When visiting Pembrokeshire, Terry Tooze challenged himself to capture the local wildlife as well as the stunning landscape
While I was on my annual visit to Wales, I read a leaflet about Skomer, which is also known as Puffin Island. It crossed my mind what a great photo challenge this would be. It would mean a day’s shooting with my D7100, with plenty of time to capture both the puffins and the outstanding landscape of the Welsh coast.
After convincing my wife what a great time she would have on this paradise island (okay, I might have dressed it up a bit) we drove the twohour journey, taking in some of Wales’ most amazing landscapes along the way. Then we arrived in Martin’s Haven, on the southwest tip of Pembrokeshire.
Skomer lies just off the Pembrokeshire coast, and is well known to wildlife and landscape photographers as an unspoilt area perfect for amateurs and professionals alike to capture some stunning images. Pembrokeshire itself is quite remote, so it tends not to get too crowded, especially out of season. The best time to photograph puffins is May and June. A 50-seat passenger boat transports visitors to the island from Martin’s Haven, a small cove two miles from Marloes village, near Haverfordwest.
It took a 30-minute boat trip to reach Skomer from the mainland. The sight of thousands and thousands of puffins was utterly breathtaking. We climbed the steep steps up to the visitors’ arrival centre and were given our prep talk on what to do, and what not to do. We were then sent on our way. My excitement was bubbling up, so I retrieved my trusty D7100 from of my backpack, and with
my Nikon 18-200mm zoom lens attached, and I was off.
I spent a couple of hours trying to capture the birds in flight with their fish dinner in their mouths. This proved to be a challenge. If you can imagine a loaf of bread doing 55mph, then that was what it was like. I was shooting in manual mode at f/7.1, ISO100, 1/200 sec and 200mm focal length to capture the amazing flying puffin.
We spent about five hours walking around the island; the puffins came within inches at times, and there were also razorbills, guillemots, Manx shearwaters, great cormorants, black-legged kittiwakes, European storm petrels, common shags and more. It was a wildlife photographer’s heaven, with a boat trip thrown in. This will certainly be on my list of return trips, and next time I’ll possibly spend a day with the island’s photographer, which I am sure will have its benefits.
01 Heading home aft er a successful day Nikon D7100, Nikon AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR DX, 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO100
03 A view from groun d level Nikon D7100, Nikon AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR DX, 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO200 04 Beaut iful Pembrokeshire in all its glo ry Nikon D7100, Nikon AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR DX, 1/5000 sec, f/3.5, ISO500 02 Dinn er is Served Nikon D7100, Nikon AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR DX, 1/640 sec, f/6.3, ISO250