Posts from the ‘sussex’ category

Churches Project no. 3 – St Mary the Virgin, North Stoke, West Sussex

There are some occasions when from the moment I walk through the door, I just know that the interior of a church has something special to offer and will provide me with plenty of photographic opportunities. When I visited the Church of St Mary the Virgin in the tiny remote hamlet of North Stoke, this proved to be one of those occasions.



I have to say I do like simple churches; ones that are timeless and barring a few recent additions are largely unrestored. This particular church nestles in the South Downs about 2 miles to the north of Arundel. Apart from the adjacent farmhouse, together with various farm buildings, the church is isolated and surrounded by the beautiful countryside of the Arun Valley.




The Church dates back to Medieval times; the nave being 12th Century in origin. It is no longer in regular use but maintained by the Churches Conservation Trust. Its quiet, calm and peaceful atmosphere evokes centuries of prayer.




A Bible lies open on a plain white cloth, covering an old table. Simple but evocative.




Though not large, its simplicity and elegant proportions give the impression of height and space. Light floods in through the clear glass of the beautiful Medieval windows to illuminate the interior.




The church is largely hidden by trees so taking a photograph of the exterior is not that easy, but the view below does emphasise the simplicity of the church. There is no tower, just a dormer belfry which cannot be seen.



Do click on any image to see a larger version which will open in a new window. Or click on the thumbnail below to view a larger version of the featured image.


Foggy morning on the south coast


Boat by the pier

Boat by the pier

The weather has been quite glorious for the past week or two, but sometimes at this time of year the coastline can be affected by sea fog. More often that not it burns off but while it lasts it will bring the temperature right down. A few hundred yards inland it can be bright sunshine and much warmer.

The weather forecast predicted early morning fog, so I left for work much earlier than normal, took my camera and walked along the seafront for about half an hour and took the photographs you can see in this entry. I like the emptiness of a seaside resort first thing in the morning and when coupled with the fog it takes on a very different feel. Later in the day the blue skies and warm sunshine had encouraged people to come out and the coastline took on a whole new character.


Painted hut

Painted hut


Cockles and whelks

Cockles and whelks


Empty tables

Empty tables


Gull on a groyne

Gull on a groyne


Boat and huts

Boat and huts


Lone walker

Lone walker

All of the images in this post were taken with a Leica M Monochrom and 50mm Summilux lens. Straight out of the camera the images are very flat so they do need processing. I used Lightroom and then applied a Kodak Tri X 400 ‘film type’ preset in Silver Efex Pro which adds some grain and contrast to the image.

Click on any the photographs to view a larger version.

West Dean Estate – walking the dog plus some shutter therapy.



At about 3.30 yesterday afternoon our cocker spaniel wanted to be taken for a walk. He always does at this time of day, and the temptation is to revisit one of many well trodden paths because it’s familiar and easy to do. On this occasion I decided to go somewhere new. So I took him in the car, and with a camera in my coat pocket we headed towards a part of The West Dean Estate to the north of the village of Chilgrove and walk from there. There was some lovely late afternoon sun mixed in with light and dark clouds. I just love these weather conditions for both walking and photography.




By way of some background, The West Dean Estate covers approximately 6,400 acres (2,590 hectares) along the Sussex South Downs. It stretches over 6 miles (9.7 kms) from the South Downs escarpment overlooking the Sussex Weald to the edge of the Trundle Hill overlooking the English Channel and the Isle of Wight. While much of the village of West Dean and West Dean College is sheltered within the Lavant valley, the Estate rises to its highest point of almost 750 feet (280 m) on the top of the Downs. The estate is a mixture of farmland, commercial woodland and is home to West Dean College and the village of West Dean itself. There are about 20 miles of footpaths and bridleways, including a section of The South Downs Way.




Interestingly all of the heating and hot water needs of West Dean College (and parts of the village) are met entirely, and on a sustained basis, by using wood fuel grown on the West Dean Estate. The biomass district heating scheme was one of the first, and remains one of the largest of its kind, in the UK.










I was pleased I made the effort to walk our spaniel along some new tracks. Wherever I go I always find something to photograph and in the space of just an hour or so, I was able to return with some images hopefully worth sharing on my blog.

All of the photographs were taken with an Olympus OMD EM5 and 1.7mm f1.8 Olympus lens and processed in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro2.

An Antiquarian bookshop – which harks back to another era


Antiquarian Bookshop

Antiquarian bookshop


A couple of days ago I was in the lovely town of Lewes in East Sussex. My brief visit had nothing to do with photography, but I did have my camera with me. There wasn’t the time to explore the town, but I was struck by the number of secondhand bookshops there were.

This image of ‘A & Y Cumming’ takes me back to another time. This photograph could have been taken many years ago, as so little has changed. The only modern item clearly visible is the alarm box in the top left hand corner, but even this is relatively old if compared with what might be installed today.

In these days of Amazon and ‘online shopping’ etc, it’s rather appealing that a shop like this can still trade and survive. Even its opening hours are hardly 24/7. The sign writing on the door informs you the shop will open at 10am on weekdays and close at 5pm. On Saturday it stays open an extra half an hour until 5.30pm but not surprisingly it’s closed on Sundays. How very civilised.

The sign writing above the door is old fashioned, but befitting of what’s on sale. The telephone number simply says Lewes and does not display the area code, so you would have to know what this is if you wanted to ring the shop from outside the area. It’s all very quaint and says a lot about Lewes as a town. Yes, it has a large Tesco superstore, a Waitrose and other well known shops, plus a number of independents, but none of these has the charm of a Antiquarian and Secondhand bookshop which harks back to another era.

Long may shops such as these continue to exist and thrive in the future, helping to preserve a little bit of history in the process.


A week on and it’s back to South Stoke

Towards South Stoke
Towards South Stoke

There is nothing quite like revisiting a location to get to know it better. To explore an area, follow different paths, observe how the view can change from one position to another and of course if you are taking landscape images then on two days the weather and lighting are never going to be the same. It is impossible to take the same shot twice.

And so having spent an enjoyable time on a very dull overcast day by The River Arun at South Stoke the weekend before last, I decided to return a week later. This time the weather was more favourable, still generally overcast but with more dramatic cloud formations. I chose to walk down the west side of the river. Before leaving home I had already checked out a map of the area and noticed that there was a bend in the river and this might be a good position to take a shot looking up the river towards South Stoke. I encountered quite a few cattle on the way but within ten minutes I arrived at my chosen position. I was not disappointed. Tripod, camera and filters set up I took the photo which heads this post.

Totally different to the images from the previous week, yet all taken in the same area.

By way of a reminder here is another image taken two weeks ago, this time looking down river from South Stoke and taken from the bank on the east side the Arun.

The River Arun
The River Arun