A good photograph is knowing where to stand - Ansel Adams

Location Guide
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I've lost count of the number of times I've missed a photographic opportunity due to a lack of information about a location. Often it's a simple as arriving late due to a misunderstanding about train schedules, or it may be that I'm snapping away in blissful ignorance of the beautiful castle that is just a few miles down the road. So, frustrated by a seeming lack of dedicated UK location guides, I took the decision to collect together my notes from past trips, edit out the profanity and bad spelling, and publish them on the Internet. I’m just getting around to it now, which is about par for the course really.

I’ve often heard the advice “f/8 and be there” passed on by fellow photographers. It’s the basic intent of these guides to help out with the “be there” part of this equation. I've tried to be as exhaustive as possible in the information provided, and will of course try to keep the guides as accurate as possible.

You can use the interactive map to the right to find location guides in your part of the country, or you can find a complete list under "Other Locations"

NEW: Subscribe to the Location Guide RSS feed here, also available in Atom format.

ALSO NEW: The Location Database is a detailed database containing hundreds of UK photographic locations. For obvious reasons, there is less detail on the individual sites, but there are many, many more locations included. Each entry contains links to sites where you can gather more information.

Castle Stalker, Appin
Wednesday, 01 December 2010 21:40

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Castle Stalker

Castle Stalker, or Caisteal an Stalcaire as it's named in Scots Gaelic, is a 14th century fortified tower house situated on a small tidal islet in the waters of Loch Laich. The castle has the tidal nature of it's islet to thank for many of it's most unique facets; not only has it kept it one of the best preserved medieval tower houses in Scotland, but being located in the sheltered waters of the loch so close to the mainland, it is also a real treat for a photographer.

What makes Castle Stalker such a visual treat is not just the waters of Loch Laich that surround it however. Perhaps it isn't even the castle itself, which in amonsgt some other more spectacular Scottish castles is a somewhat plain and functional looking building. Rather it is the castle's surroundings that make the journey worthwhile; with views of the Isle of Lismore and the Morvern Hills in the background, and the tree-lined shores of the mainland to either side.

Castlerigg Stone Circle
Sunday, 13 June 2010 15:43

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Castlerigg Stone Circle

For me, along with doubtless many others, Castlerigg Stone Circle is one of the most atmospheric spots in Cumbria. Picture a 100ft circle of metamorphic slate stones, the largest of which has been estimated to weigh 16 tons. Surrounded by Lakeland fells on all sides, and standing atop a 200m hill, this is one location where you can select your favoured background from amongst the many on offer. To the north there are the fells of Blencathra and Skiddaw, and perhaps my favoured view, to the south, consists of Castlerigg Fell and the far-off Helvellyn.

The circle dates from around 3200 BC, at a time when our late neolithic ancestors were still using stone tools to shape their environment. It's been suggested that the circle acted as a meeting place where these tools, often created at the nearby Langdale Axe Factory, were traded or exchanged. Evidence suggests that our ancestors placed great, perhaps even spiritual importance on these tools, and treated them with far greater reverance than mere utilitarian items. It's possible therefore, that those who like to assign a more ethereal character to stone circles are actually on to something. Certainly it's easy to see why they might assume a spiritual purpose to the circle, as you stand in it's midst and take in the surroundings.

Eilean Donan Castle
Saturday, 20 March 2010 12:09

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Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie

If you've ever eaten Scottish Shortbread, there is a reasonable chance you'll already be familiar with the image of Eilean Donan castle; as it has adorned nearly as many boxes as the obligatory kilted piper. Often called the most photographed castle in Scotland, Eilean Donan is certainly situated in stunning surroundings. It sits on a small tidal island at the confluence of Lochs Duich, Alsh and Long, and is surrounded by mountains on three sides.

As dramatic as the castle's surroundings are, it's history speaks of equally dramatic events. In 1719, the castle was destroyed by three Royal Navy frigates after it was occupied by Spanish troops attempting to aid a Jacobite uprising. HMS Enterprise, Worcester and Flamborough under the command of one Captain Boyle, laid seige to the castle and defeated the Spaniards after a three day bombardment. On entering the castle, the government troops discovered a magazine of 343 barrels of gunpowder. Such was the difficulty in taking the castle, then defended by only 50 men, the decision was taken to light the magazine, destroying the castle.

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Suggest a Location

I am on a constant lookout for new and interesting locations. If you know of a potentially photogenic location you'd like to see included in the guide, please let me know.