Cwmorthin walk.

Many of my landscape images involve a fair degree of planning and careful compositional consideration. Sometimes it’s just as absorbing and in many ways liberating to just grab a simple camera and lens combination and go for a wander. In this instance it was my Fujifilm X-T2 and the jack of all trades 18-135mm, my default family camera. Having visited Cwmorthin Quarry previously I was keen to take the family to explore this fascinating landscape and it’s industrial archeology. Needless to say that the challenge is to keep moving and not become too much of a bore to your nearest and dearest which does add to the urgency and spontaneity of the image making.



I had a bit of a plan in that I had loaded the GPS with geocaches and was sure that it would provide the perfect distraction whilst I set about wielding my X-T2, no one would suspect my real intentions. Of course I was soon rumbled but managed to keep everyone  reasonably entertained whilst capturing some worthwhile images.




I feel the advent of mirrorless equipment does make such forays much easier and more enjoyable if only because of the friendlier weight.

The location itself is a landscape photographers dream and somewhere I can see myself returning to many times. There is a wonderful sense of dereliction and reclamation as nature gradually claws back the valley from it’s industrial past.



Slate and drystone walls abound as do remnants of dwellings and mining buildings and the images here are just a small selection of what I captured in the few hours we visited. There is a wonderful atmosphere to the place, a palpable sense of a long history and it’s hard not to reflect on the lives that have gone before and the many hundreds of hands that have toiled to shape the landscape into what it is today.



I wondered what the past inhabitants would make of things today. A working class man like myself passing through as part of a leisure activity with his family. My Fuji camera would be a thing of science fiction I’m sure the like of which even H G Wells himself could not have imagined.


Of the camera itself I have nothing but praise. Not only has it enabled me to be more surreptitious on my family outings but it is capable of producing images more than worthy of the family album. I would happily use it for my “serious”landscape work and indeed have already started to do so.



  1. An excellent set of images John, which capture the feel of Cwmorthin very well indeed. They took me back to the time I was there a couple of years ago. The Fuji set up clearly works for you. Alan


    1. Thanks Alan, the Fuji certainly does lend itself to spontaneous imagery. I’ve become increasingly impressed with the output from such a lightweight bit of kit and it finds itself integrating more and more into every aspect of my photography. It’s interesting that they chose to go medium format as their next step as if the next step had been 35mm FF then I my have been tempted to move over completely to that. From my current stand point APSC is not quite there and MF is a bit overkill. I’m sure many would disagree but to my eye and needs the Nikon FF still just has the edge on noise and DR. Mind you taking these things away from the screen and into print most issues are more imagined, I always remember how impressed I was by the A2 prints from your Olympus system.


  2. I’ve visited this place twice too. It must have been bleak to have worked up there on that plateau, to have seen the Porthmadoc coastline in the far distance and yearned to be down there rather than up high in the freezing depths of winter. I enjoyed this gallery of images – very evocative of this place.


  3. Thanks for your feedback Andy, much appreciated. It’s a place I hope to return to next year, I enjoy it’s history that is almost palpable in the landscape and industrial decay.


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