I originally set up this blog as a show case for my landscape photography, but as you are well aware the goalposts have moved considerably since that time, indeed, they are now in a different field altogether most times. There’s no doubt my nostalgic ramblings and historical notes are popular, but today I’m going to revert to the photography theme for a change.
Last week, on a photography forum on Facebook, a photograph appeared of some waterfalls in the Neath valley area of which I was unaware. Now those of you that know me personally will know I have visited many of the dozens of falls in this area capturing them on my memory card, so unknown ones did stir my curiosity a little. They are up a steep-sided valley know as Cwm Gwrelych and the path to the falls commences at the hamlet of Pont Walby just a little north east of Glyn Neath.
A little internet research soon discovered there was a heritage trail up this valley, the path of which commenced under Pont Walby viaduct, no clue as to where to park the car though? A search found what looked like a safe place to park so advised my fellow photographer David Smith we should park there; well, it was safe, but on the wrong side of the valley and to get across meant a climb up onto the viaduct and then a scramble down a steep path the other side. Ah well, we learn by mistakes I suppose, it did add about ten minutes to the walk and did give us some good views from the viaduct which otherwise we wouldn’t have experienced.
From looking at the map it seemed but a short distance to reach the waterfalls and we set off up the path under the viaduct, and then the rain started, heavy rain. After sheltering under dripping trees we proceeded when the rain had eased considerably. There were many choices of paths on this heritage trail but we chose to stick to the one closest to the river as waterfalls were our objective. After about forty minutes we came to a deep ravine which contained a small waterfall, not hugely spectacular by any means but I decided I was going to have a go at it so scrambled down the 45º (or maybe steeper) incline and cautiously put my foot in the water to see how slippery it was; I’ve been caught out by slippery bottoms before now! After ascertaining it was safe I set up the camera mid stream just a few centimetres above the water and took this:
After climbing out of the water I was a bit shocked to discover how steep the incline was that I’d just come down and struggled a little to regain a foothold to haul myself back up. Back then, onto the trail which would lead us to the main waterfalls which after another twenty or so minutes we reached without drama. It was raining though and there wasn’t much chance of getting any photos in those conditions. By now the rain had soaked through my coat and my hoodie underneath was wringing wet, the rain running off my coat soaked into my cargo shorts and subsequently dripped into my Hunters, in all it was rather miserable up there. Eventually though it did stop and Dave went upstream to capture the smaller falls and I stayed by the main falls, we wouldn’t be in each other’s way doing that and we could swap positions when we had finished. Here then is my photograph of the first falls, where the Nant Llyn Fach cascades into the Nant Gwrelych, not very easy to capture and I took a number of shots, none with which I was totally satisfied.
After thirty minutes or so Dave and I swopped positions and I waded upstream to set up the shots of the smaller of the falls. The photos I took here are much more satisfactory and I spent some while getting my knees wet kneeling on the rocks in the middle of the water whilst trying not to get a wellie-full of river. Here then are a couple of photographs taken at this fall.
Finally a little bit of artistic license, the wind was blowing hard and you will have noticed movement in the trees in some of my photographs. In this one I have created an Orton-style effect with an out-of-focus layer faded to 50% and the foreground rock brought to prominence. Not sure it quite works but it’s an interesting and different pic to end this blog entry.