Thursday, 8 October 2015

Steps Ahead, You Couldn't Make It Up and Stained Chalk

Steps Ahead :- Calf killers. Well, they certainly make mine burn when I'm walking up them. I've not really thought about these steps at Ovingdean Gap much before. I know the history of them (they were built in the early 30's) and I've been up and down them so many times I have list count but I've never really thought much about their design. It's as though it all looked ok on paper and then somewhere along the line they realised it didn't work so had to change plans as they went along. I'm sure that's not really waht happened but it is how they look to me. The stairs are an odd mix of straight flights and curved flights and are cut partially into the cliff face itself. They were obviously compromised on space as the steps are fairly steep and tight. They are the only access to the beach between the village of Rottingdean and Roedean / Brighton Marina.

You Couldn't Make It Up :- I shoot everything with my little (but excellent) 10 year old Ricoh Caplio GX8. It's a tiny little compact digital that can easily slip into my pocket but is for the majority of the time attatched to a rather large tripod. I don't own a large DSLR (or a small one for that matter), I don't have a selection of lenses, flash units or filters. I just have my little camera with its one lens with wide angle, macro and zoom capabilities. Most of my images and shots are wide angle but on the odd occasion I have used the macro function (mainly when I was in Thailand) and from time to time find the need to implement the zoom. This was one of those zoom occasions. The image was shot from the top of Beacon Hill Nature Reserve and is looking out over brighton and towards the West. It was 19:10 and the sun had already dipped below the horizon and the dying light turned the coastline into a neat silhouette. So what can you see from here? Well, starting closest from the camera and then moving away the objects are as folows. The nearest object / building is that of Roedean School and you can see its twin towers to the right of the image. On from that you then come to the sprawling Brighton Marina which is obviously the large construction in the sea. Then there's the tower block of the Royal Sussex County Hospital which is on the far right. Look back to the sea and you can clearly make out the "Brighton Marine Palace & Pier" (unofficially renamed and known as Brighton Pier) then the 102m Sussex Heights residential tower block (opened in 1968) and then the ruins of the West pier and the tall thin i360 which is currently in the process of being built. Beyond that you can see the one remaining chimney of Shoreham Power Station and then it all goes rather flat and black as you follow the coastline around to Shoreham itself, Lancing and then Worthing.

Stained Chalk :- This is one of the ways that I can shoose to walk to and from Brighton. It takes longer than the other routes but I do like to wander down by the sea. The "Undercliff Walk" was a somewhat madcap idea that turned out briliantly. It was designed by a borough engineer named David Edwards and was built between 1930 and 1933. An incredible13,000 tons of cement and 150,000 concrete blocks went into its construction which helped protect the cliffs from erosion and also allowed the main coast road of Marine Drive to be built up on the cliff top. It now runs from Saltdean all the way into Brighton and is (approx) 3.5 miles in length.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill