Where Did That Come From?


On my way home from Llynnau Mymbyr I decided to go via the Ogwen Valley and Nant Ffrancon. It’s one of my favourite spots in Snowdonia, easily accessible from the road, but can be remote if you take lesser known routes. Whatever, there’s always a good photograph to be had.

Generally I won’t use the the main road (A5) as it travels through Nant Ffrancon. I prefer to take the old, single track road through the valley for a couple of reasons.

  1. You can stop almost anywhere on it. Unlike the A5 which is a busy trunk road with just a few parking spots.
  2. You quite often see the semi-wild ponies who inhabit these parts. Always a good photo opportunity
  3. There are some interesting waterfalls, especially after heavy rain.

I’m still getting used to embedding Google Maps and how powerful they are, but you can scroll, zoom in etc. with them, so they are worth including. This one shows the route I take to follow the old road.

My original plan was to stop at Ogwen Cottage but as I travelled in from Capel Curig it was pretty obvious that I wasn’t going to be doing that. Every available parking spot along the A5 was rammed solid, there were even cars parked on the road.

At almost every workshop I’ve taught, someone will come up and ask me what they should shoot and/or where they should go to shoot. I try to explain that photography is a process… a process of discovery. Not only do you discover things to shoot, you discover things about yourself as a photographer. And, you discover what your interests really are and how best to capture those subjects. One suggestion I always make is to avoid preconceptions. Planning can be highly overrated.

Don’t go out there with a definitive idea of what you want to shoot. Leave yourself open to chance… whether it’s the light, a moment, etc. This way you will avoid being disappointed by what you don’t find and instead be amazed by what you do!”

 Arthur Meyerson

So Plan B. Skip the stop at Ogwen Cottage and just head straight onto the old road.

E-M1MarkII OLYMPUS M.12-40mm F2.8 ISO 200 1/160 sec at ƒ / 11

During the summer months this road is fine to travel, you have to watch out for sheep, they roam freely in this area, so no speeding. During the winter time this road is completely different. In the distance it rises up to reach Ogwen Cottage and a good few years back, driving 4 wheel drive, I nearly went off the edge. I hit a patch of sheer ice, fortunately I was driving slow enough to react. Hairy moment though and not one I’d like to repeat.

And that brings me to where did that come from?

In all the time I have been driving this road I have never really noticed the ruins of the abandoned building with the trees growing at the side

E-M1MarkII OLYMPUS M.12-40mm F2.8 ISO 200 1/250 sec at ƒ / 11

It’s relatively close to the road. You can see the wall edging the road, just coming in from the bottom left, and yet, I have missed this scene so many times. Could be a good one for Autumn.

Anyway, that’s it for this one. I’m out tonight with the camera club so I’ve got batteries to charge, ready for tonight’s expedition.

Stay safe – Mike

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