Monthly Archives: April 2010

First Day Course of the year completed – Whiteford Sands, Gower Peninsula

Whiteford Marsh, Gower Peninsula

It was quite hazy when we arrived at Whiteford. So even though it was fairly sunny, at times it didn’t look like it in the images. The trees on the horizon caught our attention but the sky above it was very pale. We decided that it was best to exclude the sky, and this was the test image I took to show everybody how I saw the image. As usual on my day courses, the few images I took were nearly all handheld, so the sharpness isn’t great. They do help illustrate what I am trying to explain though. With the sky a very pale blue and at times the light being quite directional, we tried to exclude the sky as much as possible but used it to highlight the new growth on the trees as in the image below.

Developing leaves, back lit on Whiteford Burrows, Gower Peninsula

The light hitting the leaves contrasted well against the darker pines behind, but I also liked the different sizes of tree in the image as well.

Pine trees, Whiteford Burrows, Gower Peninsula Pine Bark detail, Whiteford Burrows, Gower Peninsula

The pine trees always allow a good image to be made. Because a lot of the plantations are man made, there tends to be some patterns amongst what initially appears to be a quite chaotic environment. It just takes a little bit of searching to isolate one of the possible views. The shade allows detail images of the bark to be made, without too much contrast causing problems with the final appearance of the image.

Whiteford Sands and Burrows, Gower Peninsula

This is a quick image looking up towards the point. I couldn’t make another image in the other direction as some nudists were quitely sunbathing. One of the potential hazzards of a sunny day at Whiteford Sands!

I am off to Tintern Abbey tomorrow for a 1-2-1 tuition day. I don’t have that may images of the Abbey yet, so I am looking forward to it. The weather looks to be a bit more mixed, so we will see what happens.

More from Whiteford Sands, Gower Peninsula

Whiteford Sands & Burrows, Gower Peninsula

All this clear blue sky is getting boring now – I want clouds back! I couldn’t even rely on aircraft vapour trails to provide any interest, plus the volcanic ash isn’t visible either! I was hoping to try and make an image with the last rays of sun highlighting the dunes only, turning them red/orange. I got close to making an image like that last year, but it still wasn’t quite right. Anyway, last Saturday it didn’t happen either as when the sun lowered towards the horizon, it seemed to lose all strength and the light went very flat and dull due to mist, cloud or pollution on the horizon. It was difficult to tell which one it was. I did produce nice colours out to sea though.

Sunset at Whiteford Sands, Gower Peninsula

Whiteford Burrows and Sands always allows lots of detail images to be made with a wide range of subjects present.

Pine Cone, Whiteford Burrows, Gower Peninsula

Occasionally you get lucky as well. I had decided earlier not to get too close to the birds on the beach, but luckily they decided to fly relatively close to me instead. Luck does come into the following image as the wing positions are close to ideal on all the birds and there is a nice spacing between them as well.

Whimbrel in flight

Recent scouting of Whiteford Sands & Point, Gower Peninsula

Willow buds, Whiteford Burrows, Gower Peninsula

With a Whiteford Day course looming next Saturday, I visited recently to see what was going on. The cold spell earlier in the year has set back some of the flowers, including the Flag Iris that are usually starting to appear about now. The recent warmer weather has helped, but still Spring is not quite advanced at this time of year as it has been in previous years . There are still plenty of subjects appearing though. The Willow buds are just coming out and some of the Hawthorn trees are starting to develop a blossom.

The last light catches the willow buds at Whiteford Burrows, Gower Peninsula

I was attracted by the back lit buds in the above image and even though it was pretty dark I managed to make an image. There ideally should be more foreground interest, but there is actually quite a lot of detail in the image, even though this may not be apparent on an LCD screen.

Over on the beach side there was a small flock of Oystercatchers still with some Curlew, Redshank and Greenshank present in largish numbers as well.

Oystercatcher flock on Whiteford Sands, Gower Peninsula

I wasn’t quite set up for bird photography, so I stayed further back and tried some environmental style images instead.

Curlew and approaching tide at Whiteford Sands

Gigrin Farm Revisited- plus the viewing of my first Red Kite over Gower

Red Kite gliding at Gigrin Farm, Rhayader

I was reminded that I hadn’t been to Gigrin Farm recently when I saw my first Red Kite over Gower. I was driving a long the south Gower road on my way to Worm’s Head, when I saw what I first believed to be a Buzzard. The distinctive tail of the kite became visible though as I got closer, but having to keep an eye on the road only gave me a brief  look.

I have been trying to get some different images of the Kites at Gigrin Farm from those that are normally seen. There are now plenty of images  Kites flying around with a nice blue sky behind, so having been inspired by some images made by Danny Green of the kites in snow, I decided it was time to experiment a bit. There was no snow at my visit in Easter ( the nearby hills had some still on my first day), but I thought I would try and include some “habitat” details in the image. I was photographing from the new larger Tower hide, which is taller than the others and occasionally get you level or even above some of the birds. This has given some images a different perspective and makes it easier to include the trees behind the feeding area as the hide is positioned to the right of the feeding area as you look at it from the hides. This puts it closer to the trees.

Red Kite diving

I have also seen some beautiful bird in flight images made by Arthur Morris and Andrew Parkinson with very pale or white backgrounds in them. This really emphasises the detail and colours of the bird in the photograph, and it doesn’t seem to matter that the background is featureless. Above is one of my attempts at a similar style. This is not quite the best pose and placement of a diving Kite, but the frame before in which this was better, the Kite was blinking and as a result the eye isn’t very clear. I do think the background really helps the colours of the birds though.

I am currently working on a book project involving Gigrin Farm that I hope to have finished soon, so keep an eye out for the launch in the near future. I hope it goes well, as there hasn’t really been anything released like it before and it will allow other projects to role out from it. Anyway, a bit more work to do yet, so back to the editing!

Clyne Common, Gower Peninsula

Sunset over Clyne Common, Gower Peninsula

These are a couple of images made one evening after a few hours in the office. The light was nearly gone so I only managed a few frames. Clyne common is quite expansive, but with no outstanding features. The wider view below doesn’t work as well because there is nothing really to hold the viewers interest. I tried to place the dark gorse bush at a point that the thirds intersected, but the plain sky doesn’t help either. With my liking for a few clouds, I think that they would have helped give it some more interest. The above image is more successful as the horse provides some interest, plus a medium telephoto lens has compressed the perspective and removed some of the empty space seen in the wider view. It still has the feel of the common, even though a smaller section is being isolated in the photograph.

Clyne Common is an area that I have not covered much as I usually pass it on the way to another location. I think it warrants a bit more coverage in my photo library, so hopefully a few more visits will allow a few more ideas to develop.

Clyne Common, Gower Peninsula