Monday, 19 April 2010
Rocks and a Sheep Place
It's been a while since I updated my website; partly due to health problems and partly the dark and dreary winter days we've had. But I'm feeling better and so has the weather, so I've been getting out and as a result have some new photos on the site. Go to www.michaelbentleyphotography.co.uk, click on the Gallery page, then on the 'Animals', 'Flowers' and 'East Sussex' galleries and scroll to the bottom to see the new images.
I've lived in Eastbourne with Angie for nearly seven years now, and despite driving past it on countless occasions we have never visited the Seven Sisters Sheep Centre before. Sadly this too was just a flying visit and I wasn't able to spend as much time with the animals as I wanted in order to get enough good photos. Sheep are easy to photograph while grazing as they're pretty slow on their feet, but up close it's not so easy. They practically fall over each other trying to reach you; perhaps they're hoping for food, but it's very endearing. So the best shots I got of them were of lambs and their mothers. Pigs are just the opposite: they rarely take their snouts out of the trough! I got a few good images out of the visit, but I'd like more - so I'll be back there before long.
Meanwhile the side of me that loves to photograph cliff faces and rock formations has a new lease of life, thanks to a book on Ansel Adams that Angie got me as an anniversary present. I love Adams' pictures - who doesn't? - but I notice more now about his use of composition and also of texture. Even his portraits of Navajo people in New Mexico, as well as their deep humanity, have the abstract quality and detail of his close-up images of leaves or his Rocky Mountain panoramas. The closest things to mountains where I live are the South Downs (now a national park), and their truncated edges along the coastal white cliffs. My interest in the cliffs especially has been re-invigorated, so I hope I'll have more photos of them on this site very soon. Possibly including some close-ups - we'll see.
The image shown here is of one of the flint layers that run through the chalk cliffs, mined here during Neolithic times. I read somewhere that these layers match up exactly with those on the opposite coast of the English Channel; just one part of the evidence that millions of years ago the chalk stretched all the way across to France, until the sea finally eroded it to break through and form the Channel. These facts thrill me almost as much as the visual power of the cliffs themselves. Angie and I are very, very lucky to live in such an amazing part of the country.
I've waffled on enough for now. More images coming soon!