First published February 2012 – Llynnau Mymbyr Sunrise and Alport Castles Sunset
As a landscape photographer I quickly get a list of images “I Must Shoot” and a lot of these could be revisits to locations. It could be either the first time I had visited it hadn’t be quite right or while on location I’ve pre-visualised an image I would quite like and this means playing the waiting game especially if it requires a certain season. The title of this blog is so because all the images below have taken literally years to make, but are captured within seconds.
The first image is of Alport Castles in the Peak District. I had been here twice before, but both times on a walk though was armed with the DSLR. The second time round I came away with an image I was happy-ish with but I knew from that point what I actually wanted was a picture of it, in the snow obviously in winter as the sun was setting. Winter 2010-2011 came and went and only having a bad December with the snow I never got to the location. I did contemplate going early spring after checking TPE (The Photographers Ephemeris) knowing that the sun set in the right place but never made it out. After that TPE looked to show that the sun wouldn’t quite set where it needed to as to give fantastic side lighting. So when the first snow of winter 2011-2012 fell in the Dark Peak I quickly made my way over to this area not wanting to wait yet another year for this image (bearing in mind it had been 2 years already).
It is quite a walk in, around a hour or so, even longer in the snow and puts most people off it would seem as it is not often photographed (all the better!) but upon arriving at the top after a lot of cursing and catching my breath I could see it was totally worth it. I did imagine a more snow covered scene the previous 2 years but I couldn’t have been happier on the day seeing the nice contrasts of the glowing warm rocks to the cool colours of the snow.
The next image I had wanted for over two years since being introduced to it was of Llynnau Mymbyr in Snowdonia looking towards the Snowdon Horseshoe. I first visited in October 2009 but it was a grey, overcast day and didn’t do the area justice. I had revisited in April 2011 in hope of some reflections and a great sunrise, however while there were clear skies there were no reflections and certainly no magic. Again, however strangely I actually wanted to capture this place in winter. I had seen snapshots from the roadside of the area with the horseshoe glowing pink and it gave me that inspiration. Cue 2012 and a 4 day trip had been planned to go to Snowdonia with this shot being top priority. I was set to go Friday so on Thursday I read the forecast and it was set for cold and no wind. I was overjoyed in hope of mirror like reflections and a snow capped Snowdon, just like in my vision.
I decided not to stay in bed Friday morning and got up at 03:30 AM and made the 3 hour drive over to Capel Curig to get this image. I knew though I would be there 4 days, this could be my only chance and I was right! The next 3 days were grey and miserable. On arriving it was a chilly -7 and to my amazement the lake had actually frozen over. I knew I wouldn’t be getting the reflections I wanted but I was overjoyed to be able to take a scene so different. These are two of the images I came up with:
I hope you enjoyed these images and I hope it gives you an insight into what planning it takes to make an image. I also think it’s worth noting that both images took a lot of effort in making too from having to climb a big hill in the snow taking a hour and a half to getting up in the middle of the night driving three hours. Given that fact and the fact a lot of planning when into them and patience waiting for the right time it gives me a real emotional connection to the images and I hope it shows through to you.