Out and about motor roaming again last weekend with a little tour around the garden of England, we headed in to the south east of England through or should I say over the dreaded traffic nightmare of the Dartford tunnel on into Kent late Friday night. Ok I admit I was we’ll aware I would hit the traffic leaving at this time but hey I’m in a camper and no hurry so sit back and enjoy the journey. Sitting in the traffic taking the odd traffic dodging diversion gave me time to plan my photography set up for the weekend. I like to try and force myself to either take different shots or set the equipment a certain way to help be more creative and stretch my skill base. This weekend I decided to shoot exclusively with the Fuji X-E1 and 35mm. It was going to be different as I normally shoot with x100 23mm while away in the camper so the challenge was on, instead of shooting the more traditional 35mm equivalent with the 23mm Fuji X100 I was opting for the Fuji X-E1 and 35mm making it a slightly abnormal but equally well loved equivalent range of 50mm.
Pushing through on into Kent and leaving the horrid motorways we headed for Bodiam Castle Nr Robertsbridge. Bodiam Castle is a 14th-century moated castle in East Sussex, England. It was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III. I’m not a historian so if you interested in finding out more about the history (its worth the read) you can find it herehere
It was dark and late and we needed to find a spot to camp for the night. We just need a spot off the road, ( that’s the beauty of the camper) we came across a 60s abandoned road side cafe all boarded up but the car park was open and I parked up, popped a bottle of wine open cold from the fridge and prepared to camp for the night.
Up early next morning I thought I would take a look round the abandoned site to see if I could find some interesting shots. Unfortunately the place was boarded up tight so I had very little to point the 35mm at. I was left with the fireman’s switch up on the side, where the pumps used to be.
its not much but you can try to make this look interesting. 🙂
Packing up the camper and heading out on the road it was not long before we had found the Castle. Having not visited before its clear to see this is a truly stunning castle. Typical example of the mind imagined fairly tale English castle, you could almost smell the history and its was easy to imagine the 14th century Saturday market taking place in the grounds as we arrived in the car park.
I found working at 35mm needed a slight adjustment to my approach to my norm. I found I needed to take a little more time and care to compose a shot. I had to work a little harder, walking and placing my self into the correct spot to get the composition I wanted. Hey this is working making me break from the norm and making me more importantly “think” about composition. Looking for trees and objects to help frame the wider shots.
Another really great thing I love about the X series and the EVF is that if you set the exposure metering to “spot” you can control the exposure ‘live’ as you use it. It’s not easy and you need to take your time. It works best in manual focus mode or narrow apertures as you need to “freeze” the exposure by semi depression of the shutter release so if your in auto focus you will end up focusing on the wrong place. You soon get the hang of it though. But I really enjoy using this method to achieve the desired exposure balance and it works for me.
Next up we headed further south to the coast seaside town of Hastings. Yep that is the very same Hastings made famous with the Battle in 1066. If you know your English history you will also know that the battle did not actually take place in Hastings but 7 miles up the road in a hill near a small village call Battle ..cool eh, if you want to know more you can find it here
Continuing with the 35mm (50mm) focal range is set about trying to find one of Hastings or really its St Leonard’s more famous buildings from the 1930’s. Marine court was a block of Art Deco flats. It’s design mimics a ship or now more modern ocean going liner. Hastings or should I say The Kingdom of Hastings as it was in Saxon times steeped in history and historical events. However the Marine court and the twin dec sea front walk (board walk) along with the peer was my main interest.
The 50mm focal length keeps me on my toes. Having to work much harder walking instead of zooming to find the composition or as with x100 just being wide so I don’t need to move. It’s a different way of shooting for me but I am really liking the results and the fact I am taking much more care over composition.
Finding the peer just remaining to be a prominent feature on the shoreline but sending the message of past times and decaying older days. Such a shame.
To the other end of the town further south was St Leonard. It’s almost joined to Hastings and walking the seafront you would not have noticed other that the architecture takes a turn and has a definite French style and very attractive small but perfectly formed beautiful seafront houses.
Moving on from the fresher end of town and missing out the part with the fish and chips and arcades we decided to move on further north up the coast to Rye a small fishing port with a reputation of old cobbled streets and very old English streets. Finding a great spot to make camp at the foot of the main town we made camp, prepared a great salmon meal and other bottle of wine, lead to an evening walk thought the port and into the town.
The next morning after breakfast we headed back into town to find the old parts of the town and the old English streets, winding paths and perched pubs in narrow lanes. All the time sticking to my challenge of only using the 50mm focal length.
Wondering in Rye was like walking through a giant architectural museum, from 12th century gates through to 60.s retro to modern day building. It was quite a surprise, well worth the walk for the architecture and coastal landscape.
finishing off with an arc of terrace’s we headed back to the camper to prepare to start to make our way back home, picking a suitable stop off with the town of Tonbridge.
Arriving at Tonbridge late afternoon we found a spot for the night, as glass of wine and headed out for a walk (there’s a theme here) alcohol fuelled walks. Cool.
Nothing special at Tonbridge.
All too soon we were waking the next morning and needed to hit the motorway and head back through the dreadful Dartford tunnel, but I was very please with my photography challenge. I can definitely recommend try this yours self just shoot at 50mm it taught me a great deal shooting the way in the street style. I will certainly be using the focal length again. It makes for a much more intimate experience both in the taking of the images as much as viewing them again in post and preparing for this blog. If you want to give yourself the next photography challenge whip out a 35mm on crop format or 50mm on full frame and indulge yourself, shoot intimate street. It’s cool. Let me know how you get on.