Take an ultra-wide lens (14mm), go to Wales, stick on a pair of walking boots and take some photographs. It's that simple! Or is it?
I had the opportunity to go and visit my father for a few days, who lives in the northwest. On previous occasions I took the opportunity of proximity to the Lake District to nip out for a day - on one occasion to climb Scafell and Helvellyn. On another occasion just to drive, wending my way from Castlerigg to Ravenglass via just about everywhere I reasonable could, nipping up crags, taking in the scenery and, of course, a cream tea. Fast, furious and tiring days.
Jaunts like this are so envigorating, and on this occasion I thought I'd walk up Snowdon on my way back from Sale to Cambridge. I arrived at the Pen-Y-Pass car park a little before 09:00, donned my boots, looked over my map, and grabbed my backpack. It was at that point the thought came to mind - 'keep it simple'. That's the problem with having so much choice and so much gear, you want to take it all with you. You can be sure that when you've got all your gear with you you won't use the half of it, but when you've not got it with you, you'll be bemoaning the fact (if you're atall like me) and seeing every creative opportunity unfold before you, which you know you cannot capture.
My usual everyday and go-to lens is a 24-70mm - fabulous versatility and quaity of image. However, for practical reasons of weight and general reduction of clobber I decided to take only my 14-24mm and to shoot entirely wide at 14mm; admittedly some images got cropped later. This had now become as much of a creative challenge (perhaps not so much given I was in a landscape environment) as it was a psychological one. Was I going to enjoy my walk or be fretting about not having longer lenses, filters, tripod, and so on?
To the summit: I set off in my new, determined frame of mind to make the best of a simplified approach. Having gone no more than 400 yards I was greeted by a cheery chap in lycra, a fell runner type, who was coming down off the mountain! I guess he'd probably seen the dawn, lucky man. I continued walking and as the views opened up, so did the possibilities that suited the equipment that I didn't have with me! I told myself to be determined and creative, and that I would return with some pleasing images, surely! And as I continued for another half mile and started stripping off my clothing to cool down, I was actually glad that I didn't have all my other clobber with me.
The mental turning point for me was when I realised I was on a walk, not a photographic expedition. There was, nevertheless, just one psycholigical trauma. I'd set out in the firm belief that come my arrival at the summit I would be able to buy myself a double shot espresso (as much as I'm loathed to think there is a cafe at the top of any mountain, there is one at the top of Snowdon) and enjoy it while soak in the view across to the Irish Sea. The cafe was closed due to a small amount of snow still covering the railway tracks that also go to the summit. Oh! well, water will suffice.
In all I was out for nine-and-a-half hours, including lots of photo stops, mini diversions and nearly an hour at the top. In all I covered about eight-and-a-half miles in solid sunshine, missed one of my paths - which I later joined after a hellish scramble, and ran out of water. Thankfully, the stream I topped up from was so close to the summit that I dismissed the likelihood of a rotting sheep in the stream, although the possibility of what walkers might do out of site at the top, only dawned on me later!
I was quite happy with the one lens choice and got some nice pics. What I did learn or remind myself about, included:
Below is a short slideshow of some of the images I made on that walk.
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