Llanberis in the rain … rescued by a museum.

I had returned to North Wales for four days in the beginning of January, in the hope that the photography gods would bestow some snow on the mountain tops, perhaps some ice in the streams, and just the right kind of fluffy clouds, but with the roads clear so I could travel around easily. Instead, I got mostly rain and strong winds. Well, at least the roads are clear.

On the second day I headed to Llanberis Pass in the hope of getting a view of Llyn Lydaw with the Snowdon range in the background, or perhaps taking some shots of a fast-flowing mountain stream. When I arrived at the Pen-y-Pass car park, it was already full despite terrible weather, so I went back down Llanberis Pass and stopped at the first layby, about a mile down the valley.

I ventured a look over the layby wall and there was indeed an attractive stretch of river. On the previous day at Llanddwyn Island, I had tried to use the Intrepid 4×5 in conditions that were dry, but with very strong winds. In the middle of a 3-second exposure, I realised that the camera was being buffeted by the winds and there was little chance of a shake-free exposure. The shape and weight of the Mamiya RZ67 make it less of a problem in the wind, so the RZ67 came into play today.

After 20 minutes, I’d finished the few frames left of Ilford FP4+ in the camera, when the rain become stronger again and I retreated to the car, read a book, and had a nap, whilst waiting for the weather to improve. It never did so I moved to the town of Llanberis. On my previous visit four months ago, I had seen the National Slate Museum in Llanberis, but didn’t have the time or motivation to go in. This time, the weather left me little option, but I’m glad I did as it turned out to be well worthwhile photographically.

Admission was free. At first I went round with just my Holga as I wasn’t sure yet if it would be worthwhile to take in the RZ67 and a tripod. Here are the best of the Holga images (all on Ilford HP5+ film):

I saw a few other photographers using tripods, and there was obviously some promising subject matter, so I went back to the car and returned to the museum with the RZ67 and a tripod. (I could have tackled a broader range of indoor subjects with the Holga, if it had a cable release. It has a tripod bush, and a Bulb mode, but no socket for a cable release. I have seen some accessories that allow you to use a cable release but they seem to be unavailable at present). I loaded a new roll of Ilford HP5+.

Having visited the adjacent Dinorwic slate quarry on my previous visit, it was interesting to see some of the equipment and methods used.

It was still raining when I came out, but I was pleased that I had been able to make the most of the day and, hopefully, got some decent images. All of the images here were semi-stand developed in Kodak HC110 developer, diluted 1:160, for 50 minutes.

3 comments

  1. There’s a clothes-peg mod that can be used as a makeshift shutter release for the Helga. It’ll still cause camera shake, but you could probably counteract this by using the lens cap or a dark cloth during the start / end of the exposure. I’ve not tried it myself, but it looks straightforward.

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