We live in Surfer’s Heaven, here in West Wales. They come from all over the UK, attracted by the crashing surf and the fairly mellow temperatures of the Irish Sea. According to the National Trust website, if you leave Freshwater West, one of our most popular beaches, and head west, you’ll eventually hit Brazil. Weird, I thought you’d hit Ireland. However.

Freshwest has major riptides, you don’t swim there unless you know what you are doing. It’s a red flag beach, all year round. But great for surf. You can go there any day of the year, and see a troupe of VW campers, and neoprene-suited dudes. If you’re into that. Me, not so much. But it’s an awesome beach to walk, to watch the sun setting, to take photos. Which I did, yesterday evening. My camera (the D5100, which I hardly use, not the D80, which I use every week for the yarn photos) and I have come to an uneasy truce. It gives me great shots……. about ten percent of the time. Oh well. I just shoot more to compensate.

Can we talk lens flare? I am so into it, man! As you can see. You’d better like it, or you’re going to get bored around here. I know you can fake it in Photoshop, but that’s just plain wrong. I’ve seen it done badly (why don’t you just get out a giant yellow marker and draw in a big smiley sun?), and I’ve seen it done well, and I think somebody is missing the point. The magic of sun flare is that you are capturing on film (well, not really, but you know what I mean) something that is not only ephemeral, but essentially invisible. It’s awesome.

The Pembrokeshire coastline is stunning. Farmland edging right up the cliff edges, with sheep and cows grazing high above the crashing surf. Do they ever look out at the horizon, and think, somewhere out there is Brazil………… Well, probably not. Our coast is softer than the North Pembrokeshire coast, but it has its own charms. This beach is wild and dramatic, but just around the corner, in either direction, are soft cosy coves, that attract hordes of sunbathers in summer months. I much prefer this time of year. We only have to share one of our beaches with the surfers (they surf at more than one beach, of course, but tend to congregate where the surf report says is the best that day, so you learn to just avoid that beach then, unless you like to watch them, which is pretty dull work). There’s plenty of room for us all, and some left over for the gulls.

Oh, Pembrokeshire. Why did I ever leave you?


Yesterday we went on a little adventure. There is an abandoned farm nearby, just crying out to be explored and photographed. We had a huge amount of fun, poking around, taking photographs. There is no trespass law in the UK, but still, I felt very jumpy and furtive. Not helped at all by a huge snowy owl that flew right at me when I went into one barn. According to Tony, I let out such a blood curdling scream, that it still echoes in his ears. The shoot was not without mishaps – I caught my foot in a long bramble, wrenched my knee, dropped to the ground in agony, straight into a patch of nettles and brambles, and Tony dropped one of the cameras in his rush to get to me. Owwwwwwwwwww.

I can’t remember when I had so much fun, actually. The fantastic thing about photography is that it engages every bit of your attention. To someone whose mind is always on about forty-six things at once, this is magical. I felt refreshed and chilled out afterwards, despite the nettle rash and painful knee. You are completely in the moment when that camera is up to your eye. And you see things through the camera lens that you might not have noticed with your eyes.

Note to self: do more of this. It’s worth every scratch and bruise and dent.

(You can see the full sized images on my Flickr page.)