Monday, 30 June 2014

Ring of Brick, Pleasures Within and Red Iron

"Ring of Brick" :- A serene and calming image of a section of the Grand Union Canal as it passes through Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, England. It was early evening and I'd been walking along the tow path that ran alongside the canal for half an hour, looking at the various long boats moored up by the banks and nodding politley to the odd skipper as a boat gently chugged past and went on its way. This section was the bit that was free from any boats at all and as luck would have it the rich red bricked bridge was just in the right place and mirrored perfectly in the still calm water.

"Pleasures Within" :- The joy of living in Brighton is that you get to see it in a different way from how many tourists and day trippers see it. They know it just as the fish & chip, ice cream, amusement arcade, pier, beach bar and night club seaside resort but I know what it looks and feels like without them. One they have all got back in their cars or have climbed aboard the coaches or trains that take them back to their respective homes the place becomes a playground of solitude, peace and quiet. This image signifies the other side of Brighton (Sussex, England) that I have known all my life. A deserted ride on a deserted beach. The lights are on but nobody's home...

"Red Iron" :- "No person shall on or from the Pier, fish or use any rod, line, net or other means of catching fish otherwise than on or from such part or parts of the Pier as the Council may from time to time allow to be used for the purpose and shall be specified in a notice or notices affixed or set up in some suitable and conspicuous position on the Pier." This is a shot taken from the old iron fishing platform at the end of Worthing Pier and looking back towards the seafront of Worthing itself on the south coast of England. Worthing Pier officially opened on April 12th 1862, she was 960ft (292.608 meters) long and16ft (4.8768 meters) wide and was constructed of iron at a cost of £6,200. In 1888 a further £12,000 was spent on her as she was enlarged, strengthened and had a pavilion and landing stage added. In 1913 a huge storm hit the coastline and on March 22nd much of the souther end of the pier was damaged and in a state of collapse. She was repaired and in 1926 the Pier Pavilion was built at her entrance. In 1933 that very pavilion was destroyed by fire and was rebuilttwo years later at cost of £18,000. Then from 1939 she was closed due to the World War and remained closed for ten years before being restored and re-opened to the public in 1949. It's easy to walk on these historical structures and assume that they have always been like this. Each and every pier has its own history, story, trouble and turmoil and it's a miracle that so many of them have survived.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill


Courtesy of: SnapKnot

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Duke Street, Electric Sea and Visual Effect

"Duke Street" :- This is Duke Street in the World Heritage City of Bath in Somerset, England. It was built in 1748 by the English architect John Wood, the Elder (1704 – 1754) who was also famous for surveying Stonehenge and the Stanton Drew stone circles. The facades are constructed of Bath stone (used in the Roman and Medieval periods on domestic, ecclesiastical and civil engineering projects) and many of the buildings in the pedestrianised street are listed as having Grade I status due to being of special architectural or historic interest.

"Electric Sea" :- Shot way back in July last year (2013) during a late evening (21:30pm) low tide on Brighton beach, Sussex, England. The salt water of the English Channel is boisterous at the best of times and it's not often that you get to see it in a calm, flat, reflective state. The famous Victorian pier (opened in 1899) sparkles and twinkles away with its 62,000 light bulbs glistening of the surface of the sea evoking thoughts of the ocean liners & steamers of older and more refined times.

"Visual Effect" :- No CGI, no green screen, no special effects, camera tricks or jiggery-pokery. This is simply mother nature putting on a display for me as I stood at Devil's Dyke (near Brighton) on top of the South Downs overlooking much of Sussex in England. I found a small grass covered bank to stand on which gave me a slightly better vantage point which added to the effect of the viewer being way above the ground. The acclaimed landscape artist John Constable (1776-1837) once described it as 'the grandest view in the world'. On a clear day you can indeed see for mile upon mile. It's an incredibly breath taking place to visit. You can read (and watch an interestng bit of film) about Devil's Dyke via this like here :- Devil's Dyke

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 27 June 2014

Mellow Yellow, Chantry Chapel and Cornish Coast

"Mellow Yellow" :- This wonderful view is but a stone's throw away from my front door. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by fields and countryside and yet just a 10 minute drive into the heart of the famous City of Brighton on the south coast of England. The scene caught my attention for several reasons. O loved the fact that it was made entirley of primary colours, I loved the gentle sine wave and oscillation of the horizon's line and above all I loved the fact that there was no high rise block, building or concrete monstrosity to ruin it all. As it should be...

"Chantry Chapel" :- Within seconds of entering the awe inspiring structure that is Bath Abbey (in Bath, Somerset, England) I was told "Sorry, you cannot use a tripod within the Cathedral". I asked why and was told that it was "dangerous as someone may trip or fall over over it". Well, to be honest I am constantly using a tripod and have never once seen or had anyone fall over it, even in the busiest of places it's been perfectly fine and those walking close to it managed to negotiate without injury. Anyway, I politely thanked them for letting me know and folded it away. On entering the Abbey I discovered many visitors were elderly and that they were in the process of trying to trip up the other visiors with their countless walking sticks, zimmer frames and shopping bags. The tripod refusal was baffling but I endeavoured to soldier on, behave myself, respect their wishes and get around the problem as best I could with a subtle blend of ingenuity and downright sneakiness. This shot was taken in the Chantry Chapel which is located on the right hand side at the far eastern end of the Abbey. The lighting was subdued and moody, I didn't want to use the flash (hate flash at the best of times) and even though there was no danger of maiming a passer by with my tripod due to me being the only one in that section I still elected to play by their rules and not use the tripod. The camera was therefore balanced on the back of one of the wooden chairs and carefully held in place. Stupid rules and regulations.

"Cornish Coast" :- A section of Cornish coastline sits under a blanket of heavy clouds. It was one of those days where the colour was being sucked out of everything and the entire world appeared to be a blend of greys and smoky hues. The rocks and lush, green hills simply adopted a hard and dark stance, the sea looked cold and univiting. You could feel the atmospheric pressure change and the smell of bad weather filled your nostrils and chilled your lungs with each breath. I walked out along the outer southern harbour wall, bracing myself against the strong wind that had started to build, looked towards the east and took the shot.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Twilight Coalition, Harsh Reality and A Seat in the Sun

"Twilight Coalition" :- A late evening (21:45 pm) shot of part of the Coalition Club and old Victorian steps by the Kings Road Arches on Brighton's lower promenade. The arches themselves were built during Queen Victoria's reign so I can only assume that the various sets of steps joining the lower & upper promenade were built around the same period. I do know that Madeira Drive was laid out in 1872 and that its famous "signature cast-iron terrace" (and lift) was added in the 1890s and that somewhere between those dates the Kings Road was widened in the 1880s. In fact many of the structures that you see on and along Brighton's promenade and seafront date from the late 19th century and most are Grade II-listed.

"Harsh Reality" :- Looking at the sad remains of Brighton's West Pier it's hard to get your head around the fact that it was once regarded as being "one of the most important piers ever built". It was designed by Eugenius Birch (1818 – 1884) who was a 19th-century English naval architect and engineer who eventually became a noted builder of piers. Its construction began in 1863 and it finally opened its doors to the public 1866 and continued to provide pleasure for 109 years unil it closed its doors in 1975. Storm damage took its toll and it also caught fire twice but still retains is Grade I listed status. Eugenius Birch was also responsible for Brighton's Aquarium (now the Sea Life Centre) built in 1872 and still the oldest working aquarium in the world.

"A Seat in the Sun" :- Situated on the wide and expansive Western Esplanade on Hove's seafront you will find several of these shelters. They differ greatly in design, look and style from those on Brighton's promenade and are instantly recognisable as being part of Hove with the towns symbol of a ship in relief on either end. These shelters are Grade II listed, cast-iron and date from the mid 1800's.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Pier Lighting, Highs & Lows and Organ Stops

"Pier Lighting" :- It wasn't until I started taking photographs and walking around with my eyes and mind open that I realised just how full to the brim Sussex (in Southern England) is with history. Everywhere you look and turn there's something to marvel at but that's only if you stop to notice it. Many go about their daily grind in a blinkered never ending rat race and when they do eventually find time to stop and relax they stare into their smartphones or ipads and continue to ignore their surroundings. This is an image of Worthing Pier in West Sussex on the South coast. It was a gloriously hot and sunny day and yet you'll notice that the pier is devoid of people. It was completely empty which I found baffling. The pier was originally designed by Sir Robert Rawlinson and opened to the public on 12th April 1862 (152 years ago). In 1913 it was damaged by a raging storm and in 1933 it was completely engulfed in flames with only the northern pavilion surviving. So what you see here is the remodelled pier from 1935 that was designed with a late type of Art Deco styling known as Streamline Moderne (also known as Art Moderne). Nobody seems to give her the time of day anymore. They walk past her on the prom, to busy to notice as they hurry off towards a neon hell of shopping parades and boutique stores. But here she stands in all her 1930's glory, looking as though she was built a day or so ago. I think she's stunning in her simplicity.

"Highs & Lows" :- The town of Looe is a small fishing port in south-east Cornwall, England. Its name derives from the cornish word Logh which means a deep water inlet. The town is split down the middle by the River Looe and is connected by an old bridge which (funnily enough) is called the "Old Bridge". On either side of the River Looe the town rises up on the sides of the steep valley. It's a very picturesqe and quaint place to visit with a good selection of restaurants and real Cornish pubs. I took this image early evening just as the sun was going down and the tide was at its lowest.

"Organ Stops" :- An old organ from the early 1900's sits by an ornate window and is located high up on a balcony within Brighton's ornate Middle Street Synagogue. It was bought in an auction in the 1930's and apparently cost 12 shillings and sixpence! The organ was manufactured by the Carpenter Organ Company of Brattleboro VT in the U.S.A. and today instruments by E.P. Carpenter & Company are considered to be some of the finest organs and melodeons built in the 19th Century. If you look carefully you'll see that in the middle between the organ stops there's a large round guage. It's actually a very unusual pressure indicator and the more negative air pressure that is generated by the pedalling the further the indicator dial arrow rotates showing the attainable volume levels at that particular moment. You will be surprised to learn that this beautiful and rare specimen is still fully playable and in tune.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Saltdean, Middle of the Moor and Odeon

"Saltdean" :- This is a shot from high up on the cliffs showing the coastal village of Saltdean and the main A259 South Coast Road as it heads west towards Brighton and its busy city centre. Saltdean is right on the eastern edge of the city and the village itself is split in two as East Saltdean is situated on the other side of the city boundary in the district of Lewes. At the foot of the cliffs there's a large concrete sea wall and walkway known as the undercliff walk, it was built in the 1930's and you can easily walk (approximately 5 miles) all the way from Saltdean to the centre of Brighton. It's a relatively new village as the area it is on was farmland up until 1924. This means that a lot of Saltdean's architecture is also 1930's with its most notable buildings being The White Cliffs Cafe on the seafront, the Grade II listed Saltdean Lido (built in 1937-38) and the Grand Ocean Hotel (now private apartments but first opened in 1938). The latter were both designed by Richard William Herbert Jones (1900-1965) who also designed a few residential properties in Saltdean.

"Middle of the Moor" :- A serene and beautifully calming moment but for the boot full of boggy marsh water that I'd aquired by stepping back without looking. That'll teach me. The place is Dartmoor National Park and the view is looking south towards Two Bridges. It's hard to make out but if you look carefully you can just see parts of the West Dart River as it winds its weary wnding route through this most picturesque of places. To the left and out of shot stands the old, ancient and very mystical looking Wistman's Wood that's full of lichen and moss covered granite boulders and gnarled, twisting dwarf oaks.

"Odeon" :- Anyone who's been to Brighton will recognise this odd bit of architecture from the 1960's. This is the Kingswest building which is situated right on the corner at the bottom of West Street where it overlooks the King's Road and seafront. The architect Nigel McMillan has been quoted as saying "Probably the most unattractive building in the town. It's the first building I worked on in Brighton (as a labourer not as an architect). It succeeds in its function as an entertainment centre, however it is an eyesore." I would like to think that the Kingswest complex no longer holds that title as there are now many other, newer buildings that spring to mind that I deem fit for the ugly award! It was an architect by the name of Russell Diplock who designed The Kingswest Centre. It officially opened its doors to the public in 1965. It used to house bowling alleys and an ice rink (which I have fond childhood memories of) but they have long since gone. It's now just another multiplex cinema with overpriced seats, drinks and popcorn. A couple of nightclubs are also attached to the place to add to the never ending supply of drunks and idiots that West Street seems to command over each and every weekend. Personally I like the building, the roof is unique with its spikey gold crown but it is still regarded by many as one of the most controversial pieces of architecture in Brighton.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 23 June 2014

Halo, Dramatic Sky and Into The Trees

"Halo" :- A slightly odd and surreal image of an old iron support that used to help hold up the West Pier (built it 1866 and closed to the public in 1975). Corroded, rusted and oxidised by time, its vibrant and violent burnt umber colouring stands out against the more gentle and soothing hues of the sky beyond.

"Dramatic Sky" :- A powerfully dark and foreboding sky darkens the water of Mevagissey Harbour on the coast of Cornwall. There was a cold scent of salt in the air, after a few minutes you could also taste it on your lipsl. A prickliness seemed to charge everything that caused a slight tingling sensation. The water went flat, the temperature dropped and everything got even darker.

"Into The Trees" :- This old farm lane is located in a natural valley that is partof the Castle Hill National Nature Reserve which is (according to the Natural England website) one of the finest examples of ancient, wildflower-rich, chalk grassland sites in the country. Castle Hill is also designated as an SSSI, a Biogenetic Reserve by the Council of Europe and is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the European Habitats Directive. Hard to believe it's just a 10 minute drive from where I live on the outskirts of Brighton.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Old St Peter, Cars Will Be Towed Away and Timeless Beach

"Old St Peter" :- I found this little church completely by accident. I'd been out for an afternoon drive in Sussex and was heading back on the A275 towards Lewes when I happened to catch site of the church to my left. It appeared to be on top of a small hill and in the middle of nowhere. Intrigued, I turned the car around and then followed my nose in the hope that I could find my way through to it. I eventually got there but found it was located at the dead end of a narrow lane. I managed to turn around once again (it was tight and not at all easy) and with nowhere to park pulled up briefly on the grass verge and grabbed this shot. It's situated in the parish of Hamsey, which incorporates the villages of Hamsey, Offham and Cooksbridge and is just north of the historical town of Lewes. Apparently the Church had stood there welcoming parishioners for over 800 years but had fallen into a state of direpair by the 1850's. The church had also once been surrounded by the old village of Hamsey but that had vanished with the ravages of time leaving the church pretty much on its own. A new church was built at Offham rather than restoring the old one. Unfortunately for me I dodn't have time to see if I could gain entry and the car wasn't parked in a safe place either so i had to move one. Maybe one day I'll get to see her interior.

"Cars Will Be Towed Away" :- Three roads, one shot. The lower road is Madeira Drive and a few 100 years ago it was beach and sea until Brighton's Victorian engineers worked out how to hold the sea at bay and reclaim the land as well as pin up the cliff face. The upper road at the top is Marine Parade with its open sea views to the south and its Georgian & Regency buildings to the North. The building you can see up top and to the right is on the corner of Marine Parade and Eaton Place. They are joined by the sloping, connecting road that is known as Duke's Mound. The row of white doors and arches below were once used to house Victorian fishing boats and nets. Now they are private lock ups and a Canoe Club.

"Timeless Beach" :- The lower promenade down by Brighton beach still retains a lot of its Victorian history and feel. There's nothing in this shot to say that it was taken this year or last year or this century or last century. The only thing that gives it away as being a modern image is that it's in colour and digitally done. This was shot just after 8pm in April (2014) on the section of promenade that's by the Fishing Museum. Timing was everything as many of you will know that the chances of catching this part of the prom without anybody being in shot are extremely slim.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Lambs & Stone, Hammond and Golden Colonnade

"Lambs & Stone" :- I thought I'd post this image today as it's the Summer Solstice and thousands gathered at Stonehenge to watch the sunrise. But this isn't an image from Stonehenge, this is a shot I took from within Avebury, the largest prehistoric stone circle in the world which is at least 2000 years older than the more famous Stonehenge. The village of Avebury is also the only village in the world that's actually inside a stone circle making both its pub and church unique. It's a huge site to explore and you can wander around freely within its huge circular bank, ditch and inner circle of great standing stones that cove an area of over 28 acres.

"Hammond" :- At the time I didn't really pay too much attention to the shot and took it more as an afterthought than anything else. Something must have caught my eye and made me stop enough to grab the image but I'm not sure what it was. It was only when processing the image that I realised just how strong a shot it is. The light and shade are in stark contrast with each other throughout and there's a musty atmosphere to it that evokes a feeling of times gone by. An old Hammond organ sits patiently in the hope that one day it may well get to be played once again. The door to the 'Ladies Cloakroom' has a sign on it that reads "The Wardens and Board of Management request Members and Visitors to leave Sticks and Umbrellas in the Lobby". This is the upper hallway of the famous Middle Street Synagogue (opened in 1875) in Brighton.

"Golden Colonnade" :- By day this Colonnade has tables and chairs placed along its length as there's the Volks Bar at one end and the Madeira Cafe at the other. Day trippers, tourists and bikers can be seen throughout the day eating and relaxing on the seafront. It takes on a completely dfferent feeling at night, desolate, devoid of life and eerie with the lighting casting shadows. The Colonnade was built in the 1920's when Brighton's famous Aquarium (the world's oldest operating aquarium) extended its sun terrace. It also marks the very spot that Brighton's original old Chain Pier (1823 - 1896) stretched from as the chains that supported it were embedded into the cliff face and then stretched across the road and then out to sea suspended from four cast-iron towers.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 20 June 2014

Pops of Red, Code Breakers and Storm Field

"Pops of Red" :- A week or so ago I decided to drive a relatively short distance from where I live, park the car and walk around the Castle Hill National Nature Reserve that's pretty much under everyone's nose and largely ignored. It's hard to believe that such an open and beautiful block of land is literally sitting behind the village of Woodingdean on the edge of Brighton. It's not very well advertised or known as I've lived in the area for many many years (too many to mention) and have only recently discovered it myself. Maybe it's a good thing that it's not known as that helps protect its beauty and tranquility. I walked all the way around, sticking to the perimeter route and path which took (approx) an hour and a half and only bumped into four people (two walking dogs and two on bicycles). This image was shot as I was on my way back to the car which was parked in a dirt car park on the Falmer Road.

"Code Breakers" :- Once a highly top secret establishment, hidden from prying eyes and never mentioned or talked about Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes (in Buckinghamshire, England) was far from the frontline of WWII but vital to the war effort. It was a huge gathering of minds and machines as its sole purpose was to break the messages, codes and ciphers being sent by enemy forces and translate them so that the information could then be passed on thus saving lives. It workwed so well the war was shortened by as much as two years. This shot was taken deep inside Hut 6 which was used for the decrytion of Enigma messages. Sitting on the old wooden table are two original Typex Machines that were printing rotor machines based on the Enigma patents. Once the set up for Enigma (the letters and combinations were changed on a daily basis for each and every Enigma machine) had been workld out these machines would be set up to then decipher and print out the messages. Once the print out was complete it would be taken away for a group of translators to then turn into English. Just to drum in how difficult a task they faced every day each enigma machine offered 150,000,000,000,000,000,000 (or 150 QUINTILLION) possible solutions to any one enciphered message.

"Storm Field" :- This could be anywhere. A rough patch of land, an aerial mast, some distant pylons & power cables and a stormy sky. In fact I can't even tell you where I was when I took the shot because I have no idea. I can however tell you which country I was in and roughly where I was. The country was Romania and I was (somewhere) on the outskirts of Bucharest. I'd driven to Romania to help rescue many dogs that had been taken off the streets in order to help save their lives. The dogs needed picking up and then driving from Romania all the way through Europe where they would finally be delivered somewhere in the Netherlands. The dogs were being held in pens in an undisclosed field (for safety) that we were taken to. The directions I was being given as I was driving were in broken English and the traffic in Bucharest tests you to your limit not to mention trying to avoid the trams that don't appear to stop for anything. Eventually we got to the field after many "right turn here" and "Go left go left now". I knew we were still on the outskirts of Bucharest but I couldn't tell you in which direction we'd gone or where we were. It was all a blur. The weather closed in as we were standing in the cold field which was when I took this shot. All I wanted to do at this point was get to the hotel, have a hot shower, grab some food and a beer and go to sleep. At this point I'd been on the go for 35 hours. Adventures are not like they are in the movies.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Green Flight, Halcyon Water and Armada Chest

"Green Flight" :- This is the upper flight of stairs within the historical Middle Street Synagogue ( in Brighton, Sussex, England. It first opened its doors in 1875 and had a rather drab and mundane interior. It slowly bagan to get noticed and many famous names from the 19th century soon became connected to it. Because of this the interior was slowly added to and lavishly decorated by gifts from its many benefactors and it is now regarded as having "the finest 19th century decorative interior of any building in Brighton with the sole exception of the Brighton Pavilion". I was fortunate enough to visit the building and also talk to someone who knew the it very well. He not only discussed the history of the place with me but also allowed me access to areas that the public aren't usually allowed in. Much to my delight they said I could take as many photographs as I wished and were quite happy to leave me alone whilst I was doing so.

"Halcyon Water" :- A scene of perfection and tranquility. A warm, still evening by cool still water. I shall only say that it's located somewhere in Dartmoor as this reflective pool of water belongs to prize winning author (and very good friend of mine) Philip Reeve. I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days with the Reeve's a month or so ago and the weather was actually very kind to us. I'd visited before but on my previous trip it had done nothing but rain hard so trips to the Tors or Wistman's Wood were out of he question and standing at the bottom of their garden and admiring the view in a downpour would have been an extremely silly thing to do. However, this time the sun was out during the day and the evenings were calm and quiet so standing around outside seemed perfectly rational!

"Armada Chest" :- This is not the sort of shot I normally post. I am far more at home with landscapes, seascapes and photographs of Brighton and my local area etc. But then it's not often that you actually get to see a real bona fide 16th Century Armada Chest! I can only fantasise about what it used to contain but whatever it was it must have been important or worth a lot because that locking system contained within the lid looks like it was designed to make sure nobody could get inside without the key! Apparently these chests were actually made in Germany and were originally called " Nuremburg Chests". Typically it was the Victorians who changed the name and started to call them "Armada Chests" as they imagined them to be the sort used to protect Spanish gold. I 'discovered' this particular 'treasure chest' in Mevagissey's Museum in Cornwall, England. As an extra bit of history and interest the stone and chain on the left of the image was once used to "secure" smugglers and prisoners awaiting trial.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Ship Street Gardens, High Stile and Bright Rock

"Ship Street Gardens" :- Brighton is famous for so many reasons. It's full of history as well as having Georgian, Regency & Victorian architecture in every direction you care to look. It's got the Royal Pavilion and Dome, Bandstand, Victorian Pier and Seafront. The worlds oldest working Electric railway and the world's first ever Aquarium as well as The Duke of York's Cinema which is the oldest cinema in continuous use in Britain. It's also famous for its old, narrow twittens and lanes. Running between Ship Street and Middle street you will dscover Ship Street Gardens, a small and tight passageway that's lined with 19th Century cottages and shops. An old map of Brighton in 1799 shows that it was then known as Middle Street Lane.

"High Stile" :- This is the jaw dropping, mind blowing, stunningly awesome view from the top of Devil's Dyke beauty spot. The Dyke itself is a 100m deep V-shaped valley located on the South Downs Way near Brighton and Hove (on the south coast of England) but looking north from the top of the Dyke and the South Downs parts of southern England are spread out below you for as far as the eye can see. The famous painter John Constable (1776-1837) described the panorama from Devil’s Dyke as 'the grandest view in the world'. It's an incredible place to visit, sit and simply take it all in.

"Bright Rock" :- Moody skies and gunmetal seas. A grey panorama stretching out in all directions with just lichen and grass on a nearby rock adding a welcome splash of colour. This is the outer harbour in the Cornish fishing village of Mevagissey. It's a very small village with a population (according to the last census in 2011) of just over 2,000. At one point the main industry was fishing but modern life has changed all that so now it's main source of income is tourism. Like a lot of Cornish coastal villages it's famed for its smuggling tales and it has been said that the tight narrow streets and layout of the village were constructed like that to impede the Revenue men when giving chase to the smugglers. It was renowned for its boat builders and the building that is now Mevagissey Museum was erected in 1745 and used to construct and repair vessels for smuggling.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Coast Posts, 2 Tokens Per Person and A Place of Shadows

"Coast Posts" :- A very famous stretch of English coastline. This is the Cuckemere Estuary and the famous Seven Sisters cliffs on the Sussex coast. This is where the River Cuckmere meets the English Channel. The Seven Sisters often appear in movies doubling up as the white cliffs of Dover (which are no longer white and have a huge ferry port obscurring of them) and run from Cuckemere Haven along to Birling Gap and are just West of Beachy Head which is the highest chalk cliff face in Britain. The names of the Seven Sisters are (West to East) Haven Brow, Short Brow, Rough Brow, Brass Point, Flat Hill, Bailey's Hill and Went Hill. This image was shot at low tide during a very hot and sunny August back in 2012.

"2 Tokens Per Person" :- Old style entertainment at its most ornate and wonderful best. A stroll along the pier and a ride on the carousel is the way Victorians would get their thrills on a day out. No electronic gadgetry here, no flat screen or MP3 pruduced music. This was all mechanically done and it still is ... and it's fantastic. There's nothing quite like the sound of a carousel organ thumping out a tune on real instruments as it reads the music from its pinned barrel or cardboard book. This original & historical carousel is situated on the end of Brighton's famous Victorian Pier on the south coast of England.

"A Place of Shadows" :- This was shot early morning as I went for a stroll before breakfast. It was taken in a lane just on the edge of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, a small village located within the heart of the Dartmoor National Park in Devon, England. I'd woken feeling refreshed and was so excited to be in such a beautiful place I'd grabbed by camera and gone for a stroll. The sun was still at a reasonably low angle and was doing its best to wake up whilst lighting up the trees and mildew covered grasses. It gave the surrounding area a very mystical and mythical look and feel to it ... but then again that's Dartmoor in general!

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 16 June 2014

Hut 6 Corridor, Black Rock Puddle and I See You

"Hut 6 Corridor" :- There was a point in time when this corridor officially did not exist. If you worked within it you could not tell anyone as you would have been made to sign the official secrets act. It wasn't behind enemy lines or even on the front line but on plain view in the gardens of a Manor House know as Bletchley Park. Hut 6 was constructed in 1940 purley for the decryption of Enigma messages with assistance and help from neighbouring huts. Even the huts on either side kept their silence with those working in them never telling those in Hut 6 what they were actually working on or doing. This empty corridor was once filled with people moving from room to room with handfulls of Zygalski sheets (perforated sheets named after the Polish Codebreaker who invented them). These sheets would help them to work out which keys Enigma was using that day and what its wheel orders were. Historians estimate that the codebreakers of Bletchley park saved countless lives on all sides of World War II by shortening it by at least two years.

"Black Rock Puddle" :- This was once an place full of life and laughter. It's now nothing more than a run down and derelict open space full of grafitti and weeds on what should be a beautiful part of Brighton's seafront. This is an area known as Black Rock and up until 1978 /79 it was the site of the famous 1930's built Black Rock swimming pool / lido. It's situated directly to the West of Brighton Marina and offers access to the marina itself via a couple of unsightly concrete walkways that force you into darkened areas. Safety wasn't at the forefront of any of the architects minds when the construction of the marina took place. The section of the promenade in this image is often strewn with pebbles and filled with large puddles of salt water forcing tourists to look where they are going.

"I See You" :- A seamark to sailors, a 200 year old landmark and an emblem for the historical village of Rottingdean (Sussex, England). This is the Grade II-listed Beacon Mill and she's been standing on Beacon Hill since 1802 thus making her one of the country's oldest windmills. She's a familier sight as you drive along the coast road into Brighton, she can clearly be seen from the protective walls of the Marina and also Brighton's famous Victorian Pier (on a very clear day you can just about make her out from Worthing Pier too but you do need to know where you are looking to be able to spot her). Beacon Hill itself is a historical place as it has a number of Bronze Age rounded Tumuli on it and was used to warn of the approaching Spanish Armada attack on Elizabethan England in 1588 when a beacon was lit high up on the brow of the hill. Beacon Hill is also a nature reserve and is a peaceful place to wander whilst offering magnificent sea views.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Celeritas, Blinding Light and Red Brick Path

"Celeritas" :- Shot this year back in March on the beach near Hove Lawns on the south coast of England. There was a hard, crisp light being cast over everything and a cold snap to the air as the waves rolled in. The clouds were helping to break up the sun's efforts and were creating rays of light that was scatterng across the sea. All happening in the blink of an eye and forever changing. I chose "Celeritas" as the title of this image as it's Latin for "swiftness" or "speed" and is universally used to mean the speed of light (299 792 458 meters per second) and is the C in Albert Einstein's famous equation E = mc² (Energy is equal to mass squared by the speed of light).

"Blinding Light" :- The bright sunlight of the outside world blasts through an open door and the interior of a darkened church. This is the parish church of St Mary in Kemptown, Brighton and it's a church that I had passed many times over the years but had never visited or entered before. I have to admit that from the outside St Mary's doesn't exactly capture the imagination as she's a pretty ordinary looking red brick Victorian church but her interior completely caught me out and took my breath away. The church was consecrated on 14 October 1878 and was built on the site of a previous church (also called St Mary's) which was built around 1825 but suddenly collapsed while being renovated. The church is now a Grade II listed building but you do have to take care when walking around as there are signs placed about the church (on the left of this image) that clearly state "BEWARE! Our window tracery is elderly: Fragments may fall. Please be careful in all areas of our beautiful building."

"Red Brick Path" :- Simple shot and image of a section of path that I loved as a child and still love to this day. It's located in the historical village of Rottingdean and is only (approx) 67 meters or 220 feet in length as it winds around a bend with a few trees seperating it from the road. As A child it reminded me of the "Yellow Brick Road" from the Wizard of Oz as it seemed so out of place with the rest of the paving and sidewalks in the village. It doesn't take much to activate a child's imagination and this small, little, red bricked path, dappled in sunlight used to fire mine up every time.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Promenade View, Looe Stairs and 13thC Farmsteads

"Promenade View" :- Here's a view that I get see often. Many's a time I walk in to Brighton from Ovingdean. It's a 6.8 km (4.22 miles) walk which takes in sea views, chalk cliffs, concrete monstrosities, Georgian & Regency architecture and Victorian promenades. There are many joggers, dog walkers, skateboarders, roller skaters and bicycles to try and avoid on route as I saunter along, stopping occasionally to take the odd shot. This mage was taken on 2oth April 2013 (approx) 18:00 pm on the Kemptown end of the main upper promenade. You can just make out the shape of the pier in the dancing sunlight.

"Looe Stairs" :- No...not the stairs leading up to the toilet. These are a set of old steps in the Cornish fishing village of Looe. They run between a couple of buildings in a tight gap that connects Fore Street to the higher Shutta Road. I wish I knew more about them but there seems to be little information or history that I can find. I am guessing that they are at least two to three hundred years old if not more.

"13th Century Farmsteads" :- When you think of Dartmoor images of bleak hills, huge rock formations and standing stones spring to mind. Quite often those thoughts are also wind swept and drenched in rain. So imagine my surprise when I not only found myself standing on the moors in bright sunshine but also found myself standing in the middle of the ruins of some 13th Century Farmsteads! I had no idea that Dartmood held secrets like that and I wouldn't have found out either if it wasn't for my good friend Philip Reeve (top bloke & author ) taking me there on an evening walk. It's very odd to find yourself standing in among the walls as you can't help but speculate about who once lived there and what the times must have been like. Where did they come from? Where did they go to? How long did they live up on the moor? On looking up information about the place there does seem to be conflicting views about the remains. Some say that there are four 13th century farmsteads situated there and a few say there were up to eight but the general consensus seems to settle on four. The land was originally farmed in the Bronze Age (a period that lasted roughly three thousand years starting somewhere around 2500 BC in Britain). They think that this particular hamlet was eventually abandoned in the early 15th Century due to climate change. The settlement is actually mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and is said to have belonged to Tavistock Abbey (in Tavistock, Devon). When archaelologists looked at the area a single coin from the time of Henry III (1 October 1207 – 16 November 1272) was unearthed.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Saltdean Cliffs, Going Nowhere and Coat Hangers

"Saltdean Cliffs" :- This wide & vast expanse of concrete that forms part of the undecliff walk that runs between Saltdean & Brighton (on the south coast of England) was once a hive of activity. This was once the location of a large and very popular outdoor swimming pool that was built and incorporated into the undercliff walk in 1934. Year after year it provided exercise, fun & games until it was closed, demolished and concreted over in 1995 as part of a major coastal protection works. Quite how its closure added to the protection of the coast is beyond me as it stood there for years with the coast managing quite well with it open. Various facilities, entertainment complexes, theatres, cinemas, ice rinks, swimming pools & public conveniences used to be dotted around Brighton and the surrounding area until they were unceremoniously slowly and quietly shut down, closed to the public and demolished in the name of advancement (or some other excuse). It's hard to have fun anymore.

"Going Nowhere" :- Low tide in the harbour at Mevagissey, Cornwall. I couldn't believe my luck with this shot as all the angles fell into place and complimented each other while the heavy cloud laden sky formed the perfect backdrop. The village of Mevagissey dates back to 1313 but it was known as Porthhilly then. It was at the end of the 17th Century that it's name changed to Mevagissey (named after two Irish saints St Meva and St Issey). It comes as no surprise to find that the Cornish fishing village has a rich history with smugglers as most of Mevagissey was involved in the smuggling trade. This was mainly due to Captain James Dunn (Mevagissey born in 1755). He owned several vessels including the "Clausina", a boat well associated with the art of smuggling.

"Coat Hangers" :- This shot says a lot about me, but only if you know where I was at the time. For a long while I have wanted to gain access to the old Synagogue in Middle Street, Brighton (UK). It's one of Brighton's best kept secrets and is widely regarded as having the finest 19th century decorative interior of any building in Brighton with the sole exception of the Royal Pavilion. The Synagogue opened in 1875 and its interior was slowly added to by donations from various people of wealth including the Sassoon family and Hannah Primrose (nee Rothschild) , Countess of Rosebery and wife of Archibald Primrose, Earl of Rosebery (Prime Minister 1894/5). Well a few weeks ago I finally managed to get inside and took my camera along for the ride to photograph the sumptuous and exquisite decorations, fittings and stained glass that haven't changed since the early 20th Century. After I'd got much of what I wanted I wandered about, feasting my eyes on all the oddities and little things that many paid no attention to. These wonderful wooden coat hangers on a rail by the window caught my eye.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill