Stourhead Revisited

As the deluge of rain we've had recently had finally slackened of torrential, then turned to drizzle and eventually stopped I felt the need to go for a ride. After all this Street Photography I thought it would make a change to shoot some Landscape. Not too far from home, a place I've visited many times over the years, lays Stourhead. The garden of this Palladian mansion was described in the 1740's as "A living work of art'. Firstly and just so we can see where people who could afford over 50 gardeners to plant and care for their visionary garden lived; here's their front gate -

I walked through here, up the drive, past the stable blocks and garage buildings to, well, er... "not much, but we call it home" 

There are some "smaller" gardens around the house itself, as special as they may be, we need not trouble ourselves with those. No, lets go down to the main "garden", the one where they re-routed a river to create a lake, planted it out with every variety of tree and plant, made a path around it and just to add something interesting built a Pantheon and various other Temples. There were very few people around as I walked past the greenhouses and the church, I photographed them anyway (force of habit). I even walked into the church to take one of those "Divine Light" type shots of the alter. 

Anyway, we're here to see the main attraction. It's a landscape, an extremely beautiful one, "must remember I'm photographing a landscape". According to Henry Hoare (owner in 1717), 'The greens should be ranged together in large masses as the shades are in painting: to contrast the dark masses with the light ones, and to relieve each dark mass itself with little sprinklings of lighter greens here and there". With those those facts in mind (landscape photography and greens) I decided to bring a 50mm Lens, shoot it wide open and in Black & White! I know, makes no sense and that was reinforced when I saw a group of "proper" Landscape photographers on a workshop. They patiently waited for the light to change, adjusted their filters, exposed for a minute or longer, they had tripods and everything! I looked and just snapped - I think my shutter speed was 1/2000! They will all produce much finer photos than me, I know this, but I simply don't have the patience. I spoke with a few of them, really nice people, this guy (in the photo below) had come all the way from Peterborough (around 4 hours away). Commitment is the key I'd say.

Also I met a guy with his wife and dog. I chatted for a while and discovered he was an artist, a "proper" one. He was looking intently at various things, he explained that he was interested in the light, it was changing constantly and he pointed to a small group of trees. Something neither myself or possibly the other photographers were remotely focussed on. Different ways of seeing.

I think you can see how the light was changing rapidly. I didn't walk around the lake, I've done it so many times before. Instead I stood in the Temple of Flora, looking for an alternative view of the Pantheon. I got distracted straight away as a chap stood in front of the window, I focussed on him and was delighted that he blocked the view. Once again, different ways of seeing. I preferred him being in the shot, many would have been annoyed.

So, what about the photograph I went to capture. Well. firstly here's a comparison for you. On this one I shot it at a small aperture, probably f/11. I'll show you it in Black & White and Colour, just so you can see some of those greens that Henry Hoare described.

Sorry Henry Hoare, I prefer the black & white, mainly because of the bark on the righthand tree...different ways of seeing once again. Okay, this final shot was the photograph I came for. I like the one with the chap in the window far better it has to be said and that's probably why I would never make it as a Landscape Photographer.

A quick tour of Stourhead. I had the enjoyment of riding my motorcycle once again, seeing beautiful scenery and met some interesting people. Can't ask for much more than that.

As usual I would be delighted to read any comments and my sincere thanks go to anyone taking the time to read my blog.

All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with a Noctilux 50mm lens fitted.