Snowdonia: one of the UK’s hidden gems and an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. Each time we go, I’m dumbfounded. And yet, in all that time, it never occurred to me until last year that I wanted to shoot there. It’s a national park at the top of Wales and it’s full of New Zealand-like splendour: moss, mountains, waterfalls, craggy vistas and sweeping valleys. There are castles and fortress ruins and raging rivers, as well as rocky coastline and the sea. Iceland and the Scottish Highlands have been getting all sorts of attention for the past 2 years – it feels like EVERYONE has visited “that plane” or “that waterfall” – but this little pocket of Wales feels like it’s just for me.
You see, I’ve been going to Llanberis, a tiny little village right on the edge of the national park and just at the base of Snowdon (Wales’ highest peak), since 2005, when I moved to the UK to be with Rich (who is now my husband). It’s an area that feels like home, even though it’s never been. Driving through the narrow mountain pass makes my heart race and my imagination wander (and my stomach lurch, sometimes…) because the look of the landscape changes every time we go. It’s gray and windswept and misty, with an aura of mystery in winter. Spring brings exceptional waterfall action as the mountaintops drain off their winter snow, often in the least-expected roadside locations. In summer, it’s verdant and lush, full of varying shades of green, alive with sheep, and dotted with heather. I joke about Wales because I often get terrible weather, but since I’ve started going back for photos, I’ve been blessed with perfection.
Gav and Jess (who happen to have had an epic North Wales wedding a couple of years ago) headed out with me on a perfectly crisp afternoon over our Christmas holidays and we hit a few special spots that reminded me of just how much I love this landscape. Just down the road from Rich’s parents’ place, there’s a trail that leads to one of my favourite tucked-away locations. As you round the corner, you cross under a viaduct (a stone bridge made up of several small spans designed to cross a valley or gorge) and can follow a river up to the pool at the base of the Lllanberis waterfall. As someone from an area that doesn’t get the same kind of precipitation as Snowdonia, the aging of the stone and the presence of moss on every available surface in that area makes me feel like I’ve stepped back 200 years, just by rounding that one corner. I knew that the viaduct had to be one of our stops as soon as I started planning the session. A quick run down the road led us to golden, open grassy fields with mountains in the background. As we headed back to the village, a roadside stop (note: if you go, ALWAYS use the pull-in points – the roads are hazardous at the best of times and don’t need cars stopping at will anywhere along the way) for a little scramble over the stone walls led us to creeks and other adventures.
Looking for adventure? Want to plan an unforgettable portrait session or elopement? Let’s go. Tell me your dates and let’s get this rolling.
Here’s a few shots from a memorable Snowdonia portrait session with Gav and Jess:
I’m Ang – a Cornwall, Ontario-based photographer with a passion for capturing light and photographing the natural chemistry between couples. I love working in a natural environment and challenging myself to capture the scene in creative ways. Whether you’re looking for a rural Ontario engagement session, a Snowdonia portrait session like these two or something more urban, please explore more of www.momentusstudio.com to see more examples of my work.