A Photographer’s Ramblings: ‘Light Up Lancaster’ Festival

I’ve picked several of my favourite and most photogenic highlights (excuse the pun) from this weekend’s popular ‘Light Up Lancaster‘ festival.



I started with trying to capture a nice angle on the curious multi-sensory music making installation, as it describes itself, behind the castle. Just enough light to get away without using a tripod at 800 ISO and glad you can’t hear it on the photo!

light up lancaster photos

The inner castle walls as never seen before!



The large scale interactive light projection on the inner courtyard walls of Lancaster Castle was a dramatic and surreal explosion of colour and certainly the most fum to photograph. I tried different angles all manages quite easily without the tripod. As there was a lot of movement, I needed a fairly high shutter speed to successfully freeze the detail.

I liked the shots with people in the foreground giving it life and scale as well as a touch of depth when shooting towards a corner. On departure, my final shot illustrates location, thanks to the old prison sign still being in place. All in all a satisfying photographic experience.

Here’s a handy tip when you are snapping outdoors at night… As well as taking a tripod and selection of lenses, always carry a small torch with you. There’s nothing worse than missing a shot whilst fumbling around in the dark in your camera bag or straining to set your camera!


People give scale in a photograph.

Lancaster Castle event

Dramatic castle facade.

Moving on and round the corner to the Storey Gardens, my biggest photographic challenge of the night was to try to replecate Steve Messam’s impressive photo from the programme, of his installation ‘When The Red Rose’. Of course I had to deal with dozens of people walking in front of the camera; an unavoidable hazard when photographing popular events.

Storey Gardens

A peep into Storey Gardens.

I loved the ‘Tree Of Light‘ (below) pulsating light in the middle of Market Square. Quite ‘theraputic’ to watch  found.

Lancaster's Market Square.

Lancaster’s Market Square.


Glowing lanterns.

Timing was everything at this display, especially as the light was constantly changing. I chose a very wide angle lens, enabling me to get in front of the crowds and close in without loosing any of the subject  matter. The contrasting colours look very strange.

Dalton Square, ready for Christmas.

Dalton Square, ready for Christmas.

My final city destination was the elegant Dalton Square. The impressive display of Christmas lights on the trees and the backdrop of the Town Hall always make a lovely festive photograph. I shot at a fairly high angle to avoid all the foreground ‘clutter’ (no offence intended to exhibitors and stallholders!).

It’s well worth going back when it’s deserted and how wonderful it would look moonlit with a dusting of snow on the ground and trees. Can you picture that? This is definitely a job for the tripod, much as no doubt few photographers like lugging one around with them.

The Christmas light are of course ongoing, but the Light Up Lancaster festival continues this weekend (4th-5th November), culminating in the wonderful fireworks display over the castle. This year and breaking with tradition, I’m off out of town to a different display.


Wrap up well, happy snapping and look out for more Photographer’s Ramblings coming soon!