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England Photography

Sunken Church At Normanton

Rutland Water is a Site of Special Scientific Interest in the county of Rutland.


Whenever we have visited this man-made lake there has been so much going on. Canoe lessons, sailing, mountain biking, fishing, bird watching, butterfly finding, and even a bouncy castle!


Getting up very early I decided to capture the Sunken Church that sits at the water's edge. The lake, or reservoir, has over 20 miles of shoreside teaming with wildlife of various kinds. Biological interest, wetland reserves and the staging point for many migrating birds form just part of the nature lover's habitat. However, the old Normanton Church sits on its own spur of gravel proudly watching over the goings-on.


To create the reservoir the Gwash Valley was flooded. The villages of Nether Hambleton and middle Hambledon all but disappeared. Only Upper Hambleton (now just called Hambleton), the little village of Normanton and the Old Hall remain. Normanton Church was not so fortunate. It was flooded with just the upper half protruding out of the water. The base was filled in and now a top slice of a church remains.


My journey to Normanton took a lot longer than I had anticipated. By the time I arrived the sun had already risen so I quickly set up on the jetty next to the Chruch hoping to catch something of 'Golden Hour'.


I was rewarded with subtle pastels in the sky, and so reflected in the water as the sun clipped the nearby trees. The warm peaches and oranges lightly kissed the church giving the spectacular colours in my photograph.


'Golden Hour' has a unique quality of light. It is not really an hour long - it represents the time the sun is 10 degrees of altitude or less with the horizon. Once every morning and once every evening as the sun nears the horizon the light rays penetrate at a very shallow angle. At this shallow angle slightly more atmosphere needs to be travelled through by the light. Dust and other particles scatter more blue and violet light letting slightly more of the red and orange side of the spectrum through. So, light is warmer and more scattered (less harsh). This is great light for landscapes, portraits, and well anything really!


Interestingly, once the sun is just below the horizon (up until about 5 or 6 degrees) sunlight is reflected back from the upper atmosphere to the lower atmosphere making the dramatic golds and reds.


Why not try taking a few photographs during 'Golden Hour'? Getting up early or staying up late is rewarded with the most amazing scenes.


Please note that Peter adds new photographs to his online collection at regular intervals. In a bid to make sure that he remains in the real world he limits his time online!

Location: Normanton, Rutland Water, Rutland.


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