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Thursday, 5 April 2012

Sarsen colours

Here's a link to Tim Daw's interesting site about sarsens:

Tim has made a couple of interesting posts recently relating to sarsen colours, and here are two of his pictures:

Not sure where the top photo was taken  -- Tim says the stone was "worked" (sand-blasted?) in 2003, revealing a pinkish colour.  The sarsen below is sarsen 23 at Stonehenge, also sand-blasted but revealing a very interesting grey-blue colour on the "natural" surface.  (I think that when Tim posted this picture he was more interested in the markings (circled) than the colour........)

I wonder how many of the sarsens at Stonehenge are this colour, and how many are various shades of pink, grey, buff etc?  I'm increasingly convinced that this colour research must be done!


Timothy Daw said...

The top stone is in my village of All Cannings and put up to commemorate the year 2000, which is when it was ground clean around the Engraved area.

As you say the colour in photos can be very different depending on the light.

chris johnson said...

Phil is a pro-photographer so understands color better than most. I would be happy to take his opinion as a starting point should he want to give it.

As a serious amateur photographer myself I am always impressed by the changing colors at Stonehenge that Tim mentions. I have seen it looking blue, I have seen it looking red, and I have seen it looking thunderous; one reason I don't belief there was ever a roof.

I would be very interested in Phil's opinion.

Anonymous said...

I visited Inver today and took the chance to get a photo of Boles Barrow.
It was frustrating not being able to wander over the plain but being restricted to the roads as I could see what appeared to be odd stones in fields...

Anonymous said...

these are outside a house in Shrewton


Phil Morgan said...

Hello Chris,
If I am the Phil you refer to then I'm afraid you have the wrong Phil Morgan. I only wish I was a professional photographer but never mind. Perhaps he's the Phil Morgan who's got me into so much trouble in the past?

Anyway, last February I travelled to Stonehenge for an early morning visit. I joined the queue of brass monkeys looking for a welding job and entered the circle.

The object of the exercise was to establish the colour of the Altar Stone.
To have a reference point for colour I placed a sheet of plain white paper on the Altar Stone and took the photos with the paper included.

The idea was to match the tone of the white paper in the photo, to the colour of same sheet of paper while processing the photos on the computer.

The result was a failure, for it proved impossible to match even plain white.

This Altar Stone is proving elusive, but other cock-ups may form the basis of a new blog thread in the future, meanwhile,
I shall continue searching as time allows.


chris johnson said...

Phil, my mistake - I was thinking of Pete G.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Interesting idea, Phil. I still think there is no substitute for a CMYK colour chart in swatch book format, where you can find the right swatch and make a very accurate match. In the old days these were called Pantone colours. All printers chad them -- but now I suppose everything is computer based. Do these swatch books still exist?

BRIAN JOHN said...

I just discovered that they do still have them ..... but that they generally cost over £100. Probably a printer will let you have an old one for free......

chris johnson said...

I think Pete can give good advice. Personally I would shoot the photos in RAW and then tweak the white balance of the images in software like Aperture. You can get a reading of the light in-situ with a light meter or use the camera if it has a way to set a manual white balance (described in the manual).

To get a true color image you need a good monitor that is calibrated - most pro photographers have one and they use calibration tools to get them looking right.

Software like Adobe Photoshop is really spectacular at revealing colors that are not showing up on displays or in print - but that costs an arm and a leg to license legally.

Anonymous said...

Geological Society of America rock-color chart.

Cheaper than Munsell not as comprehensive but very useable.

I have and use two.
Dinornis giganteus

Anonymous said...

this is a difficult one as the colour of the stones changes with the weather and the light.
Sometimes at Sunset the sarsens glow Pink!

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thank you Dino -- excellent suggestion. Bright young thing, please take note.......

Timothy Daw said...

Last summer I spent quite some time looking at Sarsens along the lengths of the Marlborough Downs and the Pewsey Vale trying to see if the colour and texture of them changed in a reliable way so provenance of stones could be deduced.
Sarsens vary because they come from sand banks which then as now are different from bay to bay.
Pete G may well have a view on this but my reluctant conclusion was that they vary so much in each location that as simple field spotting exercise was useless.
If it hadn't been then it would have been interesting comparing the stones of Stonehenge to the sarsens of those and other areas.

chris johnson said...

Pink is cool after Bubb's impossible shot out of the woods. i see pink therefore I am. Whatever I can see can de done. Pink stones? Makes sense.

Timothy Daw said...

More Stonehenge pictures where I was trying to capture colours today on

Timothy Daw said...

More Stonehenge Colours