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St Clements Church

St Clements Church is the oldest church in Hastings. It was built in the late 14th century to replace an older one that was  destroyed during a French raid in 1377. It occupies a site on a steep hill in the Old Town part of Hastings, just above High Street, on a narrow and winding lane. As atmospheric and evocative as it is, it’s also surprisingly difficult to photograph from a cycling perspective, with the lanes around it being cramped and narrow, generally either in deep shade or in flat uninteresting light, while the steepness of the gradient and the close quarters make perspective something of an issue.

With the winter sun coming at a different angle, with slants of early morning sunshine briefly illuminating the little lane beside the church just after sunrise, I decided to take another crack at photographing St Clements. I set up my tripod and camera, with an ultra wide zoom and positioned it to pick up this elusive shaft of sunshine – hopefully as I pedalled into it, coming down the hill behind the church.  I took a trial run to see where I should place myself in the frame, and then stood about waiting, and watching as the rising sun illuminated the sky and mossy rooftops overhead. And when at last the shaft of sunlight shot down the street – forming a corridor of light better than I had hoped for – I did another trial run and being satisfied with the way things were looking on play-back, I decided to start in earnestly, getting the shot.

No sooner did I mount up and reach for my intervalometer, to do another and hopefully better, sharper take, when a motorist pulled up and parked right on the curb, mid-frame, despite the double-yellow no-parking lines and the fact that parking on such a curve would block the road for anyone else. She was gone ten minutes, with me standing there seething, and just as she pulled away – literally, as she pulled away – another car pulled up and parked. Another fifteen minutes was lost as they went off to run an errand. And then, wouldn’t you know it, a deliver van pulled in just as they pulled out, and by the look of the load they had on board, were going to be there quite some time. The light by then had moved on, and reluctantly, feeling like a plaything of Fate, so did I.There are some days…

Herewith a shot from this morning’s first, and only, sunlit take on St Clements church…