• Daniel Wretham

Shooting Snowdonia - Landscape Photography Blog Part 1

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

snowdonia landscape photography

Hello again everyone and sorry for the long absence. Since October I have been flat out at work and under huge amounts of pressure and getting out to do pictures has been a rare treat. Work deadlines have been hanging over me and the never ending workload has been brutal to say the least.

I try to always have a blog ready for release every Friday but work simply wasn't giving me a chance to do so and any rare spare moments I got were spent rushing out with the camera to try and keep a little sanity and get some release from the grey prison that is the four walls of an office.

I had worked myself into a bad state and I was tired emotionally and physically and I needed to have a holiday, there were several options that I really wanted to hit. Scotland for the out and out rugged beauty and the mountains with the lure of snow, The Lake district because I have always had a fascination with it but felt that maybe it was the wrong time of year to hit it and that it would be best left till Autumn not to mention the vast numbers of visitors there which was a major turn off as those that know me know I'm a solitary person who likes to have his space.

Now my last big trip was to Wales and I have always been exceptionally keen on the country as it has so much beauty and potential, and I really wanted to shoot some mountains.

Snowdonia was the obvious choice and I had visited it very briefly once before in October and it had certainly got my interest.

It was mid February and there was finally some light at the end of the tunnel at work and I had finished most of my projects so I started to turn my attentions to Snowdonia and decided on a whim to book a small cottage in Bangor to use as a base.

The idea was that it was right on the edge of Snowdonia and it had the added bonus of being right on the edge of Anglesey too which gave me a lot of scope to go coastal if I wanted too.

The trip was due to start on March the 4th and I couldn't wait ! I watched the weather intently over the next few weeks and I was aware I was taking quite a big gamble with it as it can be so changeable in Snowdonia around the mountains, but I had a burning desire for snow and I thought I might just be able to catch some and get lucky.

The weather reports were a very mixed affair but there had been a lot of sun & rain mixed and the thought of capturing a rainbow or two was very appealing. A week before the off and the weather took a turn for the worst with heavy rain forecast everyday which put a bit of a downer on things to say the least.

It didn't make any difference, I was booked and I was going. Even if the weather had been terrible all week and I couldn't shoot I would be happy to walk in such beautiful scenery each day because I just needed the break and to be away from the pressures of work.

Two days before the off and the forecast changed again, for the better. Something wonderful had happened, Snow ! I felt my luck had taken positive turn, it was just over the mountains which suited me even more as it meant a safer drive on clear roads but with snow on the mountains which is exactly what I wanted.

The weather was very mixed through the week I was due to stay but there were at least two days that were looking like they had some potential so I was full of excitement once again.

I spoke to a friend on the friday who confirmed there had been snow and it had settled on the mountains, my heart was thumping and I couldn't wait to get up there, maybe just maybe I was finally about to catch a break.

The drive to Bangor from Dorset was roughly 320 miles and around 5-6 hours which I felt was quite a lot to do in one stint so I decided to stop on the way up at Wrexham to a waterfall I knew and then onto the beautiful village of Llangollen to give myself something to shoot and take a break from driving.

So the plan was all set, surely nothing could go wrong ? I planned to leave at 2 am so I could be there for first light as Saturday looked like it could have some potential for a reasonable sunrise.

5pm on a Friday and work was finally over, I was on holiday and I rushed home, the kit was checked about a dozen times and everything made ready for the early start. I never ever leave my kit in the car so it was all ready for loading first thing along with the customary coffee flask to keep me awake in the early hours, something I only recently got into thanks to Martin Dolan who introduced me to the joys of coffee whilst on a shoot, Thanks mate !

It was now 8pm and I knew I needed to head to bed now in order to be up at 2 am, not something I was used to seeing as 2 am was usually closer to my time of going to bed.

I lay there excited like a child at Christmas, full of thoughts of mountains and snow and wondrous conditions, I couldn't drop off and I decided to do a bit more research into the areas, this was a bad idea.

The more I looked the more excited I got at the prospect of shooting Snowdonia, I finally managed to drop off sometime after 1 am, then the horrible sound of the alarm kicked in less than an hour later.

I woke up and started to wonder if I was doing the right thing in going now, or should I get a few more hours sleep and just go up later ? Of course not, the adrenalin kicked in and after a quick shower I was raring to go.

Coffee and red bull was consumed and I loaded the car, it was now around 3 am and I was off.

I love travelling this early in the morning as there is no traffic or distractions and I settled myself in for the long drive ahead.