The Copper Mine, Virgin Gorda
Composing with your feet means moving about, and searching for the best perspective. With so many cameras on the market today, it's imperative that we work harder to find a unique angle. I often find myself on the ground looking for something interesting to add to the foreground. The warning sign helped to emphasize the perilous condition of these ruins, closed since 1862.
Of course good light helps, and I try to time my excursions to take advantage of the morning or late afternoon sun. This isn't limited to just "the magic hours" of sunrise and sunset. This was approximately one hour prior to the setting sun, but the warm tones are clearly evident.
When traveling I also like to take quick record shots of landmark signs that I can later refer back to when writing captions. This sign says "The Copper Mine was declared a National Park due to its importance as the only known historical site of this type representing the British industrial revolution within the West Indies. The Amerindians were the first people to mine copper on Virgin Gorda in the late 1400's by digging tunnels into rock. The copper was used to make tools and jewelry which was traded with people on other islands. The majority of structures at the site are remnants of mining activity by the Virgin Gorda Mining Company that operated between 1835 - 1862, shipping copper ore to Wales in the United Kingdom for smelting. The mine was operated by approximately two hundred people, including managers, women and children.
The mine was a rich source of mineral but there were high operating costs and it was a long distance to ship ore to Wales. The fortunes of the mine varied and in 1861 it appeared to be flourishing. However, in 1862 the mine ceased operations and 20 years later it was sold by the government to a Cornish company to recover outstanding taxes.
After 1862 the mine had varied history, as reports of other minerals such as molybdenum, gold and silver attracted miners from England and America. There was activity at the mine as recently as the 1970's when exploratory drilling was undertaken."
When conditions are favorable as they were on this day, I typically scurry about the site, and explore it from all angles. This led me to a vantage point behind the Copper Mine, yielding a totally different look. I also got right up next to it, and craned the camera towards the sky to emphasize the height and texture of the weather surface.
This unspoiled view is the same landscape the Mine workers saw each day before heading underground to work. Viewing it through my lens, and exploring the area with my camera gave me a deeper understanding of what their life must have been like so many years ago.