Clwydian Hills

An afternoon walk in late October… an opportunity to observe and reflect. I’m on the western slopes of the Clwydian hills, and looking west across the Vale of Clwyd to the distant hills and mountains of Conwy and Snowdonia.

Today I’m particularly noticing the shadows cast by the low sun. Their colours, their shapes, their edges, and the variations of tone within them. Working from photos, the camera often pools shadows into flat black shapes. Here in front of me, I can see subtle changes in hue and tone that the lens obliterates.

The shine of wet road adds extra complexity, its cool tinge contrasting against the fading warmth of sunlight still glowing across the Vale.

I’m looking also for shapes and textures… close to the road, half-bare branches break out of soft foliage and twist amongst the shadow-lines on the road ahead. The road itself twists, as it rises and falls with the contours of the hillside.

In the fields below, trees cast long shadows across flat baize dotted with grazing flocks and herds. The rain has passed by here, but further up the valley sweeping clouds shed soft grey mist as evening approaches.

A tall cloud, building above the western mountains, saps the falling sun’s strength with a new, colder light. Deeper shadows start to grow amongst the woodland, and red berries suddenly become dazzling amongst the now-grey leaves.

A magpie swoops, rests, lifts again, black-and-white sharp against grey fields.

The sun’s halo spreads around the cloud, trailing into the blue above as orange-gold gives way to pinks and purples.

Time to go home.

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