Snowdonia Part 2 / by Neil Alexander

I've finally managed to find a little time to wade through some of the landscape photographs I made during my little jaunt to Snowdonia a few weeks back (see part 1 here), and I thought I'd share a few more.

View down the valley to Ffestiniog with Trawsfynydd power station in the distance

You'll see from the photographs above and below that the weather was what could best be described as "inclement". But from a landscape photography point of view, it was great. The skies were really dark and moody. These were made a little later in the day, after my amazing sunrise over Llyn Celyn. By this time, the rain had begun to sweep in, but rather than turn blanket grey (landscape photographer's worst nightmare), there was plenty going on up in the sky. Taking full advantage here, I used a graduated neutral density filter to get the most definition out of the cloud I could.

Trawsfynydd disused Magnox nuclear power station

The processing of the top image was quite straight forward. The same cannot be said for this image of the disused nuclear power station at Trawsfyndd. It was quite breezy by this stage, but I wanted the lake in the foreground to be smooth and calm, so as not to detract from the two imposing towers. This required the use of my B+W Big Stopper giving me a 15 second exposure - plenty long enough to smooth out the waves. However, still to this day, I seem unable to shoot a long exposure without incurring a plethora of dust spots. To aid me in dust spotting, I created a custom tone-curve in Lightroom (I think it was a Scott Kelby tip originally) which highlights the mess I had to deal with.

Custom Lightroom Tone Curve for Dust Spotting

Custom Lightroom Tone Curve for Dust Spotting

Shot with Custom Tone Curve applied

Shot with Custom Tone Curve applied

And this is how a detailed section of the sky looks - messy right?

Dust spot detail

Dust spot detail

Fortunately, the dust spotting in Lightroom 4 seems much more accurate than the previous version which vastly reduces the time required to fix this mess. It took a few minutes to set up this custom tone curve in the first place, but I now use it all the time and it's saved me hours, literally.

And one final photograph to share. Cropped to a square purely because there was a rather unsightly telegraph pole just to the edge of frame right, the stream at the bottom was full of debris from a recent flood and to the left there was a particularly straggly looking tree that I felt just didn't sit right in the frame. Ideally, I'd have liked a little more space around the farmhouse, but I like it nonetheless.

Farmhouse at Llanelltyd, Gwynedd, Wales