Sunday, 9 February 2014


Took a trip to Minninglow in the White Peak the other day. I had a rough idea of the shot I wanted to get; the forecast was for sun/clouds with a strong wind. I grabbed myself an ND filter before Christmas so the plan was to get a wide-angle shot of Minninglow with the clouds streaking overhead.

Minninglow itself is an incredible place; a burial chamber overtopped by massive beech trees, surrounded by a ring of shrubs, all on a hilltop. This post from the always-useful and absorbing Modern Antiquarian gives a good overview:

I've been visiting the place on and off for years and recently access has become a lot easier with the addition of a concessionary footpath - previously you had to go and find the landowner for permission to visit. As well as being historically interesting it's a very peaceful place and ideal for just sitting and watching the world go by.

Anyway, I arrived at about two o'clock and had a mooch round inside the enclosure, trying to find an angle that would do the trees and tombs justice whilst still getting a dramatic backdrop for the clouds that were building up. I found a few "possibles" but nothing mind-blowing; same story outside the enclosure; from close up the outer shrubs obscure the taller beech trees. Time was getting on and the buildup of cloud to the west was getting closer but not at the rate I would have liked.

WIth the composition not working out, I decided to drop back down to the footpath and head for the standby location - there's an embankment on the High Peak Trail that affords a good, but distant, view of Minninglow. It's probably where most decent photos of the hill are taken from and one of the most common views as it's very near the car park. It was close to sunset by now, and although the clouds were starting to fill the sky, they were still avoiding Minninglow. At this point I had to make a decision - try to grab a few shots, or get to the car, drive to the other side of Minninglow and see if there were any shots there. Being pushed for time I opted for the former, and didn't get anything decent as the sun had descended into the cloud layer. Got quite a few shots that document the location, but nothing that I'd consider to be a fine art shot. Shots always look different with a few days' separation but, at the moment, the best photo of the day is the one I took with my phone to post to my Facebook page...

So the lesson here is probably that no matter how much preparation has been done, at the end of the day luck plays a part. The clouds didn't behave as expected, and when they did it was too late and the light had gone. Arguably I should have taken the gamble and got myself round to the other side of the hill but time was really tight on that one.

But I'm not complaining. Minninglow is one of my favourite places in the UK and I got to spend an afternoon there. And the nice thing about landscape photography is that your subjects are always there to have another crack at.

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