Waverley Abbey with Sun Flare

Location Scouting Waverley Abbey

There are a few shoots I have in mind and want to arrange over the coming months.  It’s great when an idea pops in to your head and your brain runs wild with ideas, then, bam it hits you, that realisation that you now need to start the hard work of pulling everything together.  Things like finding the location, thinking how to light it, what angle to shoot from, what images do you want from it, what look and feel do you want to achieve.  All these questions and more need to be thought about and covered in your planning.

I’ve been looking for a while, over a year in fact, to find a ruin to use as a location.  But I didn’t want any ruin because I had a particular look and feel in mind.  I wanted something gritty, with atmosphere, slightly rough but with soul.  It also needed to have a softer side, romantic and dreamy.  A cross between Wuthering Heights and Vogue magazine.

Wuthering Heights makes me think of dark brooding skies, two souls wondering the windswept Yorkshire moors together.  That great romance between Heathcliff and Cathy, full of drama and contrast between the softer side of human nature and the harshness that co-exist together.

For me Vogue magazine is a modern day take on that same story but without the leading characters of Heathcliff and Cathy.  Instead they are replaced by our love for the new and shiny adverts we see.  Those gorgeous girls wearing elegant designer dresses, jewellery, handbags and shoes.  The make-up, the perfume, not to mention the impact of the overall image.  They sell an idea of romance that allows us to dream, soft dreams of ethereal moments.

Maybe that has given you a bit of an insight into why it’s taken me over a year to find the location that I felt could deliver what I was looking for.  That location is Waverley Abbey.

Waverley Abbey has stood since 1128.  I wonder how many stories it could tell, how many secrets it keeps?  Although it’s now a ruin it has seen the passage of time from its beings, through the reformation of Henry VIII, two world wars, women getting the vote and much much more.  The Abbey has a feeling of peace, of quite calm of knowing and waiting.  Watching the visitors as they pass through and quietly standing while I take the images I want for my scouting trip.

Sir Walter Scott who was a frequent visitor to Waverley Abbey House and his first novel was titled Waverley.  There is some debate whether the name of the lead character Waverley was named after Waverley Abbey or whether it was just coincidence!

If you watch the video you’ll notice I used my iPhone to take the images from the scouting trip.  All I needed was something light that fitted easily in to my pocket and had a reasonable camera.   I’ve added some of the images here on the blog as well as in the video.  I hope you enjoy both the images and the video.

Thank you for reading.


(Video by Chris Blake – http://www.chrisblakephotography.co.uk)

Some of the images from my iPhone


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