• Gareth Partington

How magic happens when you least expect it - Photographing Lake Bala

It's funny how when you least expect it, a magical photo can be created, sometimes you're not feeling like creating but when you force yourself magic can happen.


These photos are of Lake Bala in Wales. They were taken on Monday 29th August 2016. On the day before I had undertaken a 107-mile cycle challenge through the Welsh mountains called ‘ The Wild Wales’.


This was an incredibly difficult challenge; I have done many cycle events in my time but this has to be the hardest and most grueling. I was very worn out at the end of the event but I think I must have taken on board quite a bit of caffeine and energy products during the race, as the next day I awoke at 5am to my surprise.


We were camped down by the edge of Lake Bala and as I slowly emerged from the tent, a mist hung over the campsite. You couldn’t see more than ten feet in front of you but my dog Dylan decided he too wanted to get up with me.



I grabbed my camera and we both wandered down to the lakefront. The mists obscured any view of the surrounding mountains and the world was just a grey mass of nothingness. As I looked at the lake you couldn’t tell where the sky and water separated, I tried taking a few photos but nothing was really working. Then slowly from out of the gloom the sun began to rise and colour came into the mists.


I was fixated by the colours but thought it needed something to ground the eye. I wandered down the lake and tried fences and rocks but nothing was really helping, until I headed down the other end of the lake and came across the small boats just emerging from the mists.


Me and Dylan sat on the beach taking photos as the colours slowly changed, the clouds that hung in the air moved and altered the landscape creating an eerie tranquil atmosphere, it was something quite spectacular.





I really wished I had packed my tripod at the time though as I was forced to shoot at higher ISO settings than I normally would want to for a landscape photo, hand holding and couching down trying not to get any camera shake.


I was very privileged  to have been granted such a view and shows that sometimes waking up early is definitely rewarding.


There are times when I just feel I can't be bothered to pick up the camera, I can tell you at 5am after an endurance event this was one of those moments but I'm so glad I did. The photo went on to win a competition in Birmingham and shows that sometimes you just need to create even when you don't want to.


Have you ever had any moments where things just clicked into place? What was your most unexpected photo success? I'd love to hear where and when you've found inspiration from out of no where.