2007(?!) - part 3: a trip to the Bwlch
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August came along and eventually the
incessant rains gave way to pleasanter conditions, which
I was sadly not able to enjoy as much as I would normally
due to plodding on getting the slide library into shape.
Here's a selection of images taken during August followed
by the "trip to the Bwlch" AKA my dismal
attempt at aircraft photography! More about that below!
This was to be pretty much the last active
convection I was going to see for over a month.
Captured one evening at Llyn Clywedog....
Trips to the Lleyn Peninsula were had when I
could tear myself away from my desk! Here, a
yacht negotiates one of the tidal rips in Bardsey
Sound - luckily the weather is settled!
At the other end of Wales, geological fieldwork
took me to South Pembrokeshire and more tidal
rips. This one's at the west entrance to Jack
Sound which separates Skomer from the mainland.
Another dodgy place for a small boat, unless you
really understand what you are doing....
A more substantial boat in the sheltered
anchorage of St Brides' Bay, seen from the same
vantage point. They wait here before going up to
the docks or oil refineries in Milford Haven....
One morning I had to catch low tide in the Haven,
so was up at dawn and heading for West Angle Bay.
It was one of those still early Autumn-feeling
mornings, with a little radiation-fog in the
shallow South Pembrokeshire valleys. Just after
sunrise I passed this scene and just had to stop
and shoot a few pics. I loved the paradoxical
juxtaposition of the newly-cut cornfield and the
backdrop of the towers of one of the Milford
refineries! Both a kind of harvest I guess!
This telephoto shot worked quite well!
Now to the Bwlch.
Mid-Wales is a busy area for military low-flying.
Some people loathe the jets, whilst some actually
come here on their holidays to photograph them. A
focussed area for the aircraft is known as the
"Mach Loop" - a one-way circuit.
Aircraft can join and leave it at several points
but the typical route is to pick up the A470 at
Cemmaes Road, fly north up the valley to Dinas
Mawddwy, then turn west and over the Bwlch pass,
before whizzing down the Tal-y-llyn pass on the S
side of Cadair Idris. From there they can then
turn south and follow the valley down past Corris
The Bwlch pass is a key venue for the
aircraft-photographers as featured in websites
such as www.lowfly.net
which shows the stunning images that they capture
here. Having stumbled upon the site some time
ago, I thought I'd go and take a look to see what
it's all about. Leaving Mach just after 9 one
morning, I drove up to the Bwlch and parked in
the already crowded car-park. Looking up at the
hillside through binoculars, there were people
toting mountains of photographic gear dotted
about everywhere! Popular spot, eh?
Rather embarrassed by the small bag with the
Canon A1 in it, I sneaked up the hillside to a
ledge just below the main crowd and made myself
This was the view downwards to the A470! It
didn't take long for a plane to approach....
Well I got it in the frame which was I suppose
something of an achievement. Tricky business,
this, I thought to myself! I needed something a
bit slower to come along like a C-130
Here it comes!
...and gone! At least the images are
I waited around a bit longer but was noticing the
chill wind on my little perch and gave in to it a
bit later. These guys who take the top-notch
shots of Typhoons, Harriers, F-15s etc are
prepared to sit up there all day, even in winter,
to get that dream shot. A bit like storm-chasers
in their dedication, and the best shots are truly
breathtaking - even if one isn't interested in
aircraft, they are technically as excellent as it
Me? I might have another go one day. Perhaps if
we get a heatwave next summer and I can lounge
around up there in a T-shirt! It's certainly
challenging and difficult subject material - a
bit like wildlife I suppose: those who get the
really good results are specialists with years of
experience and gear suited to do the job. Modern
digital SLRs, with high ISO settings, good
autofocus and multi-frame shooting are the tools
for this job, plus a great deal of ability and
determination. Hats off to these guys!
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