Snowdonia Trip Part 2

Day 2

So, picking up from where I left off at the woods in Moel Siabod, it was time to go and meet up with the group at the house just outside Betws-y-Coed, on arrival there was only Matt Dartford there so we sat and put the world to rights for an hour or so before the others arrived. The rest of the group (Dani, Matt G, Neil, Shaun and Matt H arrived shortly after although the weather forecast for that evening wasn’t great to say the least. A few of us ventured down to Llyn Padarn to visit another of those lone trees (the standing joke now is that I want to cut them all down, which in fairness isn't far from the truth!) but the weather really was doing nothing plus it was blowing a gale, so we headed back to the cottage to decide what we were going to do for food. Neil has already nailed this shot although I thought I'd post mine up anyway:

The next day we split up into groups, some of us headed to the same set of woods I mentioned earlier near Moel Siabod, the rest took a short hike up a hill recommended by Greg for sunrise – I must admit, a watching brief from the lovely Moel Siabod café (stop in if you’re ever in the area and take a look at Nick Livesey’s work, lovely stuff) as it poured down outside was the wise choice! After ‘umming and ‘ahhing for a while we eventually trotted off to the woods……................and got thoroughly soaked! We knew the forecast was rough but we were determined to make a go of it – I got a couple of half reasonable shots but nothing worth posting up, I was just pleased I'd managed to get something from these woods the day before as this visit proved to be a complete washout, and one which sometimes you just have to write off as a bad job!

Beaten, Matt D, Matt G, Greg and myself wandered back to the café and had a think about the next move. Looking out the window while consuming what felt like the 20th coffee of the day, nothing really seemed appealing! The group reconvened at the cottage and the general consensus was to head to the coast given the high winds of Storm Brian – I’d already visited Penmon Lighthouse in Part One of the blog however I was more than willing to return to see it in stormy conditions. Both groups made the 50 minute drive to the coast to, only to be greeted by somewhat disappointing waves despite the high winds. I think the group were generally quite impressed Neil was still trying to shoot a long exposure in 50mph+ winds (which I think he actually managed! Long Exposure level = expert).

Conditions were testing to say the least and again, no keepers here. I took a couple of long (ish) exposures which got covered in raindrops (which funnily enough DID NOT contribute to the quality of the image) so for those reasons it's merely documentary of my time at this location. I've done my best to clean it up.

Matt Garbutt also tried his hand at some RCM (running camera movement) which was entertaining to say the least, especially on wet rocks - you’ll have to ask him for a more detailed breakdown of this technique! I think Matt got some decent stuff looking back the other way at the Snowdonia range while I rather foolishly continued to shoot the long exposure myself (what was I thinking?)

Battered, we all headed back to the cottage to dry off, then some more food up the road at the pub, which again was lovely (thanks Greg for pointing us in this direction).

Day 3

Finally, the forecast looked more promising, with the chance of sunny outbreaks and some light to work with. Again, splitting up into groups a set of us went up to Dinorwic Quarry, the rest staying closer to the Betws-y-Coed area and the nearby lakes. First off another thanks to Greg and Karl for their help in getting us to the right places at the quarry – I think the plan initially was to have a wander around the quarry to pick out some small scenes. However, on the drive up to Dinorwig it didn’t go unnoticed by everyone in the convoy that the light was rather epic shining down the valley. I’ll admit to swearing a few times while driving while this was going on! Thankfully, when we reached the quarry and made the short walk up to what is something of a viewing platform, the light was still a bit special. The shot below is a 10 shot panoramic with the 70-300mm lens:

After exhausting just about every angle from the viewing area, myself and Matt G decided to head up one of the many paths around this giant quarry in search of more intimate compositions. Almost immediately we managed to get lost, only to be called back and rightly scolded (again, thanks Greg and Karl). Once in the right direction, we ascended maybe 200m or so traversing the many slate paths – at each point along the way being distracted by the epic light behind us which refused go away, proving to be something of a distraction from what was meant to be the task at hand of shooting subjects involving slate!

I must say, I was mightily impressed with Dinorwic. My images don’t really show the sheer scale of the place, and a 3 hour visit really is only scratching the surface, however it’s made me eager to return and given it’s closer than the Scottish Highlands for me, I can definitely see a few return visits on the cards.

On the way back down, as the light continued to shine through the clouds, it proved irresistible to fire off a few more frames at longer focal lengths where light was now dancing around the mountain tops.

But, as time was against me I had to be on my way, there’s only so long it’s acceptable to be on a jolly like this while your ever-patient partner is at home with a toddler! It was a fantastic trip, making new friends and getting some nice images as well. Hopefully this might be an annual thing – I’m guessing those who came along on this one probably won’t need much persuading for next time! I managed a final shot as I exited the Llamberis Pass and headed for home - not a bad wee roadside snap to finish the trip:

Thanks for reading everyone and also don’t forget to check out some of the other guy’s work which I’ve placed links to below, some fantastic togs and nice blokes to boot.

Until the next one folks happy shooting