Beyond Landscapes: Adventure Photography in Snowdonia

I just got back from one of my favourite trips: A weekend in the beautiful Snowdonia National Park. I went with some of the most inspiring and lovely people I had the fortune to meet this year and we enjoyed spending time together climbing, wild camping and eating delicious food we cooked on the fire. Pro tip: Don’t have oil? Use Jagermeister to season mushrooms, you’ll love it!

I went expecting a nice hike and some fun bouncing in the caves, so I wasn’t sure about bringing my camera and tripod with me. Eventually I decided to go for it and I’m glad I did as I was rewarded with some of the most beautiful views and landscapes I’ve seen as well as a lot of unexpected fun!

I had no idea I was going to (and could) climb a 1086 meters mountain and make it to the peak of Snowdon whilst carrying my gear and with some bits of pouring rain and strong winds. I’ve always said I love landscape and travel photography but after this trip I realised my biggest love is Adventure Photography. What is the difference? Well, Adventure photography adds to travel and landscape photography a massive dose of adrenaline, ever-changing shooting conditions and also lots of fun, especially if you are blessed enough to have a bunch of awesome people on your side. One of my favourite aspects is that sometimes in order to get a good shot you need to get out of your comfort zone when the opportunity presents itself: This could mean balancing yourself on a ridge with winds blowing, getting wet while kayaking or standing behind a waterfall or having to climb your way to a better viewpoint.

My road trips in the South of England and Iceland and the Snowdon hike taught me a lot about what to expect in these situations and I now know 1 or 2 things about how to make sure you’re prepared to get some beautiful shots and of course I’m happy to share some tips with you.

1. What to pack?

  1. Camera: This is an obvious one, but what kind of camera should you bring with you? As per other photography style, a lot comes down to personal preference and different types of cameras have their pros and cons.
    • DSLR: Most of you probably own one, their prices range from 400£ to several thousands. The main advantages of a DSLR are the possibility to interchange lenses depending on the shop you’re aiming for. In particular pro-grade SLRs have amazing processing speeds and battery life, so if you need to get a long exposure shot (Starry nights or waterfalls) your picture will be ready in seconds even after minutes of exposures.
      Another advantage is that if you get a full frame, you can make the most of your wide angle lenses and get stunning landscapes. The only problem with DSLR is that depending on the adventure it might be heavy and bulky and require a bigger, sturdier tripod.
    • Mirrorless: This is my camera of choice. It has the advantages of a DSLR (interchangeable lenses, picture quality). Some mirrorless camera might not be Full frame or having great processing speeds and shorter battery life but the lack of a mirror makes it way easier to carry around and can be steady when mounted on a smaller, lighter tripod.

Need advice on choosing a camera? Have a look at my Camera Buying Guide!

Using a Mirrorless (Sony A6000) I could take advantage of the lightweight camera body and use it with a Travel Tripod to get a long exposure shot of the Milky Way over our Camp in Snowdonia.
  • Action Cameras: The name says it all, GoPro and other competitors alike allow you to be in the middle of the action and record or photograph what’s going on even in extreme conditions. Highly recommended if you’re planning on kayaking, diving or anything that involves water and needs the use of both hands, since these cameras are waterproof and can be strapped anywhere.
  • Smartphones: They beat most compact cameras nowadays and their size and weight allow you to bring them anywhere and make sure you can get a good shot even when in a tricky situation. The Panorama below was shot using my Smartphone (Google Pixel a3) As I had to balance on a sharp ridge and couldn’t get hold of my main camera
Panorama Mountains
  • Tripod: Bring a lightweight but sturdy Tripod for when you’ll have time to use it. This will allow you to have longer exposures for night skies or to keep the ISO lower when shooting a landscape at f8-11 for a sharper picture. A good advice I can give is even if you don’t want to break the bank Don’t go too Cheap! When I was in Tromso to shoot the Northern Lights I brought a cheap tripod, the plastic parts literally shattered in my hands a few minutes after I set it up due to the very cold temperature (-27 degrees at night). Luckily enough I could improvise using a bag of beans and manage to get a few pictures of the night sky
    Northern Lights in Tromso
  • GorillaPod: A Gorillapod can make a big difference if you are in a rush and don’t have the time to set up a normal tripod but need to take a steady shot. Anything around you can become your tripod: A rock, a tree, a fence and if your camera is lightweight enough you will get a steady shot most of the times even if harsh conditions.
  • Extras: If you’re planning to shoot waterfalls or water and want to take a long exposure shot pack up some ND Filters as well as some Circular Polarisers. Always bring something to clean up your lenses and a good camera bag, preferably waterproof.

The most important advice on how to take adventure shots is… GO ON ADVENTURES! You can find one wherever you are and close enough to you. I live in London and in just one hour and a half I could be in Eastbourne and hike along beautiful cliffs such as the Birling Gap or Beachy head or be in the middle of the Epping forest in just 1 hour.

Find a type of adventures that you love, whether it’s a kayaking trip, hiking, climbing, wild camping, sailing. Go, Enjoy and make sure you take some great shots as memories for you and your friends!

Leave a comment with your favourite adventures or adventure photography shots.

P.S. I’ve already sold 2 prints of the Milky Way shot, if you want to get a nice print feel free to have a look at my Portfolio and give me a shout on this page if you have any enquiries!


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