Dark and Brooding

Last week I was in the National Park. Nice weather until about 3pm when suddenly the skies darkened and it looked like it was going to snow. I managed to take this last photograph before heading home.

2016_Snowdon Massif

On show are three out of four of the mountains which make the Snowdon Horseshoe, these are Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), Crib Goch and Garnedd Ugain (Crib-y-Ddysgl). The missing mountain, Y Lliwedd, is off to the left and If I’d included it I don’t think this photograph would have had the same impact.

A Touch Of Snow In The Ogwen Valley

Each year I look forward to the snow falling in the National Park. For me as a photographer it adds something new to the ever-changing landscape and makes me want to get out there and photograph it. Of course it’s not as simple as that. Falling snow is not good for the animals that live in the park, nor do the farmers welcome it, especially if we have blizzard conditions.  However at the lower levels it’s still not too bad. so with my photography buddy Adrian Evans, I set off to the Ogwen Valley with the hope of catching some snow. The Ogwen Valley and surrounding area is probably my favourite spot in the National Park for two reasons. It has waterfalls, mountains, rivers, some nice wooden bridges, stone ones as well, lots of sheep, sometimes wild ponies – only when the snow is heavy and best of all it’s easily accessible with a main road running right through the valley. But first of all I’m going to start off in Nant Ffrancon.

2016_Nant Ffrancon

Nant Ffrancon is a steep-sided glacial valley dropping to Bethesda between the Glyderau and the Carneddau Mountain Ranges. To the left of the photograph above is the start of the Ogwen Valley. There are two roads through the valley, the main trunk road (A5) and the old road built by Lord Penryhn of Penrhyn Castle near Bangor around about 1790 – 1792. This is the old road, it’s my favourite way of getting up to the Ogwen Valley because there are some good photo opportunities on the way and usually you never see anyone except farmers and the park rangers.

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Lord Penrhyn’s road was built to allow the easy of movement of slate from his quarries to the shipping point at Port Penrhyn. Nowadays it has a standard road surface and throughout the year it’s usually quite passable. But as you can see from this photograph below, taken in early 2015, it can sometimes become a bit treacherous. Even with 4-wheel drive I couldn’t get past this point. It was just sheer ice with no grip at all.

Icy Road

Still in Nant Ffrancon you can find little waterfalls like this all the way along the valley. Of course at the moment there’s not a lot of water coming down the hillside but you can see from this photograph that the torrent here could be a lot stronger.

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Almost at the top of the old road as it enters the Ogwen Valley you can see Pen yr Ole Wen. Wikipedia describes the mountain as the seventh highest in Wales at a height of 978 m (3,209 ft) equal to England’s highest mountain Scafell Pike. You can also see the modern road, the A5, and some Welsh ponies which have freely roamed these mountains for centuries.

2016_ Pen yr Ole Wen

From this spot a short walk takes me to the path to the Glyderau and Cwm Idwal, a spot I have visited often before. It’s a nice gentle walk to Cwm Idwal and probably one of the easier ones in the Snowdonia National Park. But even still you have to dress for the conditions or else you put yourself in danger and possibly others as well, who have to come and get you out of trouble.

2016_The Glyderau

Would you believe, whilst I was waiting to take the photograph above I saw two idiots, and I will say idiots, walking up the path wearing cotton track suit bottoms and tops, along with trainers with no socks on? Just after that another couple, he was wearing light shoes, she had fashion boots with a heel. Most people using the track were wearing proper outdoor walking gear with boots. Bearing in mind that the further up you go, the more snow you get and the colder it becomes. And it was cold.

Anyway. We decided to leave the Ogwen Valley and head for Capel Curig and the Llanberis Pass, on the way stopping off to photograph Snowdon from a distance. By now the weather was changing with some light sleet starting to fall. With the light rapidly disappearing it was time to head home. So I leave you with this view of Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales at 1,085 metres (3,560 ft) above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles outside the Scottish Highlands.

2016_Mount Snowdon

That’s it from me. I’ll be back soon with this weeks WordPress challenge and of course my 52 challenge for next week. Meanwhile here’s what other great WordPress Bloggers are saying about Snowdonia;

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Slate And Stuff

52 in 2015 Week 2 Minimalism

As usual the posts for the 52 challenge are pretty short. It’s all about the photographs which is one of the reasons I changed the theme for Say It With A Camera, again. If over the last week you received several temporary posts I do apologise. It’s one of the side affects of using Windows Live Writer when it tries to match up my blog theme. So to the photographs……

52 in 2016 Week 2 Minimalism_0001

Pretty simple this one. It’s the marking on the side of a caravan. I shot it horizontally but rotated and cropped to get it looking like this. A bit of spot removal in Photoshop and that’s it.

Next we have the Rescue Helicopter which was operating in the National Park last week.

52 in 2106 Week 2 Minimalism_0002

That’s it from me. I hope you enjoyed the photographs.

Hong Kong Street Life

Well I’ve finally managed to get round to start processing some of the photographs from my Hong Kong trip. An area I’ve always liked is Mong Kok, it’s vibrant, colourful and not so touristy as Tsim Sha Tsui and so we choose to base ourselves here during our holiday. But it wasn’t just a holiday. My son lives in Hong Kong, so it’s an ideal opportunity to catch up with him and spend a few weeks together. As I explained in an earlier blog post, this trip I was going to concentrate more on the people and the sights in the less touristy areas. Not for me the Harbour, the view from the Peak, or Symphony of Lights, keep that. Been there, done that, seen the film, got the tee-shirt.

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Mong Kok has several street markets and walking around them gives plenty of opportunities for street photography. Normally I would convert my street photographs to Black and White, but like I said Mong Kok is colourful so it seems appropriate to keep my photographs that way as well.

2015_Hong Kong Street Market_0002

Wandering around the market you can see stalls selling fish, meat, clothes, just about anything.

2015_Hong Kong Butcher_0001

To our standards in the UK this is very unhygienic. The butcher’s shop is open to the streets with people passing by all the time and yet it seems to be the norm as I saw several butchers shops like this. I’m not going to judge, I’m not buying but I must admit it does make for an interesting photograph.

Continuing through the market I found one of several fish vendors.

2015_Hong Kong Fish Vendor_ 0001

Choose your fish and let the lady do, whatever she does. Hong Kong is a street photographers dream, so many interesting faces and as long as you’re discreet you can catch some good photographs. All I did here was keep my camera low and as I walked about I just fired off the shutter. Face-detection, if you’ve got it helps and a reasonably fast shutter speed.

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I’m not sure if I got busted here, but the gentleman didn’t say anything so I just carried on walking. generally I found most people were more interested in going about their business rather than paying attention to me.

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As well a the larger stalls, you find the smaller ones like this. I really love the eclectic mix of vendors that you can find in the market.

2015_Hong Kong Street Vendor_0001

And now for something a bit different. A jeweller’s shop just a short distance from the market. Twenty four Karat gold. It’s too yellow for me. They tell you the weight, not the price. You have to go into the shop and find out what the price is that day.

2015_Shopping For Gold Jewellery_0001

Well that’s it. This is just a small selection of the photographs I took whilst I was on holiday. I hope it gives you an insight into street markets in Hong Kong.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Weightless

Oh to be a bird, flying high in the sky, defying gravity. But all is not so simple for smaller birds. Predators are waiting at every turn so some birds have a way of trying to confuse the predators. They fly in large flocks, twisting and turning through the sky to form amazing patterns. Here in the UK starlings perform this ritual before settling down for the night on their roosting spots.

Starlings in Flight

According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

Grouping together offers safety in numbers – predators such as peregrine falcons find it hard to target one bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of thousands.

Murmuration

The only way to see this is to get out there, into the open countryside. That’s where the birds are. You’ve got to go to them.

I photograph all my birds and animals in the wild, in their natural environment. Some photographers will cut branches from nearby trees and bolt them to a small table. They’ll then put food at the bottom of the branches and sit back, behind a blind, with a long lens, and wait. To me, that may be bird photography, but it isn’t wildlife photography. – David Young

Last night was cold but worth it. The starlings started flying about dusk 4.00pm. Just a few birds at first, but gradually the flock got bigger and bigger as more starlings joined the murmuration. That’s what it’s called, a murmuration, at least here in the UK it is. Have you ever seen birds flying like this. What do you call it?

The display continued until about 4:35. Then suddenly it was all over. They just disappeared. Where had they gone? Simple really, they settle for the night on the wetlands where they roost. Here they’ll stick together and keep warm overnight. Oh! And according to the RSPB, this is where they swop stories about the best feeding areas.

Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this week challenge.

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