Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Trip to Corfe Castle in Dorset, England.

Looking up at the castle from south west..

I've often seen and admired images from Dorset but one place in the county nearly always comes up first in a search; Corfe Castle. This sleepy little English village lays on the A351 halfway between Wareham and Swanage.
It has a lot of history and a beautiful castle placed on a hill between two others, which makes it ideal for photography. My plan to take a weekend away every month this year would begin here, so I booked a room and left my house early on Saturday morning.

From London it takes about 2:20 hours to get there by train to Wareham and then a short bus ride to the village center. My plan was easy - arrive about midday and explore the best locations for sunrise and sunset shots.. In January the sun would set about 5:15 pm so I could get one of this in no problem at all. I was lucky with the weather - it could have been colder though - that's what I was hoping for. However, with landscape photography you have to make do with the weather you are given and if you don't like it, well you come back another day ;)

Sunset shot taken from the East Hill.

So the shot above was taken at sunset which was dramatic shot a very short while so I had to be quick. I got this one and another with a better POV but not the sky - how annoying.. I'll have to go back ;) . Using the yellow gorse as foreground interest the landscape falls away and into the sunset behind the castle. It's a great location but a windy one I can tell you!

So next up after a good meal in the Greyhound Inn and nice sleep - was of coarse, the sunrise! Now in the winter you don't have to get up so early for sunrise shots which is always a good thing.. However, there is still a lot of things to do before the photo can be taken.. So, let me go through the timeline quickly. Ok let's start at the sunrise time.. 7:45am.. that's not bad.. So I had to walk to my viewpoint with all my gear - I wanted to get there early and aimed for 7am.. 30 minutes walking time including walk up West Hill. Then before all that get up, breakfast and change etc.. Well the alarm was set for 5:30am.. Imagine this in the summer... LOL! I'm glad i walked the route the day before because walking around in the dark is a dangerous past-time, especially going up a steep hill! When I arrived at my view-point colours were appearing in the sky already and there were 2 other photog's on the hill also.
So back to the shot above - that was actually taken before the official sunrise time, that's why it's a little dark.

As the sun came up I started to walk down the hill to keep ahead of the shadow and got some shots along the way. The one above was taken about 9:15am, as you can see it has a lot more light and colour, even though I'm just in the shadow still. I also took the rest of the Sunday to hike around the surrounding area, which had a lot to offer but with the castle nearby it was always tough not not get it in the frame.

The last shot above was taken much later in the day with the sun quite high.. I think these lanes would have looked better under a frost of dusting of snow. But, as i said before, you have to work with what you are given. I used some tonal mapping to enhance the details in this shot and give it that frosty look.. But there you are, I think I'll have to go back a time or two again and hope for better weather. Corfe Castle is a beautiful place and a joy to photograph, you can also visit the grounds and castle itself which is owned by the National Trust. Here are a couple of links before I go that you might find useful..

More shots from my visit

National Trust

Corfe Castle

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  1. Beautiful work Ray, Still running? Sure you are:)

  2. Gorgeous photos, I really enjoyed your pictures and your writing.

    Skip Hire Wolverhampton

  3. Wow. You have an awesome adventure! I wish I could spend Dorset holidays like yours. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. Lovely scenes. You captured their beauty quite nicely.

  5. Beautiful, where were you in relation to the castle to take the 4th photograph down by the gate. You say sunrise, so west of the castle?