The small village of Throop is only five minutes away from a major shopping park in Bournemouth, but it really couldn’t feel further away. You can’t help but feel a strong sense of nostalgia walking through, helped no end by a row of Christmas card-like houses, the most picturesque riverside cottage I’ve ever seen, and this, Throop Mill.
Complete with rumours of hauntings by the ghosts of monks, the old watermill carries a strong sense of mystery and intrigue, perhaps not surprising for a building which has stood on this spot in one form or another for close to 1,000 years, and even got a mention in the Domesday Book.
Photography is at its best when it’s emotive, communicating a strong message or feeling. In shooting the Mill, it was crucial to me to capture its sense of nostalgia, grandeur and mystery. More so than ever, the light was a crucial factor in doing this and I needed the sun shining brightly on the mill at its lowest point possible. Behind you to the left as you face the Mill form this position is a large tree, and to your right, a large farming structure; this gives you only about 20 minutes a day for a few months of the year when it’s in the right position to hit the building before it’s obstructed by either object.
Having researched the location and planned the shot well, I knew exactly what I was looking for – strong light and moody clouds, a dramatic black and white photo.
Then came the storm, an absolute gift from the photography gods. For me, a storm like this gives you the very best lighting conditions you can get; you get huge contrast and drama as the subject explodes in amazing quality light against a dark and moody background.
Having grabbed the shot and thanked the photographic gods, I headed back to my car. Literally the second I closed the car door, the heavens opened and it absolutely lashed down for half an hour, an immense rain storm.
Luck was certainly on my side that day.
Part of the Throop collection.