Photographs Showing Barry Island’s Transformation

Is Barry Island Returning to the Glory Days?

When we get the opportunity, Jackie and I walk as much as we can.  There are so many fantastic places to see in South Wales and the regeneration of Barry Island is one of them.Barry Island-5

I have been going to Barry Island since I was a child and can still remember the excitement when Mum and Dad said we were going.  There was sand and a huge funfair!  What more does a child want?

However, Barry Island fell on hard times as people deserted the British seaside towns for cheap holidays abroad.   Maybe also for the guarantee of at least a few days of sunshine.  This once iconic holiday destination that attracted literally thousands of holiday makers each year, was in deep decline.  And then something marvelous happened in the form of a BBC TV show called ‘Gavin & Stacey‘.Barry Island-9

This brilliant comedy series, written by Ruth Jones and James Corden, introduced Barry Island to a whole new audience.  Nearly overnight, people were starting to drive down to Barry Island to see if it really was as depicted on the TV show.  At that was the beginning of the regeneration of a wonderful seaside destination.

Over the past few years, there have been huge amounts of investment into the sea front, a great deal of it provided from local and the Welsh Government.  Barry Island is an example of how to transform an area and now thousands of people flock there all year round.

There are excellent walks right along the coast from around Whitmore Bay to Jackson’s Bay.  The Barry Island promenade is now littered with an array of coffee houses (like the fab Bay 5), chip shops and places to buy your buckets and spades.  Even the funfair has been rejuvenated and is in the midst of a major overhaul.  It is alive with activities being organised along the front and on the beach, which is also constantly cleaned.  This is a million miles away from the Barry Island I knew and loved, but so much better.Barry Island Pleasure Park

Although my day job is photography, it is also my hobby and I just love photographing all the colour and magic that now fills Barry Island.  A selection of photographs of the new Barry Island can be seen on my website and I intend to keep adding to them until there is nothing left to photograph!

Paul Fears is a Commercial and Industrial Photographer based in South Wales.  For further information on his work or to request further information, please visit Paul’s website.

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Photographing the Sun Rise

Sunrise, Vale of Glamorgan, Mist, Sheep

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.

A selection of the photographs of the sunrise just outside Pendoylan and other sunrises and sunsets can be seen on my website.