On a family visit up to Worcestershire, I got the urge to get out and about with the camera. Scanning the OS maps, I settled on Dunstall Castle, a late 18th / early 19th century folly just a few miles from Upton on Severn on the Croome Court estate. This place used to give me the creeps in a “Dr Who, behind the sofa” way when I was a kid. When Mum & Dad drove home the “back way” from my Gran’s house, they would go over a small hill, come around a corner, and the spooky “castle” would come into view. Somehow its derelict state, and position on a small back road at the side of the common would put the shivers down my spine.
No such effect now – but then I am 35 years older.
It was a showery day, with stormy clouds moving quickly across the sky, and I thought it would make for a good long exposure shot with the 10-stopper. When I parked the car, I left Helen inside. Young Connor had just fallen asleep and Helen said I should wander off for a few minutes to get my shot. Well, it was difficult, with telephone wires crossing the road right in front of the structure, and the road passing right by, to find a decent composition. I wandered around and found my inspiration fading away, especially as I got caught in a shower.
I managed to set up shop directly opposite, and under the wires for my long exposure. If I got down low enough, the foreground grass might block out the road. A three-minute exposure later, and the LCD screen told me I might have something to work with.
That shot in the bag, I wandered off with the camera and tripod seeking out some unique viewpoints for straight shots. A small path worn into the grass near the folly itself tempted me into some wide-angle shots with the path as lead-in and the clouds as a backdrop. I quickly got into “excited mode” and rattled off tons of shots from several angles. Just as I thought I was getting a bit “click happy” I went back to the car to find a none too pleased wife telling me that I’d been gone for an hour and twenty minutes. Whoops. But I think the photographic mojo is definitely back.
And I’m not scared of this place any more.