Fragments of Sidmouth

    Fragments of Sidmouth is the result of a collaborative project with the Sidmouth School of Art on the theme of A Sense of Place. The composite image of 36 different architectural “fragments” was exhibited on the Sidmouth School of Art billboard in Sidmouth during October and November 2021. The billboard artwork and the individual images reveal details of some of Sidmouth’s buildings; they appeal to me for their graphic qualities. Some are decorative, some less so; but between them it is to be hoped that you will see something of Sidmouth.

    Everywhere you look in the built environment there is architecture. It is a world full of fascinating shapes and forms that take on different appearances as you change your viewpoint and observe one element against another, and that may create a geometric harmony as you reach some perfect viewpoint.

    Sidmouth is no exception and in our town we are fortunate to have many interesting and beautiful buildings in our landscape.

    Photographing architecture is a voyage of discovery. The more you look, the more you see. You discover the embellishments, notice the symmetry, find that “perfect viewpoint” and hopefully capture the essence of the building or at least some part of it.

    Sometimes a building will have a dominant feature that is readily visible from afar and is in a way its signature, there for everyone to see and admire; the arches over the main windows and door of the old post office are a good example. Or perhaps the perfect viewpoint for the definitive composition is discovered almost by accident after viewing the subject from many different angles; the back of the Drill Hall for instance, an unlikely location.

    Why black and white? Monochrome treatment emphasises the graphic nature of the construction elements, the distracting colours are gone, and the viewer is led to concentrate on the shapes, lines and patterns of the builders’ materials and the architects’ designs.

    You can see an interactive map showing the individual images and their locations here.

    The Fragments of Sidmouth installation on the Sidmouth School of Art billboard next to Sidmouth Swimming Pool and overlooking the Ham West car park.

    Just Waiting

    I entered “Just Waiting” as a print in the WCPF (Western Counties Photographic Federation) 2019 Members’ Exhibition and was delighted and very surprised to find that it won first place “gold” in the Monochrome Print Class. I had to pinch myself when I then realised that “Time to Stop Texting” – entered as a digital image in the Open Class – had won a Selector’s Award chosen by Ed Cloutman. On top of that I had four other images selected. That somewhat makes up for my abysmal performance last year when I only managed two acceptances.

    You can see these images in the exhibition at Bovey Tracey Golf Club from 5th to 19th May.

    “Just Waiting” was taken at the old brick underground station at Baker Street built in the 1860s as part of the Paddington to Farringdon Metropolitan Railway – an early version of Crossrail – and all for a mere £1.3m. It was built by the cut and cover method which essentially involves digging a big trench for the railway and then roofing it over (with buildings, roads or whatever).

    “Time to Stop Texting” was taken at Bank Underground Station on the curved Westbound Central Line platform.

    Another New(ish) Camera

    This one is to replace my Sony NEX-F3 which I had had converted to IR (see previous post). Why? Because much as I loved it, I was finding the absence of a viewfinder quite an inconvenience in bright light conditions, which of course is when infrared is at its best. So I sold my converted NEX-F3 and acquired a used Sony A6000 – both transactions on e-bay. The A6000 was then converted by Alan Burch to full spectrum. I am very happy with the result. The A6000 is a silver one so I won’t pick it up by mistake thinking its my A6300 which is good, and it only had 600 shutter actuations – it looks like new.

    The camera came with a Sony 16-50 power zoom – its a sort of pancake lens. I was going to sell that, until I discovered that it has good IR properties in as much as it doesn’t exhibit much of a hot spot. So that is staying on the camera for the time being and we will see if I can get used to a power zoom; my initial reactions is that it is hard to fine tune the zoom as it overshoots constantly – perhaps that is operator error!

    Finally, I got hold of an STC clip-in 720nm filter for the A6000 from Cyclops Optics in Hong Kong. It’s really small and sits directly in front of the sensor and is held in place by the back of the lens. This way I can use any IR tolerant lens on the camera without having to worry about having a screw on filter of the correct size available. It arrived a few days ago and I have fired off a few test shots but nothing serious – the weather has been too dull to check it out properly.

    The image above was taken in February just after I got the A6000 with a conventional R72 filter on the lens – its a panorama of four images and is the river Otter where it enters the sea at Budleigh Salterton.

What’s it all about?

Here are my jottings about my photographic projects and activities. I have been working on a focus stacking macro photography rig. There are quite a few posts about that. In addition I write about other photographic activities as and when!


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