Fountain Court, Hampton Court Palace

Sometimes, there’s more to a picture than meets the eye, and the natural surroundings need a little help. Such was the case for this shot of the Fountain Court cloister at Hampton Court Palace near London. The courtyard was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, adding new wings to the Tudor palace, on the instruction of King William III and his wife Mary, in order to bring the palace to the standards set in Versailles, France, by Louis XIV.

Whilst the courtyard is architecturally remarkable for the time, my eye was drawn to the perspective of the shadowy cloisters; perspective being one of the few aspects of classical art technique I actually enjoyed when I was at school. (It’s probably due to the maths.) However, it was patently obvious that I wouldn’t get the shot I wanted by chance, as the view was continually blocked by running children, abandoned pushchairs left idle whilst mothers took their children to the toilets in the right of the picture, and milling groups of students looking bored. After a ten minute wait, I decided to resort to the second option and (as I like to call it) “rebuild reality” by capturing the scene I wanted using real parts of the scene photographed separately. The left, centre and right sections were thus photographed individually, when each corresponding area was clear of people: if only for a second or two. I then joined the individual sections using Photoshop to present the real view, albeit without the real bane of the architectural or traditional landscape photographer: the massed public.

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