Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity

Humanity! I knew I was going to have trouble with this one right from the start. I don’t photograph people, well rarely, and it’s usually more a case of them being in the frame by accident, rather than me deliberately putting them there. Looking back through my back catalogue I did find this one from 2011.


So what’s the story? I wish I knew. I was at an air-show, mad pilots were doing what mad pilots do with aircraft. Everyone was saying Ooh! and Aah!, well almost everyone. The photographers like me weren’t and neither was this guy. He was in his own world, not looking at the aircraft. Maybe he was an ex-pilot, dreaming of days long gone. Maybe he just hated flying? Who knows?

But he looked interesting and I guiltily snapped this photograph. I felt I was intruding, even although he didn’t notice me…but that’s why I rarely photograph people.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure

I’ve been on Anglesey all week, mainly to take a short break from it all. The Olympus was with me but photography wasn’t the priority; taking it easy as well as exploring was. Although I’ve been to Penmon Point and the lighthouse my wife never has so Monday we paid a little visit. As you can see not great weather but I was lucky to capture this little boat rounding the lighthouse on it’s way through the Menai Strait  which separates the island of Anglesey from the mainland of Wales.

Penmon Point

About 25 km (16 miles) long the shallow strait is influenced by the tides which cause very strong currents to flow in both directions through the strait at different times, creating dangerous conditions. The “Swellies” is considered to be the most dangerous area of the strait and this is located roughly between the two bridges that join Anglesey to mainland Wales. In this area rocks near the surface cause over-falls and local whirlpools, which can be of considerable danger in themselves and cause small boats to founder on the rocks.

The strait varies in width from 400 metres (1,300 feet) to 1,100 metres (3,600 feet), narrowing in the middle to about 500 metres (1,600 feet). Stand on the hills above the strait at the Swellies and you will see different current flows and whirlpools all moving fast roughly about 4.8 knots when the tide is flowing. The effect of the tide approaching from the south-west cause the water to flow north-eastwards as the levels rise. But that same tide flows right around Anglesey and several hours later it starts to flow into the strait from the opposite end. The tide continues to rise in height but the current flow is reversed through the strait.

Map picture

For sailors who do not wish the long journey round Anglesey passage through the strait is the only answer. But there is danger if the passage is not done at the right time. As Sailing Almanac explains;

The flood enters the Menai Straits initially at the southern end at Caernarfon and quite some time before it enters through the north at Puffin Island – at times 6 hours out of phase and with a tidal difference of almost a metre. This means there’s a virtual moving waterfall as the water chases itself in and out of the Straits. It also means that HW and Slack Water do not coincide, however in order to traverse the Straits, especially through the Swellies, we need to know where this area of slack water is moving. Thanks to the magnificent studies made by the Oceanographic Dept of Bangor University we can plot the moving schedule of this slack water relative to HW Liverpool, as if like a bus time table. At various points along the Straits, we need to catch this movement of slack water in order to traverse the Straits, perhaps even with just a knot of tide in our favour. Any more, is a recipe for trouble.

And that to me seems like an Adventure. I hope you agree?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue

Sorry this one has to be short this week as I’m off to Anglesey in the morning. I was thinking about this weeks challenge and thought these two photographs might meet the brief

Olympic Football

Couple of years back we had the Olympics here in the UK and whilst most of it was held in London, some of the football was hosted by Manchester United at Old Trafford. One of the approaches to Old Trafford is along a suburban street and I wonder what the people living in those houses do when there is a match day. Maybe they get free tickets? What about parking?

Who Is Karen?

Whilst I was at Parys Mountain last week I spotted this bit of graffiti etched into the Trig Marker near the tower.

I Love Karen

I wonder who Karen is? I don’t suppose we will ever find out? It got me thinking. How many times have we spotted a piece of graffiti and never given it a second thought? Sure it can be good to photograph, especially the more colourful ones. But why do people feel the need to leave their mark. maybe they’re just like us photographers and bloggers. It’s a way of expressing themselves.

But it still does not answer the question? Who is Karen? My thoughts. I think Karen has a love of the outdoors, after all why etch her name into something if she’s not there to see it? At the time she was young, probably quite fit, but could be any age now. Probably Welsh, we are on Anglesey. What do you think? I’d love to hear your description of Karen.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fray

Maintaining two blogs sometimes leaves me with a decision; which one to write first or what photographs to use for which blog. Happily this week I knew straight away which one to use for the Weekly Challenge.

Porth Wen Brickworks

Porth Wen Brickworks has long since been abandoned and has gradually fallen into a state of disrepair. Brick production, using local yellow clay started around about the early 1900’s. Unlike red brick clay, yellow can withstand higher temperatures and is often used for lining furnaces. However there was a problem with the site. As you can see the cliffs behind are steep and there was no easy access to the brickworks, trust me I walked down the steep path, meaning everything had to be transported by sea. Although the site had a harbour it was subject to tides and the prevailing winds making it unsafe for ships transporting the raw materials and bricks to and from Porth Wen.

Once the First World War started Porth Wen was closed, later, some of the useful machinery was moved to Caernarfon, but some was left to the elements and has slowly rusted away.


Porth Wen is Private Property but judging by the number of photographs I have seen I’m not sure how much access restrictions are imposed. Certainly it’s not the easiest site to get to. You have to walk across some hills following the coastal path and then there is a very steep, one person wide, extremely uneven path bounded by ferns and prickly gorse for about 100 metres to the shore. Porth Wen itself is showing real signs of erosion, not only in the buildings, but also on the coast and the cliffs behind.

Porth Wen Chimney

Just to the side of where I’m standing is another chimney with a crack running from the base up to about ten foot high and as wide as about three inches, possible making the structure unsafe. As you can see the surface is uneven and I had to be careful where I put my feet, making sure I did not stand near any of the edges on the left hand side.

Porth Wen

So there you have it. I think the state of Porth Wen definitely demonstrates something that has frayed. What do you think. I would love to hear your thoughts on Porth Wen and the photographs. As usual if you wish to use any of the photographs for your own blog please feel free to do so as long as you credit me and provide a link back to Say It With A Camera.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette

In all the time I have been writing for “Say It With A Camera” I’m pretty certain that I’ve only ever used my photographs for the Weekly Challenges. After all that’s what the blog was about. To show you my photographs and tell you about them. Over the years I have used lots of photographs, some that have been included in blog posts have been stored on the WordPress servers, others using Google+, some on what used to be called SkyDrive but is now called OneDrive. But mainly I use Flickr and embed the photographs from there.

In fact that’s about all I use Flickr for these days, storing photographs that I want to embed into my blog posts. Why? Because if I kept using the paltry 3Gb of space that WordPress give us for photographs eventually I would run out. Are you close to using up your free space on WordPress.

But what has this got to do with Silhouette. Nothing really. I just thought I’d mention it. Well actually there is a point.


It’s getting harder to keep track of which photographs I have used over the years for which posts, hardly surprising really since “Say It With A Camera” has been going since March 2009 and I’ve written 609 blog posts. I’m almost certain I’ve used this one before way back in the distant past but as it’s one of the best silhouettes I’ve got I hope you’ll forgive me for using it again. Maybe you’ve done the same?

Looking back though, it’s not the first time that WordPress have used Silhouette as a Weekly Challenge theme as this post shows

Taken in Cape Town, South Africa, 12 March 2008, I was at one of these company motivational events. Flew in from the UK to spend four days being bored to death by numerous speakers, talking about sales drives, statistics, what the customers wanted etc. Highlight of the whole junket was when celebrated National Geographic Photographer Mattias Klum gave a talk about his photography. Heaven.

Anyway that night we were down on the beach, the sun was setting and the chief rabble rouser was getting everyone in the mood for the meal and party we were going to have later. Perfectly silhouetted against the setting sun it was too good an opportunity to miss. I didn’t need the motivation, I already had it. I was in South Africa, there were great photo opportunities, what more did I need.

And so that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the photograph, and as usual if you have any comments I’d love to hear from you.

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Ripples On The Beach

When I first read what this weeks challenge was “Textures” I immediately thought of applying textures to a photograph. Something I used to do a lot of when I first started experimenting with incorporating my photographs into digital art. I was quite looking forward to giving it a go, especially as I’ve been pretty “straight” in the last few years. That’s if you can call HDR straight.

Anyway I got it wrong, but never mind, gives me a chance to play some more with the Olympus O-MD E-M1, especially in low light conditions. Now after the glorious weather we had in July, it’s been pretty cold in august, with plenty of rain and some cold winds, especially on the beach, which is very open and exposed.

Storm Damage

Last night was no exception so I didn’t stay too long on the beach. The plan was to catch the sunset but with the clouds the way they were, there was no chance of that. But I did get the ripples in the sand causing some quite nice textures, not what I was expecting, but I can use the photograph for this weeks challenge. Have you ever gone out to photograph something and come back with something completely different? It happens to me often and as far as I am concerned it’s an added bonus as well as being one of the joys of photography.

Pure photography is a system of picture-making that describes more or less faithfully what might be seen through a rectangular frame from a particular vantage point at a given moment. – John Szarkowski

I think John has got it right here. OK I didn’t get the sunset. But here’s a photograph of a structure on the beach with the top part incredibly bent. What happened to it? How did it get that way. Will it be straightened? . Knowing the coast as I do I suspect it was damaged in a storm. At the really high tides, this marker will be covered by sea water almost to the top with usually only the green triangular shape showing. Strong winds and a tidal surge could easily bend the pole out of shape. But there again we will never really know what happened. Will we?

Must Have Zigged When I Should Have Zagged

Apparently the meaning of this is to turn in the wrong direction when following a specific route….so if somehow you ended up here at “Say It With A Camera” instead of somewhere else, I hope you’ll stay and at least have a look around.

What’s in it for you? Well you can use any of my photographs for your blog or art project as long as you credit me. Sorry no commercial use.

Tewkesbury Abbey

This weeks challenge image is from the amazing Tewkesbury Abbey or to give the abbey it ‘s more correct name “The Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin”. Originally a Benedictine Monastery it is now the second largest parish church in England.

The church part is very ornate as you can see from the photograph above, but compare that with the abbey. which looks plain and simple.

The Nave

Personally I prefer the simplicity of the floor and those magnificent stone columns. What about you?

Photographers Don’t Shoot In The Middle Of The Day

I’m going to say it again. Are you like me trying to find a photograph to fit this latest theme? Summer Lovin, what’s that all about? Personally I hate summer for photography because the sun is shining brightly.

Teachers don’t work in the summer, and photographers don’t shoot in the middle of the day. – John Loengard

When I look at many of my landscape photographs I realise that the best ones are those which I have taken as the sun is setting. In the summertime the sun is overhead and the light is harsh, providing little contrast. between the shadow areas and the highlights.

The Ruin

In both of these photographs I can try to compensate by getting some good foreground interest and luckily the skies add some interest , but there’s no real shadows or contrast and everything looks kind of flat.

The Peak

Compare that to the sunset below where the highlights and shadows on the rocks nd the low setting sun casts a warm glow over the clouds and the sea

Sunset at Harlech

So, Summer Loving, not in the heat of the day, give me a sunset anytime. Do you agree?

Out Of The Box

This weeks challenge happens to be container. Now there’s a theme that’s open to interpretation if ever there was. Yet, I struggled this week to find a suitable container to show you. Over on Photography From North Wales I did a very tenuous link to the theme, using a castle as a container. Sometimes you’ve just got to think “out of the box” as they say.


Now you might be thinking…. “what has this got to do with containers?” Simple really. The planes are flying out of a box and a box is a container.

The aircraft picture here are from the RV8tors Display Team.  Flown by professional display pilots at combined speeds of 230 mph (370 kmh) and performing close formation aerobatics the RV8tors creat an amazing and very dare-devil show in the sky.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks challenge photograph and as usual I’m always open to comments. Feel free to download any of my photographs if you want to use them for desktops or for your own blog or artwork. Just remember my License requirements which are pretty simple. Mention me and if possible link back to my blog.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike license.