Every year the Brocklesby Estate kindly allow access for the public to a number of areas of Parkland between 1st April and 31st of August. If you live in Lincolnshire and love the outdoors, you need to find time to visit (see Brocklesby Estate website for details)
One of these areas is known as “Mausoleum Woods”, so called because of the large monument built by C. A. Pelham in memory of his beloved wife Sophia who died at the age of 33 in 1786.
The mausoleum has been used by the Pelham family since then and is a wonderful focal point although not many people knowing it’s existence.
From the Main road (A18 Barton street) you wouldn’t even know it is there.
Being a one-time tenant of one of the Estate’s many cottages, I’ve visited this particular woodland many times and enjoyed romantic strolls with my wife. We continue to bring our children to visit every year.
There is an abundance of wildlife and wild flowers throughout the year and each visit is made memorable by some natural spectacle or other.
Photographing the Mausoleum
As a landscape photographer, there is a lot of work that goes into planning a visit with a view to capturing the beauty of the site and seeing it in the photograph you have made in the same way it appeared in your minds eye.
Given it is mid-April I knew that there would be at least one of two different floral spectacles on display.
- Daffodils – perhaps reaching the end of their bloom so might be looking tired
- Bluebells – there are many bluebells in the woodland surrounding the mausoleum (please do not dig these up or pick them). Whether they would be in bloom was left to an element of chance – possibly a bit early in the year?
The weather is another factor I am unable to control. Especially, if I could manage to make a picture in early morning light. I would need to get to my location in darkness and be set up ready before the sun started to rise.
Would I be lucky enough to get there ready for some broken cloud cover and a colourful sunrise?
The forecast was for cloud overhead breaking up into sunny spells later in the day.
If I were a betting man I would give a 50-50 chance of getting the sunrise I wanted.
I packed my gear late on Friday evening, making sure my tripod foot was fitted to my camera and I had fresh batteries in my cable release – both essential tools when making photographs in low light to reduce the risk of camera shake ruining that long exposure image.
I then set my alarm for 4:45am and went to bed. I drove to Great Limber in total darkness and arrived just as the sky started to lighten at 5:15.
On arrival it was clear mist was going to become a feature of the day and although the roads and Mausoleum were clear of mist there were some patchy areas of low cloud that had my heart sink. I would not get the sunrise and magical light I’d hoped for.
A quick scout around informed me it was a little early in the year for bluebells but the daffodils were hanging in there so I composed my first picture with a clump of the yellow flowers in the foreground leading the eye towards the imposing sight of the Mausoleum at the crest of the hill.
I enjoyed half an hour of pure aural bliss listening to the dawn chorus, working this composition, making pictures as the light conditions changed before moving locations.
A Mind for a Move...
Getting up close to Mausoleum would give me an opportunity to capture some of detail shots on the outside of the building and the dedication to Sophia Pelham.
I decided to head up the hill to get closer.
I was lucky enough to come across this beautifully marked snail whilst moving between locations.
The View From The Top...
I mentioned earlier that the Mausoleum is an imposing sight, perched on a promentary and flanked by Scots Pines. As you approach the building from the path the view hits you as steeply as the hill beneath you.
... And the Bottom
I decided to work one more composition before leaving for the day – an image looking up the hill towards the Mausoleum, hopefully conveying the drama and beauty of the setting.
Although the overhead conditions were not as I had hoped, I enjoyed a good couple of hours here. I’ve identified a couple of compositions here that work well for me and I’ll definitely return when the bluebells are in bloom and hopefully get that magic light too!
I also used the dull lighting conditions to experiment with a new technique to me which involves taking a long exposure and intentionally moving the camera to get bewildering, impressionistic images. I have written another article on this here.
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Many people ask what I do when I’m not out taking pictures. The answer is a lot. Time spent snapping is only a very small percentage of the work of a professional photographer. Due to a camera fault i’m unable to take pictures at the moment so I spent some time thinking about what I’ll get up to until it’s fixed.
St Hybald’s Church in Hibaldstow is currently undergoing repair work to it’s tower. As a resident of the village and someone who appreciates having this lovely old building close to home I’ve decided to donate profits from the sale of 3 of my Hibaldstow prints to St Hybald’s Funds. Get your copy here and help save our Church.
A write up of the background and approach behind my latest featured print – Hibaldstow Poppy Field. New from Home James Media – Lincolnshire Landscape Photography by Robin Ling.