In Search Of Cilla Black

Yesterday I had to be in Liverpool for a very short meeting and whilst I was there I thought I’d go and see if I could find Cilla. Who, you might be asking, especially if you are not from the UK?. Cilla Black of course, long time friend of the Beatles, you must have heard of them, and a UK “pop star” in her own right.

Cilla was born in Liverpool and wanted to be an entertainer. She got a part-time job in Liverpool’s Cavern Club, made famous by it’s connection to The Beatles and her early performances impressed them. During the 60’s Cilla released a total of 37 singles and 15 studio albums making her the best-selling British female artist of her time.

Cilla Black

Unfortunately Cilla suffered a fatal accident and died at her home in Spain, aged 72. Her funeral was held in Liverpool and crowds lined to the streets to pay their final respects. During Cilla’s funeral The Beatles song “The Long And Winding Road” was played as her coffin left the church.

The statue of Cilla represents her 60’s look and was only unveiled on Monday the 16th January 2017. Paid for by her sons, it stands outside the original entrance to the Cavern Club, which featured so much in her early career. On the chequered dress are song lyrics, images and signatures Theres a little flower just to the side of her left foot and the statue is standing on a copy of one of Cilla’s most recognised songs “You’re My World”.

Speaking of The Beatles, just up the street from Cilla and almost opposite the new entrance to The Cavern Club stands a statue of John Lennon. Normally you can never get a photograph like this, because there are always tourists having their photograph taken with this iconic figure. Bot on a wet and miserable day in Liverpool and with Cilla not too far away, John has been left on his own. Good for me as I’ve been trying to get this photograph for some time now.

John Lennon

Have a look at the brick wall behind John, kind of interesting, isn’t it?

That’s it I hope you enjoyed this post – Mike

High Tide 12:04 PM 8.83 Metres

I want to show you a photograph. It’s of our local beach when the tide is out…and why would I want to do this?

Storm Damage

Because I’m now going to show you another photograph when the tide is in.

Groyne Marker

This week sees higher tides than normal hitting our coastline, here in North Wales. Todays high tide at 12:04 pm was calculated to be 8.83 metres (28.97 feet) and combined with very strong on-shore winds probably means it will be higher than that. Which means our coastal defences are going to take a bit of a battering. Those defences serve two purposes, one to protect the town from storms and high tides and two they act as a nice walking and cycle way right along the coast. This part stretches away in the distance to the Beaches hotel.  It’s a sort of tiered effect as the walkway is bordered by a low wall and the sand dunes.

Dog Walking

But of course when we get really high tides or storms, it’s a different matter. Those defences are shaped to break up the incoming waves but the sea does still get over them and that’s why we have that second wall.

Sun Is Out

My motto has always been “never put yourself in harm’s way to get a photograph”. I broke it once and paid the consequences by ending up in Accident and Emergency. So all of my photographs today have been taken with zoom lenses. I have no desire to get close to the action.

But some people do and I can never understand why. What makes you want to get close to breaking waves that can easily suck you right back out to sea?

Not Me

To show you what I mean…..just under two years ago I took this photograph of a man fishing on the sea-front during particularly stormy seas. That wave and the subsequent one behind it almost washed him off his feet.

Gone Fishin'

Only the retaining wall stopped him going. It was pretty hairy at the time and I couldn’t have helped him because I was some distance away using a zoom lens.

Stormy Seas

But back to today. It almost 12:04 pm and high tide. The waves are breaking right over the front part of the storm defences now, but the second wall is doing what it should.


However, nothing changes, despite the waves breaking pretty high and the walkway being under water at times, people were still walking along, taking a chance. The thing is, if a rogue wave comes along, they’ve nowhere to go. They’re trapped between the sea and the second wall and the dunes. Admittedly the second wall is low about 1.2 metres (4 feet) and if a big wave did come along they should be able to scramble over it onto the dunes. But it’s all concrete there and by now it’s wet and slippery.

We're Brave

And then a cyclist came along…..

Cycling Along

So that’s it. Just a little insight into our coastal paths and see defences and how we cope with storms and exceptional high tides – Mike

What’s In A Name?

Well I’ve gone and done it. Goodbye Adobe. My contract for Adobe CC has come to an end and I’m a free man. Free to choose the software that I want to process my images. Admittedly I could have done that before but why pay for something and not use it. So why have I ditched Adobe? After all, they are probably one of the biggest names in photography software. Simple really. For some time now I have been unhappy with the quality of Olympus RAW files that I am able to process with Lightroom. Maybe it’s me being too critical, but some time back after one of those updates to Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw I noticed that images were “wishy washy” and very soft. So much so that I was really having to boost the colours and sharpening.

Right then onto Names a strange subject for this weeks challenge but there you go. Depending on how you approach this building near Lands End in Cornwall it could be as the name suggests. Lands End is the most westerly, but not southerly, point of mainland Cornwall and England. The “last” bit comes into play if you make the journey from say Scotland to Land End. My personal thoughts are it’s an over-rated tourist spot with exorbitant prices for parking, refreshments and even taking photographs. The famous Lands End Sign is owned by a local photographer and roped off. Last time I checked £10 for a photograph. I suppose a tog has got to make money some way.

First and Last House

The Duke of Lancaster, What a glorious name for a rusting hulk. I have mixed feelings about the poor “old Duke”. It’s great to photograph but it’s becoming a bit of an eye-sore….and despite what has been said I think the allowed graffiti has only made the Duke an even bigger eye-sore.

Duke of Lancaster

One of the things about living in Wales is dual language signs. As a non Welsh speaker it used to scramble my brain at first, especially with road signs. But over the years I have got used to it. Here you can see the Welsh and English versions of the word optometrist, even the building name is dual language. The truck and it’s load did make it down the narrow high street, just clearing a bank sign, out of photograph by a few millimetres

Tight Squeeze

I’ve done a fair bit of travelling in the USA, on the East Coast, Florida from the Keys to Pensacola and also up the Atlantic Coast. Feeling a little bit more adventurous I’ve managed to get up as far as Charleston, taking in Savannah on the way. On the West Coast a nice little driving trip over two weeks around California, Nevada and Arizona. One of the places that really impressed me for it’s natural beauty was the Grand Canyon, but for sheer engineering it has to be the Hoover Dam. Sure you’ve got Las Vegas with it’s gaudy high-rise hotels and casinos, all built with modern techniques and equipment. The Hoover Dam dates back to an age when the work was done mostly by an army of workers some of whom lost their lives whilst working on the dam or underground in the diversion tunnels.

Hoover Dam

My final photograph is from a small road in Yorkshire called Hardisty Hill. In a guest post on Ancestry, “What’s in a Name? Hardisty: a persistent surname”, Howard Mathieson states that

The Hardisty surname is derived from an English place name. From A Dictionary of Surnames (Hanks and Hodges), we learn that Hardisty “is a habitation name from a place in Yorks., in the parish of Fewston. The place name is recorded in 1379 as Hardolfsty, from the Old English personal name Heardwulf (composed of the elements heard hardy, brave, strong + wulf wolf) + Old English stïg path)”.

Hardisty Hill

Now I’m a Hardisty and so far I’ve managed to trace my family back to Knaresborough around about 1750. Knaresborough is only 11 miles from Fewston.

Well that’s it for this week. I hope you liked the photographs.

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

The Showers of Blessings Weekly Photo Challenge – Name the Ducks
Allison’s Written Words Names and #GiantsPride
Let There be Peace on Earth Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge- Names
PHOTO THERAPY – The Driveway Cafe
RLUphoto Weekly Photo Challenge – Names
Joe’s Musings Names – Weekly Photo Challenge – 6 Jan 2017
asnappshot A View
Memory Catcher Weekly Photo Challenge- Names
The Land Slide Photography Mose

A Mountain Path–Back To My Roots

Regular readers will know that I am a great fan of Ansel Adams and his amazing Black and White photographs taken in the Sierra Nevada’s, his spiritual home, and in America’s great State Parks. You might also have noticed that in the last few weeks I’ve been doing a bit of bird photography, which I have a bitter-sweet relationship with.

Like Ansel Adams, I’m more at home in the mountains taking landscape photographs….and so that is my path for next year. Go back to my roots and spend more time in the mountains. Now obviously I can’t go to the Sierra Nevada and in a country the size of UK there really isn’t any great wilderness left. There are some areas where you could go walking and not see anyone else but in truth you are never really that far from civilisation.

However the Snowdonia National Park has some great areas to photograph and that’s where I’m going to be next year.

Old House

I’ve photographed many places in the National Park but this time I’m going to be looking at it differently. For a start I want to try to get it right in Black and White, medium that I’ve dabbled with before, mainly for street photography

Ask yourself, “Why am I seeing and feeling this? How am I growing? What am I learning?” Remember: Every coincidence is potentially meaningful. How high your awareness level is determines how much meaning you get from your world. Photography can teach you to improve your awareness level. – Ansel Adams

Lone Tree

Ansel Adams once said “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer”, and I want to you to see what I see, the stark beauty that can be found in the National Park.

This lone tree in the photograph above sits at the side of Llyn y Dywarchen. Why is it there? When you consider the landscape all around it’s amazing that it has grown to such a size and survived especially through it’s early years as a sapling. This is sheep country a tasty morsel like a new sapling would have gone down well to the sheep that roam this terrain. Yet it survived because it is growing against the side of a wall which stopped the sheep gaining access to it.

The Valley

Of course it means I have to be more prepared for walking the hills and getting off the beaten path. Where previously I would visit several locations in a day I think I need to research a location and stick to it. It’s all too easy in this digital age to press that shutter button and just keep taking photographs. But a more refined approach is called for.

The ‘machine-gun’ approach to photography – by which many negatives are made with the hope that one will be good – is fatal to serious results. – Ansel Adams

So that’s my path for the coming year. I hope you will join me – Mike