mount pleasant

Golden Valley Herefordshire

The long Easter weekend was upon us and I was looking forward to getting out on some more long photo walks hopefully in the sunshine.  I dont get my pleasure sat in front of the TV over indulging on Easter eggs.  I wanted more of Herefordshire and the Golden Valley was in my sights.

Excellent Visibility

The BBC weather forecast for the weekend was not great nothing like the early summer we had last weekend at Woolhope in Herefordshire.  It was going to be a mixed bag, showers and some sunshine, wind and clouds. Maybe we would get some good transient light.  But one thing I noticed which I had not seen for a long was visibility excellent.  Would I see an improvement in the sharpness and detail of my photos?

High Contrast

The walk started at the small village of Dorstone up Dorstone hill with views west to the Black Mountains.  What was immediately apparent was the excellent visibility across the vistas but also the high contrast  of light between the sky and ground even with the clouds.

dorstone hill
dorstone herefordshire 1/25 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 28mm

It was necessary to use a 2 stop graduated filter to tame the sky.  You know when you need to use a graduated filter when the histogram looks like a valley between two peaks especially so if one of those peaks is clipped off the right or light edge.

Exposure Compensation

Adding a graduated filter will or should transform the histogram into a single wide peak hopefully around the middle of the histogram.  To then get better tones in your final photo you can use positive exposure compensation to push that single peak as far right as possible without clipping.

Arthurs Stone

The photo walk then continued to Arthurs stone a neolithic monument probably once a burial chamber of over 5000 years old.  It got its name Arthurs stone from legend when king Arthur slayed a giant here and the split in the rocks is where the giant fell.

Arthurs Stone monument
Arthurs Stone 1/30 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 18mm

After photographing Arthurs stone, it started to rain and not wanting to get water into my camera I had to pack it away in my photo rucksuck and also put on my pac a mac.

Mount Pleasant

The rain not last long 5 mins or so before I was presented with more magnificent views atop of Mount Pleasant looking east over Herefordshire with sheep grazing nearby.

mount pleasant
mount pleasant 1/30sec, f/11, ISO 100, 32mm

It was then a walk down mount pleasant into the hamlet of Bredwardine and a little detour to an old 17th century bridge over the river wye.  I was hoping to do some long exposure shots of the river but my ISO was on auto so not work out as it used a high ISO to achieve a ‘correct’ exposure.

Towards Merbach Hill

It was then heading back up over Bredwardine hill heading to Mebach hill.  Some nice views of the wye valley on the way to Merbach hill.

wye valley bredwardine hill
bredwardine hill 1/13 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 32mm

On Merbach hill you reach a trig point and there are splendid views all round. With views north of Hergest Ridge a walk I intend to do in the near future.

merbach hill hergest ridge
merbach hill hergest ridge 1/30 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 20mm

Just great views of the Golden and wye valley all round with the black mountains to the south west.

merbach hill wye valley
merbach hill wye valley

I had arrived atop Merbach hill and the golden valley mid afternoon not ideal for landscape photography.  The excellent visibility and use of filters nonetheless had produced some good photos on this walk.  But I really need to capture the golden valley during the golden hour, sunset preferably with great panoramas to the west.  But that is a lot less about walking and a lot more about photography.

For now I would have to content myself with a pint back in Dorstone at the Pandy Inn.  I must have walked over 10 miles that day through the golden valley of Herefordshire, lots of hills too, I was knackered.

Golden Valley Herefordshire