52/2013 Week 51

52_2013-Week 51

I have come to the conclusion that “street photography” is just not my thing. Basically because I’m not too comfortable at photographing people in candid settings. But this week I was forced into resorting to this genre of photography, mainly because the weather has not been conducive to shooting landscape or wildlife…..

…..and now to a tale of stupidity on my part. Last week I had a memory card failure whilst I was out at the cathedral. Not a big problem as I carry four in my camera bag. When I got home I tried to format the aforementioned card and I just couldn’t. They’re guaranteed for 10 years so it was just a case of contacting technical support, going through all the hoops that they made me do until they finally agreed that I could send the card back as faulty. Now this process took nearly a week to complete but at least I had approval to send the card to the Czech Republic.  On receipt of the faulty card they would send me a brand new one within 7-10 working days.

I live in the UK, the Czech Republic is in continental Europe and it’s Christmas time. So my faulty card is probably not going to get dealt with until sometime in the New Year, due to postal delays, holidays etc. No matter. I have 3 more I can use.

Err! Make that two. I have gone and sent them a working card instead of the faulty one, which is lying on my desk right now. How stupid can you get?

Moral of the story?

If you have more than one memory card from the same manufacturer make sure you label them in some way to avoid confusion

Weekly Photo Challenge: Community

On the 5th December 2013 a high spring tide, combined with a storm surge and gale force winds overwhelmed the sea defences along parts of the North Wales coast.

It has been 20 years since this area last experienced flooding and whilst not on the scale of the storm that caused so much damage in the Philipines, homes were flooded, leading to about 400 people having to be evacuated to safer areas.

I was on the coastal path at Barkby Beach, Prestatyn, to record the ferocity of the storm.  Hopefully this short video will give you some idea of what it was like and show the emergency efforts that were being made to stem the flow of water at our location.

The wall you can see in the video is the highest point in the sea defences, the tidal surge has already overwhelmed it. From the photographs you can see the hasty efforts to erect a sand bag wall to protect the low-lying houses.

There was still an hour to go before high tide.  With the water level still rising the police suggested it was time to move out of the area and let the emergency team get on with their efforts.

Christmas Spirit

Christmas from the Cathedral at St AsaphI’m starting to get in the Christmas Spirit and yesterday I went back to the cathedral to photograph the tree, which I’m going to use as the desktop background for my computer.

If you don’t already know all of my blog photographs come with a Creative Commons, Attribution, Share Alike License, which means you are free to copy and use the images as long as you credit me. Full details of the license term can be found here.

If you want to use this photograph just click on it and you will be taken to my Flickr account where you can download the large size (2464 x 1632 pixels) of this image. That should be good enough to be used on even the largest monitor. Of course if you want to use it on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, etc, feel free but please don’t forget to credit me.

In the meantime I’d like to take this early opportunity to wish everyone “A Merry Christmas” and more importantly “A Healthy and Happy New Year”

Mike

 

52/2013 Week 50

Sunset Silhouette

Week 50 and only two weeks to go until I finish this challenge. This is my second year of doing this and it’s been hard at times. Committing yourself to take one photograph each week seems easy on paper but when it actually comes down to it…

At times I have found myself on the last day of a challenge week not having a photograph and wondering what would look good. Today was one of those weeks with tomorrow being the last day of the challenge week. I had been in our local cathedral this afternoon for a serious of Christmas photographs and when I got home the sun was just setting. Suddenly the sky coloured up with those amazing reds and the telephone pole just outside my house looked not too bad silhouetted against the sky. There you have it, this weeks 52/2013.

Would you be interested in completing a 52 challenge? Have you ever completed a challenge? Did you keep on track? Let me know.

11 12 13

11, 12, 13

Today is Wednesday, the Eleventh of December, Two Thousand and Thirteen which gives us one of those unique consecutive number sequences that only come around ever so often.

Of course if you live in the USA, and anywhere else where they format the date by giving the month first, this all happened for you a month earlier on Tuesday, November the Twelfth, Two Thousand and Thirteen

The next time a consecutive number sequence happens again in the UK is  the First of February, Two Thousand, One Hundred and Three which is 90 years from now.

Somehow I can’t see me writing about that event. Frightening really!

52/2013 Week 49

52/2013 Week 49

Bit late with this one which is from last week. Due to the storm I was unable to post as we were without broadband and telephone for two to three days.

The outage made me realise how much I use the internet to research information for my photographs, to maintain my blog and keep in touch with other photographers via Facebook and Google+.

If it came to it I could probably do with out it, but could you?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

For this weeks challenge I wanted to show you a man-made structure set against a background of nature. As luck would have it, I was in Ty Mawr Country Park last week to photograph the Cefn Viaduct which carries the railway across the park and the River Dee.

Cefn Viaduct

The viaduct was built in 1848 to carry the Shrewsbury to Chester Line, also known as the Severn–Dee Mainline (after the rivers on which Shrewsbury and Chester stand), across the River Dee. The engineer for the line was Henry Robertson, a partner in locomotive builders Beyer Peacock, while the contractor was Thomas Brassey in partnership with William Mackenzie and Robert Stephenson.

Cefn Viaduct

For all it’s size and importance I was unable to find out much about the Cefn Mawr viaduct.

Cefn Viaduct

Thomas Brassey, on the other hand was an English civil engineering contractor and manufacturer of building materials who was responsible for building much of the world’s railways in the 19th century. By 1847, he had built about one-third of the railways in Britain, and by time of his death in 1870 he had built one in every twenty miles of railway in the world.

Whoo Hoo, I’m Back

Storm Surge

Gale force winds from the sea, an extra high spring tide and a storm surge all  served to breach the sea defences in my little part of North Wales.  Some homes were flooded, fortunately ours wasn’t, the only effect on us  was no telephone or broadband services for a few days

We knew we were in for difficult conditions, the weather services had been predicting for days of the coming storm. Natural Resources Wales had issued flood warnings to approximately 4000 homes in low-lying areas.  Now stormy weather here is nothing like the hurricanes or typhoons experienced in other parts of the world. Our storms are not as violent and generally our sea defences are pretty good at coping.   But for some reason, the heavy seas breached the defences and so more than 400 residents were forced to take refuge in Rhyl Leisure Centre after their homes were left ruined.  It was the highest storm surge we have had in twenty years.  I feel sorry for those whose houses were flooded, especially as we are approaching Christmas. Within minutes of the defences breaching,  the sea was pouring into their houses, ruining everything. Some news reports showed people standing in water up to their waist.

The photograph above was taken an hour before full high tide. You can see the sea is up to the level of the wall and has already topped it. The area in the foreground is a car park. Just out of picture secondary defences were hastily being erected to stem the flow of water.

I’ll come back later this week with some more photographs showing the storm and the efforts to protect against flooding.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light

I saw my first Christmas Tree with all the decorations in a house window yesterday and neighbours are busy slinging lights around their houses. The shops as you would expect are in full Christmas mode and even SKY News has a Christmas tree in the studio background.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light

So it looks like I need to get with it and start joining in the holiday fun. It’s too early. Christmas shouldn’t start for at least another two weeks, don’t you think?

I was sent this a couple of years back and before I decided to publish it here I thought I’d better check copyright etc. Doing a search  for the first sentence led me to a whole host of sites on the web where this has been published so it will be very difficult to find the original copyright holder. If it’s you let me know and I will either withdraw the post or attribute it to you.

I wanted to send some sort of holiday greeting to my friends and colleagues, but it is difficult in today’s world to know exactly what to say without offending someone. So I met with my solicitor yesterday, and on advice I wish to say the following :

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all .

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2012 , but not without due respect for the calendar of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great (not to imply that Great Britain is necessarily greater than any other country) and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms:

This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/ him or others and is void were prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. The wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Best Regards (without prejudice)

Name withheld (UK Data Protection Act 1998)

 

The Dee Estuary

The Dee Estuary, on the North Wales / North-West England border, is one of the United Kingdom’s premier birding locations for wetland and shorebirds. But I wasn’t there primarily for birds, although they do feature in this blog, mainly because you can’t miss seeing them if you visit the estuary.

Bird Flock

According to the Dee Estuary website there were 1,700 Black-tailed Godwit, 300 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15,000 Knot, 12,000 Oystercatcher and 5,000 Dunlin on the shore at Caldy/Thurstaston this morning.

Map picture

In the photograph above you can see Mostyn Docks on the Welsh side of the Estuary. It’s from here that the Airbus A380 wings are shipped to Toulouse in France for aircraft assembly.

One of the reasons I was on the English side of the estuary was to photograph the Cockle pickers as they worked out on the mud flats.

Mud Flats

Out there on the flats it soon turns from sand to thick gloopy mud and I wasn’t able to get too close to this boat because of this. Fortunately I had the Sigma 150-500mm attached to my trusty Pentax K-30 and using this combination I was able to get a reasonably close photograph.

Meanwhile I could see I was too late to catch the Cockle pickers in action; they had already harvested the days catch….

Cockles

…. and I was only able to photograph them going out to retrieve it

Cockle Pickers

It’s not something I would like to do. It’s muddy, cold, tiring. These guys were struggling to drag the inflatable across the mud. Look at what they are wearing and see how muddy they are. One other interesting point about this photograph. If you look in the top right hand corner, you can just see a splash of white against the blue sky. This is Talacre lighthouse which features in many of my posts.

As well as the Cockle pickers harvesting shell-fish a few tourists were also trying to get in on the act, including this Oystercatcher.

Oyster Catcher

Because they eat cockles Oystercatchers are vulnerable if cockle beds are overexploited. Oystercatchers can be seen on almost all of the coastal areas of the UK.

I’ve seen a lot Redshank on the coast in the last two weeks and I wasn’t going to show this photograph because I’ve written about the Redshank before.

Redshank

But on reflection (excuse the pun) I really liked this one myself and thought you might as well.

Finally, the all-black Carrion Crow is one of the cleverest, most adaptable of UK birds, they are quite fearless, but often wary of man. When searching for food Carrion Crows exercise caution initially, but are quick to learn when it is safe. They will then return repeatedly to take advantage of whatever is on offer.

Carrion Crow

Well that’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed this brief visit to England with me and maybe we could do it again, sometime.

But before you go, here’s on more great little bird for you. As I was walking back up to the car this little Kestrel was hovering over the cliff tops, searching for small mammals or birds. It wasn’t that much higher than me which enabled me to get a few photographs before it flew away. Definitely my catch of the day.

Kestrel

Kestrels are found in a wide variety of habitats and are a familiar sight, hovering at the side of motorways, or other main roads. Preferred habitats are moors, farmland, even urban areas.