Architecture, Photography

A Walk on the New Hastings Pier

We visited the revamped and revitalised Hastings Pier on Saturday. This was a rewarding experience as my wife was a trustee for a couple of years and I was a core volunteer. We both contributed to setting up the shop and providing it’s best selling product and my wife was key in appointing the design team via an RIBA run competition, so has a particular interest in how the project has turned out.

We reckon the Architects – dRMM have done as well as they could – Budgetary constrains mean the buildings are not as exciting as originally planned but the results are really good when you are close up to them, with a high standard of detailing. The crucial thing is that, unlike so may of England’s grand piers this one has a future.

A gallery of images;



Sunrise 2 copy

Murmuration is a word that’s used for the flocks of starlings which are often seen circulating the Piers on England’s South coast at this time of year. It’s a particularly famous phenomenon in Brighton, which is the South Coast’s most popular seaside town for day trips and short stays. Every even numbered year they have a major photo festival. in 2012, The Japanese photographer Rinko Kauwachi was one of several commissioned artists and se made a sweet little book linking the ebb and flow of the starlings, the tides and the day trippers who visit Brighton, for 2010’s Brighton Photo Biennial. Link to book – “Murmuration” which I was lucky enough to buy at the cover price and have signed at the launch!

Back to my own shot – I’ve always felt that there was a ‘Landscape’ quality to the wreckage of Hastings Pier but needed a long lens to get the shot – so I pulled out my big gun – the Zeiss 300mm f/4 Tele-Tessar. Interestingly this lens is noticeably more telephoto than the long end of my Tamron 70-300VC. On the quality of the lens, I know the Tele-Tessar doesn’t have the best reputation for quality but on the basis of this image I have to say I’m satisfied, I shot this at f/4 to maximise shutter speed as I had to shoot handheld. It’s plenty sharp enough all the way out to the corners, the down side is a touch of CA. The lens is not billed as an Apochromat, so there was a touch of red/green CA in shot however it wasn’t massive and is easily fixable in Photoshop or Capture One.

One last thought, the shot was taken on an Eos 1Dx at ISO 1600 which gave a lovely filmic grain and for me coming from a 1Ds MkI earlier this year (thank you new for old insurance!!) the ISO performance of the 1Dx continues to blow me away.


Hastings Pier

Hastings Pier in late 2010

Hastings Pier in late 2010

For the first post on this blog I’m going to revisit a lens that I have now sold, and it’s probably the one I regret letting go of the most. Not only is it a great lens on the 159 that allowed me to take some seriously wide images, it’s also a great lens on APS-C digital cameras. As i can’t afford a new one I’ve got myself a Tamron 17mm of which more later!

The shot above os of Hastings Pier, taken on an Eos 1Ds, at a stage a little while after the fire when the demilition contractor had removed all of the wreckage on superstructure. After watching a number of dog walkers not coming to a sudden end I decided it was safe enough to venture underneath where I was very struck by the Graphic nature of the ruin it has now become. This led me to think that of taking some high contrast images (a little bit in the manner of Keld Helmer-Peterson a book of who’s work is a refernece point for me). They portray the starkness of the structure’s plight, yet, by removing the texture of age, they also look like images of modern a structure under construction, leading one to speculate what could be as much as what has been.