Spur of the moment decision but I decided to head to Bodnant Gardens this morning before the flowers in the Laburnum Arch decay. By the time I walked the dogs it was 10am before I set off. Bodnant opens at 9am. It’s only a short drive away but by the time I got there I could see the car park was already jam-packed. And to make matters worse six large touring coaches in the coach park.
So what is the arch? 55 metres of beautiful yellow flowers hanging down from a pergola walkway created by Henry Pochin 140 years ago. It is thought to be the oldest and longest arch in Britain.
The arch gets photographed by about 50,000 visitors during a three-week period around late May and the beginning of June. To catch it with no one there, you have to be early, although that doesn’t always work, because one of the Rangers told me that 4 coaches were waiting for the gardens to open this morning.
I hung around for a while and finally managed to capture this one with just a few people at the end of the arch. Generally though it’s busy and if it does become sort of clear most people will let you get the photograph before carrying on with their walk through the arch. Most people that is!
There’s a camera technique that seems to have become popular recently called Intentional Camera Movement (ICM). Looks like I got one here, except it wasn’t intentional. I’d just lined it up for a normal photograph with people, hoping to get them ghosted a little. Hence, the slow shutter speed. Into the frame steps this guy, bumping into me just as I press the shutter. Inconsiderate “bar steward” didn’t even say sorry or excuse me.
In the end I gave up, kicking myself for not getting there early, but I had a plan B in place. There’s another Laburnum Arch, not that far away either and it’s not as well-known. So off I set to a secret location, well, actually it’s Happy Valley, a sheltered hollow on the eastern side of the Great Orme Llandudno.
Not as long as the arch at Bodnant but in full bloom the golden flowers looked fantastic. Best of all there was no one there. I had this part of the park to myself, so I was able to photograph from both ends of the arch.
It’s a fair old climb up to the arch….
….but the views from the upper level are quite worth it.
Well that’s it. I hope you enjoyed the photographs – Mike