Sussex is a large county stretching from Portsmouth in the west to Rye in the east. As such it takes in a great deal of the south coast and provides plenty of interesting photography venues.
- What to Shoot: The Pavilion, beach, interesting shops, Regency architecture, the ruined west pier, the east pier and, perhaps above all, the colourful characters who live here.
- Comment: The last time I visited Brighton it was during a very cold February day. I was freezing cold but once I caught sight of the play of light on the sea and surf by the ruined west pier all thoughts of the cold deserted me. It is easy to spend a day wandering around Brighton finding plenty of photographic subjects. The Lanes are a fascinating area of eclectic shops selling all manner of articles and attracting many colourful characters. The domes of The Royal Pavilion are unlike any other building in the UK. The west pier attracts murmurations of starlings in the autumn that make for an excellent wildlife shot.
- What to Shoot: Beachy Head lighthouse which is at the base of the cliffs and Belle Tout lighthouse which is on the cliffs. The vivid white cliffs look very dramatic seen from above looking down at the sea - be very careful about approaching the edge!
- Comment: Beachy Head is a chalk headland to the west of Eastbourne. The cliff is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, rising to 162 metres above sea level. The peak allows views of the south east coast from Dungeness in the east, to Selsey Bill in the west. There are car parks just off the road set well back from the cliffs.
- What to Shoot: The beach and cliffs make excellent subjects from a variety of angles. I particularly enjoyed using the beach at low-tide as foreground interest whilst incorporating the sweep of the cliffs in the background. Visit at low-tide for the best views of the beach which is accessible by an iron-staircase from the cliff top.
- Comment: These famous white chalk cliffs are a spectacular sight but they are constantly being eroded by the sea that is gradually (sometimes it seems rapidly) encroaching upon the land.
- Type: Coastal town and beach
- What to Shoot: When I last visited Rye I headed for the beach and estuary (signposted Rye Harbour). I enjoyed photographing the wide open expanses of the beach, almost devoid of human presence early in the morning. There are interesting wooden jetties and ruined structures alongside the estuary that make for good compositional subjects. There is also a picturesque red-roofed shed on the estuary side that acts as a magnet for photographers - conduct a search on Flickr using "Rye red roof" to see what I mean.
- Comment: Rye is a small town that used to be on the coast. However, with the retreat of the sea it now stands 1/2 a mile from the shore.. The town is full of quaint buildings and cobbled streets.
- Type: Large sandy beach backed by dunes
- What to Shoot: The sand dunes can make a good subject, especially with the remains of old fences sticking up through the sand. When the tide is out there is a vast area of sand with reflective pools and, if you are lucky, interesting cloud formations out to sea.
- Comment: This area can be very busy in the summer, especially if the weather is fine. Visiting out of peak season can reveal vast uncrowded areas that look very inviting (despite the cold).
- Type: Moated castle ruin run by the National Trust
- What to Shoot:This is a magnificent photographic subject It consists of the remains of a medieval castle surrounded by a wide moat which, unusually, is still full of water. The reflections of the castle in the water make for an impressive sight.
- Comment: A public footpath runs past this ruin so you can obtain visual access at any time of the day. The last time I visited was soon after sunrise, long before the castle was open, the air was very still and the reflections were perfect. An overnight frost added to the atmosphere. My early start also meant that there were no crowds to spoil the view.
- Type: Cuckmere Haven is an area of flood plains in Sussex where the river Cuckmere (pronounced "Cookmere") meets the sea, to the west of Eastbourne.
- What to Shoot: The stony beach and its groynes make for a compelling subject with a variety of different viewpoints depending on the state of the tide. However, the most popular viewpoint at this location is taken from a short distance up the hill from the beach and involves the coastguard cottages in the foreground with the Seven Sisters cliffs and the sea in the background. You are certain to have seen this view on a chocolate box, jigsaw or calendar at some time during your lifetime (unless you are a very young reader of this website!).
- Comment: The last time I visited this area I arrived early in the morning. Whilst this was fine for photographing the beach, the distant cliffs were all in shadow and not yet suitable for shooting the classic scene. I, therefore, returned later in the day when the sunlight was reflecting off the cliffs and making for a much better photograph. I parked at the South Hill Barn free car park (postcode BN25 4AR) and then had a 1/2 mile walk downhill to the beach. It is also possible to park north of the beach at Exceat on the A259.