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Shutter Life | Photography In Snowdonia With Eilir Davies-Hughes

Welsh photographer Eilier Davies-Hughes talks us through his favourite shots, and shines a light on the stories behind them

Being outdoors is a big passion of mine and photography goes hand in hand with that. From the rugged coast to the rolling hills and epic mountains, I have it all on my doorstep and can often be found in the water or up a mountain.

Growing up on the Llyn Peninsula, I spent most of my time in the water. Whether it’s a cold winter morning or a warm summer evening, there’s nothing quite like it.

As an avid surfer and keen mountaineer, I spend most of my free time walking and climbing in the hills and valleys of Snowdonia; searching for waves along our breathtaking coastline.

Sunset on Castell Y Gwynt

Credit: Eilir Adventure Photography

“Without a doubt my favorite mountain in Snowdonia is Glyder Fach and one of its more prominent features is Castell Y Gwynt, a towering mass of broken spires of rock. I have thousands of photos of it in all conditions but this one is still a firm favorite. It had been a crystal clear day and a warm walk up in the sun. As we sat near the summit cloud started to fill in from the coast and up the valley below. Before too long most of the surrounding peaks were engulfed in thick clag but we managed to somehow stay just above it. As the sun set the cloud around us turned a bright orange. The light was just incredible.”

Crib Goch Under The Stars

Credit: Eilir Adventure Photography

“Crib Goch is one of Wales’ busiest mountains so if you want it all to yourself it requires some careful planning. There was a small window of good weather, light winds, hardly any cloud and fresh snow so I met up with a friend for a night-time traverse of the ridge. Perfect conditions and not a soul in sight!”

Nantlle Ridge and Yr Eifl from Yr Wyddfa

“One of the finest views in Snowdonia on a hazy evening is looking southwest from the top of Yr Wyddfa. This was one of those warm spring evenings that have you sweating on the way up but as soon as you stop moving and the sun starts to go down the temperature plummets.

“After setting up camp just off the Watkin path I headed up to the summit for dinner and to watch the sunset. Usually, I try and keep things light and only bring one lense when camping but I’m glad I had my telephoto with me for this one!”

The Milky Way From Bwlch Y Saethau

Credit: Eilir Adventure Photography

“This is an image I had been trying to capture for a long time before conditions finally came together in early April. Previous attempts had ended with cloud filling in or too much wind for there to be a good reflection, so needless to say I was stoked when I popped my head out of my tent in the early hours of the morning and saw crystal clear skies. I spent the next few hours running around filling up my SD card with shots of the Milky Way.”

Ogwen Valley Temperature Inversion

Credit: Eilir Adventure Photography

“This image reminds me of why I spend so much time out in my tent. We had dug ourselves into the snow for shelter from the wind and went to sleep with zero visibility and not much hope of a sunrise. I was awoken by excited squealing coming from my mate Gareth who was camped next to me. Wondering what all the fuss was about I stuck my head out the tent and was greeted by an epic view of the Ogwen Valley filled with cloud.”

Crib Goch Alpenglow

Credit: Eilir Adventure Photography

“Conditions really don’t get any better than this here in Snowdonia. This day required an early start as we wanted to be on the ridge before sunrise. With no tracks to follow we had to break trail through the deep snow to the base of the ridge. After the steep initial scramble in the dark we started to get a bit of colour in the sky. By the time we started to cross the ridge the whole mountain was bathed in a stunning pink alpenglow. After taking our time crossing the ride, we continued along the horseshoe in epic alpine conditions.”

Carreg Wastad

Credit: Eilir Adventure Photography

“Abseiling off after climbing one of the classics in the Llanberis pass. This particular route takes you up and over a big overhang so on the way back down you end up swinging around a bit! It does make for some interesting photos though.”

Camped on Glyder Fach

Credit: Eilir Adventure Photography

“My favourite spot for a night under the stars. With panoramic views of the Snowdon Massif and Cardigan Bay I think it’s a tough spot to beat. This was taken in that lovely blue hour just before sunrise which is my favourite time to be out with a camera.”

Crib-y-Ddysgl

Credit: Eilir Adventure Photography

“Epic amounts of snow on Crib-y-Ddysgl and being the first ones along it we had to break trail. In places, it felt a bit like swimming! We had crossed Crib Goch in the sun but as we climbed up along Crib-y-Ddysgl, cloud rolled in over Garnedd Ugain and it turned into the most dramatic looking ridge. I asked my mate Garn to keep going and I stayed back to shoot the ridge with him on it to give it some scale. One of the best days I’ve had in the winter here.”

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For more from our Wales Issue 

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