Empty Promises

Something different to end the month with. Different in that it’s kind of a self portrait (well, it’s me in the picture at least). Been reading up on Flash, and after owning the 480EX for over 6 months, I still haven’t fiured out how to use it properly.

So, with a view to practicing, I got hold of some black foamy stuff, and wrapped it round the end of the flash to focus the light in a narrow field rather than having it spill all over the room.
The flash was then attached to the wireless trigger set to 1/16th power and placed on the floor so it pointed upwards to the space where I wanted to be. I took a couple of test shots to make sure my position and the flash position worked OK (f32 was too dark, f8 let too much ambient light in for the exposurte time I wanted).

Once I was happy with the effect, I then stuck the camera on the tripod, locked the focus just in front of a black tv screen and set the timer. I had a few duff attempts where I hadn’t managed to get myself in the shot, but finally got myself in the right place. The Flash was set to first curtain sync, so as soon as it fired, I slipped out of the shot and then used a keyring torch (one of the cheapy single LED ones) to paint in some swirly light.

See this Image on Dave Frost's Flickr Stream

Empty promises

Post processing was just a bit of sharpening and a conversion to black and white.
Aperture – F11
Shutter Speed – 10 Seconds
ISO – 100

Old stomping ground

Went for a walk today with the dogs. Rather than retread the familiar path of the sea wall here on Canvey, we decided to travel a little further afield and ended up at Hainault Forest. The kids have never been there before, and it must be 25 yearts at least since I was there, but the memories of many a summer Saturday came flooding back. I even recognised some of the paths I used to hare up and down on my bike in the days when you could go out early on Saturday, and just come home at tea time. No mobile phones, no way of keeping in touch with home. Just a tobacco tin full of stolen dog-ends, a matchbox stuffed with tissue to stop it rattling and my bike. Despite feeling old, and realising with some sadness that the forest isn’t as big as I remember it, next time I go back, I’m going to try and find the tree I carved my name into.

Only had one decent photo as we were having so much fun. This tree intrigued me, as I couldn’t figure out if the fence had sawed it’s way into the tree as the wind blew it about, or whether the tree had grown around the fence.

Old fence, younger tree

Looks better larger – If you want to see a bigger version, try HERE
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Last of the snow pictures

Well it looks like Winter has now settled back to it’s usual dull grey drizzle for the time being, making special shots that much harder to come across. I’ve not got anything for the January entry in the 2010 hotographer of the Year Competition yet, but have a few ideas in mind (it’s just finding the time to stage them. Hopefully the miserable weather will serve to inspire more creative indoor shots instead, especially as I have found a custom function for focussing without using the shutter button. It’ll be interesting to see whether I can get to grips with it.
In the meantime, I’ll share the last of the snow pictures with you – I call it cupped, should have a poem to go with it at some point, just need to get my thinking cap on.

Cupped

Old Leigh Sunset – A Wintery Essex Afternoon

Old Leigh Sunset, Essex

Leigh-on-Sea was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Legra, where it is described as a "one horse town". Located next to the sea, Leigh has been primarily a fishing village for most of its history. However, its sheltered position at the mouth of the Thames gave it some success as a port, with international trade and a shipbuilding business.

Due to its good position on the shipping route to London, it began to grow and by the 16th century had become a fairly large and prosperous port. Ships of up to 340 tons are recorded as being built in Leigh including many that would have been built for the local fishing fleets. With its location at the mouth of the Thames, Leigh was often used by the navy against threats from pirates and the French, Spanish and Dutch Navies.

By the 18th century ships had become larger and trade changed. At this time Leigh’s deep water channel silted up and the importance of the town diminished. It then gradually reverted to a fishing village, supplying the London market by road and barge. When the London to Tilbury railway was extended to Southend in 1856, this split the village in two and many of its timber-framed buildings were demolished

The Mayflower is believed to have docked at Leigh-on-Sea to take on provisions and passengers before its epic voyage to the new world with the Pilgrim Fathers

The fishermen of Leigh are famous for their heroic attempts to rescue British soldiers stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk. A memorial in St Clements churchyard stands as a reminder of their bravery and sacrifice.

The arrival of the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway in 1854 spurred the town’s development, allowing greater trade with London and the rest of the world, and making it a commuter town for London workers. Leigh-on-Sea railway station is run and served solely by c2c.
In recent years, Leigh-on-Sea has become home to an increasing number of upmarket bars and restaurants such as The Estuary. Cafés such as laid back, hippie-esque The Squeeze who use only organic produce, art galleries and hairdressers also adorn the towns surroundings. Popular hairdressers include Staffords owned by Lee Stafford and Srangeways owned by Ade from the Channel 4 show The Salon. Leigh is also home to a wide range of shops, from clothes and shoe shops selling the latest fashions to more expensive additions such as Bang & Olufsen and Connections who provide the furniture for another channel 4 show, Big Brother. Leigh also has a strict no nightclub policy in an effort to preserve the towns heritage

Old Leigh

Leigh-on-Sea boasts London’s nearest beach, and many visitors travel down at the weekend to the conservation area of Old Leigh with its cobbled streets and clapboard cottages. The area is notable for its shellfish, and there is a small but active fleet of cockle boats, which keep alive the reputation of Leigh as the epicentre of the world cockling trade. The picturesque cockle sheds are home to many old Leigh families who have followed this trade for generations.

Osborne Bros specialises in producing and supplying quality shellfish and fish to individuals and trade customers around the world. Their café is housed in the heart of the Old Town in an 18th century stable mews which was used to house horses and carriages delivering ale to the local public house – The Crooked Billet. The cockle sheds and smoke house are located along Cockle Shed row, which remains largely unchanged since being built in the 19th century.

Image Copyright Dave Frost – www.davefrost.co.uk

Hadleigh Castle, Essex

The construction of Hadleigh castle began during the reign of King Henry III in 1230 for Hubert de Burgh – 1st Earl of Kent and Chief Justiciar of England, but the castle was requisitioned in 1232 by Henry after Hubert was imprisoned.

The castle was built of Kentish ragstone and cemented by a mortar containing a large proportion of seashells; particularly cockleshells from the cockle beds of neighbouring Canvey Island. As a royal property it was heavily extended in the 1360s by Edward III and it is mainly these extensions that remain. The castle and its adjoining 500-acre (2.0 km2) park formed part of the dower of several English queens in the 15th and 16th centuries, including Elizabeth Woodville (wife of Edward IV) and three of the wives of Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Anne of Cleves, and Catherine Parr. Edward VI sold it in 1551 for £700 to Lord Rich of Leez Priory in Chelmsford who used the castle as a source of stone for other buildings such as churches. The castle later passed from the possession of Lord Rich to the Barnard family.

Years of neglect and the effects of land subsidence had left the castle in ruins by the 17th century, but two towers constructed in the era of Edward III still remain. One of the three-storey towers at the eastern side built from rubble with ashlar dressings stands to nearly full height and has narrow rectangular windows in the upper levels. The second tower has not fared as well, appearing to have partially disintegrated in a landslip and consequently has lost approximately two-thirds of its form. Some sections of the curtain exist, the foundations of the great hall, two solars, and the kitchen remain. There is also a barbican which once stood adjacent to a swing-bridge.

Hadleigh Castle

Image Copyright Dave Frost – www.davefrost.co.uk