Wales

Menai Straits Panoramic

I've tweeted lots about the wonderful sights on the island of Anglesey, however I wasn't expecting that one of the most stunning scenes on the island was literally on a lay by. A friend of mine (Ian Bramham) had once described to me how he had taken a fellow photographer on a road trip around Wales and taken a shot of the Menai Straits from literally the side of the road. That shot is proudly sitting on the wall of my living room.

It was purely by chance that following a great weekend on the island that I stumbled across this location.

I have placed a screenshot of my iPhone map alongside this post so that anyone that intends to take a similar shot knows exactly where to go. You will see from the shots that it probably one of the easiest photo locations you would ever go to.

It is understandably a very popular location so please don't expect to have the place to yourself!!

From the side of the road you look over towards Bangor, and the Menai Bridge with the dramatic backdrop of the Snowdonia mountain range. Choosing what to take a photo of is probably the hardest thing you will have to do.

I took two photographs. One that focuses in on the Bridge and the foreground.

And then purely because it was so hard to choose what to lose within the image I also took a set of left to right shots with the intention of joining these into a panoramic image in Lightroom.

The resulting image isn't quite the aspect ratio that I would have liked but I simply can not choose what to lose from the image. Every section that you zoom into uncovers another surprise.

I hope that you enjoy scouting around this and finding the hidden little details that I have enjoyed finding.


A Dusting of The White Stuff (and a Kamikaze iPhone)

This was one awesome way to spend a Friday.

I had booked the day off due to the promise of a cold/snowy weather front, and it is fair to say that I wasn't disappointed. The weather was absolutely stunning. I have never experienced weather like it in North Wales, and it is very likely that I will be getting back up there as many times as possible throughout the cold period. The only down side was that as I parked up the great visibility and lovely dark blue skies turned to a muggy grey and clouds closed in. Not to be deterred however I parked up at the Pen-Y-Pass and walked up the Miners track towards Llyn Llydaw.

See Map below for route. The dropped pin indicating the Car Park at Pen-Y-Pass.

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Once I had reached Llyn Lladaw I set about taking some photos. This was actually incredibly difficult with the constant flurry of snow and the high winds. All of this with gloved on means that I am especially happy with the resulting images. CLICK TO EXPAND

Take a look at the video below to get a sense of just how amazing it was to be up in the mountains on a day like this.


Extra

I had decided to try and make my blog posts a bit more 'media rich'. In an attempt to do this I had purchased a little tripod. This is how NOT to perch your iPhone however.

iPhone 6S+ Prior to launch

The resulting video came out something like this. 

And the end result. A cracked Zagg Invisible Shield screen. It could have been so much worse and I am so thankful that I had purchased one of these screens otherwise my iPhone 6S+ could have been a casualty within it's first week of service!!

Snowdon Summit (at long last)

For a long, long time I have been promising to hike up to the summit of Snowdon in North Wales. As a proud Welsh man I almost felt embarrassed that I had never been to the summit.

Well having booked a day off work and cleared my calendar I was lucky enough to get perfect weather. All of the signs were there. It was time to finally experience one of the best sights that Wales has to offer.

The route I took was the Pyg Track, past Llyn Lydaw, then up past Glaslyn. To be honest it was harder than I expected, and there were times were I really wised that I had opted for mirrorless and Carbon Fibre. The 'Three Legged Thing' tripod, plus the weight of the D800 with a good chunk of the glass attached soon became contributing factor to my tiredness. I was rewarded well and truly however by perfectly clear visibility, and hardly any wind at all. When I reached the summit I experienced something that many don't a clear view across miles and miles of beautiful countryside.

Below are some of the photographs that I took on the way up, and once on top of the summit.

Sony Xperia Goodness

All of the photographs below were taken with my Camera phone. The camera in the Xperia Z3 is truly outstanding. I never get tired of taking quick shots with it, and luckily you can expand the memory using the MicroSD expansion slot.

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A Creative Weekend - Part Two (Ynys Llanddwyn)

Continuing my surge of blog posts here is the second part of my 'Creative Weekend'

A place that I have wanted to visit for some time is Ynys Llanddwyn, on Anglesey. I have seen many photographs of the place and felt it was my duty as a Welsh Man to visit and experience it for myself.

Jutting out from the South West of Anglesey, Ynys Llanddwyn is accessible from Newborough beach. Through a dense forest which resembles Centre Parcs as you drive in.

A link to Google Maps can be found here

As you reach the parking location alongside the main stretch of beach it is a fair old walk to the very tip which rewards you with some spectacular views. To the South you have a views back towards Caernarfon and Snowdonia. To the South West the Llyn Peninsula stretches out into the distance, and to the west the Irish sea. 

Here are some of the photographs that I got on the day, I hope you like them. Like with many places that you visit, it needs more visits before I come away with the one perfect photograph. For now though, it is another location visited and another item off my photography 'To Do List' ticked off.

Taken looking out South West towards the Llyn Peninsula. Taken using a long exposure with the Lee big stopper to get the misty water effect.

Taken looking out South West towards the Llyn Peninsula. Taken using a long exposure with the Lee big stopper to get the misty water effect.

Cwm Idwal, Snow, Helicopters and a Dog Called Cathy

Today I ventured back to the superb Cwm Idwal, again it did not disappoint. I wanted to take my little lad out to get some good fresh air into his lungs and start to develop a love for the great outdoors. The weather was freezing but that wasn't going to put us off.

Click picture for larger view - RAF Search and Rescue arrive into Cwm Idwal

The trip started in a spectacular fashion with RAF Valley Search and Rescue coming down the valley past Llyn Ogwen and manoeuvring into a clearing to drop off several members of the NEWSAR team.

They didn't just do this once, they did it about 3-4 times providing plenty of opportunities to grab a good shot.

With the Search and Rescue about to undertake some significant changes this could well be a very rare opportunity to watch them doing what they do best.

Following on from the helicopter show!! A flurry of snow arrived coating the ground with a light covering of fresh snow that was enjoyed by everyone, including a camera shy dog called Cathy!! (if the owner of Cathy sees this then please contact me and I will arrange to provide you with a copy of this picture). What a beautiful dog.

Click for larger view - Cathy the Camera shy dog enjoying the wintery walk on a Sunday morning.

In-between snow showers there were moments of calm that once again introduced another look to the place all over again. Remind me again why I love this place!!!!

Finally note to self (any any other parents considering this trip) allowing your son to make snowballs whilst wearing woollen gloves is not a good idea.

This results in wet cold hands and a child inheriting a nice walm dry pair of gloves!!