Taken two years ago on a cold January afternoon, looking northwest from Seacliff Harbour, you can see the ruins of Tantallon Castle perched on the headland and lit by the low late afternoon sun.
Tantallon Castle dates back to 1358 when it was built by William, First Earl of Douglas. As you can see, it was built as a massive curtain wall across the waist of a rocky headland so that protection was provided on the landward side by this enormously strong and imposing structure but on the other sides by steep cliffs which decended straight into the sea. Living quarters lay behind the curtain wall and within its structure and a further barrier was provided by a deep ditch in front of the wall. A further ditch, a couple of hundred yards outwith that, provided further defence and the small building you can see to the left of the main castle was a dovecot, a source of fresh meat during winter months.
So strong were the defences of this imposing castle that it resisted sieges in the 15th and 16th Centuries by James IV and James V of Scotland respectively. In 1650, during the Third English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentarian forces invaded Scotland, taking control of the south of the country after their victory at Dunbar in September. In February 1651, Cromwell found his lines of communication under attack from a small group of Royalists based at Tantallon. This group, led by Alexander Seton, comprised just 91 men. Despite this, Cromwell's retaliation was to send 2,000 to 3,000 troops under General Monck, together with much of the artillery he had in Scotland, and lay siege to Tantallon. After twelve days of bombardment with cannon a breach was made in the Douglas Tower. The defenders were compelled to surrender, but only after quarter had been granted to them in recognition of their bravery. After the siege Tantallon was left in ruins: it was never repaired or inhabited afterwards.
This picture was taken looking across Seaclff Harbour which is believed to be the smallest sea harbour in Britain. Measuring only 12 metres on its longest side and with an entrance (which you can see here) barely two metres wide, it can only accommodate one or, at most, two small boats. It was constructed in 1890 by Andrew Laidley, the then owner of the Seacliff Estate, by using a steam engine and compressed air tools to cut the stone in what must have been an amazingly arduous task.
The harbour is now used by a local lobster fisherman, Jack Dale, whose family now own the Seacliff estate. You can also see the rusted remains of an old winch set to the right of the harbour entrance.
If you look at Map: view, you will see from where I took this picture and you will also note that on the Google map there are two boats in the harbour!
You can see a larger version here on "beta" TE.
Critiques | Translate
dta (62438) 2014-02-03 9:51
Hello John ,
I like a lot this kind of little harbour , in such wild and impressive coastlines . The composition is great , with the old fortress in the BG , and some interesting details like the chains and winch in the FG . A moody light , provides a very special atmosphere to the scene .
Romano46 (16578) 2014-02-03 10:05
Dire che un simile paesaggio è meraviglioso è poco.
Oltre alla bellezza del luogo da lodare la perfezione della ripresa e della successiva postproduzione che rendono un posto stupendo in qualcosa di veramente magico.
Eccellente - come tua abitudine - la resa in nitidezza e la raffinatezza del colore.
Ciao e buona serata
photographer_sg (2542) 2014-02-03 10:36
A stunning view of the seaside castle with beautiful colours, clarity and DOF. The composition is masterful! Thanks for sharing.
ngk (2411) 2014-02-03 10:58
Very interesting photo. Excellent light management , beautiful colors , great depth!!
sabermonajati (8849) 2014-02-03 11:13
pleasant pay sage with nice texture from rocks you captured.
federico (2169) 2014-02-03 11:57
hi john, very nice composition with a warm light and a great sharpness and saturation
carlo62 (26938) 2014-02-03 13:48
il castello è bello e interessante, come descritto nella nota, ma la cosa più bella è la tua foto, composta in modo fantastico e proposta splendidamente.
icesurfer (530) 2014-02-03 15:01
Wonderful composition and execution with the sharp details in the foreground that gradually led the attention of the viewer to the majestic fortress in the background.
Strong colors that add to the powerful atmosphere and great DOF.
npecanhuk (60246) 2014-02-03 16:24
Very interesting and attractive place!
Truly beautiful picture!
Sharpness, exposure, colors, horizontal format, chosen pov and composition are all excellent!
TFS - congrats,
Royaldevon (25934) 2014-02-03 16:26
This is a wild and wonderful place!
The gap in the harbour wall is an irresistible invitation to enter (or leave), to experience the surging sea over the jagged rocks, on the way to the castle, strongly positioned on the cliff top.
There is a wonderful clarity to the shot which is even better in the large version. In fact, the large version is stunning.
How do you do this large, Beta copy, if you don't mind me asking?
My warm regards,
delpeoples (52309) 2014-02-03 17:59
I love your subject: the castle by the see and the interesting rock formations, both man made and from Mother Nature. The texture in the rocks, the slightly misted pastel sea and the sky are wonderful. You've done a great job with your Layers here, in lighting the FG, darkening the sky and doing it quite seamlessly. But. And this is a matter of personal taste: I find the FG details slightly over-cooked, resulting in what looks to me like an HDR job. It's not the most over-cooked photo I've ever seen, but to my taste, I think you could have been a little less heavy handed :) I don't want to offend you and really want to acknowledge the photo for what it is; an excellent piece of photography. But I felt I had to be honest, as I've noticed this and your previous industrial photo as being a little too eager in the saturation and contrast departments.
trevormoffiet (2284) 2014-02-03 18:54
Excellent composition. I think that your PP "lessons' from your camera club are good value. The post processing adds a lot of punch and extra 'depth' to the image that I don't think that you would have straight out of the camera. The composition itself exhibits depth but it is the PP that really draws it out.
jjcordier (72680) 2014-02-03 20:59
Jolie lumière sur cette belle photo de ce port écossais. Une bonne composition et un joli travail de posttraitement.
macjake (51476) 2014-02-03 23:58
This is exactly what i'm looking for when we eventually travel to Scotland...i want to rent a car and just drive around the country, looking for such subjects.
this is totally rustic, totally old' school.
looking at this, it evokes thoughts of scenes hundreds and hundreds of years ago. Just imagine sail ships in the Ocean...so many images come to mind.
and you also captured a sweet looking atmosphere, there's a certain mystique in the air.
awesome photograph John.
You've come up with some beauties lately, even though this is a couple years old.
I wonder how this looks in sunset or sunrise too!
saxo042 (36728) 2014-02-04 1:33
A very fine and interesting picture. I checked the map view before I read your note. It was easy to see how this little harbour was constructed (and also the two boats). But it is even more interesting to see this close picture. The castle far away looks quite impressive. Beautiful colours and a very pleasant colour harmony between the different parts here.
timecapturer (44525) 2014-02-04 5:20
a stunner this one! I love your POV and the amazing mix of textures and tones, the rocks here are just so beautifully coloured. The enticing lines that draw us towards the distant fortress are just irresistible and the whole effect both dramatic and majestic. Mesmerising imagery John - I love it!
SnapRJW (28921) 2014-02-04 5:40
Hello John - What a superb composition, I like the way you have lined up the gap in the harbour wall with the castle on the cliff. It's really interesting to compare the small and larger sizes in this instance. The large size has so much more immediacy and I feel pulled into the scene. The detailing is so much more apparent too; the slow exposure has given the waves the distinctive misty, moody look which contrasts nicely with the hard-edges rocks. I feel the whole impact and balance of the shot is lost in the small version.... I wish we could get this muddled sizing sorted out, who knows how many very good images all through the cracks because of tiny, low resolution uploads.
Warm regards Rosemary
emka (72344) 2014-02-04 7:27
Hello John, Beautiful harbour (is this harbour indeeed) and first of all nice castle on the rock. Wonderful sunset or sunrise colours.
I had quite different views of harbours recently, almost totally in black and whigte and I enjoyed these views very much . At the moment I use the opportunity of Internet on ferry to Talinn, after busy sightseeing in cold and snow it is nice to sit in warm interior.
Warm regrads MAlgo
marina7 (8049) 2014-02-04 10:53
you picture reveals great texture in the rocks, the whole place looks rough and challenging. Lovely soft light and colors here, intriguing landscape.
Thanks and best wishes!
CLODO (28662) 2014-02-05 1:12
an interesting note to summarize this picture, the sea seems rough looking at the crashing waves and the water stream in the entrance of the small harbour.
The view in beta TE is worth seeing!
jhm (134540) 2014-02-05 2:35
I work always on beta version of TE, almost no advertisement and big pictures.
Your picture is nice through the haze of the salt water about your picture, real an excellent sea picture, I recognize this image, I live on 20km of the North Sea.
In foreground the old lock is very well photographed, everything clear and very sharp.
Excellent composition nice presentation.
Very well done, FTS.
willperrett (5648) 2014-02-05 9:09
Wouldn't want to take my boat in here!
brianmcc (6005) 2014-02-05 14:57
this is a crackin' landscape picture. you have composed it perfectly using the harbour walls to create depth and lead the viewer's eye towards the centre of the image. the colours in the sky are beautiful, and i love that little touch of light on the headland just below the castle, it's wonderful. the movement of the water is superb. i'm not totally sure about the lightening of the harbour walls or the cliff face on the left; given that the sun appears to be setting behind the far cliffs in the other direction you would expect the inside of these walls and cliff to appear much darker. however their colours are faithful and it helps create an other-worldly mood to the scene which i like very much.
Noel_Byrne (20169) 2014-02-06 0:40
I really think this is beautiful. The layers of color through the rocks in the foreground are amazing, and that those layers work right through the scene, right up into the sky is such a wonderful sight. The castle set on its rocky perch is the icing on the cake.
I know castles were built in these places for defensive purposes, but I have to say that its benefited us photographers so much, as the locations are so dramatic.
This image is mystical and magical and I can imagine going back 500 years and the place looking exactly as it is here. beautiful work, thanks for sharing.
All the best
Valensiaa (240) 2014-02-06 7:02
Beautiful shot, reminds of medieval times. Amazing composition and moment captured.
Thank you for sharing it.
- Copyright: John Cannon (tyro) (18344)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2012-01-30
- Categories: Nature, Architecture, Ruins
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, Hoya 77mm Pro1D UV(0)
- Exposure: f/22, 1/2 seconds
- Details: Tripod: Yes
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2014-02-03 9:42