Anyone vaguely interested in landscape photography would love the Welsh coast. Picturesque beaches and villages, stunning dramatic rocks, and of course dramatic weather! The Gower peninsula had been a stop for us, but the beautiful views to Rhossili beach from the headland had been ruined. Up on the Worm’s Head we could see nothing but the grey mist in front of us, and the rain in our faces. The whole day had been planned there, so we had to resort to plan B and drive around a very wet Gower, and then return to the hotel early for a visit to a local shopping centre (my wife did not protesteth too much, me thinks!)
The next day, on to Tenby. A wonder of the Welsh coast. The seaside town has always been a very interesting place, long before my interest in taking pictures. Narrow lanes, soft sandy beaches backed by steep rock, old churches and a picturesque small harbour. It even has a gorgeously dramatic lifeboat launch. It’s a great place for photography, but, like the rest of my visit to Wales in the summer of 2017, could I rely on the weather?
We had only planned to drop in for the day, park up and then spend a few hours looking around. If it were warm enough, my wife even planned a swim, but could she? Would she? Even the Mediterranean is considered too cold in April for her Turkish blood, how would she get on with waters from the Atlantic Ocean?
Sadly the weather didn’t suit a swim, those nothing bright grey skies greeted us, and it was barely 20 degrees, but fortunately, for the photos anyway, later in the day dark clouds rolled in to add a bit of interest.
Warm enough to swim? Dogs, children, yes…my Turkish wife, not a chance! Though now, of course, she regrets not having tried! I did my best to persuade her as I lined up some long exposure shots on Castle Beach with St Catherine’s Island and fort placed in the shot, which, incidentally, you can walk to in low tide. The shots were not working, and my wife only paddling nervously. I had the sea turning nice and creamy with a long exposure but the sky wasn’t. Looking back, if I’d had the time, I would’ve returned to this beach once the darker clouds had starting massing on the horizon.
The composition didn’t entice me to keep trying. The tide far too low to use the rocks at the back and sides of the beach to any effect, without filling the shot with half naked tourists. No thank you! What it is about beaches that make us want to sit in public in, virtually, our underwear?
St Catherine's Island, from Tenby Castle Beach. f/11, 8 secs, 73mm, ISO400
What a glorious beach it would be on a sunny summer’s day! The sand is blissfully soft and clean. The view, amazing and interesting. Not a sunny day by any stretch of the imagination. Ah well. Onwards!
Around to the harbour nestled in the small bay made by the arcing headland. Beautiful scenes, clouds now added some depth and dimension. The colourful houses, mostly Victorian I guess, adding an intriguing contrast to that moody sky. If only Vernazza in Italy had been painted as well as this! I visit that lovely village in 2016 but the paint of many buildings was cracked and tatty…shame. Back to Tenby!
St Mary's Church and the colourful houses of Tenby overlooking the harbour. f/11, 1/50, 26mm, ISO100
The natural progression was of course to follow the path around the harbour and onto the promenade above North Beach towards the Croft. More of those lovely coloured houses and the gorgeously angular Goskar Rock in the bay. Twisting up the hill through the lands, all kind of folk like to look out at the view.
Down on the beach. Long exposures. If you follow this blog regularly, you’ve probably guessed that I am obsessed with water and, as natural extension, long exposures. To me it makes an image more dreamy and thought provokıng, though at the same time I love capturing the smash of a dramatic wave as I had down in Devon the previous year. Here, the usual routine. Line up without the filters to get the composition, then add the big or little stopper (depending on light levels and amount of blur needed) and then click. I also used a 3 stop grad filter on this shot to hold back some of the light in the sky so I could retain the detail in Goskar Rock.
Goskar Rock, f/16, 60sec, 27mm, ISO100
I could’ve spent hours down on the beach. My wife too as she played bare foot in the soft sand, I guess wishing it were a bit warmer to convince her that even she could swim. As always, we had a deadline to get back to meet up with family and still much more of the town to look around, not to mention more shots around the harbour. The problem with Tenby, especially with the now gorgeous, moody clouds, is that there were too many shots to get! Wonderful!
Tenby Lifeboat Launch, f/16, 30secs, 24mm, ISO100
If ever you get the chance, I strongly recommend Tenby! A beautiful spot for photography or just a holiday visit. A tip though! Research before you go. With so many shots it can be overwhelming. Plan in advance, know your tide times…and good luck with the weather!
Share your photography weekends…leave me a comment and I will reply asap!
The Frustrated Photog.