Stargazing in the Vale

The Vale of Glamorgan is perfectly placed to capture the magic of the night sky, with many photographers heading to our coastline after dark to find that perfect photo.

Local photographer Paul Murphy shares with us his love of the Vale and how capturing the #DarkSkies above our coastline is a truly spectacular experience.

#DarkSkies by Paul Murphy

My home county, the Vale Of Glamorgan, is my go to location for the majority of my landscape photography. We are blessed to have a stunning coastline which is home to many beautiful beaches, bays, a pier, docks, a lighthouse, and not forgetting the the 14 mile stretch of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, which can rival coastlines across the UK.

Glamorgan Heritage Coast

Right in the heart of The Glamorgan Heritage Coast you’ll find Nash Point with its historic lighthouse standing proudly on the clifftop, this is titled as being the last manned lighthouse.

Nash Point Lighthouse

But the biggest pull for me has to be the small pocket of dark skies which lay between Nash Point and Southerndown. The dark skies here are perfect for Astrophotography, they’re dark enough to give us a fantastic glimpse of our very own Galactic Core.

Any time between March and September is typically a good time to view the core, just remember to check the phase of the moon before you head out, as the moonlight can easily wash out the stars.

A massive thank you to Paul Murphy for allowing us to share his photos.

Comet Neowise - Saturday 11th July 2020

If you're looking for inspiration to discover your own #DarkSkies, here's an extract from a Blog Paul wrote on his quest to capture Comet Neowise during 2020 from our very own coastline.

I made the decision late Friday evening not to head up to the Brecon with a few photographer friends, but to stay local and try and get my 1st Milky Way core photograph of the year. I knew there would be a good chance of seeing Comet Neowise within my home town of Barry even with lots of light pollution around the area.
So I made the short drive to Southerdown which is a fantastic place to look at the night sky. I can honestly say that I’ve really missed my astrophotography during the lockdown period, there is just something about the night sky that fascinates me, but I do find going out at night very creepy at times, especially when your all alone!
Once back in Barry I took a drive down to Barry Island, I parked up on Nells point (which is the former site of Butlins Barry Island) you could just see the moon had just started to rise over the old Barry Dock Lighthouse, providing it with some lovely back lighting, so quickly set up my camera gear and grabbed a few shots!
At about 1am I jumped back in the car and headed to the location I had planned for Comet Neowise, it wasn't the greatest of places as it lacked foreground interest but it did have a clear north facing view. As I got out of the car I could clearly see the Comet with the naked eye, and I was quite surprised at how high it was. I stayed for a while grabbing a few different compositions before getting back into the car and heading home.
Overall it was a successful 3 hours of astrophotography, plus I was home by 2am which is always a bonus lol, hopefully I’ll get another opportunity to photograph Comet Neowise before it disappears forever, and if I do I’ll definitely be heading to darker skies…
Comet Neowise
Paul Murphy, P D Murphy Photography
Camping in the Vale of Glamorgan

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