Is this what a weather bomb looks like?

This was actually taken over a year ago in the centre of town, but it seemed timely this morning:

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Too late?

I know a lot of my pictures of my route to work have been of the dawn, but if getting up that early seems a chore in itself, look at what I am missing half an hour earlier before the sun actually rose.

This was the view from my window when I got up this morning:

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Half an hour later, by the time I got to my favourite of the rock houses, much of that glorious colour was gone as the sun rose over town:

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As often though, my slight frustration forced me to adapt my viewpoint to concentrate not on the house, or the rock, but on the tree behind it:

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And then there were three…

I’ve posted quite a few pictures already of the rock houses on the common (here and here.)

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In my earlier posts, I have always talked about two houses, but locals will know there are of course three. The truth is that the one that you come to first when you come up from the town centre has always been the hardest to photograph. For a start it has an unsightly lamppost just by it on one side and lacks such an appealing backdrop from the top, but still, like the others, it is a beautiful, dignified building with a stupidly large rock chucked in front of it.

I felt after my last return to this location, it had to be worth a re-match. I got a couple of shots which sort of work by trying to keep the less interesting parts of the background out of shot:

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…but still, I feel I haven’t quite got there. I turned back into town with a bit of frustration and then as often happens when I am thinking photographs, found something in front of me which was ever bit as photogenic- this lovely window and window-box of one of the old buildings facing the common:

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Further Afield- Hastings

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So far, I’ve limited my ramblings here to Tunbridge Wells itself, but I hope it is not cheating too much for me to include the odd blog about some nearby places I love to return to. One of my favourite regular locations is Hastings, although those of you who know the place will recognise that already the picture above is a double cheat as it is taken at nearby Battle where the actual fight happened in 1066 and where they re-enact it every year on the anniversary.

Hastings itself is a really interesting seaside town which is very photogenic. Unlike its more famous and glamorous rival Brighton, it is very much a working fishing town still and has its own unique architecture of tall fisherman’s huts around the area called the Stade.

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The town does also try to do resort and like Brighton it has its own abandoned and recently burnt out pier:

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This can also be seen from one of the wonderful clifftop walks above the town:

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Down below, back in the town, the fishing attracts aggressive giant gulls:

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This last one looking like it might swoop down to attack the old funicular lift up to the cliffs:

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And then most of all I love those old boats:

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Dunorlan Park in the Fog

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I was beginning to wonder whether there were any new ways I could photograph Dunorlan after my many earlier visits.

But then this morning, I arrived to find fog. I love the mystery that fog brings a scene and by coincidence I had brought with me my infrared camera which creates enough mystery all of its own.

So forgive me if some of these are quite weird and experimental:

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As a proudly colour blind photographer. I sometimes leave my infrared shots in colour, simply reversing their natural red tint to produce something that looks sort of, but not quite normal:

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Actually, I have genuinely no idea how odd they look- I’ve been told before that some of what I have thought to be bold colour experiments were just plain ordinary:

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Maybe it is just safer to stick with black and white:

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Not wasting the dawn.

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When I travel anywhere else, I will often make the effort to get up early to take pictures in the best light, but here at home it never seems so appealing.

Nevertheless, this morning a few things pushed me out of doors.

It’s been an interesting week with highs and lows. On the plus side, I’ve been really touched by the positive feedback I’ve been getting about this blog and my new facebook page (linked here). Then midweek, as if I wasn’t smug enough, I learned that I had come third in the Amateur Photographer of the year black and white competition for this shot, taken (predictably at dawn) in Grand Central Station in New York:

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All really wonderful, but there has been another side to the end of this week- knowing that I should really be somewhere else. For the last four years at this time, I have been on my school’s charitable trip to the Gambia. (If you are interested, read here.)

This year, because of the vile Ebola virus, we have had to postpone until next July. It is horrible for the kids we take, but much more a real disaster for the villages we help when we are out there. I’ve been worrying this week about the hard times that our friends out there have ahead, but also really selfishly, I can’t deny being disappointed because I’m missing the chance to re-visit such a beautiful place- particularly at dawn:

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If you want to see a few more of my pictures from the last few years, I’ve put them here.

So this morning, I found myself wide awake at 7, with all of these thoughts messing with my sleepy head. I got up, looked out of the window and saw a sky like this:

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So, even though it is Saturday, I rushed out onto my default route to work.

By the time I got to my first viewpoint, some of the sky’s grandeur had receded over the rock house, but I still managed something in colour and then in infrared:

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Then on towards Eridge where I even discovered a new viewpoint off the main road- a spot I haven’t got quite right yet, but feel I’ll go back to soon:DSCF4778

My original challenge when I started this blog was to take pictures round here that matched my photos from around the world. I don’t feel I’m there yet, but this morning, having woken up thinking of a dawn stroll here:

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I looked over Tunbridge Wells and felt alright:

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Back to the Rock House

In an earlier post I wrote about the wonderful Rock Houses on the common and showed a few pictures I’d taken of them over time. I realised at the end that in my excitement to photograph them, I had neglected to focus enough on the rocks themselves.

So I returned two days ago armed with wonderful moody winter skies and a questionable sense of colour to take some more of my favourite of the buildings. In fact, there is no more of the rock in this, but I have managed to bring it out more in the editing:

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And then to demonstrate that I can get completely carried away and forget utterly what I was attempting to photograph, there is also a picture from the same morning where I miss the building completely:

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