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Sunday 3rd April - Stourhead

Stourhead is a National Trust owned House and Garden on the Somerset/Wiltshire border, a stones throw away from my house, and a place I spent much of my childhood exploring.

If you've never been I urge you to go - the Gardens in particular are beautiful year round and full of seasonal goodness. I'd heard there was a good display of Daffodils this Spring, and so I was keen to take a look when the opportunity presented itself.

On Sunday 3rd April the forecast suggested light winds and clear skies, with a chance of mist, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to take a stroll and check them out. The last few weeks had been pretty crappy as you might have read in my previous blogs, and as my alarm sounded at stupid o clock and I checked the traffic cameras, there was a hint of mist about and, unusually for 2022, a decent ground frost.

Although the Gardens at Stourhead don't open until around 9am, I've never had any issues getting in before then as the grounds are quite accessible. I regularly see other locals walking around with their dogs, and any staff I've met have been happy to let me get on with things, so I assume as long as I'm not being an idiot it's ok to be there (I'm also a NT member). That said, I wouldn't be surprised if one day I get turfed out, so I am always mindful not to visit too often and try not to push my luck by being too prominent! (blogging about it is probably not the best idea with that in mind - luckily I trust my reader to keep quiet as they're with me for most of my visits!)

Here's what I captured:

Early spring at Stourhead
I've always been drawn to this scene, and the cool colour palette was a stark difference to my last visit, which was at the peak of Autumn. Interestingly, it's still one of my least interacted with posts to social media..!
Stourhead lake covered in frost.
The classic Stourhead scene - subverted to include no light or colour...yeah, subverted...(in fairness to me, I liked the cool colours and frost, so the lack of light is intentional, it's just probably not very good!)
Stourhead gardens on a frosty spring morning
I've not got a long enough lens to get this shot without some heavyish cropping, but it's been a shot I've been interested in for years. A hoar frost would be the ultimate conditions I'd be after, but a heavy ground frost comes pretty close to the scene I imagined in my minds eye.
View across Stourhead Lake in Wiltshire
Hey, it's that shot we didn't really like from earlier, only this time in portrait orientation!
View across Stourhead lake in Wiltshire in early morning light
Here's that scene again, only with some light this time. Does this make it any better? That's a rhetorical question reader..
Black and white image of Stourhead Gardens
That scene from earlier in Black and White now...FFS
Morning mist getting lit by the sun at Stourhead Lake
When the sun rose it started lighting up the mist on the lake in a very pleasing way. Try and capture this in one shot Dynamic range fans...
Morning mist on Stourhead lake
This is a very subtle image, but one I absolutely loved when I saw it on the back of the computer. See if you can spot my lame photoshop skills in trying to clone out a troublesome patch of white sky...
Minimalist shot of light on branches at Stourhead Lake
I tried something different here to create a minimalist shot of the light on the branches. I think it works really well, but those bastard judges at LPOTY clearly didn't agree!
Sun on branches at Stourhead
Here's a similar scene exposed correctly
Backlit tree in Stourhead Gardens
As the sun rose it lit up the trees in a very pleasing way.

After a couple of hours hanging out by the lake my un-gloved hands finally decided to stop co-operating, and mild hypothermia was affecting my ability to compose an image, so it was time to go. I have to admit I was very pleased with my mornings photography, and I don't hate some of the images I captured, which made a pleasant change after the last few weeks! Later this week I was due to move house and on the night before my scheduled move the weather gods decided to reward me with the best rainbow I've seen from my bedroom in the 8 years I'd lived there. I took it as a sign of the house saying goodbye - unfortunately real life got in the way and everything fell through for a bit, but the image was nice at least!

Did I ever move? Find out in my next blog!

What's that, you're likely to busy and might not get to it? In that case, yes I did move and everything worked out well in the end.

Dammit I'm crap at marketing!



Simon Martin Lewis
Simon Martin Lewis

Why more peeps arent reading these is beyond me matey!

Dave Shaw
Dave Shaw

Just saw this bud! It's that kind of care and attention on my part that might be the problem!

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