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I always try to inject some atmosphere into my black and white photographs and the following images taken at Stowe gardens are indicative of how I try to make my photographs more interesting.
When I’m out on a shoot I tend to see most of the pictures I take as monochrome. I look for texture, tone and shape in order that they will help me make the photograph stand out to the viewer. During processing, I then try to recreate and enhance my vision for the scene as I saw it on location.
The following two photographs were taken with a Nikon D800 and the 24-120mm f/4.0 zoom lens.
The first image of the garden temple is fairly straight forward, but what I liked about the angle from which I was looking at the building was that it gave the impression I had just discovered it in a clearing in a wood. In reality, there was a footpath running in front of it with people walking regularly past.
I waited for a gap in the flow of visitors and knelt down in the grass so that I couldn’t see the path in the viewfinder and then took the picture. This low angle also meant that the temple looked as though it was slowly being overtaken by the undergrowth.
This next picture is of the Palladian Bridge at Stowe. The reflections of the bridge in the water especially the arches and the way they almost seem part of the physical structure really grabbed my attention. Once I had started processing the image, I darkened the clouds a little to add atmosphere and also to keep the viewer’s attention held down onto the bridge.
For our last day in Somerset, Mrs M and I decided to go to one of our favourite National Trust locations, Stourhead. The gardens are fantastic and the house is an interesting trip back to the turn of the 20th century. The weather for the visit was quite nice. – nowhere near an Indian Summer day but you take what you can get in the UK.
The trees were only just starting to think about autumn, and still looked lush with so many different shades of green.
The photograph is a classic Stourhead composition showing the view across the Palladian bridge to the Pantheon monument in the trees.
I finally felt well enough to get out and drive somewhere on Sunday 26 October. I had been taking elephant strength antibiotics for a week for the infection in my tooth and on the Saturday it felt as though they were doing some good.
So my wife and I drove down to Stowe Gardens for a bit of a walk. One of our favourite NT prioperties, a beautiful place in any season, and you even get to look at the posh, private, expensive (and very impressive) Stowe school where the wealthy and wise (in that order I think) can to send their kids. Camera-wise, I took my D800 and the 18mm-35mm f/3.5 wide angle lens, hoping to get a few decent images.
The weather was constantly changing until finally the rain started to sleet in sideways across the drained octagon lake and then up the hill on to the roped-off cricket pitch. It was quite a sight. The sun broke through the cloud at one point and highlighted the rain as it slewed in across the sleeping wicket to the little Stowe church in the trees. The shower stopped as quickly as it started.
Every now and again, heavy clouds tumbled in over Stowe and the image below shows a shot I took whilst looking towards the Gothic Tower in the distance.