Tis the season to go walking (part 1)

We’ve been for a couple of great walks so far over the Christmas
period. On Christmas Eve we went up Cwm Bychan to see the
Roman Steps (I keep thinking of John Buchan and 39 steps, but that’s by the by….). Apparently the steps aren’t Roman anyway – they’re much older than that; it’s part of an ancient packhorse trail from Chester to Harlech (according to Wikipedia) that goes though the Rhinogydd mountain range.

One of the falls on the way up Cwm Bychan

One of the falls on the way up Cwm Bychan

The weather was coming and going – patches of sunlight followed by heavy hail showers – and we had to keep stopping on the way in
order to photograph the very attractive river and frequent waterfalls. On a technical photography note, I found that, on a dull day like it was, photographing fast-flowing, tumbling rivers at about 1/10th of a second worked for me. This was slow enough to blur the water and give a sense of movement, without being so slow that the water went completely milky and unreal looking (an over-used effect that I’m not fond of). It was also just fast enough for me to get away with handholding the camera – good enough for blogs and twitter anyway, even if not sharp enough for a picture library.

A fast-flowing river slowed down a bit for photographic effect

A fast-flowing river slowed down a bit for photographic effect

More tumbling water

More tumbling water

I was in the middle of the river for this one!

I was in the middle of the river for this one!

Eventually we tore ourselves away from the waterfalls and reached the carpark for the Roman Steps. We walked up through the woods, with the weather coming and going, and as luck would have it, as we reached the steps proper, the hail started really coming down.

Bertie being all Roman (or not) about it...

Bertie being all Roman (or not) about it…

I was determined to get a picture of the little bridge, with rushing stream and steps going up, though, so despite the hail rattling around and the appalling light (or lack of it) I cranked the ISO up to 800 and got one quick snap before we called it quits and dashed for the woods, hail snapping and stinging our faces all the way down…

The 'Roman' bridge and steps

The ‘Roman’ bridge and steps

It was great fun, despite the weather, and anyway, it’ll be fun to go back and get a picture in better light – and hopefully one that’s
better composed, when I’m not worrying about wet on my lens and hail cutting my face to shreds…

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