RIVER RHEIDOL, Ox-Bow Lakes and the River Rheidol, Ceredigion 2003

RIVER RHEIDOL, Ox-Bow Lakes and the River Rheidol, Ceredigion 2003 - THE WELSH LANDSCAPE
Notes on RIVER RHEIDOL: Ox-Bow Lakes on the River Rheidol, Ceredigion 2003

These were some of the first images taken at the ox-bow lakes along the river Rheidol - taken on a November afternoon with a grey colourless sky. In many ways such days are my favourite time to photograph, nothing becomes obscured by deep shadow nor bleached by bright sun light. It felt a privilege to be in such a place, only a few yards from the road yet hidden, totally from view, due to the thick heavy branches and thousands upon thousands of tiny branches all obscuring these wonderful small ponds and lakes.

Into The Murky Depths We Tread

I came upon these wetland areas whilst cycling home one summers evening. Wetland areas are essential, basically untouched, and serve as irrigation and to filter pollution. The fact that no ones seems to bother to explore them due to their dampness and seemingly unfriendly environment, also allows them to be rich in wildlife.

From the road that leads to Cwm Rheidol (about 8 miles from Aberystwyth) entrance through the undergrowth seems almost impossible and impenetrable. When the sun is low, bright splashes of sun light flicker through the thicket and reveal openings. Ducking under the thicket and forcing your way through, and once in amongst the deep mud and dankness, a whole new world is revealed; jungle-like and heavily branched areas, rich in photographic pickings and in some ways universal.

These sorts of geographic landscapes are not typical or localised to any one part of the country. If you travel by train anywhere you always pass these oft ignored areas. They can not be built on because the land is unstable, no one walks through them, due to their (supposed) unpleasantness but once you’ve broken through their barriers of branches you enter a world with it’s own micro-atmosphere.

The photographs were taken on either Ilford FP4 or Delta 100 5x4inch sheet film using a Wista camera and either a 90mm super-angulon or 135mm symmar lenses. Exposures on a grey day at F22 usually hovered around the 16 second mark and when photographing in sun light at about 1 second.

My boots, trouser legs and the tripod feet were covered in thick, dark mud and although the going was slow, the actual area of these wetlands is perhaps only an acre or two in size. I’ve visited and photographed only three or four times but each time the tranquillity and ever changing photographic opportunities due to the water level rising and falling, the ever evolving process of woodlands – new saplings appearing and older trees uprooting - means visiting here has become a constant source of pleasure.

YSTUMLLYN. Cwm Rheidol. Ceredigion 2003 - 2006
Deuthum ar draws y gwlypdir hwn wrth feicio gartref un noson o haf. Mae ardaloedd o wlypdir yn hanfodol. Ar y cyfan, nid oes neb wedi ei gyffwrdd ac mae'n gweithredu fel system ddyfrhau ac mae'n hidlo'r llygredd . Mae'r ffaith nad oes fawr neb yn eu harchwilio oherwydd eu lleithder a'u hamgylchedd yn golygu eu bod yn gyfoethog o ran bywyd gwyllt.

O'r ffordd sy'n arwain at Gwm Rheidol (tua 8 milltir o Aberystwyth), ymddengys bod yr isdyfiant yn anhreiddiadwy. Pan fo'r haul yn isel, gwelir goleuadau llachar yr haul drwy'r dryslwyn. Unwaith y byddwch yng nghanol y mwd dwfn a'r gwiybaniaeth, agorir eich llygaid i fyd newydd. Dyma ardal sy'n debyg i jyngl I lawn canghennau Ardal sy'n gyfoethog at ddibenion tynnu lluniau.
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RIVER RHEIDOL, Ox-Bow Lakes and the River Rheidol, Ceredigion 2003

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