Images of the Isle of Grain

Last week I needed fresh air, exercise and photography practice.  So I packed my panniers with tripod and digital camera then caught an early train east to the Isle of Grain, Kent.  Grain’s a good place to get away from London: quiet, nice to cycle around, big skies.

On the way to the train station, this wall made me stop and look, so I reached for the camera:

Now to Grain itself. The early light from 6am to around 7.30am was really nice, then cloud cover gradually spread and sunnier spells were limited, unfortunately.  So I kept moving on the bike and stopped whenever the light improved.

This is a view N from Northward Hill, one of Grain’s highest points:

(NB. I haven’t straightened this yet or removed the barrel distortion, as you’ll have noticed…)

I was trying to use the diagonal sweep from the foreground scrub, through the blossoming trees and ground lines, into the distance.  Colour is muted and the sky is not very striking, though the compositional balance between land and sky seems right.  Worth trying again in more dramatic light and/or weather, perhaps.

Here’s a view W from the same place:

Some colour is introduced by the oil seed rape field and the Portakabins.  The cloud shadow in the middle distance adds something but the flat sky again limits interest, I think.  It was time to move on, so I cycled E/NE to the town of Grain itself on the eastern shore.

View from the coastal path – grey enough for you?

The light and weather were very flat at this point so I thought I’d take some monochromatic photos.  I trundled along the path and tried to capture the texture and lines of the concrete itself:

I like the diagonals drawing the eye towards the water, the muted palette and the contrast of the rippling water below; I’m going to try printing this.

On the theme of concrete, texture and weathering, here are two shots a little further up the path, taken from Grain beach:

I prefer the first (portrait) shot as I think it’s better composed, with the seashells at bottom and the cloudy sky up top; it is also a printing candidate.

Next time I’m going to Grain, I’ll bring the Yashica – it’d be interesting to compare how medium format film captures the last few subjects.