Goodbye to Snowdonia

It was the middle morning of my trip to Wales and the day I had been looking forward to for so long. I had planned another early start – this time to find the lone tree at the Padarn Country Park. Just for a change, I hadn’t been able to locate the exact position of this tree before I left home, although I had found a map reference on a photography forum. Arriving well before dawn, I didn’t think it would be too difficult to spot. I parked up and picking up the croissant thoughtfully left out by the hotel staff the night before, I wandered round the picnic area.

By the time I had finished my breakfast, I still hadn’t found the tree and I was starting to worry. Then a car pulled in about twenty yards away and I knew in an instant it was another photographer. I sat in the car while he sorted out his gear and then a few minutes later I followed through the trees behind. And there it was, sticking out into the lake and (hopefully) facing the rising sun.

Unfortunately we didn’t see the sun that morning, but I made a new friend as we sat and chatted in the early morning light. He was a local photographer and I learned a lot about my planned destination for the afternoon. The image featured above was taken well before dawn and although it isn’t the classic sunrise I was after, I love the effect on the clouds. No coloured filters were used here and I haven’t even adjusted the saturation.

Eventually the amazing display faded to a dull and boring scene, so we both packed up and walked to the cars. My friend was off to work, but I had planned to spend the rest of the morning on the Snowdon train. I had a long walk to my afternoon location, so it made sense to sit in comfort for a couple of hours and watch the scenery pass by at a leisurely pace. It was only a couple of minutes’ drive to the station and as the attendant approached, I rummaged in my parking fees box. I needn’t have bothered because he informed me the first train wasn’t running due to high winds on the summit. I was gutted.

I turned the car round and with no back-up plan in mind, I just drove around aimlessly for a while. It’s not normally something I would do because I hate to spot a likely photograph and then have the problem of finding somewhere to park. I was heading for an unknown pass and as I rounded a bend, I was immediately struck by the shafts of light from the neighbouring valley. I could have kicked myself, but I resisted the urge to stop.

By the time I rounded the next bend it looked even better, with a well placed rock in the foreground and a little white house in the distance for scale. I caved in and parked with at least 100 yards of clear road both front and rear. There were no yellow lines, but it didn’t stop drivers from hooting as they went past. By that time I was already hanging over the fence taking the image below and I didn’t have a care in the world.

Valley Light


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