TwitterTogFest2018 with Olympus
This year a few of us wanted to revisit North Wales again after last year’s wash out of a gathering. The hope was going slightly later in the year might bring snow or some calmer weather, neither of which happened during our return visit which was very disappointing instead we had nothing but rain and gales. It all sounds doom and gloom so far and one might question why we would bother staying up here with such poor weather forecasted. Simply put, slate and orange trees.
On our visit to Snowdonia in 2017 in mid-October a lot of the trees had lost their colour already as the storms came in a lot sooner. This year with the heatwave and calmer weather the storms had yet to blow through until we arrived of course.
With Autumn in full swing and plenty of slate quarries to visit this forecast was actually the perfect combination to create some atmospheric and moody landscapes for a change with plenty of Autumnal tones to contrast against the wet slate.
Six of the seven days we just had heavy rain, and this made shooting or doing anything outside difficult. I don’t think a camera ever came out of the rain cover unless we were inside and as for lens clothes we couldn’t have enough as we continuously had to wipe the front of lens or filters every second. Everything had to be meticulously timed in order to avoid rain spots and ruining our photos.
For many of us this was the first proper outing with our new cameras and the real test of how well they are made with the weather sealing unlike the previous year which saw broken lens, cameras locking up and tripods failing. Thankfully this year no one saw any causalities and having come from using a big Nikon DSLR which is built like a tank and weighs as much as one. I was thrilled with the results coming from my new OM-D EM-5 mkII and quickly saw the benefits of this lighter system.
Many of the photos from across the week were using the OM-D High Res shot mode and stacking multiple files together so the ending results left me with DNG files near half a gigabyte! I was shocked with the file sizes and was hoping to reduce my space used. Turns out I will be buying more storage.
Now only one of the days during our week was dry, which was a great respite needed to break up the wet week but the clear blue skies and lack of rain and wind for many of us was more difficult to photograph in. The earthy tones of Snowdonia didn’t match with this weather. It was as if someone had badly Photoshopped a sky in to the scene.
So, when the days are like this it’s a case of hiding in the woodland and shoot smaller scenes or head to lakes where they became flat mirrors reflecting the mountains above.
However, there is only so many lakes and woodlands you can shoot in before you begin wishing for some cloud to come in so you can venture back out on to the mountains and slate quarries.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long and the following morning we had rain, mist and plenty of atmosphere back in the mountains so out we all ventured once again with the waterproofs. It might be difficult to shoot in these conditions but when you get that shot nailed it’s a whole lot more satisfying.
With the rain it really slowed us all down to a few photos per location as we would need to really work and get as many shots in during the breaks in the rain. This year’s visit to the National Park was a success and a lot better from the previous year. More locations, photos and plenty more beer and laughs over the week. We are all looking forward to our next big TwitterTogFest next year in a new location.