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Breathtaking Pen y Fan ‘image smash’ goes viral

13 Apr 2024 4 minute read
Pen y Fan Sunsets. Copyright: Rudy Matthews

Stephen Price

A Welsh photographer’s ‘image smash’ of Pen y Fan sunsets has taken the internet by storm this month – highlighting the breathtaking contrasts and colours of one of Wales’ most celebrated peaks.

Rudy Matthews from Neath has been an amateur photographer for around 7 years, and, like many of us lucky folk in Wales – one of his most cherished stomping grounds just so happens to be on his doorstep.

Rudy told us: “I started getting into landscape photography with my brother as an escape after work which quickly turned into an obsession.”


“There is so much beautiful nature all around us that, until I began to focus upon it closer through my newfound passion for photography, I had never fully stopped to appreciate.”

Pen y Fan sunset looking towards Corn Du. Copyright: Rudy Matthews

One thing that has become a huge passion for Rudy is chasing sunrises and sunsets, and the elemental colour changes in our varying weather patterns.

And an added benefit of his passion, as he has found to his own benefit, has been its impact on both his physical and mental health.


He said: “I love watching how the world changes during the hours around sunrise and sunset.

“Spending time taking photographs and enjoying my surroundings has been a great help coping with mental heath issues.

“No where is that more prominent that the mountains of Bannau Brycheiniog.”.

Pen y Fan sunrise and Llyn y Fan Fach sunset. Copyright: Rudy Matthews

In search of the perfect shot, he’s no stranger to early alarm calls either.

He told Nation.Cymru: “I feel that no two sunrises from the top of Pen y fan are alike so I’ve set many 2am alarm clocks to get up there early and enjoy, and so the view overlooking Cribyn has always been my “go to” place to spend a few hours.”

Llyn y Fan Fach and Pen y Fan sunrise. Copyright: Rudy Matthews

One dilemma for any photographer, however, is finding a favourite shot. Especially when your camera reel has thousands of uniquely beautiful details.

This dilemma, however, led to one of his most successful shots yet – an ‘image smash’ of some of his favourites that illustrates wonderfully the colours on contrasts of just one area as the days, seasons and weathers change.

“A lasting effect”

He said: “I was asked which Pen Y Fan sunrise has been my favourite and started looking through my images, when my imagination decided to say why choose.

“Each slice is from a different morning where the amazing conditions or the people I’ve met in the mountains, has had a lasting effect on me.

“Together they all show the many reasons why I love it so much!”

Pen y Fan sunrise. Copyright: Rudy Matthews

Seeing the impact photography and hiking has had on his own mental health, he added: “I like to share my images in the hopes that I can inspire others to venture out and try and capture these amazing sights for themselves.

“Even if photography isn’t your thing, I hope my photography acts as a reminder to head out and be in the moment for a much-needed break from the stresses of every day life and screens.”

Pen y Fan sunset from the visitors centre. Copyright: Rudy Matthews

And it’s not just the changing seasons of Pen y Fan that grabs Rudy’s attention – he can often be found across Wales with camera in hand. But like most of us – there really is no place like home, and it’s y Bannau that calls him back again and again.

This is Rudy’s Cynefin – his habitat. A place where he finds solace, peace and inspiration.

As we say in Welsh, ‘Lle i enaid gael llonydd’ – a place for the soul to find peace.

Sychryd Waterfall Pontneddfechan and Horse on Pen y Fan. Copyright: Rudy Matthews

To see more of Rudy’s photography, you can follow his instagram @rudy.tyler or visit his dedicated website –

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1 month ago

There will be a queue to the summit today and issues with car parking and litter I shouldn’t wonder!

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