26th - 27th May 2013
I do like a good ruin. You may have noticed a few of them in my pages here but if there is anything better than a good ruin it is a good ruin with an interesting story.
This Cornish style engine house was built in the early Nineteenth Century to pump and service the lead workings far below the surface here.
It was not alone, there were other mines around here that also worked the so called “Redsoil” vein and there was a great deal of rivalry between them.
In 1833 workers from the Magpie Mine started an underground fire to smoke out workers from the neighbouring mine.
Tragically three miners from the Maypitt workings suffocated in the fumes and lost their lives.
Twenty four men from the Magpie Mine were put on trial for their murder but due to great difficulties in identifying the individual culprits none were ever convicted.
It is said that the widows of the murdered men set a curse upon Magpie Mine which led to it’s ruin and abandonment shortly after.
How true the story is I could not say but it certainly lends an atmosphere to the place that inspired me to do an overnight shoot here.
I invited a couple of friends and in the end Jim Howarth joined me for part of the night.
Of course, in Derbyshire I had little hope of getting real dark skies and the presence of a full moon made that even less likely but I was hoping to use the moonlight to create some atmospheric shots as it traversed the site.
I had packed a flash unit with me, something that I rarely use these days, and it was not long before I could see the potential of using it to paint with light upon the darker side of the building.
I carry a small red head torch with me when working out at night (The red light does not deplete your night vision as much as white light does.) and this provided the unearthly red glow from within the building while I was able to fire the flash from different positions to build up the lighting.
The glow in the sky is a combination of light pollution and moonlight that was rendered during the long exposure needed to complete the shot.
An interesting exercise that I may well try at other locations I can think of.
The pre dawn light promised clear weather as the sun crept into the morning sky.
But the moon lingered long enough for a carefully positioned shot as the first sunlight illuminated the buildings.