Whether you believe in ghosts or not, a ghost hunt is an interesting way to spend an evening. I’ve done two ghost hunts with Eerie Evenings, and for this one at the Four Crosses in Cannock I took along the camera to get some photos. I find the Eerie Evening team good – there’s no faking and they don’t try to convince you that any experiences are paranormal, that’s for you to decide. For the record, I’m firmly on the fence… I’ve like to believe that there’s something, but my scientific mind means I’d need to experience something really convincing to believe.
The Four Crosses is an old coaching inn originally built in 1636, with some of the timbers thought to be a thousand years old. Today it’s seeking a new owner with newspapers claiming the hauntings are putting buyers off. The reported spooky goings on include the ghost of a baby that fell off the bar and died, a child who ran outside an was immediately killed on the busy road outside, ‘Knocker’ an old regular at the pub, marching soldiers, a man who committed suicide in the garage, and many more.
The evening started with a medium doing some readings amongst the group, and then the group was split into three teams who spent the evening doing vigils in the main hall room, the upstairs bedrooms, and the cellars.
I didn’t feel scared at any point in the evening, and the only thing I experienced was during a session with a planchette where the group were ‘contacted’ by a man called Normal Mole, an old bar worker from the pub, who died at the age of 78. He lost money playing snooker, and in the room he contacted us was accompanied by five other ghosts. I’ve not looked into whether any of that information is accurate or could be backed up with real evidence.
From a photography point of view a lot of the evening was spent in the dark which made photography a challenge. But I’m always amazed just how much detail can be brought out of the dark with a bit of simple editing in Lightroom.
Whilst editing I spotted just one oddity, which you can take a look at in the photo looking out of the window below…
The bar at The Four Crosses pub.
You can easily see how old The Four Crosses is - if ever there were a haunted pub, this is it.
No ghost hunt is complete without a ouija board.
Some parts of The Four Crosses were a bit cramped, like this cellar room.
Dark rooms, long exposures, and moving people.
In the top left window pane, next to the central wooden strut... is it a face, is it a building?
Eerie Evenings come prepared with a range of ghost hunting equipment.
A laser thermometer is a good way to measure changes in temperature.
The ghost hunting gang for the night.
The Four Crosses for sale - anyone want to buy a haunted pub?
Weston Hospicecare is one of the Just 10 Photos supported charities that you’re invited to donate to if you enjoy our photographs.
Based in Weston-super-Mare the hospice provides physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual care to the 1 in 100 local people with life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, motor neurone disease and heart or lung failure. The Hospice’s care reaches out to local people in Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset and border areas of Somerset providing a safe haven and source of comfort and guidance to every single person who needs it.
Light Up a Life is just one of the many events the hospice runs each year to gain donations and provide comfort to those who’ve lost someone. Run at the hospice, just before Christmas, Light Up a Life comes at a hard time of year for many. The hospice garden is filled with hundreds of lanterns lit to celebrate a life.
A chain of lights loops around the hospice garden.
A peaceful seating area lit up by the lights.
Each of the lights has a tag attached with a personal message for a loved one.
It wasn't just me taking photos.
A close up of the lights.
Even the trees in the garden were lit up.
The hospice is big part of the Weston-super-Mare community, good to see businesses sponsoring the event.
New Years Day 2015 was quite dull, weather wise, but was brightened up by a visit to the Didcot Railway Centre. Although I only live a few minutes walk from the Centre this was only my second visit.
It was lovely to walk around and see the trains on display and even ride on a couple of steam trains going up and down the track. From a photography point of view the Centre offers rich pickings, whether outside amongst the rails and trains, or inside the buildings and sheds getting up close to the engines and carriages.
I took Olympus OMD E-M1 and shot with my Olympus 25mm f1.8 lens and the Samyang 7.5mm Fisheye. As the weather was so dull, most of the photographs came out dull too… and so for the first time I processed the photos into black and white. It’s great that the black and white grainy photos reflect the dirt and grime associated with the engineering of the steam age.
From one steam train to another.
The Drysllwyn Castle nameplate.
GWR - Great Western Railways. An iconic name in British railways,
Shovelling coal into the steam engine. I love how the black and white brings out the gritty dirt.
Massive train wheels rolling along the rails.
Coal, the food of steam trains.
Not to be moved.
I have no idea what this gauge is for but it's beautiful.
When I heard about the Festival of Light event at Longleat I knew I had to go and get some photographs for the blog. In terms of night time light events I’ve experienced it’s second only to the ‘fire garden’ event at Stonehenge as part of cultural celebrations of the London 2012 Olympics.
The Festival of Light is the first cultural event of its kind in Europe and consists of twenty hand-crafted displays built and placed by a team of over one hundred from the Sichuan province in China.
The scale of the works, dotted around Longleat House, is simply amazing. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of people on the evening I went and as you’ll see below there was lots of space to get photographs.
Because of the dark conditions and high contrasting lights I took my trusty Olympus OMD E-M1 and 25mm f1.8 lens (a great combination for low light and sharp photographs) and one leg of my Three Legged Thing tripod called Brian as a monopod. Someone walked past and commented that it was the biggest selfie stick they’d ever seen… sometimes I despair! Most of the photos were taken in aperture priority mode and using the monopod to reduce any camera shake.
I really hope Longleat do something similar next winter, I’d love to spend more time wandering around getting even more photos.
Over the last few years German Christmas markets have become very popular in the UK, with stalls selling traditional German food, drinks, and gifts. In a similar style local Christmas markets are popular too, like this one in Oxford.
The Oxford Christmas Market is run by Nicole Rahimi (who, ironically, is German), and for its first few years was run in the picturesque Oxford Castle complex but after a one year break popped up in Oxford’s Broad Street. Broad Street is much less photogenic but better for the market as it’s next to the main shopping area and attracts lots of passers by.
These photos were taken after dark, and next year I hope to spend a bit more time at the market to get some daylight photos too.
The Christmas Market on Broad Street, between the shops on one side and historic Oxford University on the other.
The market stalls are wooden huts, great for showing off the items and keeping the stallholders warm.
A long exposure to introduce some movement into the picture.
A Christmas tree and carousel, with Balliol College, Oxford University behind.