Born of Fire and Ice

The mountains of Snowdonia were thrust up in a fiery orogeny millions of years ago. Since then they have been carved by multiple ice-age periods. I had looked for a composition that embodied this story for a long time. This is it. Ice encrusted relics of mountain building that took place hundreds of millions of years ago.

cc welcome as always



An awesome collection of snow and rocks, Eugene. I keep looking for whales in the rocks. I know in a scene like this that it’s difficult to find the ideal edge, but the boulder that’s cut off at the bottom in the lower left somehow bugs my eye. A beautiful image with a very high emotional content.

Those central rocks are a strong subject. Good call to place them centered and go B&W. I could see a bit of a vignette in the upper corners to focus even stronger on those central rocks.

Thank’s Dennis. Some of my friends mentioned whales in this shot too. I have another image of frosted rocks (different location) that they said the same thing about. Must be a Welsh mountain thing :smiley:

Cheers for the feedback on the rock too. It bugs me too, but its the best of a bad bunch. The ground here is littered with these big bits of fractured rock. I must have looked around for a good half hour or so before I settled on this. I may revist the crop and see if I can arrange it better.

agreed on the vignette. I’ll have a play and see what happens. Love the B&W too. Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback.

This turned out great. I love the stormy, threatening conditions adding to the tortured look of the uplifted rocks. I agree on the vignette idea, but excellent as presented.

Eugene, the angular rocks, the snowy ground and the stormy sky makes for a stark magical view that makes it easy to see why site like this might appeal to ancient religions. I think your comp. works very well.

A very striking scene that clearly tells a story of ancient violence. I think the centered rocks was a good choice in this particular image. The b&w version puts the focus on the rocks so that was a good choice too. I also saw humpback whales bubble feeding, even before I read other’s comments! In a scene like this, there’s always going to be some boulder cut off no matter how you compose it so that rock didn’t bother me at all.

@Harley_Goldman Thanks very much. I’ve been playing with a vignette and am still undecided :rofl:

@Mark_Seaver Thanks!! I always wonder how anaient cultures would have interpreted formations like this without the geological knowledge we have today!?

@Gary_Minish Cheers for the feedback. Much appreciated. I love the whale theme everyone is seeing in it. I think I’m going to start a project of whales in rock formations :smiley:
When I took the image, the idea was for black and white. I agree it hels focus on the rocks. I did have a play with it in colour and it just didn’t have the same effect. The B&W really brought the sky out for me.

Eugene, this is a great image perfectly expressing the majesty of this setting. The rocks are set off naturally by the darkening of the sky as it descends to the horizon. I love the black-and-whiteness you hve created for the image. Are you based in Wales? I’ve spent a lot of time there and lived there for several years. The whole country is full of incredible possibilities for photography. Philip

Eugene, What an interesting rock formation. Where is Snowdonia, sounds almost fictional. This is a superb image with no changes, yet I wonder if cropping from the right - you decide how much - would improve the composition a tad. No nits though. Larry

Hi Philip. Thanks very much for leaving a comment and for the feedback. Glad you liked the balck and white. I toyed with it for a while but think it makes the difference between a rather bland representation and making it stand out a bit more.

Yes I am based in Wales, not far from Snowdonia itself. Like you say there are so many great places to shoot. So many have not been discovered yet. Cool that you used to live here and, even better, lived here. Do you mind me asking where you were based?

Yeah they are pretty intriguing. There are a few of different sizes on the summit of this peak. All a result of historic volcanism and subsequent exposure to ice. The biggest is called Castell y Gwynt (Castle of the Winds) and it’s a pretty impressive feature. This is a pretty bad picture of it in spring. Difficult to conve scale but its about 50m high.

Snowdonia is in north Wales in the UK. About 2 hours west of Manchester. It’s pretty amazing with some cool mountains and beaches.

Thanks for the notes and the feedback. I did have a think about croppoing from the right, but didn’t want to lose the iced rock and central composition.

Hi Eugene,

Good to hear back from you! I lived for five years in Newcastle Emlyn on the borders of the three counties which are collectively called Dyfed. I worked there as a music teacher and brought up my young family there. I still own our old house
there but it is let out long term. I seriously wonder about returning in a while though… It didn’t seem so far to get to Cader Idris and southern Snowdonia, from there. The wild coastline of Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire is unspoilt and wonderful too, as
well as the mysterious very steep-sided woody valleys around Newcastle Emlyn (Cych and Ceri valleys etc.). The “green desert of Wales” area near Tregaron also, and the Brecon Beacons plus Black Mountains to the east and Black Mountain to the west (confusingly!).
And numerous other places that I know and numerous that I don’t know, but hope to…

After this Covid has gone away and I return to Wales on one of my trips from London I’ll get in touch and maybe we can have a chat over a beer or two if you like.

Meanwhile, I hope you’re surviving the current crisis.


Eugene, Thanks for the geography lesson. North Wales certainly has wonderful photo locations.

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Hi Philip, yeah that part of the country is incredibly beatutiful. I know Pembrokeshire from climbing trips down there and also a bit of photography. I need to get out and explore south and central areas a bit more; at least once I can get out the house again.

I’m in north East Wales. If you’re ever back in the country let me know and we can catch up.

Take care,