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Winter photography in Pembrokeshire

22nd December 2018

Windswept empty beaches, sea storms crashing into cliffs or a tranquil wander through the snow; whatever your vision of winter in Pembrokeshire, it sure can be a challenging time for photography!

Like November, December can still be mild and wet and now with the exceptionally short daylight hours combined with spells of poor weather, it can make photography a frustrating and rare past time.

However, small glimpses of magic light between the clouds can boost the spirits over this unproductive time on the run up to Christmas.

Along the coast, December usually brings rough seas whipped up by strong winds from the Atlantic.

Spectacular wave images are possible in this time and fortune favours the brave, but do take care, especially on exposed cliffs.

Images like this are best of photographed using a telephoto lens, something in the region of 200mm or more.

Firstly, this allows you to zone in on certain areas, where waves may be particularly impressive.

Second and more importantly, it allows you to shoot from a safe distance, away from any crashing waves or dangerous areas.

High pressure days and clear nights can provide frosts, misty mornings and sometimes with extended periods of cold mixing with rain from the sea, snow can fall on the hills, the Preseli mountains first to catch a dusting of the white stuff.

However, it’s only as we head into the new year where things start to settle down into much more classic winter weather and by the end of January it’s not uncommon for most of the Preseli mountains to have a covering of snow.

If this does happen, then be quick as due to the maritime, mild climate of Pembrokeshire, it doesn’t tend to stick around long!

In these conditions if heading up Foel Eryr or any of the Preseli summits, even though it’s a short distance from the car, do be prepared for winter environment where plenty of winter clothing and equipment are a necessity.

Over this time it is exceptionally important to keep an eye on mountain weather forecasts and look for clear windows in the weather as the winds on the summit can sometimes be gale force, with drifting snow, ice under foot requiring micro spikes or crampons and a very cold wind chill factor.

Read more: Pembrokeshire’s sites of natural beauty

As winter eases its grip on the landscape towards mid-February, the signs of a new year are on show with the pearly white flowers of snowdrops bursting through, some early daffodils will be flowering,and also the sure sign that spring is on the way, with bouncing lambs across the many of the fields and hills.

Snowfall and frost is possible right up until March and April, but the worst of the prolonged cold is usually over by March once more for another year.


Pembrokeshire resident, Drew Buckley is an award-winning landscape & wildlife photographer. Magazine contributor, published author and runs photography workshops in Pembrokeshire, Wales and the UK. Learn more about his work and latest south Wales guidebook on his website drewbuckleyphotography.com

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