Photographs of the Brecon Beacons

by Dave Newbould

A demonstration of the photographic possibilities to be found in the Brecon Beacons. From mountain top to waterfalls.

The Brecon Beacons dominate the centre of the South Wales Region. These mountains are mostly gentle, green and grassy on the southern side, with steep escarpments on the north. The summits are amongst the most easily accessed in the country and will often seem straightforward and 'friendly', especially on a calm, sunny day. On a clear day, Pen y Fan (the highest summit) gives fine panoramas in all directions. However, these are real mountains and when the weather turns they can become a challenging environment - whoever ventures up here should be prepared for surprises.

Corn Du - evening light.jpg

Because of the character of the Beacons, I find that the most dramatic pictures of the mountains usually take in the steeper northern side of the mountains. Good viewpoints may be found anywhere along the summit ridge, emphasising the drop off to the north. The summits of Corn Du and Pen y Fan are reached in about an hour from Storey Arms, making it very feasible to be on top for sunrise or sunset. The warm, low angled light is ideal for bringing the best out of our photographs. Those taking their photography more seriously will find a tripod to be essential, and a graduated grey filter could well be useful to bring out detail to be seen in the darker areas of the picture.

Pen y Fan - early morning 3.jpg

There are also countless viewpoints to be found to the north of the range, from just about any hilltop in the Brecon area. The B road that runs along the ridge top (Mynydd Illtud) to the west of Brecon, is well worth a drive and a walk. Llangorse Lake is a well known and worthwhile longer viewpoint - on a bright and still day the reflections in the lake add to the beauty of the picture. Again for photographers, I find that using a polarising filter brings out the best of the colours, especially when the sun is at right angles (mid / late morning for this view). It is also good to gain height to look over the lake towards the Brecon Beacons - this can be done from the top or slopes of Mynydd Troed.

Pen y Fan from Corn Du.jpg

For those like me, who like to combine a good mountain day with their picture taking, here are a few possibilities.

Take the 'normal' route from Storey Arms to Corn Du and Pen y Fan, but then carry on eastwards over the shapely summit of Cribyn, then Fan y Big to finally finish at Talybont Reservoir.

There is also an interesting circuit from the Upper Neuadd Reservoir, first heading up the ridge Craig Gwaun Taf, then over Corn Du, Pen y Fan and Cribyn to Bwlch ar y Fan, before following the track to the south back to the start.

I am also rather fond of the ridges on the north sides of Cribyn (Bryn Teg) and Pen y Fan (Cefn Cwm Llwch) which can be combined into a pleasant circuit.

Pen y Fan ponies 2.jpg

Of course, the Brecon Beacons area is not just about mountains. The woods and reservoirs around the south and east of the range are worth exploring with a camera and the nearby Brecon Mountain Railway will add some further photographic interest. The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal offers some lovely leafy walks with plenty of 'pastoral' photo opportunities.

I have to say, though, that there are 2 other oustanding natural features in the area - caves and waterfalls. It is probably best to leave the underground photography to those who know what they are up to (both as cavers and cave photographers), but the waterfalls of Ystradfellte should really not be missed. There are a series of falls on the Afon Mellte, which can be combined with the wonderful Sgwd yr Eira on the Afon Hepste in a walk from Porth yr Ogof. If that is not enough, there are loads more waterfalls on other rivers within a few miles. The photographer will probably want a tripod in order to experiment with longer exposures, to give that 'misty' effect on the water.

Afon Hepste.jpg

If you wish to browse a larger range of my pictures of the Brecon Beacons and other areas of Wales then follow this website link to view galleries with around 1000 pictures.

Most of these picture are printed on greetings cards, postcards, Christmas cards and posters. I also produce both a Wales Calendar and a Snowdonia Calendar each year. To view these and purchase these at my online shop, the follow this website link

Dave Newbould
Artro House
LL45 2PA
United Kingdom

Tel - +44 (0)1341 241538
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Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.jpg

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