Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse

Since moving to North Wales there are two places I’m drawn to constantly for photography. One is the Ogwen Valley in the Snowdonia National Park. I never tire of the ever-changing scenery. Sure the mountains, rivers and lakes are fixed, they never change, but weather, the seasons and lighting conditions make for different photographs every time I visit.

But I suppose my first choice would be Talacre with the lighthouse, salt marshes and nature reserve. Did you know it’s the most northerly point of mainland Wales? So here we go with this weeks photo challenge. I’ve got a few photographs to show you so sit back and relax.

Talacre Sunrise

Over the years I have been photographing at Talacre, sunsets have been the main subject along with the lighthouse. But just occasionally I have managed to catch a sunrise like the one in the photograph above. This was one of those lucky ones. Sunrise can be so unpredictable, unlike sunsets. For one you don’t know if your going to get one. You get up early in the morning only to find it’s raining or maybe cloudy. Whereas with a sunset you can usually see it developing as the sun goes down. For my next photograph I was lucky again. I was getting ready to set the camera up for a long exposure when this dog walked into the frame. Fortunately I had already attached the remote control  so I was able to focus and fire off a shot before it ran off again

The Dog

I don’t think you can create luck. You’re either lucky or you’re not. I don’t know if it’s really luck or if it’s just curiosity. I think the main ingredient, or a main ingredient for photography is curiosity. If you’re curious enough and if you get up in the morning and go out and take pictures, you’re likely to be more lucky than if you just stay at home. – Elliott Erwitt

The next photograph certainly wasn’t lucky. I planned to be on the beach, I knew I was going to get a sunset of sorts and as the sun set over the mountains it started to light up the clouds with a beautiful golden glow. It’s winter time and I almost have the beach to myself. Can you spot him? A lone figure on the beach. Alone, that is, apart from me.

Orange Glow

Talacre isn’t all about the lighthouse and sunsets though. It’s a renowned high tide roost and in the salt marsh, which is open and wild, you’ll find a huge variety of bird species. As the tide comes in the roosting birds are forced further up the salt marsh bringing them closer to the hide

Talacre Bird Reserve

Here are just two, a Curlew and a Red Shank. Can you guess why it’s called a Red Shank?

Red Shank and Curlew

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

For some reason or other Talacre gets a lot of driftwood washed up on the beach, from large trees to small branches. It’s always good to find something like that on the beach as it makes the photograph more interesting, especially if you include it as foreground interest.

Driftwood on Talacre

In most photographs you will see of Talacre there are wide sandy beaches. But when the tide comes the beach disappears and water laps at the sand dunes. Can you see the driftwood that’s been brought in? Admittedly this was a particularly high spring tide, often the tide never reaches the dunes, just leaving a small strip of sand and stones to walk along…..

High Tide At Talacre

…..and when the tide goes out we get the beach back again, often with pools of water left behind. Great for reflections. Just to give you an idea of how high that tide can be. Look at the photograph above where the steps up to the lighthouse are covered. Compare it to the photograph below. The stone blocks to the left of the lighthouse are about 1.25 metres (4ft) high, the steps easily 3 metres (10ft). Tides can vary in depth depending on the phases of the moon but this coming Saturday we have a higher than normal one. Still not the highest we’ve experienced but with High Tide at 9.15metres (30ft), and Low Tide at 0.87 metres (2.85ft), I expect there won’t be much beach to see as the tide comes racing in.

Talacre Lighthouse

I started with a sunrise and for my final muse photograph I’d like to leave you with a sunset. Look back to the first photograph, see how the steps are on the right hand side of the lighthouse, whereas they’re on the left in my sunset. I much prefer sunsets. The quality of light is so much better and even when the sun goes down below the horizon there are still some great photo opportunities to be had.

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

Talacre Lighthouse

Finally I’d like to leave you with this final quote…..

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

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



28 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse

  1. KG June 28, 2015 / 14:41

    Sunset and Sunrises are always magical. Beautiful photographs. I totally agree with Sunrises being very difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Hardisty June 29, 2015 / 07:14

      I just find they are so unpredictable. During the summer months you have to be up so early and then you don’t know if you are going to get anything. I’d rather be in my bed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. claywatkins June 28, 2015 / 15:21

    lovely photos, i can see why you are inspired. Have a wonderful week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Hardisty June 29, 2015 / 07:12

      Thank you Clay. I’m glad you enjoyed them.


  3. Julia June 28, 2015 / 16:03

    Beautiful pics…love all the different time of day, perspectives and colours:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Hardisty June 29, 2015 / 07:08

      I’m lucky that the Lighthouse is only a short drive away, Julia. If I see that the sunset is starting to look good I can be there in about ten minutes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Julia June 29, 2015 / 12:47



  4. Scott Marshall June 28, 2015 / 16:39

    My favourite subject Lighthouses and despite living in Shropshire for 4 years I never visited here – excellent set and the location is on my bucket list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Hardisty June 29, 2015 / 07:06

      If you ever visit Talacre Scott, whilst you are in the area, you should go and photograph the old abandoned ship “The Duke of Lancaster” and not far away the ruins of Basingwerk abbey.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Scott Marshall June 29, 2015 / 08:51

        I will bare those suggestions in mind thanks – I’m sure I have seen pics of the Duke of Lancaster


  5. carto June 28, 2015 / 17:40

    Thanks so much for identifying the birds; both are new to me in California.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Hardisty June 29, 2015 / 07:04

      I’m glad to be of help. Both the Red Shank and Curlew are common birds on the estuary, but there are others who only fly in to winter on the marshes where the climate is milder than their native country.


  6. Inside the Mind of Isadora June 28, 2015 / 22:41

    The photos are magical. They’re a feast for the eyes. I feel the quote says it all. To miss one would be a shame. Great for the challenge. Thank you for sharing. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Hardisty June 29, 2015 / 07:01

      Talacre really is my favourite spot. I go there to practice new photography ideas and sometimes just for the peace and tranquillity, especially in the winter months

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Tiny June 29, 2015 / 01:38

    What a beautiful place! Great shots!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Hardisty June 29, 2015 / 07:00

      I think it’s a beautiful place too, especially in the winter, when there is no one on the beach. That’s my favourite time to visit Talacre.


  8. rubyr8 June 29, 2015 / 02:50

    Dreamy sunsets, definitely a muse to re-live everyday. great shots.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Hardisty June 29, 2015 / 06:58

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and I’m glad you liked the sunsets

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Isabella Rose Photography June 29, 2015 / 07:06

    Beautiful photos. I live in North Wales and visited Talacre last year. But from your photos I can see I need to get there at sunset – absolutley lovely. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Hardisty June 29, 2015 / 07:11

      It’s my favourite time. I always think early winter is best. There’s no tourists to get in your photograph but you have to wrap up well because Talacre is so open and exposed. If it’s a windy day don’t bother going there. With the beach so open the wind whips up the sand it gets everywhere. stings as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. BuntyMcC June 30, 2015 / 12:39

    Thank you for introducing me to Talacre with such lovely photos. It’s a corner of Wales I missed.


    • Mike Hardisty June 30, 2015 / 18:04

      It’s a great corner as well. When I moved here about 6 years ago it took me a while to realise the rich photo opportunities there were. Not only on the coast but in the abandoned industrial buildings from the 19th century.


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