Weekly Photo Challenge: Time

Doesn’t time fly. I’ve been so engrossed in trying to master these Luminosity Masks to the detriment of everything else. Suddenly it’s Friday afternoon. I have a stack of emails that need answering and I haven’t written anything for this weeks challenge. But I finally think I am beginning to get the hang of LM’s

Ogwen Boathouse

However it does seem to be one step forward and two steps back. Look on the bright side though. I am learning a lot about Photoshop along the way.

Photoshop is not a verb. It is a noun. It is the means to an end, not the end itself. – Vincent Versace

Why am I spending so much time on this? Well, at one time I was a confirmed, dyed in the wool, flag  carrying HDR user. But times have changed. I know longer use HDR as much, especially for landscapes. But I still want to get as much Dynamic Range as possible from my photographs.

Penmon Point Lighthouse

Luminosity Masks seems to be the way to go. But why is it taking me so much time to learn how to use them correctly?

Here’s what other bloggers are saying about Time

Time – Travel Frame
Tea Time – A Year of Sunshine
Riley Central
Fueled by Chocolate Time – So Late So Soon
Jennifer Nichole Wells Time
Time – Shadows – Zero Creativity Learnings
fennbradley Weekly Photo Challenge- Time
What Time Allows – Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky
Endless Frame Photography Weekly Photo Challenge- Time
The Shady Tree WPC- Time

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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.

2016_Nant Francon_0003

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.

2016_Nant Ffrancon_0002

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;

Mist and missing Capel Curig – Happy New Year!
Favourite Images 2015 – No. 7
Freedom
Nant Ffrancon Jaunt
Snowdonia – November 2015
Carnedd Y Gribau, a winter walk to the PyG Hotel
#189 – Snow time in Snowdonia – The Glyderau
Nant Gwynant
Winter comes early on a Snowdon horseshoe
Slate And Stuff

Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place

Regular readers will know that I’m very fond of using HDR with my photographs and I’m always happy to be experimenting. Trying new looks or styles.

This week I have been testing a new software with some very good results. Whilst I say “new” it’s been around some time but just not in the mainstream of HDR software.

Any  way as usual I’m digressing. So where is my Happy Place? It’s got to be the Snowdonia National Park and if I have to be specific I’d say the Ogwen Valley and Nant Ffrancon.

Ogwen Valley Panorama

In the panorama above you can see the Ogwen Valley with Llyn Ogwen to your right and Nant Ffrancon, also a valley, to the left. I’m standing very close to Cwm Idwal at this point. It’s right behind me.

Llyn Ogwen

Llyn Ogwen is surrounded by mountains but luckily the A5 road runs right through the valley giving easy access to the lake and the mountains. Visit here during the summer, especially at weekends and there will be lots of cars parked in the various parking areas set aside for walkers and climbers.

At the far end of Llyn Ogwen lies the drop down to Nant Ffrancon, which is almost at right angles to this photograph. Go left at the far end and you will be at Cwm Idwal.

Let There Be Light

In this photograph we are looking the other way. Llyn Ogwen and the Ogwen Valley lie up there nestled between the mountains to the left of this photograph. Cwm Idwal is to the right of the photograph, also hidden behind the mountains.

Can you see why I have this area as my Happy Place?

Of course visit in the winter and you will see things differently. This is the same road that you can see in the photograph above. Fortunately it’s not the main road. That’s the black line you can see  to the left of the photograph about 2/3 rds of the way up. Where it meets the black clump of trees, that’s where the road bends to the Ogwen Valley.

Icy Road

Incidentally that’s where I got stuck on the ice. Even with 4 wheel drive I was just slipping and getting closer to the edge. Thankfully my fellow photographers where able to guide me back to safety. A hairy moment at the time.

Ponies

Snow brings the wild ponies down from the higher slopes almost to the edge of the road. Although they live wild, I’ve always found them pretty friendly. Too friendly sometimes.

Water tumbles over rocks, I love to hear that sound, during the summer it can be just a trickle, but once the rains come or when the snow melts, it’s a different story.

Waterfall

Then there’s that bridge, I’m never quite sure if it lies in the Ogwen Valley or not as it’s at the start of the path to Cwm Idwal. One thing I’m pretty certain of. It must be the most photographed bridge and waterfall in Snowdonia. I’ve seen coach loads of tourists dropped off just to see this bridge……and they think they have seen the real Snowdonia

Wooden Bridge

So there you have it. My Happy Place and I hope you have enjoyed it with me?

Here’s what others bloggers are saying about their Happy Place

https://hikingmadness.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/happy-place-hiking/
https://racheldesaintpern.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/my-happy-place/
https://petalumaspectatorphotoblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/wordpress-weekly-photo-challenge-happy-place/
https://thestoryofmylifebyterismile.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/weekly-photo-challenge-happy-place/
https://joeowensblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/weekly-photo-challenge-happy-place-10-9-15/
https://emiliopasquale.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/my-happy-place/
https://marthakennedy.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/my-tree/
http://2812photography.com/2015/10/09/woodshed/
https://mariajanssonphotography.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/weekly-photo-challenge-happy-place/
https://snaphappi.wordpress.com/2015/10/10/happy-place/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Symbol

For this weeks challenge I’m going to return to the Snowdonia National Park and the Glyderau. One of my favourites, it’s a beautiful place to walk and take photographs, even if you are only going as far as Cwm Idwal. Managed by the National Trust, you can see their symbol here.

The Glyderau

A thing is not what you say it is or what you photograph it to be or what you paint it to be or what you sculpt it to be. Words, photographs, paintings, and sculptures are symbols of what you see, think, and feel things to be, but they are not the things themselves. – Wynn Bullock

At the start of the walk, water from the Afon Idwal tumbles over rocks and right away you have a great photo-op.

Afon Idwal

Better still, walk over the bridge and take the photograph from the rocks just to the side of the path. In the winter, when there’s been lots of rain or the snow is melting, the river is a torrent, which throws up spray and mist, so make sure you take something to dry your camera with.

Water Under The Bridge

Once over the bridge follow the clearly marked path, although saying that, it’s not so obvious when the snow has fallen.

Path to Cwm Idwal

Word of caution here. In the winter the path does get icy and it’s very easy to slip and do damage to yourself. When the snow falls it’s treacherous as more and more people walk over it, creating really icy patches. Coming down is worse than going up.

52/2013 Week 4

But saying that, even in the winter it’s beautiful and worth the walk. This is the same waterfall as the second photograph above. It just looks so different with the snow and ice.

Icy Rocks

Back to the summer time again and further up the path. As we start to climb you can see, more clearly, Tryfan, the 15th highest mountain in Wales. Sir Edmund Hillary trained on Tryfan for his ascent of Everest.

Tryfan

The lake you can see in the distance is Llyn Ogwen, one of the most popular lakes in Wales. Maybe because the A5 runs along the side of the lake and  there are several convenient car parks. Anyway, Llyn Ogwen is bordered by high mountains, including Pen yr Ole Wen and Tryfan. compared to many of the Snowdonia lakes it’s quite shallow at only three metres depth. All in all it’s roughly about one mile long and lies at a height of 310 above sea level.

Llyn Ogwen

Talking of Pen Yr Olwen, further up the path to Cwm Idwal you get a really good photo-op of this mountain.

Pen-yr-Olwen Reflections

Not far to go now to Cwm Idwal and the lake. I like this point on the trip up. It’s a good spot to take a breather, Not that the path is that steep but it’s good to stop and take your time to look around before getting to the lake.

Cwm Idwal

Ok we are at the top now. You can walk round the lake, there’s a clearly marked path, or better still, sit and have something to eat and drink. And of course take more photographs.

Slate Bridge

Before setting of to head back down to Ogwen Cottage and the car-park, follow the path to the right and cross the slate bridge. Go through the gate and climb up towards the rock outcrop on your right hand side.  From here you should be able to get a good panorama of Tryfan, Llyn Ogwen, Pen yr Olwen, Nant Francon and the mountain that I can never remember it’s name. Foel-Goch, maybe.

Ogwen Valley Panorama

As Wynn said right at the start of this post, photographs  are only symbols of what you see and feel. But to really experience them you have to get out there, do the walk and take it all in. Don’t you agree?

As usual here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge.

https://tomwarrenphoto.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/bonnie-me/
https://geriatrixfotogallerie.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/porcupine/
https://agnesszilagyi.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/wpc-symbol-happy-sunflowers-2/
https://thereluctantphotographer2014.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/weekly-photo-challenge-symbol/
https://spiritual2014.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/wpc-symbol/
https://martinazuercher.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/with-love/
https://akebild.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/weekly-photo-challenge-symbol/
https://aditixpictures.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/water-symbolism/
https://winedrinkingmummy.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/symbol-of-urban-art/
https://lifecallsphotography.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/you-and-me-missing-you/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

It’s no secret that most of my photography in recent years has been from the beautiful Snowdonia National Park, here in North Wales. So it seems appropriate for a subject like Express Yourself that I use photographs from my visits to the National Park.

Llyn Padarn

Llyn Padarn was formed when glaciers carved out this part of North Wales. Approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) long, which makes it one of the largest natural lakes in Wales, it’s deepest point is about 94 feet (29 m). At the furthest end of the lake, from where I am standing, Llyn Padarn is linked to Llyn Peris which forms the lower reservoir of the Dinorwig power station. Also at the far end of the lake and to the right lies the village of Llanberis. – Source Wikipedia

Another favourite place of mine to visit is the Ogwen Valley which is bordered one side by the Glyderau mountain range and on the other by the Carneddau.

Llyn Ogwen

At the far end of the lake the Afon Ogwen descends in a series of cataracts and waterfalls, known as the Ogwen Falls in English and Rhaeadr Ogwen in Welsh, before continuing in a north-north-westerly direction down the glaciated Nant Ffrancon valley.

Let There Be Light

The scenery is so amazing, no matter what season in the National Park. I’ve photographed in Winter when the snow is deep, beautiful balmy late Summer days when the heather is in full bloom, Autumn when the hills are blanketed with the oranges and reds of ferns and Spring when the young lambs have arrived. It’s my kind of place where I’m happy to be with my camera.

Further down the valley the Afon Ogwen tumbles over rocks and with moss-covered stones gives a great splash, (excuse the pun) of green and white

Afon Ogwen

I hope you have enjoyed this series of photographs and in closing I’d like to leave you this quote by Freeman Patterson

The camera always points both ways. In expressing your subject, you also express yourself.

Weekly Photo Challenge: New

It’s 2015 and WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is New. I’m struggling, I have to admit. It’s morning and right now I’m sitting in my office trying to think of something to write. The house is quiet, even “Grumpy Old Man” hasn’t stirred from his bed yet. He’s nice and warm lying under a radiator. Outside the wind is howling, it’s grey and dark, looks like we are in for another stormy day. But so far winter has been kind to us although we seem to be getting an awful lot of grey and miserable days not conducive to photography. Am I suffering from writers block…or maybe it’s photographers block? I’ve not been out with the camera since last year……

Ogwen Valley

….and this was one of the last photographs I took last year. A panorama of the lower Ogwen Valley, in the Snowdonia National Park. Comprising of four photographs stitched together using Photoshop’s Merge command. Something new for me. As you can see we’ve had a light dusting of snow but down in the valley it’s still clear. I particularly like this because the sun was low in the sky to my left, throwing some great shadows, whilst highlighting other parts of the valley.

Our plan for that day was to take advantage of the natural light and walk up to Cwm Idwal, hoping to get some good photographs on the way. Seems like we were not alone. The car park was full and all along the roadside there were lots of cars parked. Lots of people had decided to get out and blow the cobwebs off after Christmas and with the day being a really clear day, with mild temperatures, where better to go than the Snowdonia National Park.

Walking to Cwm Idwal is probably one of the easiest walks in the National Park. Right at the start, there’s a great little waterfall, created when the Afon Idwal drops down the valley on it’s way to meet the Afon Ogwen. It’s probably one of the most photographed waterfalls in Snowdonia. It’s certainly in my opinion one of the easiest to get to. At the moment the fall isn’t that strong. Once that snow melts it gets in full torrent, covering all of those rocks.

Afon Idwal Waterfall

It’s suitable for families, there’s a recognised path and once you get there the view is magnificent, you can see the whole length of the Ogwen Valley.

Ogwen Valley Panorama

Starting from the right, there’s Tryfan, then Llyn Ogwen, that big one in the middle is Pen yr Ole Wen, then the lower Ogwen Valley, where I took the first photograph, and finally a mountain I can never remember the name of.

Meanwhile what of Cwm Idwal. Looking cold, especially with snow on the surrounding mountains. There is a path all the way round for those who want that extra walk. The more serious walkers will also tackle the paths and climbs leading them to the tops of the mountains. Indeed we saw some guys with ropes and ice-axes heading round the lake. Not for me….

Cwm Idwal

Di I cover new? Probably not. But there again WordPress challenges are always down to interpretation. See you next week.