Gale Force Wildcamp
Day 3 - Gale Force Sunrise
Awake at 3:30am. Gale, gale, gale, gale, gale! Was this ever going to stop? It was starting to
drive me slightly crazy by this time. The non-stop banging of the flysheet as the powerful gusts kept slamming into
the tent was a kind of mental torture!
Well one question that I've asked in the past has now been answered. How does the Nallo 2 stand
up to strong winds? The answer is "extremely well". No problems at all. The tent stayed firmly in place, no worries
about the tent falling apart. But also "extremely noisy". It was more likely that my sanity would fall apart!
In fact, I just happened to have a noise meter on my mobile phone, so I turned it on to check
the sound levels. The average sound levels in the wind were 70-80 decibels, occasionally dropping to 55 dB during a
rare and brief lull, but maxing out at 90 dB when the most powerful gusts hit.
No wonder I had trouble sleeping! And I was wearing earplugs too, which apparently reduce sound
levels by 27 dB. I'm glad I brought those along, even if they didn't blank out the sound completely.
This morning was more promising than the last. Even though the wind was as strong as ever, the
fog had lifted a bit. Fan Brycheiniog was still covered, as was Fan Gyhirych, but Pen y Fan was visible, so a
sunrise was in prospect. Sure enough, it happened, maybe not the best sunrise ever, but not bad at all.
This was an early twilight shot, very difficult to take in the strong winds. It was taken
with the G9 which benefitted from image stabilisation. All my early 400D shots came out blurred.
Fan Gyhirych at Dawn
A beautiful strip of pink and red clouds crossed the sky over Fan Gyhirych. After all the
torment of the gales, it was finally worthwhile with a decent sunrise. This was the first reasonably sharp image I
took with my 400D.
Pen y Fan at Dawn
A spectacular cloudscape filled the sky above Pen y Fan, the highest summit in the Brecon
Beacons. The sky glowed red above the rising sun, in spite of most of the clouds above remaining dark and gloomy.
This shot, like others on this page, is not a true panorama, but a normal shot cropped to a panoramic shape.
A Closer Look at Pen y Fan
Zooming in to see more detail in this dramatic sunrise. Llyn y Fan Fawr is a great location for
sunrises, particularly in October when the light is often excellent.
Pen y Fan as Sunrise Approaches
Later on in the dawn twilight, the sky had changed to a golden colour, shortly before the actual
sunrise. Another dramatic skyscape above Pen y Fan.
The Moment of Sunrise
Well a few minutes after actually. I never really saw the sun, just the bright glow behind the
clouds at the bottom of this picture. The clouds are good though, with a curious sideways V shape in the sky.
This was the hardest sunrise I've ever photographed. Slow shutter speeds on a flimsy tripod in
the teeth of a gale was just asking for blurred photos.
So I tried to hedge my bets. I used a mixture of ISO ratings for a mixture of quality and fast
shutter speeds. I kept the aperture wide open and tried to fire the shutter during lulls in the wind, or at least
when it wasn't blowing so strongly, often having to hold the tripod firmly at the same time.
During the very early part of the sunrise even the high ISO shutter speeds were long and the low
ISO shots were probably just wishful thinking, but as it brightened the shutter speeds became more respectable. I
started with the G9 since it has 3 stop image stabilisation built in, but as it got brighter I switched to the
400D, later using a long telephoto to zoom in on the actual sunrise, by which time the shutter speeds were very
At the time I didn't know what percentage of them were blurred. They all looked fine on the LCD,
but that was no indication. I was expecting a high percentage of blurred shots, that's why I took so many,
sometimes shooting the same scene three times to try to catch a lull in the wind. Fortunately this strategy paid
off and I got a reasonable number of good shots.
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