Point of Ayr – Long Abandoned

Normally on a Wednesday night I’d be at the Camera Club but with the floor being renovated in the hall it was time for a field trip. A place I haven’t been to in a long time is the  site of the old Point of Ayr colliery, located just a short walk along the coast from Talacre at Fynnongroew. The colliery was situated on reclaimed land right along side the Dee Estuary and entrance to the two original shafts were with yards of the sea-shore, with the workings extending out under the sea. In later years the colliery was taken over by the National Coal Board (NCB) and a new shaft was added in the early 80’s, but now coal came to the surface on a conveyor belt.

Despite extensive reserves of coal in the mine, the colliery closed in 1996, mainly as a result of reduced demand for coal-fired power stations. All of the buildings were levelled and today you would be hard pushed to know that a colliery even existed there, other than for this sculpture of a miner with a pit pony and a cart of coal.

Miner and Pony

I was there to catch the sunset, though, and on part of the land that was once the colliery, lies the Point Of Ayr Gas Terminal. Ironically, the move from coal-fired Power Stations was prompted by the introduction of more cleaner gas-powered ones and the gas from the Point of Ayr terminal is used to provide power to half of Wales.

The fenced off areas are overgrown but you can see the Gas Terminal’s structure beyond the trees…… and that was my idea for a photograph last night. Try and get a sunset with the plant structure in silhouette.

Point of Ayr

Of course, you need a decent sunset and last night it certainly wasn’t. Hardly a cloud in the sky, coupled with a dull orange glow, but you work with what you’ve got.

Since the last time I visited Point of Ayr there have been a few additions to the site. I mentioned the sculpture earlier and I also found this wheel, which represents the winding gear from a mine. Who knows it may even be the original wheel?

So with the gas plant in the background and the wheel silhouetted against the setting sun this was probably the photograph of the night for me.

Point of Ayr

One last little point. One of the old miners who used to work at the colliery told me an interesting story. On the final day of colliery operations they flooded the mine, by boring a shaft from the dock, coal was shipped by sea, and letting the high tide do the rest.

Right that’s it. I’m off on holiday. No doubt I’ll take a lot of photographs whilst I’m away. Many of them will be touristy, but hopefully there will be the odd gem amongst them, worth writing about – Mike

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The Donkey Said “What’s Behind Me”

Last Saturday was Prestatyn’s annual carnival day and amazingly in the seven years I have lived here I’ve never attended. So with the challenge this week being unusual, I thought there might be a good photo opportunity.. How wrong I was. First of all there were loads of children in the floats and also in the marching bands. I don’t photograph children period. In this country you are likely to be accused of photographing for nefarious reasons, so it’s better to just switch the camera off.

But I did manage to get some photographs, not my normal landscapes or street photography, Something just a little different.

Behind You

Along with the carnival parade there’s also a fun-fare and donkeys. I love donkeys, sadly we don’t see them on the beach at Prestatyn, so I don’t know where this one has come from.

Of course there are loads of food stalls, Ice cream, well that whipped chemical they call ice-cream is popular, but give me the real stuff any day.

Ice Cream

…and they even do healthy smoothies, amazing. Good old Micky for thinking of people’s health.

Food Glorius Food

What do I want to capture most in my photographs ? Human emotion and the essence of human being. I am less interested in forcing my subjects into a visually interesting form or putting them against an unusual background. – Philippe Halsman

Lots of charities trying to raise a pound or two, good luck to them, make the most of it. Higher, Higher, Lower, Higher…….Bust

Play Your Cards Right

And the Town Crier was there too. I never even knew Prestatyn had a Town Crier. I never seen him in the town.

Oyez! Oyez!

Well, that’s it for this week. As usual here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge.

The World Is a Book… Era of Impressionism
Live life; make meaning. Bird Bridge
Yvette’s photography Unusual
Change Is Hard WordPress Photo Challenge- Unusual
Ana Linden Unusual
Unusual – By Sarah
Photography- Finding Beauty in the Unusual – Sumyanna Writes
Musings of a Random Mind Weekly Photo Challenge- Unusual
A Submerged Town – MY TIME AND I
Shi Yali Photography Ride the Duck Bus

Another Great Sunset

I just knew it was going to happen, a great sunset. You could see the way the clouds were forming that it might be worth taking a trip down the beach. So when the Prestatyn and District Camera Club finished last night I headed straight down there. Not Talacre this time just our local beach.

Now the only thing of interest worth photographing on our wide swept beaches are the Groyne Markers. They’re there to make sure sailors don’t run aground on the sea defences which disappear at high tide.

Not fantastic, but put them in silhouette, and you’ve got a reasonable photograph. Anyway it’s more about the sky. So here it is in all it’s glory last night.

Prestatyn Sunset

Enough said – Mike

So Much Promise…But

Last night I was in town for our camera club meeting. During a short break for coffee we all stepped outside the building to get a breath of fresh air to be met with this glorious pattern in the sky. Just too good to missed and suddenly a load of photographers are diving for their camera bags.

Sunset In Prestatyn

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

After the meeting I thought I’d take a chance and head down to the beach, maybe I’d get a good sunset. It wasn’t looking that promising but living on the coast cloud patterns can change rapidly, so you never know.

At first it was looking good. Some nice clouds forming with good colour in them.

Nova Centre

But as the sun began to set it was obvious that I wasn’t going to get anything as good as the first photograph.

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

Not A Great Sunset

No magic tonight! But I was happy to just be there, doing something I love, on a warm summers evening. Just as an aside. These three photographs are the first sunsets I have taken this year. I must be slipping….

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.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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