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Yet more cooling tower views

I couldn’t resist the chance to revisit the iconic cooling towers for a third time in early May, this time with another friend who’s also a photographer. I spent a lot of time onsite capturing HDRs and backplates for a separate sIBL project I’m working on, but I also managed to shoot a couple of panoramas inside the towers themselves.

The greatest challenge on the day was the wind: with the landscape so flat, and the towers themselves acting as giant chimneys, it was often hard to keep the tripod steady for long enough to shoot the exposure ranges. Meanwhile the clouds scudded across the sky, occluding the sun right in the midle of my exposures, creating massive changes in light levels. And finally it was distinctly chilly after the warmth of April. Lots of fun. Never the less, I was more than happy to spend the afternoon capturing some of the details and nuances of this site. There were a lot of changes from time I’d visited in January, and I’ve heard the site may be cleared soon. Glad we got another chance to explore while we could.

HTML5 version

Click the icons above to view a fullscreen 360° view of the scene with Flash (for desktop) or HTML5 (for mobile). You can also view the location in Google Earth. Happy viewing!

HTML5 version

Click the icons above to view a fullscreen 360° view of the scene with Flash (for desktop) or HTML5 (for mobile). You can also view the location in Google Earth. Happy viewing!

More views of the cooling towers

I went back to the site of the wonderful Thorpe Marsh Power Station near Doncaster this weekend with my friend English Electric: he to sample the colossal reverb inside the cooling towers, and I to take more photos. I’d only had a cursory visit in October, which barely whet my appetite, so I’ve being eager to go back ever since.

I got a lot of great stills, and also snapped a couple of panos. All are multiple exposure shots, but I’ve gone back to using Enfuse for these, rather than a ‘true’ HDR workflow, as I feel it works better for the subject matter.

Anyway, enough of the technical stuff. If you can visit this site, do so. It’s a photographer’s dream…

Click below for a full screen 360° view of the scene with Flash, to read more on Wikipedia, to see the location in Google Earth, or to view an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch compatible version.

Click below for a full screen 360° view of the scene with Flash, to read more on Wikipedia, to see the location in Google Earth, or to view an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch compatible version.

Whitby Abbey: vampires optional…

This is the impressive ruined Benedictine abbey which sits on the hilltop above Whitby, the delightfully picturesque fishing town on the coast of the North Yorkshire moors. The abbey forms an impressively moody sight in its own right, overlooking the North Sea and the quaint fishing harbour below.

However it (and the town below) found literary fame after Bram Stoker set part of his novel ‘Dracula’ in Whitby. The fictional count preyed on Lucy on the East Cliff, just a few yards from this abbey. 120 years after Bram Stoker wrote his gothic masterpiece, Whitby has become a regular place of gathering for goths from across the country. We arrived there on one such weekend, the day after Halloween, and the site was dotted with impressively-dressed goths checking out the ruins. The spectral figures added to the sense of other-worldliness. The skies were exactly what one would hope for in a setting like this: turbulent and rolling clouds, with shafts of sunlight breaking out above the autumnal moorland. Very evocative…

Click below for a full screen 360° view of the scene with Flash, to read more on Wikipedia, to see the location in Google Earth, or to view an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch compatible version.

Hyperboloid Towers of Dub

I’ve always wanted to get inside a cooling tower: those curved iconic structures indelibly associated with power stations. The nearest I got was a couple of years ago when I shot the soon-to-be destroyed towers near Meadowhall from the viaduct nearby. I sadly discounted ever being able to climb inside one of these giant structures, assuming that health & safety and security concerns would rule out any exploratory access…

So you can probably imagine my excitement when a few months ago I read there was a disused and decommissioned power station near Doncaster – Thorpe Marsh – where almost everything bar the six cooling towers had been demolished. These remained due to concerns that demolition could threaten the safety of nearby canal walls. More recently I happened to be driving up the A1 and as I neared the turn-off for Doncaster the rainclouds parted, and provided the opportunity for a little exploration. Fortune smiled, so I turned off and headed to Thorpe Marsh.

The site itself is rather eerie: these towers are truly massive and you you approach they loom up and over you almost impossibly. Getting inside wasn’t hard, but was very spooky. Every noise, from the klaxons on the nearby level crossing, to the crackle of what I presume was heat-proof lining blowing slowly around the floor, echoed and swirled around me. I was convinced somebody was walking behind me at one point. You’ve never heard echoes and reverberations like it: the sound fades and then seems to almost be amplified again as it circles back towards you. Even the click of the camera shutter sounded like a pebble being thrown down a well, amplified and exaggerated dramatically.

I love looking up in this shot, eyes drawn inexorably to the darkening skies above, framed by the aperture of the tower opening. As you’d expect there’s a vast dynamic light range between inside and out: this was shot with a six exposure bracketed sequence and tweaked in post to give some idea of the drama of the scene. Amazing place!

Click below for a full screen 360° view of the scene with Flash, to read more on Wikipedia, to see the location in Google Earth, or to view an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch compatible version.

Summer’s evening on the beach…

Enjoying a brief Indian summer on a beach at the side of a Pennine reservoir. We started the summer with a heatwave; and despite a lot of rain in the last month, water levels are still significantly lower than they should be, exposing sandy foreshores and hitherto hidden features such as walls and gateposts.

This is Baitings reservoir near Ripponden: I’ve previously photographed this place as I love the sheltered, glassy surface of this stretch of water. This evening was truly glorious though, loved the light, and caught the sun just as it started to dip over the skyline. Shot as a 9 exposure HDR, which captured the full range of the sun’s colour and warmth.

Click below for a full screen 360° view of the scene with Flash, to see the location in Google Earth, or to view an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch compatible version.