alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘St Botolphs’

A favourite image and a favourite camera – is that possible?



I was asked recently if I had a favourite image which I had made? In all honesty I don’t think I do, although there are a number which I could name in a top ten. I do though remember reading that someone else when asked the same question replied – ‘The next one I am going to take.’ I rather like this response as it suggests a desire to constantly improve, believing that your next photograph will be better than the last and all those in your back catalogue. It also infers that the last image taken must be a favourite for at least it’s tangible and not a figment of the imagination – or is it? I’ll come back to this question later, as it’s relevant to the photograph in this post.

As far as a ‘favourite camera’ is concerned, well that’s easy for me to answer. It’s my Leica M Monochrom which I have been using for the last couple of years. It’s built like a tank, feels so good in the hand and the simplicity of its controls put me in complete control. It doesn’t have a multitude of programmable buttons, nor pages and pages of menus, which only serve to confuse, and nor does it come with a manual which might take the best part of a week to read, let alone understand. More importantly though the Monochrom together with the exceptional Leica lenses produces the images I am seeking to achieve with post processing and careful printing. The next incarnation of the Leica M Rangefinder must be just round the corner but I think its unlikely I will want to upgrade. The Monochrom has many idiosyncrasies, but I love it and the cost of upgrading is quite likely to be prohibitive anyway.

Given my feelings towards the Leica Monochrom, I am not that interested in the latest camera technology although to digress for a moment I was intrigued to learn about a new camera being developed by a company called Light. The camera is called the L16 and has the appearance of a large mobile phone, but instead of one lens and sensor there are 16. On pressing the shutter the camera software combines all the exposures from each of the sensors to produce one image. According to their website this can be up to 52 megapixels in size, with low noise and covering a focal range equivalent of 28mm to 150mm. The depth of field and other adjustments can be manipulated in post processing. Is this the future of camera technology, I don’t know, but nothing stays the same, so it will be interesting to see what happens when it actually hits the streets.

Back to the question I posed at the end of the first paragraph and indeed to the photograph in this post. It was taken a few days ago at St Botolph’s Church in Hardham, West Sussex. I had visited the church previously and noticed how the light was falling on the altar. I had taken some shots that day, only to find that my composition was not quite right, nor had I used the correct exposure settings. There were too many blown highlights. I decided to return, knowing in my mind the image I wanted to make. I knew which lens would give me the composition I wanted (28mm) and the likely exposure settings required to produce a malleable and workable file for post processing. I knew the time of day when the light would be in the right position, so I arrived at the church in plenty of time to get ready. The sun wasn’t as bright as it had been a day or two earlier but this proved to be a good thing. As it turned out I only had a couple of minutes to take the shot before the sun moved round and no longer illuminated the scene as I wanted it.

A favourite image or not, I like this photograph, as it will always remind me that it can be worth revisiting a location to take a particular shot that you have already pictured in your own mind.

Here are two more entries about St Botolph’s Church at Hardham.

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

Thwarted by the flower arrangers at Hardham Church



Churches Project no 18 – St Botolphs, Botolphs, West Sussex


A gate and pathway lead up to St Botolph’s Church


The Church of St Botolph’s stands in a small hamlet to the south of Steyning, in West Sussex. It lies close to the River Adur and is virtually on the South Downs Way, so many walkers stop to take a rest and enjoy the peace and solitude of this ancient building. It’s a lovely setting with just a few houses for company, although 700 years ago it was at the heart of a bustling port and crossing place of the river. At one time it was known as St. Peter de Vetrie Ponte (St Peter of the Old Bridge). The church has its origins in Saxon times and is believed to date from 950. Large parts of the original church can still be seen today including the tall chancel arch and the south wall of the nave. This is another church maintained and cared for by The Churches Conservation Trust, so whilst still consecrated is rarely used for worship.



A simple cross in a window in the Saxon south wall of the nave.



Organ stops



A large Crucifix hangs on the chancel arch which dates back to Saxon times.



Looking up at Christ with the ancient Saxon wall as a backdrop.


A note for regular readers – I am very aware that I have not posted an entry relating to my ‘Churches Project’ for at least a couple of months. That doesn’t mean I have lost my enthusiasm; to the contrary, my desire to visit and photograph these historical and remote places of worship is just as great as it has ever been. Time though is limited and the summer months are not necessarily the best time of year to take exterior photographs, as the lighting can be very harsh. I am sure the autumn and winter will rectify the situation and normal service will soon be resumed!

As always do click on any of the images to view a larger version which will open in a new window.