The Six Bells Guardian in the Mist


I had every intention of travelling south to the Severn Estuary and plotting up somewhere to take photographs of a sunrise. Well, that was the plan, but you know what they say about best laid plans and all that. The weather forecast on Friday evening looked promising for the following morning but the weather had something entirely different in mind.

My alarm when off at 5.30 am. I got up and looked out of the bedroom window and saw thick cloud overhead and a heavy frost had settled. Things did not look at all good. I went back to bed, but I could not sleep has a I was wondering about what I could be missing. I got back up and made myself a cup of tea. Whilst sipping away at my tea I thought I was hallucinating when I could hear the pitter patter of rain outside. That then turned into a down pour and on seeing that I went back to be again and went into a deep sleep feeling certain that it looked like a wash out on the photography side of things.

I woke up at 8.30 am and took a look outside again. The rain had stopped and there was a break in the clouds. Now was the time to venture out I thought, but where?

I decided I would go North and visit the Guardian Statue thats located at Six Bells in Abertillery. It would make a good subject for some drone photography.

Please view large as this is a very wide panoramic

When I arrived Parc Arael Griffin there was a lot of mist sweeping down from the hills into the valley below and it really added to the atmosphere. Fortunately the rain had ceased completely so I could fly my drone safely.

In this blog I am presenting the pictures in monochrome ( black and white), as its a medium I particularly favour and I want to explore more in this genre and build up a portfolio.

I think it works well in these kind of circumstances, when the light is poor but there is lots cloud and mist around. The black and white contrast also gives me the colour of coal and  burning smoke vibes.

The Guardian statue is an absolute work of art. I think its amazing and it changes in appearance from almost every angle you look at. From one perspective it looks totally solid and from another you can see directly through it. Sometimes it looks black and other times rusty red.

The artist Sebastien Boyesen was commissioned to create the statue. It weighs 8 tons and is 12.6 meters high. The Guardian consists of 20,000 slices of Cor-ten Steel ( also known as weathering steel). The cor-ten steel develops a protective layer under the influence of the weather which gives its a reddy rust colour.

The statue commemorates the Six Bells Colliery disaster that occurred on 28th June 1960 when forty five men lost their lives. It was unveiled to the public on 28th June 2010.

I must admit I think the Guardian is one of the best works of art I have seen in a good while and it looks stunning. Mining is part of my family history  and I am only the second generation to not go down a pit. Part of my family is from Abertillery and I understand a number of my ancestors worked at Six Bells , so visiting the site did make me think how lucky I am , not to have to dig coal for a living and think on how brave these miners were.


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