Gone Fishin’

This weekend Flood Alerts have been issued for coastal areas in North Wales and other parts of the country. Natural Resources Wales has issued 10 flood alerts, warning of dangerous conditions that could breach sea and river defenses. Higher than normal tides, the biggest for two decades, will combine with unsettled weather to batter our coastlines.

Yesterday I was on Rhyl  seafront, which has only recently been repaired and strengthened since last years storms which caused so much damage, and was able to capture some great photographs.

That's Enough

About an hour before high tide the sea was up, some big waves were breaking but nothing series yet. The young lady had just cycled along the promenade so it wasn’t too bad yet.

How things change though, within a quarter of an hour the wind had got up and waves were crashing right over the railings. The two fishermen seen in the photograph had decided enough was enough, they packed up and left, leaving one brave soul to carry on.

Gone Fishin'

Eventually even he decided it was getting too dangerous to be on the sea front. Although it doesn’t look as bad, this wave nearly swept him off his feet. Fortunately he regained his balance and was able to get behind the small wall you can see at the bottom of the photograph.

Stormy Seas

We are expecting higher wind speeds today so the sea will be much rougher. At the moment 09:30 about four hours before high tide there is only a soft breeze blowing, hopefully it will stay that way and allow the high tide to pass without incident.

52 In 2015 Week 8 SOOC

For those of you who don’t know SOOC stands for Straight Out Of Camera. In other words, no adjustments in Lightroom or Photoshop, other than cropping and straightening. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a creative photograph. There’s all sorts of things you can do and for my first photograph I used a 10 stop Neutral Density Filter.

52 in 2015 Week 8 SOOC

Neutral density filters are used to reduce the amount of light reaching the camera’s sensor which means you can get longer exposures compared to not using an ND Filter. The 10 stop ND filter reduces the light reaching the camera’s sensor by 1000 times and as you can see it is almost black


Using this filter I was able to achieve an exposure time of 98 seconds, that’s right 98 seconds. The effect of using this filter is to smooth out the wave action. The photograph below was taken immediately after the long exposure but this time without the ND filter. You can clearly see the waves, they’re not particularly strong but the ND Filter has done a good job, giving the image above a more creative dreamlike look and yet it is still SOOC.

Dog on Beach

I hope you enjoyed this little explanation of the 10 stop ND filter. If you are considering experimenting with one I would suggest you buy one of the cheaper alternatives. Yes I know the results won’t be the same as some of the more well-known and expensive brands but for experimenting why pay a fortune out for something you may use a few times and decide it’s not for you.

Search the web and you will find lots of recommendations for 10 Stop ND Filters, I read lots of articles before buying one from SRB Photographic. Although it’s probably one of the cheapest ones to buy, in tests Amateur Photographer scored it 4 out of 5, the same as the more expensive LEE and B+W offerings.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry

I’m not a symmetrical kind of photographer. Usually I look for unusual angles, especially in architecture. When I photograph in churches, and I’ve photographed a lot of them, it’s rare for me to do one straight down the aisle. I’ll normally move off to one side and then take the photograph at an angle across the pews. Sort of like this one….

Gloucester Cathedral

Well there is the odd exception to my rule and this is one of them. Mainly because of that line of stones running all the way to the door at the end which creates a nice “leading line”. This weeks post is a bit of a challenge. Can you guess where I am? If I told you the building featured in some of the Harry Potter movies would you be any the wiser?

Want a clue? Scenes from the first two Harry Potter movies were shot here? Another one? This building has been a place of worship for over 1300 years. Still none the wiser? OK! Here’s another one….this building is in the same county where an annual cheese rolling race down a hill is located.

Over to you. If you know where I am leave a comment. If you don’t know and want to find out Google is your friend in this case. Seriously though if you want to find out leave a comment or contact me and I’ll let you know.

Hard Hitting Footage Of A Fatal Collision Between Motorcycle And Car


Norfolk Police in the UK have released hard-hitting footage of a fatal collision in a bid to get motorcyclists and drivers to think seriously about road safety.

WARNING – Viewers are warned that this video contains content which some may find distressing, but it does not show any graphic images of the rider during or after the collision. The decision is yours whether you want to watch it or not, I have, several times now, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

I don’t often publish anything like this but I feel the message has to get out there even to other countries.


52 in 2015 Week 7 Environmental Portrait

If you are like me you are probably thinking “What is an Environmental Portrait”? Wikipedia describes it as;

A portrait executed in the subject’s usual environment, such as in their home or workplace, and typically illuminates the subject’s life and surroundings.

It is thought that by photographing the subject in their natural surroundings they will be more at ease and you will see more of their personality rather than a likeness of their physical features

I was interested in environmental portraiture, the mix between the environment and the person. I didn’t know any of these people, but they knew my face and felt comfortable with me. I had been there with a medium-format camera the year before. I would have little contact sheets to show what I was doing. I would ask questions about what they were doing in the community and their lives. They felt comfortable with a toy camera, they were not threatened at all. – Carl Robert Pope, Jr.

I had a problem, it was Saturday morning, the last day for taking this weeks 52 entry photographs and I hadn’t lined up anyone to photograph. I didn’t even know where I was going to find them. Wherever I was going to get the photographs had to be populated to give me a chance of finding someone so the Snowdonia National Park was definitely out. On the other hand the National Park is so busy at weekends with walkers and climbers that it might not have been such a bad idea, but in the end I settled for Llandudno. Why there? It’s a seaside town, with a very long pier which is open on a Saturday, and there’s a very busy High Street.

First stop the pier, but on the way down from the car-park I came across these two giving roses away. Normally photography in shopping malls is not allowed, they’re private property and security usually jump on you fast if you get out a camera, but I thought I’d take my chances. They were happy to pose but I screwed up. I literally took the camera out of the bag and started shooting. Big mistake, the camera was set on a low ISO, aperture was all wrong, as was the focus point, it’s behind the girl. Face detection was turned off as well so I ended up with a couple of  blurred photographs. This is the best of the bunch.

I Got It Wrong

I’ve done a little bit of street photography before but I’ve never actually gone up and asked someone if I can take their photograph but as the saying goes “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. My plan was to stop and talk and then ask if I could take a photograph.

First stop, the donut stall on the pier. A really nice lady, so straight out I asked if I could photograph her. OK! It’s a bit posed but success, I’ve managed to ask and get a yes. That was easy….

52 in 2105 Week 7 Environmental Portrait

Three rejections later, two quite polite and one rather rude, I was beginning to feel a bit down-hearted. Admittedly I only need one photograph for the 52 challenge, and I knew I had that with the lady above, but I really wanted another one to be sure. Then I came upon this lovely couple who approached me to photograph them with their camera. We stood talking for a while and then I suggested I take another one with my camera. looks like the talking before-hand is paying off.
A Couple

Flushed with success I was about to leave the pier and walk back into town. At the first booth there was a lady selling ice-creams and candy floss, well not exactly, it was a bit cold and still early in the day. Building on my success I managed to convince here to let me take her photograph. A bit shy at first, which you can see, but I’m happy with the results.

52 in 2015 Week 7 Environmental Portrait
So there you have it. I actually enjoyed talking to people and once a sort of rapport was established I was able to get a photograph.