A Guide to The Lonely Tree, Llyn Padarn, Llanberis. How to find it, best times to visit and more...
Wales has some of the most beautiful scenery and the Snowdonia area in particular has amazing mountains, walks, waterfalls and llyns. There is literally so much to see and do but let's take a look at one of the most photographed areas. The Lonely Tree of Llanberis.
This really has to be one of the most photographed trees in Wales. The place is well visited by photographers, walkers, hikers, Instagrammers, bloggers etc.
Just take a look at this shot from my first visit, the Llyn is beautiful and often very still due to the surrounding mountains. The tree is isolated by itself in the Llyn hence the name Lonely Tree and with the bottom of the LLyn split between the Glider Fawr and Crib Goch there is always a beautiful backdrop.
How to Get there?
Travelling from the A55, the North Wales Express Way would be the natural route, from here exit at Junction 11, sign posted Bangor/ Betws-y-Coed. After leaving the junction you will arrive at a roundabout which is signposted for Llanberis. Take the third exit on the to the A424, at the end of this road there is a T-Junction, turn left on to the A4086 and this will lead you straight in to Llanberis.
Llyn Padarn is a large lake and whilst a beautiful walk if your aim is to photograph The lonely Tree you will want to head straight there. When you head towards Llanberis you will see signs for Snowdonia Watersports.
You want to take an immediate and rather sharp left in to the road as shown below.
The car park closest to The Lonely Tree can be found opposite Snowdonia Watersports as shown by the blue shopping pin in the second map.
The Lonely Tree can be found a short distance from the car park, as shown by the red dropped pin below.
Now that you know how to get there, lets talk about best times to visit...
You probably won't be surprised to learn that the area will get very busy at sunrise and sunset. Unfortunately due to a relative small area around the Llyn and lack of flexibility with composition it can get a bit crowded.
The first time I visited was in December at late afternoon, with the exception of a few swimmers and kayakers there was no one around.
I've found that winter is the best time to visit, the lake is incredibly still and the cloud/mountain contrast can be exceptional. Plus when you have the place to yourself you can maximise your time, take your time and ensure you get the best shot. Another advantage from a winter visit is that the Llyn will be full and when the water reaches the shoreline it provides great reflection opportunities.
I have visited twice at sunrise and despite the 5am alarm I found there was always at least two other photographers which makes it difficult to share the available space and obtain the best composition.
Lets take a look at composition
As you can se from the image above, due to the mountains either side of the Llyn and the competing landscape colours, the best composition is achieved by isolating the tree against the sky by lining it up against the valley.
The image above was taken at a sunrise in March this year and you can see how shallow the Llyn is, this makes obtaining tree reflection shots near impossible.
There is also shrubs between the rocks which can be distracting as you can see in the image to the left.
Whether you are visiting to take photographs or to simply enjoy the sunrise or sunset you will not be disappointed.
As a tree it will always look different, in summer if will be full of beautiful green leaves, in autumn beautiful orange and browns whilst in winter the branches provide an amazing silhouette.
It really doesn't mater what time of year you visit!
What are you waiting for!?
Take a look at this time-lapse of an early morning sunrise and see what your missing....