Night Time–Who’s Out There?

I am, at least I was on Wednesday night. After a busy day in Stockport I rushed back to get out with a group of photographers from the Prestatyn & District Camera Club for an evening shoot in Rhyl. If you want to look at some of the members photographs, just follow the link to our public Facebook page. But going back to that night-time shoot, “How convenient that this weeks theme is Glow”.

So let’s get on with it and show a few of my photographs from that evening. It was a cold night in Rhyl with the wind blowing off the sea. We were down by the sea-front, there’s no real shelter from the wind, so it’s a case of wrap up well, especially as you’re going to be standing around quite a lot.

Keep Still
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk2 with Olympus M 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Lens – f2.8, 0.6s, ISO 200

Just to the left of this picture is the sea. That evening I could hear it but the light drops off dramatically as you get away from the promenade, I just couldn’t see it. With gulls crying out it’s quite eerie, even although I’m standing in a well-lit area. The blue shelters have changed to red now and the Sky Tower to purple.

Shelters
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk2 with Olympus M 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Lens – f16, 60s, ISO 200

At the harbour it was just as cold. This is an area that has been re-generated so it’s well lit, but quite lonely. Not so sure that I would go down there on my own at night.

Rhyl Harbour
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk2 with Olympus M 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Lens – f18, 13s, ISO 200

Whilst everyone stayed at the harbour I decided to walk up to the roundabout on the opposite side of the river. It’s only a short walk and it helps to keep warm. I was looking for something different; light trails from cars.

Roundabout Light
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk2 with Olympus M 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Lens – f6.3, 1s, ISO 200 using Live Composite Mode

Just up from the roundabout is the bridge over the river, the harbour is to the right of this photograph, and it’s here I was really looking to capture some light trails. Luckily enough a bus came along whilst I was taking the photograph, adding some extra colour to the scene.

Light Trails
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk2 with Olympus M 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Lens – f6.3, 1s, ISO 200 using Live Composite Mode

So that’s it for this week, I hope you enjoyed the photographs.

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I’ve Been Busy–Is There Ever Enough Time

What a hectic two weeks it has been working on two separate projects at the same time. As many readers will know I joined a local start-up camera club, which is surprising for me as I’ve always been dead set against them for being too stuffy, with the usual CanonIkon users looking down on everybody else. But this local club is different, we’re a bunch of photographers who in the main like to socialise, discuss photography and have no real fixed agenda. We’re not into getting initials after our name, like some photographers do, but we do like a bit of fun and to see how our photographs are comparing against others in the area. But I’ll talk more about that later.

Meanwhile this week I’m going to show a few photographs from around the coast and especially the stretch near me from Talacre to where I live now, Prestatyn.

Talacre Beach

First thing I can say is that post is no longer standing. It was washed away last week in a storm. It’s still on the beach but much further up.. The dog was one of those lucky shots. I’d just set up the camera on a tripod with remote control attached, getting ready to do a long exposure. Fortunately I ghadn’t attached any filters or set the camera for long exposure photography so I was able to get this one photograph before the dog ran away.

Dog on Beach

Talking of one photograph and one of the projects I was working on. Our little camera club is a member of the North Wales Photographic Association and last week I was busy co-coordinating our clubs photographs for the inter-club championship. For copyright reasons I can’t show you the photographs, they’re not all mine. But suffice to say I spent hours making sure the entries from our club members where in, preparing a slide show so that our members could vote on the ones they liked best and then getting those scores onto spread sheets which allowed us to choose the highest scoring photographs for submission to the competition.

Right back to Talacre, I make no bones about this, I visit there a lot, it’s one of my go-to places for testing and when I’m not in the mood for travelling. It’s only ten minutes away.

Talacre Sunset

Yes, the lighthouse does lean. So what about the second project? Well that one is more closer to home. My youngest son has decided to go it alone and set up his own electrical contracting company. I’ve been helping him design his website amongst other things. If you get the chance please click this link, drive some traffic to it. Catchy name huh?

52 in 2015 Week 8 SOOC

And we’re still at Talacre. This is what happens when we have an exceptionally high tide and you ignore the tide tables. You get cut-off and have to wait it out on the dunes until the tide recedes. Of course if you know the area, you don’t let the tide catch you out, but if it does, you also know that if you walk along the top of the dunes for about ten minutes you can get behind the incoming tide and safely make your way of the beach.

Weekly Photo Challenge: My Neighbourhood - 11

If you look at the photograph below which was taken several years back and were to stand in the same spot today you wouldn’t see all those stones, nor would you see the dunes. The great storm of Dec 2013 along with higher than usual tidal surges served to destroy much of the dunes. The sand that was carried away changed the shape of Talacre beach and buried many of these stones, which were the remains of the pathway to the abandoned lighthouse. To date only a few have been uncovered by tidal action.

Ray of Light

One thing we are very luck to have here in North Wales, amazing sunsets, and with long wide beaches there’s always scope to show a mixture of both sky and beach

Reflections

…or perhaps just more of the beach, this is one of my favourites.

Purple Haze

And it’s an ever-changing scenery. Sure there are some fixed things like the groyne markers. but tidal action, weather and the sun can serve to give you a different photograph every time you visit.

Sunset on Prestatyn Beach

So that’s it for this weeks challenge. I hope you enjoyed the photographs and if you do get the chance please click the link.

It’s been a while since I visited any blogs which take part in the challenge, mainly due to other commitments, therefore there haven’t been any links to other sites on Say It With A Camera. But this week I managed to make some time, despite all the work I have on, so here are some bloggers whose work I have liked this week. Note, unlike other bloggers I have seen, I do not just spray links. I do take the time to visit and if I like an article I will say so, maybe even leave a comment. It’s only fair – Mike

Yvette’s photography Scale
Day-To-Day Photography Orange Beach, Alabama
Anvica’s gallery Scale
AEKShots Weekly Photo Challenge…Scale
Weekly Photo Challenge- Scale – Novice Photographer
Photography Journal Blog Weekly Photo Challenge- Scale
The Land Slide Photography Lone Fisherman
The Reluctant Photographer Scale

A Museum For Photography–Let Me In

If I were to ask you who was Joseph Nicephore Niepce was you’d more than likely, like me say “Who”. Yet as photographers we should know his name and sing his praises. Why? Because good old Joseph was the man who first invented photography. Maybe not as we know it today,  but what Niepce did was to lay down the foundations for modern photography. Using a technique called heliography Niepce created a photographic process by making a print from a photengraved printing plate in 1825.

Joseph Nicephore Niepce

And so on to today and modern photography. How things have changed. Digital is the new medium. Modern cameras can be extremely complicated but ridiculously small compared to the early days of photography. Come with me on a short journey through the Museum of Photography in Chalon-sur- Saone, the birthplace of Joseph Nicephore Niepce. I should say at this point that most of the exhibits, descriptions were in French only, the museum was extremely hot and not very well-lit. I wasn’t allowed to use a tripod, either.

The journey through the museum starts with early examples of cameras and equipment. As you would expect, all of these exhibits are in glass cases, meaning that the reflections from lights around the room and even myself are shown in the glass. I did manage to get around most of these problems by reducing the highlights and using the dehaze slider and making it positive in Lightroom. Not too heavy, just enough to take out some of the glare and reflections

Old Camera

It’s just a wooden box but look at the brass work, it’s a thing of beauty and precision mechanical engineering.

An Early Camera

Of course, early photography used chemicals, some of them quite nasty, and lots of them to get the final results.

Developing Fluid

I loved this door, small windows,  with lots of examples of early photographs. Of course nowadays with modern software we can simulate some of those early style of photographs.

Window

Moving through the museum, did I mention it was really hot, we come to a more modern era. We’ve moved a way from single plates to rolls of film as this advert for Agfa film shows

Advertising Material

Equipment has moved on as well, cameras are much smaller and developing film is not as messy. Chemicals are still involved, though.

Glass Cases

Now we are starting to move into the Kodak zone, as I call it. In 1962 the Eastman Kodak Company established a production plant in Chalon-sur-Saone. At it’s peak the factory employed about 2500 employees mainly specialising in the manufacture of photo-sensitive surfaces used for consumer photos, cinefilm for the cinema and products used in medical radio.

But then in 2004, with the accelerated arrival of digital products, particularly in consumer photography, Eastman Kodak announced major cuts to the group and workforce. Then began a period of intense layoffs cutting the workforce and by 2006 there are only about 100 employees on the site. This was later cut to about thirty and by 2010 there is no one working for Kodak.

Kodak Colorama

You know I’m really impressed with the photograph above, or should I say my camera, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 and the 12-40mm Olympus PRO lens. This is hand-held at 1/15 second in a darkish sort of room. The in-body stabilisation has kicked in to give me a reasonably sharp  focused photograph.

Small Panoramas

One of the Kodak Coloramas projected onto the wall. I really liked being in this room, looking at all of the photographs and the good bit. I had the place to myself.

San Francisco Colorama

Last photograph and you can see another projected photograph of the Taj Mahal in the background.

Kodak Gallery

I spent hours in the museum, looking at the exhibits and taking loads of photographs. Best of all it was free entry, if only it wasn’t so hot. But you can’t have it all so I’m grateful that I was able to visit the museum.

Hôtel-Dieu, Beaune

Once an alms-house for the poor, the Hotel Dieu is now a museum and at last I have found an ancient building in France that is not bare of furniture and fittings. Right from the start I knew there would be some good photo opportunities and it really was a shame that the sun wasn’t out. Instead i had to contend with gloomy grey skies throughout the day. But it’s a one-off visit so I had to make the most of it, stop moaning about the light and get on with it.

Courtyard

Of course like all museums and tourist attractions you just can’t get away from the crowds and this particular group always seemed to be just in front of me. But ignore the people and look at the ceiling. How beautiful is that?

The Ward

Those beds are were the sick and poor were quartered. Privacy, of which there is little, comes from drawing a curtain across. But when all’s said and done, it must have been a lot better to be in here, rather than being out on the streets.

Beds

So I finally had a stunning plan. Jump ahead of that group and stay ahead of them whilst I got my photographs. there were other people about but I could work around that. meanwhile I’m impressed with the level of fittings that are here in the museum, even down to the mannequins dressed as nuns. Although more on that later……

Private Ward

….and here’s where I think the mannequin doesn’t work. Red lipstick, beautifully shaped eye-brows, any nuns I’ve seen, and I’ve seen loads, having once lived very near Rome and the Vatican, just didn’t look like that.

Kitchen

But the museum is well equipped and although I photographed a lot of rooms there’s only so much I can include here. Which takes me to the Apothecary. I could spend time in Photoshop cloning out the ropes and the sign with the number but I wanted to get this post out. Besides which you get to see the room as I did and that’s how it should be.

Apothecary

Anyway after a while I left the Hotel Dieu and went for a wander around Beaune. Such a nice little town, Narrow cobbled streets to walk around, not too much traffic and a lot of building associated with the wine industry, including a free museum you can walk around.

Streets

And of course, there’s always a church. As I had time to spare. I had a quick wander around

Basilique Notre Dame

It’s a typical French church, pretty ornate inside, with high vaulted ceiling and lots of stained glass.

Dome

Like most French churches, there are lots of private chapels, some very ornate, some quite simple.

Stained Glass

Well that’s it. I hope you enjoyed this quick tour with me – Mike

On the Beach In Black And White

This week it’s going to be a quick one with just two photographs. Circumstances and time have caught up with me. But hopefully you will like the photographs. Sunday afternoon saw me at Talacre, I managed to break away for a couple of hours to meet up with a group of photographers who, like me, are into long exposure photography.

Now you might be asking “what is he talking about”?. So let me explain in the most simplest of terms. By sticking an extremely dark filter in front of the camera lens. I can force the camera sensor into computing that I am effectively photographing my subject at night, even although it’s broad daylight. Therefore the camera computes that to get the right exposure for the photograph it need to take a lot longer to keep the shutter open. How long depends on a few factors, but suffice to say I was looking at exposures of between 2 seconds and 70 seconds throughout the day. To ensure the photograph is not blurred I am using a tripod and a remote control.

I am lucky that I can use Live View with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 and watch the photograph develop on the rear screen. I let the camera do all the work. But other photographers have to calculate the exposure using charts, or these days, usually an app on their smart phone.

He [Brassai] times his long exposures by smoking cigarettes – when his smoke was out, he closed the shutter. – John G. Morris

First photograph. Taken as the tide was coming in. Even at two seconds you can see that the sea is beginning to be smoothed out. It wasn’t particularly rough that day, with almost no wave action to speak of.

Talacre Lighthouse

This second photograph is a seventy second exposure. It’s more noticeable in the clouds now as they have started to streak which is a characteristic of long exposures.

A snapshot steals life that it cannot return. A long exposure [creates] a form that never existed. – Dieter Appelt

It was a bit of a grey day and the colours weren’t that fantastic so to get more effect i have converted to Black and White using NIK Silver Efex.

Talacre Lighthouse

So that’s it for this week.  I hope you enjoyed the photographs – Mike

Château de Tournon

Once again I am disappointed by a French historical building that promised much and delivered so little.

Tournon Castle

Perched above the town of Tournon, the castle has views over the town and river.

View From

Inside though another historical building has been stripped of much of it’s original fixtures and fittings, only to be replaced by modern works of art.

Art Work

Nice as some of them are to look at, you can soon get bored wandering from room to room and finding only these. Where is all the magnificent furniture, the drapes, ornaments etc. I mean you only have to read about some of the historical homes I have photographed in the UK to see the difference. Despite being built during the 16th century the Castle at Tournon has so little. Even Wikipedia in it’s description of Tournon Castle strips it down to one lineittle. Even Wikipedia strips it down to one line.

The Château de Tournon is a listed castle in Tournon-sur-Rhône, Ardèche, France. It was built in the 16th century. It has been listed as an official historical monument since March 28, 1938

Anyway let’s have a look around the castle. After paying your entry fee the first thing you get to see is the courtyard. Like all museums there is a sort of suggested route and entry to the rooms of the castle are through the small door. We struggled to find the light switch at this point and you do need it, especially as you are met with a winding staircase. Also coming in from the bright sunlight to this dark area, you are at first as “blind as a bat”.

Castle Courtyard

First room, mind the step, you have to step down into the room. Lots of shields on the wall.

Shields

Through the door into the next room. There’s a table and two chairs. Moving on quickly….

A Room

At this point I stopped following the plan. Up until this point I was by myself and could take my time taking photographs. But suddenly a part of people turned up so I jumped ahead to other rooms to get some peace and quiet to photograph. Later I can double back once they have passed through. It’s one of those things, you can’t expect exclusive access when visiting buildings…..but there is always one who wants to linger and look at the carving on the clock. I mean ten minutes just to look at it, c’mon give me a break.

Furniture

Another table and chairs……

Desk

….and here’s some more

Table and Chairs

viewed from another angle.

Table

In one of the rooms, there was a large glass case with what looked like some remains of a bridge. Remember Marc Seguin? I couldn’t photograph it, because there was a party of people there being given a lecture by one of the museums curators so time to move on. I found the church. Yep! That’s it below. Enough said.

Church

That’s it for Tournon Castle. Another disappointment, although that’s not strictly true. I did enjoy wandering around, especially as it got me out of the heat of the day.

Où Est L’Oignon Johnny?

As a kid growing up in Glasgow I can remember when little Frenchmen with striped shirts and a black beret would cycle around the streets selling their onions. Each summer they would suddenly appear, their cycle bedecked with strings of onions, to us kids it was so exotic. How I wish I was into photography then.

It’s 9:15 in the morning, the sky is blue, the temperature is rapidly rising and I’m in Tournon during the annual onion festival. Held every year for more than 700 years on the 29 August and it is reckoned that more than 1000 people will be exhibiting their wares.

Onions, I’m in France, Onion Johnny is going to be here, I just know it, Johnny I’m coming to photograph you.

So here we are, down by the river I find a statue to probably the first Onion Johnny. But a quick bit of research soon proves me wrong and then to make matters worse I find out that the traditional Onion Johnnies come from Brittany and we’re definitely not in Brittany. Good old Marc here was a bit of an entrepreneur and inventor, being the first to develop a wired suspension bridge in continental Europe. In 1829 Seguin designed two steam locomotives that used an innovative multi-tube boiler design. This gave more power to the engines and allowed them to increase speed from about 4 mph to around 25 mph, making rail travel commercially more viable.

Marc Seguin

Did I mention that Tournon has a castle? More on that later with a second post from Tournon, probably about Wednesday.

Tournon Castle

Anyway moving on. Wandering around the market by the riverside it was already starting to get busy, but there certainly wasn’t a 1000 traders in the market space. No! There had to be more elsewhere? Round towels, can’t say I’ve seen them before.

On the Market

Ugh! Nutella. I don’t know what tastes worse, Vegemite or Nutella. The idea behind this stall is you buy the pastries (donuts, maybe) and they get filled with your choice of filling.  But I actually saw someone buying the pastries and then getting them warmed before eating them. So a little bit of research courtesy of Wikipedia and I find that a Beignet is the French term for a pastry made from deep-fried choux pastry and they are meant to be prepared and eaten right there and then.

Nuttella

It’s chocolate time and I’ve never seen this before. You buy the yellow carrier bag for 10 Euros (about USD $12) and then this market man goes around filling it with chocolate. There’s lots of talk and gesticulating and he was just starting to get in his stride when I came along. But just remember this. It was a hot day, later we were told the temperature had reached 40 degrees centigrade. I wonder how the chocolate survived.

Chocolate Heaven

Another one from the market before I set off to have a wander around the town. Apparently all local made.

Shoes For Sale

Getting away from the river I started to wind my way through the narrow streets looking for photo opportunities. Now I know where all those traders are. They’re in the streets of the town and of course so are all the townsfolk and tourists. It’s hot, sticky, there’s a lot of bumping going on and I have already worked out I’m going to be photographing crowd scenes.

People

That is until a find this narrow little street with no one in it. At last a bit of peace and quiet and I can take some photographs without people. Look at this, dark, narrow, winding and surprisingly cool, considering. Look at those pipes coming down the side of the buildings. Perfect.

Light and Shade

And then I found this before heading into the Eglise Notre Dame

Door and Window

The church was so cool and peaceful. It wasn’t my intention to take a photograph but I wanted to linger a while and just chill, excuse the pun. I’d had enough of crowds and the church was almost empty.

Eglise Notre Dame

But I couldn’t stay there all day. I had a hot date with a castle later in the afternoon so it was time to get back to the river, grab some lunch and cool off in my air-conditioned room before venturing forth again.

And there he is. “Onion Johnny”. Surprisingly although it’s the Onion Festival I saw very few onions for sale. But there again I wasn’t exactly going looking for them it was just too hot.

Onion Johnny

That’s it. Later this week I’ll take you on a trip around Tournon Castle.