The vibrant yellow of spring daffodils, the icy beauty of a snow capped mountain, the vivid blues in sea and sky come summer… No matter when you visit, the beauty of North Wales is a given.
But with each season comes a distinctive atmosphere and unique ambience – so there’s always something new to capture on camera.
And for those of you looking at North Wales through a lens, the stunning glow of autumn boasts the most spectacular photo-ops of the year. The summer mix of fresh greens and cool blues shifts to a palette of reds, browns and golds. This riot of autumnal colour makes for some truly evocative snaps.
If you love photography, why not take a look at our blog pointing you to some of the best spots to shoot in Snowdonia? Click here to read more.
Our tops tips for perfect autumnal shots
The days of needing a pricey SLR camera to take impressive shots are long gone. While top-end cameras still rule the roost when it comes to professional photography, phone cameras are capable of producing some stunning shots.
You don’t need to be a photography pro to capture dazzling autumnal colour palettes. While simply taking your phone out of a pocket, pointing and clicking might get you a decent snapshot, here are a few tips to get the best results from your autumn photography:
Switch on HDR mode
HDR works by taking multiple photos and combining the data into one single image. This helps to improve the lighting, focus and colour of your photos and should be a default setting for anyone snapping on their smartphone who is eager to get the best final result.
Use the ‘Rule of Thirds’ – but don’t overdo it!
According to the rule of thirds, holding your horizon in the centreline of your image for a balanced shot is a great guide for beginner photographers. But do remember that it is only a guideline.
For example, if the sky is a featureless blue, the shot may benefit from having the horizon moved up and the sky more obscured. Sometimes you need to forget the rules and use your eyes.
In North Wales, however, the sky is rarely featureless. The depth of colour and delightful sunlit hues that can spread across the autumn horizon are simply breathtaking.
Shoot during the golden hour
If you’ve seen a stunning autumnal landscape, pop back at different times of the day and experiment with your camera. The so-called ‘golden hours’ are a good time to try. This is after sunrise and just before sunset, where the light is soft and the low angled sun adds a warm, golden hue to your photos.
Sometimes, the golden hour makes a shot in a way no filter or editor can rival. In the autumn, time of day is particularly important – half-an-hour can be enough to change the entire palette of colours before you.
Overcast is good, too
If you’re in North Wales on an overcast day, don’t shy away from taking some snaps. The light will be soft and even, and bright, autumnal colours can actually contrast quite nicely with a grey sky, adding some intensity.
Keep it steady
Tripods aren’t just for professional photographers, you know! You can buy one for smartphones, go-pros, digital cameras and SLR’s – so there’s no excuse for shaky shots! Pick up a tripod before you go – they’re quite affordable online. It’ll make a huge difference to the end result.
Head for the water
There’s plenty of water in North Wales – so make good use of it in your photography! If you spot a lake, stream, river or even just a puddle, get your camera out and start shooting. Reflections of colour-rich trees in still water can produce absolutely stunning autumn shots.
Our quick pick of North Wales autumn photography hotspots…
Tu Hwnt i’r Bont
Ask a local what the best place in the area for a quintessential autumn shot is, and we can bet they’ll say Tu Hwnt i’r Bont in Llanrwst. The cute little tearoom is covered in Virginia Creeper which, you guessed it, turns burning, blazing red as the seasons change.
The majesty of the Bala Lake (or Llyn Tegid) has beautiful flat waters and plays host to an array of beautiful colours on its shores, which seem almost impossible in their variety come autumn. Bala Lake is an hours drive from the Royal Victoria, but on the way, you can visit…
We just couldn’t leave good ol’ Betws-y-Coed out of the picture when it comes to autumnal scenery. It’s home to some stunning local waterfalls and some of the most scenic woodlands in Wales. Bursting with lively shades of gold, red and terracotta a few weeks into autumn, it’s a perfect mid-morning stop for photos and a drink on your way to Bala Lake.
Further east is Bodnant Garden in the Conwy Valley, famed for its spectacular autumn colours. There’s a bold show of bright red Japanese acers, unbeatable views of the Snowdonian mountains and a real kaleidoscope of autumn colours and textures.