Saturday, 10 October 2015

Stone Bench, Downsized and Fire Walkers

Stone Bench :- Behind the mighty York Minster (The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter) there's a large grassy area known as Dean's Park. It dates from the 12th Century and also contains the ruins (seen at the back of this image) of Bishopthorpe Palace. The gardens have many large, old trees within the grounds and it's a wonderful place to relax and step away from the noise of the bustling historical City. This wonderful looking octagonal stone bench surrounds one of the trees in Dean's park. I thought it was quite old at first but I have since found out that it was was made by a group of stone carvers in 2000 so it's only 15 years of age! It's been beautifully decorated with many stone faces so it fits in well with the 'Gothic' look of the nearby Cathedral that overshadows everything in the vicinity.

Downsized :- I have strong childhood memories of being taken down to 'The Level' (which is a park in Brighton) by my parents to experience the joys of the travelling fairground at night. It was a glorious mixture of cacophonous sound, smells and flashing lights. I'd be there on the Bumper cars (Dodgems), would brave the 'Meteor' (a caged centrifugal force ride) and would then calm down by having a go on the fun slide, swing boats and finish by hooking a duck (prize every time)! The park used to be packed to the brim with rides, stalls and food vans. Generators would thunder away and the grass would be criss crossed with thick snaking cables. It was a big event to child. A few weeks ago the fair was back down at "The Level" so I popped down there for a bit of nostalgia. I was shocked to find that it's now half the size it used to be. It's not that I remember it bigger, the park is the same size that it's always been. It's just that the rides, stalls and food vans now only take up half the park whereas before it was two thirds. I'd walked around it in five minutes and seen all there was to see. I was pleased to see that the fun slide and hood a duck were still around as were the bumber cars but a lot of things were sadly missing. I found myself walking around wondering if the travelling fairs of my childhood were now slowly diminishing and becoming a thing of the past. The noise was still there but the buzz was nowhere to be seen. The thrill was severely lacking ... you could see it on everyone's face. Maybe it's just that entertainment has changed so much that these things are outdated. Having said that the rides on the end of the pier still do reasonably well all year round. Anyway, after 15 minutes I walked away and left the park. I didn't even hook a duck.

Fire Walkers :- I knew I had to get down there. No question of doubt about it. We'd just witnessed an eclipse and blood moon a few days before and the Earth was still heavily under the moon's influence. I'd missed Monday night's low tide as I'd been busying myself with the camera in and around Rottingdean a few miles to the East of Brighton. Twitter's Brighton feed was buzzing with reports of the 'Perigee Tide' with the odd image post thrown in and I knew that I had to be there the following evening for it. So I headed off out around 4:30 pm on Tuesday (29th September 2015) and walked into Brighton from Ovingdean along the Undercliff Walk so I could keep an eye on the tide and see what the sea was doing. An hour or so later I found myself standing on wet sands below Brighton's iconic pier with the sea the furthest out I have ever seen it. I made my way along towards the ruins of the West Pier and found crowds of people standing in front of it watching the sun as it set upon a waterless beach. I ran around with the camera trying to capture (a word I don't like using much but in this case it's rather apt) the mood and scene as best I could before it faded away and the tide returned. This was one of the last shots I took that evening. The ruins of the West Pier were behind me and the shot is looking down the beach towards Hove and Shoreham. I usually try to avoid people in my images but they really add to the feel of this scene.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill