Although all the travelling around the UK that comes with my job provides plenty of opportunity to stop for coffee and a few shots in some beautiful locations, I have very little control over what I find when I get there.
Coincidentally, on the same day that I’d decided to make my break in Stowe the author and business guru Seth Godin published a blog which included this gem…
Usually I couldn’t agree more for only a tiny proportion of the images on these pages have ever included flash or strobe, but always ideal? Yesterday I had my doubts.
Stowe House, which now houses one of the country’s most elite public schools (doesn’t every school have its own golf course?) was originally the home of the Dukes of Buckinghamshire and Chandos, a family who knew a thing or two about social-climbing. Over the years their continual efforts to impress anyone who might further facilitate their aristocratic ambitions led to the continual refinement of both house and gardens, both by employing the greatest craftsmen of their day and by acquisition of great works of art and antiquity.
Almost inevitably it ended in bankruptcy, which is why the building now houses that school and the art has long gone in a series of sales and auctions.
The gardens and the structure of the building remain, and are a wedding photographer’s wet dream, with temples, arches, bridges, porticos and rotundas aplenty to satisfy any bride looking to bring a touch of the neo-classical to her big day. In my case it was more of a wet nightmare.
That “ideal” natural light was flat, diffused and grey, rendering the rich landscape drab and the vistas indistinct as curtains of rains passed before them. All I could seek to do to try to create some interest was find interesting angles and framing opportunities. Even the Medici lions looked as fed up as me.
I was beginning to think that I might end up shooting more of the abundant water.
Eventually the weather deteriorated further, which at least gave the benefit of adding moodiness to the scenery, though it was hardly the stuff of guidebook imagery.
Returning to my car I spotted this resident. I think we each knew how the other felt.