I have a set way of using technology to find places that might be mysterious. It starts with looking at Google Earth. The app shows so much detail, that you can see from above and look at the landscape at any angle. I’m lucky living in the South West of the UK and just across the bridge, I’m in Wales. The Brecon Beacons is just two hours away, and even if the weather forecast says it going to be clear or fine, it’s environment changes within a couple of hours.
Sunrises are a great start to the day, but in October, the sun doesn’t rise until 7am, but taking into account travelling time and getting up, still means I’ve have to rise and shine at 3:30am.
I find that theres an air of excitement of the not knowing what to expect, as I drive in the dark and head across the Second Severn Bridge, which lights up like a ferris wheel, you feel that you’ve entered another country. Wales has beautiful countryside, mountains, and local communities that if you're a traveller, the people are warm and welcoming and eager to help. Local knowledge, is golden and has helped me on many a time to find interesting areas to go and photograph or a way to get to the place.
The Martians Landscape
Just outside a little village called Nant Trefil, lays an old quarry thats been closed down for a number of years. But it's been used for filming of television programs like Dr Who and blockbuster films. It’s a long gravel road that runs for about 3 miles and full of potholes, so you cant drive more than 15 mph, but once you enter the quarry, it all becomes eerie with high black cliffs and green coloured ponds.
I only knew about this place from a local man, who cycles nearly everyday up to the quarry, to sit at the top and look down the valley. He told me he did a bit of photography himself and often goes up to photograph the sunset that I’m sure is amazing. Sadly the road has a gate and is closed at sunset and if your driving like me, you can end spending the night looked in.
I’ve only covered a small part of the quarry and know that I know how to get up to some the more interesting points, from this local knowledge, I intend to go back.
The Unknown Objects
Even though this was at onetime a working quarry, for visitors like, there are things that baffle me to what objects, which are huge and manmade where used for. This concrete object stands out at the top the quarry and looks alien like, which is why I can understand that programs like Dr Who was filmed here.
Changing of the weather
It’s this excitement of the not knowing, what the weather is going to be like when you get there, how moody the landscape can become. You can set up your camera, and watch the fog close in and down the valley and up the mountains, then suddenly there will be a break in the clouds and then the landscape comes alive with colour.
The Brecon’s is an ever changing place, when it comes to the weather. One minute you can see, then next you can’t. To get a good image take time and patients, you can take a load of images and then think to call it a day and as you pack up, the scene comes alive even more, and so you set up again and carry. This is how I got this image after sitting for over an hour at the top of the quarry, looking down into the valley, it's a moment that makes all the waiting worthwhile to get an image like this.