Tag Archives: Kent

The best laid plans

As you may be aware I am partial to what I term “Dawn Raids”. This is where I head out very early to catch the sun rising over the Medway. In the summer, this can mean getting up at very silly times of the night, but nearing midwinter the sun gets up at a more civilised hour.

The weather forecast looked good, with perhaps a smattering of cloud. It would be a low tide at around 8am, and the sun was due to rise at about the same time. It all looked set fair for a December Dawn Raid to Upnor.

I got there in plenty of time, set the EOS 7D up on the tripod with the Sigma 10–20mm wide angle, pointed at the horizon where the sun would appear, and I waited. While I waited, I took a couple of shots with the PowerShot G9. A church clock tolled the hour, more cloud rolled in, and there was the merest hint of pink … and that was it. I had been hoping for some blazing oranges and golds, moody cloudscapes, lit from below, something worth all the effort. It was a bit disappointing, to be honest, but I suppose that’s the chance you take. You can never guarantee anything in life.

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Maidstone Photowalk – a set on Flickr

I organised a photo walk yesterday. The weather turned against us, so only four of us actually turned up. Still, we enjoyed ourselves wandering around Kent’s county town of Maidstone.

This slide show is of the images I managed to get. I’d share the images the others took, but I can’t fathom the clumsy way Google+ shows slideshows. I guess you have to be there.

No Flash? Try this link.

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.

Here’s to the future now…

I recall hoping 2011 would improve on the utter disaster that was 2010. I have to admit to being disappointed. 2011 hasn’t really been much better. I wonder what 2012 might have in store for me.

Yes, it’s that time of the year when I sit down and review where I have been over the past 12 months, and where I want to go over the next.

Not having a regular income to speak of has rather curbed my wanderlust, so any photographic expeditions in 2011 have been closer to home. Apart from a couple of sallies beyond the confines of Kent—model railway exhibitions earlier in the year took me as far as Wigan and York, and a brief day trip to Shropshire a few weeks ago took in the RAF Museum at Cosford—I have had to be content with places that don’t cost a fortune to visit.

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Gear-wise, selling off some other hobby items enabled me to upgrade my DSLR from the Canon EOS 400D to the 7D. I also added an ƒ/2.8 70–300mm lens, and a few accessories like a remote shutter release and memory cards. There’s not a lot more I want to add to my gear, although I have one more lens I would like to acquire in the ƒ/2.8 17–70mm-ish range, and more memory cards and so on. My MacBook Pro will celebrate its fifth birthday in summer 2012, and it is just beginning to show its age. Aperture 3 gives it cause to struggle, and sadly I cannot add any more RAM to the machine to help. I’m looking at options such as a new, faster, bigger internal hard drive in order to eke out a little more life from it.

Looking to 2012, what do I wish for? I am ignoring the real world here, just looking at my own life. There is only really one thing I want: a proper full-time job. I need a nice regular income again. Life out here in the freelance artworker world is totally dead. The lack of a job has meant I have had to let another fantastic opportunity sail by without my boarding it. Later in the summer 2012, I had hoped I would be going on a photographic safari to Svalbard. Circumstances in 2011 meant I simply couldn’t commit to buying the flight tickets. So much for adventure.

I would also like to push to try and get some freelance model railway photography gigs. I’ve already blogged about that, but in the new year I intend to keep pushing at that stuck door. I am fed up with letting life pass me by. 2012 ought to be the year when I make every effort to get life moving again.

If I don’t blog before, I would like to wish you all a merry Christmas, and my best wishes for the new year.

Dungeness, Kent – a set on Flickr

I spent an hour or two on an exploratory photographic visit to Dungeness on Friday evening. The location is not very far from where I’m currently working in Folkestone, but it’s a world away in many ways.

For those not blessed with a Flash-enabled browser or wish to visit with an i-device, you can visit the Flickr set on this link.

I do plan to visit Dungeness and surrounding areas again. Potentially, a full day there will bear all kinds of interesting images. Having made the exploratory trip, I have a better idea of what to expect.

Herne Bay, Kent | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

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Feeling a need to venture further afield — in order to escape the tedium of a bank holiday weekend for one thing, and because sometimes I just need space to think — I set out for the North Kent Coast. Herne Bay was due to be photographed.

It was foggy to when I left home, but as I got closer to the coast the sky cleared and the sun shone. It turned into a lovely late spring morning.

A shame, then, that Herne Bay was so dull. Seriously. There was nothing to see. A shingle beach, the usual seafront shops and cafés, pay-and-display parking, and a flat blue sea. Even the gulls were just sitting there, waiting for something to happen.

I don’t wish to denigrate the town. Herne Bay has a certain amount of history to it, and it’s surely a pity the pier isn’t in its original form — though there are plans to try and rebuild the structure. I don’t think my problem was Herne Bay itself, more that fact that the weather was just so, well, nice.

I had been hoping for a little drama with the meteorology, but the sun shone resolutely the whole time I was there. That’s great for those venturing to the seaside for sun worship and the beach, but it makes for boring photography from my point of view.

I left Herne Bay, feeling a little downcast it has to be said. I will return, though. In the off season, when the autumn and winter weather will make the seafront a more dramatic place to be. In the meantime, I wish Herne Bay a warm, sunny, crowded and prosperous summer.