Against The Odds – I’m Struggling

An ideal subject for this weeks challenge would be the Kingfisher I captured some weeks back and featured in It’s A Kind Of Magic. But I don’t want to show you that, instead I’m going to show you, nothing. Let me explain, at the time of writing this, Saturday 12:07 pm UK time, I’m sitting in my office thinking of what I could show you this week. And my mind’s a blank. I can’t at the moment think of anything that would fit the bill. Mainly because I plan my days out, taking photographs. I know where I’m going. If I’m on the coast, I’ve checked the tide times. In the mountains it’s the weather. I don’t really do spontaneous, instant capture type of photography, even when I’m out on the streets. So this really is going to be a challenge this week, unless I go out with my camera and wait for something to happen…..is that really “against the odds”.

Of course I could just throw some photographs in, write a story around them to make them fit the theme…..now that’s an idea.

Right Fast Forward to Monday 20th, it’s 15:44 UK time (that’s 3:44 pm) and I’ve got my photograph.

Breeding Common Toad

Against All The Odds, sure was. I nearly stood on the pair of them as I was wandering by the river looking for something to photograph. This is a pair of Common Toads, the female is the larger of the two. Now the male is smart. He’s “piggy backed” on the female as she makes her way to the breeding ground. But he may not be the one to finally mate with her as more often than not there are more males than females. If he manages to stay with her for the several days required then that definitely is “against all the odds”

Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge

Photography Journal Blog Weekly Photo Challenge- Against the Odds
Crafting Photolog Weekly Photo Challenge- Lucky Against the Odds
Hot Dogs and Marmalade Play Your Game
Against the odds- The Photo Challenge – I scrap 2
Spirit of Dragonflies WPC – Against the Odds
Photo Challenge- Against All Odds – Tricia T Allen
Ed Lehming Photography “Against the Odds”
Following Him Beside Still Waters Fortuitous Frog Find
Smith Creek-Against the odds photo – Thoughts from an Alabaster Beach Girl
PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS Against the Odds

Shadows And Highlights–A Study In HDR

This new schedule, Wednesday to Tuesday, for the weekly photo challenge, is playing havoc with my diary. With the old one we’d be told on the Friday, I use the weekend to plan and usually go out on a Wednesday. Write the new blog post on a Thursday. But that’s not to be, anymore. Nevertheless I need to get a blog post out so here goes. Wednesday saw me in Chester Cathedral. I’ve visited before but never with the camera so I felt it was time to rectify the situation. The cathedral has some great places to photograph. the Cloisters, Gardens, Lady Chapel and Quire Stalls to name but a few. So let’s start with the cloisters. I was hoping for some better shadows, but the light outside was just dull grey, so very little light was cast through the stained glass windows. It didn’t help that the cloisters were also lit by spotlights and those wall lights you can see, throwing a very orange cast over everything. Sure I can compensate for this, either in the camera or in post, but it’s one of those extra annoying things to deal with.

Chester Cathedral

I have to say that in most of the photographs you will see today I resorted to using HDR and my trusty old friend PhotoMatix. Now there’s a piece of software I haven’t used for some time.

I’ve swung far from the straight and narrow path of straight photography… I’ve done some hokus pokus that would make the shadow of Daguerre haunt me for a heretic. – Anne Brigman

Wandering around the cathedral I found this room with very high arches, Same thing again, a lot of lighting, it was giving me the shadows and some nice highlights, but once again, maybe a bit too severe.

Chester Cathedral 1

 

Still you work with what you’ve got

If the lighting in a scene is non-uniform or if there are shadows, the lighting will, in general, appear more non-uniform and the shadows darker in the picture than in the original scene. This is purely a visual effect having nothing to do with the photographic process as such. – Ralph Evans

Anyway, moving on. Chester, like many cathedrals, attracts lot od visitors, some come to pray, some to look at the architecture and stained glass, some to photograph it, like me. What I like is that during services, they ban photography and ask for silence, as a mark of respect, so I left my visit to the Lady Chapel until later in the day.

Chester Cathedral 1_2

 

At the rear of the Lady Chapel is a stone monument, the Shrine to Saint Werburgh, patron saint of Chester. Originally the shrine was located at Hanbury in Staffordshire, but continuing Viking raids in the late 9th century prompted it to be moved to the church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. (Now the site of Chester Cathedral). During this period and before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 a monastery was established. Later, under the Normans a Benedictine Abbey was founded. Under the Normans the shrine continued to be a site of pilgrimage.

Then in 1540 came the dissolution of the Abbey, which later led to the creation of Chester Cathedral. Want to know more about the Dissolution Of The Monasteries, one of the most revolutionary events in English history, follow this link. Note this will take you to Wikipedia and open a separate page.

The Shrine was broken up during the dissolution and Werburgh’s relics were lost. In 1876 what was left of the stonework that survived was reassembled and put on display at the back of the main nave in the Lady Chapel.

Chester Cathedral 1_1

You know I took so many photographs whilst I was here, this blog post could have been 5 times as long, maybe I’ll do a second one with another batch of photographs. Meanwhile,

Chester Cathedral 1_4

Now this was really hard to photographs. There was a constant procession of people and it wasn’t so well-lit, so I was having to take a lot more bracket sets than I intended..and in everyone, someone would walk through the scene. So In desperation I dug out my trusty 10 stop ND filter and went for an extremely long exposure instead of an HDR. Don’t ask me the science behind it, but a long exposure will remove all moving objects, i.e. people from your photograph. Better still if you can get a really long exposure, in the region of several minutes you should be able to “make disappear” those who tend to walk slowly or stand still in your photograph.

That’s some nice stained glass so I went in for a closer look.

Chester Cathedral 1_3

Well that’s it for this week. Just a few photographs from my wander around Chester Cathedral. I hope you enjoyed them.

Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge

Shadow of the Lake – Progressing into Solitude
Visions Of A Daydreamer Weekly Photo Challenge- Shadow
IN THE SHADOW OF LIGHT – A Penny For My Thought
Shadows 1, 2 & 3 – Rebecca Wiseman Portfolio
Sue’s words and pictures Shadow selfie
Julie Powell – Photographer & Graphic Artist Weekly Photo Challenge – Shadow
Books, Music, Photography, & Movies WPC- Shadow
Schatten photo – writingindevizes
What Rings Like a Bell But Makes No Sound- – Nes Felicio Photography
Shadows – Are you still reading-

Solitude! Where Have I Heard That Before?

This weeks challenge is easy, or so I thought. I was almost certain we had covered Solitude before, several years back, but could I find a post referring to Solitude in any of my blogs. So instead I’m going to indulge in a bit of nostalgia and hopefully get Solitude across in the process…and I’ve missed the deadline, which is now Wednesday to Tuesday.

I took this photograph way back in 2007, it shows “Bah Humbug” and “Mr Grumpy” on the beach on a quiet summers evening.

Bah Humbug

Now “Bah Humbug” had a hatred of cats that can be best described as homicidal. Needless to say the neighbours cats never sh*t in our garden. He once caught one under the car, it was hissing and spitting, if he had got to it I dread to think what would have happened. Yet he was the quietest of dogs otherwise and it really was as shame that he developed epilepsy at a very early age. Now living on the coast, we have a lot of gulls around. To “Bah Humbug” they were just funny flying cats.

On the other hand “Mr Grumpy” was such a patient dog, loving, friendly, my pal. He lived to a ripe old age for a Cavalier, although in later years he slowed and became a right “Grumpy Old Man”, just like me.

Grumpy Old Man

Oh! I suppose I should mention “She Who Must Be Obeyed” tagged along as well.

She Who Must Be Obeyed

It’s a  great beach for walking on, especially in the evening once the tourists have gone. The tide has just gone out so all of the excess rubbish had been swept out to sea.

Now you might have noticed that I’ve introduced a watermark again. My policy is that photographs I publish on Say It With A Camera and Flickr are free to use as long as it’s not for commercial purposes and also that you credit me as the photographer. That’s not too much to ask for, after all, I’ve done all the hard work.

So it really annoys me when I see scraper sites just offering my photographs to be downloaded without accrediting me as the photographer.

Ashampoo_Snap_2017.02.09_15h16m26s_002_

The photograph you are about to see featured in my post about Cilla Black, a much-loved 60’s British pop-star who died recently and has had a statue erected in her honour near The Cavern Club in Liverpool.

Ashampoo_Snap_2017.02.09_15h14m36s_001_

Now whilst a watermark will not deter a determined thief, it’s all too easy to remove them in Photoshop, it does screw up these scraper sites, because they just take the photographs as is.

So that’s it this week, a bit of nostalgia, a rant about misuse of my photographs and hopefully I’ve covered Solitude as well.

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

Eiwawar The Great Dipper Show
My Quiet Place – Nes Felicio Photography
PhotosbyGoldie Solitude- A Winter’s Day
Georgia Adventures with Pauliana Weekly Photo Challenge- Solitude
@ The West Gate On my own
Simply Photos Standing Out in Solitude
Indira’s Blog Solitude- Weekly Photo Challenge
Solitude Found At Penmon Point – Tish Farrell
Instant Human…just add coffee. The Art of Solitude
Julie Powell – Photographer & Graphic Artist Weekly Photo Challenge – Solitutde

I Can’t Think Of A Title This Week

Saturday saw me at the UK National Cycling Championships held in the magnificent Manchester Velodrome, part of SPORTCITY and home of British Cycling since 1994. Now you might be thinking at this point “what’s this got to do with this weeks theme” Previously the site was in use as industrial land and Bradford colliery.

It seemed the perfect excuse to have a go with the Olympus 75-300mm lens, especially as you can walk around the spectator area of the velodrome and find a good spot. During the time trials the cyclists get a push to start them off then they have a couple of laps to get up to speed before the timing starts. They need a good time on record before progressing to the later race stages.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

They get a fair speed up so you have to lock the focus and make sure you track them as they go around the track, excuse the pun. Fortunately the Olympus E-M1 camera has a Continuous Auto Focus with Tracking function. It’s not so good for bird photography, because it sometimes strays away from the intended target, but with larger objects like cycles and planes I get a good hit rate. Is that another pun…?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I like this type of race. Team Pursuit. At the opposite side of the track is another team. They both set of at the same time and in simplest terms the object is for one team to catch the other. However it’s more likely to go to timing and it’s the third persons time that counts at the end of the required amount of laps. That is of course unless one team catches the other, then it’s all over. does matter how many laps have been run. That red contraption is the timing equipment.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Round and Round they go. Faster and Faster. This will never catch on…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photography as a fad is well-nigh on its last legs, thanks principally to the bicycle craze. – Alfred Stieglitz – in 1897.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now a big race, 60 laps, riders gain points at set stages in the race for being in the leading positions. Of course there’s a lot of jockeying for position and riders at the front are constantly looking behind them to see who is challenging.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sometimes it all goes wrong and a rider, or even a few will crash out. Ouch! That hurts…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s even tandem races. In this instance it was Paracycling. The rider behind is visually impaired, The rider at the front is not.

Jack and Jill have just climbed Le Alp de Huez on a tandem: “Phew that was a tough climb” said Jack “Thought we were never going to make it“. “Yeah good job I kept the brakes on” said Jill “or we’d have slid all the way back down!”

Seriously though both the riders do a good job and work together as a team

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Well that’s it for this weeks challenge. I hope you enjoyed the photographs.

Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge;

Winter’ – DirtRoadWife
Estelea’s Blog Repurposing on the road, Filipino Style
Freddy’s Photo Project Out of the deep
The Linda Life Repurposing and Presenting Bubble Wrap
tornin2’s Blog Repurposed lights
the Ordinary Hiker Repurposed- O & E Towpath Trail
The Land Slide Photography On The Road
Half a photograph Repurposed
Doodles Collections Countertop Pathway
It’s The Little Things We Have Everything We Need If We Use Everything We Have

 

Talacre Dunes

Another post, using the new theme and the WordPress servers to host the photographs. Most comments said everything was OK but “It’s Just A Theory” reported having problems displaying the photographs. So could you please check and let me know if the images are displaying with the post and that you don’t have to click a link or a thumbnail to see them. Thanks in advance for checking.

So this week it’s Graceful. Those people in Automatic sure pick some weird themes at times but here we go.

The sand dunes at Talacre have always been my goto place when I want to test new equipment or a particular method of taking photographs.

Talacre Sand Dunes

Wandering amongst the dunes gives me plenty of scope to photograph wildlife, like this jay which was sitting on one of the trees that are dotted around the dunes. Beautiful birds, very intelligent and this photograph in winter plumage really doesn’t do the colours justice.

Jay

And wherever you go your sure to find little Blue Tits at the edges of the dunes, hiding in the trees. Although not this one, quite cheeky, but very nervous and surprisingly this one came quite close.

Blue Tit

However, back to the dunes, There are certain areas were a lot of conservation work is going on so you will find these areas fenced off.

Dune Protection

It may be for a rare species of plant or wildlife. Sometimes it’s just to protect the ever-changing infrastructure. Sand dunes are very susceptible to damage by us and of course the wind. I never question it. If it’s fenced off, it’s for a reason, so I see no need to enter, even if it means I have to go a longer way round.

Finally you can’t go to Talacre without taking a photograph of the abandoned lighthouse. But this time rather than go onto the beach I’ve stayed in the dunes to give me some foreground interest.

Talacre Lighthouse

Is it graceful? It might be but hey, my post my choice of photographs. Do they fit the theme….of course they do.

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

Yvette’s photography Graceful
PhotosbyGoldie Graceful in Repose
Photoessayist The Blog Graceful- A Richard Serra Sculpture
A Certain Slant of Light Photography Underwater Grace
Flight of a Seagull
Anvica’s gallery Graceful
Half a photograph Graceful
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Vietnamese Girl in Ao Dai – Nes Felicio Photography
Sara Doolittle Gracefulness, air, and water