Saturday, 15 December 2012

Planning Isn't Everything

In a previous post I mentioned a talk I prepared for Frodsham & District Photographic Society in which I described my planning and preparation for a landscape photography outing. To be honest, there is no rocket science involved; it's mostly about considering the weather forecast, sunrise and sunset timings and, where appropriate, tides. In preparing for the Thursday just gone, I had done all of these things and settled on a plan which consisted of starting the day at Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake) and, when done there, heading over to Cwmorthin near Blaenau Ffestiniog. My reasoning for the former was that the expected still morning offered the prospect of interesting reflections in the lake and you can see from the picture above that things worked out pretty much as hoped; the sunrise wasn't dramatic but I was really happy with the soft, pastel tones that materialised.

I spent a couple of hours by the lake before packing up to head off for Cwmorthin. This is a hanging valley extensively scarred by industry in the form of slate quarrying. The ruins make for an interesting photographic location but one of my main reasons for heading there on this occasion was the knowledge that the sun barely penetrates the valley at this time of year. That may sound strange but, given the cold forecast, I anticipated plenty of frost and ice and this is what I wanted.

I didn't make it there....

As I headed out of Bala, I discovered an extensive hoar frost in the area surrounding the Afon Tryweryn and, after driving a short distance further, I decided to abandon my plans and turn back. A quick review of my map indicated that a path ran alongside the river and this became my new objective. After all, I reasoned, it was frosty conditions I came for, and here, frosty conditions I had. The rest of the morning was spent happily pottering along the river bank where there were many opportunities for frosty pictures.

The moral of this tale is that, although planning is important, you should also be prepared to adapt to what's before you. I will never know whether there were even better conditions at Cwmorthin but I am happy with my morning's work and don't regret changing my mind. I think I need to update that talk.

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