Photo taken at Snowdonia, Wales


Snowdonia, Wales

Snowdon, at 1080m, is the highest mountain in the British Isles outside of Scotland. Snowdon is to the right of the image and opposite on the left is Garnedd Ugain, a peak just 20m lower than Snowdon itself. Below are the lakes Glaslyn and Lynn Lydaw with the impressive Lliwedd ridge in the distance which we had walked the day before. The ridge in front and to the left form a horseshoe which provides not only excellent photographic opportunities but also an outstanding mountain route. Our camp location can be seen just beneath Y Lliwedd

In 2004, when I was 16, my Dad took my brother and me up our first mountains; first Cadair Idris and then Snowdon. I had recently bought my first camera, a 2MP Canon A40, which came along for the ride. Although the images were snapshots one photo has stayed with me since, a view quite similar to this looking down over Glaslyn and Lynn Lydaw and across to Snowdon and Y Lliwedd. My photography has progressed since then and for a long time it has been in the back of my mind to return to Snowdon in the winter to photograph the sunrise over the Snowdon Horseshoe.

We got up at 5am to force ourselves out of our warm sleeping bags and into the cold. Fortunately the wind had all but vanished and once we were moving we were warm enough. After packing up we headed off in the dark to the summit of Snowdon, an easyish 200m climb from where we had slept. We were on the summit an hour before sunrise and whilst Guy stayed to take his photos from the top I descended slightly to the saddle between Snowdon and Garnedd Ugain from where I had taken the first image 9 years previously. A gap on the horizon in the direction of sunrise was a clear indication that I was going to get some brief but wonderful light. I spent the next 20 minutes trying to arrange my composition, setting up my camera and making sure everything was perfect. When the light came I went through a methodical process of shooting the panorama over and over to ensure I had captured the best light. Once I was satisfied I ran down the slope to a different composition but the light had gone. As we walked off Snowdon back to the car the clouds came in again bringing the weather full circle. In all we only had 20 minutes of sunlight in Snowdonia, but it came at just the right time!

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