The 5th photography walkshop of 2023 was a new look at a popular past location for photo walks, with a walk along the ‘ridge’ of Hilsea Lines in Portsmouth.
We started off at a bastion, warming up with exploring around the old army heritage site looking for patterns, shapes, textures and signs of the military use of the past. We discussed focusing techniques with foreground and background taking priority, plus how to control smartphones to give a blurry background. Before setting off on the walk along the ridge to looked at Rule of Thirds with the bastion providing a great subject to work with.
We headed up the ridge line and our first stop was at a (I’m going to guess) a guard post. Most of the ‘lines’ dates back to defences that protected the city from land based invasion in the north. Portsmouth is famous for its naval history but it was the army that protected the city to the north. You can find out much more about the history of Hilsea Lines HERE. This guard post was used for exploring with our cameras along the rough theme of the photo walk: where nature takes over what is left by people. The old brickwork was a fantastic texture with lichen and ivy creeping in to shot. From here we walked up on to the roof of the bastion and explored around the chimneys/ventilation working with layers and building depth.
From here we moved to the long lines path, that takes us up in to the high tree line of Foxes Forest. The path here is as straight as an arrow and makes for a great location to explore leading lines. This location also allowed us to take photos from the unique perspective of an eye-line level up in the trees and branches. At this location we also discussed as a group Depth of Field and from that what Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO are, how they interact and how to use them creatively. An old Olympus OM10 35mm film camera body with a 50mm f1.8 lens allowed us to physically see how a lens aperture and a camera shutter functions and everyone got to play around with the lens themselves.
We moved onwards taking photos along the ridge line and ended up at hidden artillery gun placement that was tucked away on the defensive side of the ridge. We safely navigated our way down the track in to the concrete structure which is covered in street art and graffiti. You could spend the whole walkshop two hours developing different images within this location and we explored for details, we captured where nature was breaking through the concrete with deep cracks in the structure, we took images where the lines of colour drift in and out of focus.
My naive plans of walking the whole ridge and back via the forest had been blown out the water (as it were) by the rich and many photo opportunities along this first part of the walk that we had engaged with. We will be back!
You can see some photos below but you can also look at loads of fantastic photos taken on the walkshop by Giles Smith HERE.
New walkshop dates up very soon, going from April through to sunny June. – Paul.