Friday, October 21, 2011

Wales, Day 2, Llanberis

On the second day, we went to Llanberis, where you can see the National Slate Museum right outside of town and you can take a train up Snowdon or walk, if you have planned well or had lots of time. We didn't. There were no train tickets because they'd all been sold out; and we didn't think ahead to buy them before. Nor did we have the time we would have needed to climb up.

But we did get to see the National Slate Museum, which was well worth the visit because it's fascinating. The Museum is in an old slate processing plant, right near the actual slate mines, and the sad thing is that even though the plant and mines have been closed for a fairly long time now, they've still left massive scars on the landscape. (If you look closely at this picture, you can see someone climbing the side of the scar. Given how slate seems to fracture, that seems dangerous, but I'm guessing these folks know better than I!)

There's also a famous castle ruins nearby, Dolbadarn Castle, which is supposed to be typical of a Welsh castle before the English invasion in that it's quite small (especially compared to, say, Caernarfon Castle!), round, and on a hill. It looks like there are ruins around it from smaller stone buildings.

All in all, we had a gorgeous day, as you can see from my pictures with the almost unreal blue sky.

(Yes, we did visit Caernarfon Castle during this day, too, and it was HUGE, and amazing, and ingenious with arrow shooting slits that LOOK from the outside like ten slits, but in reality provide space for 3 archers each, each shooting from a different angle.)

And on the last day, day 3, we went by Swallow Falls, and we all took the exact same pictures of the falls that everyone else has taken since the gate and path were put in and photography invented. That didn't make it any less beautiful, though.

While I was sitting on this little wall, waiting for the sheep in the first picture to get a little closer (they didn't) or move somewhere interesting (they did, I think), I talked with another woman about my age, also with a camera and an interest in photography about the difficulty of going to the same beautiful spot that other people have gone to for years and trying to take a picture that feels special or unique in some way. She'd set herself a task for the day of trying to take a picture that would capture the feeling of the autumn in Wales that day, which seemed a difficult thing because it was so green and beautiful that it didn't feel at all like autumn to me.

It did get me thinking about trying to take a picture that would be at least a little original or interesting. And one view that I tried to capture was this lone tree seemingly surviving through the slate mining to today. Or maybe it's grown since? Unfortunately, I didn't do a good job of getting the tree to really stand out, but I didn't take my telephoto lens, so I was more limited.

Then I tried to take this one lone tree near the sheep, sort of changing color by itself. But I think I like the other sheep and background picture up on top more, even though it's a pretty stereotypical shot and the sheep aren't quite as big as I wish they were. (I didn't want to actually go more than a few steps into the field because I don't want to bother them.) It would be nice to have a longer time places so that I could wait for different light and try things out again, but that's not happening this time around.

Still and all, Wales was beyond my expectations, and my expectations were pretty darned high!


  1. Awesome pictures. Looks like you had fun.

  2. Such lovely pictures -- beautiful places, too. I'm glad you had good weather -- it does make a difference!

  3. Anonymous8:55 PM

    Oh, I'm so glad you went here! It's a shame you didn't get up the mountain but at least you go to see it on a glorious day.