It is so easy just to take those same old photographs when visiting a Museum like St Fagan’s just outside Cardiff in South Wales UK. The historical buildings are wonderful and reflect the amazing history of the United Kingdom and the temptation would be just to stand back and take those all encompassing photographs that show everything. I wanted to do something different.
St Fagan’s in South Wales is a natural history museum and has rebuilt buildings that were going to be demolished. They include farm house, institutes, police stations, shops and terraced houses and the aim is to show how people used to live. It is incredible to see how people were living only 100 years ago and I can only wonder at what the next century will bring.
It was a gorgeous day with a deep blue sky that was a perfect backdrop for some of the white buildings. Also, the sun created wonderful shadows over the textures of the buildings. I did not have a great deal of time, but constantly looked for interesting angles, textures and perspectives. There was the silhouette of the dog fighting pit with the sun behind, the chimney of an old terraced house, shadows on a weathered wooden door and an old man reading a newspaper sitting outside an old farm house. I tried to keep the compositions simple, whilst stimulating some intrigue. I came away with photographs that were just a little bit different.
Paul Fears is a Commercial and Industrial Photographer in South Wales and can be contacted on:
The National Museum of Wales is not only houses one of the World’s premier art collections, including Monet, Van Gough and Rodin to name but a few, but is a stunning example of the wonderful Portland stone architecture in the Cathays Park area of Cardiff. Construction of a the building began in 1912, but with the onset of the First World War it did not open to the public until 1922, with the official opening taking place in 1927. The architects were Arnold Dunbar Smith and Cecil Brewer, although the building as it now stands is a heavily truncated version of their design.
The domed ceiling of the main foyer area is particularly photogenic, especially if you persuade the staff to allow you to lie on your back exactly under the centre of the dome to take the shot.
I was in Coffee Barker, a fantastic café in one of the arcades in the centre of Cardiff in South Wales, and had just finished the 2nd of two meetings. It was time to wander back to the car and so I clicked my fisheyes lens onto my Canon 5D, ready to take some unconventional images of the beautiful city. Firstly, there was the arcade and the tables lined up outside Coffee Barker. The arcades in Cardiff are amazing and I reminded myself to return and spend an afternoon photographing the arcades. I then ventured out into St Mary’s Street and took a photo looking down away from the castle. After crossing the road, I headed up towards The City Parish of St John the Baptist, where the blue skies and gorgeous clouds framed the church perfectly.
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.
I might be slightly biased, but I think that Cardiff is one of the most wonderful cities in the World. Having had the good fortune to travel extensively over the past 25 years, I have seen and experienced many cities. Still, Cardiff comes out on top. The capital of Wales is extremely cosmopolitan and the additional of buildings such as John Lewis are architectural wonders and have brought a new dimension to the city. Sitting next to the City Library at the end of the St David’s 2 shopping precinct, the building has sharp tight angled corners with smoked windows from which tired shoppers gaze as they drink their afternoon tea in the John Lewis café. And I should know as I’ve sat there often.
It was lunchtime and time for a walk. I wandered down to the busy main road that runs through Church Village, near Pontypridd in South Wales, on my way to the bank. Just before my destination, I see the most amazing display of bluebells tucked away along the edge of a driveway. In stark contrast, the window of what appeared to be a garage was in desperate need of a lick of paint and the jars in the window appeared to have been there for some time. Who lived there and had they ever seen this gorgeous array of colour? I doubted whether they had. I cursed myself for not taking my Canon camera, got out my HTC One mobile and took a photo.
Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, is blessed with some amazing architecture. The buildings in the centrally located civic centre, such as the City Hall and the National Museum of Wales, are particularly magnificent. The buildings are built of Portland stone and are important examples Edwardian Baroque style. The statues ordaining the buildings are particularly eye-catching, with angels warding off evil from the edges of the roof. The buildings are perfect for photography. But don’t blink!