Gwrych Castle, Conwy: PT.I | 35Chronicle Photography

black & white, history, photography, ruins, rural, skies, structures, trees

“The Showpiece of Wales”? No Bl**dy Wonder!


It’s name literally means, “Hedged Castle” and Gwrych was built between 1810 and 1825 by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh in memory of his mother, among other relatives. As we drove along the Expressway just a day after arriving in North Wales, the listed country house was clearly visible from the road and appeared to have been built into the rockface behind it; to say that it is impressive is probably the most ridiculous understatement I could possibly come up with. It is staggering. From first sight of it, it was on our list of sites to visit before heading home at the end of the week and, on our last full day we managed to secure a booking, the first of the day and, we finally headed out to see it. Though I was hoping for better weather and the chance to capture some IR frames (and was denied by the cloud and threatening drizzle) I cannot be unhappy one bit for the experience of having been able to wander through this beautiful, jaw-dropping place, with only a dozen or so other visitors at the time; it’s easy to understand why Gwrych would become so busy not even an hour later and having managed an early timeslot was to prove more than fortunate with the shots that I was able to grab before we finished our tour. But having timeslots, the need for which was obviously enforced by the pandemic – has its downsides, especially when entering the more confined or indoor spaces; visitors who’s slots were only ten or twenty minutes behind us – began to catch up and, the wish to slowly take in the place becomes an exercise in either moving out of people’s way or, worse, rushing along in order to keep our distance. The imposed one way system and countless cordons and other exclusions cut out much of the ground we had hoped to cover during our time here and that made the whole visit even shorter. So, what should have taken a good couple of hours, was over in around forty-five minutes. (There’s plenty I could say about that but common sense doesn’t always prevail and besides most of the site available was outside in the fresh air – this didn’t make much difference to the speed at which visitors were herded in, and ushered out by more following visitors.) I was and, still am a little amazed as to how they managed it given that there’s so much ground here! A calculated exercise in speedier throughput for maximum gain, perhaps. I have to admit to being rather surprised when we reached the exit arch so soon; almost as though we were the subject of a time-lapse recording. An anti-climax? Yup. You bet. But those walls (despite the crane which, in its defence, did lend an air of scale)… oh, it was worth it!

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I | 1/350th – f7.6 – ISO:200 – 70mm – Spot.

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II | 1/125th – f8.0 – ISO:218(!) – 24mm – Spot.

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Despite poor light, I was able to snag some very pleasing frames from Gwrych Castle and no, though the castle was host to the UK show, “I’m a Celebrity…” last year, I won’t be sharing the frame of Ant & Dec’s life-size cardboard cut-outs here. With that said, the castle has a huge amount of history and claims to fame, and I’m sure last years series barely scratched the surface. A simple search from your chosen browser will return much, if places like this are your thing. But for me – I love Gwrych for what it is. Splendid. Mind-bendingly huge. One of a kind. 

Magnificent!

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III | 1/220th – f8.0 – ISO:200 – 24mm – Spot.

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As an aside, this post happens to be my 300th here on 35Chronicle Photography. As such, I’d like to dedicate this one to every single one of you who either read just occasionally, follow, click, comment, contribute in any way and, at any point over the last (almost) four years since I started this blog. If it weren’t for you, there would be no point in any of this. Thank you!

R.


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If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © Rob Lowe | 35Chronicle Photography  (2018-2021) except where specified. No Copying or Redistribution of any kind is permitted without prior consent from the author, unless links to original work is clearly provided. All images are resized prior to posting.

An Old Sentinel: PT.II | 720nm Infrared & VIS | 35Chronicle Photography

35mm, 50mm, black & white, fine art, history, infrared, landscape, Long Exposure, photography, ruins, rural, skies, structures

Dunskey Castle: A Little More Time.


In December of 2019, I saw for the first time and photographed – the gorgeous ruins of Dunskey Castle near Portpatrick. The original post can be found here: Post No.170. Of course, when the weather is good for IR shoots, as it was in my original post, I’ll always reach for my infrared equipped cameras first but even when the light drops, as it did here right before sunset, if the subject is good and the conditions are favourable, IR isn’t always necessary in order for me to come away with a sense of achievement or pleasure from capturing the realisation of an image in my head before I even got there. Here, I wanted to concentrate on getting some longer exposures of the castle ruins at different focal-lengths and combine my use of infrared and visible light. So, as Bumble unpacked the chairs and the late evening picnic she’d lovingly prepared earlier, I set up my equipment and polished off my Big Stopper ND. I hope that I have done this wonderful place a little more justice than I managed on my first visit; and if I haven’t – I still have the beautiful memories of a cliff-top picnic at sunset, on the edge of the world with my bestie! Worth it!

Time passes like clouds, over us all – even the stone won’t survive forever and, I feel a poignant sense of relief in that sometimes, we can get to slow time down to a stop – and watch it in replay again and again, in a still.

R.

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I | 35mm. 30″. f21.0. ISO:200 – 720nm IR.

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II | 24mm. 60″. f22.0. ISO:100 – VIS.

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III | 50mm. 30″. f22.0. ISO:200 – 720nm IR.

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If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © Rob Lowe | 35Chronicle Photography  (2018-2021) except where specified. No Copying or Redistribution of any kind is permitted without prior consent from the author, unless links to original work is clearly provided. All images are resized prior to posting.

Threave Castle: PT.II/II | 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle Photography

35mm, autumn / fall, black & white, boats, fine art, history, infrared, landscape, nature, photography, ruins, rural, structures, waterscape

Shifting Perspectives – On a Mirror.


Following on from PT.I here at Threave Castle, I would like to share my final two frames from this gorgeous, secluded, sun-drenched spot. Though the river surface was as still as a mirror’s, the undercurrent was very slowly shifting the ferry round at its bow towards its port-side and added an attractive new angle to the scene. As the undercurrent pulled the ferry round, I shifted towards its stern and lined it up with the bank as much I could (before actually falling into the river) in order to capture this beautiful scene. Wooden jetties – very slippery when wet! I also wanted to share the closer shot of the castle itself – a very simple composition and a fetching reflection. I do hope you’ll enjoy it too. 

Thank you so much for reading and I wish you a fabulous weekend!

R.

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III | Shifting Perspective: On & Across the Dee | 35mm – 720nm IR.

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IV | On a Mirror: Closer to the Walls | 85mm – 720nm IR.

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If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © Rob Lowe | 35Chronicle Photography  (2018-2021) except where specified. No Copying or Redistribution of any kind is permitted without prior consent from the author, unless links to original work is clearly provided. All images are resized prior to posting.

Threave Castle: PT.I/II | 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle Photography

35mm, 50mm, black & white, boats, fine art, history, infrared, landscape, photography, ruins, rural, structures, waterscape

The Day of Two Cakes [PT.II]


As I make the transition from days to nights today, I find that I have a little time to share a few images, straight out of the final edit stage that I was able to grab on Friday last week; a day of glorious sunshine and the whole day with which to enjoy it! Bumble and I decided to head out to Threave Castle at Castle Douglas both as one last go at getting out before my run of shifts commenced and, as a treat for our youngest, Flynn. We called it ‘The Day of Two Cakes – Part II’. We’ve done this before with the kids – we head somewhere for a visit and a few shots then head to a nice café for lunch and cake, and in the afternoon we do it all over again. It’s a way to keep their attention I guess and gives them something less arduous to look forward to. Believe me, it works! Anyhow – Threave was our first stop and I cannot understand why I have never shot or even visited here in the twenty plus years that I have been living in South West Scotland. It’s such an obvious place to come and see and given my penchant for castles, ruins and the odd infrared landscape shot(!) – not to mention water and boats, I have to ask myself how I could have been so neglectful as to wait so long to come here? Perhaps I knew I’d rave about it after as much as I seem to be doing and, I guess it’s better to keep something wonderful in reserve rather than eat all our sweeties in one sitting? 

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I | Reflections of Threave Castle & the Ferry | 35mm – 720nm IR

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The tower was built by Archibald ‘the Grim’ in 1369 as a 30 metre high stronghold for the Black Douglases and for 21 years it was the seat of the very powerful Margaret Stewart, Lady of Galloway. It is accessed by boat across the River Dee, though when we visited, the crossings were not available. I guess we’re getting used to this now, however, the best views were indeed from the opposite bank and, as these frames contain a few of my favourite things, I can only hope that you will enjoy them as much as I do. The peace, the still of the water and the utterly gorgeous light. 

Not to mention – two cakes. Does life get any better than this?

R.

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II | Threave Castle on the Dee | 50mm – 720nm IR

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If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © Rob Lowe | 35Chronicle Photography  (2018-2021) except where specified. No Copying or Redistribution of any kind is permitted without prior consent from the author, unless links to original work is clearly provided. All images are resized prior to posting.

South Stack Lighthouse | Holy Island, Anglesey | 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle Photography

black & white, infrared, photography, rural, skies, structures, waterscape

Remote Pleasures.


Over my last four or so days off, my feet seemed to have barely touched the ground and as of tomorrow, I’m back to the grindstone for another long run and so, I wanted to just quickly share a couple more frames with you – taken during our summer break. If you have read recent posts, you’ll know that we made a visit to Anglesey, North Wales, and we couldn’t really leave North Wales until we had paid this beautiful island a visit. After a few hours stop at Beaumaris [see post #190 here, if you might be interested] we drove further up to Holy Island to visit the lighthouse at South Stack. Whilst the RSPB visitor centre, cafe and tours were completely closed due to persistent restrictions, I had an absolute blast (in more ways than one) shooting from the top of the cliffs to soak up this utterly breath-taking view.

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I | South Stack Lighthouse, Holy Island | 720nm Infrared | 24mm – f8 – 1/200th – ISO:200

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Even at 51 (sheesh, where does the time go?) I  found out that I was still fit enough (or rather, not completely fooked!) to take a steady run up the hill, in competition with our naturally, far fitter sixteen year-old, who remained only a few feet ahead of me all the way up! I was carrying all my camera gear though; that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! (It was a valiant effort though, Corbs!) Once back down to the clifftop (after a little rest, you understand?) I was forced to enlist not only his, but also Bumble’s help in preventing me from getting blown over the cliff edge as, the wind, so strong from behind me as I faced the tower, more than threatened to hurl me over the edge into the rocky ravine below, some 150 metres or so down. Not an end I would have fancied facing. I needed to get as close to the edge as I could only because I was shooting wide and any foreground would have spoilt the drama of the rocks. So, with both of them curling there grip around the belt of my jeans and pulling me back from the edge, I placed my trust and managed to steady myself to grab some frames. You’d look at these and be forgiven that all was serene and calm, but – not a bit of it. It was wild up here. For me, it was well worth it. I do hope you’ll enjoy them too!

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II | North West Coast, Holy Island | 720nm Infrared | 50mm – f5 – 1/400th – ISO:200

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To all of you who visit and follow my ramblings and pictures (those of you who go back years and, new readers alike) I would like to say a huge, massive, gargantuan thank you. I’ve just subscribed to another two years of hosting here at WordPress so, that’s another two years of ad-free reading and (I hope) continued enjoyment. I wish you all a fabulous weekend! 

R.

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If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © Rob Lowe | 35Chronicle Photography  (2018-2021) except where specified. No Copying or Redistribution of any kind is permitted without prior consent from the author, unless links to original work is clearly provided. All images are resized prior to posting.

Penrhyn Castle Country House: PT.IV | 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle Photography

black & white, fine art, history, infrared, photography, ruins, rural, skies, structures, summer, trees

From Shaky Ground to Solid Foundations. [* See: PT.I]


Over the course of the summer, I have had the most wonderful opportunities to photograph some simply stunning places and, Penrhyn Castle has found its way to becoming one of my most favourite so far. Here, I would to close this series with these final four infrared frames, made under glorious sunshine and beautiful blue skies – just perfect for this kind of caper. A fabulous way to spend time and to appreciate so much. Without my family, I would not have been able to get these shots at all, largely because – we decided to go and I would never have been there if it weren’t for them. But I have to extend my gratitude and love to them also, for their unending patience, good humour and tolerance of my endeavours. I guess there are only so many times they should be able to put up with’ “Hang on – I just need to grab this one. Oh, and this one!” I just haven’t found the limit yet. Neither, it seems, have they!

I do hope you’ll enjoy these last frames from Penrhyn and, thank you again for reading.

R.

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X | Through | 720nm Infrared

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XI | From Scrub to Splendour | 720nm Infrared

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XII | Through [II] | 720nm Infrared

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XIII | Penrhyn | 720nm Infrared

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If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © Rob Lowe | 35Chronicle Photography  (2018-2021) except where specified. No Copying or Redistribution of any kind is permitted without prior consent from the author, unless links to original work is clearly provided. All images are resized prior to posting.