Sunday, October 1, 2023

Dungeness Field Trip

The other week I was fortunate to be able to visit Dungeness with my camera club. The reason I say fortunate is that I was with 11 other photographers, and we all had the same environment in front of us, but all of us had our own vision of the place!

For those that don’t know Dungeness it is one of the largest expanses of shingle in Europe, which means after seven hours walking about, your legs and knees know you’ve visited Dungeness!

Over the years, there have been seven lighthouses at Dungeness, five high and two low, with the fifth high one still fully operational today.

There are two nuclear power stations at Dungeness, identified as "A" and "B", the first built in 1965 and the second in 1983. They are within a wildlife sanctuary designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and birds flourish in the warmer water created by the station's outflow; but none seem to be glowing ;-)

In addition to the power station and lighthouse, there is a collection of dwellings. Most are wooden weatherboard beach houses, but there are also around 30 houses converted from old railway coaches in the 1920s. These houses are owned and occupied by fishermen whose boats lie on the beach.

One notable house is Prospect Cottage, formerly owned by the late artist and film director Derek Jarman. The garden, reflecting the bleak, windswept landscape of the peninsula is made of pebbles, driftwood, scrap metal and a few hardy plants. The cottage is painted black, with a poem, part of John Donne's "The Sunne Rising", written on one side in black lettering:

Busy old fool, unruly Sun,

Why dost thou thus,

Through windows, and through curtains, call on us ?

Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run ?

Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide

Late school-boys and sour prentices,

Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,

Call country ants to harvest offices ;

Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,

Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

In that the world's contracted thus ;

Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be

To warm the world, that's done in warming us.

Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere ;

This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere

In other words, it’s an unusual place: bleak, but beautiful.

As we were going to be at Dungeness that day, I had decided to focus on mainly using my IR XPan (bracketing) emulation set up: although I also had my EoS M3 visible camera, with my Lua focus bracketing script for deep focus captures; and my Canon M10 IR camera.

In the first image, taken with my XPan emulation set up, using my Mamiya 35mm 645 lens, I tried to capture the bleakness and vastness of the Dungeness environment, and, of course, the Sea Kale. The captured (stitched) image was composed of 12 EoS M images, resulting in a ‘digital negative’ of 19586x7721. I then cropped in to a 617 format at 12123x4279 pixels:

The second image, of Prospect Cottage, was captured in a single IR converted Canon M10 image. BTW I get all my conversion carried out by Alan Burch.

Finally, an image taken with my EoS M3 running my LBS script, that allows me to auto capture deep focus, multi exposure, brackets:

Bottom line: For those that haven’t visited Dungeness I can recommend it as a ‘good day out’, especially if you are fortunate enough to be with a great group of photographers, as I was.

As usual I welcome any comments on this post or any of my posts.


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