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firstquarter Feb 25th, 2015 07:37 PM

Castle/Abbey Ruins in Wales - Night Access
Hi all,

I'm a night photographer and I'll be heading to Wales in May/June on holiday. I'd love to visit some ruins after dark for some night photography but I've noticed that many of them are only open during the day. Are there any any ruins that might be of interest and can be accessed (legally without trespassing) after dark?

ESW Feb 26th, 2015 04:03 AM

What part of wales are you planning to visit?

The following are open any time but apart from Dolbadarn,do involve a bit of a walk over rough ground in the depths of the countryside, so not really suitable for getting to after dark ...
Castell y Bere
Castell Dinas Bran

flanneruk Feb 26th, 2015 06:42 AM

As HUGE generalisations:

- Lots of castles maintained by Cadw don't charge admission. Typically, these have no barrier to entry, the ruins don't add up to much (but may still be photogenic) and in principle may be entered any time. That doesn't mean getting to them is easy, or that crawling round them in the dark is safe
- Some castles are maintained by the National trust, and typically DO charge admission. So do some Cadw sites. Generally, they can't be entered outside opening times.
- "Night" doesn't start in Wales in June till well past 10 pm. Do understand that trespassing in England and Wales is a civil, not a criminal, matter.

janisj Feb 26th, 2015 09:18 AM

OK -- many sites are accessible any time of the day or night. But you say 'after dark' . . . these sorts of sites won't generally have any lighting so you'd have to use flash so wouldn't that sort of defeat the purpose? Plus as flanner says -- in June dark comes pretty late.

You'd have to have a car to do any late night touring.

Better maybe to concentrate on sunrise and sunset photography (though sunrise comes very early and sunset very late like sunrise at 04:30-ish and sunset at nearly 10PM).

firstquarter Feb 26th, 2015 05:13 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone.

ESW, cheers I'll look into those. Yes safety is a factor and while I'm experienced with getting around in the dark I prefer to take my time and be safe.

flanneruk, thanks for the tips. I'll definitely be playing it safe, don't plan on crawling around an unsafe ruin in the dark!

janisj, my night photography involves mounting the camera on a tripod and taking very long exposures (in the order of 10 minutes) during moonlit nights in order capture enough light. I also occasionally light paint the scene using a powerful torch while the shutter is open. Being out very late in order to capture images of night is not really an issue - I spend a lot of time doing it!

janisj Feb 26th, 2015 07:28 PM

I had assumed time exposures . . . But except for the light painting, you'd really need clear skies - which you can't 'schedule'.

Just saying - you'll need to build in a fair amount of fudge factor to get the right conditions.

firstquarter Feb 27th, 2015 12:05 AM

True, but I've done plenty of long exposures on cloudy nights, admittedly with varying results. Sure it cuts the moonlight down by a few stops and you don't get star trails but the cloud movement itself can sometimes yield some interesting results. That's the thing I love about night photography - that random element. You can't always predict what you'll end up with... sometimes you'll get home with a bunch of failures and sometimes you'll be pleasantly surprised! :)

MikeS Mar 3rd, 2015 08:27 AM

One of my favorite spots is St. Mary's Church in Tintern. It is across the road from Tintern Abbey. From the parking lot of the abbey you should be able to see it on the hill. You can google it for more information. Cross the road from the abbey carpark and walk up the street that angles to the right. Look for an old cobble stone walkway/road on the left.

Mucky Mar 4th, 2015 04:41 AM

Your photography sounds like great fun !
Do you need to be inside the castle? As of course many outsides are easily accesible from a slight distance,you can get up fairly close to the outside suppose it depends on what you want.
By the way, Caerphily castle has a damaged leaning tower and is quite a large and interesting place to photograph, might be worth checking out.
This website lists the castles of wales

Good luck

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