Tag Archives: Hoo Peninsula

September Dawn – a set on Flickr

One of my infamous Dawn Raids occurred this morning. It so happened the weather was forecast to be clear, and there was a high tide coinciding with sunrise, give or take a few minutes. I headed out to Hoo St Werburgh, which has rapidly become my local sunrise location of choice.

Swapping lenses on a DSLR always increases the possibility of dust and grot getting into the camera body. Only when I got home and downloaded the images did I spot a small hair in the bottom right corner of many images, caused by my holding an uncapped lens in the crook of my arm while swapping them about. At wider apertures the fibre was all but invisible, but stopping down meant it became clearer and clearer. I’ve had to do a bit of selective cropping and cloning to tidy things up. I was lucky, really, it only encroached in a corner. It has now been removed from the camera body.

For those without Flash, here’s the direct link to the set on Flickr.

March Dawn – a set on Flickr

As ever, for those without the gift of Flash, please follow this link.

I got up early this morning to go out to Hoo St Werburgh again, this time with a friend keen to try out his new camera.

I made the conscious decision to shoot black and white. The hazy early morning landscape sort of lent itself to mono today, with very little colour visible even when the sun had risen quite high.

I am quite pleased with the results. Strange as it may sound, I think I am maturing as a landscape photographer. I feel able to pick my subjects, and capture them, without trying too hard. Most of the images I took today are acceptable, but I am getting much better at editing down to the very best, which is why those uploaded represent about ten per cent of the total frames I took.

The nights are getting shorter

As the seasons roll round, and the summer heads our way, thoughts turn again to getting out at the crack of dawn to make pictures.

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I thought I was alone in my early bird habits, but a friend of mine is keen enough to learn more about his new camera that he suggested we head out together.

So, Friday morning it is. We’ll be heading for my favourite spot of Hoo St Werburgh, by the Kingsnorth power station on the river Medway. The tide will be in, the weather looks set fair-ish, and the sun will rise at a not unreasonable 06.39 BST.

I have to say, I am really looking forward to the trip. 

Isle of Grain

The Hoo Peninsula is a sparsely-populated collection of mudflats and farmland, situated between the Thames and Medway estuaries. It’s a strange landscape, home to wildlife and bird sanctuaries as well as a string of power stations and oil and gas storage facilities. Right at the end, you come to the Isle of Grain.

I’d like to be charitable about Grain. It has a couple of pubs, a primary school, a fire station, supermarket, a church with an oddly stubby tower, and some sea views. Otherwise, it’s 1960s and 1970s housing estate with a socking great power station next door. I’m not entirely sure why people want to live in Grain. It has to be a self-sufficient community, since it’s nearly an hour to get to Chatham and Rochester. Perhaps the community grew up to service the numerous power stations strung along the north shore of the Medway.

I have been to Grain before. A couple of times on business, and a couple of times to see what was there. Despite various attempts at getting things moving out there, the latest being Thamesport, an earlier one being Port Victoria, the place remains a curious mix of industry and bleak landscape.

Having done some of the Saxon Shore Way closer to the Medway Towns—Hoo St Werburgh and Upnor, chiefly—I decided it was time to venture to the end of the peninsula to see what it was like. I think the journey was worth taking, and I took the opportunity to reconnoitre other likely locations to visit.

Hoo St Werburgh, revisited – a set on Flickr

I’m always drawn back to the north shore of the Medway for some reason. Hoo St Werburgh is blessed with a marina, but is also the final resting place of many working boats. I visited for the first time towards the end of September 2009, and I made a return visit this morning.

I tend to be a fair weather photographer, for no real reason than I like to be comfortable when I am out with the camera. I ought to pay the river a visit when it is cold and wet, later in the year. I think I also ought to try and catch the tide when it’s in. There’s only so much mud you can photograph!