Biltmore Estate

A couple of weeks ago we spent the extended weekend in western North Carolina. One of the days was spent at Asheville’s Biltmore Estate. How do you shoot a touristy estate that forbids photography inside and is littered with pixel peepers on the outside?

Biltmore Estate

Well, one answer is to get in close and get the detail. Try and isolate a subject and create a graphical image of it in its surroundings.

Biltmore Estate

The property is littered with great statues – most of them with a major subject and a minor subject interacting. The challenge is positioning yourself in a way that incorporates the background in a non-distracting way. The image directly below uses the lines of the staircase to draw you into the figure of the cherub, while the bushes behind provide contrast.

Biltmore Estate

Getting in physically closer, but zooming out shows how a similar composition can look completely different! I had to depend on color to get the right contrast to isolate the statue here.

Biltmore Estate

And this photo of a statue works best by getting low and letting the blown-out cloudy sky act as a white background.

Biltmore Estate

During the winter months, some people wouldn’t see much value in a landscape devoid of lush vegetation. I tend to enjoy the look of the barren trees and yellowed grass mixed within the evergreens.

Biltmore Estate

Finally, capturing a moment is one of the most exciting things to do when shooting in a place like this. It’s like a little gift when you have an amazing background and a subject to place within it. The couple was enjoying the view when I happened upon them (from the stairs in the pictures above).

Biltmore Estate

That’s how I attack a situation like this – by getting closer, moving around, and seeking out moments. What’s your method?

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  • Comment by Carlton Hobbs — March 3, 2011 @ 11:33 am

    Superb images of a very special place! Thank you for sharing!

  • Comment by Spencer — March 3, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

    You spelled Asheville wrong.

  • Pingback by Water & Western North Carolina | JWNPhoto — March 9, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

    […] hiking, checked out waterfalls such as the one above at Pearson’s Falls, spent a day at the Biltmore Estate, visited Chimney Rock (pictured below), and of course shopped at all the touristy […]

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