Travel back in time
It’s December 21, and in the Northern Hemisphere, that means it’s the shortest day of the year, and it’s only appropriate to showcase some Stonehenge photography. Note that in the Southern Hemisphere today is the longest day of the year! For my birthday (late March) in 2017, I traveled to England and caught a private tour from within the circle. It’s a fascinating place, but let’s talk about why it is so sought out during solstices.
Once upon a time, ancient druids used to celebrate this day and welcome the longer days for the next six months. It was considered a time to celebrate rebirth and death. Modern-day druids still flock to the stones today. And tomorrow morning, during sunrise, large amounts of people will gather to watch as the sun comes up through the center of the stone circles.
A fun fact is that the pilgrims arrived in Plymouth on December 21, 1620, just about 400 years ago! Oh, and solstice translates to “sun stands still” in Latin. There’s plenty of theories as to what the purpose of Stonehenge actually was, but there’s no denying that the winter solstice played a huge role. Some have theorized it was religious purposes or perhaps, burials, astronomical, or all of the above. One day I will visit during a solstice or equinox, but for now, let’s talk about and check out some Stonehenge photography while I was there!
It was a moody overcast morning when I was there, but this didn’t bother me at all. It made for some moody photos, and truthfully, I don’t think the weather matters much when visiting. No matter what, you can feel the magic and mystery in the air. I walked around with a wide-angle lens and shot at medium ISOs. I did a private tour when I was there, so there were not many other people there this early, as the public opening was later in the morning. You may want to consider doing this if you want fewer worries about people roaming in the area while you shoot.
You can’t get too close to the stones unless you do a private tour or during an event. Typically, there is a path you walk that circles the stones. As you can see above, it’s a real treat to get close if you can. This presents some elegant wide-angle opportunities. If you do get close, be sure to photograph all the textures and colors on the rocks. There’s plenty of lichen and moss among the rocks!
For the Birds
While visiting the area, make sure you keep an open eye for the jackdaws! They have nested in the area for hundreds of years and are considered the guardians of Stonehenge! There are about a dozen other bird species in the area as well.
More Stonehenge photography
If you will be visiting Stonehenge, get a jump on things and check out the English Heritage website. From history to visiting information, this is a great place to start your research. You can see more of my Stonehenge Photography and some other ancient locations, such as Egypt, as well in my Travel Gallery.