Weekly Photo Challenge: Abstract

I’m sitting in my nice warm office whilst outside the sleet and hail are coming down. I suspect by now the snow in the National Park will be quite thick, especially on the higher slopes. So it’s probably best right now to avoid the area. Just as well this weeks challenge is Abstract which means I can maybe work from my back catalogue rather than venturing forth into the wild weather. But what is Abstract Photography?

There has been no commonly used definition of the term “abstract photography”. Books and articles on the subject include everything from a completely representational image of an abstract subject matter, such as Aaron Siskind‘s photographs of peeling paint, to entirely non-representational imagery created without a camera or film, such as Marco Breuer‘s fabricated prints and books. The term is both inclusive of a wide range of visual representations and explicit in its categorization of a type of photography that is visibly ambiguous by its very nature. – Source Wikipedia. In other words, anything goes, or that’s how I choose to interpret it.

So without further ado, here’s the first of my photographs. It’s the side of a triangular build with one side lit by the sun and the other side in shade.


Now I have to say I’m not a fan of abstracts in photography, I prefer structure, a definitive subject but hey ho…..

Not sure if you could call this one abstract or not. If I tried to create this normally I would have probably failed. But sometimes from a mistake comes something you can use. Quite simply I had too slow a shutter speed and I was moving and you can see the results here. Yeah! Let’s call it abstract.

Dark and Gritty

Abstraction in photography is ridiculous, and is only an imitation of painting. We stopped imitating painters a hundred years ago, so to imitate them in this day and age is laughable. – Berenice Abbott

Abstract 2

Black and White, Let’s try everything and because I liked the first one I thought I would do it again. Both of these are weird structures in the city of Berlin but I like them both.

Abstract 3

Are they abstract? Who knows? Tell me what you think.

Right, that’s it for this week. Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge

My Wonky Life WP Photo Challenge -Abstract
Can You Believe This Is NOT Photoshopped- – Invoke Delight And Inspire
Weekly Photo Challenge- Abstract – Nancy Merrill Photography
Murtagh’s Meadow Weekly Photo Challenge – Abstract
HIP Photography WPC- Abstract
Weekly Photo Challenge- Abstract – Compass & Camera
Photo Editing- Abstracts – Beyond The Brush
Weekly Photo Challenge – Abstract – Redstuffdan
Weekly Photo Challenge – Abstract – Ann Edwards Photography
PI Photography And Fine Art Weekly Photo Challenge- Abstract

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dinnertime

The sky is blue, not a cloud in the sky. Terrible for landscape photography, that’s for sure, because the light is too harsh. But lots of light means I can use one my favourite slower lenses to do a little bit of bird photography and where better than the Spinnies. That slower lens by the way is the amazing “El Cheapo” OLYMPUS M.40-150mm F4.0-5.6 R. Honestly for such a cheap lens £89 (US$ 128) I’ve had amazing results with it. Far better than when I used to use that big old 150-500mm that cost a fortune and weighed a ton.

The Spinnies

The Spinnies is a mixture of wetland and woodland, bordering the coast, in an area that is internationally important for birds. Most of the land around the Spinnies is agricultural and so the Spinnies and sites like it in the area act as important high water roosts and feeding areas for many types of ducks and waders. The reserve is a popular bird-watching spot which has 2 hides giving views over the lagoons and the Menai Strait. In the photograph above you can see the lagoon, which normally is quite busy.

Anyway my plan was to photograph some of the birds on the shore line feeding, but it was very quiet, Considering it was high tide I expected there to be plenty of waders and ducks but all I saw were a few terns. All of these were with the OLYMPUS M.40-150mm F4.0-5.6 R

No Room On The Rock

Well I think they are terns. My bird identification skills have never been great. So after checking out the shore line and fining nothing I thought I would turn inland to the woods. First thing I saw was this little blue tit gathering nesting material. The nest was probably near because it was prepared to wait me out so I moved on and let it get on with it’s work. The best part of this picture for me is the way the light is catching the business end of the tit. It’s head with the nest material is lit up, whilst most of it’s body is in shadow.


This post was supposed to be about dinnertime but I was having a hard time finding any birds that were feeding naturally. The Spinnies has several bird feeders next to the hides and they were all making a bee-line for these. Another Blue Tit just waiting it’s turn to get into the nuts and seeds. What I like about this photograph is the way the Blue Tit stands out from that blue background.

Blue Tit

I photograph all my birds and animals in the wild, in their natural environment. Some photographers will cut branches from nearby trees and bolt them to a small table. They’ll then put food at the bottom of the branches and sit back, behind a blind, with a long lens, and wait. To me, that may be bird photography, but it isn’t wildlife photography. – David Young

I have used this quote before and I strongly believe what David says here. For me anyway, this isn’t wildlife photography.they’re too easy to capture. You sit in the hide, in the warmth, wait until the birds fly onto the feeders and just click the shutter. Easy. Don’t get me wrong here. I like the photographs, all of them, but the biggest challenge is getting them in focus.

My next photograph is of a lovely little Nuthatch sitting on the bird feeder. Most of the time it had it’s back to me and although I had shot a few photographs. I still wasn’t happy. Then it turned just this way. I love the way the light is playing on the bird.


In many ways the photograph of the Chiffchaff below is similar to the Nuthatch, the difference being it always presented it’s back to me. Once again it was just the way the light was playing on the bird that attracted me to this photograph.


That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the photographs and as usual here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge.

The World Is a Book… Art of Dumpling Making
Dinnertime – Daily Post Photo Challenge – grahamisjustmyname
Anthony Shaughnessy Summer’s a bummer for landscape shooters
moonstonemaiden Weekly Photo Challenge- Dinnertime
Babsje Heron Who’s a good Great Blue Heron- You are! You are a good Great Blue Heron! (Post #300
la floralie 2 241 Flora’s menu, the spice of Life for a curry banquet
The Eye of a Thieving Magpie And Then Dinner Wandered By
Pudding Perfection- Castello Taverna – Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!
Dinnertime – Senk Photography
Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry – Bedlam & Daisies

Weekly Photo Challenge: Future

I have a pretty decent camera in my phone, in fact I have two cameras, the rear one is 13 megapixels and the front facing “look at me” one is 5 megapixels. So why do I use a camera that has only a few megapixels more than my phone? In a way it’s pretty simple. For serious photographs I use my camera. I can control the input; aperture, f stop, ISO, shutter speed. I can add filters, stick it on a tripod for better stability and in the end, the results I will achieve with my standalone camera will be far more pleasing to my eye. On the other hand, my phone’s camera is quick, simple to use, is discreet – who pays attention to someone with a phone taking pictures, it’s my “fun” camera

I think the equipment you use has a real, visible influence on the character of your photography. You’re going to work differently, and make different kinds of pictures if you have to set up a view camera on a tripod, than if you’re Lee Friedlander with handheld 35 mm rangefinder. But fundamentally, vision is not about which camera or how many megapixels you have, it’s about what you find important. It’s all about ideas. – Keith Carter

If you think back to the early photographers, they would work with big bulky equipment and dangerous chemicals to achieve the final results which would be far from perfect.

Example of Early Wet-Plate

They were the early pioneers, a distinct few, who strived to achieve perfection in their photography. If they could have seen into the future they would be amazed at what we the masses can achieve with a simple click of a button today.

Modern Day HDR With Luminosity Masks

Early photographs required exposure times in camera for hours which was later, as new techniques evolved, was reduced to minutes. But the chemical process was still dangerous and care had to be taken, not only to get the print, but to make sure you didn’t kill yourself with the chemicals involved. It took time to get the final result. Nowadays, in this digital age we take the picture and almost instantaneously we can publish it to the web.

But therein lies the rub. The early pioneers were very selective in what they photographed, They had to be considering everything that was involved in getting that final print. Compare that with todays average phone camera user, selfies, selfies, and yet more selfies. A recent survey shows that “young adults will take more than 25,000 pictures of themselves during their lifetimes”. Another survey suggests that “over a million selfies are taken each day”. All done with their phone camera on automatic letting the machine make the decisions. That’s how SKYNET started and we all know how that ended.

Anyway enough of this. I’ve got packing to do for another trip away. So until next time….

As usual here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge.

Eyes of Acumen
A Bridge Between the Past and the Future – Old Woman on a Bicycle
The Wish Factor Weekly Photo Challenge- Future
Weekly Photo Challenge- Future – Jedi by Knight
Through the Lens of my Life Buds
Weekly photo challenge – Future – WitchWithaView
Shooting Venice and more Night Lights over Samuel Beckett Bridge
The Digi Canvas Weekly Photo Challenge- Future
Chasing Serenity with a Lens Weekly Photo Challenge- Future
Half a photograph Housewarming

Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape

Being mainly a landscape photographer I really applaud the choice for this weeks challenge. And to celebrate I went out and photographed some fresh landscapes from one of my favourite areas in the Snowdonia National Park: the Ogwen Valley and Cwm Idwal. Easy to get to, a well constructed path leads up from the car park at the side of a main road to the shore of the Idwal lake. Along the way you get some spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Like the photograph below showing Tryfan which forms part of the Glyderau group. Although not the highest mountain in Wales by any means, it is one of the most famous and recognisable peaks in Britain,  but at 917.5 m (3,010 ft) above sea level it is only the fifteenth highest mountain in Wales.


Now Pen yr Ole Wen, on the opposite side of the Ogwen Valley to Tryfan, is the seventh highest mountain in Snowdonia and Wales and forms part of the Carneddau range.

Pen yr Olwen

Down in the Ogwen Valley lies Llyn Ogwen which lies at a height of about 310 metres above sea level. Llyn Ogwen is a very shallow lake, with a maximum depth of only a little over 3 metres. In the photograph below yu can see Llyn Ogwen, Tryfan to your right, Pen yr Ole Wen to your left and the path coming up from the car park. It’s a popular walk and probably one of the easiest in Snowdonia. Even on a weekday you can see quite a few people are heading up to Cwm Idwal which is behind me.

Cwm Idwal Path

Cwm Idwal is a valley in the Glyderau range of mountains in northern Snowdonia, within the valley lies a small lake called Llyn Idwal. That lake drains down to the Afon Ogwen by a small river which tumbles over rocks all the way to the base of the Ogwen Valley

Iron Bridge.tif

Other small tributaries come down from the mountains but eventually they all end up at the Afon Ogwen.

Mountain Stream

All the while I was up at Cwm Idwal, the light kept changing as did the weather. A little bit of sleet, some hail, sunny patches, but hey, this is Snowdonia and we are in the mountains. But look at the light. Some great patches of light and shade, constantly changing, what more could I ask for.

Ogwen Valley

That  wraps it up for this week and as usual here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge.

The Photographer Smiled… Polder View
Wednesday Lensday- Sunshine and Solitude – Aloada Bobbins
Claire Rosslyn Wilson Fishing Rods
Dr D in Oz Outback Trio
Elizabatz Gallery Weekly Photo Challenge- Irish Landscapes in Psykopaint
Maria Jansson Photography Amazing Places in Northern California- McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial
Weekly Photo Challenge- Landscape – Sky Blue Pink Design
Rebecca Gillum Photography I Love Rainstorms
Beyond the Brush Photography Dalveen Pass
Weekly Photo Challenge- Landscape – Connie’s World

Weekly Photo Challenge: Half Light

It’s Sunday morning, here in the UK. Overnight our clocks went forward one hour whilst most of us were sleeping, so we are officially in British Summer Time. This year marks the 100th anniversary of this twice yearly event where the clocks go forward in Spring and backwards in Winter, which means that for now evenings have more daylight and mornings have less. Britain is one of a few countries around the world that observes a daylight saving time. Why do we do it? Well it all started during the First World War

  • Germany and it’s ally Austria-Hungary were the first to introduce Daylight Saving Time, on 30 April 1916, as a way to conserve coal during wartime
  • On the 17th May 1916 the British government followed suit, passing the Summer Time Act in Parliament

It is light that reveals, light that obscures, light that communicates. It is light I “listen” to. The light late in the day has a distinct quality, as it fades toward the darkness of evening. After sunset there is a gentle leaving of the light, the air begins to still, and a quiet descends. I see magic in the quiet light of dusk. I feel quite, yet intense energy in the natural elements of our habitat. A sense of magic prevails. A sense of mystery. It is a time for contemplation, for listening – a time for making photographs. – John Sexton

Menai Strait

I took the photograph above at Caernarfon late one evening after the sun had set. I wasn’t really interested in the foreground but the pattern and colour of the clouds did really interest me.

Blue Hour in the evening happens once the sun has dropped a good distance below the horizon and what little light is left happens to take on a blueish sort of hue. It’s a good time to take photographs which are different from the normal reds, oranges and purples of a sunset. As Pete Bridgwood says;

Landscape photographers are crepuscular creatures, we tend to function most creatively at twilight, be it dawn or dusk.


…and that’s probably true. I find my best photographs tend to be in the evening as the sun is setting and living on the coast there’s always the chance to capture a good sunset out to sea, especially in the Spring, Summer and early Autumn.

You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn’t waste either. – Galen Rowell

Purple Sky

Sometimes though you can go inland and capture something completely different. The photograph below was taken on the banks of the Grand Western Canal which was completed in 1814. I hadn’t really gone out with the intention of taking a photograph, we were using the canal towpath to get to a local pub, but along the way the sky just lit up and it was really too good an opportunity to miss. No tripod here, just a steady hand, a 1/30s exposure and my wife’s shoulder as a brace.

The Canal

More local this time in a field very near to my house. I had seen the bales being cut during the day and thought it would be good for a sunset photograph. So suitably armed with a tripod I wandered around the field looking for a good viewpoint. The sun was setting to my right and flooding everything with an orange glow.

Hay Bales

My final photograph is of Tewkesbury Abbey which is a joy to photograph both inside and out. But Tewkesbury has a dark history. After the Battle of Tewkesbury in the Wars of the Roses on 4 May 1471, 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.

Tewkesbury Abbey

Out on the green I was looking for some foreground interest and finally found this lone bench some distance from the abbey. Even although it was some distance away I wanted to include it just to give that added something.

Finally I’d like to talk about Luminosity Masks. Last week I wrote an article about how I’d finally given up on trying to work with this method of post processing photographs and yet all of the photographs you see in this weeks post were processed using Luminosity Masks. Why? Over on Facebook I’m a member of a group called Luminosity Masking and last week I put up some photographs challenging the group to convince me that LM’s really worked in practice. Terry Tedor came up with a very well worded explanation of how he used LM’s to produce a photograph, which forced me to rethink how I should use Luminosity Masks. The results you can see here.

Here’s what other bloggers are writing about this weeks challenge.

Geriatri’x’ Fotogallery Half Light at Lukuba Island
Photo Challenge – Half-Light
JAMAC Photography Dawn
Ann Edwards Photography Weekly Photo Challenge – Half – Light
derwentvalleyphotography Weekly photo challenge- Half-light
Wolverson Photography Half-Light
A Certain Slant of Light Photography Half Light
Jude’s Photography Weekly Photo Challenge- Half Light
Schelley Cassidy Photography Half-Light- Nature’s Abstract Art
corleyfoto Weekly Photo Challenge- Half-Light