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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
21 March 2019