Contrast and light dance on a pink and blue background the horizon dissected showing a softened seascape and slightly blurred sky

 Such a odd morning, I sat close to the shoreline, could only hear the water gently lapping at the pebbles, light was passing back and forwards warm one moment cool the next. I started to zone out and sat crossed legged, I unintentionally began to meditate, lost a fair bit of time in between taking photos. A real strange odd moment but one I very much needed and enjoyed. What i took away from this location was a sense of calm and peacefulness which for me is the real reason why I do photography and the best part is i live minutes away from this popular spot on the south coast. 
The West pier, Brighton

I've walked this underpass many, many times and every time ive said ill take a photo one day. well back in February I did just that. what a beautiful afternoon it was dark broody skies with rain passing in intermittent waves then bursts of golden light that painted huge drops of intense orange and yellows. The natural darkness of the tunnel lends about 60% to the photo the rest comes from the golden light which highlights the brickwork and lighting strip. however, the fencing and brick-wall is a tad dull but its nicely broken up by the metal fencing and well placed bin. I did wait for natural human/dog walker to add some element but none worked so opted for this view. I took away a sense of accomplishment and learnt that some places as dull and boring as it seems can be made into something with direction and character. 
Underpass, Saltdean
without realising it Ive taken you from the sea the woodland in only 2 photos, which says alot about how much i love woodland photography infact its where my photography journey started, that however is for a blog update coming in 2024. 
I find myself drawn to certain patterns of growth the branches hold in there space and time, i try to work out what made that react to shape. was it wind, rain or even animal or human  that caused the change, of course branches snap and die naturally all the time and you have to sit and watch for some time to see them actually fall, but unless you have a super power of time dilation you not likely to see the tree grow, unless you take the time visit the woodland over several months or even weeks to see gradual change, you'll need a very keen eye or camera to see that though. with those changes seasons come and go and one of my favourite woodland times are the bluebell but you can blink and they are gone, i took this later that i wanted too but the conditions where perfect. 
Other than photos i hardly take anything back with me, infact I actually give with seeds for the birds nothing has come of it yet well none that photographed anyway. 
high park wood, lewes

this photo for me is all about mental & physical health and from the face of it, you wouldn't necessarily know. thats the struggle that some go through quietly and unassumingly. Those that  face these personal challenges are in my opinion are some of the most connected to nature people i know Shane shown in this woodland portrait is the perfect example of this. he had some heart issues which effected him mentally but with positive steps has made a great RECOVERY. but IT WAS IN THOSE MOMENTS OF STRUGGLE THAT HELPED HIM TO REALISE THAT LIFE WAITS FOR NO ONE AND HES NOW MAKING A music album. so that saying that life is to short, holds some gravitas so this image of shane barefeet on the earth and connected with the soil was a way of grabbing nature and becoming one with it and acceptance of fate but a firm way of saying not today, I still have some work to do.
although planned, this trip turned out to be a firm favourite of mine, there was a calm and peaceful balance in the air. whilst connecting with my bearings and finding my comfy spot shane was sat up high in a deer hide just soaking up the atmosphere of the woodland which reminded me of times when ive sat in the same chair and gained a sense of recovery and mentally. 
Laughton Woods, East Hoathly 
Back to the sea - which i visit quite alot im a stones throw from the beach as the crow flies. I can think of multiple times that ive been back to same spot and seen a different composition, so many things can change that scene. The tide plays a huge part of that as it brings in sand, pebbles and flotsam. The rocks in the image usually stay stationary, like those huge icebergs that much deeper than the what we see on the outside. that anchoring is what keeps a scene like this stationary. just the sand and water levels that change. I called this stepping stones which is quite evident. although the space in between is more than a step. the tide was coming in and the waves that where being pushed in and out was enough to create a small amount of softness with the water but not overly so that the rocks disappeared. I think Black and white image works better because the original has only a few tones. next time you visit the sea, watch the movement see the swirls that move in and around different structures, not just rocks but wood, or even metal for groynes. 
splash point Seaford
I was playing with depth of field with this shot, it was something do with the green moss that covered this entire tree trunk which only effected a few certain trees. when the sunlight poured through the canopy and hit the moss it transformed its colour and texture, from nearby camp fires there was blue smoke that helped to soften the back ground. everything else just seemed to frame nicely, without being to crowded or overly dense. it has a tight crop due to a 35mm lens that has a little zoom so i can fully focus on a certain area. yes its a woodland shot again, i dont have favourites but if I did trees, woodland and forests probably would be.
remote woodland, Devon
you may have seen this photograph from my front page on this website, its for that reason that its my best photo of 2023, could I tell you why? no, well maybe its original colour is orange and such a strong sunset yellowing tones with a lovely lens flare. Then out of shear curiosity i took away all the colour then instantly became my best image. Ive walked through the gateway many times and it starts with a teal painted tunnel decorated with photos of all the different sea life and animals that frequent the area, from foxes, eagles, owls to all kinds of fish and fauna. it then hits you with a wonderful view across the coast looking down to Brighton and Brighton's marina. I like how the walls act like a gateway and a fence line which is a footpath for walkers, runners and cyclists infact this area is used for the Brighton marathon. to the right is a roundabout connecting ovingdean and nearby Rottingdean. I digress, back to the image. Its mostly grey so not strictly a black and white, monochrome but there are elements of BW. The man with his bike taking a photo on his camera phone, the sky. theres also a leading lines part too, the white fence etc. 
ovingdean gap, Brighton
back to the woodland, a pattern seems to be emerging, did i tell you i love trees? well I do. all shapes, sizes and textures. from the top to the bottom. the way they sway and make white noise in the warmer seasons to the clatter of branches in the winter. they completely change through out the seasons, they always reach up to find the light no matter the darkness. did you know they have a fungus that is shared between the trees that helps to share nutrients and when a tree falls it sends messages that alert that it needs help quite clever, love they are a community. this one Initially titled commune but it changed too 3's company but trees are never a crowd - a small woodland nicely lit from the front allowing the ash to stand out from the darker thicker woodland in the background.
unknown woodland - Devon
savage Dominion
 The time I took this image my right hand side was drenched in a salt spray, camera included. At this point I stopped caring it felt good, the Victorians knew a thing or too about our seaside and its sodium qualities. I ventured back to the car and enjoyed a cup of tea and some biscuits my daughter left in the car on the school run the same morning, more enjoyment. I cleaned down the camera and my face and reflected on a great photo shoot at one of my happy places. i try to capture as many storms and high winds as i can along this stretch of coastline and its a popular spot in the photography community and im glad to be part of it. I've taken thousands of photos here at spot and i have a few favourites but this one is my best of 2023.
Newhaven lewes, uk
misty moist conditions Stanmer Park woodland on the South Downs.
The famous Beech trees, I haven't been for awhile and they are showing some age in fact one has fallen which had survived the great storm back in the mid 80s. this is also a favourite location for local photographers especially conditions like this. its helps to create such a beautiful spooky atmosphere. i also several from here with people in and that also lends a great subject detail and size to these trees. 
Stanmer park, great wood
Me you and the Horizon
these old Victorian groynes fascinate me, they've been slowly eroded over time but they still hold on relentlessly even with all the pounding they have from the sea and storms for 100 years or more. 
of course the horizon has changed slightly in this new era, with the wind turbines and i think they add a great unique quality to skyline and sealine. couple that with some steady waves and a long exposure and you get a simple composition. 
Ovingdean undercliff, brighton
I'll leave you with the last image i took in 2023 which is a new project i'll be taking into 2024, visiting woodland at night seeing how light effects the shadows and shapes. how it also effects contrasts, and maybe ill catch a animal with their eye reflections. thanks for looking through my best of 2023 images, i hope you like as much i love to take them. 
happy new year and i look forward to visiting new and old locations and sharing what i find with you all.
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