Lake minus water plus bridge

This Post might be subtitled: ‘who let the water out?’ It was of course deliberate. This is the Octagon Lake at Stowe Gardens drained for remedial work to the banking. No lake, merely mudflats, the accumulated detritus that is usually unseen, and a thin sinuous channel of water.


I’ve always liked this white bridge. It reminds me of Monet’s garden bridge but up until this moment, I had never identified a composition from this side of the lake that made it worth shooting. But on this day, that sinuous channel of water provided the ideal lead-in.

I invited my assistant – who was wearing a light coloured top – to walk round the lake and across the bridge to provide the final element of the composition, on which the viewer’s eye could rest. The invitation was declined as being nine minutes too long a walk (one minute is her contractual limit). I did consider proposing the short cut of walking across the mudflats but having surveyed her footwear and general demeanor decided that might be inappropriate. So I waited, and waited, and no-one appeared, apart from a man dressed in black – not helpful.

I am hunting through the archives to see if I have a figure in white to insert – but so far without luck. You will see it if I find it.

About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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20 Responses to Lake minus water plus bridge

  1. I like this shot and particularly enjoyed the careful precision of your composition 🙂

  2. Wonderful image Andy. I love how the water acts like a leading line to the bridge. Excellent composition.

  3. As I’ve mentioned before, my visit to Stowe Gardens was one of the highlights of my trip to England, so it’s always nice to see photos of the place. I like the formal nature of this photo, which is a nice contrast to the mudflats.

    Your assistant must be a tough negotiator, with that one-minute-walk limit!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Melinda. This bridge is, if my memory is reliable (which it isn’t always), is a replacement for an older one sp it might not have been there in its current form when you visited. My assistant is evidently looking for a pay rise or better fringe benefits!

  4. seekraz says:

    A lake bottom isn’t always a pretty sight when the water’s been removed…you handled this one nicely, Andy….the monochrome served you well…even without the white-clad figure on the bridge. 😉

    • LensScaper says:

      There was colour in the original, including some autumn tints, but the bottom half was really rather drab. And as I’ve said on previous occasions, if you’re in need of a bit of impact, then B&W will punch way above its weight very often

  5. oneowner says:

    This is too good of a concept to ignore. I suggest you have your assistant pose in an appropriate outfit (including footwear), photographer her and clone her in. I’ll wait here.

  6. The reflection really makes this image, well done

  7. Leanne Cole says:

    When I first saw this shot, I thought it was a frozen lake, and that not all of it was quite frozen. I don’t know a lot about lakes freezing, it is something that never happens in Australia, even where it is cold enough to snow, nothing freezes like whole bodies of water. The way the light hits it is really nice.

  8. Len Saltiel says:

    Just love this shot Andy. The B&W choice is perfect.

  9. ehpem says:

    Very nice. I thought it must be a tidal scene, living next to the ocean mud flats are a daily sight. This is better than that – the rarely seen bed of a lake, and the old and likely original stream that was dammed to make the lake. And the perfectly placed bridge as if the builder new it would go well on these rare occassions.

    • LensScaper says:

      Strange how this lake looked better empty than full! Your observation on the original stream is probably true. The bridge always reminds me of Monet’s bridge in the Water Lily series of paintings he did.

      • ehpem says:

        I can see why it reminds you of Monet’s bridge, though they are quite different, the setting and feel is very similar. This sure is a good exposure, now that I look at it again.

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