Lone-Tree

A lone tree on the side of a hill near Llyn y Dywarchen

See it here: http://flic.kr/p/StvztZ

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A Mountain Path–Back To My Roots

Regular readers will know that I am a great fan of Ansel Adams and his amazing Black and White photographs taken in the Sierra Nevada’s, his spiritual home, and in America’s great State Parks. You might also have noticed that in the last few weeks I’ve been doing a bit of bird photography, which I have a bitter-sweet relationship with.

Like Ansel Adams, I’m more at home in the mountains taking landscape photographs….and so that is my path for next year. Go back to my roots and spend more time in the mountains. Now obviously I can’t go to the Sierra Nevada and in a country the size of UK there really isn’t any great wilderness left. There are some areas where you could go walking and not see anyone else but in truth you are never really that far from civilisation.

However the Snowdonia National Park has some great areas to photograph and that’s where I’m going to be next year.

Old House

I’ve photographed many places in the National Park but this time I’m going to be looking at it differently. For a start I want to try to get it right in Black and White, medium that I’ve dabbled with before, mainly for street photography

Ask yourself, “Why am I seeing and feeling this? How am I growing? What am I learning?” Remember: Every coincidence is potentially meaningful. How high your awareness level is determines how much meaning you get from your world. Photography can teach you to improve your awareness level. – Ansel Adams

Lone Tree

Ansel Adams once said “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer”, and I want to you to see what I see, the stark beauty that can be found in the National Park.

This lone tree in the photograph above sits at the side of Llyn y Dywarchen. Why is it there? When you consider the landscape all around it’s amazing that it has grown to such a size and survived especially through it’s early years as a sapling. This is sheep country a tasty morsel like a new sapling would have gone down well to the sheep that roam this terrain. Yet it survived because it is growing against the side of a wall which stopped the sheep gaining access to it.

The Valley

Of course it means I have to be more prepared for walking the hills and getting off the beaten path. Where previously I would visit several locations in a day I think I need to research a location and stick to it. It’s all too easy in this digital age to press that shutter button and just keep taking photographs. But a more refined approach is called for.

The ‘machine-gun’ approach to photography – by which many negatives are made with the hope that one will be good – is fatal to serious results. – Ansel Adams

So that’s my path for the coming year. I hope you will join me – Mike

Discover–A Time To Catch Up

My mailbox is full. Just under 400 messages from WordPress in the space of a couple of days with comments on “It’s A Kind Of Magic” and new followers to “Say It With A Camera”. It’s going to take me some time to catch up with all of your comments and have a look at my new followers blogs.

So I’d like to thank you all for your kind comments and follows and I promise over the next week I will get round to replying and visiting your blogs.

In the meantime I’d like to show you some photographs from an area that I have the fortune to have in my back yard – the Snowdonia National Park. It’s such a beautiful and wild place to visit, yet easily accessible and because of this it is difficult to find areas where you can be truly alone. This photograph of Pen-Yr-Ole-Wen (that’s the mountains name, looks remote and yet at the bas of the mountain lies one of the busy main roads through the national park.

Pen-yr-Olwen Reflections

In the park you will find sheep, lots of them, Wales is well-known for it’s sheep farming, feral goats and these lovely little Welsh Ponies. Most of the year they live higher up on the slopes of the mountains but once the snows come they start to come lower down into the valleys which makes them more easy to photograph. Although most of the year they live quite wild I have found they are pretty friendly, you can even stroke them as long as you take it slow and easy. Of course like all wild animals you just have to be careful.

Ponies

Throughout the park you will find evidence of abandoned dwellings from the 18/19th century, maybe earlier in some cases. These are left over from when sheep farmers had small holdings and lived a very simple way of life.

This Old House

That’s it and I will get round to everything this week – Mike

Weekly Photo Challenge–H2O

Whoo Hoo! It’s Thursday and I’m actually early for a change. Despite being up CAD East yesterday to photograph low flying military aircraft as they transit the Mach Loop I’m ahead of schedule. Having now had my broadband link restored albeit still with some dodgy speeds I’m now able to concentrate on the blog again. This week it’s H2O so let’s get started and get some photographs on show, After all, that’s what Say It With A Camera is all about.

In Greenfields Industrial Park which is now a Heritage Museum you can find several waterfalls. In the industrial age water was a source of power, turning mill wheels and engines. This is a great waterfall to photograph but it really is a shame that they don’t cut the vegetation back. It would be a much better photograph.

Three Tier Waterfall

First and foremost, make it an obvious picture of colour! Rather than looking for rocks, leaves, trees, waterfalls, birds, flowers, fire hydrants, starfish, boats, orchards, or bridges, focus your energy and vision on red, blue, yellow, orange, green, or violet. Colour first, content second! – Bryan Peterson

Mirror

That’s what I’ve tried to do above. Some of the sunsets we get here are quite startling, brilliant colours, but they only last for a short time, especially in the winter months. A photograph really doesn’t do them justice and yet I have been accused of over-hyping the colours on some sunsets. Honestly, you have to see them to really appreciate them.

Cwm Idwal and the Afon Idwal have always fascinated me ever since I moved to North Wales. The Afon (River) Idwal drops down the valley from the lake which is higher up in the valley. By the time it gets down to the bottom of the valley it’s usually flowing pretty strongly over the rocks and that’s where most people photograph it. From the wooden bridge at the start of the walk up to the Cwm. Yet, if you follow the river up the valley there are some really good photographs to capture and it’s far faster than following the well trodden path that most walker use.

Say I’m on a path along a stream, but what I really want to do is be down at the stream, not along the path. I go down along the side of the stream and I move up and down, back and forth, looking for, say, reflections. I’m watching the movement of the water. When I find something that pulls me in, something that I feel connected to—and usually it’s a quality of the light—then I open up the technical box… – Eddie Soloway

Afon Idwal

Talking of Cwm Idwal, “Winter Is Coming” as they say in a well known blockbusting TV show. In all the times I have visited the Cwm in winter I’ve only ever seen the lake freeze once. It’s not totally frozen but it’s well on the way.

Idwal Snow

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the photographs.

Now I’ve got the time and a broadband connection I’m able to look at other bloggers again. Here’s a selection from the weekly challenge that I have liked this week. Yes, I actually do visit, have a read, and leave a like. I don’t always comment, not unless it’s something that really catches my attention, usually photography related.

Susi Lovell Swan Girl
Attuned Photography Color of Water – Macro
Claudia Curici Photography ‘Asking for Help’
PhotosbyGoldie Reflections (on Water)
Lotus Reflections – Leanne Murphy
through the luminary lens Solar Power, Water, and the Promised Land
janeMcMaster Weekly Photo Challenge- H20
Broken Light- A Photography Collective Psychosis
Julie Powell – Photographer & Graphic Artist WPC – H20
H2O – Photo Challenge – ladyleemanila

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cherry On Top

I suppose that “Cherry On Top” moment for me was when I realised how beautiful the Snowdonia National Park was and the amazing photo opportunities I could have there. Having moved from Somerset it was nearly a year before I first ventured into Snowdonia.

Ogwen Valley

This was the first photograph I ever took in the National Park on a cold winters day, late in the afternoon. I’ve lost count of the number of photography trips I’ve made to this and the surrounding areas but it never ceases to inspire me.

Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge:

Cherry on Top – My Life as Kate
The Final Touch of a Little Red Elephant – From Hiding to Blogging
The Reluctant Photographer Cherry on Top
Weekly Photo Challenge- Cherry on Top
My Photographic Life Cherry On Top~End of the Week
Mindfulness through a lens WPC- Cherry On Top
Spirit of Dragonflies WPC – Cherry On Top
Isadora Art and Photography Latte – Desserts and a Cherry on Top
Day-To-Day Photography Farmyard Decoration
Photoessayist The Blog Pink Ball Of A Cherry

Find My EPIC

Yes it’s me. I’ve found my EPIC #FindYourEpic. As part of a tourism initiative to get visitors into the area a large sign measuring four metres high by eleven metres wide was fixed to a hillside at Pen-y-Gwryd in the Snowdonia National Park. The sign is mirrored and has the word EPIC. Visitors were encouraged to share their images of the letters on social media using #FindYourEpic. Now here’s the thing, the National Park gets enough visitors as it is in the summer time so it hardly needs more, especially in that area.

There has been a mixed reception to the sign, some people like it, others say it spoils an area that has some beautiful scenery. Fortunately it’s not staying long as the sign is due to me moved somewhere else in Wales tomorrow

Find My Epic
Olympus OM-D E-M1, Olympus M 12-40mm f2.8 PRO, 1/1250s at f3.5, ISO 200 #FindYourEpic

Knowing it was going tomorrow and despite heavy rain being predicted for all day it seemed a shame to miss getting a photograph. So off we went into the National Park to find it. Now knowing where it is and actually finding it in low-lying cloud are a different thing. Ten minutes before this photograph was taken, the road you can see in the background was shrouded in a thick mist and we were having trouble following the road. Fortunately the cloud started to lift and by the time we parked up, got the camera gear out, we could just see the sign on the hill through the mist.