Managed to find time between work to go to this but managed to miss just about everything I had really wanted to see! Never mind, got some good practice in with the 70-210 and even the 17-50 got a good workout. In fact for a change it was the 11-16 that was lagging behind in usage! Saturday was spent entirely in and around Boston Lodge, and Monday was a walk from Boston Lodge all the way to Dduallt. The weather was fine clear skies on Monday, not ideal at all, much better on Saturday with dappled cloud and the odd really dark brooding sky mixing things up and keeping the light interesting!
An interesting gala this one, a tribute to the late Alan Pegler and the early preservation era. Unfortunately I couldn’t get time off work to indulge in the whole event but I spent enough time there when I could!
There was a huge amount to see: Classic train formations, Gravity trains, demonstration freight, recreation of the chain shunt and Boston Lodge works was open on the Saturday for a look around.
All very enjoyable, though I busted an ankle at Cei Mawr on the Sunday, that made for a fun night of work – still it means no excuses today (Monday) for not getting the pics processed!
So lets see what we have! In my usual style we have some wide shots of the whole landscape with a train, some more signs and notices and a whole lot of details from Boston Lodge. Oh yes there are a few trains too! I have also taken some lomo shots on an old film compact, the results of that will be worth seeing when I get round to finishing the roll!
What with other commitments (Like Rallying!) taking up my time I didn’t get to spend the full weekend at Quarrypower, but I did manage to get to the cavalcade of locomotives travelling down the Welsh Highland, particularly the showcase at Cwm Cloch above Beddgelert. There was a pretty good turnout considering the rather dull weather, High ISO was the norm for the day though there were occasional bright spells and even the odd hint of blue in the sky!
The Fuji S3 is perfect for days like this – as one photographer on the day put it it appears to have a ‘Sunshine Button’! You’ll notice that I’ve been shifting a lot towards people pictures, something I don’t normally do. You’ll also notice that I’m not that good at them, constantly missing focus! I will get there though!
I’ve also gone for a lot of detail shots, trying to maximise use of my Nikkor 35mm f1.8,as it tends to go unused on most shoots. I still think it’s a poor standard lens, but it’s certainly capable of some good results.
The torch relay has stirred up a lot of polarised opinions locally, this is after all Gwynedd, where everything from across the border is perceived as evil and even more so if it’s London based! Despite that it is something that isn’t going to happen here again in our lifetime so for that reason I think a lot of people who don’t necessarily support the Olympics turned out for the parade. It was also a beautiful sunny day which probably helped! 🙂
My day started off in Blaenau Ffestiniog, no sign of the usual rain here, I even got sunburnt! (Aside: I got sunburnt in Blaenau last year too!) I’ve never seen Blaenau look so good! I didn’t get as much time as I’d have liked in Blaenau, my own fault I was running late so it was straight off to the FR station to see the torch pass onto the railway.
Hugh Napier was in steam as an advert for the National Trust. Alongside was the official torch bearing train headed by David Lloyd George.
Elin Owen from Llanrug took the torch onto the footplate for official press shots. These were perhaps a little ill conceived – the overhead lunchtime sun casting awkward shadows across her face. Perhaps the official train should have been across the platform in the space ocupied by Hugh Napier? No matter, I was able to pull off a couple of shots thanks to the Fuji’s excellent dynamic range, however the best photo went to Rory Trappe, who caught the moment perfectly!
Anyway, En route back to Pwllheli I stopped off at Gysgfato catch the train en route, not my finest photo but no one else was bothering…
And then it was off to Pwllheli, to enjoy a little more of the spectacle in the glorious afternoon sunshine. The whole Llyn peninsula must have been packed into Pwllheli, the place was heaving. Far busier than I ever thought possible!
Everyone enjoyed themselves I think, and I’m glad I went!
A study of Merddin Emrys in monochrome on a sunny day at Penrhyn…
…vs a wet, gloomy day at Tanygrisiau, again with Merddin Emrys.
I love the Festiniog, it’s a very characterful line with plenty of opportunity to get close up. Expect to see more of it in the coming weeks as I fully test out what my new Fuji S3 can do!
Well not on it exactly, but around it! Starting off at Gysgfa, waiting for the 11.35 from Port, and here it is, arriving just in time to be met by a burst of morning sun. Not bad eh?
Then cue showers. Annoying showers of a few drops from nowhere, or a full on 10 second blast of torrential downpour, followed by disaster – batteries! They always die as a train approaches! Fortunately they held out long enough for this shot of Merddin Emrys passing on a down train, at the far end of Gysgfa.
Then the big decision, hang around for 2 hours for the next trains here, or head off? Well the warm and damp conditions decided that, Mozzies everywhere! So off for a walk up the Vale of Ffestiniog to Dduallt instead. This started well, after a longer shower and I got a little curious and headed fr the top of the Garnedd tunnel. Not an easy place to get to at all and I don’t recommend you try, but It’s a grand view from the top! Unfortunately it now rained non stop for an hour. Great. Still…
The rain cleared completely after Merddin Emrys’ train had made it not a hundred yards past the other side of the tunnel! Most annoying but I’m still very happy with the results achieved in the rain. It really is more of a location for morning trains anyway.
So I carried on up to Dduallt, noting several possible viewpoints along the way. By now the weather was glorious sun, good, I can finally dry out!
The plan had been that there would be shelter at Dduallt if it started raining again, but since it had now become so clear overhead I decided to head back to the Garnedd tunnel and catch Lyd on the up run, since on the down run it completely obscured itself in smoke and steam!
And that was that! The light had now become so harsh I decided not to bother waiting for the return train, and headed off home.