the Caponier Stairs

I took this photo at Fort McClary in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It’s the bottom of the stairs that lead to the caponier.

What’s a caponier?

It’s a defensive outcropping of a fort. Typically it will have several rifle ports from which defenders can prevent an opposing force from storming the walls of the fort. This caponier has an arched brick ceiling covered by earth and grass. The floor was paved with asphalt, as Fort McClary is now a tourist destination.

It’s pretty dark in there, even in the middle of the day, so I was able to get a few moody photos. This was my favorite, but if you like your caponier stairs more cheery, you can always use this image:

What a difference a few degrees angle makes!


  1. Jessica says:

    I love the reflection of the stairs in the muddy water. Very nice photos. Thanks for sharing James ?

  2. Nice! I didn’t expect the complete picture to be the 2nd one you posted. With how dark the tunnel was, it provided the right amount of lighting.

  3. The first shot is wonderful! Great composition! Love the texture and the surface of the water.

  4. Omigosh, the second photo is just very beautiful! I love how dark it is at the bottom and how bright it has gotten when I scrolled my mouse up! When scrolling, I thought I was ascending at the stairs itself. ?

  5. You’re right – that change in angle makes all the difference in the world! They’re both beautiful pictures though. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hey, Sara, thanks for stopping by. I really like photos taken at ground level.

      My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are visiting with their chihuahua this weekend… maybe I’ll lie down to get some low angle photos of the little guy while they’re here.

  6. It looks like you are walking into the past.

  7. Nice reflexion on the first one !

  8. Dr. George Suarez says:

    I like it cheery so I like the second picture. The first place looks very scary. Nice photos.

  9. It’s like a stair way to heaven.

  10. You’re right, it is pretty amazing what a few degrees in an angle change makes! That first picture reminds me of a dark, street in the city after a rain, but when you show the whole staircase it totally changes the perspective! What a beautiful staircase that is, too. I can almost picture the soldiers descending it, guns in hand.

  11. Wow those are amazing pictures. What type of camera were you using?

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