RIVER RHEIDOL: Ox-Bow Lakes on the River Rheidol, Ceredigion 2009

RIVER RHEIDOL: Ox-Bow Lakes on the River Rheidol, Ceredigion 2009 - THE WELSH LANDSCAPE
Notes on RIVER RHEIDOL: Ox-Bow Lakes on the River Rheidol, Ceredigion 2009


Taken in January 2009 the winter sun light was soft and low in the sky and reflected upon the crusted muddy surfaces.

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.
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RIVER RHEIDOL: Ox-Bow Lakes on the River Rheidol, Ceredigion 2006

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