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Llyn Ogwen #4

Llyn Ogwen and the snow capped peak of Y Garn, Snowdonia National Park, Wales

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The story behind this image

A cold but bright winter's day in early 2017 was all the excuse my wife Liz and I needed to load up the car and head for the mountains of the Snowdonia National Park, just about an hour's drive from our home in North Wales.

We only had a brief window inbetween approaching weather fronts to enjoy some sunshine, so we made the most of the opportunity, visiting some of our favourite views and taking in the beauty of the snow capped peaks of the Glyderau and Carneddau mountain ranges.

As the weather started to close in again we ended up on the shores of Llyn Ogwen, looking down the lake to the dramatic buttress like peak of Y Garn as towering clouds cast patches of sunlight and shadow across the snow dusted landscape.

What a wonderful sight, far too beautiful to allow to go un-photographed.

So braving the elements (it was pretty windy and chilly!) I climbed down to the lake shore to get the best possible view of the sunlit peaks and quickly photographed the scene before the cloud cover increased to the point that the sun was completely blotted out.

Only it wasn't as quick a job as I'd hoped as the contrast range between the sunlit snow and the shadowed foreground was way too great for my camera's sensor to record in one exposure.

I could either expose for the snow, in which case the shadow areas in the frame became just black splodges, or I could expose for the shadows in which case the sunlit snow and bright clouds were rendered as just featureless expanses of pure white.

Hurray for digital image processing!

What would have been an impossible photographic situation using film is now very doable using digital image capture and post-processing.

To overcome my exposure issues I ended up taking five seperate shots in rapid sucession, each frame one exposure stop apart and with my camera firmly anchored to my tripod to prevent movement between the shots.

These five images comfortably covered the entire tonal range of the scene, and when combined in Adobe Lightroom's 'Merge to HDR' function gave me a single image file with visible details from the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights.

It was then a simple matter of tweaking the constrast and colours in Photoshop to bring out the drama of the scene in this final composition.

However, I only just managed to take the original five images in time, as just after I'd finished a bank of much heavier cloud rolled in and covered over the sun for the rest of that day.

But I was loathe to pack up just yet, so I spent the next half an hour or so in the same spot, shooting hundreds more frames to make my Llyn Ogwen Time Lapse #4 video, showing the drama of the heavy clouds streaming over the scene I'd only just finished photographing.

I must say that the cup of hot coffee at the Ogwen Visitors' Centre just down the road was most welcome once I'd finished shooting!

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Image data

Filename - llyn ogwen 04.jpg

Camera - Canon 6D

Lens - 24-105mm zoom @ 40mm

Exposure - Various @ f11, ISO100

Filters - Polarising filter used to enhance colours.

Location - Llyn Ogwen, Snowdonia National Park, North Wales

This image - 800x533px JPEG

Conversion - Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CC

Comments - Multiple exposures use to create HDR rendition