Tag - castles

Today in #GameOfThrones #GoT
Middleham Castle – Yorkshire, England

Before I went to the UK in the fall of 2014, I spent a little time learning how to make 360º panoramic photos (via Skype) from a guy in Australia, John Warkentin.  I haven’t done much with the files since, they’ve just been sitting on my hard drive and I’ve just about completely forgotten how the software that stitches these puppies together works (it’s kinda complex…).

Middleham-PA160269_A-HDR

Inside a ruined tower of Middleham Castle

But this morning as I was randomly, mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, I found a page dedicated to the English Wars of the Roses and Medieval Buildings. That got me to looking through some of the files I haven’t looked at for almost two years.  First I found an image from the interior of one of the ruined towers of Middleham Castle, a large fortress in Yorkshire, England that was one of the redoubts of the Yorkist faction during the Wars of the Roses, that 30-some-year civil war when the Yorks fought it out with the Lancasters for the Throne of England.

Then I went looking to see what else I have, and found all the files I shot for those panoramas (with a special tripod head that rotates the camera round the front element of the lens). Then I dug into the software that generates the panoramas to see if I could remember how to make it work.

The final result is the image at the top of this post, taken within the main courtyard of Middleham Castle.  The statue on the left side is of Richard III – he of “My kingdom for a horse” fame – who resided here for most of his life before usurping the crown from his nephew Edward V.

Edward V and his brother (also a Richard) were confined to the Tower of London, and once Richard ascended the throne, the boys – aged 12 and 9 – were never heard from or seen again, becoming instead the legend of “The Princes in the Tower.”

It was not too much longer before Richard III himself was dispatched in the Battle of Bosworth in August, 1485 – ending more than 350 years of the Plantagenet dynasty in England.  Bosworth is often cited as marking the end of the ‘medieval’ period of English history. Richard  and the Yorks were vanquished by Henry Tudor, who styled himself Henry VII and began the Tudor dynasty that ended a little over 100 years later with the demise of Elizabeth I.

Any resemblance between the stories of The Wars of the Roses and “Game of Thrones” is strictly intentional.  George R. R. Martin has even said as much

Castles and Abbeys

Did you see the Series Finale of “Downton Abbey” last night?

Everybody gets a happy ending.  Yay.

Then we wake up Monday morning and it’s back to Trump and Hillary, etal.   Yuck.

I thought I recognized the location that was used for “Brancaster Castle” – the sprawling estate that the Granthams visited to meet the mother of Edith’s finance,  Bertie, aka the “Marquess of Hexham.” The location is Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England. I haven’t been there but I did recognize it immediately as a location that also served for some scenes of ‘Hogwarts’ in the first couple of Harry Potter films.

The whole subject reminded me of my travels in the UK and I took a look for the first time in quite a while at the slide show I made of some of the photos from the trip that I took there in 2013 (when I discovered the whole “Portals of Stone” thing).

It’s making me want to go back again in the spring…. <*sigh*>

T-Minus 2 Days and Still Counting

beauty

(This is the second of two installments. Part 1 is here, Part 3 is here.

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I’m still working on another post (or two) about how my trip to Britain next week came about, and will perhaps get the story finished before I leave on Sunday. For now, I want to get something else out there.

It begins with a passage that came to mind in the midst of some breath work with my therapist on Wednesday:

The heart seeks
and only the heart can find
that which we do not know
that we know

Now, as much as I am loathe to even mention the name – much as Harry Potter referred to Voldemort as “he who cannot be named” – the thought above is a corollary to something Donald Rumsfeld famously (infamously?) said during one of his Pentagon press conferences when he was trying to explain whathefuck had gone wrong in Iraq:

There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.

I’ve always thought that Rumsfeld’s assessment of the realms of knowledge and ignorance stops just short of what might be the most import insight of all, that…

There are things that we do not know… that we know.

Basic, fundamental, truths of existence that live on a subsurface, spiritual level that where we do not spend nearly enough time.

Perhaps I am going to the ancient ruins of Britain to spend time in places where long ago mystics and monks did just that.

As good a reason as any…

And, now that I think about it, I realize that right after I had the “breath work revelation” I’ve shared above, I may have had a clear illustration of the principal – and an affirmation of why I have to go on this trip alone.

After I saw Kenneth on Wednesday,  I went downtown to the Shelby Street bridge to photograph the Nashville skyline and see what sort of results I would get shooting for HDR with my new Nikon D600.

The results at sunset were pretty satisfactory if uninspiring, except perhaps for this one shot where I got  everything to line up:  the sun hitting the tops of the building, the f/16 aperture that produces the cool star effect:

Sunset over the Nashville Skyline - May 15, 2013

Sunset over the Nashville Skyline – May 15, 2013

But after I got that shot I stood around and waited for over an hour for the sky to darken and the lights of the city to come on.  And about 8:30PM I got this shot, which I think is downright spectacular:

Twilight Over The City

Twilight Over The City

… because I WAITED FOR IT (and trust me on this, the small rendering here doesn’t do the image justice; click here to see the whole frame a bit larger).

And that, sadly, is what I can’t seem to do when I’m with Ann.  At least, not that day we stopped at the Beauly Priory on the Black Isle near Edinburgh. And I’ll say again, I think Ann got better photos in less time than I did.  But I wasn’t done yet…

That’s why I drove away thinking, “I have to come back here by myself.”

And now, it appears, I am doing just that.

In two days.

Because when the heart is patient.. only then.. can it find what it does not know that it knows.

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And now, the rest of the story...

 

Scotland Day 8: Eilean Donan

Returning now to the 10,000+ photos we brought back from Scotland…in October…

Day 8 found us saying goodbye to Castle Stuart after a three night stay.  We then drove down the east shore of Loch Ness – most of the traffic is on the west shore, which we’d explored on Day 6, via three wheeled motorcycle. 

From Loch Ness we headed north and west toward the Isle of Skye, following the road that took us to Eilean Donan Castle.

Yes, Eilean Donan is probably the most recognizable edifice in all of Scotland, and maybe all of Britain next to Big Ben and the Tower of London.  Given its location among the mountains, at the intersection of three lochs, it’s understandable.

What we did not fully realize until we got inside is that Eilean Donan is a restoration.  The castle lay in ruins for nearly 200 years after the Jacobite Rising of 1719.  In 1911, the heirs of the clan MacRae acquired the island and its rubble and proceeded to restore the castle to its former glory – largely following plans drawn from a dream that occurred to the new owner, Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap.  After 20 years and the modern equivalent of some $20-million pounds, Eilean Donan was re-opened in 1932 and has since become one of Scotland’s primary tourist destinations.

We were fortunate to be there at a time of year when there was not much visitor traffic. I shudder to think what it’s like in August…

Anyway, here’s the video; if you want to see the individual images, find them here.