A different way of seeing Stonehenge
Photography tips for shooting the iconic tourist attraction
Ever since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated by the mystery of Stonehenge, a circle of upright stones in a grassy field in the English countryside. When I finally saw it for myself, I was no less awestruck, although the mystique is marred by the intersection of two nearby highways, a barrier rope to keep people from getting too close to the rocks and the steady stream of tourist buses that unload tourists there throughout the day.
Nearly one million people visit the site every year, which means it’s not easy to photograph the stone structure unless you want a few tourists walking into the shot. Either give in and photograph scenes showing the reality of what you find there or follow these few tips to getting better photographs from your visit.
BEST CASE SCENARIO
Pre-book Stone Circle Access tickets. A select number of visitors can visit Stonehenge before or after regular hours by applying for Stone Circle Access here and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The ticket price of £16.30 give you the opportunity to go beyond the barrier and walk among the large stones. The view from within the circle offers unique photography opportunities, although you do have to contend with up to 25 other visitors at the same time. If you plan on going during the earlier time slot, it will afford you more time to walk around the site once it opens to the public.
NEXT BEST THING
Go during off-peak times.The tourist attraction opens at 9:30 a.m. every day, while closing time varies from 4 p.m. in the winter to 7 p.m. in the busy summer season. Aim to arrive when the site opens or an hour before it closes. During the middle of the day, you’ll likely encounter more tourists and the light isn’t the greatest for photography. If you happen to visit in the winter, you’ll benefit from fewer crowds and better light since the sun rises later and sets earlier.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
Make the most of it. When all else fails, angle for a better perspective on this often-photographed structure. One way to crop out people in the background is by crouching down and pointing the camera at the subject from just above ground level. Not only do you remove unwanted foreground and background distractions, the structure stands out against the sky. Shooting silhouettes is another way to enhance the drama of the scene, whether or not people are in the photo. Finally, embrace having people in your photographs to provide scale. Many landscape photographers will remove people from their images, but seeing them in the photo below gives the viewer an idea about the size of the stones.