Popular shots! Llanberis – Lone Tree, Penmon & Cwm Idwal

If you’re a keen photographer, such as I, you can do worse when considering landscapes to pick up the Photo-Location Guidebook series for the area you are going.

The books are quite superb with loads of information about well researched locations, best time of year to visit, local knowledge, postcodes for satellite navigation etc. A lot of people think that great landscape photography is simply a matter of turning up and photography the vista, but it takes planning and an awful lot of luck.

Which brings me to the subject of today’s post, part review and part “here’s my shot,” let’s start with the location, Snowdonia. Yes I know, “can’t this git go anywhere else?” Well there’s a reason, I grew up in North Wales, spent a lot of time in Snowdonia and I absolutely love the place, so my usual photography partner in crime Dean and I set-off for North Wales with out Photo-Location Guidebook, the book is written by Simon Kitchin, an absolutely fabulous photographer who lives and works in Snowdonia. You see, I may be from North Wales and know Snowdonia, but I don’t know it like Simon.

We decided to head for Bangor, an area I’m particularly familiar with, with the intention of catching the sunset over the Menai Strait, sadly, and once again, a tardy departure put pay to our plans and we didn’t arrive in Bangor until gone 11pm.

All was not lost, snooze, up and a quick McDonald’s breakfast and off to Llanberis we went.

Llyn Padarn is the name of the lake in Llanberis, but many people refer to the photo location as ‘Lone Tree,’ and the name absolutely makes sense when you see it.

As the name suggests, it’s a tree, on a tiny bit of land sat about 10ft from the edge of the waterline. The water is shallow so the angles and position you can photograph down Llyn Padarn are numerous.

We got there around 6.20am and was greeted by another photographer patiently waiting for the sun to break the mountains between Glyderau and Snowdon.

By 7:05 it was clear the cloud was not going to break, but we got some lovely sky colours from the sun behind and the lake, as Simon says, is like glass on a still day, it really is the most beautiful scene.

Lone Tree 01
Lone Tree, Llyn Padarn, Llanberis

After we’d taken all the shots and realised the sun was not going to break the cloud and mist, we headed off to Cwm Idwal, near to the Ogwen Valley, a beautiful glacial lake which is extremely easy to get to, even for the most green hiker.

The wind was low, the cloud still an issue, so the lake was glassy, but the sun didn’t manage to break, in fact it got worse as the morning wore on.

We met another photographer at Cwm Idwal, who’s name escapes me now, but a very friendly chap – who’d just become an ambassador for a new range of landscape filters, if he ever reads this post I’m more than happy to add his name to this blog post! This is a very popular area for photography!

Cwm Idwal
Cwm Idwal, Ogwen Valley, Snowdonia

After the cloud stubbornly refused to lift we decided to head back to the coast where the weather shifts a little more quickly and has a better chance of being clear.

Penmon Lighthouse is situated off the north east coast of Anglesey (Ynys Mon), it’s on private land, but the landowners have capitalized on their position and charge a very reasonable few pounds to park nearby.

There’s a coffee shop and good access to view of Penmon.

Penmon Lighthouse
Penmon Lighthouse

So to finish, we didn’t get the glorious sunrise we were looking for on our trip, but we made the best of the locations we went to and were well informed by Simon Kitchin’s book, which I heartily recommend. If you’re new to a location or an old hand, with these types of books you may find yourself surprised at hidden gems not far away, a prime example for me would be Dolbadarn Castle – which I’d never even heard of before! One for another trip to glorious Snowdonia.

Thanks for reading comments, as always, very welcome.


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