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  • Writer's pictureGareth Partington

Discovering and photographing Llyn Dywarchen

Since the last trip to the Cregennan Lakes I had got a bit of a landscape bug and felt the need for another photography trip out. On my list of places to visit was Llyn Dywarchen, a small lake over looking Snowdon. I had seen a few photos on the internet and the place looked like a magically location. Could I capture its beauty?

Those early morning drives

I was up at a very unnatural early hour and drove to Wales blearly eyed, with my trusted steed Dylan and navigated the tight windy roads. There is something special about driving to Wales, it feels like going home. Having spent all of my childhood holidays going to visit family or trips out with my Dad. The Welsh country has very special place in my heart so its extra special when I discover a new location.

I arrived before sunrise and my friend Paul was already there, in the luxury of his camper van all cosy and warm. I kicked into photography mode and jumped out of the car to survey the landscape and decide where might hold the best composition.

The sun was rising so I had to think fast and the sky was beginning to fill with a vibrant red hue. The water gently lapped against the edge of the lake and the air was cold and still, making each breath a sharp refreshing intake of oxygen.

I walked around the lake, looking at the island thinking this perhaps would make the best view then deciding it against it, as the sun was not rising behind and I would miss the colours.

The first composition

I frantically moved back round to the west side of the lake and looked directly into the sun. A lone tree stood on the shore and at the base of the tree was the remains of an old building. I got as low as I could trying to use the fence as a lead in line to take the viewer into the scene as the sky began to illuminate. When you don't have much time it's so hard trying to find the right spot to place yourself.

On the horizon you could just see Snowdon looming in the background, but as I was all set to take the image, a bank of cloud moved in and obscured the view of the mountains. I was a little gutted, hoping the cloud would move off but it seemed to hang there, stuck on the peaks like cotton wool.

There were many exposures and variations on the image above but I could not seem to improve the composition from where I was. The sunlight was rapidly increasing and the atmosphere that hung began to disappear. I tried to work the image and find a better view of the tree and Snowdon but couldn't seem to improve on what I created here.

Learn to move with the light

As the sun rose, the colours started to disperse and I needed to find a better view to photograph the lake. I moved round behind the tree I had just photographed but I could not seem to get myself in a position where the compassion really worked.

I knew there was a good photo here but I just needed to find it. I moved further up the hill to try and get more of the lake in, but my lens was not wide enough so I resorted to trying to create a panoramic image.

You can tell it is a stitched together image because it distorts the landscape. It shows the environment but I don't think I'll be winning any prizes for this photo but look how amazing this place is.

As the sun rose I decided to move back around to where the tree and ruined building was. The clouds had started to move on from Snowdon's peaks but the light was flat and didn't fill the landscape with any magical properties.

I was disappointed with myself for not been able to capture this amazing place in the kind of imagery it deserves but what an environment to visit.

As the morning got later I explored the lake looking for potential other opportunities. and came across another ruined building. I think this view of the lake looks great but the light was not really in my favour and the cloudless sky leaves it feeling a bit empty.

If I was to return here I'm not sure this view would work with a sunrise as the sun would rise off to the left of the image.

Watch out for those angry farmers!

As I was packing up to leave to go get some breakfast from the car, I heard a scream as I walked towards the gate. A very angry man started shouting at me, telling me this was private land and he would shoot my dog! Dylan was on the lead, he had been a model dog the whole time we had been here and stayed by my side. I explained I was just taking some photos but the farmer was infuriated that "people like me" come and terrorise the sheep.

He threatened me and said I was not allowed to go past the gate and back to my car, saying I needed to walk six miles round to get back on the road. He drove off on his quad bike to go harass my friend. I jumped the gate, got in the car and we drove off.

It's a lovely place but be very careful of the angry farmers if you visit here.

A quick visit to Glyder Fawr

On my trip I had planned to visit Glyder Fawr but Dylan was so tired form our trip, he is getting old so I had to be conscious how much I did with him. It's such a shame seeing your best friend age, as a few years ago he could easily do a ten mile hike or more.

This was my favourite image from the stop off here. Wild ponies in front of Tryfan. There were foals with the ponies and I felt very prevailed to be able to see them.

The light wasn't brilliant but what a place to visit!

Close up of the foal

I'll close out this blog with a few photos of Dylan as this was to be one of his last trips with me to Wales. There is one more photo trip with Dylan to come, but he got poorly not long after our last trip.

He is such a fantastic dog and it's always an honour to be able to spend time with him outdoors.

Look how proud he is

I'm discovering that landscape photography is such a hard pursuit, it really takes so much time and effort to create beautiful images. I love the trips I have done but want to keep improving.

I need to return to the locations I have visited to improve.

Where do you think I should head to next in my landscape photography trips? Is there somewhere you think I should turn my attention too?

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