A summer’s day at an almshouse project in Kent

Below are some of the photographs from a summer’s day spent photographing life at Huggens College in Kent. Founded by John Huggens in 1847, a corn merchant of Sittingbourne, the charity provides almshouse accommodation for members of the Church of England who are over 60 and who have limited financial resources. Whilst independent living is also a criteria for living here, I found the sense of community inspiring.

 

The Chapel is at the heart of the community, but the allotment garden, the communal games and activities, all added to the atmosphere of community – something so lacking in so many modern societies, especially for the elderly.

 

The sense of friendship and community was palpable. Working as a professional photographer is varied – the places I go, the people I meet – every shoot is different and this one was particularly memorable for not just the laughter and goodwill shown by everyone who took part, but also the sense that life here was a little slower and perhaps a little richer in some ways.

 

Everyone was willing to take time. Modern life, especially in London, can be crazy in pace. We get so caught up in doing and rushing, we become a bit wired and disconnected so it was a refreshing change to spend a day with people happy to take life a little slower – people who take time to cultivate a garden or allotment patch, to play a game of croquet, to join together in a chapel service, or just sit on a bench having a chat. Simple pleasures that nourish the soul and help us to feel less lonely and disconnected.  I’m sure like any community there are  problems and challenges to deal with but it was a real privilege to spend a day here in the company of those living at Huggens College.

 

 

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A Photographic Bike Journey through the Indian Himalayas

In early August I headed for Delhi to start what would turn out to be the hardest adventure I’ve ever done on a bike. Or rather, the hardest adventure I’ve ever done.

The road from Manali and Leh cuts a path through the Indian Himalayas starting in the green hills of Himachal Pradesh and ending up high on the lunar landscape of the Tibetan Plateau of Ladakh. In winter the road is closed due to snow. In summer cargo trucks, oil tankers, tourist jeeps, Royal Enfield motorbikes, convoys of Indian Army trucks and a few nutty cyclists on mountain bikes travel the official distance of 479 km over 4 mountain passes (heights between 3946m and 5350m).

The trip was extreme. Physical and mental highs and lows, from monsoon rain to scorching 36 degree heat, and air so thin it leaves you breathless just getting out of a tent let alone cycling at 5000meters, but the most incredible landscapes, blue skies and night skies as a reward.

It’s hard to convey the scale of the landscape which is VAST. Many of the photographs contain dots in the distance – cyclists or trucks swallowed up by their epic surroundings, but here are a selection of photographs from the trip starting at Delhi train station, up to Manali where we began our ride, and onwards to Leh in Ladakh.

Delhi train station – train to Chandigarh

 

2 days of driving later, our first acclimatization ride around Manali. Little did we know this would be the first and last time we’d have a dry ride (and dry feet) for 5 days.

 

Starting the ride, leaving Manali for a two day climb of the Rohtang La pass (3946m).

Descending the Rohtang La – the tarmac ran out leaving kilometers of bone shaking rough road and mud. Green and lush Himachal Pradesh.

 

 

One of the things it’s hard to convey was the dust on the rough road sections. I soon learnt that taking a deep breath and holding it while a diesel truck passed belching out fumes and kicking up a dust storm, was a really bad idea. When you can’t get enough breath at 4000m as it is, holding it leaves you close to fainting.

The mess tent

Our camp at night

These guys were also on their way to Leh to see the Dalai Lama who was flying in to Leh in a day or two.

Still raining…but then we weren’t over the pass yet. A long morning climbing the Baralacha pass at 4933m – the main crossing of the Great Himalayan Range.

SUN! Finally!! True to our leader’s word in 20 minutes everything changed – we crossed the pass, the landscape changed, the weather changed.

 

 

 

 

Room with a view – the view from my tent

 

 

The beginning of our longest day – 32km flat(ish) road to the bottom of the Gata Loops then 21 hairpin bends up over 9.4km then another 9.5km to the top of the first pass of the day at 4948m

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing the day with a 17km descent through a canyon.

 

 

The Mori Plains

 

Tsokar Lake

 

 

Walking back towards camp.

 

 

Another room with a view. Camping can be uncomfortable, grubby, and a right old faff packing and unpacking, but there are some beautiful upsides like the sound of the wind, the streams or rivers we camped by, the night skies and the morning light, bed tea and a cheery ‘good morning!’ brought to our tents by Nemo each morning. Simple living makes me very happy.

 

My bike adorned with prayer flags for safe travels.

At the top of the Taglang pass – the highest pass on the road to Leh at 5350m, followed by a fully tarmac smooth beautiful 25km descent

 

 

 

 

Our final day riding into Leh via the Thikse Monastery.

 

 

Around Leh

I first visited Leh 14 years ago and had a chance to reshoot a familiar shot that once made it onto the front cover of a guidebook.

 

 

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India – Rajasthan Photography Holiday – November 2016

A mention in the Telegraph (no. 6) of the Rajasthan trip I’ll be leading in November. Spaces still available for any keen photographers out there.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/tours/the-best-photography-tours-holidays/

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A perfect summer’s day – family portraits

Like many things, in order to do them well, and get the results you are happy with, you have to give it time.  Time to allow ideas to unfold and time to allow the unexpected to happen.  That’s not to say I can’t work fast when required – to capture a fleeting moment, or shoot a portrait of someone who literally only has a couple of minutes.  But, when you’re working with children, and when they are happy to treat a photo session as an opportunity to play and explore, then magic can happen.

We started inside, just the girls…being girls.  Then throw everyone outside for an adventure.  Running, wandering, climbing trees; we just had fun, and I think that shows in the images.  And it helps having a beautiful family to work with!

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Pre-wedding Family Portraits

 

I was commissioned by Barbara & Andrew to photograph their wedding ceremony at Camden Town Hall, Judd Street, WC1H 9JE, and celebratory drinks at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. Joined by their best man and best girl, and their son, this was a lovely low key family affair.

Before the wedding itself I was asked to take some family photographs with their son.  Using natural light and a couple of ‘fast’ lenses we spent a little time capturing his cheekiness before the main event.  Here are a few of those images.

 

I am a London based wedding photographer, and one of the Savoy Hotel’s recommended photographers, but I am available to shoot weddings much further afield.  Whether 2 guests or 200 plus guests summer weddings here we come!

 

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Baby portraits – 2 months in

My sister gave birth to little Lucy in March and here are my first photographs of mother and babe.  I will try to take photographs of her every month over the summer – babies change so fast but even at 2 months her character is shining through.

I am occasionally asked to document the first year of a baby’s life (only really feasible for London based babies) but I am also asked to return to families every year or two to photograph new additions and little ones growing up, giving the family a beautiful professionally shot set of photographs to treasure.

 

 

 

Please get in touch if you might like to organise some photographs of your family this summer.  For an easier and more cost effective way to have your family photographed I usually run pre-Christmas family portrait sessions out of a studio in central London.  Pop in for 30-60 mins and let me take care of the rest.  It solves grandparent present dilemmas in one fell swoop!

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The thrill of publication

Going back through my archives this week I came across a handful of images that went from being a commission to being published.  Often I shoot a job, process, deliver and that’s it, move on, but occasionally my work has an afterlife when the client or image features in a piece for a paper.  Some of these images are sourced from stock libraries by newspapers to accompany an article, others are used as an advocacy tool by NGOs.  Either way it’s always pleasing to see an image get published.

 

 

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Photography Holiday in Kerala, India – Feb 2017

Having run a photography holiday in Kerala twice now, I’m thrilled to be planning a trip to return next February 2017.   If you might like to travel to this magical part of the world please register your interest by emailing me.

Dates: depart 4th Feb 2017 (arrival Cochin 5th) – 18th Feb (13 nights)

Trip duration: 14 days

Location : this extraordinary two week journey takes you to the very heart of Southern India – the backwaters of Kerala, the spice area of Periyar, the tea plantations of Munnar and historic colonial Cochin

Suitable for: all levels – beginners and experienced photographers

On this holiday we aim to blend culture, landscape, photography, and relaxation so that at the end of the trip you have had an invigorating and restorative experience for both body and soul, and come back with some excellent photographs too.

Prices: land only £2495

For full itinerary please get in touch.  It will be an amazing trip – come join me!

     

 


 

 

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Photography Holiday in Rajasthan & The Puskhkar Camel Fair, India – November 2016

Golden sunrises, bustling markets, magnificent palaces, sacred temples, tranquil lakes and the famously photogenic Pushkar camel fair – experience the sights sounds and colours of India all rolled into two incredible weeks of photography in Rajasthan with freelance professional photographer Chloe Hall and specialist UK travel company High Places.

Dates: 6 November (arrival day in Delhi) – 19 November 2016

Price: land only £2350

or including UK flight £2995

(Book before 31.03.2016 to receive £100 early booking discount)

Locations: Delhi, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Pushkar, Jaipur

Suitable For: all levels of photography. Whether you are a total beginner or fully understand the technical aspects to photography this holiday will both inspire and challenge you to develop your photographic skills.

For full information about the trip and how to book please contact: chloe@chloehall.co.uk

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Photography Holiday in Kalkan, Turkey – April & October 2016

CREATIVE GETAWAYS 2016

Join me in October 2016 for a photography holiday in Kalkan, Turkey with the wonderful Creative Getaways team.  Like the 2015 holiday we will be running a joint painting and photography week with myself as photography tutor, the talented Anna Martin as painting tutor and our hostess Sue who looks after us from her Kalkan villa which is the base for our week.

Primarily aimed at beginners or those who want a week to really focus on photography, there is no better way to learn than on a holiday where you can gradually master techniques as the week progresses.  We’ll take in sleepy villages, ancient ruins, sundown over the ocean, a trip to Kas, group tutorials and plenty more, and of course enjoy the social aspect too with fabulous dinners for the group in town.

Dates: 30th April – 7th May and 15 – 22 October 2016

Price: from £945  incl 6 full tutored days, villa accommodation, most meals and all transport once at Kalkan

Location: Kalkan, Lycian coast, Turkey

Suitable for: primarily aimed at beginners but open to anyone who would like a creative winter break in a beautiful location

Email me for more details chloe@chloehall.co.uk

 

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