A forerunner of radar, acoustic mirrors were built on the south and northeast coasts of England between about 1916 and the 1930s. The ‘listening ears’ were intended to provide early warning of incoming enemy aeroplanes and airships about to attack coastal towns. With the development of faster aircraft the sound mirrors became less useful, as an aircraft would be within sight by the time it had been located, and radar finally rendered the mirrors obsolete.
Usually, the only way of seeing the Denge sound mirrors close up is during one of the public open days run by the RSPB. There is no public access to the Dungeness mirrors, which are on an island in the middle of a disused gravel pit. I have managed to get permission from the RSPB to allow a limited number of people exclusive access to the mirrors for 2 hours during the workshop. On public open days there are hundreds of people around the mirrors which makes serious photography almost impossible, so this is will be a rare chance to photograph these iconic structures.
Seamus Ryan and I will be hosting the workshop and will be available throughout the day to offer advice and guidance.
The day commences with an early start at Camber Sands to catch the sunrise (06:43) The tide will be well on its way out by then (HW 03:10) which should give some good views across the a deserted beach and sand dunes (if an early start doesn’t appeal you can join us at the sound mirrors)
We will move on to the sound mirrors for 10:00 and will have 2 hours exclusive access until 12:00. After lunch you will have the option of photographing at Dungeness or inland across the marsh. Bird photographers may like to visit the RSPB Dungeness reserve. We expect to finish at around 15:00, although some stalwarts may want to wait for the sunset at 18:55.
The workshop costs £79-00 per person, including the RSPB access charge for the mirrors. After the workshop we will give you an email critique of your images from the day and you can choose one image to have printed as an A3 print on art paper (this is included in the cost of the workshop).
What you need to bring
Camera with spare batteries and SD cards
Tripod - highly recommended
ND filters if you fancy experimenting with long exposures
Suitable clothing - it may be wet and/or cold
Suitable footware - you will be walking on shingle
Lunch/drinks - bring your own or there are several pubs/cafes around the area