Mid-summer arrived quickly, and disappeared even faster in what must be one of the best spells of weather we have had for some while. What Welshot described as the Shortest Night, which in reality for those who attended, turned out to be one of the most extended, surpassed the longest day! Regardless of duration, long or short, the night was one of the best I have spent, and that is saying something!
We kicked off with an hour or so on the foreshore at Penmon Point taking advantage of the glorious conditions to indulge in some long exposures and creative compositions before feasting on the “all-inclusive” BBQ cooked by Chris Couchman. Watching Lee indulge in her favourite G&T (with a slice of lemon – but no ice) in a jam-jar will be a lasting memory for me and many others I am sure! The meal set us up for what turned out to be a magnificent sunset, which provided opportunities galore for everyone to capture some stunning colours.
It was then off to Newborough in convoy, for the “stroll” out to Llanddwyn Island where the old lighthouse, cross, pilots cottages and numerous vantage points provided everyone with backdrops for moonlit shots and star studded skies. Camera settings were a little more challenging in the dark to say the least; this is where familiarity with your gear really pays off and being able to find controls and setting without resorting to a torch is a huge time saver! Night skies were new to me, so experimenting with settings was the order of the day. High ISO’s, over 1000, wide apertures, f4.5, and maximum shutter speed of 20 seconds appeared give some reasonable results. This is something I will certainly be having another go at – and before this decent weather disappears! Our time on the island came to a close all too fast but we had one more location to visit before this night was over, but not before we “refuelled” in the car park on hot coffee and snacks.
Heading off Anglesey we made for Ogwen Cottage and the 15 minute climb up to Cwm Idwal in time for sunrise. Llyn Idwal with its magnificent backdrop of the so called “Devil’s Kitchen” was our final photographic location. We were in plenty of time to catch the first of the sun’s rays to hit the peaks and the myriad of points to photograph from made composition choices interesting to say the least. There was little in the way of complaint from anyone, save to say one or two interesting choice comments on the hordes of midges that seemed to focus on a few individuals. Luckily, I was not one of them!
Sunrise over, we made our way to Moel Siabod café for hot coffee and bacon rolls to end the adventure. Huge thanks to Welshot for the opportunity to join in; it would be wrong to not thank Eifion, Kris, Emma, Lee and Chris for all their individual inputs, which made the outing successful. It seems that next year’s event is already filling up – fast, which comes as no surprise. I would heartily recommend it but suggest anyone attending has a clear day to follow up, some downtime to recover is essential; I had none and am still suffering from sleep deprivation, but the images and memories of the Shortest Night are all worth it – honestly!
Learning points for me included having plenty of spare batteries, a newly formatted memory card and a spare, keeping gear to minimum (you have to carry it), knowing how to use your camera and where controls are and taking every opportunity to use the toilets – you don’t know where the next one will be!
The next Welshot Does… event is Street and Documentary Photography
The next Welshot Does… Shortest Night Photographic Shoot is in June 2019