At the end of January, as has become tradition, I made the 200 mile trip to visit my sister in Pontypridd - in the South Wales valleys.
Not wanting to miss the opportunity to broaden my landscape portfolio, I took my full photographic arsenal of Canon 700D, Kenro tripod, Hoya / Cokin filters and canon / sigma lenses.
Monday 23rd January 2017
Louisa's holiday didn't start until the Tuesday - which meant I needed to entertain myself on the Monday.
So, I decided to revisit Porthcawl - a place we checked out (with the camera) a year before without a great deal of success...
This time though, with the reccy under my belt, proper consideration given to the position of the rising sun, and a weather check - I headed straight to the harbour wall to capture the lighthouse at sunrise.
The triangular structures provided both a lead-in and foreground interest. So i set up just in front of them.
As the sun appeared, the sky turned a vivid reddish-pink. The colour show only lasted several minutes before the sun ascended to disappear into the thick cloud where it remained for the rest of the day.
Possibly due to being miles from home and wanting to make the most of my trip, I was undeterred by the less than perfect light conditions. I decided to walk from the harbour, over Coney Beach and beyond.
On the way, this abandoned lifeguard tower has to be snapped. The flat light seemed to work more effectively in monochrome - which also helped to disguise the dumped builders' rubble in amongst the rocks.
Tuesday 24th January 2017
Louisa wanted to visit Hay-on-Wye, a small town known for its antique and book shops, situated on the northern edge of the Brecon Beacons.
I entertained the thought of trapsing around Hay by suggesting that we leave early and make the slight detour to check out nearby Llangorse Lake...
We were both glad we did! The frost covered, icy scene graced by swans, ducks, geese and a heron was shrouded in a eerie mist.
As the sun rose over the valley side it flooded the hut and reeds with warm, golden light in fleeting moments between the clouds.
I decided to capture the scene with a long exposure to emphasis the tranquility of the early morning.
St Fagans Natural History Museum
Wednesday 25th January 2017
On Louisa's birthday we visited St Fagans with a friend. I took my camera, but wasn't in "photography mode" - so I didn't take many thought-out photos.
I did have to snap this little chap though. I hadn't done much in the way of wildlife photography. This robin was far from wild though and was happy to stick around for us to each take a bunch of shots.
Thursday 26th January 2017
Although I was thankful that my time in Wales was dry, cloudy skies were a hinderance all week - turning thicker on Thursday.
Keen to get a few more shots in the bag, we decided to use the soft light to our advantage by visiting Ystradfellte Falls...
Consistent diffused light filtered through the trees to illuminate my mid-day shots without harsh shadows or large shaded areas.
A shutter speed of 1 second was enough to show movement of the water without turning it milky (just my preference).
I believe this waterfall to be Sgwd Y Pannwr. Reaching it from the car involved a fair amount of walking over impressive, but difficult terrain.
Big Pit National Coal Museum
Friday 27th January 2017
On my last day in Wales a bunch of us visited the "Big Pit" attraction. We were the only people there and had the place and the curators' expert knowledge to ourselves.
The weather was detiorating so I kept the camera in its bag. The attraction's underground tour might have made for some interesting shots - but we found that it was closed for maintenence on January week days!
Lesson learned... always do the research!! And maybe the reason why the place was so empty!
The rain stayed off until the last night of my visit when the clouds opened.
On reflection, I'm pretty happy with the places we were able to visit in the dry and the shots i took... it was January in Wales after all!