The Sunset That Never Happened

Well it did; the sun did set but the sky never lit up as expected. This past week we have been experiencing some glorious sunrises/sunsets and I had hoped that last night would be no exception. Sadly it was!

Frith Sunset
Olympus E-M1 Mk2 using a 3 shot HDR base exposure 1/13s at F11 ISO 200

As soon as I got down the beach I could see that big bank of cloud right on the horizon and knew it would dull any sort of real sunset. But I decided to hang around just in case

I was right. The sun has just about set and it was a very mediocre sunset compared to some of the ones we get here.

Sunset
Olympus E-M1 Mk2 using a 3 shot HDR base exposure 1/3s at F11 ISO 200

Still it got me out for an hour or so whilst “she who must be obeyed” watched the Cup Final on TV. It also allowed me to keep practicing with the 9-18mm wide-angle that I bought a few weeks back.

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Industrial North Wales

North Wales has a rich industrial heritage, probably best known for slate mining, but there were also copper and lead mines in existence.

Today’s post is really an experiment. Although I like the them I’m using on my blog I’m not too happy about the size of the images that are displayed. It was so different when I was using Flickr to host the images because you could just click on an image to see it full size. But that doesn’t happen now that I’m using the WP Media Server.

But I’ve been advised that there is a solution, so as an experiment let’s see if it works. Hopefully, once this is posted if you click on an image you will see a larger version.

Archway At Dorothea
Archway leading to the stables at Dorothea Quarry

Dorothea Quarry was one of the many quarries producing Welsh Slate, which was highly prized for its quality and shipped all over the world. Sadly like nearly all of the quarries, Dorothea no longer produces slate and has fallen into disrepair. At one time you could wander freely around these old quarries and there were some great photographs to be had, but increasingly they have become fenced off due to “elfin safety”.

Woodshop
Workshop in the National Slate Museum

Fortunately that industrial heritage has been preserved at the National Slate Museum, Llanberis. Here you can see the workshops and on the mountainside there is a marked trail through the quarry, fenced off either side, with magnificent views to the Snowdon Mountain Range.

Workshop Tools
In the National Slate Museum

I’ve just tested, using the preview button, as I’m writing this post in the WP desktop editor and it works.

Now you will be able to see a much larger version of my images if you click on them

 

A Mixed Bag, This Week

It’s been a week of contracts. New phone, car insurance, broadband, travel insurance, had to get that renewed as I’ve got some interesting trips coming up this year starting in March. Told the kids I’m going to take up SKI’ing, they thought I was mad. Anyway  bit of a mixed bag this week, photograph wise. So without further ado let’s get on with it…

First up is Valle Crucis Abbey, or to be more precise the ruins of the abbey. Although it is maintained nowadays. time has not been good to the structure and although it is safe to walk around the site, especially when the snow falls. One year when i visited that low wall was completely hidden, instant leg or ankle breaker.

Valle Crucis

A couple of years back I found this great little piece of artwork on the Wirral near Hoylake. It’s made from driftwood found on the beach and the structure is sound enough for kids to climb on it. It’s a great pirate ship, don’t you think?

Grace Darling

This bench sits at the side of a river in an area where the conditions are right for moss and lichens to grow. Not sure I’d sit on this bench because it looks as though it could be permanently wet.

Bench

Out on the Denbigh moors I found this building. Although it looks in disrepair and isn’t obviously habitable. There are official looking signs saying “No Entry”, and I have seen some plain unmarked vans parked right next to the door. Maybe it’s the entrance to a secret bunker. Or probably it’s just an old abandoned building out on the moors.

Abandoned

The only tree, honestly. You can see the ones down in the valley but this was the only one in view when I got to the top of the hill.

Lone Tree

My next photograph is a bit of a strange one. The structure in the background is the Point of Ayr gas terminal and I’m standing on the surface of the now defunct Mostyn Colliery. Lot’s of coal beneath me, but apparently it’s the “wrong type”. So they closed the colliery and flooded the mineshaft by opening a hole to one of the levels from the sea which is just behind me. At high tide, the sea rushed in and filled all the levels of the mine, which incidentally went out under the sea bed. Of course all this happened  a good fifty years or so and it’s unlikely they would ever be able to recover the coal now.

Tracks

A metal bar, left behind when the copper mine closed. I love that little patch of light as the sun broke through the clouds.

Steel Bar

I really am not sure what this was used for, but it’s at the side of the Menai Strait, so I assume it was used for winching something in from the water.

Winch

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

An Apology

It’s more than likely that you received a Temporary Post from me on Thursday as a result of me changing the theme I use for Say It With A Camera. Regular readers will know that I use Windows Live Writer to write my blogs and when WLW adopts the new theme it sometimes sends out a temporary post. It’s almost like a spam message, because there are no photographs, just some text within the email, followed by a load of numbers.

This is a temporary post that was not deleted. Please delete this manually. (28833f2c-9186-4ba0-8af7-76e97ce3ff17 – 3bfe001a-32de-4114-a6b4-4005b770f6d7)

I can only apologise for this, we all lead busy lives, and an unwanted email in our inbox is all something we could do without.

I had some great news this week. Say It With A Camera has been awarded a place in the Top 100 Photography Blogs by Feedspot, a service that lets you read all your favourite blogs in one place. I must be doing something right.

And so to some photographs. I’ve just come back from Dunham Massey, another one of Britain’s Stately Homes that is managed by the National Trust. So here’s some photographs from inside the house.

Just before you go into the house proper, there’s a room with this nice old car.

Vintage Car

Not sure if it’s still being driven on the road but there is mud on the tires and the wheel arches, maybe it does. Once inside the house, like nearly all National Trust properties, you get the chance to wander around the state rooms and usually the servants quarters. It’s usually quite difficult to get a photograph because you’re not allowed to use flash (none on my camera, anyway), and tripods are also not allowed. Not only that, there’s always people walking around, looking at the rooms. So, as a photographer, if you want photographs with no one in sight, you have to be patient and ready to click that shutter as soon as a room becomes empty.

Dining Room

Just like in the photograph below, I waited ages and suddenly, an empty room. Maybe not the best angle but I’ve got a photograph I can use.

Green Settees

The next room is a bit of a strange one. I’m not quite sure what function it has. It looks more like a room a lady would use, but I was so intent on getting the photograph I forgot to look and see what it was used for. What do you think? A room for the lady of the house?

Room

Not too hard to know what the next one is used for. It’s a study and definitely a mans room.

Study

Right, let’s go below stairs now. Into the kitchen. Sometimes I think the National Trust over decorate rooms. Just too much on the tables and work surfaces. But it does give an insight to typical items used in a kitchen of a stately home.

Kitchen

Again another room I forgot to take a note of it’s use. It looks like the servants dining room. That’s another thing about the National trust, they leave signs and things explaining what is going on. As a visitor it’s great because it lets you know all about the room. As a photographer I hate them, much too hard to clone them out, but they ruin the aesthetic of the room.

Dining Room

On to the laundry now. The tubs on the floor are where items were washed, Those wooden objects with the funny legs were effectively the agitator for the wash tubs. All done by hand, real hard work. Then there’s the mangle in the forefront of the photograph, used to wring out the washing. No tumble dryers here……

Laundry Room

….and this was the drying room. Missing from this photograph is all the washing hanging from the ceiling.

Laundry

Well that’s it. I hope you enjoyed the photographs and once again my apologies for the spurious post you received yesterday – Mike

It’s Saturday–Time For Black And White

The last three weeks have been pretty hectic with not much time for photography. A quick trip to Big Pool Wood and Talacre lighthouse to test the new camera and last Saturday I managed to arrange a day In Chester to take some photographs….and as usual the best laid plans etc. It was raining, dark grey skies, really overcast, but “plans is plans” and off I went. A good few weeks back I did a post about Chester Cathedral and Saturday was supposed to have been the architecture, Chester has some amazing Black and White buildings and covered walkways, called The Rows. The E-M1 Mk2 is weather-proof, so rain doesn’t really matter too much, apart from getting spots of water on the lens front, guaranteed to happen if you are shooting architecture, so Plan B, I always have a plan, was dusted off and brought into action. Street Photography.

The lovely thing about street photography is the best of is absolutely no way you can stage or even think of – it just like – it happened and isn’t it weird and it is gone.. I think the crazies stuff is the stuff that is generally real and the stuff you can make up is less impressive. – Matt Stuart

If you understand what Matt was saying, let me know.

Wet Chester

See what I mean about those lovely Black and White buildings, another day, maybe. I found a good spot to stand, it’s directly opposite me just to the left of the steps and two windows in. One it was out of the rain, you can see the dry spot on the street, and two it was ideal for catching my victims unwilling subjects as they came round the corner.

No matter what city you are in, at least here in the UK, Saturday is always good for Hen and Stag parties as the next two photographs show.

Strange People

Here comes the bride, can’t understand why she has shut her eyes, maybe it’s a surprise

Bride To Be

Chester is one of those town, they see so many tourists and photographers that they really don’t pay that much attention to another fool with a camera…..

I'm On The Phone

…..and those Black and White buildings are really fantastic to photograph. Just a shame people get in the way.

Friends

I’ve heard of The Leaning Tower Of Pisa, even been and visited it, but this is some serious lean. Ooops! It’s me. I haven’t got the horizon straight.

The Tower

Coffee time, at this point in the day I could do with one myself. This is another nice spot to take a photograph. People seem totally unaware that I’m standing there.

Coffee Time

On the same street, just a little bit further up and another convenient spot to take photographs.

Street photography is a renewable resource. If you don’t like what you see wait 5 minutes or walk a hundred feet. – Craig Coverdale

The Two Of Us

Watch out! They’re coming. On a wet day like Saturday he was doing a roaring trade in selling umbrella’s.

Smoke Time

….and there were lots of them about. Big ones, small one, all designed to poke your eye out. I’m tall and when I walk about in areas where there are lots of umbrellas I have to keep a constant eye, excuse the pun, for someone with their head down, scurrying along, underneath an umbrella.

Tourists

In Chester, there is a great area called The Rows. It’s a series of covered walkways with shops on one side that allow you to get about without getting wet. Well that’s how I look at it….

The Rows - Chester

Of course there are those who don’t mind getting wet, I other the other hand do like to keep dry, so this was taken from that nice little sheltered spot I mentioned earlier.

Happy Clappy

My final photograph for this week . I hope you enjoyed viewing them as much as I did taking them – Mike

The Two Of Us Again

Upstairs, Downstairs Part 2

Better late than never as they, although due to circumstances beyond my control I had to delay writing this post. Now that I’ve finished the unexpected re-decoration of our bedroom at home I can finally get around to writing this post. Sage green, nice colour, once you get used to it.

Continuing the story of Attingham Hall, In later years Attingham Hall was used as a hospital between 1914 and 1918 for wounded soldiers from World War 1. After the Second World War, Attingham was used as an Adult Education College for 23 years so not a lot remains of the downstairs furnishings. Room that you see are typical of the time but I’m not sure how accurately they reflect actual life below stairs. So let’s get started.

This is the kitchen and of all the rooms below stairs this is probably the most truest representation. The lady was actually putting together the ingredients for a carrot soup when we visited.

The Kitchen

The smell of fresh lemons permeated this room. Attingham has an education program for school children and it looked like they had just finished a lesson in cooking. Pancakes I think….

Training

This room could have been the scullery it’s very close to the kitchen and would be where the pots and pans would have been washed and cleaned. No modern aids in here. Hard work and elbow grease was the only way to get anything clean.

Scullery

This room was laid out as the staff dining room. The plates you see on the table explain who would sit where. For instance on the nearest plate is the inscription

Head Coachman Frederick Nash, the highest ranking servant wearing livery. Employed for his skill driving and caring for horses. 35 gns per year.

A guinea was worth 1 pound and 1 shilling in old UK currency before we became decimalised. Nowadays that would be 1 pound and 5 pence. So in todays currency GBP £36.75 (USD $46).as an annual salary.

Staff Dining Room

Just behind and to my left from where I was standing, there is a set of stairs that lead straight up to the front door of Attingham . The dining room windows also face the driveway and the front of the hall so staff would be able to see any callers to the great house.

Right that just leaves the Silver Room which has a large vault like door to secure the house silver which you can see in the cabinets

Silver Room

That’s it. The rooms are not as ornate or decorative. Plain and functional as you would expect for an downstairs in a great house.

Shadows And Highlights–A Study In HDR

This new schedule, Wednesday to Tuesday, for the weekly photo challenge, is playing havoc with my diary. With the old one we’d be told on the Friday, I use the weekend to plan and usually go out on a Wednesday. Write the new blog post on a Thursday. But that’s not to be, anymore. Nevertheless I need to get a blog post out so here goes. Wednesday saw me in Chester Cathedral. I’ve visited before but never with the camera so I felt it was time to rectify the situation. The cathedral has some great places to photograph. the Cloisters, Gardens, Lady Chapel and Quire Stalls to name but a few. So let’s start with the cloisters. I was hoping for some better shadows, but the light outside was just dull grey, so very little light was cast through the stained glass windows. It didn’t help that the cloisters were also lit by spotlights and those wall lights you can see, throwing a very orange cast over everything. Sure I can compensate for this, either in the camera or in post, but it’s one of those extra annoying things to deal with.

Chester Cathedral

I have to say that in most of the photographs you will see today I resorted to using HDR and my trusty old friend PhotoMatix. Now there’s a piece of software I haven’t used for some time.

I’ve swung far from the straight and narrow path of straight photography… I’ve done some hokus pokus that would make the shadow of Daguerre haunt me for a heretic. – Anne Brigman

Wandering around the cathedral I found this room with very high arches, Same thing again, a lot of lighting, it was giving me the shadows and some nice highlights, but once again, maybe a bit too severe.

Chester Cathedral 1

 

Still you work with what you’ve got

If the lighting in a scene is non-uniform or if there are shadows, the lighting will, in general, appear more non-uniform and the shadows darker in the picture than in the original scene. This is purely a visual effect having nothing to do with the photographic process as such. – Ralph Evans

Anyway, moving on. Chester, like many cathedrals, attracts lot od visitors, some come to pray, some to look at the architecture and stained glass, some to photograph it, like me. What I like is that during services, they ban photography and ask for silence, as a mark of respect, so I left my visit to the Lady Chapel until later in the day.

Chester Cathedral 1_2

 

At the rear of the Lady Chapel is a stone monument, the Shrine to Saint Werburgh, patron saint of Chester. Originally the shrine was located at Hanbury in Staffordshire, but continuing Viking raids in the late 9th century prompted it to be moved to the church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. (Now the site of Chester Cathedral). During this period and before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 a monastery was established. Later, under the Normans a Benedictine Abbey was founded. Under the Normans the shrine continued to be a site of pilgrimage.

Then in 1540 came the dissolution of the Abbey, which later led to the creation of Chester Cathedral. Want to know more about the Dissolution Of The Monasteries, one of the most revolutionary events in English history, follow this link. Note this will take you to Wikipedia and open a separate page.

The Shrine was broken up during the dissolution and Werburgh’s relics were lost. In 1876 what was left of the stonework that survived was reassembled and put on display at the back of the main nave in the Lady Chapel.

Chester Cathedral 1_1

You know I took so many photographs whilst I was here, this blog post could have been 5 times as long, maybe I’ll do a second one with another batch of photographs. Meanwhile,

Chester Cathedral 1_4

Now this was really hard to photographs. There was a constant procession of people and it wasn’t so well-lit, so I was having to take a lot more bracket sets than I intended..and in everyone, someone would walk through the scene. So In desperation I dug out my trusty 10 stop ND filter and went for an extremely long exposure instead of an HDR. Don’t ask me the science behind it, but a long exposure will remove all moving objects, i.e. people from your photograph. Better still if you can get a really long exposure, in the region of several minutes you should be able to “make disappear” those who tend to walk slowly or stand still in your photograph.

That’s some nice stained glass so I went in for a closer look.

Chester Cathedral 1_3

Well that’s it for this week. Just a few photographs from my wander around Chester Cathedral. I hope you enjoyed them.

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

Shadow of the Lake – Progressing into Solitude
Visions Of A Daydreamer Weekly Photo Challenge- Shadow
IN THE SHADOW OF LIGHT – A Penny For My Thought
Shadows 1, 2 & 3 – Rebecca Wiseman Portfolio
Sue’s words and pictures Shadow selfie
Julie Powell – Photographer & Graphic Artist Weekly Photo Challenge – Shadow
Books, Music, Photography, & Movies WPC- Shadow
Schatten photo – writingindevizes
What Rings Like a Bell But Makes No Sound- – Nes Felicio Photography
Shadows – Are you still reading-