301 seconds of Kendal Castle

posted in: Blog, Equipment, Landscape | 0
Kendal Castle, Cumbria
301 seconds of Kendal Castle
Kendal Castle, Cumbria
Canon 5DIII with 17-40mm lens
ISO 400, 17mm, f8.0, 301s

I’ve made the trip across to Kendal several times since moving up to the Lakes, but only ever for shopping purposes.  The thought of it as a ‘photographic location’ had, quite oddly, never crossed my mind.  So when I had to drive over to visit a tailors there yesterday (as you do), I thought I might make the most of the journey and bring my camera along.

Having recently seen Adam Burton’s absolutely stunning shot of Corfe Castle at sunrise, I’ve had an itching to find myself a nice ruined castle to shoot.  Kendal has its own crumbling fortifications, atop a largish mound to the east of the town centre.  The 12th-century ruins are nowhere near as impressive as Corfe Castle, but I figured I’d have a crack at them.

I brought along my homemade ND filter, with the intention of shooting long exposures of the castle.  The filter is essentially a piece of very dark welding glass, with a 77mm adaptor ring superglued to it.  It’s somewhere in the region of 12-15 stops, although I’ve never sat down and properly worked it out. To be honest, I haven’t taken a whole lot of shots with it (I used it once or twice in Oxford and then when I travelled to Japan last year), but I’ve always liked the effect it gives.

All tailoring tasks attended to, I headed out of town and up the hill to the castle.  It was reasonably busy, but thankfully the area around the great hall – the most substantial part of the ruins – was empty of picnickers.

I took my time walking around the hall, and the picture below is the viewpoint I eventually decided on.  The ND filter did a great job of blurring the motion of the clouds, and there was plenty of light to illuminate the details in the stonework.

Looking back at it now though, I’m really not happy with the composition.  Despite the streaky sky and the subject matter, I just don’t feel like there’s much drama to the scene.  I should have moved in a little to fill the frame better, and perhaps positioned myself a bit closer to the wall on the right to create more of a ‘leading line’.  I would have also liked to have tried a shot from outside and below the castle, perhaps with some of Kendal in the background to give it some depth.

Unfortunately I never got a chance to try any other angles while I was there: after taking this picture I decided I’d change lenses, and while unscrewing the filter I managed to separate the glass from the adapter ring – whoops!  Suppose I may as well put that order in for a Lee Big Stopper now…

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