Bowerman's Nose is a stack of weathered granite on Dartmoor, Devon, England. It is situated on the northern slopes of Hayne Down, about a mile from Hound Tor and close to the village of Manaton at grid reference SX742805.
The story of Bowerman goes back into a time when witches and witchcraft were rife on Dartmoor. In these times there lived man called Bowerman or to give him he full title 'Bowerman the Hunter'. He was a tall man with the strength of ten. The moorfolk knew him as a kind, generous and jovial person and so he was much respected and liked. He lived on the Eastern side of the moor and his passion was as his name suggests - hunting. He owned what was reputed to be the strongest pack of hounds on Dartmoor, they were relentless in their pursuit and merciless at the kill. Both he and his dogs could often be seen drawing the clitters and the mires in search their quarry.
As mentioned before, witches were rife on Dartmoor. They would meet at secluded spots to make their potions and spells and the local folk held them in awe and fear, all except Bowerman that is. Whenever talk came around to witches he would just laugh and say how he was "afraid of no one, not even the Devil himself' he would then explain that the moorfolk should not "a fear the crones for they were jest ole hags a 'mumbo jumboing' to 'em selves". Naturally this got back to the local coven who were not best pleased. Firstly that Bowerman was not in fear of them and secondly he encouraged the moorfolk to be the same. The lack of fear made them less plausible and so the power they held over the moor dwellers was lessened. Although they would not admit it, the witches were secretly scared of Bowerman, after all he was a strong man that always had a fearful pack of hounds at his side. So there was a kind of unspoken and uneasy 'live and let live' arrangement. The witches carried on ' a mumbo jumboing' and Bowerman carried on hunting.
However, late one Autumn evening as Bowerman was leading his pack homeward a large hare bolted out of some clitter and sped off down the hillside. With a whoop of delight Bowerman urged his hounds on and baying eagerly they chased after the hare - the hunt was on. It didn't take long for the huge dogs to close in on the beast, but just as they were going for the turn the hare veered off into a small wooded valley. It took a second or two for the dogs to regain direction but soon they were in full cry down through the tree lined valley with Bowerman at full gallop. Suddenly the chase came to a clearing and Bowerman could see ahead of him a coven of witches all crouched around a bubbling cauldron. The hare darted through the middle of the assembled hags closely followed by the hounds and Bowerman. As his mighty mount leapt over the tangle of crones, cauldron and heaven knows what else Bowerman yelled in delight "mumbo jumboing now who's all a muddling".
The witches were incandescent with rage, they spat, they cursed, they shrieked and they wailed but all to no avail Bowerman was long gone.
After gaining some composure the coven reassembled around the cauldron and all agreed that Bowerman had gone too far and it was time for him to learn a lesson. There was one witch among the coven who had, in return for her soul, been given the power to turn herself into any animal she wished. The witches all knew that there was only one way in and one way out of the valley and that was the way Bowerman had charged in. So it was only a matter of time before he had to return back past the spot where the coven was amassed. A cunning plan was hatched, the one witch would turn herself into a hare and lead Bowerman and his dogs on a chase across the moor. Meanwhile the rest of the old hags would lie in wait to spring their trap.
As thought it was not long before the hounds could be heard coming up the valley, the witches vanished all apart from the one who transformed herself into a huge hare. It was not long before the dogs picked up her scent and were on her heels in full cry. The hare gave the hunter a chase like he had never seen before, they went across the moor, through bogs, across streams, up over hill after hill, around tor after tor and back down through mires, quakers and stables (types of Dartmoor bogs) and still the hare sped on. Finally, Bowerman and his hound were completely exhausted and it was only sheer determination that kept them going. As they crested a large granite topped ridge the hare slowed down enough for the dogs to gain on it and just as the lead dog went to flip the hare it darted off behind a tor. Bowerman and his pack followed and charged right into the witches trap, for behind the tor were the rest of the coven and a few witches extra for good measure. They encircled the hunter and shrieked and cursed in unison. Such were their numbers and such were their powers that Bowerman was helpless, both he and his dogs stood transfixed and helpless. The spell the witches cast was that of petrification and to this day you can see the result for Bowerman and his dogs were turned to stone. Bowerman became a huge granite figure-like outcrop and his hound the large boulders at his feet. It is aid that on some dark, misty, moonless nights Bowerman and his dogs come back to life and can be heard chasing some quarry across Hayne Down.
Critiques | Translate
COSTANTINO (54463) 2014-08-13 1:17
Hello dear friend
dramatic atmosphere of a dramatic capture
the cloudy dark grey sky gives a movement
to the photo and generally you gave us
an artistic shot
your notes are really useful
from Samos island
Royaldevon (28641) 2014-08-13 1:29
A chilling story to recount on a dark, wind whistling night!
You have captured Bowerman with great panache, also giving a fine view of the scenery and nature of Dartmoor. I'm sure your b&w treatment has added mood to the scene and fits in well with the 'blackness' of the story.
Have a great day,
kasianowak (5952) 2014-08-13 1:30
Fascinating place! Your composition and b&w interpretation shows it at its best. The clouds add a touch of drama to the picture.
mesutilgim (83028) 2014-08-13 2:39
Another very nice b&w capture in your gallery with perfect effect and may interesting and usefull notes.
TFS and best regards
photographer_sg (3787) 2014-08-13 3:35
A great photo and a great, suspenseful note to accompany it :). I wouldn't care to verify the truth behind the legend on a moonless (or moonlit) night! Superb black and white treatment with excellent composition and handling light that captures the mood and the drama to the fullest extent.
Thanks for sharing and have a nice day.
snunney (82547) 2014-08-13 3:37
A spooky story to accompany this dramatic and moody composition. Well composed with the pile of rocks placed just off centre. Love that wonderful sky that helps give the scene great depth. Perfect conversion to black and white with good contrast, a fine range of tones and excellent sharpness.
macjake (55550) 2014-08-13 4:23
first of all, i love the rustic border/frame you chose for this scene, also the added darkness at each corner.
looks great in this presentation.
thats quite the amazing story/history/information in that note! it adds alot to the scene.
the monochrome effect i think puts a totally different vibe/mood to the landscape, compared to if it were in full color.
i think you made the right choice.
trevormoffiet (3110) 2014-08-13 5:24
What a story. Your image captures well the atmosphere of the story. The image is all the more haunting for your monochrome treatment. The light seems to indicate movement of the pack of dogs.
timecapturer (48012) 2014-08-13 5:37
I do envy you being able to access this beautiful part of the UK so easily and then delight us with wide open images like this. Lots of drama in this B&W shot and a glorious effect from the super wide- angle lens. Stunning!
Regards - B.
kabel (1659) 2014-08-13 20:41
Hello, beautiful and powerful b/w image. A very amazing scenic view. Perfect exposure and dof.
abmdsudi (42618) 2014-08-14 9:15
You've captured the mood of Dartmoor well, I think. Black and white seems to be the right medium. A very well composed and detailed throughout the image with main focal grabs attention and the lovely late afternoon sun catching on the standing stones. I also like the atmospheric sky which lends emphasis to the stark image of the rocks immediately. Very well done shot. Congrats
willperrett (6712) 2014-08-14 9:34
Now for me, you've gone a stage too far this time! I can just about cope with that sky, but the vignette is just too strong. I find I'm looking at your pp work, and not at the photograph, which, when I penetrate the technique, ain't half bad! There's plenty of drama in the scene itself, without bigging it up. But we'll have to differ, I suppose. I wrote a forum piece a couple of years ago about this sort of issue. Here it is: I'd be very interested if you have any responses.
lousat (75532) 2014-08-14 15:30
Hi Les,the scenery is perfect to try another time one of your magnificent black and white works,there is your signature inside even if isn't wrote...ehehhe...truly great the perspective that make very very big the nose,i like it! Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano
Tue (27696) 2014-08-14 15:50
I think the black & white works really well here, especially as it makes the sky appear even more dramatic. I like the slightly off-centred position of the Nose too.
Thanks for sharing!
siudzi (33071) 2014-08-15 6:13
Excellent capture full of dynamism and move! The b&w version supported this goal very well and the final result is simply outstanding. Well done!
SnapRJW (30911) 2014-08-17 7:57
Hello Les - To vignette or not to vignette that is the question.... I read your exchange with Will.
Photography and art in general is subjective and it is not always easy to get into the creator's mind and understand his intentions. Personally I think it is all a matter of taste. I see no problem with pushing the boundaries of the technology or reality and I was thinking just today how fortunate we are that we are not now chained to a darkroom and costly film, paper and chemicals. The digital age has opened up photography to so many more people and with relative ease they can explore their own creative bent. I like that.
In this case I think that the placement of the Bowerman's Nose almost centrally in the frame combined with the very wide angle lens you used funnels our view to the granite stack very well. The dark vignette underlines that funneling effect and gives the shot a look similar to the effect of a zoom lens.
BTW... I love the story!
- Copyright: Leslie Bennett (williewhistler) (13741)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Black & White
- Date Taken: 2014-05-03
- Categories: Nature, Architecture
- Camera: NikonD300s, 10-20mm f/4-5.6 DC EX
- Exposure: f/10.0, 1/60 seconds
- Details: Tripod: Yes
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): My Mono [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2014-08-13 1:10