I have been on the look-out for good photoshoot locations for Oshun recently, and you’d be surprised, when you take a bit of time to research, what you can find. We’ve already scouted out an abandoned farmhouse that was literally just up the road; and then we found Nunney castle – only a fifteen minute drive and looked perfect for a gothic wedding photo shoot…
I had a red and black dress, ideal for an alternative wedding or prom dress, that was pictured in the shop on a mannequin. It really was about time I got it on a real live model to show it off better. With the lack of a model on hand, I would have to do. So my husband packed up his photography kit, I did my make-up all nice and proper, and off we went last Sunday.
Nunney Castle is sign-posted off the A361 near Frome, but when you get stuck at an unmarked T junction, go left and not long after, you’ll see the castle. Follow the parking sign to the free carpark, and take the footpath to the right to get to the castle. At the moment there are horrible huge piles of clay, which made a total mess of my boots, so you’re probably better off actually walking down the road. Hopefully by summer though, it will be a lovely new pretty landscaped area.
The height of the castle is the thing that amazed me the most. Kids will love it because it is exactly like how you would imagine a ruined castle to look, and there’s enough of it left to be able to picture how it once looked back in the day, complete with the obligatory moat surrounding it (the deepest one in England, apparently). You cross the moat over a little wooden bridge, take stepping stones through the mud and into the main part of the castle under a stone arched doorway. You could hardly ask for a better entrance really!
The castle was built in the late 1370s by a knight called John de la Mare and was in use by his descendants and other owners until it was unfortunately damaged by canon fire during a siege by Oliver Cromwell during the civil war in 1645. After that the castle went into decline, with locals helping themselves to much of the stone when the north wall collapsed in 1910. It is now managed by English Heritage and is a National monument.
For a free trip out with the family, it is well worth a visit, however, once you have stood in all the four corner towers, and then placed yourself in the middle looking up at the stone mullion windows and pigeons, there is little else to do. Make a little more of it by dressing the kids up in knight or princess costumes; bring a picnic and cushions to sit on and a castle activity book and felt tip pens. When it comes to non-fiction for children, I’m a fan of Usborne. Try The little children’s Knights and Castles Activity book by Rebecca Gilpin, or a favourite from my childhood, (though now updated with exciting flaps), See Inside Castles written by Katie Daynes and illustrated by David Hancock.
Photography notes: Top picture of Nunney Castle: Taken by me with a Panasonic GM1 with a fixed 20mm Lumix lens (equivalent 40mm) f1.7 1/1000s. Some processing with Focus 2 pro and Intensify pro.
Picture of me in the gothic red dress: Taken by Chris with a Nikon D610, Tamron 24-70 lens, f.2.8 1/200s With a main studio flash with umbrella, a 2nd flash to fill in the shadow on the wall and a flash behind me. A small amount of processing in lightroom.
Lower picture of Nunney castle: Taken by me with a Panasonic GM1 with a fixed 20mm Lumix lens (equivalent 40mm) F3.5 1/80s. A boost of clarity in Lightroom.