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Tenby - a Flickr Survey

As we’re heading back to Tenby next weekend for a last wild fling before the end of summer, I thought I’d undertake a quick survey of Tenby images on Flickr to see how other people have photographed the place and whether I could learn something prior to my next attempt. My resulting picks are in this gallery.

I did this by first searching Flickr for “Tenby” (duh) and examining the initial few pages of results, and then picking through the Tenby group. Some conclusions:

  • Everyone photographs the harbour which, given that it is Tenby’s most obvious standout feature, is not surprising. And pretty much everyone captures it for a similar South-facing viewpoint. Flickr is awash with what more or less amounts to the same representative image.
  • The few people who photograph the harbour successfully (that is to say, with some originality) manage it because they choose attractive light (such as a brief cloud break or early/late sun), a novel angle, or they focus on details rather than trying to capture the whole scene (the latter are much rarer, which is odd given the multiplicity of appealing details within the harbour area).
  • I saw a fair smattering of images whose garish colours would disgrace a Disney straight-to-video release. Folks, you can overdo the saturation and HDR effects. The town is colourful enough.
  • There are comparatively fewer images that successfully capture the feel of the town away from the central harbour area. In particular, the warren of streets and back lanes are mostly neglected (partly understandable given that they’re often choked with parked cars, and converging verticals are a real issue). Tenby is great to stroll around and dip in and out of the various shops, caf├ęs and pubs. But you wouldn’t get a taste of this from Flickr, which is the greatest disappointment.
  • The retail architecture is almost wholly ignored, apart perhaps from ronaldaroo’s exhaustive survey of the buildings (which appears to have been executed quickly on the go, and so feels more like snapshots). There are some nice examples and appealing details for the finding, such as the columns around the entrance of WH Smiths or the array of traditional confectionary at Lollies.
  • Similarly, I’d say the South Beach, outside the town walls and the immediate environs are probably under-represented.
  • Given that the commonplace harbour shot is so obvious, it ought to be easy to avoid. I can understand everyone taking it because they’re there (guilty), but posting it on the group? Why? Rule: if the shot seems self-evident, it probably is.
  • In my limited searching, I’ve found precious little monochrome and a complete absence of documentary style work. Maybe it needs a local to tackle this - but they’re usually the same people who have ceased to look. Similarly, more local input would probably leaven the concentration on the summer tourist season that’s apparent.

I don’t have much time in Tenby this weekend, and probably none without concomitant family duties, but I’ll do my best to avoid shooting anything I’ve already seen on Flickr.

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