I expect most who read this will know I’ve been visiting Snowdonia a lot over the last few months. The reason for that is both deliberate and accidental. I had a plan this Winter to start a new project after Mountainscape, a kind of Mountainscape 2.0. This Winter was supposed to be spent capturing images for that in both Snowdonia and the Lake District, moving on to Scotland in the Spring and over the next Winter. Of course I was also running a couple of workshops too, but the essence of this Winter was on development, as a photographer.
When Autumn finally arrived it brought some weeks of very fine weather to Snowdonia, indeed the rest of the country too. I then ran my first workshop, which you can read about here. Needless to say once the bad weather arrived it never really left. I believe that by mid-January, Capel-Curig had had 60 continuous days of wet weather. Incredible. The storms of course badly affected the Lake District, and although not closed for business, one trip there was cancelled as a direct result and another was re-located to Snowdonia because of the threat of a storm. Any really cold and calm snaps seemed to happen during the week, followed by a milder and wetter interlude arriving on Thursday/Friday providing yet another wet weekend. Some folks have managed to be flexible and have been lucky with the breaks, not me it seems, not really. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat. Tiresome.
It was a great relief therefore a few weeks ago when my Snowdonian Winter Workshop finally landed some good fortune, even if it wasn’t particularly wintery. Both the Saturday and the Sunday remained largely dry. On Saturday the weather was mainly cloudy, but it was dry. We started the day at Llyn Y Dywarchen where there is a boathouse, some fine trees and some ruins, in addition to a small hill from which the views can be incredible. A thin layer of high cloud ensured that Golden Hour never got golden but there were one or two moments of good light. After some breakfast at the Moel Siabod Cafe, we explored a small section of the hillside down Pen Y Pass before making our way to Dinorwic Quarry to explore the mid and upper sections. I’ve gradually fallen in love with the place and it’s becoming my ‘go to’ place on cloudy and miserable days. The weather wasn’t going to improve and there was little point ascending anything for sunset, so we decided to call it a day, stopping briefly at the waterfalls at Llyn Ogwen which were flowing quite nicely thanks to meltwater from the snow high up.
Some images from various quarries in the area from previous visits…
The following day was forecast to be much better. Sunrise wasn’t really going to happen, but we still made the effort just in case, spending a couple of hours at Llyn Llydaw in the shadow of Snowdon, my clients exploring the lake edge and some of the landscape higher up. After another hearty breakfast, we went to explore Cwm Idwal, ascending through Tin Can Gully into the huge amphitheatre. The cloud was really moving now with patches of bright blue sky. We walked anti-clockwise around Llyn Idwal having left our tripods in the car. This session was about shooting handheld and shooting quickly as we moved rapidly around the lake.
After finishing at Cwm Idwal and grabbing a quick pastry from the onsite cafe, we made a beeline for our sunset target. Our late afternoon ascent of Cnicht was glorious in many ways, and we were treated to an uninterrupted view of sunset. However, as so often happens it ended up being a ‘dirty’ sunset, i.e. no strong light, just a steady drop off into the haze…and then a reasonably long torchlit descent in the dark. All in all we covered something like 17.5 miles on the Sunday, culminating in a dash for the pub for dinner after saying goodbye to some very satisfied clients.
This was the first of my three Snowdonia workshops this year. The second is now sold out and takes place in just over a week. The next is in October, is being run jointly with Lee Acaster and includes some excellent accommodation. In October I am also running a workshop in The Lake District. Both of these October workshops still have spaces. I’m also running four more one-day photowalks in the Peak District throughout the year, the next is in May. If you are interested then please take a look under ‘Workshops’ on my Website and get in touch.
I look forward to hearing from you.