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.


If you are like me and use a combination of Windows Live Writer and Flickr to write and store your blog photographs I have some good news for you. Tim Heuer has updated his excellent WLW plugin called Flickr4Writer to take account of the new API restrictions imposed by Flickr and he has also now included the ability to add original size images from Flickr.

Previously when I used the plugin, I always chose the option to use the LARGE size image which inserted a photograph from Flickr which had a maximum size of 1024 pixels on the widest side. That was fine as long as your blog theme didn’t go above that size. But my new theme does. I can insert photographs up to 1200 pixels wide allowing you to see them in greater detail.

Parys Mountain

So there you have it. If you’re like me you can download the updated plugin from Tim by following this link

A Relic From Another Era

First of all I hope you like the new theme which I need to customise a bit more. Why did I go for this one. Simple really, it allows me to show my photographs at 1200 pixels wide if viewed in a browser on a PC. But it’s also tablet and mobile compatible as well. All I need to do now is save my photographs at 1200 pixels wide to take advantage of the new theme. And so to this weeks challenge which is Relic. Suits me as I’ve been photographing almost nothing else in the last 6 months, so here are some from the parish church in the village of Tremerchion.

This beautiful church is the only medieval one in Britain which is dedicated to Corpus Christi. Its oldest parts probably date from the late 12th century, including the south wall and part of the north wall – both shaped to resemble a ship’s sides.

Corpus Christi

Before we go inside the church I’d like to show you the Tremeirchion Cross which stands in the in the churchyard  and dates from around the 14th century. It was known as a ‘Miracle Cross’, and pilgrims would pray at its foot.

Tremeirchion Cross 1232

In the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell and his followers regarded such monuments as symbols of superstition and many were damaged or destroyed during the Civil War. It’s thought that the head of the Tremeirchion Cross was knocked from its shaft at that time. In 1862 an archaeologist called Youde Hinde found the cross-head in the churchyard and, disappointed by its neglect, bought it for five sovereigns. He offered it to the nearby St Beuno’s College, where it stood until returned to the churchyard in 2004. Today, it is one of the focal points for visitors and walkers following the North Wales Pilgrim’s Way.

Inside the church the floor slopes down towards the altar for good visibility, another hallmark of early churches. There are two stone effigies dating from the medieval period.

The Altar

In a side wing of the church underneath a beautiful stained glass window lies this carved depiction of a knight in armour, thought to date from around 1300. There are no inscriptions but his clothing provides strong clues to the date.

The head and chest appear to be covered by chain mail, but other parts of his torso are protected by a quilted jacket or ‘gambeson’ of leather stuffed with wool or cloth. Over the jacket is a long surcoat. Leather gauntlets cover the hands. A lion is depicted on the shield, and the knight grasps his sword with both hands. Originally the effigy would have been brightly painted. Although there is no name associated with the effigy it is thought the knight may be Sir Roger Pounderling, Constable of Dyserth Castle during King Edward II’s reign.

Corpus Christi-Stained Glass(7tcs)

When I was asked to photograph the “Vinegar Bible” my first thought was they were playing a joke. But there actually is a bible, first published, Oxford 1717, where the word “vinegar” appears instead of “vineyard” in the title of one of the parables. Throughout this edition there were many other mistakes and it was christened a “Basketful of Printers Errors” If you look to the top left of the bible you can see where I have highlighted the mistake using Photoshop.

The Bible 1232

For centuries, antiquarians have speculated about the subject of a well-preserved stone effigy, which rests on a richly ornamented altar tomb. The inscription clearly records the name Dafydd ap Hywel ap Madog, and we can see from his clerical clothing and the effigy’s position within the church that he was a holy man .

A legend has grown around the identity of the effigy, suggesting that it depicts Dafydd Ddu Hiraddug who was known as a poet, grammarian, scientist and philosopher, and even as a practitioner of the Black Arts. Unfortunately there is no concrete evidence to suggest that the effigy is Dafydd.

Stone Effigy 1232

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed some of the relics which I’ve spent the last 6 months photographing in churches throughout North Wales. As usual feel free to leave a comment and if you want to use any of the photographs, which are Creative Commons, just follow the license procedures which are really simple. If you use one mention me with a link back.

Dark and Grungy

In their time the workshops for Dinorwic Quarry must have been dark and grungy places. Poorly lit, smoke and dust in the air, tremendous amount of noise from the machinery and blacksmiths furnaces, all must have contributed to the dark and grungy atmosphere. Nowadays those same workshops have become the National Slate Museum and on Wednesday I was in the museum because the weather wasn’t that great in the mountains, where we had planned a landscape shoot.

I shot everything for HDR, using brackets of 3 photographs (-2 , 0, +2), all hand-held and to get a dark and grungy look to the photographs I really pushed the sliders in PhotoMatix, with some series after processing with NIK Color Efex in Photoshop.


Now I know that HDR is not to everyone’s taste, especially this extreme effect, but hey, “my photograph, my vision” but I’d love to hear if you like them or not. The comment box is at the bottom.

This little corner of the workshops is quite dark and the only real splash of colour is that green door, just about everything else is grey or black. And it’s even worse at the blacksmiths forges.

Blacksmiths Workshop

The light shines through the big windows, which are quite grimy in places, throwing shadows against the walls and the forges. Extreme processing? Yes! But I like it.

You could spend a whole day in the Slate Museum, wandering round taking photographs, watching the demonstrations. Normally I would say they are happy to let you use a tripod but in the summertime it get busy so you might find you have people getting in your way. That’s why I shot everything hand-held this time.

OK! That’s it from me. As usual, you are welcome to comment or download any photograph for personal use. If you use them on the web, don’t forget to mention me, that’s part of the Creative Commons License I have applied to my photographs.

Same Country, Contrast In Living Style

I’ve visited Hong Kong several times in the past few years and it’s always struck me how different parts of the Special Administrative Region vary in living styles. Sprawling across Lantau and Tai O Islands is a well-known village called Tai O which  is definitely a must-go for photographers. Home to a community of fisher people, who’ve built their houses on stilts above the tidal flats, Tai O has become a bit of a tourist must-see. Through generations, this tightly knit community, which literally lives on the water, have built unusual structures which are all interconnected.

Tai O Stilt Houses

Wandering around Tai O is a dream. No traffic, a lazy way of life, well at least for me anyway, and peace to stop and look at what’s for sale, mainly fish. I think I prefer this life-style. What about you?

Walking round Tai O I found this gentleman sleeping on a bench in a park. It seems to be catching…..


…..because the cats were taking it easy as well.


Contrast that with down town Kowloon. Here the apartment blocks rise ever higher and higher but are still very tightly packed.

Hong Kong Streets

Over on Hong Kong island there are more and more high-rise buildings, still tightly packed. Space is at a premium in the SAR and so the only way to build is up. The sound of traffic is almost continuous and every time I have visited air pollution has always been evident. Nearly every photograph I have shows grey skies. If you live in or have visited Hong Kong SAR is it ever any different. Maybe you could let us know?


And yet there is plenty of wildlife in Hong Kong. A photographer I know from the New Territories manages to get some fantastic bird and wildlife photographs. Check him out.

That’s my contrast for this week. I hope you enjoyed the photographs and let me know what you think.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

How do you decide which photograph to use for the weekly challenge? Once I see the subject I usually have a good idea which one I might use. The next thing is to retrieve it from my back catalogue. Fortunately I use Adobe Lightroom to catalogue my photographs and collections so retrieval is pretty easy.


Now the kind folks at Automatic give us 3Gb of storage space for photographs but my personal choice is to load all of my blog photographs to Flickr. Try clicking on a photograph and see where it takes you.

Anyway this is the lighthouse at Penmon Point. It stands at the northern entrance to the Menai straits, between the coast of Anglesey and Puffin Island and might never have been erected but for a tragic accident in 1831 involving the Steam Ship Rothsay (Rothesay) Castle.

The Rothsay Castle should have left Liverpool at 10am on the 17th August 1831. Due to bad weather conditions and the late arrival of a passenger she didn’t leave until midday, carrying 150 passengers. Once out into open sea the Rothsay Castle experienced strong winds and a rough sea. One passenger asked the captain, a seafarer call Atkinson to return to port in the Mersey Estuary, but Atkinson refused. By the evening of the 17th August the Rothsay Castle had only reached the vicinity of the Great Orme and still had to negotiate the difficult passage through the Menai Strait. By now the Rothsay castle was in difficulty. There was two feet of water in the stokehold, the pumps weren’t working and they couldn’t bail out because there wasn’t a bucket available. Worse still, the only lifeboat had a hole in the bottom and there were no oars. Round about 1am, the inevitable happened. Rothsay Castle ran aground on Dutchman Bank at the entrance to the Menai Straits. A little later the Rothsay Castle broke up with the loss of many lives and bodies were washed up over a wide area of Anglesey and the Welsh mainland. Only twenty three passengers were rescued.

In 1832 a lifeboat was established at Penmon Point and sometime between 1835 and 1838 the present lighthouse, standing 29 metres tall and designed by James Walker was built.