The week that was….week 17
Thats right…seventeen weeks in to 2013 already…..
Here we are today, Friday and I am yet to put even one article together for my blog. It’s been a hectic week at Winterbourne Towers with lots going on. Not all on the photographic front but as my life doesn’t quite revolve around a camera that’s probably a good deal.
Inspiration is good… to be inspired is in fact something that we all do without even knowing that we have done it. Keeping your eyes open, looking and observing is a fantastic approach for a photographer to learn. Even if you don’t have a camera with you (although these days most of us have a camera on our mobile phones) it doesn’t stop you looking and coming up with ideas for future images. Town Centres, Shops, Railway Stations, Parks, you name it…they all host a wealth of opportunity for images. Of course I am not just talking about images of people, there is so much more to see. Each day the sun moves round from east to west and as it traverses the sky changes the way we see things. The shadows are shorter and longer at either end of the day, just like they are at the end of each year. A static object such as a building or a statue, a monument or a tree will look completely different every hour of the day. As photographers we can use this light to be creative and use photographic techniques that can be learned by either trial and error or research in media.
Media is the biggest and most available source of inspiration available to us all. We all watch television, listen to the radio, read newspapers and magazines; most of which contain photography. We all pick up leaflets and publications which contain images either artwork or photography. The images used in these publications are sought by editors and publishing companies all over the world. Normally they are purchased from picture libraries which host many thousands if not millions of images on the simplest of subjects. There is never “nothing to take”….. A good photographer will find the simplest of subjects to take at home on the rainiest of days. Take a look at something I put together using sugar and water, a small pipette and a DVD disk.
A very good friend of mine, Jean Phillips (Please have a look at Jeans Photos on Flickr) invited me to pay her a visit over in Wrenthorpe near Wakefield. Having looked at Jeans images over the months I have to say that her photography has come along in leaps and bounds. Jean got the sunset bug and started taking the early morning and late evening sky and using my term “the best light of the day”. I posted one of Jeans images on April 19th here if you want to take a look. I headed over to Wrenthorpe on a beautiful spring day and after a quick coffee it was off to our first stop off and Sandal Castle just a few miles away.
Sandal Castle stands in a commanding position, to the south of Wakefield city centre, overlooking the River Calder.
The castle is best known for the famous Battle of Wakefield which was fought nearby in 1460 during the Wars of the Roses in which Richard, Duke of York was killed.
Remains of the 13th century stone castle and the fine motte bailey can been seen on site. Steps lead to the top of the motte where visitors are treated to superb views of the Calder Valley.
A modern visitor centre features family-friendly hands-on displays about the history of Sandal Castle and its owners.
During the English Civil War in the 1640s Sandal Castle was besieged twice by Parliamentary forces. Afterwards it was stripped of its defences.
Now as photography goes, this was an opportunity for me….Ruins, landscapes, blue skies and white clouds….oh I feel some high contrast mono’s coming my way. And thats exactly what I did….Photostitches, angles…rugged stone work and a high viewpoint all made for some superb subjects. The ruins are very sparse now after nearly 600 years which somewhat limited my photo ideas. Nevertheless I managed a few decent images and if you click the image below that I put together in a monochrome format then it will take you to the whole set from Sandal Castle
As I am sure you will agree, the high view-point gives a superb opportunity to capture some sky images. The above image just cried out for some monochrome treatment and you can see why, beautiful dark sky and white clouds.
After an hour shutter crunching it was time to head to our next location. My guide had given me a brief idea of todays tour of unfamiliar territory but I was still unsure. My previous visits to Wakefield have either been to Police events or Pinderfields Hospital; the tourists sites were untrodden turf for me. Below is a map from our companion Google Earth showing Sandal Castle and its proximity to the next stop, Pugneys Country Park.
After a very short car journey we arrived at the waterside location in Pugney’s Country Park. Pugneys Country Park is a 250 acre site which was previously an open cast mine as well as a sand and gravel quarry and was turned into a country park in 1985. The park has two lakes, the largest of which is a 100 acre watersports lake. This caters for non-powered watersports such as canoeing, sailing and windsurfing. Equipment is available to hire or, alternatively, visitors can bring their own craft to use on the lake. The largest lake at Pugneys Country Park has a footpath which runs all the way around the lake and is approximately 1.6 miles long, making it suitable for running or taking a leisurely stroll. The smaller of the two lakes is only 24 acres and is a nature reserve which is overlooked by 2 bird hides, enabling visitors to watch the neighbouring wildlife in their own habitat.
The sun was still making itself known by hiding behind clouds intermittently then suddenly appearing again. I have a theory that was passed on to me by my late grandfather many moons ago. If its sunny, between the hours of sunrise until 11:00 am and 3:00pm until sunset then the light is perfect for photography, sidelight is a photographers friend. Outside these hours it’s either dark or the sun is too high in the sky to create shadow. Shadows are a photographers friend; creating depth and adding interest to an image. Obviously, like any rule it has its exceptions and as the saying goes it was made for breaking. Press photographers don’t worry about the angle of the sun or whether it is actually shining at all when grabbing images of famous people, all they need is the image. As long as the public can see who it is, no one actually cares if the sun was shining. The landscape photographer on the other hand has different objectives and the sun is a helping hand in the majority of cases.
Today, the sun would be just that…a helping hand. In my early days of photography I would have used a day out as just that…”A day out”, nowadays I see it quite differently. A day out is also an opportunity for photographs. It doesnt matter where, why, who or what…everywhere around us things are happening; people are going about their everyday business and in a world of media this interests others. I have found that people are always interested in what others are doing, be it digging a hole or cooking a meal…people just love people. If I go out with the intention of shooting landscapes I will do just that; that is until I see two people sat on a bench eating lunch and think it looks interesting. Then I change my remit and see opportunities that are complete “one-off’s” and start wandering off track.
I was reasonably happy with the resulting images and a distinct lack of aircraft and sunsets made a whole change from my “stuck in rut” routine. Jean did a fantastic job and I am sure she will share some images on here Flickr Photostream at some stage in the future. You can find that here.Please have a look at the above and as usual all comments are very welcome
Posted on April 27, 2013, in Days Out & Nights Away, Flickr, Inspiration, Landscape, Photography (General) and tagged country, mark winterbourne, Pugneys water park, Sandal Castle, Wakefield. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.