Where is the Castle on the Hill

Updated: Jan 24

Near on two years ago, I visited Castle Hill for the first time after seeing images and hearing The Chronicles of Narnia was filmed here. I went for a sunset mission here but have to admit, I did not plan it very well. I was there early enough to scout a location. I had a walk around with so much hope of grabbing some great shots. As I wondered around, I really struggled visualizing anything worth taking a photo of. I felt disheartened. I don't know why I struggled. It is an incredible place. I think at the time, I was stuck on trying to tell stories through my photographs. I struggled to focus in on compositions. I place full of rocks. That is all I thought. I didn't really know how to use the manual settings together neither. I was very much still a beginner. Here are some images from my first visit:

I haven't edited these images. These were straight off the camera. Mind the dust spot over the upper left side as well. To be honest, I had no idea what I was even trying to look for. I was just snapping shots. I could visualize something in my head but not really think about it.

This time round, I knew what the place was like and how I could compose my shots. I laid back on the trying hard to tell a story and looked at things a different way. I sat down and thought about how the place makes me feel and how I feel walking around. The was great views everywhere. Around corners, through rocks, off the top of the rocks. They was everywhere. I kind of looked at the place as if I was a child looking around. I think that was the best way to describe how my brain and vision was working together. Sometimes I try that thought in many places I go. Children see the world as a big wide open space. Anyway. I had seen a different angle on a web search and thought I would give that a try...and it worked to great effect! Once I got home and uploaded the images to process, the angle worked great. Here are the results from my 2nd visit.

Now, these images have been edited and are the finished item. But the angles and how you see the landscape is different. In the first lot of images, the top left rock was used to make one of my return images - 2nd row middle - except this time I was looking through the rock. Another I can compare is the path leading up to the rocks which is the last image in the first set and also the last in the return set. The lighting was different, almost identical composition using the path and fence as leading lines but this time round, I didn't over expose the image considering the sun was behind the hills this time. Overall, my composition has improved a lot. They way I think about the image. But also my post production has also changed. I haven't got a style down packed and probably won't do for a long time but I am honing it more rather than creating overkill.

Castle Hill on a whole is a fantastic photographic opportunity but I would suggest not to try to hard and over-think it. It is a place that is great for families to visit and explore. Little children love it there though you do need to keep a close eye on them. What seems a flat surface one side might be a drop the other! The car park here is sufficient for a good number of people and it a short walk to the rocks. Great day out.

Castle Stream is also just around the corner which involves a short walk to see both ends of the tunnel. One end is a steep hill walk down which isn't recommended for young children. Great day out for all!

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Steve Sims Photography | Family Lifestyle + Portraits + Landscapes | Christchurch, New Zealand

021 0842 9799



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