Archive for the ‘tower’ Tag

She Always Wanted to Live in a Castle   6 comments


She Always Wanted to Live in a Castle
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The other day, we were strolling around our historical town in North Carolina. One building had a plaque proclaiming that it was built in 1828, or thereabouts. We call that ‘history’ here in the States, and while interesting to some, it just doesn’t seem very old when you compare it to a place like Burg Blankenstein.

Climbing up the steps and through the stone passageways of this medieval castle in Hattingen, Germany, I ran my hand along the rough wall, feeling the natural textures, the divots, and the roughness brought on by centuries of wear and use. I had to wonder how many people passed this way over the ages, how they dressed, what their lives must have been like.

From the top of the tower, there is a commanding view over the valley of the Ruhr River to the hills and fields beyond. It must have been a great place to watch for interlopers. We spent some time at the top, watching a shepherd in the field far below, moving his flock along the greenway aided by some hyperkinetic, overachieving border collies. I could imagine Lords and Nobles standing atop the tower in the morning mist, enjoying a cappuccino and playing “Master of All I Survey.”

Construction of Burg Blankenstein began in 1227. The castle was ready in 1243, but was finished over the course of 200 years by the Counts of the Mark. In 1425, Blankenstein was one of the most important castles in the county. In 1614, shortly before the Thirty Years’ War, it was occupied by Spanish troops. Over the years since then, the castle fell into disrepair, was ordered to be demolished, became a factory, and now houses a restaurant and reception hall.

You run your hands along the stone walls. You can feel century upon century under your fingertips. Ancient history.

Yeah, we could live there. Beautiful place.

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Sony NEX 7, handheld at 18mm, three exposures +/-2 EV processed in PS CC, OnOne, and Nik Collection.

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Inside Old Baldy   7 comments


An interior view of Old Baldy, the Bald Head Island lighthouse, oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina

Inside Old Baldy -- © 2011 Rob Hanson Photography.com

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I might have called this one “Stairway to the Hot Place” and it would have been an apt description.

Bob Lussier and I had traveled by passenger ferry to get to this place, the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina, Old Baldy. When we got to the lighthouse, it seemed that we were far less interested in shooting the outside than in finding all the grungy goodness inside. On the bottom floor, we weren’t disappointed at all, for we discovered this ancient wooden staircase alongside crumbling brick.

The textures were alluring, from the stair railing polished by years of people hanging on for dear life, the risers kicked by countless toes, and the brick and stucco that needs constant repair.

It was quite warm in there as we worked several angles just inside the entrance. When we had exhausted our possibilities there, we climbed the narrow stairs, reaching several landings before finally climbing a steep ladder through a narrow passage into the top section. There, at the top, basking in the rays of the sun shining through thick glass, we endured a heat index of about 120 degrees. We didn’t stay up there too long…

Please be sure to visit Bob Lussier’s blog today for his image Baldy Steps, taken at the same spot.

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