Being a commercial and industrial photographer invariably means that my cameras are with me most of the time. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that I can stop and take photographs at every opportunity as I am usually racing from one photoshoot to the next.
However, on a glorious morning in late April 2015, I was on my way to a 7am morning meeting on the seafront at Barry Island, driving through the winding lanes of the Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales, UK. The sun had just started to peak out from behind the rolling hills and golden light was spreading across the land. Just before I reached the small village of Pendoylan, I turned another corner and the view of the rising sun and mist filled valleys was just too much and I pulled over next to a gate to a large field. As soon as I got out of the car I noticed how cold it was, but remained undeterred. Opening the boot and my large equipment rucksack, I got out my Canon 5D, quickly chose the settings I wanted with a large aperture and rested on the ice covered gate to steady myself.
Looking across the landscape towards the rising sun, I could see that the far-off tree filled fields were covered with low lying mist. Trees just poked their heads up through the grey. In the field before me were some sheep and the orange glowing sun was illuminating them from behind. It looked beautiful and my job was to try and capture the scene in a photograph.
On my travels, I often get asked by keen photographers for tips. The number one tip is always to have your camera with you as you just never know what opportunities you may see. Taking the photographs of that wonderful sunrise took around 15 minutes and I still made my 7am meeting on time. You never know when you will see something that will ignite your imagination and, even if you don’t have your special camera, use a mobile phone. Photographs are all about capturing moments in time that will never be repeated. There will be plenty more sunrises, but none exactly the same as that morning just outside Pendoylan in the Vale of Glamorgan and I have that captured in a photograph for ever.
I was driving along the heads of the valleys road on my way back home from Ebbw Vale, just north of Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales, when I saw this amazing sky. I pulled over at the first opportunity and with my Canon 1000D took some photos. I wanted some long exposures for the car lights and balanced the camera first on the car roof and then on a nearby post. However, this photo, with the light reflecting on the side of the car, was taken hand held. It isn’t perfect, but I wanted the reflection and didn’t have a tripod. It was cold and I was late, but sometimes you need to just grab the opportunity to take the photograph. On my website are a collection of photographs of sunrises and sunsets.
The colours of Autumn have always fascinated me and trying to capture them on a camera is always challenging. You need good light, which in Wales can be absent at the best of times. I like blue skies as they offer a perfect contrast to the brown, yellow and orange leaves, and you can use the direct sunlight to illuminate the edges of the leaves. Also, there is a time limit when the colours change and the leaves drop, often shortened when there is a major storm.
This particular set of photographs was taken in Bute Park, Cardiff, South Wales at the back of Cardiff Castle. It is a beautiful park all year round, but in the Autumn the diverse mix of fauna seem to ignite in Autumnal colour. One side of the park runs alongside the River Taff and is a popular location for walking, cycling and sports. On the opposite side you will find the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama leading down to the Castle walls on the edge of the shopping area. The fact that it is in the centre of Cardiff makes it that little bit extra special.
On the Melin Court Brook, a left bank tributary of the Neath River, 1 mile south of Resolven in the county borough of Neath Port Talbot in South Wales is an awesome 80ft (24m) waterfall. The walk up from the car park is pretty straight forward and you can hear the noise of the water crashing down on the rocks as you get closer. The path opens up and then you are faced with these magnificent falls. Spray from the cascading water showers the whole area making the rocks slippery and you need to take care. However, there is an opportunity for some great photographs.On this occasion I just used my Canon 1000D balanced on rocks with a beanbag attached to the balance for support. Not ideal, but it allowed me to take some long exposures to capture that wonderful white flow. Luckily the weather was overcast and quite gloomy, which was perfect for the long exposure. I could have stayed there for hours.
The walk around Cardiff Bay starts and ends at the Wales Millennium Centre and takes around 1 1/2 hours. So, what are the five sights to see?
1. Walk away from the Millennium Centre, past Techniquest and onto the bridge (A4232). From here the views both towards Cardiff (where you can see the Millennium Stadium) and Penarth are breathtaking. Get the camera out;
2. After dropping down and under the bridge, you follow the path along past Cardiff International White Water Centre until you reach a footbridge. From here you can see the small and large boats moored on the river;
3. Head towards Penarth and the barrage, taking the path back towards Cardiff Bay and gaze across the water. In the summer, the water is full of boats and activity;
4. Around half way along the path is a small exhibition about Captain Scott and two huge sails. Prefect photo opportunity;
5. Walk on past the Doctor Who Experience and back to Cardiff Bay. Now it is time to gaze at the wonderful Wales Millennium Centre. And don’t forget to get a few photos!
Photographs of all the above sights and more can be seen by following the links below.
The sight and sound of the rushing flow of water cascading over a waterfall is one of nature’s wonders. Jackie and I had walked up to the waterfalls on the Elidir Trail in Waterfall Country near Pontneddfechan in South Wales, UK the previous week. At that time it was raining and although I had took some photographs, they were simply snapshots.
A week later, the sky was forecast to be perfectly overcast and so I decided that the time was right to take spend some time getting the best images possible. I left the house whilst everyone was still in bed and drove the 45 minutes or so north. After parking, and now laden down with a bag of kit and a heavy tripod, it took me another 45 minutes to walk up along the winding and muddy path alongside the Afon Nedd Fechan river to the first waterfall, before I doubled back on myself to spend time at another three locations. Sgwd Gwladus was the last waterfall of the four.
All the images I took (for more images go to the website – http://www.paulfearsphoto.co.uk/index.php?cat=photographs&id=16&album=Waterfalls&sub_album=Sgwd Gwaldus) were on a Canon 5D, tripod mounted for the long exposure with the highest F stop possible. I also use a graduated filter on some of the images, especially as the daylight increased and started breaking through the clouds. I love the way that the long exposure captures the energy of the water, turning the water milky white.
In Waterfall Country there are several fantastic waterfalls and I intend to photograph all of them and repeat the photographs as the seasons change. What a great way to spend a Sunday morning!
Morning had just broken and I had stopped in one of the laybys on the A470 heading north from Merthyr Tydfil to Brecon in South Wales. The sky was clear and the air wonderfully still. I was on my way to climb Pen-y-Fan, the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons, but my breath had been taken away by the mirror reflection of the mountains and trees on the glass like reservoirs. I took out my Canon 1000D and tried to capture the beautiful views.
I have this particular photograph mounted and framed on the wall in my house. I have also sold a few framed pictures at fairs around South Wales and have recently turned this into a greetings card. The image always gets a great reaction and I think it is the tranquillity that people like.
It had just gone 6am and I had been poised waiting for the sun to rise for at least half an hour. Despite it being summertime, it was cold. I had positioned myself on a sand spit facing Herne Bay and the rising sun. My camera was mounted on my tripod for extra stability and it was just a waiting game for the sun. I occasionally acknowledged some joggers as they plodded past, giving me odd looks even when they had got up at this unearthly hour to burn off that fat and keep fit. Each to his own, I thought. And then the sun peaked over the horizon and the sun burst into colour. As I clicked away, I just thought how lucky I was and how worthwhile it had been to crawl out of bed over an hour earlier. More photos of the sunrise can be seen on my website on http://paulfearsphoto.co.uk/index.php?cat=photographs&id=16&album=Sun-Setting-and-Rising&sub_album=Sunrise-in-Kent
Just over a year ago, South Wales was covered in snow. The temperature was bitterly cold, with the ground hard and icy, but at least it wasn’t raining. I was walking up Fan Fawr, the mountain opposite Pen-y-Fan in the Brecon Beacons and saw four people standing like sticks at the top of this snowy ridge. With my frozen finger pressing the trigger, I used my Canon 1000D, a 50mm lens, some great depth of field and some adjustment for the light, to capture the sticks on the top of Fan Fawr.