Margam Country Park – Flickr Meet

Posted by Stuart Herbert on October 19th, 2008 in Photos, Shoot.


Last Saturday, Kristi and I headed down to Margam Country Park near Port Talbot to meet up with quite a few folks from the Welsh Flickr Cymru group on Flickr. We had a great time, took loads of photos, and even got to see a few deer 🙂

Thoughts On The Day

After a summer of wet and dull weekends, it was a real joy to be out and about once more with the camera. For what I think was the first time this year, instead of heading out with just the 18-135mm lens, I packed up the full kit – Sigma 10-20mm lens, Nikkor 18-135mm lens, Sigma 50mm macro lens, and the long-reaching Sigma 80-400mm uber-lens.

As always on a Saturday, we headed down to the Knapp first to play some Tai Chi, wolf down some lovely Segafredo coffee, and then pottered down the M4 to Margam Country Park. We all met up in the car park first, which was very handy, as neither Kristi nor I really know anyone from the Welsh Flickr Cymru group. We said hello to everyone, posed for the group photo, and then buggered off on our own for the day. I’d seen the old chapel up on the hill plenty of times driving past on the M4 and with the glorious weather was determined that this was the day I was finally going to make it up there 🙂

On the way to the chapel, we ran what I think was a volunteer group, who were working on rebuilding the old path up the hill. They’re currently making it safer than it was, and they hope to have it finished in about six months or so. Until they’ve finished, to get to the chapel its a short walk up the road and then take the first left by the footpath sign. The footpath is a little muddy, but it wasn’t overgrown at the time.

It’s well worth the trek up the hill just for the view:

Margam House

We headed back down to enjoy lunch outside the house, watching the deer running through the trees behind. Sandwiches downed, we set on in search of deer! I shot a good 30-40 shots of two deer under the trees. Another photographer (not part of the meet I believe) wandered by partway through, and made the comment that surely we’d both taken enough shots of the deer by then. I’m glad we ignored him, because out of those 40 shots, I only ended up with 4 that I was happy with. Even with the 400mm lens, it was difficult to get close shots of the deer eating under the trees. Might be time to trade up to a 500mm lens next 🙂

Further along, the path climbs up to the top of another hill overlooking the country park. The top of the hill features a lovely little copse of trees, and a very strange brick-lined pit. Kristi reckons it must have been a swimming pool, but if you can shed any light on it, please leave a comment below!

My favourite memory of the whole day has to be the gum tree near the Orangery. As you approach it, all you can hear is the humming of all the bees drinking nectar from the tree. There’s a lovely bench underneath where you can sit, relax, and just enjoy the sheer sense of life all around you.

The Photos

[flickr album=72157607941543379 num=30]

Post Production

Since March this year, I’ve been working on improving my HDR post-production technique, trying to find the right settings in both Photomatix Pro 2 and Aperture 2 to tone down the unrealistic colours to match the ‘faded’ look I’ve been developing since my Taff Vale Eastern Ridge Walk set last year. Although it adds a lot of time to the post-production work, the results are photos that hopefully are starting to take on a distinctive style not just in composition but also in colour and appearance.

Found On Flickr

Don’t forget to check out all of the other excellent photos taken by members of Welsh Flickr Cymru during this meet.


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