Last week I went on a short photography trip to Pembrokeshire. I spent a night next to Tenby and three nights in Marloes. Unfortunately the weather was unusually crazy for August. I had to stay indoors whole day Friday and even Saturday morning because of the heavy rain and strong gales of 50 mph. I left home on Wednesday afternoon hoping for a sunset shoot somewhere on the coast. I had two options to choose from. The first was Skrinkle Haven Beach with its famous Church Doors rock formations in the neighbourhood of YHA Manorbier. But when I checked the area on SunCalc.org it turned out that the light wouldn't hit it nicely around sunset. So I decided to visit another location on the other side of Manorbier.
When exploring the area on internet I found that there was a nice historic point at Manorbier Beach called Kings Quoit. It's a small neolithic chambered tomb, or cromlech. Two small side stones support a striking capstone and this time of the year it's facing towards sunset. I imagined a composition when the light rays of the setting sun were hitting the top of the capstone with the sea and the coastline in the background. It would have looked really nice. But I had to go for something different as the available space around the stones were rather limited. I couldn't get to an angle from where I could properly include the top surface of the capstone. The composition simply didn't work I had to abandon this idea. I walked back a bit instead and found a location where I could use the coastal rocks as foreground elements. I took several shots while the sun was setting trying to capture the best sunstar. This is a busy beach literally next to the village. Lots of people were having BBQ and a couple were in the water for paddle boarding. With long exposure of around a minute I hoped they wouldn't be included in my composition but unfortunately they didn't move fast enough in the water. When processing the photos at home I had to clone out a couple of blurred figures. At the end I kept two images because of the different nature of their sunstar. The Zeiss Loxia 21mm F2.8 lens did its job very well. I prefer the one taken later and hence closer to sunset. The colours are slightly warmer, the tones are more subtle and the longer exposure creates a bit different mood on this.
The next morning I planned to go back to option one. The lights were still not good for Skrinkle Haven Beach but the view is magnificent towards Caldey Island too. That's what I wanted to shoot. Conditions were ideal with almost no wind and nice sky with only a few clouds. I used my Voigtlander 40mm F1.2 lens in case the sun popped out from the cloud creating a sunstar. That didn't happen but the high and middle clouds were nicely lit up before sunset causing a kind of an ethereal pinkish-reddish tint. My only problem was finding a good angle of view. I wanted to included as much sky as possible. But I needed something as well at the bottom of the image to close down the composition. I decided in the favour of the stunning sky having less vegetation shown in the foreground. I could have shot a vertical panorama of two photos but somehow this idea didn't come to mind there at the location. Instead of this I had to increase the size of the canvas at home in order to be able to clone some extra foreground to the bottom. It made the composition more balanced and I could keep the original aspect ratio too.
After finishing here I walked back to check on Skrinkle Haven Beach. I captured some werk photos just to remember those amazing rock formations. I think this beach will be best to shoot somewhere between October and March. Then the sun probably rises and sets in a better position to light those rocks perfectly for photography.
The next post will be about Marloes Sands and Martins Haven where I spent 3 days and had to struggle with heavy rain and strong wind. Stay tuned…