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.

Taken in 1881 by the young boy later to become the 5th Earl

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.