A few days ago I posted an image taken back in 2015 during a trip to Snowdonia in Wales, which I had not processed or shared before. Whilst searching the Snowdonia folder in Lightroom I also came across this picture. This shot of the Snowdon Horseshoe was taken looking down a lake called Llynnau Mymbyr. The obvious appeal to this image is the early morning mist hanging in wait for the sun to rise and its reflection in the calm waters of the lake. I clearly remember this scene and can recall that within a few minutes the mist had been burnt away and the very reason for taking the photograph in the first place had disappeared.
Having posted a few images taken in Pembrokeshire recently, I thought I would return to a Lightroom folder named Snowdonia, which I visited back in November 2015. I stumbled across this photograph which I had never processed before. It had just been sitting on my hard drive but I am rather glad I found it.
I remember the morning it was captured. The tree was backllit and the early morning light glistened on the heavy dew which had formed on the grasses overnight. The dark background was the perfect foil for the solitary tree.
There is always the temptation to process images soon after they were taken but there is also an argument that you should let images mature, untouched for many months and then return to them at a later date before processing. Something which was dismissed at the first edit, is re-discovered and what a pleasure this can be. Not only finding a ‘lost’ image, but in the process remembering the visit, the location and the conditions…….. a very worthwhile exercise in my view.
It’s hard to believe that three months have passed since I visited Snowdonia. I had a great time and after a lot of processing, curating and ten blog entries later, I have now put together a gallery page of what I consider to be my favourite images. The ones that take me straight back to a particular location. I can remember the time of day, the weather conditions and what I was trying to achieve when I took the shot. The gallery is here.
Pressing the shutter doesn’t work every time, far from it in fact, and my ‘keeper rate’ is probably no better than 1 in 50, but I am very happy with that. Sometimes the light wouldn’t be right, or the image would be badly composed or out of focus. Inevitably there would be many occasions when I didn’t select the correct camera settings, or quite simply I was trying to take a photograph when a good image never existed in the first place. But that’s the joy of photography.
I believe that each time you press the shutter you should learn something from the experience. That way I learn more from the ones I didn’t get right, as opposed to the ones that eventually find their way to the printer or onto this blog.
I do hope to have the opportunity to return to Snowdonia later this year. It’s an inspiring and beautiful place for any visitor, let alone a photographer. The changing light and dramatic scenery are very special indeed.
Last but not least I would like to extend a big thank you to fellow WordPress blogger Andy Beal FRPS for organising and hosting an excellent and instructive workshop. To David Mills ARPS for his extensive knowledge of the area, and finally to the other participants for their company and good humour. Together we had a lot of fun and a week of photograph to remember.
If you want to visit any of the previous blog entries I have added all the links below, together with a thumbnail image to whet your appetite.
My last post gave a description of Cwmorthin slate quarry and included a number of photographs all taken in the lower section of the valley. You can read this entry here. The upper section is reached from the valley by walking up a fairly steep and long path, but it is well worth the effort. Here there are the remains of more buildings, old machinery and large pieces of slate, set into the ground like tombstones; memorials for the miners who once worked here and gave their lives to this dangerous industry.
A note about processing – This post and the one before it, have a total of ten images all were taken on the same day in similar light and depict the harsh and rather bleak environment of Cwmorthin slate quarry. When grouping images such as these together, I recognise the importance of consistent processing to produce a harmonious set of images. However these photographs were not all processed at the same time. Some were done many weeks ago, others more recently to complete the set. Initially there was a lack of consistency in my approach. I had not used a particular preset, so I found it more difficult to achieve the look I wanted. Having compared and then tweaked all the images, I finally applied a split tone, as I felt this was warranted. In my view it would add something to the look and feel of the photographs, with the aim of reflecting the atmosphere of the location.
Cwmorthin Quarry – a bleak and now lonely place – previously a place of great activity, endeavour and danger, as miners went about their difficult and very physical work in many miles of dark, wet tunnels below the surface. As I sit at my desk in a warm, well lit room, with a hot cup of tea for sustenance, typing these words on a Mac keyboard, I find it very hard to imagine what life would have really been like for the people who lived and toiled here many decades ago.
Cwmorthin is a substantial Victorian-era slate mine above the village of Tanygrisau, close to the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales. Having left my car in a small car park, I together with a few other photographers walked up a fairly steep incline until we reached Llyn Cwmorthin, a lake overlooked by some derelict buildings which at one time were the barracks for the mine workers. Work on the mine first began in the early 1800’s, with heavy underground development starting around 1860. Some access to the mines is still possible but I for one was very happy to stay above ground, take in the atmosphere, and try and reflect my feelings for this harsh environment through my photography.
Although mine workings largely came to an end in 1970, some small scale mining still took place in the 80’s and 90’s eventually ceasing altogether in 1997. Flooding in mines was always a problem, so large pumps were used to remove water from the many miles of tunnels on a number of floors. Wall and roof failures were a constant hazard for the mineworkers and it’s of no surprise that numerous chambers have collapsed preventing access to large parts of the mine.
The photographs in this entry were taken either by the lake or along a wet and stoney footpath, lined by a slate fence, which took us past a chapel with only a pair of conifers for company. Sadly the roof had been removed from the chapel in fear I guess that it might collapse and be a danger to visitors. Later we climbed a long and fairly steep path to the upper section of Cwmorthin Quarry and this will feature in a future entry.