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  • Ashley Cochrane

Old Sarum Shoot Journal - 9th March 2021

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

I decided to ignore the route I took on the previous shoot. I had left my house not long after 08:00 am and the mist was already lifting so I needed to be quick. I did take a couple of shots of the River Avon under Old Sarum as I came in, as the Avon is a historically important river due to its association with Old Sarum and Stonehenge further upstream. It is believed that the rocks from Stonehenge may have been transported from Wales by ship, meaning they may have passed through this place once upon a time. If not then, the Avon was an important route for pilgrims who came to Stonehenge, as the wider complex around the stones seem to suggest a processional route that began on the banks of the Avon.

When I reached the summit of Old Sarum I was greeted by an amazing silhouette of the top of the hill. The mist was not as dense as it was previously, so the sun light was more powerful this time around, but this only brightened the sky making the silhouette more profound. So, I took a few shots of Old Sarum before moving on. With the mist lifting at a rate of knots, I had to quickly decide which shot was most important. I would probably only have time to shoot one before the mist was completely gone. I settled on the trees because if I would leave here with that shot in the bag then I would be very happy. The ruin shot was not as powerful as the trees, so I decided to leave that. It is also worth mentioning that although I had planned to use a DSLR for this shoot, there were complications in acquiring my gear. At the time of this shoot, I had ordered a new Canon 5D Mark II which was set to arrive on this day, but there were complications with the order, so I was without my DSLR this day, and I had to take advantage of the misty conditions, so I decided to shoot with my Huawei P30 Pro and work around the problems this served me in the previous shoot.

With the sun breaking though, it was causing me problems with exposure. The sun was doing wonders for the silhouetting effect, but I was losing a lot of detail in the foreground, which was a nuisance for the tree shots where I specifically sought to capture detail in the foreground. I tried to frame the trees as I did in the recce shoot, but this time use the indentations in the ground from the previous cathedral site to give it a contextual boost. When I was happy I had this, I moved onto the ruin, which was facing the sun, so silhouetting was impossible here. Knowing from my previous shoot here that I would lose detail on the edges of the frame, I decided to stand further back and push the tree and the ruin towards the middle of the frame, this seemed to work a lot better, I also shot in portrait too which also helped alleviate some of this warping. I also tried to include a second tree which gave the shot a bit more symmetry, but because I was standing much further back to squash this all in, I lost a lot of detail from the ruined wall.

I decided I was not going to get much from the wall ruin and decided to have another go shooting the trees, this time, shooting the ruins of the cathedral in the foreground which seemed to work a lot better, but exposing for the foreground was still proving difficult, especially on a phone where I did not have great control of exposure manually. I continued shooting the trees and the silhouette of the inner hill making sure I had enough material on both, as well as some more stock style images which I may put onto a stock library later down the line. The sun eventually came out and I did not see the worth in shooting any more due to the complicated lighting the mix of sun and dark cloud was offering me. I am content I have the three shots I needed however so I am happy with the results.

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