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Caitlin Turner's Photographs

The magic mountain that graces our landing page–Cribyn–was photographed by Caitlin Turner. We’re huge fans of her work here at Dryad, and no-one captures the mountains that we live and run among better than Caitlin. A sensitive, authentic, and growing body of work is evidence of her deep connection to the landscape she grew up in.

Caitlin Turner

We asked her to share some favourite photographs, and she graciously provided six beautiful images–mountainous and coastal–along with captions, published below, and some tips for anyone interested in photographing their own surroundings, with the kind of light quality she handles so deftly (clue: you need to get up quite early).

Caitlin Turner

Sunrise from Pen Y Fan. As dawn descended, an ocean of rolling hills and valleys came into view; the warming glow of the rising sun gently kissing each plateau. First light quickly came upon us, bursting through the woolly clouds and illuminating each blade of frost-covered grass. Clouds danced around the towering peak of Cribyn, swaying over the mountainous peak and around the quiet valleys below, as if a blanket of white wool had been placed over the sleepy farm houses.

A Welshwoman proud of her heritage, Caitlin was born in Cardiff and studied surface pattern design at Cardiff School of Art, graduating in 2018. Her interest in photography began earlier though, in her mid-teens. Disposable cameras soon gave way to a bigger DSLR, much better suited to the landscape photography she was drawn to making.

Caitlin Turner

Golden Hour at Newgale. As the rolling waves swept over the glassy sand, reflections of the towering cliffs above appeared in the perfectly untouched sand. With the fading light came the final few beams of sun, illuminating the farmer’s fields and casting rays of golden light across the cliff tops. The early summer winds danced around the almost empty beach, just the faint calls of seagulls and the echoes of crashing waves as company.

‘I find photography very calming and serene. I usually head out at dawn or the golden hour, a time where the world is silent and still. I don’t head out with a certain shot or set up in mind, I go for the freedom and impact that the outdoors has on me and mental health. The light during these times of day is something else. The serenity and calmness of being up and out so early, and experiencing the sun rise of a brand new day will never bore me! I love being able to capture these moments of calmness and tranquillity.’

Caitlin Turner

Carn Llidi. Sun-dappled reeds danced in the late evening breeze, swaying elegantly from left to right. Nestled perfectly behind the glistening grass, hid the beautifully ancient Carn Llidi. As the sun dipped behind the headland, rugged cliffs turned to layers of hazy shadows, fading and becoming a faint smudge far out to sea.

Instagram is Caitlin’s preferred place to display her work (link to her page at the end of this article), and her posts are accompanied by poetic descriptions and little stories behind the making of the images. As a first language Welsh speaker, these are often written in Welsh and serve as further tribute to her home.

Caitlin Turner

Cribyn at dawn. Perched on some frosty rocks, hot coffee in hand and woolly socks on, we watched as the rising sun flooded the deep valleys and rolling hills with golden light. The gentle light lit up our surroundings, revealing an ocean of rolling hills. We sat in awe as this magical scene unfolded around us, very content and grateful for being.

'Being outdoors and surrounded by nature and the natural light plays a huge part in my life…I get such a healthy mentality when I’m outdoors. Sadly this year we haven’t been able to get out much at all, and still being in work full time has been tough, so I make the most of the little walks I can do on the weekends. Walking and hiking has a great way of calming my mind and allowing me to let go of all stresses of modern life.'

Caitlin Turner

Southerndown. When the hills meet the ocean–grassy cliffs drop down to miles of historic, rocky beaches and the calls of nearby kestrels fill the air. A lone waterfall, elegantly cascading off the side of the rugged rocks, the cliffs fading into the hazy distance and becoming just a shadow out at sea.

Tips for budding landscape photographers?

'What I’d say to this is, don’t put any pressure on yourself to get ‘the perfect shot’. It’s not all about fancy set-ups etc, just get out there and immerse yourself in the beauty that’s around. I never set out with a specific shot in mind, nor do I plan a set-up, maybe this a controversial way of shooting, but it suits me! What I would say also, is to be conscious of the time of day you’re shooting. I love the hazy, pastel tones that come with a sunrise, and the golden, blasts of light that comes with golden hour. This’ll give you your aesthetic, and your work a more coherent style. My last tip, coffee! I’m never without a flask of coffee when out shooting, especially during sunrise, I couldn’t function! One of my favourite things to do is sit and watch the sunrise, with a mug of hot coffee, that just makes the morning even more special.

Caitlin Turner

Sunrise at my local spot. With the early morning light, we made our way up the gravel paths of the neighbouring valley. Early morning dew clung to each blade of grass, the golden, morning sun illuminating each droplet. Thick, morning mist began to roll in, covering the vast pine forests. Tall like mountains, appearing through the mist, glistening in the golden light. Layers upon layer of pine trees began to appear, but within a second, they had been replaced with a thick blanket of mist. Not quite ready to make their first appearance of the day.

Our thanks to Caitlin for this insight into her practice, and we look forward to seeing her brilliant work develop over time.

Click here to see more of Caitlin's photography.