Tewkesbury Abbey

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

Nowadays, cameras are everywhere and in March 2013 The Verge reported that Flickr had a total of 87 million registered members and more than 3.5 million new images uploaded daily.

I don’t take pictures for the sake of photographing. I take photographs to express what’s going on inside of me. Photography turned out to be the most handy tool.

- Rumio Sato

I wonder how many of those photographs uploaded to Flickr “express what’s going on inside of me”?

Tewkesbury Abbey

I was lucky to visit Tewkesbury Abbey again last week. The internal lighting highlights the colour of the stone and I spent hours last week wandering around the abbey looking for unusual scenes.

The colour of the flowers against the more sedate hues of the abbey stone attracted me straight away.

In 1087, William the Conqueror gave the manor of Tewkesbury to his cousin, Robert Fitzhamon, who, with Giraldus, Abbot of Cranbourne, founded the present abbey in 1092. Building of the present Abbey church did not start until 1102, employing Caen stone imported from Normandy and floated up the Severn.

Virgin and Child

Wandering around the abbey I found this little chapel with an Alec Miller sculpture of the “Virgin and Child”. Alec Miller (1879-1961) trained as a wood-carver in Glasgow, my home town. Later he became a carver, sculptor, craftsman and artist. In 1931 he emigrated to California, where he had a successful career.
 Tewkesbury Abbey Ceiling

If you ever visit the abbey don’t forget to look up and you will see the beautiful vaulted roof, with its gilded Suns of York, which was commissioned by King Edward IV after the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471.

The battle was one of the decisive battles of the Wars of the Roses and after the battle some of the defeated Lancastrians sought sanctuary in the abbey. The victorious Yorkists, led by King Edward IV, forced their way into the abbey; the resulting bloodshed caused the building to be closed for a month until it could be purified and re-consecrated.

Abbey View

By now it was getting near time for the abbey to close for the night, apart from a few staff I had the abbey to myself and I was able to get this photograph looking down from the altar to the nave. As I was lining up the camera for the photograph I started to think about all the people who had walked on the stone floor of the abbey in it’s 921 year history. Can you imagine the number of people, who were they and had anything significant happened in their lives? Of course at the time I did not know about the massacre in the abbey after the battle.


52/2013 Week 37

52/2013 Week 37

Wildlife photography, you either love it or hate it. Most of the time I hate it. It can be so frustrating and most of the time I shoot quantity over quality.

52/2013 Week 37

But occasionally I get something I like, like this Meerkat. OK!  It’s shot in a zoo, but it can be just as demanding there to get a good one, You still get movement, but usually you can get a little closer, which helps a great deal. But is it wildlife photography?

52/2013 Week 36

52/2013 Week 36

Do you ever set yourself a project and then find you’re continually chasing to catch-up? That’s the way it been with this years 52/2013 Challenge. It’s not that I’m failing to get the weekly photograph, more the time required to process the photograph, post it to Flickr and then write the blog post.

52/2013 Week 36

It doesn’t help if you don’t have access to the internet like I had the last week. I knew I was going on vacation, I knew there was no access, but I still missed not using it. Maybe I’ve come to rely on it too much? What about you. Do you feel lost if you can’t get on-line?

Anyway for this weeks challenge, I took this photograph of Tewkesbury Abbey from the opposite side of the river. Most visitors to the Abbey never see this. What I like about it is the bench and tree on the river bank provide some good foreground interest.


Weekly Photo Challenge: POV

Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV

What’s the best way to show the beautiful features of the ceiling in a 12th century building?

I’ve just got back from a short trip to Tewkesbury and the Cotswolds. The abbey at Tewkesbury is one of the best religious buildings I have ever photographed and the Cotswolds is famous for its areas of outstanding natural beauty. But for this weeks challenge I’m going to show you a photograph taken in the abbey.

Weekly Photo Challenge: POV

The Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin, Tewkesbury, (commonly known as Tewkesbury Abbey), in the English county of Gloucestershire, is the second largest parish church in the country and a former Benedictine monastery. It is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Britain, and has probably the largest Romanesque crossing tower in Europe.

Walking round the abbey, you can find so much to photograph, I spent nearly 5 hours there. The artwork on the ceiling is very intricate, but, because the abbey is so tall you don’t half crick your neck trying to view it…

…and that’s where the mirror comes into its own. By looking in the mirror you can view the magnificent ceiling of the abbey easily.

Not the easiest thing to photograph though, I had to get a lens cloth out to polish the fingerprints off the mirror and for some reason I had difficulty getting the camera to focus sharply, but here it is anyway. A different POV for the ceiling in the abbey.

Have you ever seen anything like this? Or perhaps you’ve found something that helps to display unique features in a building?

Vulcan Test

I Need Your Help – Photograph Test

I’m hoping you can help me here. When I ran the post about Topaz ReStyle,  Adrian Pym was kind enough to point out that the photographs looked pixellated and noisy when viewed in the WordPress Reader. I had to agree with him, they were terrible.

Previously I have used Flickr to host my images but just recently I switched to Google+. In conjunction with Windows Live Writer I write my posts offline and embed the photographs into the post.

It looks like something is going wrong with this process causing the photographs not to look so good.

Sound a bit technical. Not really, but here’s what I’d like from you. I’m going to post two photographs here. One hosted on Google+ and one on Flickr. Can you look at them and see if either of them don’t look so good.

Here is the first one – it’s from Google+

Now, the second one from Flickr

Vulcan Test

I really would like your help on this so if you can help by replying please do so.

Thanks in advance – Mike


Talacre Sunset

Topaz ReStyle

It’s no secret that I am a Photoshop user and that I will enhance my images. In my opinion that’s what the digital age is all about. I’m a great fan of Topaz Labs plugins for Photoshop and I have their Complete Collection installed on my computer.

Recently I did a beta test of Topaz ReStyle which is now on general release. What does it do? Hard to explain in words but you can take a photograph and apply one of a thousand different effects to it. Perhaps the best way is to show you what I mean.

Here’s the base image. Taken as the sun was setting on Talacre Beach. On it’s own I quite like it….but it could do with something a little bit extra.

With one click I can select from any one of the 1000 pre-sets and it will be instantly applied.

But you don’t have to stick with the pre-sets default setting. You can fine tune them using the control panel.

Here you can adjust the strength of the five primary colours, mask out some of the effect, change the saturation and hue of colours, even the luminosity.

Want something a bit weird? ReStyle has pre-sets  for that.  Or maybe something dark and moody?

A thousand different pre-sets is a bit much to look at but you can search by keyword. For instance, I used “blue” to find this pre-set.

Many of the pre-sets look reasonably natural, especially any that have to do with sunset or sunrise.

I’m not saying that ReStyle should be applied to every photograph, nor is it  suited to every photograph. When I was beta testing I found I got the best results from photographs where the light was kind of low and I stuck to something that was believable. i.e. the green and really red just don’t seem to gel.


Sea King Helicopter

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

This is my 500th post on WordPress and it’s appropriate that this weeks subject should be the sea considering I have lived in coastal towns for the last 15 years. Many of my photographs are taken on the beach or the sand dunes nearby. I’ve been there in driving rain, storm conditions, beautiful sunny days, unusually high tides, sunrise, sunset and I never tire of visiting the coast and the sea. I can visit the same place time and time again, and yet get a different photograph every time.

You may be wondering what a helicopter has to do with the sea but bear with me. The Westland WS-61 Sea King is a British licence-built version of the American Sikorsky S-61 helicopter of the same name, built by Westland Helicopters. There! That’s the connection….it’s called a SEA King. But there’s more to this post.

Here in the United Kingdom, No. 22 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operates the Sea King HAR.3 and HAR.3A from three stations in the southern United Kingdom in a Search and Rescue role. The primary role is military search and rescue, and the provision of rescue for civilian aircraft in distress under the 1948 Chicago Convention. Although established with a primary role of military search and rescue, most of the operational missions are spent in its secondary role, conducting civil search and rescue. This entails the rescue of civilians from the sea (that word again), on mountains, from flooded regions or other locations on land.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of Great Britain, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Founded on 4 March 1824 as the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck. the RNLI operates throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Ships in distress, or the public reporting an accident contact the emergency services, who will redirect the call to HM Coastguard or the Irish Coast Guard, as appropriate. The Coastguard co-ordinates all rescues and may call on the RNLI, rescue helicopters or other agencies to take part. Can you see where this is going, yet?

This weekend was the Rhyl Air Show and each year we are given a demonstration of the cooperation between the RNLI and Search and Rescue Helicopters. In the photograph above a crew-member (usually a paramedic) is lowered from the helicopter in preparation for a transfer to a ship at sea.

The helicopter will match speed with the ship and the crew-member will land on the deck. In the photograph above he is just on the back end of the RNLI lifeboat, simulating the transfer.

WordPress Tags: Helicopter,Sikorsky,Lifeboat,RNLI,Coastguard,Rhyl

Nant Gwrtheyrn

52/2013 Week 35

Nant Gwrtheyrn

Week 35 already and yet it hardly seems like yesterday that I was starting this years challenge, which, unfortunately, will be my last.

Nearly all of my photographs for Say It With A Camera are hosted on Flickr, with a few on Google+. At the end of this year I will be moving the hosting to Google+, mainly because Flickr in it’s new format no longer suits my needs. I find it unwieldy to use and now that my previous Pro Account has been terminated, the adverts are driving me crazy.

There will be no disruption, all that will happen is if you click on an image to see it in larger view or to download it, you will be directed to Google+, instead of Flickr.

You may have noticed that I have changed the brand name, (apparently I am a brand), from Mike Hardisty Photography to Say It With A Camera, which  serves two purposes.

One, Say It With A Camera is far more unique than Mike Hardisty, (there’s more than one of us), with photography tagged on the end. Two, I want to apply my values to everything I do, including clarity and consistency. Say It With A Camera  provides the clarity and consistency to my brand should I decide to sell my photographs.

After reading the Daily Post article Should Your Blog Be on Facebook, I decided that maybe mine should so I have created a Facebook page to take feeds from my blog as well as photographs and articles that won’t feature on Say It With A Camera


Take Your Litter Home

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field. – Peter Adams

Peter Adams may be right but changing the Depth of Field can be quite useful in some cases; sometimes it may be desirable to have the entire image sharp, in which case large DOF is appropriate.

Take Your Litter Home

In other cases, a small DOF may be more effective, emphasizing the subject while de-emphasizing the foreground and background.

Spring Buds

Depth of Field can be altered by changing the Aperture in your camera.  Here’s the technical bit;

Reducing the aperture size increases the depth of field, which describes the extent to which subject matter lying closer than or farther from the actual plane of focus appears to be in focus. In general, the smaller the aperture (the larger the number), the greater the distance from the plane of focus the subject matter may be while still appearing in focus.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Attribution: Cbuckley at the English language Wikipedia

So at f4 the DOF will be very small, at f22 the DOF will be large. To show you this I’ve conducted a little experiment, photographing the same scene several times whilst changing the the aperture from f4 to f22.

For this experiment I’ve drafted in Edna and Mabel to act as subjects. Mabel will be in front and throughout the sequence of photographs I will maintain the focus point of my camera on her face. To avoid camera movement it’s mounted on a tripod.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

In the photograph above the aperture is set at f4. As you can see, Edna, who is in the background is out of focus.

14a Focus

Now the aperture is f8, notice how Edna is starting to come into focus. Her features are much more clearer, you can even see her pudgy little nose.


At f22 the photograph is in sharp focus from front to back including the fence behind Edna. In other words at f22 I have a large Depth of Field.

Every time someone tells me how sharp my photos are, I assume that it isn’t a very interesting photograph. If it was, they would have more to say. – Anonymous

On a practical note for most of my landscape photographs I tend to use f8,  f11 or f16, very rarely do I use f22. There’s a reason for this. If you look at the aperture diagram you can see that the higher the aperture number the smaller the whole is. In combination with variations of shutter speed, that hole controls the light reaching the sensor on my camera. Typically, a fast shutter will require a larger aperture to ensure sufficient light exposure, and a slow shutter will require a smaller aperture to avoid excessive exposure. So If I set the aperture to f22 I would need to have a slow shutter speed, which in turn means I could end up having blur due movement; me holding the camera, the wind moving trees or vegetation, clouds across the sky.