Welsh winters are so often just mild, wet and windy. It is rarely cold enough for snow to fall, and if it does it will probably melt away within a few days. Just occasionally, though, the photographer is treated to something special. Last January there was a short break in the succession of big depressions tracking north eastwards across the north Atlantic. I drove up to north Wales one evening and spent the night in the layby by Llyn Mymbyr (near Capel Curig) as I often do. The following morning dawned bright, clear and calm, with the snow on the higher slopes of Yr Wyddfa reflecting the pre-sunrise colours. Unfortunately there was a thin layer of ice covering much of Llyn Mymbyr, so the reflection I was hoping for was rather limited. I was at a loss as to where to go next.
Then I remembered another lake – Llyn Cwmffynnon – in a hollow on the slopes of Glyder Fawr, above Pen-y-pass youth hostel. I knew it reflected the mass of Crib Goch if the waters were still. It might be worth a try! It was trudge up to the lake across boggy uneven ground in heavy winter boots and clothing and carrying my full SLR kit. Eventually arriving at the shoreline I found that this lake was also covered in a thin layer of ice which was hardly a great surprise! But with a water trickling through it, the stream down towards Pen-y-gwyryd had remained free of ice and was reflecting Crib Goch in its surface. This was the location I had been hoping for.
At first I decided to forego my polarising filter, which I probably over-use. But after a while a tiny cap-shaped cloud began forming, dispersing and re-forming over the summit of Yr Wyddfa, itself invisible but situated behind and to the right of Crib Goch. Out came the polariser! It was invaluable in bringing out the whiteness of the cloud against the blue of the sky. In fact in these conditions of perfect clarity and using my standard zoom at 24mm, uneven polarisation was a problem, and I had to do some work in Lightroom to remove it. But the result looks good to me, and I’ve used it on my Christmas card this year.
So for those of you not on my Christmas card list, I’d like to take this opportunity of wishing you the Seasons Greetings and a successful year in 2017.
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