Season of mists... mis Hydref

29th October 2013
Wedi cyfnod pur brysur, yn sydyn ar ddechrau'r mis, heblaw am "Y Prosiect" tymor hir, doedd dim golwg o waith. Dim byd ar y gweill. Popeth wedi gorffen. Yna ar y diwrnod cyntaf o "segurdod", fe aeth y ffôn a chefais gynnig job diddorol iawn - portread o awdur enwog ar gyfer clawr llyfr. Yna cwpwl o ddyddiau'n ddiweddarach, cynnig i dynnu lluniau haniaethol ar gyfer clawr arall. A wedi hynny, does bron yr un diwrnod gwag wedi bod...

...Lluniau ar gyfer taflen wyliau, ymchwil i ddarganfod deunydd ar gyfer llyfr sy'n gysylltiedig â'r Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, protest Neuadd Pantycelyn, dwy daith ffotograffig yn ymwneud ag afonydd a'u haberoedd, lluniau i lyfryn i ymwelwyr, trip o gwmpas Mynyddoedd y Cambria, cwpwl o stormydd, a lot fawr o ddefaid.

Rhagor o esiamplau o gyhoeddiadau
Another tear-sheet anthology


I posted last month’s update rather late (i.e. this month), ending with the suggestion that I had no work lined-up for this month, and no idea if the phone would ring.

Luckily it did ring almost immediately, offering one of the nicest jobs in a while, a portrait for a book cover! I’m looking forward to the publication, which in theory is November, ready for the Christmas surge in book buying.

Within a day or two of that job there came a call to submit a pile of pictures for consideration for an travel brochure (the jury’s still out on that one).

Then hot on that one’s tail came another request for a cover via a different publisher, this time a more abstract picture to suggest the book’s narrative thread.

A call came through for help with finding some very specific WWI related pictures, which only took a few hours – but stretched over a number of days (not to mention too many coffees with old colleagues at Pen Dinas, the National Library of Wales’s cafe).

When I was bang in the middle of another job, I heard that students from the Pantycelyn Hall in Aberystwyth were about to protest against the closure of the building, which has been a Welsh language cultural hub for several decades. So I rushed out and grabbed a few shots. The students aren’t against leaving the hall as such, only that the replacement accommodation should adequately serve the needs and requirements of their close-knit community.
Dechrau protest Neuadd Pantycelyn 4 Hydref 2013

Then came a “river series”, or rather an estuary series of photo jaunts. The first was a guided walk from the ancient church on the ocean’s edge at Llangelynnin (Bro Dysynni, not Conwy) over to Llanegryn.

Eglwys Llangelynnin -3233
Llangelynnin Church.

Eglwys Llanegryn -3272
Llanegryn Church

The things I’ll recall in years to come were two graves; that of Abram Wood, “King of the Gypsies” and “royal harpist” at the entrance to Llangelynnin church, and a memorial to Robert Williams, harpist to the Peniarth family which I stumbled upon in Llanegryn churchyard. Manuscripts from Peniarth (an ancient house in the Dysynni Valley) form the core collection at the National Library of Wales. The story goes that the NLW is based in Aberystwyth rather than Cardiff because the Williams-Wynne family, owners of the manuscript collection, would only provide them to the Library if it was built within a day’s travel of their home, there and back, by horse and cart.

The next river stop was the Dyfi (I can’t bring myself to use the silly anglisized form – Dovey), then onwards, on a glorious sunny day, more high summer than autumn, to the Mawddach as it flows into the sea between Fairbourne and Barmouth. I’d promised a friend a picture of the railway bridge across the estuary, and the fine weather helped me nail a few memorable shots.

Afon Dyfi-1299
Dyfi Junction railway station in the distance.

Making the most of a family visit to Denbighshire, I took a few specific, if rather drippingly damp shots for an annual report, though I’m not sure if such squibs will make the copy.

Along the way there was some glorious and some awful weather, and true to form, I wasted precious hours capturing such autumnal excesses on camera, and sent them laboriously to the news agency, where as usual, they disappeared into nothingness.

Mawddach - Pont y Bermo
Mawddach Estuary from Fairbourne.

I’d realised recently that the pictures I had of the Cambrian Mountains were too few, rather old and boring, so I trundled off for a quick trip to refresh the collection. The clouds charged over the hills turning the sun into a searchlight, providing a half-dozen or so breathtaking photo opportunities on my 100 mile round trip.

However the most spectacular views were in pouring rain and a howling wind at Llyn Brianne, followed by a long vertigo-inducing drive right around the reservoir in the pouring rain, back towards Tregaron.

Llyn Brianne
Water spilling from Llyn Brianne reservoir

But the rains on the Cambrian Mountains were nought but a precursor to the worst storm for a decade (as it was announced by the weather forecasters). So following a day spent trying to be helpful at Aberystwyth Ffotomarathon all day Saturday, on Sunday the 27th the storm approached Aber. The wind and spray soon washed and blew away a persistant headache, and I had a clutch of shots to send to the agency and directly to newspapers.

Man dressed as Superman in yellow boxers (!)

Within moments of my direct approaches, I had images accepted by the Mail and the Express websites, but nothing via the agency, which has really got me thinking about the way they place images before their buyers.

On Monday the storm was supposed to hit hard, but it didn't really show.

Then I took pictures of sheep. Lots of sheep as they were brought down the mountain for some TLC. Which is just what I need, when I think about it. All this rushing around and standing in howling gales and downpours has given me a right old chest cold!

One for insomniacs

Thanks for reading. More pix of the month here.


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