Tuesday, July 02, 2013

New uses for old parkland

click photo to enlarge
Recently, after spending several days in the Yorkshire Dales, we stopped off on the way home at Brodsworth Hall near Doncaster. We have visited this English Heritage-owned country house before but never in summer and we thought that a stroll round the formal gardens with its fine statues, and a second look inside the Victorian mansion would be a pleasant break from driving, with good opportunities for photography. How wrong we were.

What had escaped our notice was that the period of our visit coincided with a fortnight during which a film was being shot at the property. Consequently large vans, cars, catering trucks, lighting rigs and the rest littered the exterior of the building. Photographs of the house were next to impossible as were shots of the garden with the house as the backdrop. To make matters worse the cold spring had resulted in much of the colour that we might expect to see in the gardens at this time of year being absent. Green with the odd dash of blue and a few sporadic patches of other hues was the best on offer. It was very disappointing. We are members of English Heritage so we paid no extra entry fee. What surprised me, however, was that there was still a charge (albeit reduced) for entry to the gardens for non-members. It seemed a bit much given the disruption.

But all was not lost. As we left by the main drive we passed a field that had been sown with oilseed rape and that now had a fine flush of poppies too. Looking across the crops it was obvious from the splendid trees dotted about the field that it had originally been the parkland pasture that surrounded the country house. The trees looked odd rising out of the sea of rape and poppies, no trunks visible, like a regatta of yachts on a calm swell. It looked like the best photographic opportunity of the afternoon so I pulled into a passing place and took the shot shown above.

And the film? Apparently it was "The Thirteenth Tale", a dramatisation of a Gothic novel by Diane Setterfield, starring Sophie Turner and Vanessa Redgrave, that will be shown on BBC2 TV as part of its Christmas offering in December 2013.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 13.1mm (35mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 125
Exposure Compensation:  -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On