A day of two extremes

by Helen Hooker March. 21, 2019 690 views
The two most recent additions to the museum's collection of historic buildings - a dairy and a bakehouse

The two most recent additions to the museum's collection of historic buildings - a dairy and a bakehouse

There was no more testing at Goodwood today so I found myself at a loose end. I wasn’t going to waste this free day, so I headed for the Weald and Downland Living Museum, where I knew I’d find oodles of photographic inspiration.

The forge wasn't being used today, but I still found plenty of details to photograph

The forge wasn't being used today, but I still found plenty of details to photograph

Inside the plumber's shop  - plenty of  tools, and the all important kettle for a good brew!

Inside the plumber's shop - plenty of tools, and the all important kettle for a good brew!

When we lived in Sussex I used to come here regularly, but it’s been about eighteen months since my last visit. In that time a couple more buildings have been reconstructed. The museum opened in 1974, to preserve historically important houses and working structures which would otherwise be demolished. I remember seeing many of the buildings on school trips as a child, but it’s surprising how many more have been added over the years.

Inside the chapel

Inside the chapel

I decided to take a two-pronged approach today, shooting with just two contrasting focal length lenses, one on each of my camera bodies. For wide shots I used the equivalent of a 24mm focal length, and picked 150mm for details shots. This might seem a rather extreme contrast, but I found the combination worked well and it made me think carefully about what to photograph, and where I needed to stand to frame things.

Upstairs in the Market Hall

Upstairs in the Market Hall

A Victorian schoolhouse from the seaside village of West Wittering

A Victorian schoolhouse from the seaside village of West Wittering

Tindalls Cottage was reconstructed here in 2012 and now looks like it's been part of the landscape for centuries

Tindalls Cottage was reconstructed here in 2012 and now looks like it's been part of the landscape for centuries

This has to be the most imposing garden gate I've ever seen!

This has to be the most imposing garden gate I've ever seen!

The overcast skies today made the light outdoors rather dull. Indoors though it was another matter. The soft light made the interiors of these old buildings wonderfully atmospheric and also made it easier to manage the contrast between light and shade.

Inside the great hall of Bayleaf, a medieval manor house

Inside the great hall of Bayleaf, a medieval manor house

Upstairs you can clearly see the post beam constructions

Upstairs you can clearly see the post beam constructions

The bread oven in the Winkhurst medieval kitchen

The bread oven in the Winkhurst medieval kitchen

Baking bread, made from flour milled on site, over an open fire. The bread was delicious!

Baking bread, made from flour milled on site, over an open fire. The bread was delicious!

The museum is home to a number of animals, including chickens, shire horses, pigs and a couple of cats. The chickens came to greet me while I ate my sandwich at lunchtime, hoping for some crumbs from me. After lunch I strolled down to the stable, where Major, and 18 year old shire horse, was getting quite bolshy with his keeper. Fortunately, he calmed down enough for me to catch one photo. I also made friends with Smudge, a lovely tortoiseshell cat who decided to adopt the stables as her home after an event at the museum a couple of years ago. Naturally I offered plenty of ear tickles in return for my photo!

My last port of call for the day was the modern Gridshell building, constructed from scratch in 2002. Its structure is made entirely from oak laths, bent to form this expressively curvaceous shape. I’ve photographed it many times before, but with a building like this there’s always a new angle to be found!

The Downland Gridshell

The Downland Gridshell

Even the roof is curvaceous

Even the roof is curvaceous

21 March 2019

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