Fairy Glen


A few months back I managed to find myself with a couple of free days towards the end of June. So I decided to put the camera in the car and head off to North Wales to tick a few boxes off my "hit list".

I found a cheap hotel room just outside the town of Bangor and set about some planning. Whenever I plan a shoot at a new location the first place I visit is an app called The Photographer's Ephemeris. This is a handy little app as it allows you to visualise the direction of light at various times of the day. Very handy when researching a location.


The Fairy Glen is one of those locations that if you don't know it's there you can easily miss it. The only clue you have is a small wooden sign post that directs you along a small dirt road to a car park. The actual location is on privately owned land and there is a small honesty box on the gate with a £1.50 charge. To get to the gorge you have to walk along a narrow path and down some steep stone steps. It's certainly not somewhere to visit if you are unsteady on your feet or suffer with poor mobility!

I planned to arrive about an hour before the light fell in the direction I wanted. This would allow me plenty of time to figure out a composition and set up my camera and tripod. I wasn't the only photographer there but luckily for me the other chap didn't stay long which meant I then had the place to myself.


The problem I found with this location was the moss covered rocks, that were so slippery they turned the whole place into an ice rink. Wherever I placed my foot I found myself slipping and trying to keep my ballance. Finding a composition was going to be tricky as I could see where I needed to be, but getting there was to be a different story. Gingerly I made my way out onto a group of rocks and set my tripod up.

The next problem I was faced with was that all the "action" appeared too far away and was getting lost with a wide angle lens. This was to be an intimate landscape shot so out came the Tamron 70-200mm zoomed in to a focal length of 105mm. The light was just starting to come right and I was amazed at how much light flooded the gorge. One moment it was dark and dingy, the next it was filled with the most beautiful golden light that seemed to bounce off the different colours and textures. I found myself having to use a Lee Pro Glass ND0.6 filter and a smaller aperture than I'm used to using to get the shutter speed I wanted. With the shot in the bag and the light quickly fading I made my way back over the slippery, moss covered rocks, back up the steep stone steps and along the winding dirt path back to the car. Job done.