Almost Tropical, Deal BeachAbout Flash of Darkness

I have taken pictures all my adult life, but took up photography as a more serious pursuit in 2007 after an injury to my right arm made me doubt I would be able to play the guitar again. A Fender guitar plugged into a Marshall amplifier had been my main creative outlet until that point. Happily, I eventually made a full recovery and now have multiple outlets.   Once I had mastered the basics I found my preference was black and white photography.  This was enhanced after after I discovered the power of the specialist mono conversion plugins for Photoshop.  Post production soon became a large and necessary part of getting the pictures to look the way I want them to.

The look I aim for is probably fairly clear from the briefest viewing of this site: I favour low key, high contrast and atmospheric subjects. A friend once described my pictures as ‘dark and apocalyptic but with a hint of redemption’. Delighted though I was with that description, it is quite possible that is an overstatement. Some of the darkness is natural and some has had a helping hand – the picture of the Chrysler building is a good example of this. It appears to be shot at night but the picture was actually taken in broad daylight. The effect relies on a combination of a circular polarizer on the camera, a red filter in mono conversion and waiting for the subject to be brightly illuminated – which is the only difficult bit. When the subject is brightly illuminated this darkens the background because digital cameras want to even the image out to ‘middle grey’. That is why the sky in shots of white buildings on sunny days often appears to be so dark.

My favourite light of all occurs on those rare days with dark clouds and bright sunlight, which creates incredible natural contrast. The picture of Deal from the pier under a heavy stormy sky on this page is a good example of these conditions.  The term’ flash of darkness’ came from one of my daughters when she first saw lightning.  I like it because it is contrary: we all know darkness does not flash, and it hints at drama and contrast.

I started with landscapes, particularly of the Kent coast and Deal (where I grew up) and on my travels, and have since taken to street photography, which I find more difficult, but very rewarding. I am also fascinated by dramatic statues. If you happen to know the location of a particularly fine heroic statue of the type you see here, please do share the location with me.  In fact, if you have any recommendations of where you think I would find good subjects to shoot please let me know through the contact page.

I am continuing to learn all the time, and though I’ve been inspired by many photographers, I seem to benefit most from experimentation. The majority of shots of I take don’t pass muster; what you see on this site is what I think does – I hope you enjoy them. I typically don’t sell copies of my pictures, but if you are interested in an image please send me an email at

Thank you