A very dear friend asked me the other day if I had a good time in North Wales. Of course, I should have answered “yes” straight away, but I had to think about it. The truth was that too much time and effort had been invested in the trip and I felt under pressure to deliver at least a few good photographs. I had started planning before Christmas last year and with the countless hours of homework done on my chosen locations, I needed images (not to mention good weather and a lot of luck)!
My first outing was a write off as it had taken eight long hours to drive all the way up from East Sussex. The light was already fading as I arrived in Llandudno and all I wanted to do was phone my husband and unpack my gear. I had a stunning location planned for sunrise the following morning and I needed to be ready for the 5.20 alarm.
As it turned out, I could have stayed in bed a bit longer. Although the sky was mostly clear as I left the hotel, by the time I reached Llyn Ogwen the clouds had rolled in and there was a gale blowing. My plans to stand below the little weir and catch the soft morning light on the surface of the lake were in tatters. The water looked as though it was boiling. Another view from a small hill just yards away was also dismissed as I could barely stay on my feet, let alone set up a tripod. The light was awful anyway.
So I sat in the car thinking the other two locations planned for lakes that morning would be equally disastrous and I considered returning to Llandudno to make the best of a bad job. However, the second spot was just five minutes’ drive away and for some reason I felt I had to give it a chance. I’m so glad I did.
I suppose the valley must have been facing in a different direction, because the first thing I noticed was the total absence of wind. Not even a breeze stirred the waters of Llyn Mymbyr and stopping to say hello to a gentleman at the entrance, he informed me he had just spotted an otter close to the rocks at the bottom. Things were looking up!
I set up my tripod under a tree and waited for the light to improve, which it did for long enough to capture the image featured above. Then the gentleman returned to say there were three baby otters with Mum and they were playing in some little rock pools not far away. So we chatted quietly for a bit until they appeared in the lake and started heading in our direction. Now I don’t have a good enough lens for wildlife (and certainly not in poor light, like this), so I stuck with my 24-105mm zoom and crossed my fingers.
The shots below are cropped and processed to bring out more detail. They certainly aren’t top quality photographs of wild otters, but I’m still chuffed to bits.