The event was the Welshot Photographic Roving Academy Evening – the location – Talacre and more importantly the Lighthouse itself.
What turned out to be the last in a series of glorious warm, sunny summer days in May was to be the stage for a fantastic evening to spend on the beach. But before we headed for the beach, armed with cameras, tripods, filters and other paraphernalia, we were treated to a buffet supper (with chips), at the hospitable Point Bar at Talacre. It was there that we got to know each other and Lee got to know the extensive range of gins available!
The beach was just a short walk across the dunes, adjacent to the Point of Ayr nature reserve. The dunes are themselves are an Area of Special Scientific Interest and home to the rare (and once extinct in Wales) Natterjack Toad. in the late afternoon sunshine, we soon arrived on the wide expanses of the beach itself AND the star of the show, Talacre lighthouse, or more properly Point of Ayr Lighthouse, came into view. The now disused lighthouse was opened in 1776, and is still in remarkable condition despite a fairly obvious list to one side, which creates a marvellous dilemma for all photographers – do you level the horizon or make the lighthouse vertical? Either way, images always raise a “levels” commentary and debate. The light was decommissioned in 1884 and is now privately owned and reportedly used as a residential property.
Regardless of the history and current status of the light, the evening was pleasantly warm with some cloud, which promised some colour as the sun went down. Beforehand, there were plenty of opportunities to capture the lighthouse with a close eye having to be kept on the fast-incoming tide if feet and gear was not to become wet. Long exposure times using a variety on ND filters and “stoppers” to further flatten the already flat water were a creative alternative to straightforward images, although the clouds were almost static leaving skies in relatively sharp focus.
As the sun slowly dipped we were treated to some spectacular colours and the wind farm’s windmills on the horizon.
Whilst the lighthouse is clearly the main event, the broad spread of beach both east and west provides a magnificent vista for visiting photographers at either end of the day with both sunrise and sunset offering great prospects. In addition to the obvious image opportunities from the water’s edge, there are also plenty of vantage points within the boundaries of the dunes themselves, from where it is possible to frame the beach, lighthouse or both with marram grass and other vegetation.
On hand to answer questions and assist was the ever present and patient Eifion, assisted by Emma; both ensured the evening was a roaring success. There were clearly many images taken over the evening, doubtless plenty of “keepers” too. I am blessed by having this on my doorstep, and consequently a reasonably frequent visitor, but feel sure that other Welshotters will return for another visit as and when time and conditions permit. Thank you for organising another Welshot Photographic Roving Academy Evening.
The next Welshot Photographic Roving Academy Evening is… A Conwy Adventure – Roving Photographic Academy Evening