Milky Way in Dorset

General

As part of yet another project I returned to the south coast to photograph the Clavell Tower at Kimmeridge and Corfe Castle both in Dorset with my good friend and fellow photographer Ian. We planned on camping for two days and hoped for good weather and boy were we blessed!

The journey down in two Camper vans was made all the more fun with a walkie-talkie between vehicles which meant I was able to chat about all sorts of nonsense whether Ian was listening or not…

We found our campsite brilliantly located 3 miles from both our desired locations and set up. We climbed the hill near the Castle to witness a lovely sunset that was just too clear for anything exciting but was lovely to witness nonetheless. After the sun went down we drove the short distance to Kimmeridge and walked up to the top of the cliff to watch the Milky Way rise up to our south.

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I can’t describe the lovely feeling of insignificance in the darkness, the sea washing in below with the wind in your face as you gaze up and out at billions of other suns and worlds that we know virtually nothing about. This venue sums up the project really, our problems, hopes and dreams placed into context in the dark, quiet, stillness.

We took a few shots as the Milky Way’s Galactic Centre just rose above the horizon, looking out over the English Channel. It is beautiful to behold. We then climbed back down the hill and proceeded to take shots of Clavell Tower with the MW seemingly rising majestically from the top of the tower itself.

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The next night we again tried some sunset shots at Corfe and again were disappointed with the lack of cloud and therefore colour. We ate our picnic tea chatting happily away before heading to our previously scoped location to shoot the MW rising next to the Castle ruins themselves.

To our increasing annoyance a slight low level mist started to hang in the air around our vantage point rendering the castle itself slightly ‘hazy’ in our shots. However, we changed our minds when we tried to light the castle with our powerful torch beam. The beams reflected in the mist creating a surreal effect that looked like the Castle itself was emitting some kind of ethereal light. The effect was enhanced by our ultra wide-angle lenses meaning a beam directed 5 feet to the right, left or above camera appeared as though they were coming from much further away adding to the intrigue of what the light actually was.

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We returned to the campsite for our second night which was much colder than previously but a bottle of red soon warmed us up before a good nights rest.

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You better get on your knees and pray!

General

It was an idea for another lyric that tempted me to put up a casting on Purpleport to see if I could find a suitable model with a ground floor bedroom location.

This time the line was from the Oasis song “Gas Panic” and was “If you hear me tap on your window, you better get on your knees and pray, cos panic is on the way”. 

Although the image was more or less already in my head, it doesn’t really correspond with the meaning of the overall song. However, I took the line and made it mean something different. This is ok in my book as the images in this project are taken individually and therefore out of context and it’s not always important to link it with the body of the song.

In this case, I received a reply from the gorgeous Izabela and her wonderfully creative and supportive partner Vinny. She seemed to immediately ‘get it’ and turned out to be perfect for the ‘role’. The brief was for her to look, well, kinda like she does in the resulting photograph. It certainly was a departure from her normal stunning look but one she threw herself into with great gusto, thought and a great degree of acting skill.

I wanted the bedroom to look as dishevelled as she did and for the impression to be one of continual unpleasantness rather than a one off episode. Her look and and the slight distortion given by the wide angle of the lens has resulted in an image that surpassed my hopes.

It was by chance that I asked her to look straight into the lens but I think it does give more of a sense of need and desperation, as if the viewer could maybe help. It is intentional that it takes the eye a bit of time to reach the figure in the window (Vinny) which ultimately took the longest to light correctly. The room lighting was from a single standard lamp placed in the right front corner of the room.

The processing is deliberately dark and gritty. Detail wasn’t important, impression and feel was…

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