Fountains Abbey at Night
"It’s probably a good mile’s walk to Fountains Abbey, which is situated at the bottom of a natural hollow in the landscape…"
Stopping off in the car park, it’s probably a good mile’s walk to Fountains Abbey , which is situated at the bottom of a natural hollow in the landscape, from the Abbey’s visitor’s centre.
You walk along a path that points directly towards the main spire of the Abbey, from which choral chants can be heard; they seem to be played from a type of Musac system. Nevertheless, it’s quite inspiring to hear the chants and singing increasing slowly in volume.
On reaching the bottom of the hollow, which you reach by taking a spiralling path down the side of its incline, I surveyed the area to figure out the best place to set up my tripod. I should say that it was already early evening when we got there – the singing was due to start about 8 pm, with the grounds open to the public around 7 pm – so I was already aware that I’d be setting up for long exposure shots in low light.
I saw what looked like an ideal spot across a bridge, on a green on the opposite side of a small stream that runs alongside the some of the Abbey ruins.
It looked like the ideal spot! And it was… and so thought all the other professional and enthusiast photographers who’d come that night. Well, OK, so we had to all wait our turns in the best places, but it was very good natured and everyone moved on to let others in as quickly as was reasonable. We all got good shots in the end!
We wandered around the grounds for an hour taking the images you can see in my mini-gallery below and availing ourselves of the barbeque and café stalls that the National Trust were running near the Abbey bridge.
When the choir started, it was within the cellars you can see in the mini-gallery; I did try to take some images of the choir itself, but it was clear that I was way too far back in the cellars to get any clear shots of them, and I couldn’t get any closer.
A shame then, that I don’t have any images of them to show you. Perhaps it is enough to say that their singing in that particular environment was completely captivating, with the echoing quality that I think all of us associate with church music and monk’s chanting. It was beautiful – particularly memorable was their rendition of “Rhythm of Life”.
We ended the evening wandering the grounds of the Abbey and taking a last few shots of the floodlit ruins. I hope you enjoy them.
All the best,
Chasing Rays Photography.