Greenwich Park, London - taken with iPhone 5s

So often I see, hear and read about people who always have to have the best and latest camera, or always need to upgrade their camera; in some ways I’m a culprit of this too…having upgraded digital SLRs twice in about twelve months, but now I’m going to stick with what I’ve got, which is what I believe to be a happy balance between performance and value. I believed it would be a Continue reading

After a somewhat unsuccessful attempt with the Kodak Brownie as described in my previous post, I’ve decided to park that one for the moment. I have now moved on to the 1959 Kodak Retina II S, which I previously wrote about here: Vintage Camera #2, and has been my carry-around camera for the last three weeks. The first thing that struck me Continue reading

Camden Bridge, 1924 Kodak Brownie

I’ve been intending to get back into film photography for a long time. After completing an A Level in photography eight years ago, I rewarded myself with a second hand Digital SLR, and never picked up a film camera again. That has all changed now though. I couldn’t warrant the cost of paying £10-odd a time to get films processed without even getting prints or a CD of them, and especially not knowing whether Continue reading

Is photography Art?

1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be app

On The Guardian’s website today, I read an article, obviously by a regular columnist, talking about the most expensive photograph ever to be sold, at $6.5m (somewhere north of £4million). The columnist states Continue reading

Looking across the platforms and trackbeds

The old railway station at Christ’s Hospital, known as ‘West Horsham Christ’s Hospital’, was opened at the start of the 20th Century, at the time the Christ’s Hospital school relocated from London because they wanted more rural surroundings. The school contributed to the cost of constructing the station, which consisted of seven platforms when it originally opened.

The size of the station in such a rural area owes itself to planned development of a large town for which it could serve, however Christ’s Hospital had already bought much of the surrounding land, probably to prevent too much building around them…precisely why they wanted to move out of London. As such, the town never materialised, and although the extra lines, heading directly to Guildford, were well used, the ticket sales at the station remained low (due also in part to the school pupils boarding, thus not needing to travel every day) and the Horsham to Guildford line was closed in 1965.

Trackbed with platforms either side
Trackbed with platforms

The station was subsequently reduced, and the grand station building was demolished in 1972, at the same time the number of platforms was reduced to two. Some of the railway beds remain in place and form part of the Downs Link and other public footpaths, the buildings have long since been demolished, and all that remains beyond the two existing Christ’s Hospital platforms are a number of overgrown platforms and track beds. A bricked up arch at the end of the subway is the only trace visible in the current station.

You can’t get to the disused platforms via the station, though there is a footpath just before you enter the car park, and they are easily accessible this way.

When I went it was early dusk, I had quite a trek back home but it was still light when I got back. That’s not to say it wasn’t slightly eerie being there on my own. It was incredibly quiet. The photos are deceiving…every picture included here was taken with a 5-25 second exposure on a tripod so it looks like daylight. I did take videos but they’re even poorer quality than the Blair Witch Project (although probably more atmospheric), so I’m not going to include them here. Also nearby are a pair of derelict cottages which were inhabited by dairy workers whose job it was to load milk from the dairy onto the trains. Exploration of these, though, is for another day.

Yesterday I went exploring near Horsham, and discovered further World War II defences on the Arun-Ouse Stop Line; a small bridge crossing the river Arun west of Horsham was defended by two tank traps or ‘coffins’, designed to stop tanks from getting through and crossing the bridge. Another little experiment with off-camera flash, although I wasn’t well equipped with tripods and diffusers so I was a bit limited with what I could do.

There is a large pillbox very nearby, located in a private garden. Until recently it was heavily overgrown, but has been cleared and I believe it is being used as a garden shed (note that it’s easy to see but there is no access to this pillbox at all).

So I have never really done any portrait photography, aside from a module in my A Level studies when I was in my mid-twenties, oh, and a couple of wedding shoots. I Had never really liked the idea of it before, and always focused on landscapes or inanimate objects, and occasionally animals. But it’s something I’d really like to get into a bit now, I’ve spent a lot of time looking on at portrait images, head shots, HDR portraits, urban exploration images including people, and it’s a whole field that I feel I’m missing out on.

Over the last year or so I’ve invested in an external flashgun, and more recently a wireless remote flash trigger, which enables me to use the flash off-camera. This has already given me a lot more control over lighting an image, but I’m looking to get more equipment in the near future. I’ve discovered that a lot of this stuff is very cheap, and that I can get additional flashguns for about £40, which it turns out are actually used by quite a lot of top professionals. The only form of diffuser I currently have is a Primark laundry basket, but it seemed to do the trick for my first experimentation, and has gone to prove that it is worthwhile investing in a soft box or diffusing umbrella or the like.

Self Portrait
Self Portrait

So I don’t have a willing model, and I’ve always avoided having my own picture taken, and was therefore a bit stuck, but decided to experiment using a remote shutter release taking pictures of myself. I know it’s slower, but there’s no expectation then!

I know I’m not smiling; if I do have to have my picture taken, I will try to avoid a forced smile. So here is my first attempt, plenty more to come hopefully.

Hopefully I’m in time for the weekly photo challenge over at ‘A Word in Your Ear‘. Here’s my entry, a tonemapped version of a few from the ramparts of Carisbrooke Castle:

Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight
Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight

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On the way home from town today I took a detour around a cemetery to explore possible photography locations. I didn’t have the SLR with me, so I took a few shots with my iPhone. So continuing my interest in exploration and graveyards, here are some of today’s results…

See also: Don’t get hung up on camera equipment for further explanation about why the choice of camera isn’t so critical.

So the last time I remember doing a photoshoot of animals, it was a of a hyperactive jack russell terrier that wouldn’t sit still. This job was rather easier, a yorkshire terrier puppy that got very tired after about ten minutes of having her picture taken. Even since this little shoot last week, I’ve done a short session with one of my cats. So here are a few of my favourites, with a few recent edits.

Meet Betsie:

Do you want some photos of your pets? Let me know!