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25 January , 2020

As a photographer, I often find myself staring into a weather app (I have 3 of them), hoping that my planned 60 mile trip to the coast or some other far flung location will yield an image.

On Sunday 12th January 2020 I took a drive over to the Pembrokeshire coast near St. Davids. The weather was changeable which is always a good thing for photographers as it usually means some sort of dramatic interest in the sky. The plan was to spend the day scouting out a couple of beaches and coves and then for sunset, a visit Garn Fawr. I'd shot an image from this location back in December 2018 but completely messed up the shot by not accounting for the very close foreground leaving them too soft.

My first stop was Cairfai Beach. At high tide Caerfai is a small rocky cove but as the tide recedes it reveals a beautiful sandy beach sandwiched between towering cliffs. The rocks around Caerfai are multicoloured with a mixture of grey, green and vivid pink. There are plenty of interesting rock pools and a small cave which can be accessed by wading waist deep through the water. I took a couple of record shots and plan to revisit this beach in better conditions.

Next up was Whitesands beach. This was a bit of a disappointment which had nothing to do with the location, I just failed to find any decent compositions. There were a lot of people with kids and dogs which isn't what I was expecting for a pretty chilly winters day. The sun was also getting low which meant the composition that I did fancy had a huge shadow of me and my tripod in them. I did capture a rather nice image of a man fishing off the rocks though.

Sunset image from Garn Fawr, Pembrokeshire 2018

By the time I left Whitesands the sun was quite low in the sky. I had about an hour to sunset so I took a quick drive over to Porthclais Harbour before heading off to Garn Fawr. Unfortunately this was also a bit of a let down due to the low tide as there was no water in the harbour and the sun was going down in the wrong location which meant that the harbour was in pretty dark shadows. I didn't even get the camera out at this location. Again this was nothing to do with the location itself and I'll certainly be returning at the right time of year and during a higher tide.

Finally, I set off over for Garn Fawr. I was starting to get a little concerned as a bank of dark clouds started to blow in from the sea. This would very quickly snuff out any hopes of a decent sunset. I didn't mind the dark foreboding clouds as that would add a bit of drama to my image but I needed some light too. 

Thankfully there is a small carpark at the base of Garn Fawr so the walk to the top is a brief one albeit a steepish climb. Once at the top, I positioned my tripod and setup a composition. All I had to do was wait for the light. I took a number of shots as the light changed over a ten minute period and managed to capture one or two that I was happy with before a large black cloud closed in and killed all the light on my foreground.

Not to be deterred, I poured myself another cup of tea and applied landscape photographers rule number one (Rule 1. When you think the best of the light has finished, wait).

Twenty minutes later and it was nearly dark, the black clouds had really gathered and I could see pockets of rain driving in from the sea, one after the other. The sun was making a desperate last ditch attempt to overpower the clouds which lit up St. Davids Head in golden rays of  light. I knew I had just a few seconds to capture this magnificent scene but I had the wrong lens. I don't think I've ever changed a lens so quick in my life and with the 200mm lens I was able to zoom right in on the action. 

The rain turned and heading towards me. I was time to go. I managed to pack up and get back down to the car just as the heavens opened. 

What a great day out on the coast and three fantastic images to start off 2020.

If you like these images and think they would look great hanging on your wall, these three are available as fine art prints. I personally print up to 13" x 19" on gorgeous cotton based matt paper and can outsource bespoke sizes or media.


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