Thursday, 31 July 2014

Clifftop Silhouette, Dungeon Steps and West Pier Booth

"Clifftop Silhouette" :- Shot from the top of he cliffs at Ovingdean gap near brighton on the south coast of England. Concrete posts and wire cables are all that stop you from an 80ft drop down to the undercliff walk and sea below. The view of the English Channel from up here is sunning but at certain times of the year when the weather conditions are just right it can become breathtaking. This was shot at the end of January this year (2014) around 6 pm just as the sun was going down.

"Dungeon Steps" :- I knew this would make a great image and found myself at the bottom of the stone spiral steps setting up the shot without anyone else around. There was a stone cold feeling in the air and a sound of constant dripping. The walls were wet and slimy green with damp, it was quite a horrendous place to be...and it was designed to be so. This is the view from the underground dungeon in Pevensey Castle in East Sussex, England. In the 15th Century the Castle was a state prison, this is where prisoners would be 'chucked' and basically left in the pitch black cold hole. The only light they got was when the door that used to be across this opening was opened and food (or someone else) would be thrown in. If you look carefully you can see holes in the wall (top of image) on either side of the doorway. That's where the large wooden beam would be slid into to hold the door shut, bolted from the outside with no hope of escape. The Castle actually has two dungeons, this one with the spiral staircase and an "oubliette" which was only accessible via a trap door.

"West Pier Booth" :- It's odd lookng at this image now. At the time I didn't think much about it and took it as an afterthought but now it means so much. This entire area is now flattened and about to be the construction site for the controversial i360 Observation tower that's costing over 46 million pounds to build. Some in brighton like the idea and are all for it (mainly the contractors and Brighton Council), some are hugely against it (a vast majority of Brighton's residents). So what you see in this image is no more. Obviously the high rise apartment block (right) is still there as that's on the other side of the road but the rusting iron support post, metal fence and supports have all een demolished. The little Victorian booth at the top has vanished too. I have no idea if they dismantled it, flattened it or simply picked it up and stuck it on the back of a truck but it's gone. We have been told that it will reappear as part of the new tower when it's completed but just how they are going to do that (if they do it at all) is anyone's guess. Funny thing is this image is now a historical record of what was once there. I have to be honest and say I am not a fan of what they have done to Brighton over the last few years. I'm all for change and advancement but not at the expense of a famous seaside resort with many Victorian landmarks.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Across the Nave, The White Hart and Blue & White Boat

"Across the Nave" :- This was shot inside (obviously) the Church of St Peter in the village of Chailey in East Sussex, England. The church is recorded as having been built in 1256 but like a lot of churches it's an architectural amalgamation of the 12th Century (the nave), 13th Century (the tower), 14th Century (south aisle) and 19th Century (double north aisle). I'd driven past this little church so many times but had never stopped so on this occasion I made the effort to drive out there with the sole purpose of paying it a visit. I love the silence and history of these ancient places of worship. There's a weight and mass that they prject as you walk in.

"The White Hart" :- A timeless shot of the White Hart pub as seen from the ancient Stopham Bridge in Pulborough, West Sussex, England. Unfortunately this beautiful little pub is no longer open for business due to being flooded out at the beginning of the year and then suffering an arson atack. The bridge that the shot was taken from is old and a Grade I listed Scheduled Ancient Monument. Orignally a wooden bridge (built in 1309) stood here for some time until being replaced by the stone bridge which was built in 1422. The bridge is 74.98 meters (246ft) in length and just 3.65 meters (12ft) wide.

"Blue & White Boat" :- A few boats bob in the distance as boats by the slipway struggle for water at low tide on the River Arun. This was the scene at Littlehampton on a beautifully sunny afternoon. At the time I thought the boats in the foreground must have recently come in and moored up but I have since had a look at this area on Google maps street view and these three boats are clearly visible in the same positions so they must have been here for some considerable time!

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A Grand Ruin, Old Shoreham Tollbridge and Centered

"A Grand Ruin" :- It looks uninhabitable. The roof's largely missing, the windows are devoid of glass, there are no upper floors at all. The biggest surprise is that downstairs a few rooms survived, were lived in and are now open to the public. This is Nymans House and once home to the Messel family. It started off life as a grand Regency house but was slowly transformed in the 1920's into a Medieval Manor House. Unfortunately a fire tore through much of the building in 1947, gutting out a huge percentage of the house and leaving it as you see it now. The Messel family simply continued to live in the few rooms that remained unscathed. The house has huge Royal connections attached to it as the last of the Messels to live in the house was Anne, the 6th Countess of Rosse. Her first marriage was to Ronald Armstrong-Jones with whom she had two children, Susan (born 1927) and Antony Charles Robert (born 1930). Her son Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones is better known as Lord Snowdon. He is the 1st Earl of Snowdon, GCVO RDI, an English photographer and film maker. He was also married to Princess Margaret, younger daughter of King George VI, and younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II.

"Old Shoreham Tollbridge" :- Hard to believe that this old wooden bridge was once part of a major road! This is Shoreham Tollbridge and apparently it's the last of its kind in Sussex and one of the last of its kind anywhere in the world. Before the Shoreham flyover and bypass was built this wooden bridge carried the the (A27) coastal trunk road. When it finally closed to traffic on the 7th December 1970 it was the last public road bridge in Sussex to be controlled by a toll. In 2008 the bridge was fully retored with pilehead crossbeams, deck support longitudinal beams and handrails with selective replacement and reinforcement of components of each of the 27 pile bents being replaced. The bridge is a Grade II listed building and is preserved as a building of historic interest.

"Centered" :- Brighton and Hove must be pretty unique. Flanked by the English Channel to the south and then completely surrounded by rich, lush, green countryside to the North, East and West. It's hard to think of anywehre else quite like it. This tree is but a ten minute drive to a sprawling, bustling busy seaside resort and city and yet standing by it the silence is deafening. Natural, unspoiled, protected countryside. A rarity and a must.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 28 July 2014

Chalk Islands, Devil's Dyke Road and Rust in Peace

"Chalk Islands" :- A quiet and calm afternoon on the beach near the historical village of Rottingdean, near Brighton on the south coast of England. The salt water of the English Channel had quietly slipped out for a while and clumps of the vast chalkbed were sticking up out of the water and sunning themselves. A landscape formed over millions of years, it's hard to get it into your head that the huge chalk cliffs extended out this far and that this is all tha's left of them. I suppose that means that in a few million years time the main coast road and cliffs that run into the City of Brighton will end up looking like this too. Just a few bits of chalk, some water and maybe the odd bit of tarmac or metal as a clue that we were once here.

"Devil's Dyke Road" :- When I processed this image I immediately found myself thinking of the old "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" film poster (but without the distant hills). The image is slightly deceiving as it's not quite as remote as it appears to be. It's actually the tail end of Devil's Dyke Road near the hamlet of Saddlescombe in West Sussex. If you were to drive towards the horizon in this image the road doglegs with a sharp left and continues for a couple of miles before placing you at a major Brighton & Hove junction on the main A27 road which runs between Eastbourne and Portsmouth. The legendary beauty spot of Devil's Dyke itself is just to the right of this image.

"Rust in Peace" :- A sunlit beach, blue water and a large rusting iron support. Must be in Brighton then. It's funny how the old iron supports of the ruined West Pier have become icons and landmarks in their own right. They are as famous as the old pier itself so it came as quite a shock when a few of these huge Victorian iron relics were removed from the beach altogether by Brighton Council to make way for the construction of their new (and in my opinion barking mad) i360 observation tower. Some saw these old pillars as an eyesore but if you look at anything with an open (and artistic) mind you'll find beauty and grace in all things. I found them a constant source of fascinating visuals. Changing colour as the day grew long, casting shadows that stretched off across the pebbled beach. They all stood to attention as if guarding the twisted ruins of the pier itself. Now only a few remain.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Catedrala Ortodoxa, Main Gatehouse and Free Bird

"Catedrala Ortodoxa Sfanta Treime" :- There are times when you have to pinch yourself due to the situations and places that you can find yourself in. This was one of those occasions. One minute i'd been sitting quietly at home minding my own business and before I knew it I was helping to drive a van from the South coast of England all the way to Romania and the City of Constanța on the coast of the Black Sea. It was definitely a pinch yourself moment. When we had finally driven through most of Europe and entered Romania we carried on for a while and eventually stopped for a break (stretch the legs, grab a bite to eat etc) in Arad, A Romanian City that dates back to the 11th Century. As we wandered around the streets we came across this immense Cathedral. The Catedrala Ortodoxa Sfanta Treime (Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral) is a very new place of worship. It's cornerstone was laid in 1991 by the Bishop of Arad and the building was finally consecrated on December 6th 2008. The interior is gargantuan and an odd mixture of plain, grey concrete walls and ornate, rich, lavish artwork.

"Main Gatehouse" :- You can't move in Sussex (Southern England) without tripping or falling over some sort of history. It's everywhere you look. The County itself is divided in two (East and West) and it sits on the coast. In 2011 the population of the county was given as 1,609,500 and its area as 934,900 acres or 3,783 km2, apparently it was created in the 5th Century as the Kingdom of Sussex. Pevensey Castle was constructed sometime around 290 AD. It was a medieval castle and former Roman Saxon Shore fort situated in Pevensey, East Sussex. After the Romans left it fell into ruin but was famously reoccupied by the Normans in a year that changed England forever. On the 28th September 1066 Duke William II of Normandy landed at Pevensey with his army. That very night the army along Duke William II of Normandy took shelter for the night in a temporary fortification situated within the old Roman fort (Pevensey Castle). The following day they made their way to Hastings and the rest, as they say, is history. This is an image of the main gatehouse of Pevensey Catle. The castle (even in ruin) is an immense structure as its walls are 4.2 metres (14 ft) thick at the base and its towers still stand up to 8.2 metres (27 ft) high. It's hard to get your head around all the different historical figures that have entered in and out of this gate and the pour souls that were captured and taken in with no hope of ever geting out.

"Free Bird" :- This was shot back in April 2013 on a clear but cool afternoon. There are many breakwaters / groynes on Brighton beach to the West of the famous Victorian pier but curiously enough very few East of the pier. This one is the Black Rock Griyne and situated near to the Marina. This breakwater was completed in 1895 and has been protecting the shore and coastline ever since. When the tide is low and few people are about it's wonderful to sit and stare out to sea. It's very peaceful with just the odd cry of a gull or breaking of a wave dirpupting the silence.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Awe-inspiring, The Longest Bench and Jetty St

"Awe-inspiring" :- Shot from a section of the South Downs Way near the Devil's Dyke 'Summer Down' viewpoint and car park. This area is actually just within West Sussex but is only a couple of miles from the edge of Brighton & Hove so many think of it as being part of Brighton's scenery. I shot this back in May around 8:40 pm as the sun was setting over Southern England. If you lok carefully you can just make out the village of Poynings way below in the dusky light through the trees.

"The Longest Bench" :- There are many sections of this very long bench that are impossible to sit and rest on which makes me ponder if it is indeed a bench in places at all. This is "The Longest Bench" that can be found on the seafront of Littlehamptonm in West Sussex, England. It is (reputedly) the longest bench in Britain and can over 300 people. Obviously this image is only a section of it and is actually a shot of one of the end sections which end up under cover and winding around like some out of control or possessed train track. You can read more about the design and the thinking behind it here :-

"Jetty St" :- This was my one and only evening in the Cornish fishing village of Mevagissey. It's a beautiful and very quaint little village full of tight, narrow roads, nooks and crannies. Because I had limited time I found I was exploring the area at quite a rate which meant I was able to grab the images but unfortunately couldn't spend much time taking it all in myself. Anyway, this is Jetty Street which runs from Middle Wharf to where Fore Street and Polkirt Hill meet. You can see by this image that the village has retained much of its history and still has a feel of the smuggling trade about it.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 25 July 2014

Castle Entrance Gate, Wild Grass & Hills and Go Your Own Way

"Castle Entrance Gate" :- Arundel is a Arundel is a small market town nestling in the South Downs of West Sussex, England. It's famous for its listed buildings, the river, its Roman Catholic cathedral and above all its medieval castle. Arundel Castle was built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel. The castle's motte (its oldest feature) was constructed in 1068, just two years after the Norman invasion and the Battle of Hastings. This is a shot of the main entrance gate that tourists enter the castle by when it's open to the public. This week (Tuesday 22 July to Sunday 27 July 2014) Arundel Castle is holding an International Jousting & Medieval Tournament Week.

"Wild Grass & Hills" :- This image was shot between the villages of Kingston and Falmer as I was walking over the downs back to the village of Ovingdean from the town of Lewes in Sussex, England. It's (approx) a 15 minute drive but if you decide to walk it you are at least looking at an hour and a half, if not more. The views and scenery are wonderful, when you're in the car you don't get to see the fields or the rolling downs as the road is at the bottom of a deep cutting with high chalk banked sides.

"Go Your Own Way" :- A public bridleway winds its weary way between farmland. In the distance (to the right) the village of Woodingdean starts to twinkle as its light sare turned on as dusk takes a hold. A heavy cloud bank slides into place, stifling the light even more and causing a chill to fill the air.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Behind the Marina, White Dome and Ball Room

"Behind the Marina" :- This area was once rock pools and sea. I vaguely remember it all before the major construction began in 1971. It took a long time to build but eventually Brighton Marina was opened to the public in 1978 and officially opened in 1979 by Her Majesty the Queen. Different bits have been added ever since with housing rising up and a large supermarket being built along with a casino and multiplex cinema. The section of the undercliff walk that runs at the base of the chalk cliffs behind the marina was never built that well. It floods and is forever swimming in water and mud. It's quite trecherous and hard to navigate at times. The surprise is that the older 1930's sections of the undercliff walk were constructed much better and therefore drain properly and do not fill with water. Sometimes we are far too clever for our own good.

"White Dome" :- Bexhill (or Bexhill-on-Sea) is town in Sussex that's sandwiched bewteeen Eastbourne and Hastings on the South coast of England. It's most famous building is the 1930's De La Warr Pavilion which was built in the International Modernist style and was the first welded steel frame building in the country. Directly in front of it there's a promenade and a wonderful white Colonnade that first opened to the public in 1911. A couple of years ago the Grade II listed Colonnade underwent a £3.5 million renovation and now looks as though it was built yesterday. Looking at this image it's hard to believe that this was shot in an English seaside town and not in some Mediterranean resort.

"Ball Room" :- A room with serious "wow factor". In fact that's the word that I uttered as I walked in. "WOW!". This ballroom is steeped in a thick and rich history. It's in Bletchley Mansion which resides within Bletchley Park, the famous code breaking facility during WWII. The Mansion's beginnings can be traced back to the 1870's and was bought (including the surrounding estate) by a wealthy stockbroker in 1883. The opulent interior was later added in 1906. When the Second World War began the Mansion quickly became the HQ for the major codebreaking sections.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Shady Sheep, Boxes and Marina to Pier

"Shady Sheep" :- A very rural view. Some sheep take shelter from the sun by lurking in the shade of a tree. Staggering to think that this idyllic country scene is little more than half a mile away from the suburbs of Brighton. Castle Hill Nature Reserve is situated behind the village of Woodingdean and is designated a SSSI, a Biogenetic Reserve by the Council of Europe and is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the European Habitats Directive. It is one of the finest examples of ancient, wildflower-rich, chalk grassland sites in the country.

"Boxes" :- A rare view inside a room that many don't even know exists. This is an upstairs 'secret' room within the Grade II listed Middle Street Synagogue in the City of Brighton, England. I was very kindly given a tour and unprecedented access to the building when I visited it back in June this year (2014). If you stand in Middle Street and look up at the outside of the Synagogue you will see a magnificent round stone window set in the wall at the top of the building. One you enter the sumptuous main hall of the Synagoue and look back towards the entrance you will see the round Zodiac window high up in the wall backlit with its exquisite stained glass. But it's an optical illusion as the windows are not one and the same at all but two entirely different windows and situated between the two high up in the building is this meeting room which is now used as a store room. It was strange to be standing in a room that many do not get to see and it was even stranger to be standing between the two beautiful windows!

"Marina to Pier" :- Shot just over a year ago on a hot July evening. I'd been out for the day in Eastbourne and drove back along the main coast road that goes over Beachy Head and through the Cuckmere Estuary before hitting Seaford, Newhaven and eventually Brighton. The late afternoon sun was glinting off the sea and I had a feeling that it would be worth me driving on and into Brighton itself instead of heading home. So I followed that feeling and ended up parking at Brighton Marina. The sea was so calm and unnervingly still that it looked unnatural. You felt like you could simply step of the protective sea wall and simply walk across it (I hasten to add that it's not advisable to ever try any biblical stunt). In the distance the lights were twinkling on the Pier and the City was starting to vanish into the blue haze of twilight as the sun finally gave up its fight and retired for the day.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 21 July 2014

Rungs, Reflected Window and Down the Wall

"Rungs" :- A rusty set of metal loops form a set of rungs and escape route up the sea wall. This is a beach view of a section of the undercliff walk at Saltdean on the south coast of England. The 4.5 km walkway serves as a wonderful promenade and at the same time protects the chalk cliffs from falling away. It has been said that the cliffs could erode by 0.5 metres a year if it wasn't for the sea defenses. This defense is made even more vital because there's a main coast road (the A259) that runs along the top of the cliffs. It was built between 1930 and 1933 and cost £360,000 to construct and its width fluctuates between 8 and 35 feet.

"Reflected Window" :- A low dark, moody passageway leads between a few buildings and down towards the quayside. Light spills and floods its way through until it loses its momentum and is once again consumed by the darkness. a couple of large shop windows to the left catch the reflection of the cottages on the right creating a very convincing optical illusion. The low oak beams overhead bring a slight claustrophobic feeling to it all. This was shot in Looe, a small coastal town & fishing port in south-east Cornwall, England.

"Down the Wall" :- A stone wall separates fields in the village of Ovingdean, Sussex, England. Beyond the rising hill sits the sprawling City of Brighton, to the South (left of image) is the coast and the English Channel. The village is ancient, it's mentioned and lied (twice) in the Domesday book of 1086. St Wulfran's, the village Church is 11th Century and still fully functioning. In the field on the left archaeologists found remains of a Medieval Manor house. They have since returned and a few trenches are now in the filed. I keep meaning to go down there for a look around and chat to a few of them as they dig. I have heard a rumour that the dig has become 'complicated' due to various layers from different periods being discovered. It all sounds very intriguing to me!

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Door Within a Door, Inside Southease and Burning Up

"Door Within a Door" :- Sussex is full to the brim with history. Some of it is Victorian, some of it is Georgian or Edwardian, some of it dates back centuries and some of it is a thing of legend that's taught in Schools and known or heard of around the world. So here we see an unusual door in a wall. I'd love to know why there's a smaller door / hatch set in it but I don't have a clue. It's big enough to have soemthing passed through but too low to be a opening through which to look to see who's on the other side. It's set in a wall that's part of a main gate and the main gate is the entrance to Battle Abbey which was built in a field. A famous battle field. The field that the Battle of Hastings was fought in and where the Anglo-Saxon King Harold II lost his life and seat on the throne to Duke William II of Normandy and English history changed overnight. On 28th September 1066 William landed his army at Pevensey (a village in East Sussex), Harold and his tired army had to immediately march south having just fought in the Battle of Stamford Bridge. It didn't take long to change English history forever, on the 14th October 1066 the tow sides met in a fierce battle that lasted from about 9 am to dusk. William's army was (approx) 10,000 strong and Harold's was (approx) 7,000 strong. Both sides suffered huge losses with 2,000 of William's army dying and 4,000 of Harold's. There are myths and legends regarding King Harold's death, the most famous being the "arrow in the eye" that's depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry. Another account says that Harold was killed by four knights and that his body was brutally dismembered. To add weight to that version of events another story goes that Harold's mistress Edith Svenneshals could only identify his body by birthmarks. William the Conqueror founded an abbey / monastery on the battle field. The high altar of the abbey church supposedly marks the spot where Harold died. It has been said that the Battle of Hastings was the most decisive and famous battle ever fought on English soil.

"Inside Southease" :- Southease is a small village in the county of Sussex (in Southern England) that's situated between the towns of Lewes and Newhaven. Like most (if not all) villages they have a church but the church at Southease is a rareity. It's one of just three Churches in Sussex with a round tower (the others are in Lewes and Piddinghoe). Nobody knows why these towers were built round instead of the norman Saxon / Norman square tower. There are many theories flying around but they are nothing more than theories. The church is also mentioned in a document which gives us a date and therefore it's approximate age ... The charter of King Edgar is dated 966 AD. When you step inside the church you can feel the centuries of history. Paintings from the 13th century are still clearly visible in places on the walls. You can feel the weight of the thick walls andthe coolness of the structure from the cold stone that went into its construction. There's a silence that you rarely get to experience or feel.

"Burning Up" :- Always be prepared for the unexpected. I'd walked all the way from the village of Ovingdean into Brighton and had then decided to walk all the way out to Hove as well. During the (approx) 6 mile walk I'd taken the odd photograph but it was a fairly uneventful day and nothing had caught my eye too much. I'd aimlessley wandered around on the beach for a bit searching for "that" photograph and decided to turn and walk back as nothing was happening. I sometimes feel that mother nature does things on purpose as that minute I turned my back and started to head back towards the sprawling City of Brighton she put on this display! Lucky for me I was still close enough to run down the beach and secure the image. It was shot on 15th November 2013.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Street Furniture, Just So and Above Widecombe

"Street Furniture" :- Birds, lamp posts, signs and a couple of people at a bus stop are all thrown into silhouette as the day's sun dips in the West. This is an unconventional image of the Ovingdean roundabout situated on the dramatic cliff-top seafront road (A259) just East of the city of Brighton, England. It's a mundane and often tiresome section of road (especially during rush hour) but as with all things there are times when it's simply beautiful and a sight to behold. Luckily for me i'd decided to take a walk down to the beach at Ovingdean Gap and this was the view that met me when I got to the coast.

"Just So" :- A wonderful summers day image of a bench in a garden. This is no ordinary garden though as this was once the garden of Rudyard Kipling. For a relatively short period of time (1897-1902) Kipling lived in the historical village of Rottingdean which is just a few miles East of Brighton on the south coast of England. He lived in a house called "The Elms" which he rented from Mr Bliss for three guineas a week. Kipling wrote about "The Elms" saying ""It was small, none too well built, but cheap,". Kipling's cousing Stanley Baldwin (the future prime minister of Great Britain) would often visit as his in-laws' house was also located in Rottingdean. "The Elms" had large and quite extensive gardens and somehow they survived redevelopement plans and are now known as "The Kipling Gardens" are open to the public and free to explore.

"Above Widecombe" :- I'd woken up, looked out the window and saw a gloriously sunny start to the day. Feeling refreshed and enlivened by the stunning scenery that is Dartmoor National Park (an area of moorland in south Devon, England) i'd grabbed my camera and before I knew it was walking up a long and steep country lane towards the huge rock formations at the top of the hill. This image was shot from Bell Tor which is 400 m / 1312 ft above sea-level and sits on the side of Chinkwell Tor. If you look carefully (center of image) you can make out the 120-foot tower of the Church of Saint Pancras in the distance. The Church stands in the small village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor and was originally built in the fourteenth century, it's also known as " The Cathedral of the Moors". It was a wonderful way to begin the day, up on the huge striated granite rocks overlooking the village and the moors with the sun on my back and a thought of breakfast in my head. Breakfast! As soon as that thought struck me I descended the Tor and made my way back down the lane eager to remedy the food situation.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 18 July 2014

Rocks at Sunset, Windswept Hill and Red Lion

"Rocks at Sunset" :- The heavy, threatening sky made a superb backdrop for this beach scene. Tme and place were a major factor for this image and I had planned neither. It was all accidental. I'd driven from Dartmoor to the small Cornish fishing town of Looe. Managed to find a guest house (with parking) for the night and had wandered into town for a look around. An hour or so later I returned to the guest house where I promptly dozed off for an hour or so. Waking to the squawkng and calls of the gulls outside my window I peered out and noticed the tidal river was low and that the sun was on its way down. I washed my face, grabbed the camera and headed back into town again. When I got to the beach this was the scene that met me. The rocks were exposed and half in shade and sunlight, the sand was glistening and a storm was on its way in. Everything fell into place on the one and only evening that I stayed.

"Windswept Hill" :- There she is! One of the most famous land & seamarks on the south coast of England. Beacon Mill (also known as the Rottingdean Windmill) was built in 1802 and has stood overlooking the sea and coast for 212 years. She's seen a lot of changes as the villages, roads and scenery that surrouns her developed over time. She stands on the edge of Beacon Hill Nature Reserve at Rottingdean village (to the east of Brighton in Sussex, England) and is a Grade II listed smock mill. She worked up until 1881 and was very nearly demolished around 1890 due to her derelict condition. She has been restored several times over since then and now has an steel frame within that aids her support. I see her many times on a weekly basis as I live in the neighbouring village and she's just a 20 minute walk from my front door.

"Red Lion" :- The Red Lion is an inn, boozer, tavern, public house & hostelry. But this is no ordinary, run of the mill watering hole. This is the pub in Avebury Village which means this is the only pub in the world that's within an ancient stone circle. Not just any stone circle either but the largest stone circle found in Europe (and quite possibly on the planet). The pub was first licensed in 1802 and has a very deep (86ft ) well inside it which dates back to the 1600's. The ghost of "Florrie" (a former landlady from the 17th Century) has been seen on various occasions in the pub. She was killed by her husband and her body was thrown down the well. To be honest even if you ignore the ghost stories and the standing stones that surround it the pub is well worth a visit. Having said that the stones and stories do add to the magic & mystery of the place. I love it.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Sea of Turquoise, Barn & Sheep and Artistic Footsteps

"Sea of Turquoise" :- Beautiful isn't it! This is a view looking East from the huge protective wall and arm of Brighton Marina. The cliffs thunder off into the distance as the sunlight spakles and dances across the English Channel. It's rare to see the sea like this, it's usually a dark and menacing colour with churning waves. IF you look along the lne of the cliffs you'll see a natural dip, that's Ovingdean Gap. Just beyond that you can make out the famous sea & landmark of "Beacon Mill", the black windmill that sits on Beacon Hill Nature Reserve near the village of Rottingdean.

"Barn & Sheep" :- Desolated, deserted and dilapidated. This is the old barn that stands in the ruins of Norton Farm. The farm is located in a remote downland valley to the east of Brighton in East Sussex, England. Now it's only inhabted by sheep but it was at one point a thriving little hamlet and busy farmsted. The area has been in use since the 1100's, Bronze Age and Roman artifacts have been found here. By the 20th Century the area was no longer in use but the during WWII the buildings were used for taget practice by the Allied artillery.

"Artistic Footsteps" :- I love these steps! I always have done. I remember running up and down them as a child when we'd go on a day visit to Rottingdean on the south coast of England. At the time they were simply a little, steep set of steps that wound around and to many people now that's how they still appear ... but for me they are something else! These steps were built sometime in the 1800's. I don't know the exact year or date, I wish I did. They used to lead directly down to the pebbled beach and fshing boats, that's all changed as they now drop you onto a wide concrete promenade that's part of the undercliff walk that was built in the 1930's. But the steps are still the original steps, in their original position, unaltered. What excites me is the thought of those that walked up and down these very steps. Rottingdean is the village that Kipling and Burne-Jones lived in. There are old photographs showing Kiplng stting at the bottom of these steps. You can also bet that if Burne-Jones (who happened to be Kipling's Uncle) lived in the village then he used these steps too and if he did then i'd bet that William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti probably did too. I love these steps.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

St Mary's Church, Bridge & Steps and A Yacht and Two Gulls

"St Mary's Church" :- Not a black and white shot at all but a subtle colour image. This is an interior shot of St Mary's Church in the small town of Rye in in East Sussex, England. The church stands on top of a hill and overlooks the entire town and surrounding area. It's stood there for over 900 years, has been called 'the Cathedral of East Sussex' and has the oldest working church tower clock in the country. The town and church have royal connections (much like most of Sussex) as Queen Elizabeth I gave the town the right to use the title "Rye Royal" following her visit in 1573 and *King Charles I* described Rye as "The cheapest sea-towne for the provision of fish for our house". This is a shot of one of the windows set in the West facing wall.

"Bridge & Steps" :- This is a shot of the towpath and steps by bridge 89 in Milton Keynes. The bridge spans a section of the Grand Union Canal and is located near the Peartree Lodge Waterside Hotel. There's not a lot of information about the bridge but it was apparently built in 1918 and is 6.096 meters or 20ft in legnth. At one point in time it did serve various forms of traffic but now it is used by pedestrians only.

"A Yacht and Two Gulls" :- Shot by the waters edge during low tide on Brighton seafront. The breakwater / groyne is situated just to the West of Brighton Marina. Many of these structures date from the 1800's and are the result of the Victorians realising that Brighton's seafront and beach would dissapear unless they did something about it. Fortunately their engineering and construction worked perfectly and saved much of the seaside resort that you see today.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Limelight, Natural Ridges and Temple Building at Night

"Limelight" :- On Sunday (13th July 2014) I decided to take a walk through Ovingdean and venture over the 45 acres that form the Beacon Hill Nature Reserve before dropping down into the historical village of Rottingdean. The village is famous for many different reasons but one of its main claims to fame is that it was once home (from 1897 to 1902) to the author Rudyard Kipling. At the moment the village has a Kipling Festival in full swing so I headed down to the village green where the house that he rented "The Elms" still stands. A few stalls and tents were set up on the green, various locals dressed in period costume were wandering about and vintage music could be heard drifting across the pond. I browsed around for a while before making my way to the Kipling Gardens which for several years have been awarded the Green Flag for the best parks and green spaces in England and Wales. These were the very gardens that Kipling himself used to relax in and it's more than likely that his cousin Stanley Baldwin and his uncle, the renowned Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones relaxed in them from time to time too. It was around 15:30pm when I took this shot in the gardens, the afternoon sunlight was streaming through the leaves and creating a scene that would have inspired many an artist and author.

"Natural Ridges" :- As the sea decided to pop out for while it revealed an odd wave like pattern in the pebbles and shingle of the beachat Saltdean on the south coast of England. This pattern wasn't everywhere though, it was just in one small section. Why here? What caused it to form just in one area? It fascinated me as I walked up and down its length trying to determine why the water would do that in one specific section. Needless to say I didn't work it out at all but I am pleased about that as I find the unknown to be far more fascinating than the known. A mystery is not a mystery if you know the answer. A magic trick is not magical if you know how it's done. This to me is the magic of nature. There are patterns in everything.

"Temple Building at Night " :- This beautiful teak wood building can be found within the grounds of Wat Phra Singh in the City of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. The temple is one of the most revered in the city and is constantly in use with many Thais and tourists visiting the complex on a daly basis. It's also very ancient as it was built in 1345 (although it was renovated during the 19th Century). If you want to have an insight into how rich the Lanna (northern style) temple art and architecture is then look no further...Wat Phra Singh is an absolute jewel. By night the temple is still a hive of activity and many of the structures in the grounds are floodlit adding to the atmosphere.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 14 July 2014

Looe Harbour Wall, Light Water and Dark Green Lines

"Looe Harbour Wall" :- Low tide on a Cornish beach. The heavy clouds make the perfect backdrop as the evening sun drops down and illuminates the harbour wall. This is the beach at Looe, a small coastal town and fishing port in Cornwall, England. I didn't get too long to explore this beautiful town as I arrived mid afternoon and left the following morning but I was lucky enough to have the sunset coincide with the low tide that evening. It was wonderful to be able to walk out on the wet sands.

"Light Water" :- A June evening helped provide the right atmosphere for this shot and image of Brighton's famous pier and tourist attraction. The pier opened on 20th May 1899 and cost £137,000 to build which was a colossal amount of money back then. It is 1,760 feet (536.44 meters) in length which is (approx) a third of a mile. It's decks are made up of 85 miles of planking and the entire structure is illuminated at night by 67,000 lights. Over three million people a year visit this Victorian structure so that also means a lot of fish & chips and ice creams are consumed!

"Dark Green Lines" :- Shot from deep within the Castle Hill National Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Brighton in Sussex. Thsi entire area has been designated a Biogenetic Reserve by the Council of Europe and is a Special Area of Conservation under the European Habitats Directive. The reserve is ‘open access’ land which mean you can freely wander around the site although they do advise that you keep to the paths as much as possible so that wildlife is not disturbed too much. The thing that blows my mind the most though is that for the sake of a 10 minute drive from this idyllic place you can be right in the middle of the City of Brighton with all it's history, seaside, mayhem, roadworks and chaos. Crazy.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill