Oxted Gasholder - Demolition - March 2019

Crane in position for the dismantling of the roof structure..

Crane in position for the dismantling of the roof structure..

Welcome to my third newsletter about the dismantling of the gas holder.

Documenting the process of the demolition of this beast is an eye opener as I watch small and large segments of the roof being cut away and dropped into the pit of the structure.

From the outside it doesn’t look like too much has happened but I can assure you it has, the contractor John F Hunt has been working carefully to dismantle the roof in the first instance, leaving the sides free for dismantling.

So far almost 500 cubic metres of metal have been removed from the gas holder and taken away in skips for recycling and that’s just from the roof!

As the studio is so near to the site we can occasionally feel the ground rumble as we hear pieces of metal falling, other than that it’s easy to forget that such a vast demolition is taking place just a stones throw away!

There are various viewpoints I choose to photograph from to show the progress and the difference for comparison further down the line, I have access to photograph on site too as some of the photographs below show.

The mobile crane has now been exchanged for a cherry-picker which gives extra stability at height, allowing the team to work under greater wind speeds.

As part of the installation of the new utilities into the development for gas, water, electricity and data, St William will soon be undertaking two trial holes in the pavement outside the project on Station Road East. The purpose of this is to establish the location of the services within the pavement to determine the requirements for any service diversions or reinforcement to the pavement build up.

Other useful information to know is that site investigation has been undertaken at various points around the former Johnsdale car park, and there is more to be done around the gas holder in the coming weeks.

This work involves hand digging small trial holes for soil sampling, then cable percussive and rotary drilling to establish the depth and description of the geological make-up of the ground.

The gas holder is going to look very different this time next month as the sides come down reducing the height bit by bit.

I’ll be out and about during the course of next month photographing the different stages, it should be virtually down by the end of April, let’s hope the weather is fine and dry so as not to slow down the process.

I went on site this morning, Friday 15th March and wanted to share the latest update photographs as below! The sound of the metal as it is dumped in the container is deceptive, it sounds like it is falling into a huge deep pit as the sound resonates.

That’s it for this month!

To read my first blog please click here and to read the second one please click here.

If you would like to keep up to date and sign-up to my monthly round-up newsletter please scroll down to the ‘Subscribe to Our Newsletter’ button to enter your contact email address.

Bye for now.



London Design Week at Chelsea Harbour 2019

The entrance to Design Week at Chelsea Harbour.

The entrance to Design Week at Chelsea Harbour.

For six days this week London Design Week champions the brightest and best of world-class talent from 10-15 March.

With 120 exhibitors and over 600 international brands to explore, earlier this week I took myself off to the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, to see what was in store.

The photographs I took below were taken on the opening day, Sunday 10th, and again on Monday 11th when I went back to see Melissa Hemsley’s cookery demonstration at Expresso Design, featuring Bora cooking appliances, as some of you know I love food and this way I could soak up a few of my passions, photography, food and good design.

I have added some text to each photograph to keep you updated about some of the showrooms I visited, there were so many interesting ones to visit I only had time to see a handful. The abundance of design, vibrant colour, textures and expertise from the artisans and creatives was overwhelming!

I can see why this ultimate design collective is spread over a week, you need that amount of time if you want to get the best from your chosen ones, scroll down to see the ones I chose to enjoy!

You can also sign up to talks by legends from the world of photography, media and design with workshops to take part in, book signings and demonstrations to inspire, enrich and educate you.

If you have a project in mind for yourself, a friend or client it’s well worth a visit. There is also a comfortable shuttle mini-bus service to Sloane Square to take you to visit some of the design stores there including Osborn and Little.

To apply for your entry pass visit the London Design Centre website here its quick and easy!

Thanks for reading!


Photography Masterclasses with Stella Scordellis

Stella 14.jpg

Photography Masterclasses with Stella Scordellis

you know it makes sense…

Do you keep putting off when to find the time to learn how to use your camera or who to go to?

Now is your opportunity to enjoy a one to one or small group masterclass with me so I can share with you my expert knowledge and teach you how to use your camera so you don’t have to feel daunted by all the technical jargon and countless options on your camera.

My mantra is ‘keep it simple’ - so you can capture the moment and reflect on the images you have made.

So often nowadays the camera of choice is the camera we all have on our smart phones, it’s simple, point and shoot and you’re ready for a spot of post production at the touch of a few preset actions and you’re done! What could be easier, which is so true, but if you are looking for a few steps above this then I’m the man (or rather woman) for the job!

Whether it’s for you, a friend, a family member, a loved one, or a child over the age of 14 years I can make a difference.

I tailor each class to the specific needs of the individual - you could be a business owner who wants to be able to take great images for your social media or your products or have a holiday booked and want to learn how to get great holiday images - whoever you are and whatever you want to learn please do ask.

I have taught teenagers whose parents have felt they are under achieving at school and don’t get the praise or recognition they crave and have found through their love of photography they can excel at something, one or two of them have pursued a career in the craft and are doing very well, it’s very rewarding for me to see this happen.

Although my schedule is a busy one, I do enjoy passing on my knowledge and teaching others to enjoy something I can call my career and passion - so go on, you know it makes sense - to book a time and day call me at the studio on 01883 722282, by email as below or at the studio if you’re passing by.



Time to say goodbye to feeling confused about your camera!

Time to say goodbye to feeling confused about your camera!

Name *

Your Bluebell Photoshoot Will Soon Be Here.

Spring is in the air and I can certainly feel it with temperatures set for 14c this weekend, hopefully we can start shedding our winter layers and embrace some warmth in the air.

With this in mind it won’t be too long before I start venturing out on bluebell watch to gauge when our magical woodlands will be ablaze with a carpet of bluebells. The first step is to see when the shoots start appearing as this is a good indicator for when to expect them which is usually late April early May, however I have know them to flower as early as the 4th of April.

Now is the time to reserve your place for a family bluebell photo-shoot experience so I can get in touch nearer the time with a few dates to choose from, try not to delay as they will only be in flower for a short time before they are past their best.

Do get in touch either by calling into the studio, telephoning 01883 722282 or follow this link to find out more to commission your photo-shoot.

Thank you!


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Oxted Gasholder- Courtyard Gardens - February 2019

The end of the day during the start of the dismantling process.

The end of the day during the start of the dismantling process.

Welcome to my second blog about the dismantling of the Oxted Gasholder in preparation for a new housing development by St. William Homes called Courtyard Gardens.

As many of you already know Oxted has been the home of SMS Creative Photography since February 1997 and the home of the gasholder for decades!

For those of you who don’t know where the gasholder is, it currently resides behind the studio, but not for much longer…

Over the course of the 2.5 year project my aim is to capture a photojournalistic viewpoint for posterity and to satisfy my own creative curiosity, my monthly blogs will give you a small insight into the process.

Here are some interesting progress facts about what has happened so far and what we can expect;

The site was cleared at ground level by removing trees, shrubs and the small out buildings, the levelling of the ground was in preparation for the delivery of the mobile crane which arrived on Sunday 3 February at 8am to a small waiting crowd.

Demolition will be done by two operatives working from a basket attached to the mobile crane. They will systematically cut small sections of the gasholder piece by piece which will then be contained within the gasholder prior to removal from site in skips, with demolition due for completion in May 2019.

Following completion of the demolition the next activity will be to commence the groundworks and piling in preparation to build 3 blocks that will house the 111 homes within the completed development.

In order to prepare the site for the concrete structure to be built for all 3 blocks within the development, the equivalent volume of nearly 3 Olympic sized swimming pools of soil will need to be taken away!

Even more fascinating to know;

The first structures on the site including the gasworks are shown from 1896 on OS maps.

There were previously three gasholders on the site, two have since been demolished but the concrete bases remain. The existing decommissioned 30m gasholder sits over the footprint of the former gas generation plant.

It really is huge!

It really is huge!

I recently went on-site to get up close and personal to see just what does the inside of a gasholder look like! Believe me when I say it is huge and pretty overwhelming too, having observed it from afar for so long it was daunting to have the opportunity to virtually step inside it! The photograph above of me posing in front of the gaping hole gives you some idea of the scale.

This plaque sits at the bottom of the gasholder with a date of 1967 on the clip right of centre.

This plaque sits at the bottom of the gasholder with a date of 1967 on the clip right of centre.

The arrival of a 60 tonne crane early on the morning of Sunday 3 February attracted a small crowd to witness the occasion.

The works taking place on Station Road East outside the studio is the final part of the removal of the electricity sub station which previously sat in the grounds of the gasholder. This sub station has a new home at the council offices, at the bottom end of Station Road East on the opposite side of the road, the cables have to be redirected from underneath number 85, next door to the studio, and fed under the road and down to the new sub station, the process once complete should be about 4 weeks.

The images above show the progress so far.

Two operatives working from a basket attached by a mobile crane to systematically cut pieces of the gasometer.

Two operatives working from a basket attached by a mobile crane to systematically cut pieces of the gasometer.

That’s it for this month, please join me next month for the next instalment, in the meantime I’ll be out and about capturing new imagery to reflect on in years to come.

To read my first blog about the process please click here.

If you would like to sign-up to my monthly round-up newsletter please scroll down to the ‘Subscribe to Our Newsletter’ button to enter your contact email address.

Thanks for reading!


Happy Birthday SMS Creative Photography 22 Today!

Wow! Where have the years gone, all 22 of them, yes that’s right 22 years since I opened the doors to my shiny new business SMS Creative Photography here at 83 Station Road East, Oxted, Surrey on 10th February 1997.

A very big thank you to all of you my lovely customers, because without you I would not be celebrating this significant milestone with much ambition for the future.

I have made many changes since 1997 having grown professionally and personally evolving with the times, including the services I offer, my style of photography and in 2011 the change of logo and a new shop front.

The shop front then and now.

The shop front then and now.

However the one momentous change for me and all of you too, has been the introduction of digital photography and all that goes with it on the post production side, this has revolutionised the way I work.

When I first opened the studio I was loading countless rolls of film into my various cameras with either 36 or 12 exposures depending on the format of the camera, then taking the exposed colour, black & white or sepia film to be processed at different specialists, all of which was very time consuming and somewhat restrictive creatively.

I was first introduced to the world of digital photography back in 1999 when I bought my first computer, I never imagined it would ‘catch-on’ because the quality back then did not have the clarity and finesse it does now.

So it was with much trepidation I stepped or ‘clicked’ into unchartered waters and made the gradual change-over at the turn of the century becoming fully digital in 2004.

As we all know there are so many benefits to digital photography - the obvious ones are that you can view your image instantly and share it worldwide at the tap of a button or blink of the eye, the post production, which was once a skill restricted to a very few is now far more accessible to the masses.

I do love the benefit of making multiple copies of a image without loss of quality, something that was not possible with a negative as each generation of a copy would reduce the clarity.

However none of this changes the fact that I come armed with 40 years creative experience to know what the exposure of an image should be instinctively without having to check every single image, a skill learnt back in the days of film photography.

If you haven’t had a photo-shoot with me for a while what are you waiting for? There is a wonderful world out there just waiting for me to take you and your loved ones out and about on a photo-shoot to mark a moment in time for now and many, many years to come…

Thank you and bye for now!