Favorite Photographs From The Conwy Valley, North Wales

Click all images to enlarge.

I’ve been very fortunate in my life – traveling to, and photographing in, just about 100 countries, often on my photo workshops.

I am often asked, “What was your favorite place?” I respond, “I have many favorite places, but one of my favorites is the Conwy Valley in North Wales, which I have explored on two occasions.” 

Here's why:

One: I love photographing horses, and the white horses of the Conwy Valley are some of the most beautiful horses I have encountered. You do need some luck, however, to find them  – and I had good luck on my 2012 and 2013 trips. 

Two: I like to photograph old churches and chapels. During my first visit I made one of my favorite HDR (high dynamic range) chapel photographs.

Three: I spent several hours photographing Conwy Castle on my first trip. It’s hard to run out of photo possibilities at this awesome location. There is also lots of history here for history buffs.

Four: If you like exploring and photographing waterfalls (and rivers and streams), the Conwy Valley is paradise. I made this photograph at a place called, Fairy Glen – and it’s featured in my new book, Creative Visualization for Photographers.  

Five: During both of my visits, I made my home – and felt at home – in Llanrwst. It’s a great walking city with lots of photo opportunities, as well as great restaurants. Llanrwst was our jumping off point for all the nearby sites. If you are looking to stay at a wonderful bed and breakfast check out the Meadowsweet Hotel. If you stay there, say hi to Nelson (the owner) for me.

 Six: The Conwy Valley is a landscape photographer’s paradise. This photograph from a mountaintop says it better than I can say in words. (To learn more about landscape photography, check out my on-line class: Master Landscape and Seascape Photography.  Save $10 with this code: landscapes.

Seven: I was the leader of  photo walks on my two visits. On both walks I made new friends, many of whom I keep in touch with on social media. Great fun and great groups! This is the group photo of my last group.

Here are some videos that I made during my visits to the Conway Valley:

Composition – the strongest way of see: 

Quick HDR Tip: 

Lenses for Landscape Photography 

Having Fun with Filters

How to Use Shadows

How to Photograph White Horses

Another Quick HDR Tip 

If you love new photo destinations, check out the beautiful Conwy Valley in North Wales. Hey! Maybe you’ll see me shooting there.

Explore the light,
Rick Sammon 

Registration is Open for My "Capture the Classics" Workshop!

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Above: Mail car, Southeastern Railway Museum. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 17-40mm lens. This is an HDR image. For HDR, I recommend Photomatix. Click here to get a discount on Photomatix.

Registration is open for my fall 2015 Canon EOS Destination Workshop: Capturing the Classics: Old Cars and Antique Trains. I can't wait to return to our two awesome locations: Old Car City and the Southeastern Railway Museum - which are outside of Atlanta, GA.

I'll be teaching: composition (the strongest way of seeing), "croposition" (combining composition with cropping), storytelling,  lighting, HDR – and how to use reflectors, diffusers and a speedlite when photographing a model.

My friends from Canon will be there to loan you the newest gear (including fish-eye lenses and super-wide-angle lenses) to photograph some of the oldest cars in the country. You will also have plenty of time to process your images – for our group slide show/critique session. And, you'll even get to make a print or two on Canon printers.

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Above: Lounge car,  Southeastern Railway Museum. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 15mm lens.

For now, here's a look at some of my favorite photographs from my previous trip to Old Car City and the Southeastern Railway Museum.

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Above: Old Car City. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 17-40mm lens. 

I removed some of the reality from my images in this post either by using a fish-eye lens, by altering the true color of a scene, by applying a plug-in, by shooting HDR, by selectively blurring parts of an image –  or by using a combination of all these techniques.

I can show you how to apply digital enhancements during the workshop. Of course, I'll show you how to get awesome straight shots, too.

About removing some of the reality from a scene: When we remove some of the reality from a photograph, the photograph can - but not always - look more artistic.

Photoshop, Lightroom and plug-ins make creating artistic images relatively easy - if you have a creative vision.

Speaking of creative vision, check out my new book, Creative Visualization for Photographers.

And speaking of plug-ins, I'll be teaching plug-ins at Photoshop World this August in Las Vegas. All my seminars are listed here.

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Above: Old Car City. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 24-70mm lens.

On my workshops I stress light and composition, the topics of my two latest classes on Kelby Training. The picture above of our model Hanna illustrates the benefits of shooting on an overcast day, when contrast is low. It also illustrates creative composition: shooting at an angle creates a sense of depth in an image, the Bel Air insignia adds a sense of place to the image, and shooting at eye level helps the viewer of the photograph relate to the subject.

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Above: Old Car City. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 17-40mm lens. Effects added with Nik Color Effects Pro. Several Photoshop CS6 enhancements.

Above: Old Car City.  Like abstracts? You will find them in pealing paint and in rust at Old Car City.

Another element of photography we talk about on my workshops is the importance of cropping. In the above photograph, the extremely tight crop (I know it's extreme) emphasizes the fins and tail lights of this cool Caddy.

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Above: Southeastern Railway Museum. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 17-40mm lens.

Yes, the railway cars and old automobiles are awesome subjects. But hey, I especially enjoy photographing people on location. That is why I was so glad we had a great model. Thank you Hanna for doing such a wonderful job.

We will have another great model for the 2015 workshop.

I hope to see you at Old Car City and at the Southeastern Railway Museum - where we not only make good pictures, but where we also have a ton of fun.

If you can't make that workshop, all my workshops are listed here.

Explore the light,

Five Ways to Learn Bird Photography

Like to photograph birds but need some help turning snapshots into great shots? Here are three options:

1 - Attend my free bird photography seminar on April 7 at 7 PM at Teatown Lake Reservation in Ossining, NY.

2- Check out my Master the Art and Craft of Bird Photography on-line class - and save $10 with this code until March 31: rs2015. That code also works for my Landscape photographs class – and the Nature Photography Lovers Bundle (same page).

3 - Join my December Bosque del Apache, New Mexico photo workshop.

4 – Check out my Make Better Bird Photographs blog post, which features tips on sharpening, daylight fill-in flash and links to some educational videos.

5 – Read this post: Best lenses for bird photography.

Explore the light,

Woodstock Photo & Music Retreat Planned for Summer 2016

If you play guitar and take pictures (as I do) - and want to have a blast playing and photographing, this event is for you!

I am planning a summer 2016 photo & music retreat in Woodstock, New York. It's not like one of my standard photo workshops – where there is lots of photo instruction and processing time. Rather, the three-day weekend will focus on sharing music and photo ideas . . . while we are taking photographs and jammin'.

Videos with my friend/photographer/musician Chuck Pierce:
Samba Pa Ti

Some of my fun music videos:
One Minute with My Martin
Landscapes & Seascapes
From Boring to Beautiful Chords
Developing Your Creative Vision

And speaking of Creative Vision, I'll be giving a seminar on that topic based around my new book, Creative Visualization for Photographers. I actually talk about how music relates to photography in the book.

From the publisher: "The difference between seeing and looking is essential—much like the difference, in music, between hearing and listening. In Creative Visualization, professional photographer, photo educator and photo instructor Rick Sammon presents his proven methodology for creative digital photography. His signature inspiring and motivating approach opens creative avenues for photographers in a variety of genres.

"With easy-to-follow examples, Sammon shows you how simple changes—with visualization, composition, post-processing, and more—can mean the difference between a snapshot and a great shot. This book, illustrated with more than 300 of Rick’s photographs, includes invaluable information about exposure, composition, subject choice, lighting, mood, and depth."

Shoot me an email if you'd like to get on the mailing list for this awesome event. I think the event will be popular, but I don't think you'll hear on the news: "The New York State Thruway is Closed, Man!"

That's Chuck Pierce playing with me after one of my seminars. He'll be at the Woodstock event - and you will be blown away by his talent!

Keep shooting and strumming,

P.S. Woodstock, the 1969 rock event, which I attended (I think), was actually not held in Woodstock. :-)

Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy Some Landscape and Seascape Photographs – and Mellow Guitar Music

I just put together a video featuring my favorite landscape and seascape photographs, along with some mellow guitar music that I've been playing lately. Open D tuning by the way.

If you want to learn about landscape and seascape photography, check out my on-line class, Master Landscape & Seascape Photography. Save $10 with this code: rs2015.

Explore the light,