Skelton Tower

October 09, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

On Thursday 5th October I decided to drive back up to the North York Moors to visit a location I have been wanting to visit and take photos off for a while. The location was Skelton Tower which was between the village of Levisham and Levisham railway station which is used by the NYMR.

Skelton Tower was built around 1830 by a former rector called Reverend Robert Skelton of Levisham. The two-storey tower was a shooting lodge, and all that now remains of the building is three walls and some steps inside.

I parked up just off the road that runs down to Levisham Station which used to be open land, but now most of the space has been blocked stopping vehicles from parking on the grass. Once parked up I had a little walk from where I was to the tower, but that soon passed. Along the way, I had plenty of wildlife watching me as I walked passed. 

This is a location that you can visit and take photos no matter what the season or weather. The only regret I had about visiting in October was that all the Heather and other shrubs were dying and there wasn't that lovely purple colour. But there was still a beautiful landscape surrounding me and plenty of photo opportunities.

My first photo of the tower was taken just before arriving and I decided to break the "rule of thirds" and place the tower more in the centre of the image. I used the grass pathway on the right as a leading line taking the viewers eye to the tower. The foreground interest was the dead brown heather which adds to the black and white image. I took two images, a colour version without any filters, and then a second image while using my 10 stop circular ND filter. This image was converted to black and white and created a very moody image capturing the movement from the clouds.

I made my way up to the tower with the plan of taking a photo at each corner of the tower as well as taking some more long exposure images. Unfortunately, I had some trouble with my cable release and the batteries decided to get very low, which resulted in me not being able to use the cable release. I did manage to take another long exposure as the overall exposure was less than 30 seconds so I was able to get away without using a release cable., I decided after that to concentrate on just taking images without my filter as it would be a shame to miss any photo opportunities.

As well as the views of the landscape overlooking the North York Moors, I had a good view of the track from the NYMR and enjoyed the view of the steam train as it made it's way from Goathland to Levisham Station which wasn't far away.

I had a look inside the tower before moving round to the other two corners and while I was inside the sun started to shine through the clouds and I had an idea for an image. I was going to use the stone window as a frame, framing the countryside outside and try and capture a sunburst from the sun as it shone through the clouds. It took a few attempts but I was happy with the image I managed to capture.

With the next image from outside the tower, I was having trouble with my exposure due the sun going behind some cloud that had formed shortly after a rain shower. I had to switch from AV mode to Manual mode as I had to alter the exposure due to the sky being completely washed out.

Rather than bracketing all my shots, I began by taking a shot at EV-1 but that was still blowing out the sky. I had to dial the camera down to EV-2 which captured the sky detail well, but the tower was a little bit dark. But I knew that once I was back home I would be able to bring out the detail of the tower by using photoshop.

My final image was round the other side of the tower and an image which turned out to be my favourite from this shoot. I had some nice foreground interest with some high grass, and the sun was shining on the tower given the whole image some lovely light. The sky was blue with two white clouds either side of the image framing the tower which was on the right side of the composition. This was another shot I had to be quick in taking as I didn't know who long the sun would be out between the cloud cover. I took a few shots and below is the better one.

This is a location I would like to re-visit during spring to capture some nice images when the heather is alive and also to see how the landscape has changed since my visit.

 

 


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