I’m On A Roll…

You know the old saying “You wait an hour for a Number 10 bus and then two come along all at once”. Well I’m on a bit of a roll at the moment now that I have sorted out the problems I had with WLW. Actually it’s more like I have found an alternative that works for me.

So some more photographs. Thursday was such a beautiful day, sunny, clear blue skies, very little cloud, not exactly ideal for photography. But with weather like that I made the snap decision to venture into the National Park and take a good walk along with the camera.

The walk up to Cwm Idwal is one of may favourites. It can get busy, I’ve only ever been once on the track and hardly seen a soul. That’s the day I got caught in a blizzard which fortunately passed over quickly. I suppose I should have guessed, No one about, don’t venture far.

Anyway the photographs

Ogwen Fall

On the way up to the Ogwen valley I decided to stop off at the Ogwen Falls. Unfortunately you can only photograph from the side of the falls so this photographs doesn’t really do it enough justice. There’s another large section that I didn’t photograph. Well I did, but it doesn’t look right across the falls.

Devils Kitchen

Once you walk up to Cwm Idwal, it’s a pretty gentle climb even with photography gear, you can walk around the lake. Or choose to start the climb up to higher areas by following the path at the far end of the lake.

Of course if you’re like me, after a cup of coffee and a few photographs you start to walk back down to the car-park. Saying that i have walked around the lake several times before and gone up the path to higher areas but eventually turned back because it was too much of a scramble with the camera gear and the tripod.

So on the way back down I took time to photograph Pen Yr Ole Wen from the path

Pen Yr Ole Wen

And any walk up to Cwm Idwal wouldn’t be the same without photographing Tryfan, probably one of the best known mountains in the National Park and also one of the most dangerous.

Tryfan

Well that’s it. Just a few more photographs whilst I get used to using Open Live Writer to create posts for Say It With A Camera

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Don’t Make Me Laugh

It’s been a while since I took part in the Weekly Photo Challenge but I’m back with a few photographs that made me smile. I’ve just got back from a trip to the Caribbean sailing around the islands and then sailing back to the UK via the Azores. That’s the story behind the photographs and here they are.

Girl on the beach, battered umbrella, sheltering from the sun. It’s a photograph that I’m really happy I captured. Admittedly there’s a lot of background distractions but that small boat does give you the location, it’s Barbados.

Right on to the next one.

Three dogs in St Lucia, just wandering along the street. The one in front, kept looking at me, looks like he’s smiling. Probably thinking, “another stupid tourist with a camera, why is he photographing us?”

One of the things I was concerned about during this trip was that I had swapped my normal camera and lenses for a small, lightweight compact camera. Weight was a big consideration when flying to the Caribbean as my equipment exceeded the carry-on limit set by the airline. So I decided to bite the bullet, buy a compact camera that had some pro features and hope that I would still be able to capture some of the wildlife.  Despite my reservations I’m really impressed with the results that I got from the Panasonic DC-TZ90.

Even this one at the long end of the 720mm zoom lens has come out pretty good.

I’d like to leave you with this final photograph and hope that you have enjoyed the series.

Nearly every shop has these signs and it must be a local pastime to sit and watch the world go by. Because outside every shop were little home-made seats, some quite fancy like you see here. Others, just a few breeze blocks and a plank of wood. But it mad me smile to see them.

Anyway that’s it. Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge.

RuthsArc Weekly Photo Challenge – Smile
Traveller on a Mission The three most candid smiles I have received around the world
That Look – Words Won’t Do Photography
Sandra Pavloff Conner
Eiwawar The greatest lie in the north
Bare Bones Landscaping Co. – Note to Traveler
The Land Slide Photography Grand Slam
Smile, it’s not that bad. – David Meredith’s photo blog
WPC – Smile – Julie Powell – Photographer & Graphic Artist
Weekly Photo Challenge- Smile – Cindimatography

One final note. I finally solved the WLW problem. I found Open Live Writer which is almost a clone of WLW apart from the ability to add photographs via a plugin. However it’s a familiar interface that works for me and should now bring some consistency to the photograph sizes. I have to to a bit of work getting the Flickr photographs in, it’s a compromise, but you can’t have everything.

It’s A Compromise

Well further to my last article about trying to replace Windows Live Writer with Word 2016 as my blogging editor I have come to the conclusion that I’m going to have to compromise.

Despite Word being a great editor, for some reason Microsoft decided to remove Flickr as service in the 2016 version. Therefore, although I can link to the photographs, that’s all you get, a link. Word will not show those photographs.

So here’s where the compromise comes in. During my research, and boy I spent a lot of time looking into this, I came up with using the WordPress Desktop App to write my blog posts. It’s not ideal but hopefully it will allow me to “crack on” and become productive again. Who knows. maybe in time I will get used to it…..

Uh! Uh! Just found a problem. I can’t save and come back to the article I’m writing. Correctiom, not entirely true. WordPress saves automatically from time to time and disable the save button until I type something.

Enough of this, it’s photographs you want to see, so here goes. Time to see if this works.

Sitting on a beach in Barbados I spotted this woman waiting for friends who had gone swimming. I don’t know what it is about this scene but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to get the photograph.

Girl On A Beach

Still in Barbados, this rigged ship was getting ready to leave on a cruise around the islands. Interesting way to travel…..

Tall Ship

I’m not convinced that using this desktop app is going to work. One thing I could be sure of with WLW was that all photographs were the exact same size when I was editing the post and when it was finally published. At the moment they look a right mess.

Lifeguard Hut

It had to hapen, late in the afternoon this helicopter dropped in over the beach heading for the airport. Managed to get a reasonable photograph with the little travel camera I took with me for this holiday.

Private Ride

Did I mention that I was cruising around the Caribbean islands before sailing back to the UK, via Ponta Delgada in the Azores (mid Atlantic). Anyway, at one of the island ports our cruise ship, one of the biggest in the P+O fleet, has to do a 180 turn in a narrow inlet. Standing by, just in case anything went wrong was this tug boat, although it was never used.

Tug Boat

So that’s it. First real post using the WordPress Desktop App. I really would like your opinion on whether the format works, or not. Mike

Another Test Post

I’m still trying to resolve embedding photographs from Flickr into Microsoft Word for publishing to Say It With A Camera. David Baker suggested that I go to Flickr, grab the share link and then post it into my Word Document, so here goes. Let’s see if that works…..

https://flic.kr/p/H2W7wU

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4783/26932502008_95bc361f6a_b.jpg” width=”1024″ height=”576″

Test Post

Well I’m back from my vacation, got back yesterday, with a mountain of mail to plough through and loads of photographs to look at from the trip. Today is April the first and I don’t know about in your country but we have April Fools day here in the UK. The idea is to play tricks on each other. It’s also Easter Sunday and this morning I thought my PC was playing tricks. First Microsoft edge started playing up, then Windows Live Writer, which I use to write my blogs, finally my AV software went haywire and corrupted some of my hard drive.

To cut a long story short I have had to rebuild my operating system and now cannot use Windows Live Writer because Microsoft no longer supports it and try as I might I just cannot get it to install on Windows 10. This really is a big deal because I used WLW combined with a plugin called Flickr4Writer to embed my photographs direct from Flickr straight into my blog posts.

I have resorted to using Microsoft Word to write this post but as yet I still haven’t found a way to get the photographs from Flickr into a post. I suspect there isn’t going to be an easy way to do it. In the meantime I am going to try using an image from my pc and put it into a word document to see what happens.

So here goes….

It will be interesting to see how this turns out. I think I’ve got a lot of work to do to get this right but I’m pressing Publish now

5kg Weight Limit…Are You Serious

You might have noticed that it’s been very quiet on Say It With A Camera, these past few weeks. There again you might not. I’m taking an early vacation, so I’ve been busily preparing everything for a journey to hotter climes. Of course I didn’t arrange this little trip, I left that to my travel planner, “her indoors”. Now as usual for a trip like this I was I was busy concentrating on my camera gear, deciding what to take or leave behind. Then my travel planner hit me with a bombshell, “You know you can only take a maximum of 5kg of carry-on baggage”, she says. My comment is censored.

A good few years back I lightened the load by switching to a mirrorless camera. But even in doing so, 5kg would be difficult to achieve when you include said camera, at least two lenses, battery pack, spare batteries, battery charger, memory cards, cleaning cloths, remote control, and a tripod. Oh! And don’t forget the back-pack to carry it all.

Still never one to look a “gift horse” in the mouth I took the opportunity to buy a small point and shoot, that weighs about 322 gm and has a zoom lens that far outreaches my longest mirrorless lens. However it’s not all win win. The downside is the censor is small, very, very small so I’m not going to get the same great picture quality that I would get from my Olympus E-M1 Mk2.

Battery charged, memory card in it’s off to the beach I go. Who needs to read the manual, a camera is a camera, is a camera.

Panasonic TZ90

But it’s not too bad, all things considered. So here’s a few photographs that I’ve taken at three of my favourite spots for testing cameras, Talacre Beach, the Cathedral at St Asaph and Rhyl Beach

Panasonic TZ90

Now bear in mind I’m going to be using this camera for “holiday snaps” but even so it has a pretty impressive set of features. It’s not just an automatic camera, there’s a 20 Mp Sensor, 30x Optical Zoom, Raw and JPEG capability,  5 axis stabilisation, PASM Modes, 4K Video to name a few. But with such a small sensor noise could be a factor, however as I’ve said before I’m not going to be printing anything, although I’ve read a user review that said they could print at A2 size without any problems.
No! This camera will be used for Facebook and Instagram, which by the way it appears that if I connect my camera to my phone I can post directly to both social media sites.

Panasonic TZ90

In the photograph below I’ve zoomed out the maximum length of the lens. Not too bad at all…

Panasonic TZ90

Could be sharper. I don’t know if that’s down to me or the camera, but the highlights aren’t blown out.

Panasonic TZ90

Lighthouse is in focus, foreground is slightly out. After a couple of days of using the camera I found out I could direct the focus away from multipoint to single, better still I could use the touch screen to select the focus point I wanted. Moral of the story RTFM.

Panasonic TZ90

Highlights are severely blown, but for a hand-held shot at night it’s in focus, that’s something. Apparently there’s a setting for night photography. I really should RTFM.

Panasonic TZ90

Back at the lighthouse. Winter has taken it’s toll on the paintwork. I’m getting more and more used to using the camera. Admittedly I have found out it doesn’t like dull days. there tends to be more noise. I can cancel it out in Lightroom without making the photograph too mushy, but all in all I’m pretty happy with performance.

Panasonic TZ90

The old castle at Rhudlan, must be high tide because the river lever is really high and we’re not much further than a mile from the sea

Panasonic TZ90

I turned off the annoying electronic shutter sound but maybe I might just turn it back on and mute it down so it’s just audible. Why? I left the camera in hi-speed drive and took this photograph. I had twenty-five more just like it because I couldn’t hear that the shutter was continuously firing.

Panasonic TZ90

This was really at the extreme end of the range of the lens, not only optical zoom but digital as well. Not recommended for small objects like birds, sitting on a swaying stalk about 50 metres away.

Panasonic TZ90

Back on Rhyl Beach, I really must master these focus points.

Panasonic TZ90

A church on the hill beside a river

Panasonic TZ90

Macro mode, I like this….

Panasonic TZ90

Did I mention the camera could also auto bracket, so if necessary I can capture a series of photographs inside in preparation for putting them through my favourite HDR software

Panasonic TZ90

So that’s it, I’ll be back in a few weeks. Now have I packed the sun tan lotion.

A Murmuration Of Starlings

Previously I have mentioned how I am so lucky to live very close to the Snowdonia National Park. Living on the coast I also have the added bonus of having nature reserves used by migrating birds right on my doorstep. So last night I went out to photograph a phenomena that not everyone gets to see…a starling murmuration.

The Gathering

Each evening starlings from all around gather together to roost in the reed beds at Gronant Dunes. Slowly but surely they fly in, usually in small groups, from the countryside and towns where they have feeding during the day.

Groups

Those small groups start to become larger groups as they fly around waiting for other starlings to join in. Why do they do it? The thought is that grouping offers safety. It’s harder for predators like peregrine falcons to attack one bird when there is a flock of thousands. Safety in numbers as they say.

Murmuration

It’s also thought that the starlings communicate good feeding areas and by gathering in numbers it’s easier to keep warm during the night.

Lift Off

Slowly but surely more and more birds arrive and the sky is full of them. You can hear a sort of swishing sound as they fly about and the closer they get to you the noisier it becomes. “Take Cover……”

Bigger Yet

One thing I will say, don’t get underneath them. It can get extremely messy.

On The Move

Eventually, when the group is large enough they head of to their night-time roosting areas in the reed beds

Presthaven

Just behind this caravan park are the dunes and the marshes, home for the starlings at night. And there they are. One last flourish and down they all settle. It’s pretty safe out there. The marsh has lots of water making it hard for predators to approach the starlings .

Settling Down

Well, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed this quick post – Mike