A Week in Wales – Part 1

The following is the first part of diary of a week in Wales, I wrote much of this day by day whilst there apart from (obviously) comments on the photos which of course I hadn’t seen when I was writing it.

Considering this is a blog about compact cameras the inclusion of images taken on my Voigtlander R2A might not be entirely fitting? I decided not to leave them out on the basis that I am no cameraist, and they complete the story. It could also be considered a compact camera, it just has an interchangeable lens.

Day 1, Friday – Ricoh GR1 loaded with XP2 and Voigtlander R2a loaded with Portra 160.

The journey took us mostly on main roads, a series of motorways then the A roads into Wales. Once into wales, the scenery improved markedly, I was tempted to wave the camera out of the car window at some of the passing landscape but thought better of it.

We stopped on the roadside for the inlaws dogs to relieve themselves. I took the opportunity to take this, the first shot of the holiday.

Taken this with the recently repaired Ricoh GR1s, the first thing that crossed my mind when I pressed the button … I never thought to check the shutter! I always check the shutter of a new camera. Not this time. I thought I would see if I could see it fire just by looking at the front of the camera.

My face
Hmm, not sure … 35 more photos of worrying its not firing in store for me then … The joys of shooting film!

I feel so at home with the Ricoh though, it has its downsides, but really, it’s a wonderful bit of kit!

Another stop for a well needed cup of coffee at a small train station in Llanfair Caereinion. I perhaps could have found out why all the carriages appeared to be from various countries in Europe … But I didn’t.

llanfair caereinion train station
I missed focus on this a little, but it seems to have the effect of drawing the eye to the ‘3’ so im quite glad for the mistake

llanfair caereinion train station

llanfair caereinion train station

First shots with the Voigtlander R2A. I do have a soft spot for this camera, it might not be a Leica, or even a Zeiss. But I do like it! The above were taken with Portra 160

Seats in a train
Taken with the Ricoh through the one of the windows of the train

Then for the hunt for some food. We stopped at a restaurant on the side of the road, but decided against the £15 average main meals. Didn’t stop me having a pint though. We sat in the garden which was pretty impressive, surrounded by mountains and streams, it was starting to come back to me just how photogenic Wales is, even when just snapping!

Cross foxes garden
Connie, it turns out, loves playing in water!

Cross foxes garden
A step into the bushes and this was right there for the snapping. Not the best angle, but it does show just how pretty the surroundings were.

The continued hunt for food took us to Fairbourne, where Hannah’s dad had remembered there was some sort of establishment on the dunes near by. Whilst there was indeed something there, it was closed, and had it been open, only contained a coffee machine and CCTV camera. Still, the surrounding area combined with weather conditions made for just the sort of bleak landscapery I enjoy. Armed with Portra in the Voigtlander and XP2 in the Ricoh I felt perfectly geared up to capture my surroundings.

I knew at the time, portra would suit these photos, in fact I am writing this before I have seen them. The light just felt right for the sort of colours portra produces. I can imagine its not for everyone, but it really works for me, adds to a feeling of bleakness I really like in this sort of image!

I also took this is B&W with the Ricoh, but the colour version had just the right feel



Fairbourne small gauge railway
The closed cafe in the background with the family discussing the hunger


Fairbourne small gauge railway
There was a small gauge railway to deliver tourists to the cafe and then back to Fairbourne

We didn’t stop around for too long, everyone was getting hungry and the was still no sign of food. So on to the homestead in Rhoslefain for the week. We ended up just getting some chips and my photography for the day was over.

Day 2, Saturday – Ricoh GR1 with XP2 and Voigtlander R2a with portra 160.

The weather had been bleak, it was getting slightly more bleak. The wind had picked up. This wasn’t going to stop us enjoying our first day of the holiday though. We decided a trip on the small gauge train from Fairbourne village out to the dunes where the cafe from the day before was. From there we intended to get the ferry across to Barmouth. The weather put pay to this, the ferry wasn’t running. We did go on the little train though.

Fairbourne small gauge railway

Fairbourne small gauge railway
It was a little breezy

Fairbourne small gauge railway
All remained happy though!

Fairbourne ammusments
A view from the train of one of Fairbourne’s tourist attractions

Fairbourne small gauge railway
I really wanted to get a shot of the train from inside it as it went round a bend. The is something cinematic and dramatic about some photos like this, but the fact that the train is tiny just takes away from that in a slightly amusing way. It amuses me anyway…

The cafe was open this time, but not especially busy – Ricoh GR1 with XP2

Fairbourne cafe

On to Barmouth, by car in the end, and the sun had come out a bit. Still bloody windy though. We went for a walk on the beach.

Connie on the beach
A snap of Connie in the Dunes with the R2a and Summarit

Into Barmouth town after.

Starting to look a bit bleak again

Lobster pot Barmouth
Macaroni Cheese for Connie

Arousal Cafe
… This one speaks for its self!


That was enough for the day for Connie, she was starting to get pretty grouchy so we went back to the house.

Day 3, Sunday – Ricoh GR1 with XP2 and Fuji Klasse W with portra 400

Even more bleak weather, the wind was now combined with a bit of rain. Sunday lunch in a local restaurant kept us out of the breeze for a bit.



Connie at the table

The rain came in more and my patience for taking photos had run out. Back to the house, a chilled afternoon but my desire to shoot was back up … I went for a walk as the sun was low. The light was really nice and I had a feeling the dry stone walls would look pretty good taken with XP2.

Dry stone wall


Part 2, can be found here …

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8 thoughts on “A Week in Wales – Part 1”

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