During my solo photography tour of the Peak District this past June, one of the locations I was most looking forward to photographing was the famous (among photographers, at least) Roach End barn.
While most of the Peak District lies within the county of Derbyshire, the Roaches, in the southwest corner of the District, lies in Staffordshire, just north of the town of Leek.
The Roaches area is loved by hikers and climbers alike for its steep, rugged gritstone ridge. It groups together two main gritstone outcrops, Ramshaw Rocks and Hen Cloud, both of which offer stunning panoramic views over much of Cheshire and, on a clear day, even as far west as Snowdonia in Wales.
But I came to The Roaches only to photograph this picturesque, tumbledown barn, which stands on a hillside semi-encircled by a clump of trees.
Though I was primarily interested in photographing the barn at sunset, I arrived in mid-afternoon and spent a few hours walking around the site, familiarizing myself with the scene and shooting the barn from different angles. I had seen so many inspirational photographs of the barn in the preceding years that I had to make a conscious effort to clear my mind of those images and seek out my own vision of it.
Finally, I settled on a composition from above the barn, shooting towards the west, looking out over the Cheshire plain. While the light had been flat during the first couple of hours of my visit, just as the sun sank to the west, a spectacular cloud moved across the sky from the southwest and was dramatically illuminated by the warm, pink light of the setting sun, which also lit up the brickwork of the barn with a warm, reddish glow (lead image).
(click on an image to enlarge it)