28th August 2017 was the hottest bank holiday Monday in August for a very long time. After the hectic Saturday and Sunday we decided to take it a bit easier and do a couple of locations in Matlock. We decided to shoot High Tor in the late afternoon and then Wingfield Manor at sunset. Both locations were less than 15 minutes walk from the car park which is exactly what our legs needed.
We got to High Tor after about an hour in the car, we parked up and started walking. It was a lot steeper than we had anticipated (clue was in the name really) but we got up quite quickly. The view from the top was actually surprisingly great, we weren't expecting it to be so good. This is where the first challenge lay; this location had to be shot in the late afternoon, as soon as it starts to get around the golden hour the sun dips behind a large hill causing all the foreground to be in shade. But the sun being that high also meant that the light was quite harsh which resulted in a huge amount of contrast. There also weren't many options for composition, these few shots were all we could come up with:
We took a lot longer at High Tor than we had planned due to the difficulty in capturing a good shot, we were a little behind schedule and needed to get to Wingfield Manor which was still 25 minutes away. We descended High Tor as quickly as we could, jumped into the car and immediately got stuck behind the slowest driver in the whole world, nothing we could do about it, annoying. We got to the manor with only a few minutes of sun still hitting the tops of the ruins. We knew that the ruins were part of a private farm and that it was closed but we didn't quite realise that it was so heavily signposted not to enter the grounds. The only thing we could do was shoot from the road or get the drone out, the drone it was. As I was getting the drone out a car pulled up, no idea who it was but he was talking to Tracy about not being able to access the grounds, I didn't dare send the drone off in case he was the farmer. It turned out that he was just taking in the view like we were. Unfortunately our few minutes of sun had now been lost.
We sent the drone out anyway just in case we got something usable after all. I have to admit, I was on edge. I could see from the drone that the farm was working and I knew that it shouldn't really have been up there. I took a few pictures and a tiny bit of video footage and brought it back, I really wasn't comfortable at all. This was the best shot from the drone:
It's not terrible but it would have been better if we got there when the sun was still hitting it and if I had taken my time. I took a couple of shots on the long lens too but they really didn't work out at all. It hadn't been a bad day but it hadn't been a good one either, it had been challenging and a bit 'meh'. We got back in the car and headed home.
I know what you're thinking... what's so terrible about that ending? We nipped into a McDonalds to pickup a snack, I didn't see the speed limit change from 40 to 30. As we exited the car park I saw the speed camera and checked I was at 40mph... FLASH FLASH!! Arrrgghhh! We just have to hope that there was no camera in it because otherwise, especially with the recent changes in the law, it will have been a very expensive ending to the night.