Four Waterfalls Walk, Brecon Beacons

January 28, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

There are many locations around the UK with stunning waterfalls, like the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail in Yorkshire.  However, there was one which had numerous falls in close proximity and that was the Four Waterfalls Walk in the Brecon Beacons, South Wales. I haven’t shot many waterfalls and with the recent rains, I thought it would be the perfect time to visit, as the water flow should be high. The drive to the Brecon Beacons from London is around 5 hour hours so I drove down the night before to make the most of the day. I stayed in Swansea, which is around 50 minutes drive away from the falls, so the perfect location to rest before a long day.

The Gear

When packing my gear, I always consider what I’ll be shooting, for example, if I’m shooting seascapes, I’ll most likely take more than one lens as I know the walk will usually be flat and I can carry more gear.  Where as if I’m hiking up a mountain then I’ll try to keep it light as possible and may be just take one or maximum of two lenses.  On this trip I knew there would be a lot of walking and I heard from others that completed the walk that it was quite strenuous.  I decided to keep it simple and to take one body; the Canon 5D mark 3 and 2 lenses my wide-angle 16-35mm F4 IS lens and the 24-70mm F2.8 mk2.  I also always take my Lee filter system and all packed in my Mindshift Gear Backlight 26L backpack and finally, my tripod is the Gitzo Mountaineer series 1 tripod.  I would prefer to change to mirrorless one day but unfortunately, all my gear at the moment still is quite a lot of weight, so it will have to do for now.

It was a long drive and unfortunately I over slept so it was a rush to get to my location.  I had never been to the Brecon Beacons so this was another first for me and wow it was truly breathtaking. The drive from Swansea to the falls was amazing and I found myself stopping to take in the scenery and capture a few images, which in turn made me even more late! 

Nazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerNazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerRay of Light Canon 5D MK3, 24-70mm @ 70mm, f5.6, 1/320, 100 ISO and Lee Polariser

Nazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerNazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerRainbow Mountain Canon 5D MK3, 24-70mm @ 70mm, f5.6, 1/400, 100 ISO and Lee Polariser

I made it the waterfalls carpark around midday and there is a small tourist information centre, where you can purchase a map for a pound, showing the the walking route and surrounding area, qhich was extremely usefull.  The gentleman at the tourist information centre advised that I most probably won't make it to all four falls before dark, especially factoring in the time for photography.  I had to decide which of the falls I would visit and narrowed down to 2, Sgwd Yr Eira and Sgwd Y Pannwr.   

Sgwd Yr Eira

I decide to walk to this first as it was the furthest away, the walk to the falls took nearly an hour! I can see why people advised it was a strenuous walk.  Sgwd Yr Eira in welsh means “falls of snow” and located on Afon Heptste (river Hepste), and as the falls came into view it was absolutely spectacular as predicted.  There was so much water coming down the falls and the roar of the water was almost deafening. 

Nazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerNazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerSilent Falls Canon 5D MK3, 16-35mm @ 30mm, f12, 2.5 secs, 100 ISO and Lee Polariser, 6 stop Nd Filter, 3 Stop Nd Grad

Setting up for the first shot I had to perch on a rock that was about a meter in the river, it was a bit precarious as with the rain it was very slippery. I planted the tripod in the river and set up and as usual the rain started so I had to act fast and cover the filter with my lens cloth and waited for the rain to slow down a bit before I could capture the image.  

Nazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerNazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerSilent Falls Canon 5D MK3, 16-35mm @ 30mm, f12, 2.5 secs, 100 ISO and Lee Polariser, 6 stop Nd Filter, 3 Stop Nd Grad

I wanted to get a different perspective so walked as far as I could go and then set up for the second set of images. Unfortunately, I could not cross to the other side of the falls which would of meant going behind the falls. I saw people getting absolutely soaked so that was not an option as it was a freezing Decembers day. Setting up for the next images involved again setting the tripod in the river which had me a bit worried as the flow of water was very fast.  

Nazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerNazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerSilent Falls Canon 5D MK3, 16-35mm @16mm, f12, 2secs, 100 ISO and Lee Polariser, 6 stop Nd Filter, 3 Stop Nd Grad
 

Nazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerNazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerSilent Falls

Canon 5D MK3, 16-35mm @16mm, f12, 2secs, 100 ISO and Lee Polariser, 6 stop Nd Filter, 3 Stop Nd Grad
 

Sgwd Y Pannwr

Sgwd Y Pannwr meaning “fall of the fuller”, not sure quite what this actually means but it was definitely a full waterfall.  This waterfall was located another 30 minutes walk through the winding banks of the river  amongst a dense tree lining, it was a beautiful sight.  The reason I chose this waterfall over the other two remaining ones is that it seemed to have more composition possibilities from my research.  I wandered down to the banks to the side of the river where the river moved at a rapid pace leading to the waterfall.  I decided to set up my first composition just by the river in front of a small gorge.   

Nazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerNazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerThundering Falls

Canon 5D MK3, 16-35mm @16mm, f9, 0.5secs, 100 ISO and Lee Polariser, 6 stop Nd Filter, 3 Stop Nd Grad

 

Nazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerNazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerThundering Falls Canon 5D MK3, 16-35mm @16mm, f8, 1 sec, 100 ISO and Lee Polariser, 6 stop Nd Filter, 3 Stop Nd Grad

From the image above you can see the gorge leads to the actual fall and there was only really one view from the top of the bank.  Although a beautiful view, I needed to find a better composition where you could see more of the falls.  With the sun setting to the left of the image I wanted to get lower so I had to find a path that lead down to the river.  Now climbing on slipper rocks is bad enough but walking through muddy bans and slippery rocks was another thing but I needed to get to a better vantage point.  I managed to get down but was still too close to the falls and I was getting a lot of spray from the wind, however I finally found a good spot and set up for my final compositions.  

Nazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerNazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerThundering Falls
Canon 5D MK3, 16-35mm @25mm, f9, 0.5 sec, 100 ISO and Lee Polariser, 6 stop Nd Filter, 3 Stop Nd Grad

Although I had captured the first image, I contemplated on getting an image from the front of the falls but my footwear wasn’t great and wellingtons would have been perfect to wade through the water to get to the other side. However, I didn’t really want to drive for another 5 hours with wet frozen feet!  I waited for a little while as I could see the sun going down and just wanting that golden light to come through the trees and light up the river. It didn’t seem like it was going to happen then all of a sudden there was a break in the cloud and there it was, beautiful golden light for a fleeting moment and I had captured my final image.  

Nazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerNazmul Islam Photography, London Landscape PhotographerThundering Falls

Canon 5D MK3, 16-35mm @16mm, f11, 1/4 sec, 100 ISO and Lee Polariser, 6 stop Nd Filter, 3 Stop Nd Grad
 

My first trip to the Brecon Beacons and the Four Waterfall Walk was a great experience and I am glad I didn’t make it to the other falls, which gives me a reason to visit again. I definitely will be back to explore the other two falls in this stunning location.  I would highly recommend visiting but remember that it is a strenuous walk with lots of ups and downs so give yourself plenty of time for getting round the walk, especially if you are also planning to do some photography.  

 

 

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