Bluebell woods in Sussex

Best bluebells in West Sussex

This year we’ve seen some pretty impressive displays of bluebells. I’ve been told that the wet winter and spring has helped to produce lots of healthy plants, and that the lack of rain over the last few weeks has created the perfect finish. Bluebells aren’t very sturdy and the heavy showers that we normally get in April usually make them collapse.

Over the last few weeks I’ve seen lots of good patches of bluebells in Bepton, and in the woods around Midhurst and Stedham and Graffham. The bluebells at Benbow are always very impressive, but I’ve never found the best bluebell woods until I stumbled across these at the weekend. The smell and the colour was intoxicating.

Check this photo on Flickr.

Leave a comment below if you’d like to know more. Flowering season is nearly over for 2020 but this site must be centuries old, they’ll be there next year.

Photo of Butlins Bognor Regis from the beach at Felpham

Another view of Butlins

Low tide at Felpham

I sail at Felpham from time to time. One of the features of sailing this section of coast is the huge variation between high and low tides. At high water the beach is a steep shingle drop into the sea. After the tide turns, the sandy seabed is exposed and stretches for hundreds of yards of flat, open expanse with large pools and smooth chalky rocks.

I quite like Felpham. The town is restrained and neat and tidy, a quiet place to stroll on a Sunday afternoon in the winter sunshine. There’s a prom, a café and regular 1930s housing – and that’s about it for Felpham. Next door neighbour Bognor Regis can keep its noisy nightclubs, arcades and bars. I’ll have Felpham every time thank you.

Here’s a photo of Felpham beach taken in January 2019. The sky was clear, the tide was low and the sun was sinking fast. In the distance you can see the familiar profile of Butlins holiday camp. Photos of Butlins don’t get much better than this…

The view from Bepton Down towards Midhurst

Rother Valley

Fog in the valley

I was working from home on the 28th December. Fog from the word go, it lingered all day – just a constant grey gloom. I live at the foot of The South Downs so I wrapped up warm and headed up the track towards Bepton Down. And what a view! It was a classic temperature inversion; cold, foggy air stuck in the bottom of the valley yet blue skies just a couple of hundred feet up the hill.

Here’s the view looking north towards Midhurst. All of my photos are on Flickr. Thanks for looking.

Temperature inversion on The South Downs

Trees in the mist

Trees in the rain

If you’re viewing this photo in June or July then please try to remember just how miserable December can be. This may look like a wonderful ‘trees in the mist’ photo but it isn’t. This is a photograph of ‘trees in the rain’. Freezing, December rain.

I cannot remember a day during December 2018 when it wasn’t raining. Day after day of relentless rain and cold, when it was still dark at 10 in the morning, and dark again at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Proper bleak. Bleak, bleak and bleak again. Urgh.

Roll back a few hours before this photo and it’s a typical Saturday morning in our house. I woke my teenage boys at 8 o’clock. It was dark. And as teenagers do, they questioned the wisdom at being woken up in the middle of the night. I took my younger one to play under 13s football at what I can only describe as the most miserable football pitch in the Hampshire League, at a school in Camberley at the bottom of a motorway embankment. What an absolutely dreadful spot. It was raining sideways and the air temperature was 2°C. The pitch temperature was even lower and could best be described as permafrost. Bloody grim.

​To compensate for the grimness of watching Under 13s football all morning I took the long way home and stopped at the top of Goodwood where the trees grow tall and slender. More teenage moaning. More sideways rain. But a great shot of some trees to make up for it.

I’ve got a little website where I’m posting some of my photos – if you get a moment please take a look here. Thanks.

Silver birch

Photographing Silver Birch

I’ve been trying to get some shots of Silver Birch for a while now.

You tend to think of birch as nice, silvery trees, standing straight and tall in nice neat rows. You’ve probably seen them in ‘Visit Canada’ brochures. Or outside Tate Modern or in architectural garden centres. But out in the UK countryside it’s a different story. All of the birch that I’ve found are algae green, gnarled and twisted and looking pretty tatty with dead twigs hanging from the branches. In the wild, they’re opportunist weeds that shoot up where they can.

Sometimes you have to go with the flow. Which is what I’ve done here. I waited for the mist, headed down to the woods at dawn, knowing full well that it doesn’t matter if my Silver Birch aren’t straight and white, nor planted in lines.

One thing I did notice were suspicious dog walkers wondering what I was doing. A rather nice lady came over to me and pointed at my camera saying “Are you photographing birds, have you spotted something unusual?” I explained that I was taking photographs of the trees.

She nodded politely. And walked away quickly in the other direction.

If you get a moment please visit my photography website. Thanks for looking!

Silver birch

Oak Tree

The centre ground

And right of centre, but leaning slightly to the left…

In these uncertain pre-Brexit times (this post is dated 21 November 2018 so if you’re reading this at a later date any irony may be lost!), I was amused by a pair of oak trees, one of them standing to the right of centre (yet leaning to the left) and the other tree standing in the centre ground. Perhaps it’s a reasonable metaphor for the state of the nation, or perhaps I’m just barking up the wrong tree?

So I’m celebrating the arrival of my new Canon 6D Mark II with a couple of photos of some trees on the Goodwood Estate. Honestly, the weather has been rubbish for the last few weeks so with every hope that I would get some scarce sunshine I headed up the hill to where the horizon is dead flat and where, if you get down low enough to the ground, you can frame the tree with nothing in the background but sky. Cool heh?

The top photo is titled ‘The Centre Ground’. The picture below is called “Right of Centre, but leaning to the Left’.

Right of centre

If you get a moment, this photo is on #Flickr see

And I have a photography website called 

Thanks for looking.

Bolonia Beach Tarifa Sand Dune

Bolonia Dunas

(Dunas – that’s Spanish for Dune)

Now here’s an odd sight from our recent trip to Spain… This single sand dune at Bolonia Beach near Tarifa is 600 feet wide and more than 100 feet high. It’s part of a series of Dunas (Spanish for dunes I guess…) that stretch west from Tarifa towards Cadiz on the wonderful Andalucía coast.

It’s is quite literally a hill made of sand. It’s vast!

Bolonia’s a nice beach, quieter than some of the playas at Tarifa. Some nice beach bars, good coffee and a great place to watch the world go by. Or a horse.

Bolonia Beach Spain Horse Riding

You know it already but my photos are all on Flickr and on my photography website.

Thanks for looking.

32 Spanish Posters

Spanish Poster Design

Delayed in Spain

Last week my easyJet flight from Spain to the UK was delayed by 32 hours. I won’t trouble you with the details, but here are 32 examples of Spanish poster design to compensate for the 32 hours lost to the departure lounge…

I have to admit, this time last week I don’t know very much about Spanish graphic design. For sure the Spanish have some considerable flair when it comes to architecture (take for example the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao or the Principe Felipe Science Museum in Valencia) so you’d have to assume that the Spanish know a thing or two about typography, layout and style. Right? Well let’s see.

Traditional bull fighting posters from Spain

Traditional bull fighting posters The first thing that came up when researching Spanish posters was the troubling subject of matadors, toreadors and killing bulls. Even more troubling because as a child, I was bought one of these posters in Torremolinos with my name printed on it! They all follow the same format of a bull fighter looking down over his shoulder at a poor creature with crimson blood pouring from its shoulder. Ghastly subject and a formulaic style of delivery.

20th Century Spanish Travel Poster Design

The four travel posters above seem appropriate given my delay in Spain thanks to the ineptitude of easyJet. Did I mention they delayed our departure by 32 hours? How about these glamorous posters of a by-gone age of romantic travel… A far cry from the misery of cheap flights airlines and poor customer service.

Spanish Grand rix Posters 1969 and 1970

Spanish car hire? Don’t get me started. But how about these wonderful motor racing posters from 1969 and 1970. I’m not sure they could be described as stylish or even very pretty – but they’re very much of their time. Even if they’re rubbish.

Many of the posters I found are aimed at overseas visitors to Spain. These two examples are for the Vuelta Ciclista and the beaches at Bilbao. I particularly like the one on the right for its artistic flair.

These 1960s posters are very cool. The top two are everything I love and hate about 60s graphic design and yet very stylish at the same time.

As you’d expect The Spanish Civil War has a place in this hall of fame for Spanish graphic design. I’m no expert in the politics of the time but there’s plenty to look at in these two posters when you consider what happened immediately afterwards in Nazi Germany.

Bulls and bullfighting are close to Spaniards’ hearts so I just had to throw these four posters into the mix for the sheer pleasure they bring to me! I love them.

I selected the four posters above for their artistic merit of bold colours and scissor cut type. The last two are film posters for Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar. The one on the right draws influences from Saul Bass but that’s about it!

I thought it would be nice to throw a few 60s and 70s designs into the mix and I’m pleased with these examples. They’re nice, which is more than can be said for the service we had from easyJet when they cancelled our flight. I know I wasn’t going to mention it but we were literally abandoned by easyJet…. Terrible customer service.

My last two posters are contemporary. The one on the left has an illustration that could only have come from Spain (I love the prawn and the A coming out of the mouth) but it works! And the example on the right, well it’s blatant use of Clarendon but the colours are great though if I was colourblind I’m not sure it would work so well.

Thank you easyJet for inspiring me to look at Spanish design. Lesson learnt about easyJet that you’ve probably heard from other people but never quite believed could be true… Poor customer service when the sh** hits the fan.

Trees in the mist Sussex

Down to the woods today

Clearing at Severals Woods

I went down to the woods this morning on the way to work. And what a surprise. There’s a clearing deep in the woods where the the sun reaches the forest floor. Bracken has taken advantage of the light, and there’s a pool of yellow bracken that’s turning colour as the seasons change.

Severals woods Midhurst

No light reaches the forest floor around the clearing. So it’s dark and gloomy, and then boom! A pool of yellow autumness to bring a smile to the mind.

As always, my photos are on Flickr but I’ve also been faffing around with a photography website. If you’ve got a minute please take a look at my weekend photography project. Thanks for looking!