Meet Peter Metcalfe
Peter Metcalfe has been volunteering with Dudmaston Estate for just over a year as a photographer. Find out more about what his role involves.
What inspired me to want to start volunteering with the National Trust?
I was introduced to the idea of volunteering at Dudmaston by an existing volunteer ranger. After meeting with the full time Ranger it was agreed that there was a need to record, through photography, the changes which were planned to the landscape to return it to something closer to the original designs. In addition to record the changing seasons.
What's the best part of volunteering at Dudmason?
To work as a volunteer photographer suited me fine as I was unable to do the heavy clearing work. It fitted in with my interest and enabled me to choose times to visit which were convenient to me and the weather suitable. Recording of the landscape changes has been going on for almost a year now and the Ranger has been able to look at the images and to use them in his preparation of a submission to NT for approval for further landscape development work.
The role as a volunteer photographer has developed over the year as I have become increasingly involved in recording the major events held at Dudmaston. The images being used for publicity purposes on social media and more locally. It has been great to see my work helping in this way and I feel that I am making a worthwhile contribution.
What do I do when I’m not volunteering?
When not visiting Dudmaston I can often be found in the Wyre Forest walking with my naturalist friend and his dog. The flora and fauna abound in the forest as they do at Dudmaston. With a camera in hand the eye quickly finds some small Spring flower or Autumn fungi to photograph.
What makes the perfect photo?
Photography at Dudmaston is not easy because you quickly move from dark woodland into the bright open spaces around the house and garden. It is essential therefore to use a camera which has plenty of adjustments and some interchangable lenses. I use a light weight Nikon SLR as I am not keen to lug about bags of heavy equipment.
There is a huge variety of photographic subjects at Dudmaston and I particularly like being within the woodland looking up into the canopy of the big trees. My favourite spot is amongst the stand of Redwood trees at Bella Vista when the sunlight strikes the beautiful bark and send shafts of light between the trunks.
The trick of a good photo is to try and capture the essence of a place in a way which has not been done before. I try and find an unusual angle for the shot or to focus on a detail which the normal eye might miss.
The Big Pond at Dudmaston teems with wild water birds but they all seem to gather in the middle of the lake away from the camera lens! I have yet to make a good image of the Grebes!
Which photo of Dudmaston that I have taken have I been most proud of?
One of my favourite images is of the flowers from the summer meadow planting near the rockery. It was the end of the season and there remaining colour was unexpected. They looked a bit tatty but the splash of colour was superb.
The support and encouragement which I get as a volunteer from the staff is much appreciated.