On the face of it, it was a simple commission..

One of my clients required some atmospheric photographs of Hardley Mill on the Southern Broads, with the stipulation that the images needed ‘life’ otherwise known as good light, showing the mill in a pleasant setting on a summers day (well as best as I could hope for in September)

I left my studio at 2pm and headed the 22miles to Hardley Staithe, loaded up with a lowepro backpack, walking boots, coffee and a snack. I planned to be there for a while.
My plans changed quickly, I arrived at the staithe ready to walk the 1.5miles along the river until I reached the mill, however, there are on going repairs along the river wall and the whole stretch of footpath was closed! Nightmare!

Quick look at my OS map, it didn’t look hopeful. I made my way down the road until I hit a track after a couple of miles which my OS map indicated went to the Mill. The gate was locked and several massive signs addressed my thoughts ‘NO ENTRY’ and ‘THIS PATH IS NOT FOR PUBLIC USE AND WILL NOT LEAD TO THE MILL’

To be honest I was stuck, it was a case of twist or burst, so I parked on a grass verge, climbed over the gate and sheepishly walked and walked and walked. Eventually the mill was insight.

Because the footpaths were shut I had the mill to myself and it was one of those very serene moments.

Getting ready for a shot on the banks of the Broads

After shooting a few images across the fields, I sat by the river, cracked open the coffee and waited until 5-6pm when the golden light came into sight. Climbing over the ‘FOOTPATH CLOSED’ fencing I walked to a small inlet and set the tripod up, balancing on  the waters edge. Before my eyes the light began to dip and it all fell into place.

Footpath closed

It’s not often such joyful jobs come in. Ironically these types of jobs do have their own pressures, it can be difficult to shoot atmospheric pictures on demand, as so much depends on light / weather. But I timed it right this time.

Setting the gear up ready for the shot in an hour or two…

I walked back across some fields as the light fell. Thinking to myself thank goodness I didn’t give up on the shot!

About Julian Claxton

My passion for photography is supported by experiences gained on exciting travel adventures and through working for fantastic photographers. In 2006, I made the exciting step of realising my dream of becoming a freelance photographer. Since this pivotal moment, I have held numerous exhibitions, been featured nationally & internationally in print and won numerous awards, including being a finalist in the National Geographic Photographic competition in 2013 with one of my documentary images from the Sudan. From an early age I began to enjoy taking pictures of my daily life, basking in the thrill of sending the film to the printers and eagerly awaiting the pocket sized prints. My first foray into the world developing and printing strangely began at school when I was asked to produce a descriptive photo for the school newspaper. A front page shot later and I was destined to start the long arduous journey of becoming a photographer. In between exciting travel adventures and working for fantastic photographers, I graduated from college and at a crossroads in my journey to becoming a pro photographer, I embarked on a career working as a medical photographer. Learning new skills and dabbling in video production as well as progressing design skills, I yearned for the challenge and freedom of becoming a freelance. I have been fortunate enough to work on some amazing assignments which have included shooting a documentary assignment with an air ambulance, gaining full access to a British Pro cycling team during an international UCI tour, cycling to Rwanda and creating a photographic documentary of my journey. The experiences continue to grow, meeting wonderful people to photograph and telling the story of their journey. The list of events and striking moments that have played out through my viewfinder continue to grow and provide me with ever increasing snapshots of life to capture. One of the highlights of my career thus far has been staying in rural Uganda, teaching photography to the kids from the region, in a project I set up in late 2014, entitled ‘Give a child a camera’. The basis of the project is to supply 35mm cameras and film to the rural schools in this region of East Africa, teaching the children how to shoot photographs. After a week of taking photos of their life, an exhibition is held at the school and the children leave with their very own album, camera and film. One of the images I shot at Eden school in rural Uganda, during morning chapel won the 2015 Travel Media Tourism and Photography award. A great honour and one that I wouldn’t have picked up had it not been for the wonderful children of East Africa. For further information please visit www.julianclaxtonphotography.com
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