A beginning

First light, Saundersfoot Bay

In a rash moment I recently signed up for WordPress’s Writing 101.  Writing, on a photography blog?  Yes, I did wonder if I knew what I was doing.   I suppose I wanted to get back to why I started this blog in the first place.  It wasn’t just to share photographs; I had Flickr and 500px for that.  When I started Focused Moments, back in April 2012, I was in the middle of my MA. Perhaps the blog was a way of creating my own original(ish) content when I was otherwise immersed in other people’s words.   (As my subject was Victorian Literature, there were a great many words!)

Over time, however, Focused Moments inexorably tended towards a photo-a-day kind of blog.  Before more touchy readers protest, I am not suggesting for a moment that there is anything wrong with that sort of blog, just that it’s not what I intended.  With Writing 101, which began yesterday, there are daily prompts.  The first one was to free write for 20 minutes.  Well, I didn’t feel like free writing about photography.   That prompt seems, to me, more appropriate to the creation of fiction.  So I have taken comfort in the challenge’s statement that we can be as free as we like in our interpretation of each prompt, and I have ignored it completely!  Instead, I have thought about beginnings.

Blue Hour, Saundersfoot Bay

It must be fairly obvious to anyone who is kind enough to stop by here from time to time that I like landscape photography.  For me, setting up somewhere and waiting for the light is a beautiful, and healing experience.   But I am not really a morning person, so most of my imagery is made at the end of the day.   However, last Friday Pete and I managed to get up for dawn.  At this time of year and at these latitudes, that is no mean feat.  Our alarms went off at 4am, and I can tell you that, as we were blearily dressing and mainlining caffeine, the planned adventure suddenly seemed far less appealing.

Once we were outside, however, all that changed.  There wasn’t much of a sunrise, but it didn’t matter.  We had the beach to ourselves.  A hush hung over the morning, broken only by the swoosh of the waves and the haunting cry of oyster catchers.   Homer’s ‘rosy fingered dawn’ delicately coloured the sky as a solitary fishing smack chugged out of the bay.  I could understand why many landscape photographers prefer this subtle time of day to the more spectacular sunset.   As my children grow, and need me less, one small but significant compensation is that opportunities to get out for daybreak will grow.  The beginning of a new phase in life will involve seeing more of the beginning of each new day. There’s a certain poetry in that.

Dawn, Saundersfoot Bay


To have made a beginning is half of the business.



The child of the morning, rosy-fingered dawn, appeared.


14 thoughts on “A beginning

  1. Your photos are simply stunning. There is a kind of moodiness, a sense of darkness grudgingly giving way to light that you have captured so well. I enjoyed your prose as well and where else could I have found quotes from a Roman and a Greek poet so early in the morning?

    • Hi Mike. Thanks. Glad you liked it. For my BA, I did a whole year of Homer and fell in love with The Iliad in particular. In fact, it became my favourite course of the whole degree. I can never see dawn without thinking of his famous epithet.

      • I have a special fondness for a liberal arts education that expands your knowledge and sensitivity,without necessarily resulting in directly marketable skills. (I majored in French literature.) My blog has sort of become a photo-a-day blog, but I enjoy the creative aspect of writing too, so occasionally I’ll go off on philosophical tangents or ask deliberately provocative questions.

      • I agree about non-vocational arts degrees. I started off with an LLB and count myself very lucky to have had the opportunity later in life to go back and study literature.

  2. If you would really like to start rising earlier in the day, I would suggest dogs rather than alarm clocks. They can’t just be shut off and ignored and they make you actually get out of bed and into the early morning world. And they convey a sense of joy in the whole undertaking.

    I have always preferred dawn to dusk, liked the sense of being at the beginning of things rather than at the end. I love watching the light slowly overtake the darkness, love watching the colors emerge from their nocturnal monochrome, love listening to the first birdsong of the day.

    And of course that first cup of coffee….. 🙂

    These are wonderful photos. Interestingly enough, I prefer the middle one, which is the only shot that does not show the horizon lightening, but I think it’s mopre about the composition than about the light.

    • Hi Debbie. Thanks. I am not sure I should get a dog just for the dawn, but I can see your point! ;). I like that picture best too. It is all in the composition in the end. The light will be what it will be, but the compo is all the photographer’s.

  3. Hoping I’m not counted as one of the touchy ones. 😛 To be totally honest, I don’t have the whatever it takes to plow through a lot of words. My eyes are telling me I’m spending too much time staring at a computer screen lately, so it’s down to skimming if there are too many words. But I wouldn’t miss your images for anything! 😀

  4. It is so good to challenge yourself to do something you do not usually do and so much better when it is successful. Getting up to photograph the dawn is a lovely idea. I do love to challenge myself to do something new, I haven’t done that for a little while. Mmm. you have made me think. Amelia

  5. I absolutely love an early morning. unfortunately I live in probably the flattest county in England and it doesn’t lend itself to great landscape photography, such as this 🙂

  6. Good idea to challenge yourself 🙂 I’ve always enjoyed the quotes you’ve put alongside your photos, in your posts.

    These photos are fab. Moody, but very serene and calming. Great work, Rachael.

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