Wilderness Wales


Day 6 - Afon Nedd Fechan

Ystradfellte Falls, Brecon Beacons

Sgwd Ddwli Panorama

Sgwd Ddwli
Five shots from an eight shot panorama (50mm focal length for each shot),
less than 2/3 of the whole panorama

Click here for the full panorama at 3042 x 500 pixels (478 Kb)

I woke up with a sore throat and a thick head, my cold still not wanting to leave me. I really had no desire to go out. Various commitments prevented me from doing an early walk anyway. I eventually set off at 4:40pm, far too late, I caught the beginning of the rush hour traffic. It took me 15 minutes just to get out of Swansea, a mere 3 miles. Starting the walk at 5:20pm, I had less than an hour and a half before sunset. The weather was overcast, hence my choice to visit the area, soft light is best for waterfalls in my opinion.

Sgwd Ddwli was my main objective, but almost as soon as I'd set up my tripod it started to rain. This was worrying for my digital camera, but fortunately the rain was light. This fall looks good from many angles, but the angle above is probably my favourite, featuring a fallen tree which has been there for many years. I took a very wide panorama of the above scene, over a third wider than is shown above, but it was so thin that I've cropped the right hand side out of the picture. I've always felt that the waterfalls are more interesting in the context of the surrounding area, and so a panorama can help to show this, not only the waterfall but the river leading away from it too.

The onset of the rain darkened the light more quickly than would normally have been the case, so I gave the next fall a miss, and headed straight on to Horseshoe Falls, which is more accessible and easier to photograph. I was very disappointed with the light when I got there, it was extremely dark and dull. I had to use an exposure of 8 seconds at f8 with my digital camera and 1/2 sec at f2.8 with my panoramic camera. I doubted the results would be much good, but was surprised to find that I got very good results from the digital shots after a little post processing. A Very nice looking print of Horseshoe Falls is now hanging on my wall.

I'd like to have stayed much longer, but it wasn't practical in the limited light and rain, so I made my way back to the car. It was a very brief introduction to the Ystradfellte Falls this month, but this will be the first of a number of vists. Hopefully later visits will yield even better results. The autumn colours are still in their infancy and will improve a lot in the coming weeks. The last week of October is typically the best week for colours. Much depends on how many leaves are blown down by the wind and washed away by the flooded rivers. Timing can be critical.

One more point. Prior to many of my walks this month I've felt tired, lethargic and just plain "under the weather", undoubtedly due to my lingering cold. However, every time I've gone out I've ended up feeling fine. Perhaps an effect of the fresh air and exercise? It has definitely justified the effort I've made to go out each day, even if I wasn't in the mood.

Distance: 2.4km - Ascent: 60m - Effort Rating: 3.0 - Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes