I like photographing in Gosport bus station. The angles of the sun change throughout the day, without any angle impeding you. There is a steady but not boring nor over-baring flow of buses to keep you entertained, and if you get bored you can pop on the ferry over to Portsmouth and The Hard. Or an ice cream on the front, watching as the nautical world goes by.
Photography wise things get better and better as you go throughout the day, until, in my opinion, you reach peak photographing conditions at around 2.30pm. There is such a richness and variety available - the trees in bloom, the Spinnaker Tower, or the old bus station which hasn't changed much since the days Nationals and Bristol VRs passed this spot? There's even a grassy bank, so you can raise your angle of shot like I've done here, or use the usual kerbside shot. Furthermore, the path, in my experience, is relatively empty and cars are very rare along here. Therefore, very little can usually get in your way. Here's 42136 (S636XCR), heading for Fareham's West End on the lengthened route 83.
And you've got BRT. I've tried photographing on the busway and there are some really good places - especially in the afternoon (Tichbourne Way and Wych Lane spring to mind). However, if you are visiting the area and want that variety, go to Gosport on a sunny day at 2.30. You'll have 8 Eclipse buses an hour with backdrops you can play around with, plus the variety of the standard fleet. Here is one of Hoeford's brand new Volvo B7RLEs 69543 (BF12KWG) heading off for Fareham.
Gosport does not have variety in terms of fleets. One First serve Gosport, although the odd coach will drop in. However, you will have a variety of bus types. Pretty much any Hoeford bus can turn up in Gosport - even the Optare Solos, of which only two remain at Hoeford. 53008 (W808PAF) was new to First Western National in 2000. It is heading for Fareham on route 88, the only route to serve Stokes Bay.
This even works in the winter. Here is a shot from February 2008 - Dart 47304 (N604EBP) heads for Fareham on route 87B. Neither the bus nor the route now exist with FHD - N604EBP is now in Bristol and the late afternoon 87B has been cut to form the standard 87.
The shadow on the ground from a lamp post gives you an idea of the angle of the sun at this point of the afternoon. Offside shots are possible as the buses move out of the bus station, and then as they turn right, you can get the nearside.
I know bus station shots are "boring" (apart from at St Ives, Cornwall), but Gosport is certainly not bad (and in my opinion, better for photos than Fareham, even if the buses are less frequent). Here 69387 (HY09AUW) heads off for Fareham on the 85 - the only Volvo B7RLE of this type at Hoeford.
To finish off, if there are any photographers thinking of a visit any time soon, in a rough two-hour stint at Gosport on a Monday to Friday you should get:
* an ice cream
* all of the Eclipse Volvos out in service on that day
* all of the workings on route 83 and 85 (likely to be Dart SLFs, Scanias or 69387)
* the Gosport town bus 29 or 30, which could be anything (Olympians aren't unheard of!)
* 2 of the 14 buses used on Solent Ranger routes 4/4A/X4
* something older on route 87, and maybe the 34 or 88
If you leave at 4pm-ish, and catch the Gosport Ferry to Portsmouth Harbour, you'll be just in time at The Hard for all the peak workings too.
This post started quite structured and then got away from me a little - well blogs are designed for this kind of thing! If you are still reading, thank you and I hope you enjoyed it.