Category Archives: Behind the Photograph

Behind the Photograph: Lancaster Castle

Overshadowing the historic City of Lancaster and the River Lune, Lancaster Castle stands as a physical embodiment of nearly 1000 years of turbulent British history. Up until its closure in 2011, H.M.P Lancaster Castle was the oldest fully functioning prison in Europe dating all the way back to 1196. In 2011 the running of the castle reverted from the Ministry of Justice to the owners of the site, The Duchy of Lancaster. As of my visit a couple of months ago some areas of the castle were still being leased to the Ministry of Justice for use as a crown court.

The Castle as we see it today consists of a curious collection of structures dating from different periods, built for various purposes.  From the 12th Century Norman Keep to the prisons built in Victoriantimes, this site has seen many changes over its lifetime and currently it is the beginnings of evolving into it next incarnation as a popular tourist attraction.

Now let’s turn our attention to the main subject of this post, my favourite image from the visit.

Lancaster castle England Lancashire heritage history tourism tourist attraction medieval prison court jail
The magnificent 15th century gatehouse of Lancaster Castle.

Shown here is the main entrance to the castle, this magnificent gatehouse dating from the early 15th century was constructed during the time of Henry IV (1367-1413) incorporating into the new structure an earlier Norman gateway, this impressive structure rises to a height of around 20 meters (66 ft) and is believed to be one of the finest examples of its date and type in Britain.

With this shot I wanted to capture the textural quality of the stonework. When I arrived at the castle, the first thing I did was to walk up to the stone walls and put my hand on it. It’s almost as if I wanted to physically connect with it and its history, to know you are standing in a place and seeing something that many have for centuries before you is quite an amazing experience. It brings back to mind that I am, like you reading this blog, only the smallest of ink-dots on the large manuscript of time. For me that is a humbling yet reassuring feeling. By converting the image to black and white; it really brought out the tonal quality of the image, emphasising the rugged stone work, and for me brings back to memory how I felt standing there that day.

As you can imagine this building has been the backdrop of many historical events in our country’s history, here are some fascinating facts about Lancaster Castle:

  • The owner of Lancaster Castle is The Duchy of Lancaster. Do you know who the present Duke is? Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the current Duke of Lancaster as have all the monarchs before her since 1399!
  • In 1612, Lancaster Castle was the scene of one of the most famous witch trials in English history. During the Lancaster Assizes of the 18th an 19th of August 1612, twelve people living around the area of Pendle Hill in Lancashire were found guilty of the murder of 10 people by means of witchcraft. The most astonishing fact about this trial was that the key witness for the prosecution was a nine year old girl named Jennet Device, and three of the people accused where Jennets mother, bother and sister who were all found guilty and hanged along with 6 others. One died awaiting trial, and only once of those on trial was found not guilty.
  • On the 9th June 1975, the trial of The Birmingham Six started within the Shire Hall at Lancaster Castle. The trial lasted 36 days and on the 15th of August 1975, the jury found the six men guilty and were sentenced to 21 life sentences each.

Now many areas of the castle are open to the public, guided tours of areas inside the castle are available. Speaking as a person who has visited many historic properties of the years, the tour was amazing! If you are ever in Lancaster a visit to the castle is a must – I cannot recommend it highly enough!

I really hope you have enjoy this post today, if you would like to see some more of the images I took whilst at Lancaster please visit my 500px page (https://500px.com/reclickphoto) if you like them you can even licence them for use!

For more information about ReClick Photo and the work that I do please visit my website at www.reclickphoto.co.uk for more information.

Thanks for reading!

Hugh at ReClick Photo.

 

Behind the Photograph: Blackpool.

Sometimes when it comes to photography, clicking the button on your camera is just the start of a great image. In this edition of Behind the Photograph, I’m going to let you know what the process is behind getting a few of the images in my last post, Blackpool Do We Really Like To Be Beside The Seaside, ready to be shared with you.

The first image I will talk about is the the one featuring the seating located next to The North Pier. Let’s take a look at the image as it was captured:

Seating, Victorian, promenade, Blackpool, Lancashire, seaside, resort
Ornate seating located by the North Pier Blackpool as captured.

As you can see, the sun was hiding when I took this photo. It was a lovely warm day, but a little cloudy and it must have went behind a cloud. This is when I am so glad I recently decided to shoot in only raw at all times now. After a few slider adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw, the image came back to life right before my eyes. It never fails to impress me. Now with a proper image to deal with I move on to making it better. By removing the string of lights from the top left hand corner and heightening the saturation levels, the image is much improved.

Seating, Victorian, promenade, Blackpool, Lancashire, seaside, resort
Ornate seating located by the North Pier Blackpool.

The best way to see all the changes is to compare the two photographs side by side like the example below.

Seating, Victorian, promenade, Blackpool, Lancashire, seaside, resort
Before and after comparison of the ornate seating located by the North Pier Blackpool.

Let’s take a look at one more image from that days images. Here it is as it was shot:

Blackpool Tower, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, seaside, resort, Victorian, visitor attraction,
View of the Blackpool Tower.

The idea I had behind this image was to capture the fun and sense of novelty that Blackpool has, hence the jaunty angle! Looking a little closer I could see a few things I could alter in order to make it a much better image.

Blackpool Tower, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, seaside, resort, Victorian, visitor attraction,
View of the Blackpool Tower.

The main objective here is to emphasise the shapes and lines of the buildings to do this I need to get rid of any distracting elements. Removing the strings of lights, the street lamp is a good start. I then digitally retouch the paintwork to freshen up the appearance of the building in the foreground. To complete the retouching process, I decide to remove the part of the building in the foreground in the top left hand corner of the image. By doing this I believe it shifts all the attention to the tower itself. Now it is complete.

Blackpool Tower, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, seaside, resort, Victorian, visitor attraction,
Before and after comparison of a view of the Blackpool Tower.

Like with the first images, I will compare the before and after photos beside one another to see the full effect of what has been achieved.

By writing posts like this, it shows you the power of retouching and the work behind making the images that I take ready to be shared with you.

If you have any images like these that you would like to be given the same treatment, then please contact me at info@reclickphoto.co.uk I would love to help. For more information about ReClick Photo and the services I provide please visit http://www.reclickphoto.co.uk.

To see all the images I took at Blackpool, and many more, please visit our Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/people/reclickphoto/

Thanks for reading!

Hugh at ReClick Photo.