Corfe of the North - Clun Castle

Geoff Moore on Fri 01 September 2017

  • Image Title: Pigeons of Clun Castle
  • Pentax K-1 Camera used:
  • Pentax FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens used:
  • 73mm Focal length:
  • f/13 Aperture:
  • 1/30 Exposure time:
  • 100 ISO:

Early morning photographic adventure in search of a hidden landscape around the ruins of Clun Castle

Photographing Clun Castle

On our first adventure here Mark and I were unable to shoot the composition we wanted due to the field then being occupied by a Bull and several Cows with Calf's, although more often than not, these animals are just inquisitive, however when they have their young about them, they are easily startled and if they suddenly advance upon you they can pose a serious risk of injury or death. Considering it was around 04:30 and still very much twilight we decided to relocate further away, to our backup location. Unfortunately this decision lead to mediocre images of the landscape and the ruins of Clun Castle, as the composition just wasn't as compelling. 

Having tried several different angles and moving our position for a couple of hours, it was discussed on the walk back to the car that perhaps Clun Castle could wait for another day, perhaps when the conditions and access to or original planned location was possible On our way home, as with all of our adventures Mark and I discussed how the adventure and images could have gone better, what we should have tried, what we didn't try and what we will try on our next visit, having the time in the car to critique the location and the images on the way home is really beneficial and critiquing images with fellow photographers is something I encourage all photographers to do. 

Particular focus on our conversation was how the location, with its looping river and valley settings could lend itself well to fog and mist formation and that perhaps the subject would be better photographed, If such conditions presented themselves, with this in mind and then fast forward a few weeks to the end of the summer months and the moving in to the warm days but cooler nights of autumn, Mark and I decided on a return visit might just yield what we were really looking for....

Star Fall
  • Image Title: Star Fall
  • Pentax K-1 Camera used:
  • Pentax FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens used:
  • 100mm Focal length:
  • f/2.8 Aperture:
  • 120 Sec Exposure time:
  • 100 ISO:

Surprise Astrophotography Opportunity. 

Leaving Worcester we drove to the small town of Clun, in south Shropshire, England, located in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The journey on a good day with little traffic takes around 1 hour 30 and is give or take,  In total around 50 miles. The location is accessible and sits right on the borders of Wales. Its exact location can be found here Clun Castle Google Maps Typically for us we left in the early hours in order to guarantee plenty of time to setup and compose of compositions for the sunrise, upon our arrival, what we hadn't taken in to account was just how little light pollution there was at Clun. 

Upon stepping out of the car and making our way up to the castle ruins, the stars in the night sky and the faint spiral arm of the Milky Way hung silently in the heavens above us as the typical constellations blended in to the mass of other stars, truly a big surprise. No sooner had we adjusted and got our bearings  the developing light of dawn was upon us and the dawn sunlight was quickly washing out the stars, frustrating really as this location I suspect has a lot to offer those who enjoy astrophotography.

Castle View
  • Image Title: Castle View
  • Pentax K-1 Camera used:
  • Pentax FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens used:
  • 28mm Focal length:
  • f/11 Aperture:
  • 1/4 sec Exposure time:
  • 100 ISO:

The Hidden Landscape - Clun Castle

As fast as we could photograph the star-scape above, the night made way for a blue hour, its cool blue ambience bathed the landscape in subtle blue hues as the light layer of mist that was barely visible hanging in the valley below the ruins of the castle started to thicken and develop into body of fog that hung to the shape of the valley beyond, its density, developing in to a swirling atmosphere around the old castle ruins forced us to reconsider our location and regroup a short distance away in order to catch the morning light breaking through the layers of mist and fog.

We quickly descended from the castle high ground and relocated to an elevated position just to the side and up from the castle perhaps no more than 500 meters away, this presented the perfect vantage point to watch the fog creep its way around the old fortification whilst still being just below.

A Foggy Landscape
  • Image Title: A Foggy Landscape
  • Pentax K-1 Camera used:
  • Pentax FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens used:
  • 48mm Focal length:
  • f/9.5 Aperture:
  • 1/45 Exposure time:
  • 100 ISO:

The Golden Hour - Sunrise

By now the early morning blue light was now warming in tonality as the sun reached the horizon, day break was upon us and the entire scene changed in colour, from cool tones of blue and grey to oranges, reds and pinks as the light from the morning sun cut its way through the fog scattering soft and gentle light in all directions. It really was a magical scene, and rather than being viewed from afar, we we stood right in the middle of it. So, on our returned visit we struck lucky, the imagined scene from our previous visit was realised and Clun Castle or 'Corfe of the North' as its now affectionately known didn't disappoint.

History of Clun Castle

Clun Castle sits high on a natural rocky mound in a loop of the river Clun, on the edge of the small, picturesque town of the same name. Founded shortly after the Norman Conquest to demonstrate the authority of the English monarchy over this part of the border region, the castle and the nearby settlement prospered in the 13th century thanks to the management of the Fitzalan family, but suffered a number of attacks from across the Welsh border. It was used as a hunting lodge in the 14th century, but was increasingly neglected, and by 1539 the castle was reported as ruinous.

Other Images from this adventure

Clun Castle Morning Clun Castle Morning
Summertime Blues Summertime Blues

How to get here

Enter your starting location on the box provided under the map to see the route from your starting location to Clun Castle, Shropshire

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