On Sunday evening I took a trip with my parents to see the Winter Lights display at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire. What with the promise of interesting, and brightly coloured lights in a stately garden environment, I took my camera.
Anglesey Abbey is, according to the National Trust website, a Jacobean-style house with gardens and a working watermill. It is located in Lode, Cambridgeshire.
The Winter Lights display is an annual event in which visitors can walk around the gardens after they have been transformed into a “light-fantastic wonderland”.
It’s certainly a sight to see!
The paths around the gardens have been equipped with coloured lights shining on the foliage, creating an environment that you don’t see everyday. And one that I found great delight in photographing.
For me, the highlight (no pun intended) was the grove of Himalayan Silver Birch trees. During normal hours the trees are stark white, when it’s dark, and there are coloured lights shone on them they look like the picture above.
Not content with taking pretty looking pictures of illuminated trees however, I started getting a little more creative.
The image to the right was the first of my experimental shots and I’m so pleased with it.
I used a long shutter speed to take the shot which gave me the time to pivot the camera up and down vertically while the shutter was open.
The lights being shone on the trees drift through a series of colours meaning that the trunks are constantly changing colours. Using different angles and timings you can get completely different images.
Like this one for instance.
Using the same shutter speed for this shot, instead of moving the camera, I changed the focal length.
The camera recorded this as using an 18mm focal length, this was just the start point. During the exposure I zoomed the lens in to almost the 50mm mark creating the ‘zoom’ effect in this shot.
At this point, I was bouncing around like a mad man, with a Cheshire Cat grin on my face whilst taking these shots, I was loving it. And getting a bit more adventurous, I tried another technique.
I thought to myself, why just move the camera or change the focal length when I can do both at the same time?
I couldn’t think of valid reason why not, so I tried.
This is the result.
This shot was created by holding the lens barrel steady whilst rotating the camera from landscape orientation, to portrait orientation. By holding the lens barrel, the focal length changes as the camera rotates.
I’m a fan of experimenting with my camera, and this is one of the few times it’s actually paid off. I’m really pleased with the shots I got, to the point where I’m hoping to get some printed to hang in my house.
Tickets are now sold out for the remaining weekends that the Winter Lights are being displayed, but they’ll be returning next year. I’d suggest you book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.
Until then, you can enjoy some of the other photos I took at the event over on my Flickr Page.
Thanks for looking.