23rd October 2016
I like derelict buildings and old slate quarries are full of them.
My old favourite was Cwm Orthin but sadly that has declined badly in recent years.
This is a location my brother, Mark, put me onto and one that I think I will visit again.
Such sites often look at there best in heavier weather that I usually shoot in. This is no exception.
Nestled amongst the peaks, the cloud sweeps through the site giving atmosphere and constantly changing light.
It’s a big site, we barely covered a third of it I reckon but it’s quite a climb and I’m not as young or fit as I once was. Camera gear doesn’t seem to have gotten any lighter either.
I notice I seem to be using longer lenses a lot more than I used to. Many of these were taken with my 70-200mm f/2.8 which is a beast to carry about. I wondered about getting the f/4 which was a lot lighter but this shares the same filter thread as my 17-40mm which is a big convenience.
The longer lens allowed me to draw out the graphic nature of the quarry. Pulling in details from across the chasm that lies at the heart of the workings.
Another advantage of the f/2.8 is that the auto focus still functions properly with a 2x extender, which gives me a substantial 400mm top focal length on the occasions that I really need it.
In the final analysis, I just need to get fitter again. No harm in that.
The scale of these working is just breathtaking.
Although machines would have come in to do some of the work, a lot of it would have relied on brute force and explosives.
Many of the smaller buildings around the site were probably explosive stores. Close to the workings but protected from the elements.
Now, of course, nature is starting to move in take back over. It is this mixture of nature and dereliction that atracts me to places like this.
As time goes by, fewer of these kinds of site will remain so I’d best shoot them while I still can.