Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed

I have suddenly found a passion for Street Photography and Black & White. It all comes from a talk I attended not so long ago at Cambrian Photography in Colwyn Bay. On Saturday last I took the opportunity to attend a photowalk in Liverpool organised by Matt Hart who is based in Liverpool. Great day out, I managed to meet and talk with a good few photographers, but best of all I learnt a lot and came away with  some photographs I really like.

But here we are in North Wales so I need to find something for this weeks Weekly Photo Challenge that I’ve taken in North Wales.

Shadowed

The National Slate Museum at Llanberis is one of may favourite places to do a bit of photography on a wet day. It’s nearly all inside and there are some great little places to photograph within the buildings. Lighting is not great but many of the workshops are flooded with natural light from the big windows. You can get some real dark and grungy photographs if that’s your thing. Previously I have done this photograph in colour, I love the shadows created by the narrow passageway and available light, but I thought I’d give it a go in Black and White.

No Smoking

I’ve added a colour version of more or less the same scene. Which do you prefer? Colour or Black and White? I’d love to get your opinion so please feel free to leave a comment.

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Abandoned Buildings In Plenty

Wales has an amazing industrial heritage and here in North Wales we have some great historical relics that you can visit. The National Slate Museum at Llanberis is one of my favourites but behind the museum is Dinorwic Quarry, which was the second largest slate quarry in the world when it was in operation. Much of the quarry is now fenced off but you can still walk around certain parts of the quarry following the Slate Trail.

Abandoned

You will get to see some of the old buildings and definitely get an impression of the sheer size of the quarry, but some of the best buildings are in the fenced off part. Strictly speaking you cannot enter this area but I’ve seen an awful lot of photographs from “behind the fence”

This weeks challenge is Fray and I think you’ll agree that this old building certainly looks frayed. But wait there’s more. I’ve been back to Parys Mountain on Anglesey. At this time of the year the heather is in full bloom and I was hoping to catch some of the fantastic colours of purple along with the yellows, oranges and reds.

Danger

Not quite as good as I thought it was going to be, maybe next week. Tell you what though. It might look sunny here but the wind was howling and cold as well. It was difficult to keep the camera and tripod steady to take this photograph.

Not far from Parys Mountain is Porth Wen, the old brickworks on the coast. Dave Sallery gives an excellent description and history of the brickworks which is well worth reading. Access to Porth Wen is prohibited due to it being Private Property but it can be viewed from the Coastal Path.

Porth Wen

Interestingly though you will see lots of photographs that were not taken from the coastal path. That’s on the hill above Porth Wen. You can see there’s lots of erosion on the cliffs so you have to be careful if you decide to visit Porth Wen by climbing over the metal gate you can see from the coastal path. Around that area there are lots of ferns and prickly gorse bushes. Anglesey Hidden Gems has some useful information about walking the coastal path taking in some of the historic sites on route.

Well that’s it for this week. I hope you will agree that all of the buildings look frayed and as usual I’d love to hear your views on this post. Should you wish to use any of the photographs, you’re welcome to do so as long as you respect my licensing conditions, which are basically, use a photograph, credit me with a link back to my blog. Full licensing conditions can be found on the menu at the top of the page.

Changing Weather

Well it looks like our friends at Automatic are not going to run a Weekly Photo Challenge this week. So instead I give you some photographs from a trip into the National Park yesterday. The plan was to go out and do some landscapes but if the weather wasn’t that great we had a backup in place. One thing I have learned is that just because the weather is great here on the coast it can be the exact opposite in the mountains. And true to form it was, bright sunny and quite warm here in Prestatyn, overcast, low cloud, cold wind in the mountains.

Llyn Padarn

Looking across Llyn Padarn, near Llanberis, Snowdon is completely shrouded in cloud. Time to put Plan B in action. Go inside. Where better than the National Slate Museum. Plenty to see and photograph and if it rains most of the workshops are inside so little chance of getting wet. Not that we weren’t prepared for a visit to the National Park with waterproofs, maps, hat and gloves. Sounds silly in summer, but trust me it isn’t.  Anyway, as I’ve said before, “it’s not worth putting yourself in harm’s way for a photograph”

At this time of the year the Slate Museum is always busy. Normally I would use my tripod because some of the buildings are quite dark but I wanted to try some new techniques for hand-held HDR photographs. It’s difficult to use a tripod when the museum is busy, so yesterday I left the tripod behind.

National Slate Museum

What do you think? Reasonable result?

After a couple of hours in the museum it was noticeable that the skies were brightening and there was the odd flash of sunlight poking through the clouds. Maybe time to move on and get some of those landscapes we set out to get that morning. Now, another thing I have learnt about the National Park is the weather can change in an instant and if you move from one range to another you can also get changeable conditions. Saying that we decided to head to the Ogwen valley and see what it was like.

Waterfall

We were lucky. There was a light wind clearing the clouds, blue sky was starting to break through. By now it was late afternoon so a short walk up to the waterfall of the Afon Idwal seemed a good idea. We could maybe have gone on to Cwm Idwal but we’d been out all day and although it’s only a short walk. we were both feeling a bit tired. Better to stay near the car-park and you can still get some good photographs.

This must be one of the most photographed waterfalls in Snowdonia due to it’s close proximity to the A5 and the Glyderau mountain range, popular with walkers and climbers all the year round. Not as strong and forceful as it can be in the winter but still worth spending some time photographing. That big rock in the foreground is normally covered in water, yesterday I was able to climb off the bridge onto the rocks and get this close-up.

By now Tryfan, the one to the left, was clear of cloud so a great photo opportunity, especially as the heather is just starting to bloom

Tryfan-and-Flowers

Well there you have it. No Photo Challenge this week, instead some recent photographs. I hope you enjoyed them. As always feel free to comment.

How The Other Half Lived

For the Weekly Challenge I thought I’d show you two photographs I took at the National Slate Museum, which is located at Llanberis in North Wales. Previously known as the Welsh Slate Museum, the 19th century workshops, which were once part of the disused Dinorwic Slate Quarry, make a fascinating day out.

In the museum you will find the Engineers House which has been furnished typical of the period around about 1911. The Engineer was responsible for all things engineering in the quarry and workshops, so it made sense to give him a house in the courtyard of the workshops. The status of the Engineer was far higher than the quarrymen or skilled crafts people who worked in the workshops, therefore his family enjoyed a greater standing of living, as evidenced by the furnishings and the red velvet curtains in the parlour.

The Engineers House

Contrast that, I knew I’d get that word in somewhere, with a typical quarrymans cottage which can be seen at the museum.

Miners Cottage

In the 1860’s the slate industry was the largest employer in Gwynned. As demand grew, workers moved from their low paid work in the fields to the dirty and dangerous slate industry for a better wage. By 1881 the population of Ffestiniog parish had grown to eleven and a half thousand, an increase of nearly ten thousand. Available housing struggled to cope and it was not uncommon to have two families living together in the cramped accommodation. Disease, especially typhoid and tuberculosis, were constant threats. Dampness, poor water supplies and sewerage added to the conditions. Can you imagine living like that?

In November 1900 two thousand, eight hundred quarrymen walked out of Penrhyn Quarry, the other side of the mountain from Dinorwic. The bitter dispute lasted for three years and is considered one of the worst in British Industrial History. However, in 1901 fifty five men went back to the quarry; they were to be branded “traitors” by the still striking quarrymen and their families.

In the window of this replica house from this period there is a printed card with the words ‘Nid oes Bradwr yn y t? hwn’ (‘There is no Traitor in this house’). Most of the cards remained in the window but when a card was removed it was a sign that another quarryman had gone back to work.