The Kelpies at Night

Photographing The Kelpies

Recently I’ve found myself visiting Scotland as part of my pet transport business. On those occasions where I’m passing close by to Falkirk, I’ll often stop to photograph The Kelpies.

History Of The Kelpies

The Kelpies are located at The Helix Park, located between Falkirk and Grangemouth. It’s very easy to find and well signposted when you are getting close.

They are the largest horse sculptures in the world. Construction began in 2013 and it was opened to the public in 2014. The artist responsible is Andy Scott who mostly sculptures animal forms but is best known for his horse sculptures.

The main purpose of the sculpture is to highlight the use of the working horse in industrial times, for instance pulling canal boats along towpaths. Indeed this area of Scotland is well known for its canals. Kelpies also have a mythical significance which is quite interesting. In Scottish legend they are a shape changing aquatic spirit. Probably used to scare children about the dangers of water, The Kelpies are said to attract children and drag them to the water where they then eat them.

What To Do At The Kelpies

There are a number of car parks close to The Kelpies. The closest car park is chargeable, a fee of £4.00. Other car parks are free and just a few minutes walk from the sculptures. Walking around the sculptures is free. There is a visitor centre, gift shop and cafe. Guided tours where you get the chance to go inside the sculptures last 15 minutes and cost £5.00 for adults (concessions £4.50 and children are free).

When it comes to photographing The Kelpies there are a number of popular viewpoints to pick from. During normal visiting hours it’s a popular location so you will need to point your camera upwards if you don’t want people in your image. If trying to include both horses in the frame there are certain angles where it will make them appear closer together, which I think works better.

There is actually a small replica close to the visitor centre. If you frame it right, use the right focal length and an aperture giving a large depth of field you can make it appear as though there are 3 horse sculptures. There are some cables (electricity pylons?) behind the sculptures which some might find distracting. When I have more time I might revisit the images and edit the cables out.

I also sometimes like to concentrate on just one of the horses as the following images highlight. You may notice that all these images have been converted to black and white. I just think being a modern steel sculpture lends itself to the black and white treatment.

And yet another viewpoint of one of The Kelpies.

The Kelpies At Night

Another popular photo opportunity of The Kelpies is at night when they are illuminated. They tend to illuminate them about 30 minutes after sunset but it takes a while for the colours to peak. The main image at the top of this article shows a blue lighting but the colour does rotate every few minutes between blue, red, green and white. Visiting at night will have the added benefit of hardly any people, perhaps just some other photographers!

If you are looking for another photo opportunity close by to The Kelpies you might consider The Falkirk Wheel. Also being a modern, metallic structure it’s likely to suit a similar post processing treatment and make for a good combination.

If you are a photographer who enjoys photographing The Kelpies feel free to give your advice to readers. Maybe you know of another interesting viewpoint or can suggest other interesting local photo opportunities. For more information about The Kelpies you can visit the official Helix website:

The Helix

Please Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *