Shutterspeed: Southeast Wales

 

Last summer I passed through Wales on my way to England, stopping at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival to meet up with some of my former colleagues from the publishing house where I did my internship. What a welcoming sight the rolling green hills presented while the plane touched down at Cardiff Airport, and how heartening to see the words Croeso y Cymru (“welcome to Wales”) emblazoned on the walls in the arrivals hall! I was so happy to be back then, even if just for a day or two, and even now I often think back to the time when rambling through the beautiful Welsh landscape with just my camera and a packed lunch was my go-to activity on weekends. During my stay in Swansea in 2016, my mother and her partner visited me and together we went on a week-long tour of the south of Wales, passing through Carmarthenshire on our way to Pembrokeshire and back through the Brecon Beacons. As you may have guessed, I took plenty of photos along the way, some of which I want to share here below.

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Shutterspeed: Newcastle

While on holiday in Yorkshire last month, my friends and I decided to go up to Newcastle for the day. I didn’t know much about the city, except that it was at the heart of the industrial revolution in Britain and that it’s where Dire Straits singer Mark Knopfler is from. In fact, while making my way to Yorkshire from Wales – where I started out, visiting friends – I found myself on a whistle-stop tour through the north of England, passing through Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds before ending up in York. My impression of these cities was all too brief: driving through Birmingham, which was heavily bombed during the war, left me with the impression of a hodgepodge of soot-stained red brick buildings with garish postwar structures planted here and there. Newcastle, however, surprised me: I had expected more of the same. But the moment we passed that magnificent sculpture on the motorway, the Angel of the North, which personifies better than anything the north’s industrial charm, and drove into the city with a view of Newcastle’s seven bridges curving over the river Tyne, I knew we were in for something different.

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Shutterspeed: Cardiff in black and white

I took these photos on the last day I spent in Cardiff, after my internship in Swansea had come to an end. I really enjoyed experimenting with light, shadows and contrast while photographing the stunning architecture from the Victorian period–the time when Cardiff was at its most prosperous.

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Shutterspeed: The British Isles in self-portraits

My travels in Wales, Scotland, England and Ireland came to an end two months ago, so it seems like a good time to present a chronicle of my time over there in my preferred manner: self-portraits.

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Shutterspeed: Charming Edinburgh

A little over a month ago I visited Edinburgh while the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (the largest arts festival in the world) was going on. I was immediately enchanted by this beautiful city – I admit, the sunny weather did help – and I was very happy to spend my 24th birthday there.

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Histourism: Fossil hunting in Penarth

In addition to being a very picturesque seaside town, Penarth, just south from Cardiff, is one of the best places in Wales to find fossils. They wash up by the bucket load! Just a few years back, the first dinosaur ever to have been found on Welsh soil, was found near here, a 200 million-year old Jurassic carnivore named Dracoraptor hanigani.

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Histourism: Tintern Abbey

Yesterday I visited the famous Tintern Abbey in the southeast of Wales, close to the border with England. The first time I ever heard of it was during my Bachelor’s when we studied William Wordsworth’s poem “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798“. Quite a mouthful!

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