In Abergavenny we are blessed with stunning vistas dramatic skies and an abundance of flora and fauna all on our doorstep. As the beacons awake from winter what better time to grab your camera and head for the hills, to enjoy capture and share our breathtaking national park.
At 561m it’s our highest, giving excellent views of the black mountains. Dawn is the best time to be at the summit standing with your back to the rising sun and experiencing the first rays of light as they bathe the black mountains in subtle pastel oranges and red which at times can be so enchanting you’ll forget to press the button on your camera and miss that magic moment, I have many times before. A walk north towards bettws might present you with an opportunity to photograph the red grouse as they defend their patch in early spring.
The Holy Mountain (Skirrid)
Grab your copy of the Febuary Focus as the map and guide is spot on (great job) dusk would be my preferred time to be at the summit but be careful as coming back down can be a bit tricky in the dark, as time seems not to be relevant when you are under the spell of the setting sun. On the west side there are ancient bluebell carpeted woods which are home to a large family of badgers. A magical place at dawn because the hill shades you from the dawn light and the magic hour lasts longer.
The keeper’s pond is a great place if you want to use water as a foreground, it’s easily accessible and at dusk you get stunning colours and light on the sugarloaf. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous head for the summit and keep going to the north to be presented with a glorious view of Penyfan. Dawn is the best time for this as the sun makes its steep ridges glow. Again this is a good spot for the grouse you’ll hear there unique call: gobak,gobak,gobak
Kit bag for the hills
- Maps- head to the tourist info centre for great advise and upto date maps
- Compass – important to know where the sun will rise and set
- Camera- dslr with lenses
- Spare batteries fully charged- I forget as well
- Empty memory card- but full on the way down
- Polarising filter- used to produce rich colours
- Square graduated filter- helps balance sky
- Mobile phone
Please remember to respect the environment, be safe – Take only pictures leave only footprints.
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Article by Simon Powell