Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime


When I’m out for the day on a photography trip lunchtime is one of those points in the day that I always aim to take. As a lot of my photography is landscapes I can just sit and enjoy the beautiful scenery whilst eating my lunch. However this trip was different.

Two weeks ago I was at Llangollen Railway station; the railway is a volunteer-run preserved railway in Denbighshire, Wales, which currently operates between Llangollen and the site of Bonwm halt; at 8.5 miles (13.7 km) long.

Off the Rails

It is currently the longest preserved standard gauge line in Wales and operates daily in Summer as well as weekends throughout the Winter months using a wide variety of steam and diesel locomotives, as well as diesel multiple units.

Platform 1

Llangollen railway station was formerly a station on the Ruabon to Barmouth line. It closed to passengers on Monday 18 January 1965 but was later re-opened in 1975 by the preserved Llangollen Railway as its eastern terminus and has been subsequently reopened in stages westward.

Further along the line is Berwyn railway station. Following flood damage in December 1964 passenger services were suspended, ahead of the official closure of the line on in January 1965. In 1986 the station was restored and reopened as an intermediate station on the Llangollen Railway.

Berwyn Railway Station

The railway was originally opened as the Ruabon to Llangollen line in 1862, as a way for passengers to travel to Llangollen Road (then the nearest railway station, later known as Whitehurst Halt). From there, passengers could board a coach to Llangollen. The line was a success and plans were put forward for a line from Llangollen to Corwen, a market town ten miles (16 km) past Llangollen. Work started shortly after the opening of the Ruabon to Llangollen line and the line accepted its first traffic on 18 May 1865.

Back at Llangollen Railway station there is a bridge over the line to platform 2. In the winter time it might be closed but if you ask in the cafe they will open the doors for you.

Over the Bridge

After the Beeching Axe, the Flint and Deeside Railway Preservation Society was founded in 1972 with the aim of preserving one of the “axed” railways. Originally the society was interested in preserving the Dyserth to Prestatyn line; however that line was deemed unsuitable because a small amount of freight traffic was still using it. Shame really as I live at Prestatyn and that line they were considering goes through some beautiful countryside with amazing views of the sea. It is now a paved walk and you can still see some of the old buildings and sidings associated with the railway.

The society refocused its attention on the Llangollen to Corwen section of the Ruabon to Barmouth line. The local council granted a lease of the Llangollen railway station building, as well as 3 miles (4.8 km) of track to the society, with the hope that the railway would improve the local economy and bring more tourists to Llangollen. The station reopened on 13 September 1975, with just 60 feet (18.3 m) of track.

On the Bridge

Crossing the bridge to platform 2 gives you a great view of the bridge which was built in about 1345 by John Trevor, of Trevor Hall, who became Bishop of St Asaph. It was extended to cross the railway in the 1860s and widened in the early 1960s. The upstream side has new masonry which blends in with the older structure.

What was the subject of this weeks challenge? Lunchtime! I haven’t really spoken about it but this is where the cafe that i mentioned earlier comes in.

Inside The Cafe

On platform 1 at Llangollen Railway station is a great little cafe. In the winter time it has a red-hot coal fire blazing away and the staff are really friendly. The fare is basic, tea, coffee, sandwiches, some hot food, but that’s all you need and that’s where I spent lunchtime when I was at Llangollen Railway.

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166 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

  1. Sas March 17, 2013 / 14:45

    Thanks for telling us the story. I’ve heard about the railway but not had a chance to visit yet. Diolch!

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 17, 2013 / 15:18

      Llangollen station Ian a great place to visit even if you are not taking a train, they are quite happy to let you take photographs….it’s free publicity after all.

      Like

      • Sas March 17, 2013 / 16:53

        I’m hoping to get back up to North Wales this summer, so I will add it to my list.

        Like

  2. Pat March 17, 2013 / 14:57

    Absolutely beautiful photography. I lingered on each one – and your story adds the benefit of an understanding to the photos. Thank you so much for this wonderful post.

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 17, 2013 / 15:19

      Thank you for you comment. I always try and give some background to my photographs.

      Like

      • Pat March 17, 2013 / 15:21

        Yes, in fact I find it hard to post photos without saying something. 🙂

        Like

        • Mike Hardisty March 17, 2013 / 15:35

          I think it’s only fair to tell the story…

          Like

  3. dorothymcdonall March 17, 2013 / 15:42

    Thanks for checking out my blog “Eyes to Heart” and including a pingback in your post. I always love to discover new blogs and I really like your beautiful images and creative philosophy. Thanks for introducing yourself to me … Be well, Dorothy 🙂

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 17, 2013 / 16:23

      Dorothy, thank you so much for your comment. It has always been my philosophy to showcase my photographs and give the story behind them

      Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 17, 2013 / 16:24

      Nice to see you here, Adrian. It was a good day out and it was nice that the railway people are quite happy for us to be there

      Like

  4. nuvofelt March 17, 2013 / 16:09

    We enjoy visiting Llangollen. The canal is a good place to visit too. We’ve also eaten in the tearooms. Maybe we’ll visit again in June when we return to N Wales.

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 17, 2013 / 16:26

      Have you been to Valle Crucis Abbey, just outside Llangollen?

      Like

  5. Vicky March 18, 2013 / 08:39

    I’m quite hooked on HDR after looking at your photos, they are excellent!
    Such an emotive subject too, I’ve spent many a day photographing old steam engines at my local heritage railway stations and the old buildings just cry out to become a photograph.

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 18, 2013 / 11:28

      Hello Vicky, first of all thank you for your comment. I have always found HDR a great tool to use and I’ve been hooked on it ever since I saw a great photograph by a guy called Peter van Allen. That must have been about 6 or 7 years ago and it just blew me away. I knew right away that I was going to have to find out how to do it and Peter was a great help in showing me how. Over the years I have constantly refined my technique, trying all the different HDR software packages as they became available. It’s only now that I feel as though I mastered HDR. Saying that there is a new technique that give a cleaner HDR look, especially good for landscapes and I have been giving it a try…

      Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 18, 2013 / 18:00

      Michael, thank you for yourcomment, I’m glad you liked them

      Like

  6. Pb March 19, 2013 / 20:02

    Wonderful images, thank you for sharing them

    Like

  7. LittleYellowCar March 20, 2013 / 19:09

    Wow. Them photos are great! just showed my dad, he loves them, haha

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 19:23

      Oliver, thank you for your comment and I’m glad your Dad liked them

      Like

  8. Jessica March 20, 2013 / 19:13

    Wow. Just wow. The most impressive photos and well done post I’ve seen in a good while.

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 19:24

      Jessica, thank you for your comment, it’s nice to know my photos are liked

      Like

  9. Gypsy Architecture March 20, 2013 / 19:29

    Hi, I’m looking to start travelling and would like to bring a decent camera to record it. What could you recommend that’s compact, reliable, and has a good variety of features and lenses options?

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 19:58

      Camera gear is very much a personal choice. I prefer Pentax and use the K-30 as it’s weatherproof, as are the lenses. Suits me because a lot of my photography is in the mountains or on the beaches. The problem with Pentax though is they are not a niche camera manufacturer like Canon or Nikon.

      The best I can suggest is if you have a local camera store go and have a look, see what suits, price it on the internet and then ask them if they’ll price match.

      Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 19:46

      Hi Steve, You could have knocked me down with a feather when i got the email from WordPress to tell me I had been chosen…

      Like

  10. Margie March 20, 2013 / 19:46

    Wonderful photos, as usual, Mike. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed for your efforts!
    Unfortunately, we will have to remove your name from the ‘Never Been Freshly Pressed’ Club roster. Please hand in your locker key and parking pass at your earliest possible convenience.
    You are the third member who has been Freshly Pressed since we formed the Club! It is an alarming trend, to be sure.

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 19:49

      Hi Margie…maybe that’s the secret to being Freshly Pressed. You join the club and those folks at WordPress think “Right we’ll sort them out”

      Like

      • Margie March 20, 2013 / 19:52

        Perhaps they feel intimidated by how wonderful our club is, so they are picking off our members.

        Like

        • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 20:09

          Only once answer then, go underground, stay hidden and recruit in secret.

          Like

      • eof737 April 6, 2013 / 12:54

        You have a club? Very smart! 😆

        Like

        • Mike Hardisty April 6, 2013 / 13:41

          Not a club as such but a few photographers in the area like to get together and spend a day out. Sometimes we all go, sometimes just two of us…it’s an easy sort of relationship.

          Like

          • eof737 April 6, 2013 / 13:43

            Great! 🙂

            Like

  11. Lindsay McLoughlin March 20, 2013 / 19:49

    What a charming blog post. I was captivated by the pictures; absolutely charming! Very tempted by the cafe, too. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 20:13

      Thank you Lindsey, Before I went to the station I had been at Valle Crucis Abbey which is a 13th century abbey, now in ruins. It was bitterly cold with a biting wind blowing off the surrounding hills, so after two hours there I was glad to get into the cafe and have a hot drink

      Like

  12. Steve Lakey March 20, 2013 / 20:03

    Some amazing photos here. Full of atmosphere.

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 20:20

      Steve, thank you for your comment. I was trying to achieve atmosphere when I processed them

      Like

  13. Harlequin Tea Set March 20, 2013 / 20:25

    Beautiful and almost haunting! What (if anything!) do you use to edit your photographs?

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 20:34

      All of the photographs in this post are HDR. I use Photomatix and then in photoshop elements I use a plugin called NIK Color Efex to provide tonal contrast, the dreamy look come from the NIK glamour glow

      Like

      • Harlequin Tea Set March 20, 2013 / 20:37

        Oh wow, thanks! It does look very dreamy, but also very amazing!

        Like

      • whysamiam March 21, 2013 / 09:06

        Disregard my post.. I see the answer here. Congrats on being pressed!

        Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 20:42

      Kelly, thank you for your comment, I’m glad you liked them

      Like

  14. Lisa Stoneman March 20, 2013 / 21:06

    Beautiful – photos and countryside! We are railroad fans in Virginia and have traveled around shooting train and station photos in this part of the world. Love the glamour glow effect.

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 22:15

      Thank you for your comment Lisa. The railroad is closed in the winter so they are quite happy to give you almost free access to the tracks and platforms

      Like

  15. lilnaph March 20, 2013 / 21:19

    I love these images you captured – they have a dream like quality to them which is quite fitting! Great interpretation of the weekly challenge 🙂

    Like

  16. MYNDFUQ March 20, 2013 / 21:23

    Amazing photos. Almost Harry Potteresque… maybe you knew this comment was coming, sorry it had to be me!

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 22:17

      Never thought the looked like Harry Potter, but come to think of it…

      Like

  17. mithriluna March 20, 2013 / 21:37

    Beautiful photos! What a great lunchtime! Congrats on being featured on Freshly Pressed.

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 22:31

      Thank you, I was really surprised and pleased when they sent me the email advising me

      Like

      • mithriluna March 21, 2013 / 01:18

        Mike – I hope you don’t mind. I am still trying out different themes so the one you chose caught my eye. I like what you have in the sidebar. Trying it out for the moment.

        Like

        • Mike Hardisty March 21, 2013 / 06:52

          I have tried a few themes over the years and only last week settled on this one, mainly because it showcases my photographs

          Like

          • mithriluna March 21, 2013 / 11:45

            Well it does a great job. I really like what I see. Thanks.

            Like

  18. free penny press March 20, 2013 / 21:40

    It’s not easy to have HDR shots turn out good.. These are good.. well done and very deserving of being Freshly Pressed!!

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 22:32

      I have been using HDR for some time now, most of the time I do keep the images very natural

      Like

  19. Ray Fothergill March 20, 2013 / 21:49

    Absolutely stunning pictures .
    Very subtle and excellently executed .

    Like

  20. roadsightrelics March 20, 2013 / 21:49

    This is lovely. Beautiful photographs and story. – Natalie

    Like

  21. KOA March 20, 2013 / 21:58

    Great photos.

    Like

  22. paulbowler March 20, 2013 / 22:49

    I’ve heard about this railway station but never had the chance to visit. It looks lovely, great photographs!

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 20, 2013 / 23:23

      Well worth a visit Paul, combine it with Valle Crucis Abbey, couple of miles away and the Pontcyllte Aqueduct and you have a great photography day out.

      Like

  23. segmation March 21, 2013 / 00:26

    Hi Mike, I love blogs on different places, especially places that I haven’t had the chance to visit. Love your digital photos. The clouds are so awesome in them as well. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  24. varun321 March 21, 2013 / 01:10

    Those photos are great! I’ll have to visit that station sometime.

    Like

  25. maesprose March 21, 2013 / 02:54

    The photos are wonderful and I love the details you share. This sounds like a great vacation!

    Like

  26. Ryan Hermann March 21, 2013 / 04:41

    Fantastic! Love the angles and style.

    Like

  27. moodsnmoments March 21, 2013 / 07:25

    the photographs and narration have woven such a wonderful story. the pics are stunning…reminded me of harry potter…especally the walk way.
    kudos and thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 21, 2013 / 17:27

      Thank you for your comment, funnily enough you are the second reader to say it looked a bit Harry Potterish

      Like

  28. whysamiam March 21, 2013 / 09:03

    Beautiful pictures! How do you achieve that ‘dream like’ focus? Rgrds, Sam

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 21, 2013 / 17:26

      Sam it’s done using a photoshop filter called glamour glow, which is part of NIK Color Efex

      Like

  29. Middle East Moments March 21, 2013 / 10:19

    Absolutely stunning photography. It’s like I could step straight into the photos. Do you shoot in HDR? Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

    Like

  30. The Rider March 21, 2013 / 12:46

    I love your photos- it stirrs the old adventurer spirit in me to go and see some place I have never been to before- thanks for sharing this!

    Like

  31. NouveauSoileau March 21, 2013 / 13:10

    These photos are scrumptious! I think I’ll have them for lunch. 🙂

    Like

  32. Wyatt VanDePol March 21, 2013 / 13:21

    Wow… Great Pictures! How’d you get all those pictures without people in them?

    Like

  33. jackspratt823 March 21, 2013 / 13:23

    Wonderful- informative- superb photos

    Like

  34. Chas Spain March 21, 2013 / 13:46

    Lovely photos – brings back great memories of taking the road from Shropshire and finding ourselves in Wales whenever we could – such a beautiful piece of countryside- and the Ladies of Llangollen were another intriguing reason to visit.

    Like

  35. Patti Kuche March 21, 2013 / 13:58

    Great shots Mike! Sad to see you leave the “NBFP” . . . .

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 21, 2013 / 17:49

      I know, maybe I can stay as a secret member..

      Like

  36. sportsandthecross March 21, 2013 / 15:28

    Wonderful post, thanks for sharing and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    Like

  37. Soul Walker March 21, 2013 / 15:42

    Those photos make the place look magical.

    Like

  38. Justcallmegertie March 21, 2013 / 16:54

    These pictures make you feel like you are transported (via train..) to a different era! Gorgeous place! (and pics…)

    Like

  39. prescribingwhimsy March 21, 2013 / 17:16

    Absolutely beautiful HDR photographs, Mike. I’m incredibly jealous.

    Like

  40. sp174604 March 21, 2013 / 18:32

    Gorgeous HDR. So glad you were Freshly Pressed so I could stumble upon your awesome site. Looking to get my first wide angle (leaning toward canon–any reviews on your sigma 10-20???)

    Like

  41. Beauty Along the Road March 21, 2013 / 19:15

    That’s a lot of replies – good for you. I enjoyed looking at your rail pics. They remind me so much of old railroad stations in Germany where I grew up, down to the clock! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  42. greenmackenzie March 21, 2013 / 19:56

    Beautiful photos, they pull me back into a magical time, very Harry Potter 🙂 wonderful processing

    Like

  43. cainscaptures March 21, 2013 / 20:07

    Love these photos – they look fantastic!!

    Like

  44. bookpeeps March 22, 2013 / 00:37

    Amazing photos. I originally assumed they were paintings. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    Like

  45. sheenmeem March 22, 2013 / 06:57

    I loved your photos. They looked like pictures not real.

    Like

    • bobengland March 22, 2013 / 11:53

      Mike it’s always a pleasure to share your pictures and you narrate them so well with beautiful detail many thanks BoB.

      Like

  46. midlifemusingsblog March 22, 2013 / 10:42

    Lovely photos and great info. The Freshly Pressed folks got it right!

    Like

  47. hahahaley March 22, 2013 / 14:25

    incredible! You have real talent!

    Like

  48. Bryan Hemming March 23, 2013 / 11:36

    Beautiful, moody photographs that evoke the steam era of railways. We used to take family holidays in North Wales. Though there seemed hardly a sunny day I loved crawling out of a tent to be greeted by wind scudding clouds across slate grey skies. And how I remember scanning damp, mist-shrouded mountains speckled with tiny sheep, hanging precariously to granite rocks, And then to dip my feet into black,rushing streams so icy it was almost painful. Your pictures brought it all back in an instant.

    Like

  49. emilynotsokomisch March 23, 2013 / 13:56

    Beautiful pictures! Will definitely have to go and find this railway station if I ever make it back to Wales. Nice to read a little bit of the story too (as others have also commented above!). Looking forward to reading some more of your posts and seeing some more beautiful photography!

    Like

  50. Imaginarium of Pau March 24, 2013 / 12:06

    Great photos. The “soft” effect of your snaps interests me. I love all of it. 🙂

    Like

  51. thecoolhunger March 24, 2013 / 17:59

    Great Work.. Enjoyed the experience.. Keep it cool..

    Like

  52. Jo Bryant March 24, 2013 / 20:53

    wow Mike that is a lot of comments…but we always knew you were good

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 24, 2013 / 21:01

      Tell me about it Jo, it’s taken me ages to reply to all of them over the last few days…

      Like

      • Jo Bryant March 24, 2013 / 21:02

        Good on you for taking the trouble to reply…did any stay on as followers ?

        Like

          • Jo Bryant March 24, 2013 / 21:06

            That is awesome Mike…and well deserved !

            Like

            • Mike Hardisty March 24, 2013 / 21:11

              Hard work at the time because the busiest day was Thursday and I was out all day on a photoshoot. Came back to a mountain of mail…..but I stuck at it.

              Like

                • Mike Hardisty March 24, 2013 / 21:14

                  It’s only fair, if people take time to comment, I should make time to reply…

                  Like

                  • Jo Bryant March 24, 2013 / 21:16

                    True…but a lot don’t. I actually read one blogger who said it was crazy and non-productive to reply to people…I think he missed the point of blogging. To engage with people !

                    Like

                    • Mike Hardisty March 24, 2013 / 21:19

                      What’s the point of blogging then. Like you say the idea is to engage

                      Like

                    • Jo Bryant March 24, 2013 / 21:20

                      I have no idea what he thought the point of blogging was…different strokes I guess.

                      Like

                    • Mike Hardisty March 24, 2013 / 21:21

                      Each to their own, gotta go dog walking time.

                      Like

  53. Elly de Klein March 25, 2013 / 11:20

    I love the pictures ! It flashes me back to a unknown feeling. I have never been there I live in Belgium but its so nice. Also gives me a flashback of some video games or I would like it to be a video game where I can explore and walk around everything. (Not the shooting kind in this case 😉 ) Cant really explain clearly what I mean but it is very nice !

    Like

  54. Little Miss Bitchin' March 25, 2013 / 14:24

    Thankyou for such a historical and lovely post! The images were simply superb. Brilliant job! X

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 25, 2013 / 16:17

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really glad you liked them

      Like

    • Mike Hardisty March 25, 2013 / 16:18

      That was the impression I was trying to create with this set of photographs.

      Like

  55. Miranda March 25, 2013 / 18:11

    Love your photographs!

    Like

  56. obsessivelynormal March 25, 2013 / 20:51

    Really enjoying your work. Have family commitments on the Llyn so up there often , do you photograph in that area? I find it a strange mix of uplifting beauty and, at times, down right melancholy!

    Like

  57. Mark Shephard March 25, 2013 / 21:04

    Absolutely fabulous gallery Mike. I couldn’t hit the follower link fast enough. So much to learn …and thanks for sharing these images.

    Like

  58. Mz Zoomer March 26, 2013 / 23:42

    You certainly have an eye and a great perspective. Thanks for such wonderful photos and this post. I can tell that you have put a great deal of time and effort here and you should feel rewarded. It’s great. Thanks.

    Like

  59. ellanutella6 March 27, 2013 / 10:15

    My favorite is the picture with the luggage in the foreground. Enjoyed these pictures, and now, I just want to move there! lol. Anyway, I posted recently about a photographer’s site I came across, really cool. It’s Galimberti’s Toy Stories if you google it (photos of children from around the world with their favorite toys or singularly, just toy). Amazing.

    Like

  60. Jane Lurie March 27, 2013 / 12:52

    Beautiful photos, Mike! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. Well deserved!

    Like

  61. Piila March 28, 2013 / 05:59

    Inspiring !

    Like

  62. Cecilia March 29, 2013 / 01:29

    Wonderful. The photos remind me of Harry Potter’s school and other intriguing places.

    Like

  63. Chris Hall March 30, 2013 / 14:50

    More great rail photos, very cool!

    Like

  64. Michelle April 1, 2013 / 17:23

    HI This is my 1st time to your blog – and i am loving your photography. Is it my imagination or are the pictures ‘dreamy-looking’? Do you use a special kind of lens?

    Like

  65. Frank J. Casella April 2, 2013 / 18:21

    Nice work, Mike, and congrats on being Pressed! You should put some of these images on your Fine Art site.

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty April 2, 2013 / 18:39

      I know Frank, I keep saying I will and then I think I won’t….

      Like

  66. ibrar2012 April 3, 2013 / 23:49

    I gotta say when I saw the images at first glance I honestly thought they were form a very photo realistic games engine with HDR lighting. My god they look amazing … loved the photos … definitely need to visit wales sometimes god willing soon in the near future.

    Like

  67. eof737 April 6, 2013 / 12:51

    WooHoo!!!! I was about to ask which post was freshly pressed and then I noticed it was this one. Kudos! Congrats! I’m delighted for you; it’s well deserved…. Sorry, I’ve been out of the blogging loop of late. Glad to find this wonderful recognition. 🙂
    Eliz

    Like

    • Mike Hardisty April 6, 2013 / 13:38

      I was quite surprised when they sent me the email telling me. It’s been hard work answering all of the comments but worth it..

      Like

      • eof737 April 6, 2013 / 13:43

        Definitely worth it. Kudos! 🙂

        Like

  68. beluga53 April 7, 2013 / 18:40

    These are just wonderful. The composition, the subject matter and the photographic skill leave me almost speechless. At least I have something new to aspire to, Thanks.

    Like

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