Bridges at Dawn and Dusk

The Prince of Wales Bridge

By jove it was cold. It was the first frost of this years winter. My friend Paul Joy and I were stood freezing our "proverbial bits" off at Blackrock , Port Skewett , Newport waiting for the sun to rise. Before us was a scene of natures incredible power. The tide was on the turn and the waters of the severn were starting to flow back out of the estuary. 

My compadre Paul Joy composing his next shot.

Blackrock sits more or less between the two gateways to South Wales. To our left is the first Severn Crossing Bridge. To our right spans the enormous Prince of Wales Bridge. Paul and I stand near the old jetty that was used in by gone days for ferry boats that shipped people across the dangerous currents of the river before the bridges. To our right and below ground runs the Severn Tunnel that the trains use. Above us high in the sky airliners fly to and from Bristol Airport.

This place is full of history and incredible feats of engineering. To mark it a statue has been erected to honour all those involved.

The statue of the engineer

On the horizon the sky was looking fantastic. The skies are clear apart from a few streaks of cloud that look like they were almost painted there. Eastwards the horizon is on fire. A band of orange is burning its way across the sky signalling the arrival of a new dawn. The heavens have turned a vivid blue colour and are dotted with the occasional bright star.

My friend and I start setting up our photography kit. There is a real air of excitement and I always get tingle in my nerves when its looking good for a magnificent sunrise in almost perfect conditions.

There is not a breath of wind, everything feels calm which is a little surreal as there is several billions of cubic water flowing rapidly past us.

I got my drone ready for take off.  We were joined unexpectedly by a lady with her children who had arrived to enjoy the sunrise. Paul had a chat and I let them know what I was up to with my drone.

Then at about thirty minutes before dawn it was show time. Up went my drone. During this visit I wanted to get some pictures of the Charston Rock Lighthouse and some super wide panoramic pictures that showed both bridges. I have tried before and not quite got a clean join in the stitched pictures.

Charston Rock Lighthouse

The lighthouse stands guard in the waters of the River Severn.

On the English side the waters were covered by a blanket of mist. The light remained quite low and I would describe it as a mixture of what photographers call the blue and golden hour.

Looking across the estuary behind the rocks

The view of the first Severn Crossing Bridge

The view of the Prince of Wales Bridge.

After taking a flight around the lighthouse the tide was quickly starting to go out and more rocks were being exposed by the receding waters of the River Severn.

I brought the drone back for a second flight. The sun would soon be rising. The sky was now looking spectacular. Paul was focussing on a view from the ground and I was looking down from the air.

Sunrise at Charston Rock

Super wide panoramic that shows both bridges and the rising sun.

 Then dawn was upon us. From above I can see it rise earlier than those that are stood on the ground. I shout out in excitement and warn those who have gathered to get ready as  the song goes by George Harrison "Here comes the sun".

I always find sunrise a very spiritual experience and seeing one always gives me a welcome boost of Joy ( and of course I had Paul with me as well for plenty of banter).

My aim to get a successfully stitched super wide panoramic worked a treat and I am pleased with the result ( readers please try and view the picture on a large screen as a mobile screen just does not do it justice.)

Later that day after a few excursions over the first severn crossing during the day to keep us occupied my friend and I found ourselves stood on the bank of the River Usk just about an hour after sunset.

Our view was another bridge. A landmark of the cisty of Newport and a man made feat of ingenuity - the Newport Transporter Bridge.

The tide was now moving in the opposite direction to this morning and it was almost high tide. The water was calm and was like the surface of a mirror. The lights of the bridge were on apart from one section at the top of the bridge as it appeared to be under repair.

The Newport Transporter Bridge at dusk

Both of us gasped at the sight of it and could not wait to get the cameras set up. I also wanted to tick off something I have been planning for a while, a dronescape of the bridge.

Paul set up his kit and I launched the drone skyward at a safe and respectful distance from the bridge over the river.

Boom - what a sight to behold. The bridges lights twinkled like little stars and the scene had a moody backdrop of grey and white streaky clouds.

Almost a perfect mirror effect created by the waters of the Usk.

Panoramic of the bridge.

The Newport SDR Bridge.

In the opposite direction stands the SDR bridge. This a far more modern bridge but is also impressive in it own way. The moon glowed brightly  in the sky and was like a nocturnal sun. Next to the moon the planet Jupiter can be clearly seen with the naked eye.

Newport really can be a stunning and fantastic place to live in and visit. There really is so much to photograph and enjoy in our part of South Wales.


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