goHOWiE logo

Snowdonia #10

Snowdon and Snowdon Horseshoe ridge, with gnarled trees in the foreground. Snowdonia National Park, North Wales

Click on the image for licensing terms

The story behind this image

One of the many iconic views to be enjoyed in the Snowdonia National Park, North Wales, this is the famous Snowdon Horseshoe ridge walk, taking in the summit of Snowdon as seen from a convenient viewpoint on the A498.

It was a typical Snowdonia day in July 2017 when my wife Liz and I stopped here for a picnic and to enjoy the views under a rapidly changing weather pattern.

One minute we were in warm sunshine, the next minute we were in cool overcast and blustery conditions.

Not perfect picnic weather, but much better for a spot of photography than boring clear blue skies. (A rare event in this part of the world.)

So with shadow and sunlight chasing each other across the landscape I ventured forth just a few metres from the car park to where this wizened and gnarled hawthorne bush was taking its stand against the elements.

With the battered tree in the foreground and the mountain peaks outlined against the cloud wracked sky I framed up this composition and immediately hit a snag in that the contrast in brightness between the sky and shadowed landscape was way too great for my camera's sensor to accomodate.

Normally I'd slip a neutral density graduated filter over the lens in circumstances like this, in order to darken the sky to a point where I could take the photo without blowing out the highlights in the clouds or blocking up the shadows on the mountains.

But if I were to try this here, with an uneven horizon, then I would also darken the mountain peaks - not acceptable.

So I reverted to Plan B, and instead of fitting a filter I took five seperate exposures, each one stop apart, in order to capture the entire tonal range of the scene for a subsequent high dynamic range (HDR) blend in Adobe Lightroom.

In the early days of HDR blending you would get some truly horrible, artificial looking results.

But the software has moved on, and now HDR blends can look really natural.

The only problems occur when there are moving elements, like clouds, in the scene, so I was careful to take my five exposures as quickly as possible to minimise the ghosting effect that can sometimes mar an otherwise great image.

All in all, I was very pleased with how this HDR blend turned out, rendering the scene pretty much as how I originally saw it with my God designed eye/brain image processing system, by which HDR is carried out automatically without me having to think about it!

License this image

Image data

Filename - snowdonia 10.jpg

Camera - Canon 6D

Lens - 17-40mm zoom @ 17mm

Exposure - Various @ f11, ISO100

Filters - Polarising filter used to enhance colours.

Location - Snowdon, Snowdonia National Park, North Wales

This image - 800x533px JPEG

Conversion - Adobe Lightroom

Comments - Final image is an HDR blend of five seperate exposures.