Stour head is quite possibly is the most famous garden in England. If you enjoy landscape gardens it is impossible not to be enchanted by the setting. It was actually made to be enjoyed looking in a frame! It is a great location for landscape photography lessons.
Stourhead House was one of the first two Palladian Houses in the country, and was almost a prototype English Country House. In fact, it was so typical it was used as the model for Lady Penelope’s house in Thunderbirds! The gardens were designed for people who wanted to live in a painting, and it has the painterly proportions that are cunningly designed to look good to the eye.
In fact the planned vistas are so gorgeous the main difficulty for students for photography courses at Stourhead is not to take the view the garden architect had planned for them many decades ago. The grotto and various temples are so perfectly set into the naturalistic landscape it’s hard to recognise all the construction that went into the gardens. A village was submerged to make the perfect lake, complete with island and perfect colour-coordinated trees.
Stourhead Gardens are truly idyllic, and have been used in films from Kubrick’s 1975′s Barry Lyndon to 2005′s Pride and Predjudice. We will be working in the Gallery near the Spread Eagle pub and photographing around the lake and temples and grottoes throughout the gardens. Your course price includes admission to the gardens. As well as Summer courses, we also have the best days to capture the Autumn colours – not to be missed! It is a gorgeous place to be even in the depth of winter – with a frozen lake and ice on the temples the shots can be fantastic before retiring to the pub for soup! The plantings are so well done that there is always colour in the landscape at all times of year.
Stourhead is a symphony of greens, and this can confuse modern camera settings, which tone the green down (mistaking it for fluorescent light) so that the pictures look slightly monochrome and colourless. We can help with photography tips and techniques to deliver the pictures you want to see. We also usually take the path from the House to the Gardens, as the Gardens were intended to be seen, rather than the usual entrance by the Spread Eagle pub which is not the original entrance. This gives us a series of planned vistas across the lake before we descend to the waterside, as guests would have seen them.
There are lots of statues which make good portrait photography subjects, as well as giving landscape pictures narrative drive and context.
We have taught courses here for children for the National Trust, and know the gardens well. The gardens themselves are only about 100 acres, but so well designed that they feel much bigger. While it is hard to take bad landscape photographs at Stourhead, your challenge is to take pictures that express your feelings while you were fully present in the landscape.