Took a blunder down that Essex place t’other day to go and visit St Peters on the wall. Now contrary to popular belief, Essex actually consists of more than Thurrock and its dire Ikea store, and that mind numbing bollox “The only way is Essex” Reality Tv show, which is of the highest order of bum gravy. The countryside in the surrounds of St peters is properly chocolate box, that is if you don’t mind biting in to one of the chocolates and finding an old magnox reactor as a centre, saying that I prefer them to the praline ones. And to be fair as magnox reactors go, the one at Bradwell isn’t too ugly, I’ve seen worse. . . . But then after a few pints I kinda find any nuclear reactor kinda funky, them beer goggles have a lot to answer for! Ho Hum! I digress. . . . The countryside around that part of Essex is fabulously old England with wonderfully quaint olde world villages and hamlets. In fact I am now planning an ale trip to Maldon, the home of several excellent breweries :o)
So myself and my buddy Andriy the Russky and his dog Tamm the unsociable arrived at the the little car park at the top of the track that leads to the chapel, and blunder off in a suitably jaunty fashion. Halfway down the track I noticed that there were two WWII pillboxes either side of of us in the fields. Result! Double Whammey! For those unaware, I have a little photographic project on the go called “killer views” where I hunt out nice warry looking pillboxes and bunkers and photograph them from the outside and then from within through the embrasures (Firing ports) to obtain the afore mentioned “Killer Views”.
So Orft I jolly well hobbled to the nearest one to poke it with sticks
It looked pretty funky up close, the embrasures were a bit overgrown so I swore at the brambles and nettles and gave em a good beating until they lay down giving a clear field of fire.
I then attempted access. Much swearing and cursing, they may have heard me in Kent! Some fecker had half filled the entrance with rubble. I have arthritis and suffer from terminal curmudgeonlyness, the ale takes the edge off but there is no cure. so any strenuous activity such as standing or sitting with out the aid of a cuppa tea brings the worst out in me, so having to crawl through bleedin rubble, well you can imagine. But I eventually got inside and added some more images to the collection. Grumpy, biffed and scraped, covered in burrs and nettle stings . . . But Triumphant! Huzzah! No one quite understands me . . . .
With another pillbox “bagged ” we then set off to st peters. Its a stark looking block of old stone full of foreboding and history, It had been standing for 0ver 330 years when The battle of Maldon took place in 991 and Brithnoth let his sense of fair play get the better of him and he lost to them thar pesky Vikings. It was very bright and getting the shot I wanted involved lots of grumpyness and swearing carefully placed filters, but overall I was pleased with the results.
Even though it was a lovely day with blue skies, and eric the little white cloud, the scene still portrays a sense of the the eerie, which is what I was after. So Results all around. I got the images of St peters that I came for, and bonus images for my killer view project. I shall return though as I think that the place would be even better with dark stormy skies, and this would please me greatly.
It was as we were making our way back to the car that I received the text, ” Would you be interested in photographing ladies in their pants?” Intrigued I pursued the text, After further enquiries I found out that Tanks would be involved as well . . . . Ladies in pants and tanks! A good day out in anyones books. The shoot would be for a company that makes boxer shorts specifically for women. I agreed and eventually I undertook the shoot and had a great time, but thats for a future blog. However, I shall leave you with a taster :o)
Thought I’d post a quick update on the previous post Sunrises, Fishing Boats, Pillboxes and Onions . Ive converted the shots from the pillboxes to mono and cropped them so there isn’t so much of blank darK concrete wall. Objections on a postcard 😀
Well its been droughting so hard around here its been difficult to get out and blunder about and do any of that there photomatography malarky, whole rivers of that there drought have been upending the Royal county of Walesshire and turning caravan sites into marinas dontcha know! And over here in the desert lands of the East its been droughting so hard that parts of Essex have actually floated off towards that there Holland place . . That’ll learn em! Never seen such a drought!
So imagine my . . . less grumpiness t’other day when they said that the sun might show up for a couple of days, that constitutes a summer over here and we have several short summers every year. Ive been wanting to get out and experiment with different f-stops, timings, filters, blah blah blah and try some techniques wot I read about in some shiny magazine . . . Photography magazine before anyone says anything! And this was the gap in the drought that I had been waiting for.
So orft I blundered the next day to Aldeburgh to catch the sunrise on the beach. I found a good vantage point and set up me kit (It was supposed to be more about the experimentation than the view this particular morning) and waited for the sun to turn up. And then just as the first fiery glow of the sun hit the horizon I noticed a better spot further on up the beach. So a mad panic and dash ensued. I headed on up the beach clutching bag and fully extended tripod making more noise than a shingle extracting machine wots suddenly decided to become a shingle smashing machine . . but with added tourettes! I get to the spot just as the sun is a quarter of the way up and sort meself out and start taking them that pesky photos. Sorted.
Spent about half an hour blatting away until the sun got too bright and then my mind/stomach started to demand fried sustenance. Now it was only 5am and in that neck of the woods there ain’t a greasy spoon open until 6ish so my only option was to head on back home and start throwing stuff around the kitchen. So I packed up hoofed it back up the Aldeburgh road. Where I spotted this pillbox.
Now Ive seen this little baby many a time and its on my “To Do” list for my project “Killer Views”. And on this particular morning in the golden early morning light it was lookin particularly sexy . . . . Just described a 70 odd year old bit of concrete as sexy . . . Note to self “Seek medical attention!” so I threw the car into a ditch and had a go. The above shot taken from the roadside. Now thats not grass, or wheat growing all around it, them’s onions them is. Lots more surface area to retain water they have. I hadn’t packed my water proof trousers or me gaiters. By the time I got to the damn thing to get some shots from inside it my feet were a squelching around inside me boots, oh and I smelt of onions. But d’know from the results I think it was worth it.
These are pretty much untouched, I think some cropping maybe called for so as to bring more of the outside in to view, and I haven’t begun to convert to mono yet as massively busy with lots of other really boring stuff. But am pleased with the results so far 🙂
Oh and here’s some of the beach as well.
Tis actually a nice little walk in a local park, I reckon I just caught it lookin all dramatic and moody, it was probably annoyed with the squirrels!
So I stuffed it into the wylde woods cat on the old blog. Can be viewed biggerer on the website, funnily enough in the wylde woods set. Cheers ears 🙂
Well I went up to the fens t’other day for a beer festival at wicken. Great little do held at the village recreation ground, they had slung up a big tent, had a good selection of ales and ciders, a BBQ and a couple of bands . . . and it didnt rain! Result!
I decided to have a little snout around the locale before every thing started to get too badly out of focus, the ale plays havoc with me auto and manual focus, perhaps it’s something that I should bring up with nikon. Perhaps their clever little boffins could come up with some sort of clever ale stabilisation system for their lens’s, I would be ever so grateful. Someone once said that I shouldn’t drink and take photographs at the same time, I told them that sadly it was the only way that I found them to be remotely photogenic, and not to let the door hit them in the arse as they left the building! Some people eh!
AnyHooo, I took a blunder around and about and up and down a few lanes and I spotted a pillbox that I thought maybe a candidate for my little “Killer Views” project. It looked to be, from where I was standing, on a slight rise. So quite probably the view from within would be pretty cool, I thought. So i decided to make an effort and get out to it. Now I’m not sure of the type of oilseed rape that they grow up there in the fens, but they seemed to have breed this nasty little yellow git with some sort of Triffid! Up me trouser legs, up me nose, wrapping around me legs, tripping, slipping and in general trying to commit alsorts of GBH to my person. Very unsporting! I eventually got there, covered in pollen, looking as if I had done 10 rounds with Crusty McCustard the world all in custard powder wrestling champeeen of the fens. That’ll be very yellow to all those not in the know.
Out of breath, sweating like the head of Essex Social Services after a phone call from the Home Secretary, I squaged meself in through the entrance and peered out through the firing points. . . . . RESULT!
A great killer view of the village church beyond the fields of oilseed. I converted to mono in SEP2 and I think I have one for the collection.
I made my way back to the lane via a shorter less difficult route that I had completely failed to spot initially, even found a plank of wood thrown over the ditch that surrounded the field so could have saved meslf a fair amount of hassle on the journey out to the pillbox, if I had actually had my wits about me. Is the photographic eye nurtured at the expense of the common sense look where you are going eye? PAH!
So I wondered back to the ale in a slightly yellow fashion with a feeling of acomplishment. I could tuck in to the “Idle Dog”, “Woild Moild” and “Trembling Rabbit.” Stuff my face with burgers and hot dogs, pretend not to like the band, knowing that I had at least made an effort and achieved someting at least vaugely photographic during the day.
The 0430 wake up to get out and catch the sunrise over the fens was a different matter altogether! Ho Hum! 🙂
Got around to a bit of processing after busyness and some sillyness and some crunchyness. Took a trip back out to Bawdsey as there is so much to poke around in out there. I had another good nose about East Lane with all its coastal defences both modern and old. Then a trundle around Bawdsey church and met an interesting character and learnt some of that there local history stuff. And then mosied on up to that thar Shingle street for a different perspective on the Martello towers of the area. All in all an excellent day and lots for Mr Nikon to be gettin on with.
I love the old WWII Gunnery observation tower situated in east Lane. It looks really grumpy, it wanted to be a Martello tower, but they ran out of curves. The top image shows the different generations of defences built up in the area over the years. In front and slightly south of it (there is actually a road running between them) can be seen a cylindrical WWI pillbox, and then to the north in the distance can be seen three Napoleonic Martello towers up as far as Shingle Street.
The next image is taken from inside the concrete encasement of the actual gun battery. That there wet sea stuff is behind me.
You can still gain access to the interior of the tower, it has three floors, the external steps take you to the first floor where I took the north and south images. The ground floor is partially flooded so I gave it a miss. Couldn’t be Arsed, fair weather photographer me 🙂 To the North across the man made meres can be seen the line of Martello towers
And to the South can be seen Bawdsey Martello, which has been done up all nice and cosy and is inhabited.
The first thing that you notice when entering the tower is the poem on stenciled on to the far wall. After a bit of that Goggling malarky on the inteweb thingy I found out that it was part of an installation art project by artist Bettina Furnee details of which can be found Here, Prisoner of War . Its worth visiting as the text that she used, sadly no longer there, was based on the spoken memories of locals who lived in the area during the war. Some of them made me laugh out aloud.
At the end of the war the area was used as a prisoner of war camp and I its main job done the tower became part of that.
I would have had these images up and running sooner, but I had a funny old day yesterday. I went to help a mate out doing some of that there gardening work. This basically entailed me zooming around on a sit on mower all day and having great fun making whooping noises, leaping small gullies and generally having the time of my life.I can now add this to the list of things that I have always wanted to do, and done 🙂 It may nor seem that big a deal, and I have in the past driven much larger scarier bits of kit, cut down trees, jumped out of aircraft, blown up stuff etc etc. But until yesterday had never driven a ride on mower. So I was pretty chuffed.
The general feeling of Chuffedness lasted until about the time I backed my car in to the mini skip that I had failed to notice, in my defence I was trying to avoid several trees and a slightly mad Great dane at the time, and the skip remained un noticed until the the car made alsorts of hitting a skip noises. HoHum! Spent the rest of the day organising insurance, replacement car and stiffling the laughter of my friends. I must say though that my mate Sally seemed to have rather too much fun attempting to release the hatchback of my car from the skip, using claw hammers, heavy duty chisels, and a bloody great crow bar! That’ll teach me to Skip over the details . . . .
However! I shall return later with more Bawdseyness and some Shingly Streetness from the previous days photographic Blundering