Philip George, Classic View winner 2021

Congratulations to Philip George, winner of Classic View 2021. Philip told us about the day he took the winning photograph, as well giving an insight into his own photography journey.
Philip George Chesterton Windmill
Feb 22

Chesterton Windmill

Chesterton Windmill is one of Warwickshire’s most famous landmarks, and about five miles south-east of Warwick.

It stands on a hilltop overlooking the village of Chesterton, but can also be seen from the M40 Motorway. I did some research and found out it was quite easy to get to if I was passing by.

I had seen other photographs of this location, and some years ago, I decided to visit with the idea of getting some good photographs myself. Every time I had reason to use the M40 motorway to travel to and from Birmingham, or the North, from my Hampshire home, I would take a little detour to try and make a few images.

Often the weather was poor, with grey overcast skies. Sometimes, the sun threatened to show itself, only to disappear for long periods. By which time I needed to continue my car journey to my destination.

I am always after exciting skies. Some people say that I have my head in the clouds, but I just dream of a good landscape. It is often the sky that is the icing on the cake, so to speak.

Philip George Chesterton Windmill

So after many visits, with some reasonable skies, I happened to be coming from Birmingham in 2020. I had been doing a photo-shoot with a model and group at the Custard Factory in Birmingham. I stopped at Warwick Services, and looked at the sky, and thought it was looking really promising.

I soon arrived and hurried out of the car to the windmill. I picked up my trusty Fujifilm X-T3 and realised that the memory card was full and the battery very low. Rather than rummage through my bag for spares, I picked up my Fujifilm X-T30 and attached the Fujifilm XF10-24mm lens, and quickly rushed off while the light was good.

When I arrived, I wandered around and looked for different angles to incorporate the beautiful skies overhead. There were no passing aircraft, due to the pandemic, so the sky was free from the usual contrails that sometimes blight our skies (but can also add to pictures, I might add).

There were quite a few people at the windmill. I tried to find an angle to eliminate the people from the pictures, without having to do any photoshop cloning. I finally found a low viewpoint in the barley field, with just a hint of a leading line to the windmill.

It was here that I made my picture, using a polarising filter on the front of the camera lens to deepen the blue skies and bring out the wonderful clouds.

20200430 Trees at Lane End Down near Winchester 1

Philip's photography tips

1. Visit a location frequently. Get to know it intimately, and spend time looking at it from different angles. You don’t always want the same image as everyone else.

2. Get out and about and find locations for yourself. Make a point of visiting a location, with the idea of making a photograph. Don’t just say, one day I’ll visit.

3. Watch the sky. I love to look for the right sky overhead. Sunrise, or sunset, from dawn to dusk, there is plenty of changeable weather that makes the British Isles such a great place to take photographs.

20161021 Waterhead at Dusk Cumbria 1

Philip's photography journey

My photography started many years ago, ever since I was a young boy, in 1968. My Dad worked for Vosper Thorneycroft, the shipbuilders in Southampton, and I was given a small camera to photograph a launch of a ship.

I then went to South Africa in 1969 for three months to visit my Mum’s side of the family, as she came from Cape Town. My Dad had been a Merchant Navy seaman on the Cape Town Castle in the 1950’s when he met my mother sailing home from the UK. So romantic! Photography runs in my Mum’s side of the family. My Grandfather used to run the Cape Town Printing Press and some of the family were keen photographers.

Whilst on holiday in South Africa, my little plastic camera melted in the sun, and I was very upset, so I collected postcards instead and put them in a scrapbook or album. Eventually, back in England, My Mum and Dad bought me another little camera, and I took lots of pictures with it.

Dad had been given a Minolta Semi-P camera for his wedding present from my Grandfather, and many happy memories were recorded by it. In 1976, at 17 years old, I took a photography course for fun at College in Eastleigh, and used the same Minolta Semi P camera for making pictures. It was all manual, and opened up to reveal a bellows unit.

I left college in 1977 and joined my small local camera club. I bought a Minolta XD7 which was new at the time. In 1983, I joined Winchester Photographic Society, who are a very big and prestigious club, and became more and more interested in making pictures. I am still a member after 38 years, and was Competition Secretary for 26 years, and I now have Honorary Membership.

Primarily, I like taking landscape photographs, but I will try anything that takes my fancy.

Congratulations to Philip for his winning image in Classic View 2021. Philip was awarded £1,000. His photograph is included the LPOTY Collection 14 book, as well as on display in the LPOTY exhibition around the UK in partnership with Network Rail.

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