Tuesday, 24 March 2015
Closely Observed Blondins
I took another, closer look at the remaining aerial ropeway equipment in a certain North Wales quarry last weekend. I was fortunate to be accompanied by industrial photographer deluxe, Andy Marland, whose "Mechanical Landscapes" blog and web site has long been one of my favourite inspirations. It's great sharing somewhere special with another like-minded person - but it was also fascinating to see how we individually approached the photographs. Despite my having quartered the site very thoroughly before, Andy saw quite a few new angles (and new artifacts). His shots give a very good feel for the site and it's unique atmosphere, despite us having to leave before being able to cover all the goodies on offer.
It's such a significant site, in a stunning location - but it has to be said that the weather was against us. I know what you're thinking, but no, it wasn't rain that was the problem, rather the opposite- brilliant March sunshine. It was difficult not to lose mid-tones or blow whites and I found myself seeking the peace and decorum of the winding houses to take some suitably sober (and dark!) photos.
Many of the buildings face west and the one remaining Blondin pylon was not particularly well placed against the sun- the challenge was also to trade off the intense light against the gloom of the interiors and still retain detail. It was huge fun, although I took the fainthearted way out, going for a more intimate portrayal of the winders. For Andy's very fine record of the visit, take a look at his excellent "View from the North" site. His Pen-yr-Osedd set is here.
It just remains to thank Andy for his excellent company and for giving me the justification to visit this lovely place again.
I am afraid that I have to say access is not encouraged at the quarry, quite the opposite as it is a dangerous and sensitive site with blasting going on during the week. Permission should be sought -and at the very least, the site should be treated with a great deal of respect and care.