Lightness and Darkness
Most mornings at this time of year, the dogs and I set off early, drawn by the pale light and the cold air which makes every scent more intense. Despite the cold, the Labradors seem to revel in rolling upside down in the white tipped frosted grass.
Walking around to the south side of the castle, the land falls away and there is a clearly demarcated frost pocket with straight frozen crystal branches emerging against the skies. It is eerily beautiful, very spartan with just the essence of the tree or plant defined by the frost. Winter can make the picture simpler but no less spectacular.
People have walked where I am walking for a millennium, muffled in heavy clothes, observing the trees, listening to the sound of the birds, the small animals crunching through a hedge and even more than summertime, this time of year absorbs my imagination and makes me feel as if I am walking in time and antiquity.
As ever my mobile phone is in my pocket to catch a few photos, a few moments in time to share either here or on Instagram. Practice and experience have made me a little better but I am merely an enthusiast and do not have the knowledge that a professional photographer has of changing camera settings for light and dark, adjusting speed and other settings to resolve what is seen and what is therefore reproduced.
The 5th Earl of Carnarvon was fascinated by what he saw with his eyes and its relationship to what he photographed. The majority of his photos are black and white and, as with his other passions, he worked hard to improve the science and artistic coherence of his work. The more I look at his photographic legacy, the more I see.
Very much respected for his knowledge and work, he became president of the Camera Club, entering his work in various exhibitions. Reading the comments made by both himself and others on his efforts is both fascinating and amusing. From his photographs of the castle in 1881 when he was just 14 years old to those he took in Egypt until he died in 1923, a camera was rarely far from his side. In photography he found a form of expression, an instant of life, of light and time, of perspective and observation that suited his character and allowed him expression.
Whilst he created a studio here at Highclere, he had no proper studio in London. As a solution, he financed the 43 Dover Street Photographic Studio just around the corner from his London home for Bertram Park, Yvonne Gregory, Marcus Adams and himself.
Park’s work included British and European royalty and in the 1930’s his images were widely used on British and British Commonwealth postage stamps, currency and other official documents. His wife Yvonne was both his muse and a respected photographer in her own right. Marcus Adams was very talented too and took the first official photographs of the Duchess of York and her daughter Princess Elizabeth. His 1934 photograph of Princess Elizabeth at the age of 8 was used on bank notes
Photography is like life in that it is about perspective and light and dark. It is also an art which for those who pursue it opens a window into other lives that we can share.
You are very talented also. The first picture is stunning!
The first photograph captures perfectly the beauty of Highclere on a cold, wintry
morning. Thanks for opening a window into your world so that we can share.
I always look forward to this blog!
Beautiful pictures! Thank You!! and have a next week!!
You are a poet of many mediums. As I read your words and look at your photos I am transported to another time in another world. Thank you for sharing this wondrous experience
The photos that you took are beautiful. You have a good eye for photography. Thank you for sharing, I believe we would have a more peaceful world if everyone had such a view each day. It’s so nice that someone like you is the caretaker of such a beautiful place. Enjoy your heaven on earth. Respectfully, Kathy.
Good morning, what interesting information. Your photos were beautiful as well. Thanks for sharing.
You are so right.
My dear Lady Carnarvon,
Another beautifully written piece, & beautifully illustrated too! I too have always loved photography & won the Duke Of Edinburgh’s Silver award for my efforts while still at school!
I feel Spring will be with us soon, along with lighter warmer days & all the hopes the spring flowers & birdsong brings…..
Thank you so much,
I think Spring will be most welcome
Lovely the pictures of lightness and darkness did you and lord Carnarvon have a nice weekend and lovely to visit highcelere castle and fan of Downton Abbey
You do not credit yourself enough. The top photo with the clarity and true black, then the white contrast — the delicate sheep, castle, and trees are so clear. Very professional and the excellent composition draws you in.
As always, such literary elegance, your words paint lovely pictures!
Lovely picture of lightness and darkness and did you and lord Carnarvon have a nice weekend and lovely to visiting highcelere castle and fan of Downton Abbey
Gracias por compartir.
That frosty view in the first photo looking across the gate and pasture to Highclere in the early morning draws me in. It’s a beautiful photograph of your home.
As I go through my parents photos from our years (60s and 70s) in East Africa, it’s always a treat to find one I’ve never seen before of places or people. In comparison to these days when 1,000s of pictures are snapped, back then not so many were taken, so I think, a bit more treasured. Yes, a photo opens a window back into time and life gone by.
A photo certainly opens a window in to the past
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Gratitude for your continued efforts to tie past, future and a sense of ‘all-rightness’ with the world .
The blog, Friends of Highclere are treasured moments for me each week to recall my past visits and touch a moment of calm. Much appreciated.
Thank you again for your Monday morning blog Lady Carnarvon,
Your photos are always lovely, even if only taken by a mobile phone!
I’ve also always loved photographing winter scenes from our days in MI and then CT especially when the sun rose in the morning and shone through icy branches on plants and trees.
Thank you again also for todays history lesson of the 5th Earl.
You have truly captured the still majestic beauty of the castle in the first picture. One can almost hear the bleating of the sheep. Photography, even with our simple cell phones, allows us as it did the 5th Earl, a way to make memories permanent. Thank you for this reminder to take pictures often. We never know what happy moments we might capture. Or miss….
The top photo was Paul Mac on his phone who works here with us – it is a great photo!
Thank you so much for taking us out of the worries of our present time and reminding us that “this too will pass” I like to picture myself walking with you, observing the late winter’s effects on your beautiful grounds AND watching the dogs revel in it.
I owe so much to my four legged friends!
You are such a wonderful writer. I can just feel, smell, hear and see the frosty winter morning and it’s glorious…and calming. Thank you ❤️
Thank you for the very beautiful winter images on this cold winter day here, too, even Athens got a “dusting” of white snow . My son is a photographer working in Athens, so I shared your insights about how photography is like life, so true, so true. A nice Monday in winter for sharing the story of the 5th Earl, a nice visit to the past, too.
Athens must look very beautiful
Dear Lady Carnarvan,
You take wonderful pictures! The photos of the castle and the grounds are beautiful. I’m just imagining a frosty early morning walk with the dogs. It sounds delightful. Thank you for sharing.
I also have a passion for photography. I am working on understanding how my SLR camera works and taking it off AUTO! I do get many wonderful photos with my phone, though, since it’s always on hand. I enjoy my photo memories and the stories they tell of moments that pass so quickly. Your winter shots of Highclere are beautiful.
I always enjoy your Monday blogs. I relate to today’s especially in that I see true beauty in winter scenes. I am a photo enthusiast and enjoy taking pictures of landscapes and my Labrador.
Thanks for sharing,
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
You definitely have a photographer’s eye. The pictures you use are great. I am thankful the 5th Earl and others enjoyed photography because they have captured history for many to see. The early morning walks at this time of year must be so beautiful and uplifting. What a great way to start you day! Thank you and take care.
Sometimes I do procrastinate, but the dogs have no time for that..
The Earl of Carnarvon also became a member of The Royal Society on 11th October 1915 and jointly exhibited there with Howard Carter in the same year.
Thank you – I have just been recreating his studio here..
That sounds like a very interesting project. If you ever wanted to try to take photos with the Sinclair Una, glass plates are still available brand new for it. You would need to check the bellows have no holes in them first of all and that the shutter works but if either have a problem with them they are both repairable. The company that probably made the bellows still exist today.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a lovely, gentle, start to the week I’ve had reading your blog for the first time.
You write quite vividly and atmospherically, making one feel as if one was walking with you, in the crisp, frosty coolness of the new day. As a wheelchair-user, this is not a usual experience for me, so heartfelt thanks for allowing me this sweet glimpse into your world.
Bless you, Hannah
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Your wonderful insights and amazing photos never fail to transport me to another world…..one more rural, more peaceful, and more in touch with nature. You have my sincere gratitude for this “coffee time” with you.
Good! I love coffee..
Another wonderful post to tie together history, the seasons, an art form, Highclere and the present moment. Thank you!
Thank you for yet another wonderful post! Your historical perspective brings such a deeper relevance to the world around us as it applies to our everyday life. Your photos capture your narrative quite beautifully and perfectly. What a lovely way to start the week. Thank you !
Thank you ..
Your photos are always amazing! I look forward to seeing them and reading your gifted words every single week!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Beautiful photos and an interesting read, I had to laugh at the dogs rolling in the frost, my dog loves frost and snow, she does potty when she sees it, jumping about and rolling in it, certainly puts a spring in her step
Regards Lorraine xxx
Wonderful shots! The great thing about taking pictures today is that smartphones have made great photographers out of all us, no matter our level of talent! The images I took around your castle and the grounds from my visit this past fall are every bit as good as if I had taken them with my Nikon.
I imagine it looks beautiful at dusk also.
Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts, Lady Canarvon. I know what you mean about photography. I also just point my cell phone and shoot a photo. Sometimes they are good and sometimes nothing very good. Your photos of Highclere are beautiful, though you certainly have a very beautiful subject and landscape, right? Keep the blogs coming! I really enjoy them.
Suzanne in Georgia (USA)
Yes Highclere is beautiful and then of course there are the dogs… the stars of instragram !!!
Excellent photograph of the Earl of Carnarvon!
He really did excel in his chosen persuits!
Loved the icy pics of Highclere grounds in the early morning sends shivers down my spine!
Thankyou Lady Carnarvon
Central Western NSW
Yes indeed, photograph can be light and dark . In the same way, life has moments of brightness and obscured periods . The secret is to continue being enthusiast ! If you can…
Thank you so much for sharing your walk experience this morning! I live in desert of Arizona and your descriptions are so refreshing compared to mine
Yes a bit of a difference!
Lady Carnarvon, I wrote this and hope you don’t mind. No need to post. Susan
Warmth of Mind
From behind she heard a tiny whimper. As her hand reached for the door knob there was the sound of excitement. The cold crisp air made them stopped for a split second. Their excited barks said hello to the morning as the cold air stuck in her throat. For that same split second she hesitated leaving the warm of the Castle. Most of the estate was slowly getting ready for another busy day. Brisk walks were the way she worked out her forthcoming duties.
She stopped and looked back at the Castle, her home. On gray winter days it looked so imposing. To her it was a warm wonderful place filled with so many memories, good and bad.
With each crunching footstep her thoughts slowly
came to the surface. Her day began to unwind in her head.
As she took in the beauty which surrounded her a bark in the distance was a reminder many paws were cold. It was time to go back to the warmth. She turned on the sheep path knowing it will all be there tomorrow but it would be a new adventure as it was every morning.
It is charming! thank you
Lady Carnarvon, Your writings today give us a glimpse into the heart and soul of Highclere Estate. You have a wonderful gift of putting into words the essence that brings us along with you as you walk and view the grounds.
Thank you for bringing us along.
A brutal month here in California, first the massive rains and flooding, followed by very cold weather with lots of ice and snow. Our vacation home in Nevada had temperatures of 0 degrees with weeks of snow, a rarity where our home is located. Usually the snow drops on the California side of the Sierra Nevadas (Spanish for snowy mountains). This year the snows came over the Sierras to the Nevada side. While I am thrilled that after four years of drought (and fire), we finally have water in our lakes and dams along with snow level the highest in decades, I am not used to the below freezing temperatures we have had lately. We now have what is called a “false spring,” a period of time that mimics the spring to come. There are beautiful blossoms on all the trees. The “false” part is when, in a while, we will have wind and rain that will blow all those lovely blooms off the branches returning us to the six more weeks of winter predicted on February 2nd. False Spring is a tease, but it does bring the hope of warmer days to come. Wishing you and all the readers here the joy that comes with the anticipation of spring days ahead.
It seems as if every quarter of this beautiful world is topsy turvy, on top of which there is such grief and pain suffered…
I love the frosty mornings, (but having lived for many years in Africa, wish its wasn’t quite so cold !) During the covid lockdowns, I went for many long solitary walks in our Welsh countryside, with my small camera in my pocket, and took photos of anything that caught my fancy …. cows and sheep, leafless trees, sunrise, farm dogs, clouds, garden flowers, the hills, puddles …. and with them now in a folder on my laptop, I have set them as a ‘slide-show’ so I never know what the next picture is going to be ! Great fun …. and seeing them randomly, they give me ideas of other photos to take on walks. Who’d be without a camera !!
It sounds as if you should print them out as well.. I think it might be of interest to others
Lady Carnarvon, the photograph of the Earl is outstanding. He was such a distinguished looking man. Cheryl
He was most distinguished – and amusing
Although an amateur photographer, I confess to a couple years of studying practical photography and its history as a fine arts college minor, so this e-letter brings special interest for its history notes that would be unavailable from any other source. Thank you so much for these!
I have been copying favorite images from your newsletters to a computer file, and they bring frequent pleasure and respite while I am working. I see that I will be adding a few more. Exquisite! I still have the one of the castle’s front view as a screen saver. I am thinking to set up a rotation that adds the wintry views.
I like rotations!
These photos are exceptional.
The sunrise at Highclere is beautiful.
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for your Monday blog and spectacular cover photograph. The 5th Earl of Carnarvon looks so sophisticated.
Enjoyed reading about your morning walks with the dogs, how the Earl took his pictures, supported his own camera shop, and provided an opportunity for others to use the same.
Grateful that we no longer have to carry around bulky cameras, bags, and peripheral equipment; everything is in the palm of our hands.
Until next week, keep walking and taking pictures.
The changes in photography over the last 100 years is amazing. Imagine carrying a huge camera and only be able to take a limited number of pictures. Then having to develop those negative plates and print them. It took a lot of determination to be a photographer then. Now, I have hundreds of pictures on my phone. Imagine the images the Fifth Earl would have captured with an I Phone!
Love you blogs….still hoping to visit someday.
Your amazing your detail and delivery of what you showcase is exceptional .
Tutbury castle is Staffordshire is where I too live to present from I hope to visit you soon
Garry Raybould MBE