Storm Eleanor

My first photograph of 2018 and it seems appropriate that it should be of the sea, seeing as I live in a coastal town. Today sees our coastline battered by Storm Eleanor and with higher than normal tides predicted Natural Resources Wales issued a Flood Warning for properties along the Beach Road. High tide today was around 11:30 and expected to be around 9 metres. But with the storm raising sea levels the tide level was expected to be 5.5 metres above this level.

First stop for me was Rhyl sea-front just along the coast. Because of the way the sea defences are shaped you can see some pretty spectacular wave action.

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But it was my home town I was more worried about. There have been improvements to the sea defences in the last couple of years but with the Flood Warning in place there’s always the possibility the sea defences could be breached. I’m lucky. I live high enough that I doubt our house would be affected, but there are an awful lot of low-lying properties which rely on those defences.

And fortunately they have done their job, this time. It’s high tide, although the sea is surging now and again with some of the bigger waves, there is no need to close the flood  barriers which I’m standing just in front of.

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First post of 2018, here’s to many more and before I forget, A Happy New Year to you all.

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I’m Not Running Away…………

So much to do, so little time. In the run up to Christmas I’ve been kept busy by “She Who Must Be Obeyed” doing all sorts of things. Not had much time for photography, but anyway the weather hasn’t been that great. Planned trip to Cwm Idwal, cancelled, heavy snow. Planned trip to the Wirral, cancelled whilst I was on the road there, dark grey skies, followed by heavy torrential rain, Just not worth going out. Finally a glorious winters day, Some sun, a bit of cloud, some blue skies. “Remember you said we would do this today……”. Never forgets anything. So here we are. It’s Christmas week, I’ve been out five hours around the shops, how many times do you need to go back and look at that “special item”; I’ve finally managed to sit down and take a break and starting answering some of the emails that have been piling up as well as write this post.

So anyway to this weeks challenge. I’m going back in time with this one to when we had predictions of real stormy seas off the coast. At first it didn’t look too bad but as the incoming tide swept in, boosted by off-shore winds it was obvious that the waves were going to get higher and higher.

Casting

Along the sea-front the wall is designed to break up the waves, which makes for some very interesting formations.

Rising Seas

A normal person sees a storm, thinks help and runs away
A photographer sees that storm, and runs the other way
Off into the cold they go, the wind, the rain and more
To capture pics no matter what, of all the things they saw
Watching all the huge waves crashing, defiantly they stand
Looking out from beneath the pier, with camera in hand
Why do we do such stupid things, like photograph the snow
We can’t resist to get that pic, so off we always go
We see the world through rule of thirds, and many shades of grey
The search to get the perfect shot, continues every day
Dean Thorpe – The poem: “The photographer” by Dean Thorpe

Still Fishing

The guys who fish off the promenade are sort of like the photographers who chase the storm. Whenever it’s predicted for stormy seas you will see them there. To be hones they’re always there, either fishing on the tide line, and slowly walking back up the beach as the t tide comes in. Or else they’re on the promenade. One thing though, no matter what the weather, you’ll find them there. Although most know when to pack up and get to safety if the waves get too strong.

I’d been talking to this guy, taking the odd photograph, up until the seas got a bit strong. At that point I decided discretion was the better part of valour and retreated further up the embankment. Although my camera is weather-proof I still think salt water spray can do a lot of damage, if you forget to clean it when you get home. Anyway I switched to a telephoto lens and continued taking some photographs. Then this big wave came in, most of it broke up on the sea wall, but you can see how far it came up. My fisherman man managed to keep his footing, but talking to him afterwards he said it was touch and go. It was his time to practice a bit of discretion and he packed up just after that.

Nearly

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

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

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