Above The Clouds At Night

After becoming bogged down in admin work, I decided it was high time that I headed out for some photography. The forecast was for it to be misty all day, clearing for sunset and night. However, the moon was set to rise just as the stars got dark enough and it was an almost full moon which meant the stars would wash out. But I did have a moonlit landscape in mind so headed out anyway. I weighed my backpack before I left and it was 20Kg! I arrived on site and started the long trek up the Gap Road to the base of Fan y Big. Then came the bit I wasn’t looking forward to – the climb to the summit. To my surprise, it was remarkably easy and I was soon on top. Sure enough, the clouds had cleared so I amused myself taking self portraits in the Diving Board. That done, I walked to my predetermined location. After sunset, the clouds slid up the valley and obscured Upper Neuadd Reservoir. I was really hoping they would rise too high and cover the peaks – fortunately, my luck was in! Before the moon rose, I made this exposure:

Corn Du, Pen y Fan and Cribyn with The Plough

Corn Du, Pen y Fan and Cribyn with The Plough

It was a very difficult photo to process and took me the best part of 3 hours! The light band of sky is there because that’s the direction the sun set in and even though it was 1h 45m after sunset, the sun still lit the sky on the horizon. Typically, you have to wait 2 hours after sunset to get a completely dark sky.

The photo was taken at 20:17, 1 hour and 45 minutes after sun set. This meant I had had a lot of time to wait. It can get pretty cold so I always take my tent to keep me out of the elements. This was my location:

My chosen location for a night of astrophotography

My chosen location for a night of astrophotography

I stayed at this location for 4 hours before walking back to the summit of Fan y Big. I eventually made it back to the car at midnight and got home at 1am. I was up again at 6:30am to sort the children out and get them to school. I’m currently feeling tired, but content, after such an amazing night out! And I have a lot more photos to process…..


  1. Steve says

    An amazing shot! Love the colour on the horizon and the sky is amazing. You seem very determined to climb such summits. There was a time I would have loved to have tried this kind of photography on the top of the beautiful mountains on my door step, but after a spine injury that is no longer possible.

    Anyway, off to read more of your posts :)


  2. Alan says

    Looking at the top image I get a real feeling about how it must have felt to be there … not to mention that it’s a cracking image … will look good framed or as a canvass.

  3. Spenser says

    Excellent blog, driving home I actually thought about what photo you’d put up after seeing the tent photo last night. Good work keep it up, from a fellow Pontardawian.

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