Ian Coristine pictured above with his ultralight airplane.
When this blog was on the tidal wave of breaking news regarding the filming of "The Great Escape" on Dark Island, I ran two exquisite photos taken by Ian Coristine (with his direct permission) of Singer Castle during that event. (Click here to see that blog again with those spectacular photos. Be sure to click on the photos to see them in larger format). Now, what follows is a dispatch direct from Dark Island which gives Ian's account of the event, telling us how he was able to capture such amazing shots of the castle.
As part of Singer Castle’s efforts to gather impressions from those people in our area of the 1000 Islands who assisted in the production and recording of the pilot of “The Great Escape” at the castle. We asked our friend Ian Corstine [of 1000 Islands Photo Art] who has taken many pictures of the castle to comment on the experience of photographing the castle while the television production was underway. Two of his pictures one of the back of the castle and one of a cameraman were included with the initial press releases about the production. In response to our question about his experience, we received the following:
“Singer Castle is one of the 1000 Islands' most iconic landmarks so it was quite an honor to be invited to photograph it the only time in its 107 year history that it has been lit in this way. The castle's power supply doesn't have sufficient power to do this. It required a special generator truck from Boston to feed the battery of lights and I had just a single evening to try to capture it.
The shot of the rear of the castle, taken from the former tennis court, was one of several frames captured from that angle, but only this image shows the entire lawn glowing emerald green, providing a very unusual foreground for a night shot.
A crew member was slowly sweeping the lower spotlight to illuminate a small eight-foot, moving circle for a videographer. Because the darkness required the camera's shutter to remain open for 35 seconds, only the portions of lawn where it had passed showed as green in the images, with the remainder in deep shadow. Purely by luck, in this single frame only, the spotlight happened to sweep the entire lawn during the camera's exposure.
Moments after this image, I set up on the south side of the castle for what is my favorite-ever Singer shot. The castle's size is not as apparent in this image, but with it standing tall on the bluff, it gives a real sense of majesty - Fantasyland, which I find very compelling and fully in keeping with the grandeur of the Gilded Age. Not a minute after this shot, the lights suddenly dimmed and went out. The generator had failed and would not be operational again that night. I would not get another chance.
Timing is everything in life. I feel incredibly fortunate that I was able to capture the river so low from above from my plane in the last years before the post 9/11 fears made it impossible to continue shooting from this perspective. I feel the same way about these two shots of Singer Castle, the only time in its existence the opportunity has presented itself, almost certainly never to occur again.”
Above dispatch received direct from Dark Island's Jean Papke, Administrative Assistant to Singer Castle's President, Tom Weldon.