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Spiegel: two views of a sculpture by Jaume Plensa

I shot a panorama of acclaimed Spanish artist Jaume Plensa’s ‘Dream’ in September 2009… the elegant, elongated girl’s head peering over the trees at the old colliery site at Sutton Manor captured my imagination, much as it does with thousands of drivers passing along the M62 everyday.

Two years later a major exhibition of his work opened at the ever-wonderful Yorkshire Sculpture Park: visiting it had been on my agenda for some time but I was waiting for the right kind of weather, and an appropriate window in my diary. Finally, just a few weeks before the exhibition ended, a wintery Saturday in January brought the kind of clear, cold calm which I’d craved. It’s hard to ignore the beauty which the light in the afternoon imbues on a cold landscape on a day like this… temporarily lighting up the landscape before fading, leaving only a hint of its former self smeared on the horizon.Perfect for shooting man-made artworks in an outdoor environment.

Click or tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser

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Click or tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser

Evidently many others had the same idea… the park at West Bretton was heaving when we arrived, with hundreds of people enjoying the rolling parkland and interior exhibitions. The Plensa exhibition itself was revelatory: a good selection of new and existing piece spread throughout the grounds, and filling the underground gallery. The underground pieces were superb, but popular and therefore packed… so it was a relief to break into the crisp air again and stretch our legs, walking around the spacious parkland. After several hours wandering through the grounds, basking in the setting sun and shooting some wonderful HDR sequences (see the gallery below), we made our way back over the pastures in the almost-inky darkness towards the car park.

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A Victorian cathedral of the railways…

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This rather wonderful statue of the well-loved poet, Sir John Betjeman, looks up in awed appreciation at the glass and iron beauty of the Barlow train shed at St Pancras International. The station was reopened in 2007 as the London terminal for Eurostar, as the train next to the camera obligingly illustrates.

Betjeman was instrumental in saving this stunning building from demolition in the 1960s, so it’s perhaps only right he’s commemorated in this sculpture by Martin Jennings. I’d read about the delicate typographic inscription at the base of this artwork and had hoped for some time that I’d have the opportunity to shoot this and the surrounding station environment.

Despite the absence of people in shot, this was taken at rush hour on a weekday evening, just as the light was fading. Judicious timing and some long exposure photography allowed me to create the illusion of emptiness, drawing ones eye back to the former Poet Laureate looking up to the arched heavens.

(updated version now featured on 360 Cities – click on the icon below to view a version which is mobile compatible)

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

Tod in snow 1: Fielden Wharf

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

Dream: a sculpture by Jaume Plensa

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This 20m high sculpture of a young girl’s head stands next to the busy M62 motorway near St Helens in Merseyside.

Dream‘ is the result of a brief from former miners from the Sutton Manor Colliery, where the giant sculpture now stands. The artist Jaume Plensa worked with the community for a year to help nurture and develop their dream to create a positive piece of public art on a large scale. The whole process was part of the Channel 4 Big Art Project.

The brilliant white marble and concrete finish beautifully reflects the light and mood of the skies, as the head peers above the treeline. I’d passed this very visible public art project several times in the last couple of months (in radically different weather conditions) while driving along the M62, and knew I wanted to view and photograph it properly. I was really lucky with the sky when I stopped to shoot this: such glorious clouds crown the view perfectly.

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

Deer Shelter: a Skyspace by James Turrell

Deer Shelter, a stunning installation by renowned US artist James Turrell, is a permanent outdoor exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield.The constantly changing sky is framed within a sharp-edged aperture in the ceiling of this subterranean chamber in a converted deer shelter on the estate, drawing one’s eyes upwards and challenging one’s perception of depth and colour. It’s an incredible, immersive and engaging piece.

When I saw it for the first time a couple of months ago I knew it would be great subject matter for a panorama, but the park was so busy I wasn’t able to set up the kit and capture it properly. Today I was able to stop off on the way back from an appointment, rest and have a spot of lunch, all in this wonderful space. The result is almost unreal, but I can reassure the viewer that despite the hyper-real nature of the sky, there is no retouching or colour correction at all. Brilliant.

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.