Photography Tour Overview: Having lived among the Welsh for ten years and learnt their language, I find them to be a noble race that dwell proudly in ‘Cymru’, while holding tightly onto one of Europe’s oldest cultures.
These ‘hill folk’ are reputed to be the original Celts, and claim the oldest language in Europe as being the ‘Language of Heaven.’ We invite you to join us for pieces of Welsh heaven amid this intimate land of mountains, ocean, moorland, forests, tumbling rivers, castles and a Celtic culture.
Geographically speaking, Wales sits to the west of central England - Ireland is the next stop westwards - and averages approximately 105 miles
east to west, by 165 miles north to south. Contained within this intimate landscape are a plethora of picture opportunities and cultural experiences. Some of those images, i.e. castles, were the result of oppression from their English neighbors, and their vain attempt to ‘control’ the Welsh. Today those same castles, such as Caerphilly [Caerffili], Caernarvon [Caernarfon], Carew [Caerhiw], Harlech and Cricieth, are classic images just waiting for you to capture them from the best vantage points.
Our Welsh photography tour gets under way with a pair of ancient English
villages, and then we head across the Severn River estuary into South Wales. Cardiff and environs has a
variety of photo ops, and then we go west via
a 'new' castle to the St. Davids region in southwest Wales. Here, mighty St. Davids cathedral ‘hides’ in a hollow, and St. Govans Chapel is tucked into the ‘cleft of a rock.’
The coastal scenes are enchanting.
Moving north via the Preseli mountains from whence came the blue stones at Stonehenge four millenniums ago, we’ll head inland
and on to mid-Wales to explore the Rheidol valley and scenes from the television
The best is saved for last as the group photo-explores Snowdonia National Park, Harlech, Caernarfon, a sheep farm plus much more. The north is where spectacular mountains rise from boulder-strewn lakes, and narrow, but paved, one-vehicle lanes await your visit armed with sufficient memory cards. You’ll need plenty!
Lastly we'll explore more lush green rolling hills of Powys where stone walls have given way to hedgerows, and the movie industry came to pay homage.
John Baker, photographer/leader, and former Welsh resident photographer
itinerary . . .
But first things first! We suggest that you set your camera's clock to the local time, as your images will then synchronize with the times in our included photo tour
Days 1 + 2 |
South central Wales
Our group will meet in the lobby of our gateway hotel near the Heathrow airport
at 9:30 am, and we'll then head west to Wales, detouring for two very
photogenic English villages which were shooting locations for 'Cranford',
'Downton Abbey', and the movie 'Warhorse' etcetera. On over the Severn river into the land of song,
harp, Red Dragon and the 'language of heaven'. On to our accommodations in the
vicinity of the Welsh capital city, Cardiff.
During our stay we'll take in a pair of castles, a folk village, Llandaff Cathedral, and the terraced symmetry of 'the valleys' shaped by the coal industry. If you like people pictures, and like to hear strong local accents, you'll find the residents to be very obliging.
Near Cardiff, 2 nights
Days 3, 4 + 5 | South west Wales
As we head towards St. David's we'll spend time at a coal-mining Heritage Park -
a true step back in time - which depicts the life of the coal mining communities
on several levels . . . the photo ops are excellent too. We'll traverse several
more valleys as we travel west via the photogenic estate of a 'new' castle, and
a former home of Dylan Thomas.
Working from a central location, on days 4 and 5 we'll point lenses at St. David's Cathedral, castles, pretty villages, and much more as always.
A short boat trip to Skomer Island is included, which is a great spot to shoot
the darling Puffin . . . and more. We'll also explore the Pembrokeshire coastal
path from which we can shoot the setting sun.
South west Wales, 3 nights
Day 6 |
Going north today, we'll detour to a coastal village or two as we head to the Strumble Head lighthouse. We'll then travel via Fishguard Harbor to photograph a well-situated exposed burial chamber. Nearby is the location that was scientifically proven a few years ago as being the origin of Stonehenge's 'blue stones' . . . we'll visit that spot too. On the River Teifi we'll look for fishermen in Coracle boats that owe their origins to the Roman period, plus a waterfall, old mill and centuries old bridge. Each will be worth a few frames prior to continuing on north to Aberystwyth for our one night sojourn.
The region was the setting for the television series 'Hinterland'.
Aberystwyth, 1 night
Days 7, 8, 9, 10 + 11 | Snowdonia National Park
Prior to breakfast we'll explore the Aberystwyth seafront including the
remnants of the 13th century Castle. Then another detour via a lush picturesque
valley as we make our way via the market town of Machynlleth, to the estuary-situated town of Aberdyfi. We then have a waterfall, a narrow gauge railway, a lake, and one of Wales' highest peaks to shoot as we head to our 5-night home in Snowdonia National Park.
On days 8, 9, 10 and 11 we'll make several loop trips to photograph castles,
lakes, old bridges, waterfalls, a botanical garden, narrow gauge railways,
and on to the Isle of Anglesey to point cameras at a castle, lighthouse, and
the signage in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwrndrobyllllantysiliogogogoch. As we travel around North Wales
we'll encounter light-kissed mountain scenery in what are the 'rugged' slate and granite dominated counties of Merioneth and Dwyfor. The Welsh language is strong in the north, and you'll hear me speaking it with the locals,
especially when we make a farm visit for images.
Near Harlech, 5 nights
Day 12 | Lush north-central Wales and a return
As we depart North Wales today we'll encounter a 'gentler' Welsh landscape as we journey through north central Wales taking in the location for the shooting of 'An Englishman Who Went Up A Hill, and Came Down a Mountain'. We'll then journey
on to our Heathrow hotel via one last picturesque detour. The included dinner on the last night of our photography tour will feature an 'It's You!' presentation of clients in action by John.
Near Heathrow airport, 1 night
Day 13 | Departure day
As there isn't any photography scheduled for the day of departure, your flight home can be arranged for any time today.