Tag: buildings

05 Oct

Misty Sunrise at Teignmouth Pier

After a couple of weekends of frustrating weather, one of which involved dragging myself out and about in the wee small hours for zero reward, and the other of which was just a non-starter, I was desperate to venture forth with the camera last Saturday. The problem I had was that, with so few chances to get out and about, I was equally desperate to go to the “right” location while I had the chance.

Studying my tide time, map, and sunrise related smartphone apps, I had a few options – Lyme Regis, the Otter Estuary, and Sidmouth were all possibilities. With a settled spell of high pressure, there was a lot of “gunk” in the lower atmosphere which should have provided a “warm” sunrise. However, with interesting cloudy skies unlikely, I thought that maybe going West of the Exe, where fog had been forecast, would be a better option. Getting up to Mamhead viewpoint and looking down onto a foggy valley sounded promising.

Leaving the house early and re-acquainting myself with Richard Allinson’s graveyard shift show on Radio 2, I headed towards Exeter. Twenty minutes later I turned off the A380 and headed for Mamhead. I noticed that there was some interesting cloud in the sky which, in the pre-dawn light, was too tempting to ignore so I turned around and headed down to Teignmouth for a crack at the pier.

My intention was to shoot into the sunrise with the pier in silhouette, but when I got to sea level the fog was coming in and I thought I’d wasted my journey. Disappointed, I set up my tripod on the beach and thought I’d wait and see what happened anyway. My patience (or desperation?) was rewarded because the fog lifted a little and I was treated to a rather good sunrise. In this shot the end of the pier is disappearing into the mist and, shortly after it was taken, the mist became a bit too thick and I returned up into the hills again to Mamhead for a few bonus shots looking down onto the fog.

The following shot was taken having returned to Mamhead viewpoint after sunrise – my first visit and probably not my last:

20 Jun

Exorcising the Dunstall Castle Ghosts

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.

Three Minute Exposure, Dunstall Castle

Dunstall Castle