Woodbury Park Cemetery

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For a few short years between 1849 and the 1870s this cemetery which was then on the edge of the fast growing town was the main graveyard in Tunbridge Wells. Then it filled up and now it lies ignored by many behind the bus garage off St John’s Road.

It makes an interesting explore, even on a rainy day when there are enough sheltering trees to keep your camera dry. The closest it has to a famous resident is Jane Austen’s favourite brother, Henry Austen, but more fascinating to me was one Charles Tattershall Dodd. He was a now-forgotten landscape artist who painted views of the local area, but the name rung a bell. Then I remembered that only last week, the fascinating facebook group New Old Tunbridge Wells Photos had featured this picture by him:kt_tw_06_027_large

Why do I remember this so well? It’s actually the view of the end of my road which today on Google streetview looks like this:

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If that isn’t enough to give you a shudder about the transience of everything, here are a few more pictures of the graveyard. For those of you who said that my last post was a bit Adams Family, I have tried not to overdo these too much:

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Over the Hedge in Calverley Park

What is it about the rich that makes them want to hide behind hedges?

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When Decimus Burton laid out Calverley Park in the 1820s and 30s and built its beautiful houses, I am sure he wanted them to be seen by everyone in town- a rival to similar views in Bath or Brighton:

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But over the years, frightened no doubt by one of the lowest crime rates in Britain, the modern owners of these houses have mostly grown large hedges which obscure them from view:

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They may feel protected, but in the bottom floors at least, they can’t even see their beautiful private park, not incidentally the same park as the public get access to over the fences:

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Just occasionally, there is a house with a clearer view which you don’t need a GoPro on a stick to photograph:

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A Morning Walk at the Top of Town

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I’ve just started a second blog of travel photography, but the whole point of this blog was always to remind me of the glorious views available at home. This morning we started our walk at the top end of the common by my beloved rock houses:

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Behind us was Molyneux Park:

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After a brief digression onto the common:

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…we headed into town past this wonderful house, once owned I believe by the fourth Doctor Who, Tom Baker:

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Then for some reason, as sometimes happens when I have my camera, I started to spot buildings that I must have ignored for years:

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Dunorlan without the Lake?

A few posts ago I challenged myself to take pictures of the rocks away from the rocks! Today’s self-imposed nonsense was to take pictures in the park without the lake:

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This found me heading with my back to the lake up towards the farmland behind- some lovely views of trees:

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But pretty soon I gave up and saw reason, and headed back towards the lake:

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Then I tried some long exposure shots:

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Finally I found some slow moving ducks who I froze for twenty seconds:

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Texturing the Tiles

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I’ve been wanting to do a post about the Pantiles since I started doing this blog, but until recently I could never get my pictures of the place right. This may be the most iconic location in town, but I’d not really worked out what I liked about it visually.

Then a few weeks ago, I discovered the wonderful French photographer Jean-Michel Berts. He specialises in producing black and white cityscapes where he uses photoshop to paint on his images with different brightness levels- this is just what Ansel Adams did in the film days, but what Berts adds to the mix is that he also increases the contrast in the same bits of the image. It gives the old brickwork of these cities a slightly surreal glow.

When I started to study his technique, I realised it was perfect for the Pantiles, because visually they are of course all about those tiles. I’ve tried to use his method in the shots on this page, both in black and white as he does:

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…and also in colour:

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