It was that time of the year, time to visit the beach. I always make an annual trip to Brighton and this year was no different. Destination decided, I head over to trainline.com, find a return ticket for less than a tenner and that was the trip booked. I gather a few friends and Brighton is a go.
An hour later we reach Brighton and head straight over to the beachfront. A short walk later we make it to the beach where we were greeted by the salt filled sea breeze washing past our faces. I walk across the pebbles past all the beach goers realising how overdressed I am for a sunny day. I take my bag off, take a deep breath and fall to the ground. Although my initial plan for the trip was to take some seascapes and landscapes, once I got there I didn't have the energy to unpack and set up. So I did something better, sleep on the beach.
I had no intention of getting tanned so I had to take extra precautionary measures!
The gentle crashing of the waves resonates through the pebbles travelling up my back. The joy of sleeping on the beach cannot be described with words, it's an emotion to experience, so I'll skip that and save myself some keystrokes.
Eventually we get up to explore the rest of the shore. We head over to the pier but not to go on the pier but rather to go under. I wanted to try out some long expos with the metal and wooden struts of the pier as my composition.
And some of the behind the scenes of me taking the above shots.
Then it was time to have some model shoots done. What's the fun in taking pictures of inanimate objects you can't make fun of.
Another reason I love visiting the coast is for authentic fish and chips. We were all quite hungry so packed our bags and cluelessly walked around in the hope of stumbling across a good place to eat. It seems unlikely this technique will yield any results but this time it actually worked. The Fish Express has got to be one of the best restaurants to get proper fish and chips, especially the staff who are really friendly.
As 'Golden Hour' was soon approaching we raced down to the seafront to catch the sunset and grab a few pictures.
It's not very often the photographer is a made a subject of someone else's photo. Whilst I was in the waves capturing long exposures of the West Pier a lady approached me to ask what I was doing and then moved onto wanting a picture of me for her instagram. Being used to getting compliments on social media it was pleasant to have someone encourage you in person and follow your work.
After the sun had set and the pictures collected we moved onto experimenting with steel wool. Lighting steel wool and spinning it within a whisk attached to a piece of string can yield spectacular results. Couldn't think of a safer place to try it out than by the beach with plenty of water if anything went wrong.
The short supply of steel wool finished which marked the end of the Brighton trip. We then packed everything up boarded our train and returned to London.
There's a lot of places in England I haven't had the chance to explore. One evening my close friend invited me over to Oxford to explore the English wilderness. The Sri Lankan Bear Grylls within me couldn't resist so I rushed over to trainline.com and scavenged for the cheapest tickets.
I dress myself in camo to blend in with nature and grab my superdry jacket to keep me somewhat dry in the unforgiving British summer rain. As usual, I pack my camera bag with everything and anything I may need.
In 50 minutes I escaped the realms of the M25 and was in Oxford to be picked up by my friend in a black Benz. We head over straight to the nearest village to have the best sausage roll and hot chocolate, so I've been told.
After a short 10 minute drive with loud rap music, revving engines and tire smoke we arrived in Woodstock. We grab a seat in a cosy cafe surrounded by the frail and wise, my camo not blending in well with the locals sense of fashion. The hot chocolate and sausage roll definitely worth the money, unmatched and authentic.
Another short drive later with the usual bells and whistles we arrive at the house which over looks the spectacular view of Oxford. I grab my bag and before I head in I'm greeted by Montgomery otherwise known as Monty, the great Dane. We reluctantly greet each other and head in. I explore the expanse around me through all the windows and gear up to explore.
We step out the front door and head out into the forest with the cameras and Monty leading the way. I climb over the fence and I'm in. I pause to take in the surrounding tall, skinny trees towering above, blanket of thick green moss wrapping the damp logs, the unusual quietness with a touch of tweeting birds and the gentle trickle of a river in the distance.
We slowly walk forward, making sure not to slip in the patches of mud, snapping frames here and there of the woodland around us. We chat about the different experience of the country compared to the usual photo journeys in London. Eventually we reach the small river and follow it's path but expectedly it started to rain. We decided to power forward making sure to keep the cameras safe in our bag. Somehow managing to squeeze two cameras and six lenses into an already full bag, wrapped the jacket around the bag to keep it super dry! As a fan of the rain I was enjoying it thoroughly, edging forward, appreciating the distant hills with a grey backdrop. After almost getting lost, on a private field, we make it back to the house, making sure the camera gear is dry. We take a short break and review the images.
A few hours pass. We come to find out about a Roman ruin a few minutes from the house. Bag repacked, muddy boots and super wet jacket back on. We roll out in a Range Rover, the proper country way. A few minutes later we arrive at the entrance to the ruins and begin our trek down. Couple of strides in we were greeted by the pleasant neighs of a few horses in the distance on the neighboring fields. Failing to attract them any closer we get back on track to the ruins.
After having passed a few obstacles along the way mostly involving muddy puddles, we reach the site of the partly unearthed ruins. It's amazing to think that small area of land was occupied by a huge mansion teaming with life thousands of years ago. I continue to explore attempting to imagine the whole scale of the building. But slowly the rain becomes unbearable so we decide to make a quick retreat back to the range rover. On this occasion the rain ruined our little trip! We head back home to dry ourselves and camera gear of.
I first visited Mayfields last summer but I knew I had to make it an annual visit.
This year I convinced a group of friends to come along persuading them that they would love it. Unfortunately, Mayfields is out of the realms of the tube network so we had to catch a bus to take us a bit closer. After an hour long bus journey we had to trek through country lanes, lacking a footpath, narrowly missing oncoming traffic. It sure was an adventure trying to make it alive to the end.
On our way there we found a pristine field which we knew we had to make use of. So we had a quick photoshoot whilst the sun was out.
We paid a pound at the gates and then we were in purple heaven as far as the eye can see. Took the cameras out and began to fill our SD cards with pictures of lavender. Eventually we moved onto doing model shoots with each other. We unwrapped the reflector, positioned it somewhat correctly, attached the lens and we were off. A few minutes pass and an official comes along and tells us to purchase a £50 photography pass. We refused to pay explaining we were students and the photos weren't for profit. We did however offer him a free photo shoot. We were told it was the £10 reflector and not the thousands of pounds worth of camera equipment that set the alarms off. So we agreed to put the reflector away and continued with firing the shutter for hours.
A few thousand shots later and the batteries almost empty we were all very hungry. The cameras were put to rest whilst we investigated the menu. Lavender tea, lavender beer, lavender everything but we opted for some unexciting hot dogs and burgers. After refuelling we explored the souvenir store which obviously had lavender incorporated into every thing. We tried some lavender infused chocolate which tasted very much like normal chocolate with a subtle after taste of lavender. We then embarked on the wild adventure back to the bus stop. Making a few stops to jump fences to get cool shots.
Mayfields Lavender Farm is definitely a worthy visit, would recommend everyone to plan a day trip!
Check out their website for more info https://www.mayfieldlavender.com/
LAVENDER FARM, 30|07|17
On a day trip to Mayfields Lavender Farm I had the pleasure of meeting Samraj Birk, who is a graphic designer. Sam has worked his way up in the field and is now involved in heading a team responsible for designing magazines for British Airways. If you are ever reading a magazine on a BA flight Sam is probably the man behind the design.
Here are some of the photos I got of the man himself!
Follow him on Instagram @samrajbirk/@sambirk23, Twitter: @samraj_birk Pinterest: @samraj_birk
Some of my exciting photography journeys!