Posts from the ‘walks’ category

South Downs – a new gallery page

In September 2013 my nephew and I walked the length of the South Downs Way from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in East Sussex. A National Trail in the South Downs National Park, the Way is some 100 miles long, and is popular with both walkers and cyclists, and of course photographers!


Towards Cocking

Towards Cocking


I have now created a new gallery page for the South Downs which includes 42 monochrome photographs, the vast majority of which were taken during the walk itself. Please click here to see the entire gallery. I have included a few images in this post but I hope you will click through to the gallery and view the others as well.


Ashcombe Mill

Ashcombe Mill

Looking back at a selection of photographs is likely to trigger important memories and the challenge of walking the South Downs Way will always live long in my mind. From a photographic point of view these same images also define a style or processing technique which I felt comfortable with at that particular time. Two years on I am still very happy with this collection and although the camera equipment I now use has changed, I think my overall approach today would largely be the same as it was then.

I may well repeat the walk in the future and should I do so, I would walk the trail in the opposite direction by starting in Eastbourne and finishing in Winchester. I would also choose a another time of year, as the landscape would look very different to the conditions I enjoyed in late summer.


Firle Beacon

Firle Beacon


To read more about the walk here are the links to earlier entries.

Last leg first – Walking the South Downs Way

Windmills on the Way

Less is more when capturing the South Downs

100 miles along the South Downs Way and the 100th Blog Entry!


Field of curves

Field of curves


South Downs Gallery Page

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.

Last leg first – Walking the South Downs Way

Whist this blog is about my photography, there has to be an inextricable link between taking pictures with the things I do, the places I go and the people I meet. I don’t ‘set up’ my photographs or continually ‘pixel peep’ by testing cameras, lenses or other equipment. I may from time to time comment on my gear, but for me this blog is more about my experiences and trying to capture those moments with a camera. Nor may I finish processing the images in the strict order they were taken. I will be drawn to a shot, work on it and then return to it later on, and in the interim start processing another image which could have be taken earlier or later.

So you might be asking yourself what is the meaning of the title to this particular entry? Well quite simply in September I walked 100 miles along the South Downs Way from Winchester to Eastbourne and as you might imagine I took many photographs. Although I have now finished processing quite a few of these, there are still others to do. Unfortunately there are only so many hours in the day. However I think I have completed work on the images I took on the last section of the trail as we  walked from Cuckmere Haven, up and down the Seven Sisters, over Beachy Head,  before the final descent into the East Sussex town of Eastbourne. So this entry covers the last leg of our walk and other posts in the future will I am sure cover other sections of the trail which took place in the preceding days.

Sunlight on Eastbourne as rain clouds circle all around.

Beachy Head
Beachy Head lighthouse
Seven Sisters
Seven Sisters with Belle Tout lighthouse on the cliff in the far distance
Cuckmere Haven
Rain approaching the estuary at Cuckmere Haven

All the images in this post were processed in Lightroom 4, converted to black and white in Photoshop CS5 and the grain was added in Silver Efex Pro2 using the Kodak Tri X400 film preset.

Whilst writing this entry I remembered a great line in a Morecambe and Wise sketch from many years ago with the conductor Andre Previn, in which Eric Morecambe was trying to play a piece of Grieg’s Piano Concerto.

Andre Previn said to Eric –
“You are playing all the wrong notes”
to which Eric famously replied –
“I’m playing all the right notes, not necessarily in the right order!”

So until the next leg of the walk, I hope you enjoyed the last one and if you have never seen this wonderfully funny sketch before, then here it is. The section of the sketch referred to above starts at around 10 minutes.

Walk completed – let the processing begin

On Monday my nephew and I successfully completed our challenge to walk the length of the South Downs Way – 100 miles from Winchester to Eastbourne. We had a wonderful time. We encountered wind and rain, beautiful sunshine and for two of the nine days, temperatures which must have been close to 30C. A bit too hot for walking but we had to keep going, and keep going we did.

In the process we managed to raise nearly £5,000 including Gift Aid for our chosen cause. The St Peter Project – a new church hall for Fishbourne.

The scenery along the trail was very special and there were plenty of opportunities to press the shutter on my Olympus OM EM5. I only took two lenses; the Panasonic f2.8 12 to 35mm zoom lens, together with it’s sister the f2.8 35 to 100mm. I wanted to travel light, so this combination would cover most situations.

Many of the photographs taken were more record shots than images which might stand out from the crowd. So now the fun begins to go through several hundred RAW files and begin the editing process. It will take a little time and I do want there to be some order to their inclusion on this blog, whether by type or in chronological order, I have yet to decide.

By way of a taster here is one shot which perhaps typifies the scenery and the beautiful weather we enjoyed for much of the time.

Distant windmill
Distant Windmill

The above image was taken from West Hill to the north of Brighton before we descended into the village of Pyecombe. The windmill you can see is called ‘Jill’, and is one of a pair, the other being called ‘Jack’; they are a well known landmark on the South Downs.  The clouds were just stunning and the afternoon sun fell on ‘Jill’ and lit up its sails, so it shone like a beacon against the distant hills in the background.

I am so looking forward to processing more images and when I have, I hope they will provide a useful source of material for a number of forthcoming entries on this blog.

A 100 mile walk along the South Downs Way

For the past few months I been exploring the South Downs countryside near our home for two principal reasons. Firstly for my photography and secondly because in a few days time I will be starting on a challenge to walk the South Downs Way from Winchester to Eastbourne; a total of 100 miles.

Boots made for walking

The walk is in memory of my sister who died from cancer at Easter at the age of 59 and I am raising funds for a community project to build a new church hall near to where we live – The St Peter Project. My companion and fellow walker will be my sister’s son Ian.

Ian and I

Donations have already exceeded all expectations and today have reached the landmark total of just over £4,000 including Gift Aid. I am truly grateful to everyone who has generously sponsored me and offered so much support.  For more information please see my Virgin Giving Money page.

Although I am a keen walker I have never done anything like this before, so hopefully I will complete the challenge without too many blisters! It will be a wonderful opportunity for me to spend more time with Ian, and to visit and photograph parts of Sussex I have not been to previously. It should provide me with plenty of material for this blog and my website

Inevitably though this blog will go a little quiet for the next two or three weeks but it’s all for a good cause, and I am already looking forward to sharing with you many more images from this particular adventure.