Last weekend I ran a three-day workshop in Snowdonia. North Wales and the National Park is an area that I have visited on many occasions but from a workshop perspective, they have always generally been one-day excursions. Having listed a weekend last year that failed to get the appropriate numbers to run it, I was pleased that this year it went ahead, even though there were still places available. Despite that, I had three great clients who fully engaged throughout the workshop
I love the variety that British landscapes offer us with varied coastal terrains and landscape environments that have a real regional characteristic. We are blessed in the UK to have so many diverse terrains to explore and make images that reflect our interpretations and frame the visual experiences in the seasons we visit them. Last weekend was, as one client put it, a "Mexican Heat-wave" in Wales. I've not been to Mexico myself but I think blue skies and blistering hot days well into the "real feel" 25-30 degree heat gives you an idea of the conditions we were walking and shooting in.
Whilst it's sort of lovely to enjoy the sunshine it does make getting images harder with high contrast and lack of detail in the sky. The above image was at sunset on the first day and although the calm settled conditions made for great reflections we were not blessed with any colour or detail in the sky.
At the start of the day we visited Pistyll Cain and Rhaeadr Mawddach waterfalls and apart from being bitten to death by the midges, we enjoyed what was on offer.
We spent the afternoon at Rhiw Fachno and Rhiw Back slate quarries - a tough uphill walk in the heat but a fascinating place with plenty of variation. Personally, I was delighted to see the fresh green ferns against the cold blue slate.
Saturday morning was spent at Cwmorthin Slate Quarry - We were treated to a history of the slate mine by an individual who works for a company running underground zip wire experiences through the underground mines in total darkness (I didn't sign up!) The mine has a fascinating history and I was interested to hear about the conditions that mine workers endured in the Victorian era and how things changed as the mine-workers became unionised and politicised by decades of inhumane conditions, deaths and lack of safety and regulation.
The Fair Glen is a location I have had the benefit of visiting several times over the years and it never ceases to excite me. The Fairy Glen is a gorgeous wooden dingle and considered one of the prettiest spots in the area. This area is so-called the Fairy Glen for the mythical sprites which are said to live there in the gorge.
The water levels were pretty low on account of the lack of rainfall but never the less we had a good couple of hours playing with exposures. I was put to the test a little as had to lend my Lee Filters adapter to the client so was made to put the theory to the test with multiple exposure times for different areas of the image doing multiple exposures with different aperture/shutter speed and ISO and then blending them together in post process.
A great location - book next time!
All in all despite challenging conditions we had a great weekend with plenty of variety. If you are interested in joining me for a workshop around Snowdonia, contact me to express an interest and I'll get a date listed on the schedule - Autumn might be a good option!