I live in Dwygyfylchi, a small coastal village situated in Conwy. The village is nestled within the Snowdonia range and gives me quick and easy access to the Carneddau mountains from my front door.
I am originally from Mid Wales, and moved to study Marine Biology at Bangor University. After graduating in 2009, I did a short stint living and working in Costa Rica monitoring sea turtles, which was wonderful. Then I moved here and haven’t wanted to move anywhere else since.
Dwygyfylchi is a small and quiet village, but has everything I could possibly want or need. There's a friendly and caring community here, and we have amazing access to the outdoors for hiking, running, biking and dog walking. We have the stunning Conwy coastline for beach walks, sea swims, paddle boarding and incredible sunsets.
Throughout the coronavirus lockdowns, I found new appreciation for exploring our village and the local beauty spots that surround us. I felt incredibly lucky to have all this on my doorstep during a time when we were being asked to stay home and stay safe. There really isn’t anywhere I would rather be to do just that.
My top spots for taking photos in North Wales
North Wales is famous for its stunning landscapes and idealistic photo opportunities. I am spoilt for choice when it comes to locations that are local to me. Here are a few of my favourites:
Pen yr Ole Wen
If you follow my social media accounts you will see I love hiking in the Carneddau. The views towards Tryfan and the Glyders from Pen Yr Ole Wen are spectacular. The stream which runs down from the lake Ffynnon Lloer helps to frame Tryfan perfectly, and you can see why it is really popular with photographers.
My favourite time to climb this mountain is during a sunset, when the light cuts down the Ogwen valley, illuminating Tryfan like a beacon.
I have to mention the Glyder Range as a whole as a key highlight of the area for me. There are so many beautiful hikes here. The summit of Tryfan is incredible, and has amazing views down the Ogwen Valley. For me, Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr are the most photogenic spots.
The Castell y Gwynt rock formation looks like a scene from Lord of the Rings, and with a backdrop of Snowdon, It is incredibly dramatic. If you continue on the path past Castell y Gwynt you can either drop into the Devil's Kitchen above Cwm Idwal or Carry on and Summit Y Garn. A must if you're in the area.
Newborough National Nature Reserve and Forest, Ynys Llanddwyn, Anglesey
I'm obviously biased towards the mountains in Snowdonia as they are my home. But they aren't the only worthwhile photography spots - and in fact there are many more accessible gems in North Wales that should be on your bucket list.
Newborough Nature Reserve and Ynys Llanddwyn (Llanddwyn Island) are another favourite photography location for me. The golden sandy beaches here stretch for miles and on a sunny day it can feel like you’ve been transported to a tropical island paradise. The beach and vast dune system are surrounded by the beautiful Newborough Forest, home to a vast array of protected wildlife, including the elusive Red Squirrel. Ynys Llanddwyn is a small tidal island jutting out into the Irish Sea where you can see two lighthouses. You couldn’t ask for a better photo opportunity!
The hills on the Llŷn Peninsula stand proud in the background, creating what can be only described as a 'textbook' image. I often use Newborough as a location for my wedding or couples adventure shoots.
South Stack, Anglesey
South Stack is situated at the northern tip of Anglesey, and has so much to offer for photographers. The flora and fauna in this area are incredible. Cliff nesting birds such as guillemots and puffins can all be seen here, as well as peregrine falcons and choughs. There are also an abundance of reptiles such as adders and lizards for those eagle eyed wildlife photographers. Orcas can occasionally be spotted here too if you’re incredibly lucky.
If wildlife photography isn’t your thing the landscape here is very dramatic too, especially when the sun is setting over the Irish Sea. The South Stack Lighthouse helps frame your images perfectly. It is also a fantastic place for astro photography, due to the lack of light pollution in this area.
It’s hard to not take a great image when climbing up this incredible mountain, regardless of which direction you point your camera - the view on Snowdon is always fantastic.
There are so many routes up the mountains and all of them have their own unique perspective and beautiful views. It goes without saying that the view from the summit cairn never fails to disappoint (unless it is shrouded in cloud or there are queues of people up there).
As the most popular mountain in Wales, it can get a little crowded on weekends and holidays, which for me doesn’t feel as special, so I always leave it to quieter times before visiting. Sunrise and sunset are beautiful up there.
Just be sure to have all the right equipment, clothing and the experience/skills to be safe up there in winter conditions. Snowdon is not a mountain for beginner climbers - always check the weather and better still, find a experienced guide if you've not done much mountain walking.
I found new appreciation for exploring our village and the local beauty spots that surround us. I felt incredibly lucky to have all this on my doorstep during a time when we were being asked to stay home and stay safe. There really isn’t anywhere I would rather be to do just that."
My ideal minibreak around Wales
Having already enjoyed a number of minibreaks across Wales, the answer is simple. I would take a campervan and head down south initially and follow the coastal line back up North with my wife, dogs and camera, hitting all the beauty spots on the way.
I would love to photograph a starling murmuration in Aberystwyth. I would love to visit Skomer again, where you can see a huge colony of puffins. I need to visit the Elan Valley and Llangrannog. And I am really looking forward to visiting the National Botanic Gardens of Wales.
My passion for photography started at a young age. My father was a fantastic photographer, and I really caught the bug after he gave me a hand-me-down DSLR camera. I took that camera everywhere I went, and really enjoyed the process of photographing and editing my shots. The best thing I've learnt about photography is to photograph what you enjoy. I am in the fortunate position that I can pick and choose my clientele and the subjects I photograph, but it has taken years to get to this position.
I photographed everything from landscapes, weddings, wildlife, nightclubs, motorsport, pets, and family and friends! I was slowly developing my own take on photography. I had no formal training, but over a long time my own individual style has developed.
These days I photograph a mix of landscape, motorsport, marketing and brand work and I also shoot weddings all around the UK, which is how my business Love Adventure was born.