I am still working on my review of the Fuji X-E1. In the meantime, here’s a shot from 2009 of sunrise over the pond at Seahouses in Northumberland. This was perhaps the beginning of me taking landscape photography seriously, well seriously enough to get up at dawn, which is pretty early in this country in July! Taken using my first DSLR, the Canon D400, plus kit lens.
Today I thought I’d share some images taken at Dunstanburgh Castle on Northumberland’s beautiful Heritage Coast. The castle is the largest in Northumberland. In 1313, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, cousin of Edward II of England began construction and John of Gaunt added to it later in the century.
During the Wars of the Roses, the castle was badly damaged and it slowly fell into decay. The castle is now owned by the National Trust and in the care of English Heritage. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building.
This beautiful and evocative ruin can hardly fail to inspire, perched on a rocky outcrop above the coast and the plain below. Some great painters have immortalised it, including Turner and, one of my favourite contemporary artists, Michael Morgan.
Lilburn Tower, the most intact of the castle buildings, seems to demand a moody black and white treatment. Can you imagine a knight riding along that path, perhaps to rescue a princess from the tower? I kept thinking instead of Macbeth, riding to meet the three weird sisters, perhaps because Roman Polanski’s film, Macbeth was shot in the area.
I chased down a rainbow there on our visit, only just managing one hasty exposure before the colours faded, from which I made this, rather more painterly than usual, image with a little help from Topaz Simplify:
For all that I enjoyed the, admittedly rather over the top, colours of the last two images, it remains, for me, the black and white images that suit this location more. If you get the chance to visit this atmospheric ruin, I thoroughly recommend it.
Several people have recently asked me about the header image for this blog. It is Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland. In August 2009, we spent a very enjoyable week in Northumberland, England’s most Northern county and its most sparsely populated. Even in the midst of the summer holiday season, it was easy to find peace and solitude.
We stayed in Seahouses, just down the coast from Bamburgh, and with spectacular views of the iconic castle. Despite Northumberland’s reputation for terrible weather, we had a week of sunny days and, every night, spectacular sunsets.
Bamburgh Castle stands on a basalt outcrop. The first written record of a fort on the site dates from 547CE but a fort had probably been there for at least a century. The Vikings destroyed the original fort in 993. At the heart of the present castle stands a Norman structure. Further building took place over the next several centuries but the castle finally fell into neglect in the 1700s.
The Victorian industrialist William Armstrong completed restoration of the castle and it is still owned by the Armstrong family. It is open to the public and has also been used as a location for several movies, including most recently the 1998 film, Elizabeth.
If you are ever in the area, Bamburgh Castle is well worth a visit, but beware: last admission is at 3.30 and the castle closes at 5 but the staff were so eager to get home that they started clearing us out at 4.30. An hour is most definitely not long enough to see the castle and admission is not especially cheap!
Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the beauteous land.
And the little moments,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of eternity …
Julia Carney, ‘Little Things’ (1845)
Photo taken on the beautiful coast of Northumberland, England, with Lindisfarne Castle in the distance.
To celebrate Earth Day, here are some images I have taken over the years of our beautiful planet. The top one is, of course, the Grand Canyon.
Northumberland National Park, England