A Photographer’s Ramblings: Brough Castle

Castle ruins are great places to explore with your camera and I’m sure I could include many articles on the subject. A new one for me to check out was Brough Castle in Cumbria. It’s easily spotted near the junction of A66 and A685.

Brough castle

Brough Castle

The lovely reflection in the frozen water helped turn a pleasant but standard postcard-style image into something much better. The tree creates mood and added interest, whilst the sunny blue sky adds contrast and saturation. To give a better balance it’s usually best to try to avoid a directly central horizon.

Crumbling stonework

Crumbling stonework.

Moving in closer, I found the large chunk of castle an interesting and dramatic subject to photograph. Note how the sharp edge on the top points into the centre of the image , giving it ‘direction‘. Going in close with a wide angle lens exaggerates foreground scale.

Cumbria photographer

Always a place for humour!

Don’t take your photography too seriously though. If you’ve a friend handy, why not have a bit of fun? A good picture should tell a story, however silly!

Castle entrance.

Castle entrance.

Cumbria view

Rustic window


These two similar style of images, use the same technique of ‘framing‘. I particularly like the shot on the right. The framed image is almost like a landscape painting in a square frame. In both, the trail of sunlight adds foreground interest and depth and leads the eye comfortably towards the focal point of the view. Of course it’s important to find an opening at the right angle to the sun and something interesting to frame through the window!

Rustic chimney.

Rustic chimney.

Look vertically too. Many ruins have a tower or chimney such as this which may be worth exploring with your camera. Consider using a tripod if there’s not enough light. A more expensive tripod will allow you to point the camera upwards.

Look close.

Look close.

As a complete contrast and I love variety when out snapping, try a close-up (telephoto or macro lens). I was interested by the progress of nature reclaiming the ruins, much helped by a very handy patch of sunlight.

Silhouette experiment.

Silhouette experiment.

I wanted the final shot of my stay at Brough Castle to be a bit special and the scene seemed to lend itself well to a silhouette. The trick is to get the sun just peeping from behind the building, which for me meant a very low angle.  I always think any silhouette should keep a small amount of shadow detail , so expose carefully. You will need to ‘bracket’ – taking the same shot at a series of higher and lower exposures. I liked the sunlight on the moss covered cobbles giving contrast, interest and colour to a photo  which may have otherwise worked better in black & white. The foreground ‘steals the show’ for me. The lens flare, which I could have probably edited out in Photoshop, adds direction and doesn’t look unnatural, so I left it in.

Copies of this and many other photos can be purchased from my

landscape gallery: CLICK HERE

More from ‘ A Photographers Ramblings’ coming soon!…