newgale

The National Parks at 70 - Competition success

I had some success last week! Having entered several images into a competition to capture a moment to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the designation of the first National Parks; I had an image shortlisted. A shot of a horse at Newgale which I will remember taking for a while.

Seeing out of the window that the light was great and there might be a good sunset, I jumped in the car and headed down to Newgale. When I got on to the beach I soon realised I'd underestimated the weather. It was bitterly cold with a biting wind and I didn't have any gloves with me. I took a few shots on the beach then had to retreat to the car to try and warm up my hands. As I was thinking of calling it a day, I saw a lady leading her horse over the pebbles and onto the beach. I gave my hands a final rub and hopped out of the car and back on to the beach. They only stayed for a short while on the beach and in the water before heading back to the trailer but in that time I managed to get a few shots. The blue sky above made the sea a great colour and the dramatic clouds in the background were a blessing. The picture is looking towards the Southern arm of St Brides Bay with Skomer Island offshore.

The gallery was shared in print in the Times, Telegraph, Guardian on the BBC and widely online and social media. There were some great entrants, a well deserved winner and another shot from Pembrokeshire by Steve Burnett of an owl in flight over bluebells; on Skomer Island I suspect. The full collection here…

Winners Gallery in the Guardian

Long exposures and wet feet

We've been very lucky this Spring. At the moment I'm writing whilst rain falls outside but we've had some beautiful days recently. I've taken the opportunity when possible to get down to the sea and enjoy the sun and the water.

Sometimes it's nice just to go out, stand around in ankle deep water and take some really simple shots of the water doing it's thing. I've enjoyed a few hours spent this way in the last few weeks. To get this smooth effect with the water requires a bit of technique. Some of these were taken in bright sunshine where usually the shutter speed would be very fast. A neutral density filter helps cut the amount of light getting into the camera allowing longer shutter speeds without overexposing the shot. Slowing down the shutter speed smooths out the textures as the water washes in and out but leaves patterns behind. Each exposure is about 6 seconds long (longer on some of the shots taken later in the day) and each exposure can create it's own interesting effect. When I go out to take this type of shot, I often spend many minutes taking essentially the same shot but enjoying all the different effects each new wave can bring. As usual, I come back with a whole load of shots from this type of day so this little selection are the best from maybe 50 shots.

The first shot is taken from the beach at Newgale. If you look closely you can see a tanker on the horizon. St Brides Bay often becomes home to a few ships moored up waiting for their slot in the harbour at Milford Haven and they can be there for a few days or sometimes much more. I'm more of a landlubber myself so find it strange the life of the folk on those big boats. I find it odd to think of being out in all that space surrounded by water for weeks at a time but the captain of a tall ship once told me that was the appeal for him. I guess we all go and find that space somewhere although I suppose the motivation is more monetary for the folk aboard that tanker.

These were taken at Newgale, Marloes and Penycwm.

Christmas in Pembrokeshire

Being from Wiltshire orginally, I usually spend Christmas with family there but circumstances never remain the same and so this year I spent it in Pembrokeshire. Boxing day was a beautiful day so a walk on the beach with family made a lovely change from the norm. This is Newgale and a familiar picture to anyone who has seen my front cover of the OS North Pembrokeshire 1:25k map which I took in similar conditions. Sunshine and low tide will always give you a chance for some silhouettes and there were plenty of opportunities as there were scores of people burning off mince pies.