Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Aerial images of Snowdonia winter 2017/18

I have now been flying my DJI Phantom 4 pro drone for just over a year now ,   really enjoying the different perspective you get from shooting above the landscape as opposed to normal .  I have been looking forward to shooting some snow covered mountains and eventually Snowdonia got what i had been waiting for.   so here are a selection of my favourite images from the winter.

         Starting off in Ogwen valley, looking at the Glyders and Y-Garn, 2 frame panorama

                                                           Llyn Ogwen panoramas


The maximum height we are legally allowed to fly in uk  is 400 ft above ground level ,  i have found between 80 and 250 ft produces the best combination of height and viewing angle to give the best compositions.      If  i want an image that appears to be shot from a much higher altitude i can shoot multiple frames and merge together to give that impression.  an example will be later in this blog.

I stopped off at Capel Curig on my way towards Snowdon and walked up to the viewpoint , it was quite breezy but i had no trouble with the phantom .

                                                 5 image panorama stitched in Ptgui

                                   Looking towards the Snowdon horseshoe in the distance.

Moving on to Llynnau Mymbyr and as i walked to the viewpoint i instantly knew i was going to get some superb images,  having seen topdown shots of snow covered trees in the past that was one of the images i wanted to get.

Firstly just after take off  , i took an image at low level similar composition i would shoot with my dslr ,   but i couldnt get to this shooting spot to use the normal camera on a tripod.

                                 Up over the lake, getting great reflections in the water.

Now across the lake to shoot above the snow covered trees.


                              Looking down the lake towards Snowdon in the background.

                             A vertical panorama , combined 6 frames in ptgui program for this one.

                 The sun was just starting to illuminate the tree tops as i shot this topdown image.

                                                   Looking back towards Capel Curig.

Now onto a couple of different days shooting  on Snowdon ,     walking along the Pyg track to get some height.

A multi frame topdown merge to appear to be shot from very high up  , this is Llyn Glasslyn with the small streams entering on the shore.

                        6 frame panorama merge looking over the lake Llyn Llydaw

                       A Six frame vertical panorama to finish looking at Snowdon over Llyn Glasslyn

                                           All images shot with dji phantom 4 pro + drone.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Cym Idwal in the Snow 19 March 2018

A morning visit to the Devils Kitchen and Cym Idwal in Snowdonias Ogwen Valley  , after having the flu for the last three weeks i need to get out !     The Ogwen web cam is still showing some snow left but appears to be melting fast compared to yesterday.
After a traffic free journey i have arrived at the Ogwen cottages at 10.05 am and park up , a quick walk over the main road and over the gate to check out the stream and the view towards Tryfan, But the rocks are covered in glass ice, so there is no way i can get along to the spot i would need to get the composition required. So a quick shot across the bridge towards the snow covered mountains.

Time to head up to Cym Idwal now , first stop is the famous Ogwen bridge, the new wood has blended into the surroundings now after being re built a couple of years ago.

                                                                    5dsr , 17-40 L
                                 3.2 seconds at f14    Lee little stopper and 0.6 soft nd grad

And now i must shoot the Ogwen Falls from the bridge ,  a classic view that everyone shoots but it has to be done, AGAIN!
The rocks are still covered in ice , which adds interest and we have a bit of blue sky appearing .
Setting up my tripod on the wooden bridge and using a infrared shutter release i take a series of frames , each with a different shutter speed to give different movement in the water which i can then pick the best to show the best water movement later on the pc .  I have to take the frames in between people walking over the bridge as i don't want any vibrations ruining the sharpness of the long exposures!

                                                       3.2 seconds, f14   and a bit of sun

Now i am going to walk up the path just over the bridge to the right following the stream up towards Cym Idwal,   the snow is in drifts up to about 8 inch or so so its not too bad, and the water is frozen under it so no worries about going into a bog.

This is the only shot i took on the way up the stream that i like , so now up to the lake quickly as the sun is coming out now .

Cym Idwal with the Devils Kitchen and the Glyders behind , with  Y-Garn to the right just out of view.   The sun is periodically lighting up the snow on the far side , i just need to catch part of in a frame.   a short 2.5 second exposure for this image , to blur the water slightly and catch some of the sun illuminating the snow in the background.

Time to get up high for a view towards Pen-yr-ole-wen across the lake now, the paths are covered in ice so time to put micro studs on my shoes so i can walk safely up the icy rocks.   Walking around the lakes shore , there is still a bit of ice on the edge along with snow on the beach.   The path goes around the lake then upwards to below the Devils Kitchen , you can go right around the lake or take the path up high around the Amphitheatre, but i think that will be difficult in the icy conditions with all my camera gear. I just need to get up high enough for the view across to the mountain opposite.
After 35 minutes walking i have arrived at my chosen location , i cant actually get any higher as the rocks are completely covered in ice and i don't want to risk slipping with my equipment!     but i have managed to get the height i require for this image.
     Setting up the tripod i have put the Lee Big stopper on along with a 0.6 soft nd grad , i want a longish exposure to get some movement showing in the fast moving clouds.   The light is constantly changing with areas of dark shadow and bright sunlit snow, very tricky to get the exposure correct with a long exposure as the bright snow areas are over exposing in different areas of the image frame.

                                    This is my favourite image , 20 seconds at f14.
 Nice cloud movement showing above Pen-yr-ole-wen  but i have a couple with more shadow areas that look almost as good .

Time to go back down the steep path and find the way through to the back of the lake where i know a stream enters and will make a great lead in for an image.
Eventually i am at lake level and have found the stream inlet , its quite warm in the sun now and the snow is melting fast giving the stream quite a fast flow, i am standing in the stream to get this next image and will shoot multiple exposures to get a good balance of the shadows and highlights and merge together in photoshop later.

                         I'm not entirely happy with this one , might have to re do it sometime.  

 I have just found a great lead-in ,   in the form of a small feeder streamlet a little further around the lake which really makes the image with Pen-yr-ole-wen in the background.     a long 47 second exposure has produced good cloud movement here , along with the lead in makes a great image.

Time to head back to the car now, i was planning to go up to another set of waterfalls further up the valley but i am feeling quite tired so will just head back home i think, the flu has taken all my energy!

Stopping off at the bridge i have decided to get another image, now the light has changed i think the ice on the rocks will stand out more and the blue sky is deeper in colour now which should look better in the final image in comparison with the first one i shot earlier this morning.

                  3.2 second exposure again , seems to be the best to show water movement today.

                  The end of a short morning in the magnificent Snowdonia mountains .........