that Florrie's husband returned unexpectedly from the English Civil War (1642-1651) and discovered her with another man. In a state of anger he shot the man dead, cut her throat and then threw her body down the 86ft deep well that is still within the pub to this day. The Red Lion Inn is reputedly one of the UK's most haunted hotels. Just to give you a sense of scale regarding the size of the stones you can see a small lamb lying down at the base of the stone on the right. The stones vary in height from nine to over twenty feet and can weigh up to 40 tons!

"Top Secret" :- This felt like I'd got my very own TARDIS and that it had plonked me down somewhere in England in the 1940's. The somewhere happened to be Milton keynes or more precisely "Bletchley Park"... home of the code breakers. I spent an entire day (from 09:30 am when it opened up until they threw me out at 17:00 pm when they closed) there last week looking around the original huts, units & Mansion that became so famous but were for many years a closely guarded secret (it wasn't until 1974 that Bletchley's secret was finally revealed). Anyway, this room was one of the rooms in Hut 6 which was built in 1940 and used for the decryption of Enigma messages.

"Sea Behind" :- I have posted many images of Brighton's famous Victorian Bandstand but thought I'd treat you all by showing it from an angle that's rarely seen or photographed. Most (if not all) photographers stand with their back to the King's Road and face the bandstand (nicknamed "The Birdcage") with the English Channel providing the backdrop. I thought I'd reverse everything by standing with my back to the sea allowing the Grade II listed buildings of Bedford Square to create the background. The creation of Bedford Square began in 1807 and it was not completed until 1828. The ornate iron bandstand was manufactured by the Phoenix Foundry in Lewes and opened to the public in 1884. Many wealthy residents that lived in Bedford Square objected to the new structure and voiced their disaprovals. They thought it would spoil the view of the sea and possibly encourage the congregation of "disreputable crowds of lower-class holidaymakers". It is now regarded as one of the best examples of a Victorian bandstand in the country. A few years ago the entire structure was painstakingly restored and the eight cast iron pillars were removed and transported to a foundry in Derbyshire where 40 layers of paint were grit blasted off!

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 29 May 2014

ENIGMA, Woodland Steps and Course & Sea

"ENIGMA" :- Yes, you can see my reflection (along with the tripod) in the glass but to be honest that's rather missing the point as it's the odd looking equipment that's on the other side of the glass that enthralled and fascinated me. This is a real bona fide "Enigma" machine from WWII. In fact according to their website Bletchley Park (in Milton Keynes, England) has "The largest and most comprehensive public display of Enigma machines in the world". The design of these machines looks old and clunky but don't be fooled by how they look. They were cleverly created to create ciphers, to jumble up letters through a series of cogs and plug in cables. In fact the "Enigma" machine was so good at the job it was designed for the chances of deciphering it were 158,000,000,000,000,000,000:1 (that's a 158 million, million, million to one!!). "Enigma" was reset and had its settings changed at midnight every single day just to complicate things even more and compound the difficulties of cracking it. What's even more staggering is that under a huge veil of secrecy Bletchley Park gathered together a vast number of people (including Alan Turing who was an English mathematician and pioneer of computer science) and managed to break the cipher, not just once but on a daily basis allowing them to read all the encrypted messages. They achieved this by creating a computer known as the "Bombe" which was an electro-mechanical machine, developed during WWII by Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman. The "Bombe" helped them by eliminating possible settings and pointing out those that were more likely thus saving an immense amount of time and effort ... and in turn saved many thousands of lives too. It has been written that the "Ultra" intelligence produced at Bletchley shortened the war by two to four years.

"Woodland Steps" :- At the far end of Devil's Dyke (on the edge of Brighton), way down in the lowest part you'll come across these steps set into the steep bank. The steps make it easier to negotiate the vast rise but do not alleviate the stress, strain or shortness of breath that one suffers whilst trying to reach the top. I did not see a single soul on this path as I was the only one stupid enough to walk up it. Needless to say once I reached the summit I could no longer stand, nor breath or cool down!

"Course & Sea" :- This was shot on the (sadly) disused miniature golf course in the village of Rottingdean near Brighton on the south coast of England. I have fond memories of trying to play a round here when I was a child and returned a few times in my 20's to see if I'd improved any (which I hadn't). It had been a feature of the Sussex coast for my entre life and would often see people enjoying an afternoon up on the course whilst taking in the sea view but then suddenly and without much warning its lease ran out and was closed to the public in September 2012. Just to put a further halt to anyone using it for their own entertainment the councl turned up and filled the golf holes in with concrete! So now it stands empty and souless. No laughter or the odd "Thwack" to be heard. The view is stll breathtaking but there's simply nobody there to enjoy it with anymore.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Stone Path, Wet Glow and St Aubyns Mansions

"Stone Path" :- A slightly overgrown village path disappears into vanishing point as evening begins to fade. The path leads to an extraordinary and staggering sight as the village is no ordinary village ... for this is the village of Avebury which sits within the largest stone circle in Europe (and possbly the world). It's estimated that the stone circle was constructed somewhere around 2600 BCE which makes it the oldest stone ring that is known to be in existence anywhere on the planet and older than the more famous Stonehenge. The circle and stones cover 28 acres of land with the stones varying in height from nine to over twenty feet and weighing up to 40 tons each! Sadly there are now only 27 stones but originally that (approx) 98 made up the circles. I spent the afternoon and evening there last Sunday (18th May 2014) wandering around Avebury and its incredible standing stones.

"Wet Glow" :- Mid afternoon on the undercliff walk between the villages of Saltdean & Rottingdean on the south coast of England. Rough waves had been pounding the sea wall during high tide and patches of water and wet concrete were glistening away in the sunlight.

"St Aubyns Mansions" :- As you wander around the streets, roads and promenades Brighton & Hove display some fascinating architecture between them. This magnificent building is called St Aubyns Mansions and it's situated on King's Esplanade in Hove, UK. Its plans were approved in 1899 and it was to be the first stage of a grande developement plan but things quickly deteriorated and this block was the only one ever built. It's now been restored and converted into many dfferent apartments but it was originally intended to be just eight luxury residential flats. With only a small road between in and the promenade St Aubyns Mansions is one of the nearest residential buildings to the sea along the entire Brighton & Hove coastline.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Gold in the Trees, Brick Bridge and Washed Away

"Gold in the Trees" :- There's a well known beauty spot on the edge of Brighton called "Devil's Dyke". It's actually just in West Sussex but is only a ten or fifteen minute drive into the famous East Sussex seaside City. It's been in the news over the last day or so as a huge illegal rave was held there over the weekend which scattered the area with litter and broke the idyllic silence and beauty of it all. I shot this at Devil's Dyke a couple of weeks ago (14th May 2014) on my way back to the car just as the sun was going down. The Dyke istelf is a 100m deep V-shaped valley that was carved by huge amounts of water running off the Downs during the last Ice Age.

""Brick Bridge" :- Several longboats sit moored to the towpath along part of the Grand Union Canal. The canal stretches for 220.48 kilometers (137 miles) between London and Manchester and has 166 locks to negotiate along its watery route. This section is located in an area known as Waterside in Milton Keynes.

"Washed Away" :- Shot way back on the 29th September 2012 on Peacehaven beach on the south coast of England. The breakwaters along the south coast are vital to the protection of the chalk cliffs and many of the towns and vllages that hug the southerly edge of the UK. Without them longshore drift would slowly erode and wash away the beach and in turn expose the chalk to the heavy waves and threaten the populated areas with flooding from the sea. This does mean however that the breakwaters themselves are in direct line taking the full force of the elements and the sea, not all of them hold up as well as others.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 26 May 2014

Diffused, Lines of Reflection and Wall Light

"Diffused" :- This is the beach near Roedean on the edge of Brighton, UK. It's a mixture of concrete, sand, pebbles, rocks and chalk. It's an atmospheric place to be and free from the crowds that frequent the more popular beaches near the pier in famous coastal city. On this particular day a heavy fog was rolling in from the sea causing the light to "grey out" and dissipate. The odd looking dark structure shrouded in mist and sticking out into the sea on the left of the image is the huge protective Eastern arm of Brighton marina.

"Lines of Reflection" :- Once in a while a situation will arise where an image presents itself "out of the blue" and you can't believe your luck as you jump up and down with excitement. This image is the result of one of those moments. Last week I managed to escape Brighton for a few days and had a break visiting friends and exploring a bit of the UK. One of the places I have wanted to visit for a long time is Bletchley Park which was for a long time Britain's top secret site for code and cypher breaking during WWII and also where Alan Turing (considered by many to be the father of modern computer science as the world knows it) created the Bombe machine and cracked Enigma with his team. Well, Bletchley Park is in Milton Keynes (approx an hours drive north of London) in Buckinghamshire so we decided to stay a couple of nights up there in a place called "Peartree Lodge Waterside Hotel". The hotel is situated by the Grand Union Canal that runs through the large town so I decided to take a walk along the canal's tow path with my camera on the first afternoon to see what I could see. After a 10 minute winding walk along the snaking canal I got to a large modern looking tunnel that was in fact a wide stretch of road (the A421) known as "Standing Way" crossing the canal. It looked boring, drab, grey and colourless. I shrugged a little and decided to walk on a bit anyway even though the view was "soulless". And then I saw it! With the light just at the right angle the still, calm water of the canal acted as a mirror and the image presented itself to me as the traffic thundered overhead!

"Wall Light" :- Simple, bland and something that many would walk past without even giving it a second glance or thought. The reason I stopped and grabbed a shot of it is that I liked the symmetry of the brickwork and the placing of the light as well as the shape of the light itself breaking up all the straight lines. There was something rather appealing about it all in an ordinarly unnapealing way (if that makes any sense). You can find this light (and many other like it) on a wall behind "The West Quay" which is a Wetherspoon's pub & restaurant in Brighton Marina.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 25 May 2014

It's in the Trees, Discarded Mail and Blood Red Sky

Well...after a week away holidaying in the UK I have returned refreshed and am now ready to resume sharing my images with you. Obviously I took my camera along with me whilst I was away so there are many new images for me to process and upload over time. So without further ado here's today's three images ...

"It's in the Trees" :- I had this world of fantasy to myself. There were many people about but I was the only one that strayed from the path and entered this place of shadows. It looks like a mythical realm of enchantment but in actual fact it's simply a small wooded area by the car park at Devil's Dyke, a well known beauty spot high up on the south downs near Brighton, England. It was late evening and very busy but everyone there seemed to take on sheep like behaviour and stuck to the same paths and routes, following each other so they could all stand in the same places en masse and look at the same things. I broke away from the joggers, dog walkers, paragliders and sandwich eaters in search of my own views and scenes and found this one.

"Discarded Mail" :- This building was built somewhere around 1889 by Edmund Scott. It's situated at the top of Church Street (orginally known as "North Back Side") and was at one time the drill hall of the Royal Sussex Regiment. I have only known it as the Royal Mail's parcel-sorting office which it became in 1967 just one year after I was born. The building is another of Brighton's Grade II listed structures. If you look above the door you can see the pins that used to hold the letters that read "Royal Mail".

"Blood Red Sky" :- A smouldering sunset as seen from Hove beach on the south coast of England. The breakwater and buildings on the front were thrown into silhouette as the light slowly faded. It's a time of calmness and peace as everything seems to slow down as the sun drops from view. If you zoom into the image you can follow the coast along to the next large town which is Worthing. The chimney on the right sits on top of the old power station at Shoreham. It used to have two chimneys but the eastern chimney was blown up and demolished much to the delight of a large crowd on 16 July 1988.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Carousels, Upon the Hill and 100% H2O

"Carousels" :- Closing time for the cafes and tourist attractions on Brighton beach. The famous seaside resort on the south coast of England goes through a daily transition as the day trippers all go home and the night owls arrive. The historical Victorian seafront has seen a transition of its own over the last few years. It used to be run down and deshevelled and not a place that you'd like to find yourself at any time of the day or night. Now the entire area has been rejuvenated and given a new lease of life. By day it's teaming with people and the cafes, galleries and souvenir stores are full of bright colours and bathed in the sounds of live bands, chatter, laughter and of course the sounds of the Carousel organ. By night the bars are all reopened (after cleaning up from the day) ready for the onslaught before the beach clubs open up and "thump thump thump" through the night. This image show the famous beach Carousel covered up and protected from the elements as the "Carousels" cafe just behind it is shutting up for the evening. A flight of old Victorian steps lead up to the top promenade with the well known and instantly recognised turquoise railings of Brighton. The large building in the background is the Thistle™ Brighton Hotel.

"Upon the Hill" :- Another photographic muse of mine (I have many) is Beacon Mill on Beacon Hill between the villages of Ovingdean and Rottingdean on the English coast. She's more famously known as the "Rottingdean Windmill" and has been quietly sitting up on the hill and overlooking the English Channel since 1802. She was actually active and working right up unitl 1881 and a few years later was very nearly demolished due to the condition she was in. Since then she has been restored and repaired many times (in 1905, 1935,1969 and 1974). Beacon Mill is a three-storey smock mill on a single-storey brick base. She has a Kentish-style cap, and four Patent sails. At one time she also had a fantail but that's long since been removed. She is now grade II listed and also used as a seamark.

"100% H2O" :- It's said that approximately 71 percent of the Earth's surface is covered with water and that the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all the water on Earth. Obviously you'll also find water in rivers and lakes and in ice, snow and frozen parts of the planet. Even the adult human body is approximately 57% water! But how much of all that water is fresh drinkable? Well, according to some just 2.5% is fresh water as all the rest is salt water. Now 2.5% doesn't sound like a huge amount but the drinkable proportion of that is even less. Apparently less than 1% of that 2.5% is available for us to drink because a lot of that fresh water I talked about is trapped in icebergs. So to end I'll leave you with this line from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - "Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink."

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Old Artwork, Light Water and Closed Terraces

"Old Artwork" :- This is one of the exquisitely painted wooden panels in Saint Paul's Church in West Street, Brighton, England. They are part of the magnificent and very ornate Rood-screen which can be dated back to Victorian times. Apparently the painted woodwork and figures were by Mr. S. Bell but I know very little about him. I do know that the artsist was also involved in some of the artwork in the mighty Saint Bartholomew's which is another of Brighton's churches. I think this artwork is beautiful.

"Light Water" :- This is the marina end (or beginning depending which way you're going) of the undercliff walk on the south coast of England. The walkway at the bottom of the cliffs runs for several miles with open sea views, it's only when you get near Brighton itself that the marina then hems you in and blocks the view. It had been raining heavily for most of the afternoon but had eventually stopped which gave me the chance to get out for a bit with the camera. The marina section of the undercliff walk never seems to drain properly and is forever patchy wih water and blotchy mud as it mixes in with bits of fallen chalk from the cliffs. This was shot on the 12th May (a few days ago) around 8 pm just as the sun was setting which lit up the water along the pathway.

"Closed Terraces" :- Up until a few months ago this was a thriving and busy restaurant located on Brighton's famous Victorian built terraces between Marine Parade and Madirea Drive. It was in a prime location commanding views over the English Channel, seafront and Brighton's well known Pier. The "Terraces Bar and Grill" catered for tourists and locals alike and was always busy. Then it was suddenly closed and empty. Without warning they were notified that their unit was going to be redeveloped by 'Brighton Seafront Regeneration' in order to "realise their future vision". Quite what that means and what's in store for the area is anybody's guess but I feel sorry for the company that ran the restaurant and for all those that used to enjoy the food and the views it offered. It now stands empty and locked up and looks eerily inviting when still illuminated at night.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Here Be Giants, Start Your Engines and Mussels

"Here Be Giants" :- The gloriously wide expanse of Stanmer Park (on the outskirts of Brighton, England) is peppered with wonderfully large and old trees. Some have managed to retain their personal space and stand proud and tall without hinderance. Others were not so brave and have ended up grouped together in vast patches of woodland taking refuge in the old adage of there being safety in numbers. It's a superb park to walk around and it does at time conjure up tales of old where giants could be found sleeping or cows could be swapped for a handful of beans. It's hard to believe the park is on the edge of a vast and sprawling city.

"Start Your Engines" :- At the far end of Brighton's famous Victorian Pier (on the south coast of England) you find various thrill seeking rides and a few old funfair favourites. It's normally a hive of activity as tourists and day trippers try to make themselves heard over the sound of loud music and the odd scream! On this occasion I got my timing right and found myself at the end just as they were about to close up for the night. The throngs of people had vanished and the rides and various entertainments were being shut down for the night. The Dodgems or Bumper cars caught my attention as they'd all been neatly lined up and told to behave themselves. It was an opportunity to good to miss!

"Mussels" :- It always fascinates me that as things die or decay other things are born evolve or regenerate. A boat sinks and goes down, it sits on the ocean bed for years and thus becomes home to other forms of life. A castle will crumble and fall and again that will eventually in turn become home to greenery, animals and insects. The ruins of Brighton's West pier are no different. As she slowly crumbles and falls into the sea her iron girders, beams and elegant frame become a roost for the gulls and a place for the starlings to swarm in their vast murmuration. As the tides rise and fall the sealife takes full advantage of the metal work too. Here's one of the old large iron support posts on the beach. It's clustered thick with mussels sunning themsleves whilst waiting for the retuning tide.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 12 May 2014

Within the Garden, Safety Measures and A River Runs Through It

"Within the Garden" :- A sightly misty atmopshere makes a moody twilight image of the Pavilion Gardens located in the city of Brighton in England. Lights glow above the grand and ornate entrance to the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery as a palm stands in silhouette. The gardens have changed thorughout the years with various layouts and designs. The most ambitious and famous layout was created in the 1980's when they were laid out and redesigned to re-create John Nash’s original Regency Gardens.

"Safety Measures" :- An image full to the brim with contrasts. Light and dark, hard and soft, the beauty of nature and the ugliness of manmade structures. This corner railing is placed on the undercliff walk near Saltdean to stop people to stupid to look where they're going from falling into the sea. The undercliff walk in unique on the south coast of England. It runs from Brighton all the way through to Saltdean where it stops before starting up again Peacehaven. It's a long walkway built in the 1930's that runs along the base of the cliffs just a few feetor so above sea level. It's one of my favourite hunting grounds for images and a great place to go for a walk.

"A River Runs Through It" :- This is a shot of a small river called "Glynde Reach". It's in a very rural area of Sussex and runs through the village of Glynde (near Glyndebourne and its famous Opera house). I'd been out exploring the area and had found myself down on the banks of the river.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Sacrilege, Shadow Long and Levels

"Sacrilege" :- Unfortunately nothing appears to be sacred anymore. We are now living in a day and age where history, buildings, rights, opinions and humankind itself seems fair game and up for grabs. Trolls scour the internet slinging typed abuse at anything that sticks its head up over the parapet, countries still abuse their own living within their borders and many times try to hurt those living outside them too. The strange thing is there are probably now more rules and regulations in place to protect people than ever but that in turn seems to then makepeople think they can say and do what they want and in effect "get away with it" as they are now protected. It's an odd world and I will never understand it or those living on it. Anyway, I digress. This is a side door (shot at night...obviously) to the mighty St Bartholomews Church in the heart of Brighton. The church is famous for it's size and height (at 135ft or 41 meters) and was built in 1874. This door is exits into Providence Place which is a road / street that is well known for Graffiti and large street artworks. Needless to say the church is seen at times to be a large canvass proving once again that nothing is sacred.

"Shadow Long" :- When everyone is looking in one direction it sometimes pays to turn around and look the other way, you never know what you could be missing. During the sunset on Brighton beach (Sussex, England) you will invariably dscover a handful of photographers clustered around the ruins of the old West Pier. She seems to act as a siren and pulls us all towards her each and every time, luring us in. This means that everyone with a camera is facing South, West or South West. All images taken will therefore be skeletal pier, sea, sunset or a combination of all three. Typically I went in search for something a little different. I realised that the huge iron posts that uses to support the pier were casting large, long, dark shadows on the beach. I'd photographed them before in silhouette from different angles but had never simply caught their shadows. At first I thought it was going to prove a problem as wherever I stood my own shadow hurtled off into the distance and got it the shot. It then dawned on me that the solution was staring me in the face, I stepped into the shadow of the post that I trying to shoot, lined myself up with my back to the post, aimed the camera East (back towards the other pier) and grabbed the shot. Problem solved, resulting in an image somewhat different form the norm.

"Levels" :- Grey & blue. Hard & soft. Lines & levels. I pride myself that I have the ability to see things that many others simply ignore, overlook and walk by. I've never been blinkered. Always had an inquisitive mind. This is a section of the undercliff walk near Saltdean on the south coast of England. It was one of those rare occasions where I pretty much had the place to myself. It was bliss.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Fancy An Ice Cream, Prom Bench and Darkland

"Fancy An Ice Cream" :- This area was once a thriving part of Brighton & Hove's promenade. It used to be buzzing with life and the sights and sounds you would expect to find at any seaside resort. This is the lower section of promenade that's opposite the Grade II Regency Square. To the left of this image there used to stand the grand entrance to the 339.85 meter (1115 feet) long Victorian built West Pier (Opened in 1866 and closed in 1975). To the right of this image (just beyond the red and white painted boards) there used to be the 1930's built children's paddling pool. The air used to be filled with the sounds of laughter and splashing children. I was brought here as a child in the late 60's and early 70's and have very fond memories of the place. The pier is now a ruin and has been left to rot where it stands, which is outrageous as it's one of only two Grade I listed piers in the UK. The paddling pool was unceremoniously knocked down, flattened and filled in a few years ago which pretty much was the final death knell of this area for me. Now it's run down with nothing but ruins, wide wndy spaces and a very unwelcoming public subway that smells very unpleasant. This is the site where the contoversial 175 metres high i360 tower is going to be built. A £36 million loan has been taken out to help fund the construction which has been estimated to cost £46.2 million in total. The local council and Marks Barfield Architects want to see it built but most of Brighton's inhabitants and locals detest the scheme and fear it will be nothing more than yet another hugely expensive white elephant and blot on the landscape.

"Prom Bench" :- Context is a huge thing to play with when creating images, especially photographic ones. When things are shown out of context they take on a life of their own, sometimes surreal, sometimes more powerful. The image can at times ask questions or make you inquisitive, it can make you think about your surroundings and what we consider to be the norm. I usually describe my images by saying where I was, what I was looking at, whereabouts it was taken etc. But this image is better off speaking for itself as I think it has a lot ot say.

"Darkland" :- The seaside city and resort of Brighton & Hove is thrown into silhouette as another day slips away to make way for the approaching night. The joys of having such a long pier on the seafront means that I can venture out to sea and in effect glide over the waves without having to be in a boat or hire a plane. It does however mean that I have to jostle for position with tourists and a multitude of photographers (all competing with lens size) in order to get the shot.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 9 May 2014

Sunset Carousel, Swollowing Light and Liquid Gold

"Sunset Carousel" :- Caught between the fading light of the day and the warm glow of the sunset the Victorian Carousel on the end of Brighton's famous Victorian Pier is an explosion of colours. On those still, calm, summer nights you can sometimes here the jingling tunes of the Carousel's organ drifing across the water. The world’s oldest carousel was built in 1780 is located in Hanau, Germany. This one is considerably newer but still has all the old world charm of a bygone age.

"Swollowing Light" :- An image diagonally split by contrasting light. I love watching sunsets. They offer up an array of hues and moods that paint the planet with the most incredible natural colours that mother nature has on her palette. But then I love sunsets just as much for the opposite reason too. As the sun dips down you get to see the light slowly being consumed and gathered up by the creeping darkness. All the colors of the world are painted over by an unforgiving night as it approaches and takes command. This image was shot on the 29th April 2014 on Brighton beach (Sussex, England) just as the light and the dark were about to fight it out.

"Liquid Gold" :- A dark, brooding and foreboding looking seascape shot from the south coast of England. Storm clouds were working their way in and had smothered the sunset, forcing the light to squeeze through any gap it could find. A strip of water glowed with a molten metal luminescence as a large and powerful ray of light made its escape. The odd patch of blue could still be seen beyond and above the cloud but all hope was lost the temperature plummeted and the first few drops of rain began to fall.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Pink Pier, Hide Away and Ascent

"Pink Pier" :- 8 pm on Brighton seafront and the sun was going down on a beautiful April evening. The fading light gave the sea an odd bioluminescence glow and the sun was turning the famous Victorian Pier a shade of pink. The things that strikes me as odd on evenings like this is that the beaches remain very empty. Hardly anyone seems to sit on the beach and watch the sunset anymore. They are all too busy staring deeply into their smart phones telling each other what they've just eaten "lol" to notice mother nature's free display.

"Hide Away" :- Shot within the deep, dark recesses of Stanmer Park on the outskirts of Brighton, England. It's a place I like to wander, explore and "get lost" with the camera. I'd taken one of the paths that rise up and go around the side and back of the park when I was this tree with its branches splyed out silhouetted against the morning light. It had a mystical look and feel about it and made me think of some of the old Brothers Grimm stories.

"Ascent" :- I was always under the impression that these curved steps on Rottingdean beach were built in the 1930's around the same time as the undercliff walk but they are in fact much older than that and they've not changed at all. I wish I knew the year when they were first constructed but all I can find out is that they existed from some time in the late 1800's. There's a wonderful old photograph showing Rudyard Kipling chatting to his Aunt Georgie (Georgiana Burne-Jones, wife of Sir Edward Burne-Jones the famous Pre-Raphaelite painter) sitting near the bottom of these very steps. You can see the old sepia image here :- Rottingdean Through Time

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Icy Waters, Straight & Narrow and Catharina & Margarita

"Icy Waters" :- It was the 30th November 2012 on a very cold and chilly afternoon on Saltdean beach, Sussex, England. Everything had a cold, crisp and sharp look to it. The air was bitterly fresh and there was very little (if any) heat being produced by the sun. The water was lapping gently on the pebbled beach, no waves crashing in as it was still and calm.

"Straight and Narrow" :- This scenic view looks like it was shot in the middle of nowhere so it's a surprise to find that it's just a 10 minute walk from Woodingdean near Brighton in England. Tucked around the back of Woodingdean there's the Castle Hill National Nature Reserve and you hardly see anyone there. In 1975 46 hectares (114 acres) were designated a National Nature Reserve and are now managed for the council by Natural England who arrange for it to be grazed locally. It's also been designated a Biogenetic Reserve by the Council of Europe and is a Special Area of Conservation under the European Habitats Directive. The chalk grassland is rich in orchids and other rare plants. There are also two small areas of woodland on the slopes with small windswept trees, gorse and other scrubland plants. I am lucky as it's only a 10 minute drive from where I live.

"Catharina and Margarita" :- These two stunning stained glass windows are located in the Narthex of Saint Paul's Church in West Street, Brighton. On the church website Saint Paul's it says this about the window on the left :- "S Catherine of Alexandria, (d. circa 310) The palm she holds indicates she was a martyr. She carries a book that represents her great learning, with which she argued against the pagan philosophers. She was martyred on a spiked wheel." and then describes the window on the right :- "S Margaret of Antioch, (d. circa 304) was another popular maiden martyr who is shown holding her palm and crushing a dragon with the cross of faith."

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Emerald, Flat World and Blenheim House

"Emerald" :- I shot this nearly two years ago on the 29th May 2012 and it's been on file ever since, today is the day I release it into the wild. Somewhere along the Falmer Road between Woodingdean and the village of Falmer there's a footpath that you can take that leads you up and over the downs towards the village of Kingston. The path is known as the "South Downs Way" and it winds along, dips and rises through a very rural and picturesque part of Sussex, England. The greenery is lush and vibrant and the scenery is wonderful if you have a few hours to spare to walk the route. This image was taken from the path.

"Flat World" :- Low tide on the beach at Ovingdean Gap creates a surreal and alien landscape. No manmade structures. No vehicles, boats or planes. No evidence of life whatsoever. Just a flat, open space with a few rocks in the foreground and nothing more. The only thing that tells you this was shot on Earth is the one thing that makes us unique (as far as we know). Water. Vast expanses of deep water. Tides pullng in and out, rising and falling. It makes us stand out above all other planets we've so far discovered. But we never know what's around the corner...

"Blenheim House" :- English Heritage have awarded this building Grade II status. Like much of Brighton's buildings and architecture there's a lot of history attached. Building around the Old Steine in Brighton started in 1760 and continued throughout the 19th century. Blenheim House was one of the earlier buildings constructed and it was once used and known as "The Albany School for Girls". Somewhere around 1875/76 the building underwent a complete rebuild by a firm called "Clayton & Black". The firm then went on to extended the Brighton Friends Meeting House (built for the Quakers) and also redesigned and extended the famous Theatre Royal in New Road. The company slowly rebuilt parts of Brighton and also created a lot of buildings that are famous in their own right including The Duke of York's Picture House which is still the oldest cinema in continuous use in Britain.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill