There’s a disused slate quarry in Pembrokeshire, Wales, next to the sea, where all of these photographs were made across two groups of visits . The first was about fifteen years ago, the second in 2019. From a distance the quarry face looks dull and brown, but a walk up the considerable scree of bright, loose, and very sharp slate gives clues about what awaits you . There's a narrow ledge between the scree and the face of the slate which is the place from which you photograph, mostly from a distance of 2-3 feet from the face. All the time you can hear the tinkle of tiny pieces of slate falling down the face- a reminder that the large pieces of rock you clambered over to get to the face were once above you. I wore a hard hat.
The first visits had me using a 6x6 medium format camera on a tripod, and it was a struggle just getting the tripod set up. Reaching a position where I could see my shot through the finder was a task in itself. Coping with limited depth of field- testing focus in a range of positions in my framing area - on the irregular cliff was a major mission. It was do-able but really slow and the odds of getting pictures with an important area out of focus were considerable. Across three mornings I got maybe a dozen or so pictures I was pleased with.
I returned in late 2019, a bit surprised to see that the access to the cliff face was exactly as in was 15 years previously. I would not have been surprised to see the face and scree fenced off. This time a full frame Dslr and usable 1600 ISO made life a lot easier and I spent half the time to get twice as many photographs that worked. I could even use a long lens to make pictures from halfway down the scree for a different perspective. So all but the very best of the earlier slide film pictures have gone from this collection . Interestingly I was unable to find or recreate any of the photographs I'd taken 15 years ago- a commentary on the rate and nature of erosion- I'd probably just walked over the rocks I'd been photographing on the cliff face last time.