alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘Wales’

St Davids Cathedral – capturing the light

There are many reasons why I enjoy being in a church or cathedral. Making photographs which capture the light inside these special places is just one reason – it gives me a great deal of pleasure.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I can spend many an hour waiting for the right light. There are also occasions when little or no waiting is required and a sixth sense just tells me I should be inside even when the sun is shining outside. Photographing St Davids Cathedral on the first afternoon of my visit to Pembrokeshire turned out to be one such occasion.


St Davids Cathedral


I had driven the best part of 300 miles that day and had arranged to meet Andy Beel FRPS and the three other photographers in our group at 4pm. The light was good and St Davids Cathedral was only a short walk from our small hotel where we would be spending the next few days.

Bathed in the late afternoon light the Cathedral and grounds looked lovely but as soon as we arrived I instinctively knew that I should be inside and not outside. I just had a feeling that the lighting conditions could be working their magic and so it was.


St Davids Cathedral-4


The combination of the strong low sunlight and the shadows that were being cast only lasted about half an hour but it was more than enough time for me to capture the five images that make up this post.


St Davids Cathedral-5


St Davids Cathedral-3


St Davids Cathedral-2


During the course of the week we did return to St Davids Cathedral at different times of the day, but the light was never quite as good as that brief encounter on the first afternoon. I am sure my fellow workshop participants captured some good shots outside, but I don’t regret my decision to have acted differently and I hope they have forgiven me for disappearing so quickly after our first meeting.

I will be posting more entries and photographs of this Cathedral in the near future.


Whitesands Bay – late in the day


Taken on the first evening during my recent visit to Pembrokeshire, this shot was taken late in the day as the sun started to set. There were only a handful of other people about, all pleased to be at this rather lovely sandy bay.

It’s a location which is popular with surfers but on this occasion there was only one person with a board, but I like the separation and variety of the other characters in the picture. The man walking his dog, the young child running towards his or her mother who is looking out to sea. We do not know if there is a connection between this group of people. It doesn’t really matter, for they were doubtless enjoying their time there, just as much as I enjoyed the scene and taking a few frames.

Abereiddy – a study of chimneys and skies

The first thing that struck me about Abereiddy was not the beach and the waves lapping against the shore but the interesting cluster of houses that make up this tiny hamlet on the North Pembrokeshire coast.



The hamlet of Abereiddy


The more I looked around, I started to observe and enjoy the chimneys and the way in which they stood out in silhouette against the drama in the skies above. The white rendered walls and the very dark grey roofs, so typical of cottages in this part of Wales, made ideal material for black and white photography.



Chimneys and the rook



Chimney and the sheep on the hill



Grassy bank and chimneys in silhouette

Porthgain Harbour – before, during and after Storm Doris

My stay in Pembrokeshire last week coincided with the pending arrival of Storm Doris. The naming of severe storms in the UK has become a convention since 2015. One of the ‘tour’ locations on the itinerary was Porthgain Harbour which lies on the north west coast. A pretty little hamlet, its name translates to Chisel Port, for it was once was used for quarrying. First it was slate, then brick and later granite were all shipped from this place. Now it’s perhaps best known as a tourist attraction with a choice of excellent places to eat and a couple of fine art galleries. In calmer weather there would also be a few fishing boats but I guess these had been removed from the harbour for the winter.

We first visited Porthgain in the afternoon, a couple of days before ‘Storm Doris’ was due to hit our shores. The sea was calm and the sun was setting in the west, so there was no direct light on the old Harbour Master’s Office at the end of the quay.


The Harbour Masters Office in Porthgain – ‘The calm before the storm’

A couple of days later we returned for a very stomach satisfying lunch of fish and chips (what else?!) and timed our visit to coincide with the incoming tide and the arrival of the storm. It had been very gusty in the morning so we expected some dramatic seas. However as the wind was blowing more from a south westerly to westerly direction and not from the north west, the harbour was somewhat sheltered from the brunt of ‘Storm Doris’. Nevertheless the waters were very rough and as wave after wave hit the rocks, plumes of sea spray were being blown into the air.


Porthgain Harbour ‘During the storm’


Porthgain Harbour – ‘Sea Spray’

Believing the sea would still be quite rough the next day, we returned again in the morning knowing the light would be falling on the Harbour Master’s Office. With clear skies it did, but the sea itself was surprisingly quite calm, so a wide angle view of the harbour was the best shot to be captured in the circumstances. The old brickworks are clearly visible on the left hand side.


Porthgain Harbour – ‘The morning after’

As mentioned earlier The Met Office started naming storms in the UK in 2015. The idea to raise people’s awareness of forthcoming bad weather, which might cause damage, flooding or even loss of life. I do understand the need to do this if a severe storm is expected, but to my mind ‘weather warnings’ are now issued all too frequently. In the past heavy rain and high winds would have been accepted as normal and quite regular events during the winter; today though they come with yellow and amber warnings, which may or may not prove accurate anyway.

On this occasion ‘Storm Doris’ was much more severe in other parts of the country than in Pembrokeshire, which only goes to prove how difficult it is to forecast the weather even with all the technology and computer predictions available to the forecasters.

After the shower – Looking behind you in Pembrokeshire


I have just returned home from an excellent few days in North Pembrokeshire in Wales, as one of four participants on an ‘Andy Beel Black and White Photography Tour’.  You expect mixed weather when visiting Wales at any time of year and the past five days have been no exception.

I have already downloaded over 800 images and now the fun begins as I go through the frames, select those with promise and give some considered thought to how they should be processed for later inclusion on this blog.

Inevitably a handful of images stay in the memory at the time of pressing the shutter, so I thought I would quickly post one such image. By way of some background it was late afternoon and I was driving the group from Abereiddy to Porthgain. A heavy but fleeting shower came down and as I looked in my rear view mirror I saw this scene. Had I not done so the opportunity would have been missed, but as it was, I pulled over and we all got out of the car and took a handful of frames. The late sun reflecting off the wet road, the tractor and the gate silhouetted against the brightening sky, and last but not least, the rook flying into the shot all go together to complete an atmospheric image so typical of this beautiful part of the country,

More images and words about the workshop will follow in time, but for the moment always remember to look behind you!