Snowdon was the first peak that I climbed when I first took an interest in mountaineering and photography over 45 years ago, and so to this day I always enjoy returning to Snowdonia, an area I regard with much affection. The view of the peaks of the Snowdon Horseshoe - Y Lliwedd (898m, 2947ft.), Yr Wydda Fawr (1085m, 3560ft.), Crib Goch (922m, 3026ft.) and Crib-y-ddysgl (1066m, 3496ft.) - seen across the waters of the Llynnau Mymbyr from the Royal Bridge at Capel Curig is one of the finest in the British Isles. In my humble opnion it ranks alongside, if not surpasses, some of those more publicised and acclaimed viewpoints of the English Lake District and Scottish Highlands.
Forecasts had repeatedly failed to predict the weather during this first week of October, so I was both delighted and relieved to see the mountains were clear and the water was still when I arrived at Capel Curig just before dawn on a morning that marked my third attempt to capture this image within the one week. Each attempt had involved an overnight journey of some 600 miles.
As I set up my tripod I could not restrain my excitement as I gazed upon this perfect view and photographic composition. Here was a balanced arc of mountains with the highest point aligned perfectly along the 'Golden Section' of the image, framed on one side by a descending hillside of rock and bracken whilst on the other by aforestted promontories reaching out towards the water's edge. And it was all set against a foreground of still water that provided a gentle reflection of the entire scene.
I waited patiently for the sun to rise and then started to capture a series of images as the scene developed and the morning light intensified. I covered all the options, from the point at which the sunlight only kissed the summits, through intermediate periods of light and shadow, to the moment when the whole scene was in full sunlight. Unlike on previous occasions when I came here with the Fuji GX617 panoramic film camera, I knew when I turned for home that I had the shot I wanted; it was now just a matter of selecting it from the plethora of material that sat in the camera. I chose this image with both light and shadow, it was the moment when the sun's rays finally reached the farm buildings and the green pastures in the middle distance yet were still low enough to emphasise the steepness and complexity of the mountains themselves.
Time of Year : October
Location Map Reference : 717578 : Royal Bridge, Capel Curig. Time : 0745 GMT
Equipment : Canon EOS 1DS Mark II Camera, Canon EF 28-135mm Lens @ 115mm.
Camera Settings : Shutter 1/8 sec, Aperture f11, ISO 200