You start off with the best of intentions to get a blog post out before Christmas and then life seems to get in the way.
Somehow or other I’ve managed to strain my ankle again. So I’ve not been out much taking photographs and as a knock on effect I now seem to be having trouble with my knees.
However this week I manged to spend an hour at Talacre, wandering around the dunes and finally ending up on the beach by the Lighthouse. Someone has given the lighthouse a coat of paint, so it’s lost all its character.
Anyway, weather wasn’t that great, blowing a hoolie and with a constant threat of rain. Not the ideal place to get caught out as Talacre is very exposed with no shelter at all.
I was travelling light, just my new phone, no camera, trying to take the weight off of my knee and ankle.
Last Wednesday our local camera club, of which I’m a member, invited Adrian McGarry to give us a talk on using our smartphone cameras to take photos. Adrian has abandoned his heavy Canon gear and now just uses his iphone to take some incredible photographs.
The dunes at Talacre have been classed as an Area of Special Scientific Interest with some areas being protected and fenced off. During the day, especially in summer time you will always find holiday makers who are usually unawar that at nigh those same dunes come alive with Natterjack Toads, one of Wales’ rarest creatures. The dunes and marshes on the Dee Estuary are also popular with bird watchers who come to spot the migrating birds, who visit at different times of the year.
To further protect the dunes and stop erosion areas where people walk a lot have wooden boardwalks laid. This serves to guide them along the correct paths and helps stop further erosion.
In 2013 the dunes, especially on the seaward side suffered terrible erosion from a storm surge with many of the high dunes being almost levelled. To help the natural habitat regrow, simple measures like placing old Christmas trees into the sand or building fences along the edge of the dunes help the marram grass to anchor. The sand blown by the wind will drift and bind to the trees or fences and eventually start to rebuild the dunes. It’s not an instant fix. It can take about twenty years or more for the dunes to get back to the height they once were on the seaward side.
Whilst I was out I tried a little experiment to see if I could do a long exposure using smartphone camera. It’s possible, but I couldn’t hold the phone steady enough in the wind, so I think I would need to use a tripod with a smartphone mount to achieve satisfactory results. But I’m pleased with what I managed to achieve in the photograph below.
Out on the beach the weather seemed to be putting people off, with just one or two people walking dogs. One good thing, the recent storms have thrown a lot of debris up onto the beach so there are opportunities for photographs with foreground interest.
You might have noted that most of the photographs I took were in portrait mode. This happened for no other reason than that aesthetically they looked better that way. However I did take one or two in landscape mode.
The storms of 2013 washed away so much sand from the dunes that most of these stones have been buried since then. Recent storms have exposed them again. Compare this photograph from 2016 and the first photograph in this post to see what I mean.
Well that’s it from me. Just for interest I have given up with Apple and have now turned to Android. My new phone is the Huawei Mate P20 Pro. which I’ve had for several months now.
To be honest I have always dismissed smartphone photographs as great for snaps, FB and IG. On my trip to Japan I did do those one a day posts to the blog using a smartphone photograph, but that was mainly for convenience and I never really took it any further.
However my new phone can shoot in RAW, has a pro mode which allows me to control the way I take a photograph and many more features which I’m only just starting to investigate.
What surprised me, there are lots of YouTube Channels dedicated to smartphone photography and how to get the best out of the cameras and software that they use. I’ve found a great channel dedicated to my brand of phone with hints, tips and examples of what can be achieved with the camera in my smartphone.
Will it replace my Olympus Pro Camera and lenses? Who knows? But I did replace my heavy Pentax gear for the lighter micro 4/3rds Olympus when I started struggling to walk up mountain sides in Snowdonia. Now I’ve got this ankle and knew problem……