Three months with the Leica and Cadair Idris.

“There’s nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” – Ansel Adams

It has been three months since I started the 12-months-with-the-Leica project. The aim has been to rid myself of digital picture fantasy making and to return to a purer form of picture making with me in control and not computers and software. Overall I have enjoyed my photography much more, have many a number of improvements processing the film and have felt a little more motivated as the below adventure demonstrates…

A few weeks ago when we had that week of absolutely glorious English weather. It does happen you know! I had, for want of a better word, the fortuitous happenstance of booking a trip to Cadair Idris which is a fine mountain of goodly stature in the south of the Snowdonia National Park.

The schedule was rather punishing. Out of bed at 05:30, in the Jalopy at 06:05 for the three odd hour drive to the car park which starts the walk at the south side of the mountain. Generally the Cadair Idris route is a straight there and back, but, being the non-conventional sort I decided to do a circular route that first ascends Mynydd Moel, a Cadair sub-peak, then a leisurely walk along the Cadair ridge to the summit itself. The views from Mynydd Moel on this particular day with bright azure horizon-to-horizon skies was absolutely amazing. With a vista to the Arans, the Arennigs and twenty-seven straight miles distant was the complete Snowdon massif. The light and the conditions were stunning. The appearance of some fluffy white stuff to break up the beautiful blue would have been wonderful. Neither that nor the slight haze actually detracted from the pleasure of the day. After a six hour odd hike it was the sad time to drive home and arrived there at 20:25 collecting a takeaway in the process.

The Photography

I decided to travel light and take my iPhone and Leica M2 which was loaded with Ilford FP4 Plus. I was in no hurry to develop the single roll of FP4 and did so the following weekend. By now I have standardised my development and use dilute Kodak HC-110 at 1:120 at 20deg. 30 seconds of agitation and two inversions every seven minutes for 21 minutes. I exposed the film at EI125 using Sunny 16. Overall I am quite pleased with the result.


Tree. Near where the path branches to Mynydd Moel.

Shadow of wire on Stone.

This is what I like doing. Texture and shadows. Shadow of wire on Stone.


The view back down the path.

The Chair of Idris.

The Chair of Idris from Mynydd Moel.

Done in Style.

Done in Style with Cadair Idris summit in the background.

Cadair Idris.

The Cadair Idris ridge – beautiful!



Shaft of shining.

Shaft of shining.

Cold dark waters.

Cold dark waters of Llyn Cau.

Rock detail on Craig Cau.

Rock detail on Craig Cau.

Shadow Selfie.

Shadow Selfie.

Little pool.

Little pool on Graig Ddu and beyond from Craig Cau. A Sunny 16 exposure at f/16. Your meter would have severely underexposed this as the light level was very bright. BUT, the use of a compensating dilute developer meant that none of the highlights was lost.


Gully. The easy way but painful and terminal way down from Craig Cau to Llyn Cau. About 280m or so.

Shadows on Llyn Cau.

Shadows on Llyn Cau. Taken from the very summit of Craig Cau. That’s 310m down to Llyn Cau.

Llyn Cau.

Llyn Cau from the col between the Cadair summit and Craig Cau.


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