Avebury – All To Myself

Posted by Stuart Herbert on February 11th, 2007 in Shoot.


See the photos from today’s shoot as part of my Avebury set on Flickr.

When Kristi decided to visit old University friends living in nearby Wooten Bassett, there was no way I was going to pass up the chance to spend the afternoon wandering around Avebury once more. This was only the second time I’ve visited Avebury alone; the last time was back in 1999.

And I’m really glad I went, because to all intents and purposes I had the place all to myself.

I’ve been to Avebury many many times over the last ten years, in all sorts of weather, and I’ve never seen the place so deserted. I think that only two of the twenty five shots I’ve uploaded to Flickr this evening have people in. I’ve been there late at night well after sunset for a spot of night photography and still seen more people.

I just hope that the new car parking arrangements (which I’m definitely not a fan of) aren’t keeping people away.

Aim Of The Shoot

No matter how many times I visit Avebury (or maybe because it’s a site I’ve revisited so often!), I always come away wishing I’d done better. This time, I was determined to make the most of the freedom of being alone to finally bag more than just the odd decent shot.

Thoughts On The Day

Driving over from snow-bound Wales, we both thought that the blue skies and soft light were together going to make this a great trip. The weather gods obviously heard us tempting fate! By the time I got there, it had clouded over, and once the rain started it was in for the day.

I have a tried and trusted trick for dealing with the British weather. Shoot everything in colour, and then convert all the shots to black and white in Aperture when I get home. You don’t get the very best shots – the light under an overcast sky is just too defuse, ruining the contrast somewhat – but by God the shots look a lot better than the colour originals.

I’m still persevering with manual focus, and I’m still forgetting to use the right eye to get the focus right through the viewfinder. After ten years of shooting on autofocus, my technique’s still a bit unreliable, as you can see for yourself on this shot of a lone surviving snowman.

Favourite Photo From The Shoot

AveburyI wish I could pick them all. For the first time, I came back with a set of twenty five photos that I’m happy with, and that do a great job of capturing what I like about Avebury. (That’s a 1 in 3 success rate. Maybe I’m not being objective enough here? 🙂 ) But, I have to choose one shot above all the others. I could stand there for hours enjoying this view of a standing stone and tree and never get bored. It’s such a peaceful spot, and I’m already looking forward to going back to the very same place later in the year to see what it looks like at sunrise and sunset.

This shot of two huge standing stones and the local church comes a close second (and, I think, it’s technically the better shot), and I also really love this quirky shot of the fenced pathway just behind the Red Lion.

What’s your favourite photo from the shoot? List your favourites in the comments below.

Three Tips From The Shoot

  • The weather seals on the Nikon D200 rock. It wasn’t the wettest day of the year, but I wouldn’t have liked to have tried this shoot with my old D100.
  • Lens cloths also rock. I didn’t lose a single image because of rains on the lens, thanks to having remembered to stuff a lens cloth in my pocket before leaving the car.
  • Auto-ISO mode really helps put the fun back into a day of photography. My D200 is setup to prefer ISO 100, but it will adjust itself all the way up to ISO 800 if necessary so that I can keep the shutter speed that I want to ensure the sharpness of my photos. (Shame my focusing lets me down, but that will improve with practice!)

Post Production

I’m not sure it’s such a good idea to be staying up into the small hours just so that I can get my photos up onto Flickr and this blog entry published 🙂 But tomorrow is another day, and I don’t want to spend it finishing off the post production for today’s shoot.

Found On Flickr

I came across this beautiful shot of Avebury taken earlier today by jenny66. Now I want to go back and do a successful shoot in colour 🙂

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