Posts

Forgotten places: the empty workshop

Inside an old-fashioned outhouse workshop on a vacant farmstead in County Antrim, near the village of Cullybackey. The abandoned farm lies a short distance from the picturesque Arthur Cottage, the ancestral home of the 21st President of the USA, Chester Alan Arthur.

This is deep in prime agricultural country; the fields around are filled with new barley and potatoes. However farming life isn’t always easy, and while the fields look verdant and well stocked, derelict farms and cottages pay silent testimony to a time when more folk worked the land around here. Who knows what lives once lit up the walls of this building, and whose voices rang out across the farm?

The whole site seemed remarkably peaceful and undisturbed when I visited and captured this scene. I wanted to encapsulate this feeling of restful timelessness within the panorama, to let the space tell its own story with a thousand tiny details, so I took my time and shot multiple exposures to combine later. I think the results were worth it.

This was my contribution to the most recent Worldwide Panorama event, entitled ‘Forgotten Places’. The version on that site was enfused: I revisited the scene after submittingf that, and this version is based on a 9 exposure HDR set, then tonemapped.

Click the icons below for a fullscreen 360° view of the scene in Flash, or to locate the scene in Google Earth.

Air-dried hams hanging in the breeze

Artisan cured air-dried ham at the diminutive but wonderful Height Top Barn Co. near Todmorden. SJ and Nat run a small farm offering a seasonal selection of farmhouse products and wonderful freshly baked bread. Their weekend home delivery service is valued by all their friends on the round, as they sell their own produce and that of the local cheesemaker to your door on a Saturday morning. The perfect start to the weekend… fresh bread, eggs and cheese…

The ham was something they started experimenting with, alongside bacon and pork pies, as their first pigs matured and were ready for the table last year. The flavour of their dry cure is quite special, and the hams hang for months in the drying shed, cooled by the Pennine winds blowing across the tops. However unless you’re a friend of SJ and Nat there’s no chance you’ll get to savour this from their Pennine larder… it’s not available for sale!

There was something very tranquil about this taking this shot, in a tiny room full of produce raised in the fields outside, as the hams spun gently in the breeze.

Click below for a fullscreen 360° view of the scene in Flash, or for more info in Google Earth.

A visit to Heap’s Dairy, home of Calderdale Cheese

Not long after moving to Calderdale, I came across a cracking market stall on Todmorden market. Seduced at first by the wonderful pies on sale, I soon sampled the locally made cheese, and struck up a conversation with the proprietor, Robyn Heap. She told me about the farm she and her husband David ran, and how they’d started to produce their own commercial farmhouse cheese, the first in Calderdale, based on a century-old recipe they’d found whilst carrying out work in the cellars. I’m a sucker for good Yorkshire ales paired with equally good Yorkshire foodstuffs, and I’d found a great half of the equation at this stall.

Fast forward eighteen months, plently of pies and cheese from the stall, a royal visit and much official recognition later, and I was finally able to visit their farm on the tops at Hubberton above Sowerby Bridge. I really couldn’t have asked for a better day: not a cloud in the sky, and only the sound of bees and curlews in the sky above. I shot the panoramas in this post, and a regular photoshoot of farm life as well, and enjoyed the banter, wisdom and hospitality of David and Robyn during my visit. I think the views below capture a little of the magic, beauty and hard work which this successful farm exudes. I can’t finish without urging you to try and sample some of their wares if you’re in the area (see their website for stockists) because it’s great stuff: somewhere between a Lancashire, Wensleydale and a Cheshire cheese. Perfect with some homemade bread and a bottle of locally brewed beer!

pano_crowhillend_buttercups_1500px

Click below for a fullscreen 360° view of the scene in Flash or QuickTime format, or locate the scene in Google Earth.

pano_cowfield_1500px

Click below for a fullscreen 360° view of the scene in Flash or QuickTime format, or locate the scene in Google Earth.

pano_cheeseroom_1500px

Click below for a fullscreen 360° view of the scene in Flash or QuickTime format, or locate the scene in Google Earth.

Abandoned farmhouse at Red Dykes, Withens Moor

I’d wanted to shoot some moody panoramas at this old farmhouse for a while: it lies, skeletal and desolate, under giant skies on the uplands between Stoodley Pike and Cragg Vale. When I arrived it was apparent only sheep had visited since the snows came a few days beforehand: small shuffled hoof prints around the perimeter, but nothing inside the house. They may not be convinced of the psychological shelter afforded by these high walls, but it would be my first port of call if I found myself stuck on the moors as a storm rolls in.

I loved the bleached wood and weathered stonework, brightened by the weak winter sun and snow on the ground. I don’t know when this place was abandoned: perhaps when the reservoir was built and filled. Who knows what lives, births, deaths and celebrations once took place inside these walls? A oddly touching reminder of these anonymous experiences of the building could be seen in the smaller room view: a small bunch of synthetic red roses poked out from the snow. Coincidentally when I searched online about this place I found this image: the photographer found the same thing when shooting the scene. It made me think that whoever else has visited the farm in the time elapsed between our shoots must have left the flowers undisturbed: a gently reverential acknowledgment of the unknown and emotive story behind their placement.

Click below for a fullscreen 360° view of the scene in Flash or QuickTime format, or locate the scene in Google Earth.

Click below for a fullscreen 360° view of the scene in Flash or QuickTime format, or locate the scene in Google Earth.