Happy New Year!!!
My first landscape photography shoot of 2017 was a bit eventful to say the least. I had planning to go to the glacial lake Llyn Llydaw at sunrise for the last couple of weeks but the weather had just not played ball but on 2nd January 2017 the forecast was perfect. I had a specific shot in mind where I wanted to catch the rising winter sun illuminating Snowdon and the aptly named Crib Goch which translated means Red Comb. My main problem was that I wanted to get a mirror like reflection on the surface of Llyn Llydaw so I need a calm day.
Sunrise was at 8:30am so left at 4:00 to get there in plenty of time to get my composition right and shoot the scene as the sun rose over the mountains. On autopilot and lack of coffee I joined the M42 and then realised what a total muppet I was and should be on the M5. I had to go 20 minutes out of my way before I finally got onto the M5 heading in the right direction. The sub zero temperatures made the driving conditions slow and I totally underestimated the welsh roads this early in the morning as they were white over. It was a long, slow journey and I didn’t arrive at Pen Y Pass car park until 7:15am where the car park was already nearly full with plenty of people already heading up the mountains with the sun already illuminating the horizon. I legged it up to my vantage point where the sky was already a beautiful crimson hue and the golden sun illuminating the mountains as I had planned. I had to rush my shot to get the above photograph titled Red Comb Reflections. In truth I was about 30 minutes too late but overall I was happy with the final result even though there was a slight ripple on the lake surface.
My second plan for the day was to climb up to Gylder Fach so I could get some good contrast shots of Castell y Gwynt (Castle of the wind) with the sun being low in the sky this time of year. Looking at my maps I estimated by the time I arrive at the summit the sun would also be falling nicely on Elidir Fawr, Mynydd Perfedd and Pen yr Ole Wen allowing me to capture some images of the Glyderau range and Nant Ffrancon down in the valley. After a leg bursting climb carrying all my gear I arrived at the summit around 14:00 and the view didn’t disappoint with breath taking views. After having a breather for 10 minutes and watching a family trying to climb onto the ice covered Cantilever stone I decided to make my way round to Castell y Gwynt and get some images and do some time lapse photography. On arrival it was just as I had planned, simply stunning. Excited I climbed a little to get a good composition and then from nowhere cloud came in the wind picked up and it started to hail then turned to snow.
Cursing myself for A not checking the latest weather charts before I set off so I knew what time I had, B not monitoring the Barometer on my GPS and most of all C for messing around and not getting my camera out as soon as I reached the summit it was time to head back down. To top it all I then twisted my knee right at the top and had to limp nearly 3 miles all the way back down to the car. I also did a quite spectacular face plant in a bog in darkness at the foot of the mountain which didn’t help my mood!
Even after all the pain of the decent, the long day and freezing temperatures in all seriousness there is no place I would rather have been even though I didn’t get the images I was after. That’s landscape photography, it’s visiting these stunning locations that make it all worth wile.
With years of experience and a number of award winning photographs Nigel Waters is a UK landscape photographer based in Worcestershire. With a passion for the great outdoors and continually chasing the light to capture beautiful photographs his landscape, seascape and nightscape photography will give you inspiration to get out and explore the best British landscapes have to offer.