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Valley of Kings

Another from my trip to England last year. This is Thorpe Marsh power station, I think it closed in 1990. These cooling towers (you see 4 of 6 here, the 6th being behind the camera in the shot, 5th to the side out of shot) are such a landmark on the landscape that I believe they are now protected as national landmarks. I think part of the reason is due to the wildlife sanctuary that was established next to the powerstation, any destruction of these cooling towers would destroy the wildlife sanctuary also.


This is about 5 miles from where I grew up and probably provided the power to my childhood home for many years before it was decommissioned, so I was aware of it and it was high on my list to photograph when I visited home last year.


The last time I was here was as a boy, I think about 10 years old, they had an open day where we even got to stand inside a cooling tower, walk around the turbines (remans of what I think was the turbine house is in the middle of this photo), something I've never forgotten attending for some reason. So going back was quite a different experience.


We had to clamber through an opening in the fencing to get in and we had to park on the side of a road, a road were there is nothing much else around, so its obvious where you intend to go when parking on the road here. There is a small electrical substation still in operation close to here and the staff have to go through this site to get to work, so you can imagine my concern when I looked around to expecting to see the barrier lowered preventing vehicle access, but instead raised with a car heading straight towards me as I was setting up the camera, what did I do... well I had to get the shot, the car passed by (white car which I thought was the law) without stopping, and I continued to shoot!


Even more bizarrely while walking around shortly afterwards a bunch of youths showed up milling around the place, very odd as there is nothing around this place for a couple of miles, still they didn't bother me and I didn't bother them.


Shooting conditions were a nightmare, there was constant English drizzly rain, keeping the polarizer spot free was difficult, required constant wiping with the lens cloth, and then the sky was fairly flat also, but on reflection, the dull light kind of fits with this place, quite eary walking around here everything silent with the occasional noise caused by the wind and rain, still though it would be a shame to see these towers go as around Barnby Dunn, they are part of the landscape now.

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Taken on May 29, 2010