Pembrokeshire Coast – a photographers dream landscape

Things I did know before going:

It was nearing the end of the summer and we were going to South West Wales. We needed a holiday. There would be more blue flag beaches in Pembrokeshire alone than candles on my son’s birthday cake (he would be turning 10). I would relish the opportunity to get creative with my style of photography. Within an hour of driving my daughter would ask ‘are we nearly there yet’. We would not be nearly there yet. We would not need passports but we would need sat nav.  It would be hilly. There was a high chance that we would get lost. There would be traffic.  It would rain.

Things I did not know before going:

Sat nav would be useless and the journey would total 5 hours and 1 unplanned overnight stop in a farmhouse somewhere beginning with Llan. The suspension bridge that we would cross to get into Wales would be a thing of beauty. The Welsh language would sound like a well kept secret. We would meet the world’s friendliest ice-cream man. The gradient of the hills would make me question the strength of my handbrake. There would be no traffic. I would want to live in West Wales (despite the rain).

Marloes Sands – the perfect backdrop for creative photography

This beach deserves a special mention, not just because of the free carpark for National Trust members at the end of which sits the friendliest ice-cream man in all of Wales (‘no money to pay, no problem, have an ice-cream and come back tomorrow’.) With its dramatic sandstone cliffs, Marloes Sands is an incredible setting for jumping waves, building sandcastles, and in my case … taking endless photos. This beach was chosen as a location for scenes for Snow White and the Huntsman – chosen no doubt for the drama of the cliffs and sweeping sand. It is worth the ½ a mile walk down from the car park to see this truly magical place – and following the uphill climb back, the ice-cream tastes amazing.

Black and white photo of beach and children

Lens of choice for candid photography:

The 35mm Sigma Art Lens enabled me to capture candid photos of my family set against the amazing landscape that is the Pembrokeshire Coast. I love this lens for it’s documentary and personal style, as well as it’s ability to capture the vast expanse of the natural elements. It also works really well in low light conditions. The beach is a great place to play with movement and reflection, and my 50mm Canon lens enabled me to capture some dramatic portrait shots. Black and white photography became my personal preference in edit – to enhance the drama and contrast of the scenic coastline.

Fun facts about Wales:

  • There are a total of 47 blue flag beaches in Wales – the most in the UK – with 12 in Pembrokeshire alone.
  • The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park comprises over 1/3 of the county of Pembrokeshire.
  • Since 2000 all school children in Wales learn Welsh – a measure taken to preserve this entrancing ancient language.
  • Cardiff is officially the UK’s wettest city.
  • The Severn Bridge took 3 and a 1/2 years to construct at a cost of 8 million pounds.
  • The Welsh word for ice-cream is ‘hufen ia yn’




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Catherine Gil

I am a Hitchin based family photographer. I take photographs outside using natural light and stunning backgrounds. My style is vibrant and soulful, capturing the fun and playful connections between family members.