Posts from the ‘Leica’ category

Churches Project no. 7 – St Swithin, Launcells, Cornwall



It’s been a little while since I posted an entry relating to my Churches Project. This is partly because I have spent a lot of my spare time recently processing and then posting images which were taken in Snowdonia. But it’s mainly down to the fact that I just haven’t found the time to visit and photograph any new churches!

This church is St Swithin in Launcells, Cornwall. It is an unspoilt country church dating back to the 15th Century, set in a wooded valley just inland from the coastal town of Bude and only a few miles from the Devon border.

Sometimes when I visit a church for the first time a particular feature strikes me above all others and this was certainly the case when I visited St Swithin. As I set foot through the main door my eye was instantly drawn to all the Tudor pews and their quite remarkable carved bench ends. The first and last pews are also carved on the front and back respectively, whilst the other rows are all decorated at each end. They are all different and depict a variety of biblical stories. I didn’t have the time, but many an hour could be spent trying to interpret each set of carvings. Sir John Betjeman described them as being the ‘finest bench ends in Cornwall’ and who I am I to argue with that.








The other fine feature was the old and well used Bible which perhaps unusually was illustrated with some fine drawings. The good book was open at the Gospel of Mark and the picture shows Christ ‘giving sight to the blind’.




Oh how wonderful it is to have vision, not to look in to the future but to be blessed with sight – to see and appreciate things in the present moment. To be able to witness and admire at the first hand the fine craftsmanship of those people, who back in the 15th and 16th Centuries used their skills to create something which some 500 years later can still be enjoyed today.

A selection of hulls at Dell Quay



Hulls come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common – to keep the vessel afloat in water. When not immersed in water the true shape and size of the hull can be seen. The three images in this entry each portray a different style of hull and they were all shot as the sun started to set at Dell Quay, a small sailing club and marina which forms part of Chichester Harbour.






Do click on any of the images to see a larger version.

Churches Project no.5 – St Michael’s, Up Marden, West Sussex

St Michael’s in Up Marden is a small, beautiful and unspoilt country church dating back to the 13th Century. Within the South Downs National Park it lies to the north west of Chichester and to the south of the Hampshire town of Petersfield. Invisible from the road behind farm buildings and surrounded by trees and farmland it would be easy to pass it by. Even if you happened to find yourself along this very quiet country lane in this remote backwater of West Sussex, you still might miss the small sign which leads you up an unmade track to the church.

When I visited the church it was quite a dull day and on entry the nave was dark and it took a while for my eyes to adjust to the light. I rely totally on natural light for my work, I don’t even possess a flash but even if I did, I wouldn’t use it as I like to work with the light I am given and not create an artificial look to my photographs. I did though wonder how I was going to cope with such poor light, but the combination of a high ISO setting (1600 or 3200), a monopod, and some careful post processing, I was able to achieve the results you can see in this post.

I spent over two hours on my own, observing and taking in the atmosphere of this lovely building, working out the best way to capture the almost rustic simplicity of this church. After all it is still lit by candles, so there are no ‘modern’ wires or bulbs to take away the fact that this is a very old place of worship for country folk.


The Chancel in Up Marden Church

The Chancel


Prayer Book in Up Marden Church

The Lord’s Supper


Light through the door way in Up Marden Church

Light through the door way into the bell tower


Candelabra in Up Marden Church



Cobwebs and cow parsley through the leaded light window of Up Marden Church

Cobwebs and cow parsley 


St Michael's Church, Up Marden

St Michael’s Church, Up Marden


The Alter in Up Marden Church

The Altar 


Within the same area there are churches at East Marden, West Marden and North Marden, but they will all have to wait for another day.


Do click on any of the images to view a larger version in a new window or visit the West Sussex Gallery page for other churches in the county.

For more information about my ongoing Churches Project do click here.

Churches Project no.4 – St Botolph’s, Hardham, West Sussex

St Botolph’s Church in the hamlet of Hardham, near Pulborough, West Sussex is a true gem in the Arun Valley. As regular readers of this blog will know I visited this church a few weeks ago and I was thwarted by the flower arrangers. You can read about this earlier visit here.

I made a point of returning as I knew this 11th Century Church offered some rich photographic pickings. The church has some of the finest wall paintings in the county and they are worthy of a separate post in their own right but for this entry I wanted to capture the feeling of history in a building which can hardly of changed for many, many generations. This for me is the very essence of a beautiful church. Not grand but simple and unspoilt. Not shouting to the world, look at me in all my glory, but quietly saying I can offer you a place of quiet serenity in a very humble way. For those who would like to read more about the history of St Botolphs, do click here.

For me the images speak a thousand words, so I shall say no more and let the photographs speak for themselves.


The Pulpit

The Pulpit


Book of Lamentations, III

Book of Lamentations, III


Font and candle

Font and candle


The Bishop's chair

The Bishop’s chair


The Lectern

The Lectern


Christ of the Cross

Christ on the Cross


Hardham Church Interior

Hardham Church Interior


St Botolphs, Hardham

St Botolphs, Hardham

Do click on any of the images to view a larger version in a new window or visit the West Sussex Gallery page for other churches in the county.

For more information about my ongoing Churches Project do click here.

Thwarted by the flower arrangers at Hardham Church

St Botolphs, Hardham

St Botolphs, Hardham


I guess the title of this post requires an explanation.

Quite simply I had visited this small church to the south of Pulborough in West Sussex previously, but not with a camera, nor with the time to take any photographs. Nevertheless this brief encounter was enough to entice me back when the opportunity arose. I returned last Saturday, having already given some thought to the shots I wanted to take, what lens I might use and how the images might be processed afterwards. Call it pre-visualisation if you like, but that sounds rather pretentious. In truth I was just looking forward to spending more time with my camera in a church dating back to C1050 with some of the finest wall paintings in the county.

I opened the door and was warmly greeted by a retired couple. I immediately noticed a tarpaulin on the floor and a few buckets strewn around containing withered flowers. I made polite conversation but this couple were not visiting the church, they had come to arrange the flowers ready for the services scheduled for the following day. I tried to establish how long they might be before completing their task for the day, but it soon became apparent they were going to be some time. There was no way I could concentrate on taking photographs, and even if I could, it was a practical impossibility with so much debris in the aisle.  I had been thwarted by the flower arrangers.

I will return another day, but for now I hope you enjoy the one image I could take……..the pretty exterior of St Botolphs Church in Hardham.