I never actually accept a private landscape commission of course, as I would have the 'obligation' or pressure to HAVE to visit somewhere I may not even like. Then I'd still have to produce an image I may never normally print up. Fortunately over the last few weeks the 'suggestions' for locations have coincided with my own time off, some amazing light, and most importantly a need within me to shoot some different locations and in a slightly different style (though the trademark Davies light will always be there somewhere)!
|"A Giant Playground" © Glyn Davies 2010|
Today, I waited for the outgoing tide and just after lunch headed for Traeth Bychan Beach. I have to be brutally honest in that I really don't like this beach particularly - it's one of those where power-boaters and jet-skis play. Almost all of the surrounding hillside is a sea of caravans. 4x4s freely drive down the beach to the water's edge to tow boats in and out, often creating large circular tracks across the otherwise bright clean sands. Double yellow lines funnel cars down a leafy lane towards the huge car park, from where you get a great view of the first of many caravans, on the hillside opposite, before turning right to find the sea!
As you can imagine, I was therefore quite sceptical about finding anything of interest let alone something which would create a beautiful art print, and I was increasingly relieved I'd never accepted this as an actual commission. Hey presto, as I reached the cove there was a 4x4 from Anglesey County Council, driving to and fro to the shoreline to remove temporary mooring buoys from the cove. Another powerboat returned from a blast across the sea, so another 4x4 with trailer ploughed down the sands to collect it. An elderly couple turned up in their car, parked and fell asleep. A portly middle aged couple raced for the rocks with fold-away armchairs in tow and sank into aided comfort. I was getting tense already.
|"A Light Wash" © Glyn Davies 2010|
I headed for the small spur of headland which effectively divided this large cove into two. The tide was still going out but as I was wearing shorts and Crocs I was able to wade around the obstacle leaving the busy section of the cove behind. More trees were visible on this side and fewer caravans. The afternoon light though not intense, was powerful enough to sparkle across a lovely virginal stretch of wet, rippled sand. The waves approaching the beach were very small with just enough energy in them to form the most delicate crests before fizzling in the sand. I found myself actually enjoying the photography in this mid-section though I wish the sea had been more energetic for photography.
|"A Blunt Razorbill" © Glyn Davies 2010|
And then sadness. A long fixed beach net had been set up in the inter-tidal zone, and a beautiful Razorbill had become entangled and died in it, it's little legs and neck held fast by the unbreakable twine. A swan floated perilously close to the stretch of net still remaining afloat further out.
|"A Delicate Death" © Glyn Davies 2010|
I continued to the end of the beach and was impressed by the sheer vertical limestone cliff, seemingly the only natural landscape left in this cove but as quarrying went on around here, even that was doubtful. I turned to face my start point and still struggled to find either the light or the landscape to inspire me, my eye drawn to so many caravans, lines of parked up powerboats and an architect-less sailing club building at the far left.
Of course this is just me. This is not 'my sort of area' but if I was into power-boating or jet-skiing or simply having a base from which to walk to the other nearby pretty coves like Moelfre then I could see it's potential. In fact there would be plenty of beach at low tide for kids and families to play whilst adults shared playtime out on the water. If you look straight out to sea you could be on any of the beaches on this East coast and that's the saving Grace. I was happy to have found some dramatic images from one section which appealed to me, but I was also happy to be on my way.
I had a couple of hours to kill before the AGM of the Anglesey Arts Forum so I headed for a rocky cove on the West coast of Holy Island, to watch the sunset and find some bigger waves. Here I was totally alone. No boats, no people, not even a lonely walker - just me the rocks and a hazy sunshine bouncing off a wind-swept sea - MY sort of place.
|"Washed Again" © Glyn Davies 2010|
I had to tear myself away in order to make the start of the AGM, so maybe it was no surprise that afterwards whilst driving down the A55 under a bright full-moon, I took a sudden and urgent detour for the coast again. I wandered across moonlit sand dunes and could hear the crashing of waves beyond. I could discern most of the rock features of the beach and the waves seemed bright even in the low light. There was a good breeze blowing but it was almost warm so I went straight to the shore and paddled up to my knees, marvelling at the moonlight on the water. The sea beyond was dark and forbidding and the waves seem to rear up out of blackness, but there was something very primitive calling me to immerse myself in it's depths! The waves crashing around my legs were not cold. Without further thought I returned to the beach and just stripped off in the moonlight! I really had to persuade myself to conquer this irrational fear of the sea at night and I waded in up to my waist, the waves rising up towards my neck. All about me the moonlight was dancing and sparkling on the surface of the sea in a theatrical light-show. I dived under and opened my eyes to see the moon penetrating the murky depths. I pulled hard with my arms and swooped the sea-bed. I emerged smiling from ear to ear, I'd done it! I dove under several more times, each time opening my eyes to the half light below, the sea feeling warmer by the minute. I relished the sensation of the dark sea enveloping me under the moonlight and although it was still a little scary it was also extremely empowering. This was the antithesis of Traeth Bychan. I was and still am, elated by the whole experience! No, there are no pictures!
All words and images on this post are strictly copyrighted to © Glyn Davies 2010
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