Sgwd-yr-Eira, Wales by Stephen Bell

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Picture Story

On my first visit to the Brecon Beacons in South Wales I visited the Waterfalls Centre. Here I found postcards of several great waterfalls in the area and this stunning one which translates to 'A Fall of Snow' from the Welsh "Sgwd-yr-Eira". In heavy rain the waterfalls combine, and in high summer it becomes a series of trickles. It is down a deep gorge that proved a significant stretch of the legs... whilst all the time thinking of the return, uphill leg! However, when I got there and discovered that the falls were running at their aesthetic peak all was forgiven. A magic moment - all alone with this holy trinity of falls. Nothing but the hum of insects and the bird calls to accompany the falling water. Usually I follow my old photography teacher's instruction to take a shot straight away but there was a timelessness to the moment. So much beauty to enjoy, to revel in. I soaked up the moment before setting to sorting the tripod and the camera.

The best view involved wading into the shallow water where there was a plateau on which some tree debris had lodged. My trainers quickly filled but I was focussed on taking extreme care of myself and my camera! The DX lens would allow an f/29 and at 100iso that would provide me with a six second exposure. As I had no ND filters at this point in my photographic journey, that would have to do. I took a variety of shots but this is my favourite.

Afterwards, I sat on a rock at the side of the river and again took some time to soak up the atmosphere of this gorge and the waterfall. The light was fading as clouds rolled in. For fear of being caught in a shower as I laboured up the hillside to escape the gorge I had a light step. There is a certain buzz when one instinctely knows there is a good shot or two in the camera. I couldn't wait to get it out!


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