Category: North Wales

The Earth Is Art, The Photographer Is Only A Witness…..

So said Yann Arthus-Bertrand  in his book: “Earth from Above, Third Edition” and I tend to agree. So this week come with me to Big Pool Wood and Talacre Beach to see what I have witnessed. Big Pool Wood is a small nature reserve managed by the North Wales Wildlife Trust. Despite its name the pool is quite small and only really fills up during the winter. But with the addition of a new bird hide and a dedicated team of photographers we are beginning to see all that the wood has to offer.

I’ve written about BPW before, mainly about the birds who visit, so let’s go for a walk around the woods, which you can do in about 15 minutes, or if you are like me, constantly stopping to take photographs, it could take an hour. Spring is here and the Mallard Ducklings have left the safety of the reed beds to paddle in the pool. There were seven little ducklings a week or so back but it looks like predators, or other Mallard Ducks, have whittled the population down by almost half.

_4230275

Of course with Spring, comes colour and the wood is now carpeted with purple and blue flowers.

_4230298

Bluebells form the biggest carpet and the path through the woods is lined either side by them.

_4230339

And flowers bring out insects like these Orange Tipped Butterflies. Common in the UK, so I haven’t really found anything rare.

_4230359

Likewise for this Comma, another common butterfly to be found in the UK.

_4230296

Not far from BPW is Talacre Beach and it with being such a fine day it seemed a shame not to pay a visit. Now if you go onto the beach it will be busy. But take a walk amongst the dunes and you will see plenty of wildlife. But you can also photograph the lighthouse with showing people and you get a different sort of photograph from what others might take if they were on the beach.

_4230484

Whilst I was walking through the dunes I came across this little Meadow Pipit, shot at the extreme length of my zoom lens and against a very bright background I struggled to get a decent photograph, especially as I had to crop in so much but the new Olympus camera with the improved sensor has done a reasonable job at the distance involved. Don’t get me wrong, It’s not perfect by any means, far from it, but at least I managed to get it good enough to post on my blog.

 

_4230399

As you wander around the dunes you see the odd sign of man made structures. During WWII Talacre was used as a bombing range and in later years there were buildings in amongst the dunes. Nowadays all that’s left are bits of fence like this.

_4230498

I’d just got back to the car-park when I spotted a little Robin perched in a tree. It was very quiet, normally they’re singing their little hearts out but this one wasn’t. He/She (both have that distinctive red breast) hung around long enough for me to get a few photographs and then took off.

_4230376

Right that’s it for this week, I hope you enjoyed the photographs and as usual here’s what other bloggers have got to say about this weeks challenge.

Exploring the world Wild flowers
Shape Shifters – Wind Rush
Weekly Photo Challenge- Earth – Or, The Earth At My Feet – Petchary’s Blog
The Photo Junkie Earth II- Belogradchik Rock Formations
Pictures without film. Solstice Sunrise revisited – Weekly Photo Challenge- Earth
Simply Photos Here Today – Gone Tomorrow
Our Beautiful Earth – Geriatri’x’ Fotogallery
The Blog of Maggie Weekly Photo Challenge- EARTH
picturesimperfectblog Synecdoche
Photography Journal Blog Weekly Photo Challenge- Earth

Wednesday to Wednesday – Who Thought That One Up?

I really do not like this new schedule for the Weekly Challenge. Does anyone else? So once again I have to go with a little post because I’ve not got enough photographs.

Brown Rat

This is a Brown Rat. It showed no fear and as bold as brass it kept coming out in front of me as I sat in the bird hide at Big Pool Wood. Straight up the branch of a tree and out to the bird feeders. At it’s closest point it was no more than 5 feet from me.

That’s it for this week – Mike

Here’s what others are saying about this weeks challenge

The Day After Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge- Surprised and Delighted
Coffee fuels my photography! Sunset Surprise (WPC- Surprise)
A Certain Slant of Light Photography A Tiny Visitor
The Eye of a Thieving Magpie Do Birds Play with their Food-
Snow in April – MiaPhotolio
Half a photograph Robot Hugs
Mindfulness through a lens WPC- Surprise
Jude’s Photography Weekly Photo Challenge- Surprise
Eiwawar Prince of the woods
Hansel and Gretel taken by Surprise – Reinhold Staden Photography

Against The Odds – I’m Struggling

An ideal subject for this weeks challenge would be the Kingfisher I captured some weeks back and featured in It’s A Kind Of Magic. But I don’t want to show you that, instead I’m going to show you, nothing. Let me explain, at the time of writing this, Saturday 12:07 pm UK time, I’m sitting in my office thinking of what I could show you this week. And my mind’s a blank. I can’t at the moment think of anything that would fit the bill. Mainly because I plan my days out, taking photographs. I know where I’m going. If I’m on the coast, I’ve checked the tide times. In the mountains it’s the weather. I don’t really do spontaneous, instant capture type of photography, even when I’m out on the streets. So this really is going to be a challenge this week, unless I go out with my camera and wait for something to happen…..is that really “against the odds”.

Of course I could just throw some photographs in, write a story around them to make them fit the theme…..now that’s an idea.

Right Fast Forward to Monday 20th, it’s 15:44 UK time (that’s 3:44 pm) and I’ve got my photograph.

Breeding Common Toad

Against All The Odds, sure was. I nearly stood on the pair of them as I was wandering by the river looking for something to photograph. This is a pair of Common Toads, the female is the larger of the two. Now the male is smart. He’s “piggy backed” on the female as she makes her way to the breeding ground. But he may not be the one to finally mate with her as more often than not there are more males than females. If he manages to stay with her for the several days required then that definitely is “against all the odds”

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

Photography Journal Blog Weekly Photo Challenge- Against the Odds
Crafting Photolog Weekly Photo Challenge- Lucky Against the Odds
Hot Dogs and Marmalade Play Your Game
Against the odds- The Photo Challenge – I scrap 2
Spirit of Dragonflies WPC – Against the Odds
Photo Challenge- Against All Odds – Tricia T Allen
Ed Lehming Photography “Against the Odds”
Following Him Beside Still Waters Fortuitous Frog Find
Smith Creek-Against the odds photo – Thoughts from an Alabaster Beach Girl
PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS Against the Odds

Talacre Dunes

Another post, using the new theme and the WordPress servers to host the photographs. Most comments said everything was OK but “It’s Just A Theory” reported having problems displaying the photographs. So could you please check and let me know if the images are displaying with the post and that you don’t have to click a link or a thumbnail to see them. Thanks in advance for checking.

So this week it’s Graceful. Those people in Automatic sure pick some weird themes at times but here we go.

The sand dunes at Talacre have always been my goto place when I want to test new equipment or a particular method of taking photographs.

Talacre Sand Dunes

Wandering amongst the dunes gives me plenty of scope to photograph wildlife, like this jay which was sitting on one of the trees that are dotted around the dunes. Beautiful birds, very intelligent and this photograph in winter plumage really doesn’t do the colours justice.

Jay

And wherever you go your sure to find little Blue Tits at the edges of the dunes, hiding in the trees. Although not this one, quite cheeky, but very nervous and surprisingly this one came quite close.

Blue Tit

However, back to the dunes, There are certain areas were a lot of conservation work is going on so you will find these areas fenced off.

Dune Protection

It may be for a rare species of plant or wildlife. Sometimes it’s just to protect the ever-changing infrastructure. Sand dunes are very susceptible to damage by us and of course the wind. I never question it. If it’s fenced off, it’s for a reason, so I see no need to enter, even if it means I have to go a longer way round.

Finally you can’t go to Talacre without taking a photograph of the abandoned lighthouse. But this time rather than go onto the beach I’ve stayed in the dunes to give me some foreground interest.

Talacre Lighthouse

Is it graceful? It might be but hey, my post my choice of photographs. Do they fit the theme….of course they do.

As usual, here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge;

Yvette’s photography Graceful
PhotosbyGoldie Graceful in Repose
Photoessayist The Blog Graceful- A Richard Serra Sculpture
A Certain Slant of Light Photography Underwater Grace
Flight of a Seagull
Anvica’s gallery Graceful
Half a photograph Graceful
32
Vietnamese Girl in Ao Dai – Nes Felicio Photography
Sara Doolittle Gracefulness, air, and water

High Tide 12:04 PM 8.83 Metres

I want to show you a photograph. It’s of our local beach when the tide is out…and why would I want to do this?

Storm Damage

Because I’m now going to show you another photograph when the tide is in.

Groyne Marker

This week sees higher tides than normal hitting our coastline, here in North Wales. Todays high tide at 12:04 pm was calculated to be 8.83 metres (28.97 feet) and combined with very strong on-shore winds probably means it will be higher than that. Which means our coastal defences are going to take a bit of a battering. Those defences serve two purposes, one to protect the town from storms and high tides and two they act as a nice walking and cycle way right along the coast. This part stretches away in the distance to the Beaches hotel.  It’s a sort of tiered effect as the walkway is bordered by a low wall and the sand dunes.

Dog Walking

But of course when we get really high tides or storms, it’s a different matter. Those defences are shaped to break up the incoming waves but the sea does still get over them and that’s why we have that second wall.

Sun Is Out

My motto has always been “never put yourself in harm’s way to get a photograph”. I broke it once and paid the consequences by ending up in Accident and Emergency. So all of my photographs today have been taken with zoom lenses. I have no desire to get close to the action.

But some people do and I can never understand why. What makes you want to get close to breaking waves that can easily suck you right back out to sea?

Not Me

To show you what I mean…..just under two years ago I took this photograph of a man fishing on the sea-front during particularly stormy seas. That wave and the subsequent one behind it almost washed him off his feet.

Gone Fishin'

Only the retaining wall stopped him going. It was pretty hairy at the time and I couldn’t have helped him because I was some distance away using a zoom lens.

Stormy Seas

But back to today. It almost 12:04 pm and high tide. The waves are breaking right over the front part of the storm defences now, but the second wall is doing what it should.

Breakers

However, nothing changes, despite the waves breaking pretty high and the walkway being under water at times, people were still walking along, taking a chance. The thing is, if a rogue wave comes along, they’ve nowhere to go. They’re trapped between the sea and the second wall and the dunes. Admittedly the second wall is low about 1.2 metres (4 feet) and if a big wave did come along they should be able to scramble over it onto the dunes. But it’s all concrete there and by now it’s wet and slippery.

We're Brave

And then a cyclist came along…..

Cycling Along

So that’s it. Just a little insight into our coastal paths and see defences and how we cope with storms and exceptional high tides – Mike