Thats right; it’s where i’m from, born and bred, my back yard.. or something like that. If you know me then you probably know that i’m from Basingstoke, if you don’t know me, i’m still from Basingstoke… If you’re to believe what Wikipedia says then you’ll learn that Basingstoke has a population of around 85,000 but this doesn’t include some of the suburban villages like Lychpit or Chineham, if we throw those into the mix it’s going to be well over 100,000. There’s not a whole lot going on here, if you speak to people from Basingstoke most of them will tell you it’s a pretty good place to live but it’s also pretty boring!
I’ve been wanting to walk around town recently and take some photo’s, i’d originally wanted to do some street photography but decided to focus on the buildings of the town centre. I asked a handful of people what they thought were the most iconic or main buildings in and around town. My mind was pretty much made up but i wanted to make sure i wasn’t completely off the boil, luckily the people i asked confirmed my suspicions.
First up on most peoples list was ‘The AA Building’ or ‘Fanum House’ (i’ve never heard anyone call it that, ever). I had an idea of what i wanted the shot to look like before i got near the building and knew there was a makeshift car park not far from the building which would give me the perfect spot to take the photo. I used my 60mm lens for this one and had to push the ISO up to 2000 as it was getting dark, the shot came out a little grainy but i’m pleased with it and the black and white image definitely suits this building, the epitome of 1970’s Basingstoke.
Next up most people were either saying Churchill Plaza or Matrix House, both of which are located really central. I knew i’d be able to get pretty close to both these buildings and it was pretty quiet around town on Sunday night so i was confident in getting the shots i wanted. I planned to get close to Churchill Plaza and shoot up at the building to give a good impression of it’s size. I used my 10-24mm for both these shots which made it easy to get close, i decided at the last minute to take an HDR of Churchill Plaza, i thought the lines and reflections would look better that way, i nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to line it up, even with the framing grid and virtual horizon on my camera i’m still not convinced the photo is symmetrical, something just doesn’t look right, i think i’m stood a couple feet too far left. The building you can see in the reflection is Skyline Plaza, a relatively new development of flats, previously home to IBM. This shot was at 10mm, i love the effect you get with this lens at this wide focal length.
I decided to revert back to a colder looking black and white shot of Matrix House, i really like the way this one came out, i used my 10-24mm lens at a focal length of 16mm, i zoomed in a bit to help with the composition. You’ll always see amazing reflections in the windows when driving or walking past. I’d love to get inside this building and take some photos of the atrium, can anyone help me out?
These three buildings are comfortably the most iconic buildings around town. There are some newer buildings which stand out too, Festival Place was mentioned by a couple people, so was The Anvil. I’d not considered Festival Place simply because it’s not really a single building, if i was going to take a photo to portray Festival Place it would need to be of the tower which is illuminated at night. I wanted to get some light trails in the frame and knew exactly where would be a good spot to stand for this. This photo was probably the hardest to take as i really wanted to get the Festival Place sign in focus and exposed properly which meant i had to sacrifice some of the light in the foreground and use a shorter shutter speed for the light trails. Ideally i needed a bright truck or van to light up the frame and give some good trails, that’s when i saw a couple buses…… This is probably my least favourite in the set, i will look to revisit this as some stage to try and get the exact photo i want.
The Anvil is pretty close to where i live so it’s easy for me to wander over there and take a shot of the building, i wanted to try and get a creative shot of the whole exterior to show its unique design but i couldn’t compose it how i wanted without getting other buildings or roads in the frame, in the end i decided to focus on what i thought was a defining part of the building. I used my 10-24mm lens for this and zoomed in to 24mm to help compose the image. It’s nothing special and was very easy to take but it’s one of my favourites. The sun was just passing to my right so gave a nice glow to the image.
When i was out and about taking these photo’s i stumbled across the below building, it’s not one i’d recognise if shown but thought it would make an awesome picture especially with my wide angle lens. The sun had set and it was pretty dark but for some office and street lights in the area, i used a shutter speed of 1.3 seconds to get the correct exposure and i’m really pleased how this one came out. If you recognise this or know where it this then i’ll be impressed. If you happen to work here then that doesn’t count!