It’s A Compromise

Well further to my last article about trying to replace Windows Live Writer with Word 2016 as my blogging editor I have come to the conclusion that I’m going to have to compromise.

Despite Word being a great editor, for some reason Microsoft decided to remove Flickr as service in the 2016 version. Therefore, although I can link to the photographs, that’s all you get, a link. Word will not show those photographs.

So here’s where the compromise comes in. During my research, and boy I spent a lot of time looking into this, I came up with using the WordPress Desktop App to write my blog posts. It’s not ideal but hopefully it will allow me to “crack on” and become productive again. Who knows. maybe in time I will get used to it…..

Uh! Uh! Just found a problem. I can’t save and come back to the article I’m writing. Correctiom, not entirely true. WordPress saves automatically from time to time and disable the save button until I type something.

Enough of this, it’s photographs you want to see, so here goes. Time to see if this works.

Sitting on a beach in Barbados I spotted this woman waiting for friends who had gone swimming. I don’t know what it is about this scene but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to get the photograph.

Girl On A Beach

Still in Barbados, this rigged ship was getting ready to leave on a cruise around the islands. Interesting way to travel…..

Tall Ship

I’m not convinced that using this desktop app is going to work. One thing I could be sure of with WLW was that all photographs were the exact same size when I was editing the post and when it was finally published. At the moment they look a right mess.

Lifeguard Hut

It had to hapen, late in the afternoon this helicopter dropped in over the beach heading for the airport. Managed to get a reasonable photograph with the little travel camera I took with me for this holiday.

Private Ride

Did I mention that I was cruising around the Caribbean islands before sailing back to the UK, via Ponta Delgada in the Azores (mid Atlantic). Anyway, at one of the island ports our cruise ship, one of the biggest in the P+O fleet, has to do a 180 turn in a narrow inlet. Standing by, just in case anything went wrong was this tug boat, although it was never used.

Tug Boat

So that’s it. First real post using the WordPress Desktop App. I really would like your opinion on whether the format works, or not. Mike

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5kg Weight Limit…Are You Serious

You might have noticed that it’s been very quiet on Say It With A Camera, these past few weeks. There again you might not. I’m taking an early vacation, so I’ve been busily preparing everything for a journey to hotter climes. Of course I didn’t arrange this little trip, I left that to my travel planner, “her indoors”. Now as usual for a trip like this I was I was busy concentrating on my camera gear, deciding what to take or leave behind. Then my travel planner hit me with a bombshell, “You know you can only take a maximum of 5kg of carry-on baggage”, she says. My comment is censored.

A good few years back I lightened the load by switching to a mirrorless camera. But even in doing so, 5kg would be difficult to achieve when you include said camera, at least two lenses, battery pack, spare batteries, battery charger, memory cards, cleaning cloths, remote control, and a tripod. Oh! And don’t forget the back-pack to carry it all.

Still never one to look a “gift horse” in the mouth I took the opportunity to buy a small point and shoot, that weighs about 322 gm and has a zoom lens that far outreaches my longest mirrorless lens. However it’s not all win win. The downside is the censor is small, very, very small so I’m not going to get the same great picture quality that I would get from my Olympus E-M1 Mk2.

Battery charged, memory card in it’s off to the beach I go. Who needs to read the manual, a camera is a camera, is a camera.

Panasonic TZ90

But it’s not too bad, all things considered. So here’s a few photographs that I’ve taken at three of my favourite spots for testing cameras, Talacre Beach, the Cathedral at St Asaph and Rhyl Beach

Panasonic TZ90

Now bear in mind I’m going to be using this camera for “holiday snaps” but even so it has a pretty impressive set of features. It’s not just an automatic camera, there’s a 20 Mp Sensor, 30x Optical Zoom, Raw and JPEG capability,  5 axis stabilisation, PASM Modes, 4K Video to name a few. But with such a small sensor noise could be a factor, however as I’ve said before I’m not going to be printing anything, although I’ve read a user review that said they could print at A2 size without any problems.
No! This camera will be used for Facebook and Instagram, which by the way it appears that if I connect my camera to my phone I can post directly to both social media sites.

Panasonic TZ90

In the photograph below I’ve zoomed out the maximum length of the lens. Not too bad at all…

Panasonic TZ90

Could be sharper. I don’t know if that’s down to me or the camera, but the highlights aren’t blown out.

Panasonic TZ90

Lighthouse is in focus, foreground is slightly out. After a couple of days of using the camera I found out I could direct the focus away from multipoint to single, better still I could use the touch screen to select the focus point I wanted. Moral of the story RTFM.

Panasonic TZ90

Highlights are severely blown, but for a hand-held shot at night it’s in focus, that’s something. Apparently there’s a setting for night photography. I really should RTFM.

Panasonic TZ90

Back at the lighthouse. Winter has taken it’s toll on the paintwork. I’m getting more and more used to using the camera. Admittedly I have found out it doesn’t like dull days. there tends to be more noise. I can cancel it out in Lightroom without making the photograph too mushy, but all in all I’m pretty happy with performance.

Panasonic TZ90

The old castle at Rhudlan, must be high tide because the river lever is really high and we’re not much further than a mile from the sea

Panasonic TZ90

I turned off the annoying electronic shutter sound but maybe I might just turn it back on and mute it down so it’s just audible. Why? I left the camera in hi-speed drive and took this photograph. I had twenty-five more just like it because I couldn’t hear that the shutter was continuously firing.

Panasonic TZ90

This was really at the extreme end of the range of the lens, not only optical zoom but digital as well. Not recommended for small objects like birds, sitting on a swaying stalk about 50 metres away.

Panasonic TZ90

Back on Rhyl Beach, I really must master these focus points.

Panasonic TZ90

A church on the hill beside a river

Panasonic TZ90

Macro mode, I like this….

Panasonic TZ90

Did I mention the camera could also auto bracket, so if necessary I can capture a series of photographs inside in preparation for putting them through my favourite HDR software

Panasonic TZ90

So that’s it, I’ll be back in a few weeks. Now have I packed the sun tan lotion.

Another Year Has Gone……I’m Getting Old

It’s nearly the end of the year and I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite photographs that I have taken throughout 2017. It’s hard to choose though but here goes.

January started off blustery with some high seas. It’s hard to believe from this photograph that when the tide goes out I can walk around the base of this marker which is probably about 30ft high. Our tides are quite high at times; combine that with an on-shore breeze an there is potential for flood damage. That’s why we have some very large sea defences. This marker notes that underneath surface there are large rocks, the first part of our defences, positioned to break up tidal surges.

January

February saw me in Chester Cathedral which I had been meaning to visit for some years now, but just never got around to it. The cathedral is very large inside and I was thinking about how to show the scale. So I was really please when one of the clergy cam and sat down right in front of me. If you look really closely you will see two other people, but they are lost in the scale of the cathedral.

February

In the UK we are lucky to still have many of our stately homes in good preservation order thanks to the National Trust, of which I am a member. Although tripods aren’t allowed, photography is is permitted and so I’m able to get some great photographs from inside the houses I have visited. I like this one with the table set for dinner.

March

Back in Chester, this time on the streets on a cold, wet and windy April’s day. With horrible grey skies, street photography seemed the best option. A bit of Black & White, some extreme HDR and there you go….

April

Warmer climes in May, beautiful sunny Lisbon, Portugal. Walking away from the tourist paths I came across a series of street art, that was on doors, the sides of building, even the streets themselves. This one caught my eye, although to be honest I could have included any of the ones I photographed that day.

May

I am extremely luck that in summer time the sun sets out to sea. This can make for some great “big sky” sunsets. Yet in this case, here I am in town, with the sun starting to set and so I decided to go for the silhouette.

June

July caught me chasing sunsets again, this time at Talacre and the lighthouse. Only this time I was trying to capture some long exposures which give the clouds that blurred look and the sea looks as though it has gone flat and milky.

July

When I knew I was going to be visiting the South of France I was determined to get to the Museum of Photography in Chalon-sur-Saone. August was so hot with temperatures in the 40’s centigrade. far too hot to be walking around. Inside the museum it was like a sweat box but I was determined to stick it out and see the exhibits.

August

One of the things I like about Olympus, as well as the cameras, is that they run experience days, where Olympus users can get together with Olympus experts, to ask questions, borrow equipment for the day and usually get some good deals as well. It give you a chance to meet other Olympus users who are likely to be local to you area as well. So in September we were on the Llangollen Railway which is a heritage line running here in North Wales. Apart from the weather, a great day out as we had access to areas that, such as the workshops and signal boxes, that most visitors never get access to.

September

Another overseas trip, this time to Budapest. Of all the photographs I took in Berlin I had to include this one of the Parliament taken from the Buda side of the river. Such an ornate building and well-lit at night, great for photography

October

It was cold, so cold, but a gang of us decided to brave the temperature, to photograph the bridge over the River Dee at Connah’s Quay in November. I had all the gear on that I normally wear for walking in the mountains so I should have been warm, but when you are just standing around you don’t generate your own internal heat the same way. We stuck it for about an hour, then decided to move on to Flint Castle. Never did get that photograph because the snow started to fall and unusually the castle wasn’t lit, as it usually is at night.

November

Unusually for me, I’ve only been out on one photography trip through December and that was to a long-standing engagement to take a walk around the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool. It’s an industrial area that has many old buildings and warehouses; along with some great street art. What more could a photographer ask for.

December

Well that’s it for this year, for those who take part in the Weekly Challenge, here’s to some new and interesting ones in 2018.

I’d like to thank all those who follow Say It With A Camera. Your comments are appreciated and hopefully I have managed to acknowledge all of your comments over the last year. Finally I wish you all a Healthy and Happy New Year – Mike

The Great Market Hall, Budapest

Last week I was lucky to be in Budapest for a short break. Although photography would be a part of the trip the idea was to enjoy some downtime with my wife. See the sights, taste the food, you get the idea. Unfortunately we were not always blessed with good weather and during the photography times, tourists were everywhere. So the photographs always tend to have people in them. There’s not a lot you can really do about either the weather or people, so just get on with it.

One of the sights in Budapest that was on our bucket list to visit was The Great Market Hall on the Pest side of the river. From out hotel it was an easy visit. Four stops on the tram, walk across the Liberty Bridge over the river and you’re there. This isn’t a small building, by any means approximately 10,000 square metres floor space. It’s the sort of place you could spend all day in, just wandering around.

Great Market Hall
Bracket set of 3 using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/50s, f7.1, ISO 200

As all market halls should, there are a large variety of goods on sale. Fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, bakery products, spices, liquors, tourist tat, fast food, no, not Mickey Dees, or anything like that, Hungarian fast food, as you’ll see later.

Fruit and Veg
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/100s, f5, ISO 400

Hungarians love cake and sweet pastries. I do as well and it was very tempting but I’m supposed to be cutting down, Hungarian meals are large, very large.

A Bit Of Cake
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/60s, f5, ISO 400

Down on the ground floor of the market it’s mainly produce for sale. I was told that many Budapest natives visit early, around 8am before the tourists descend on the market. They know what they want and they go right for it. No time for messing with dilly-dallying tourists.

Shop Floor
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/6s, f7, ISO 200

If you like Paprika this is the place to go. It comes in all types, sweet, hot, smoked, There’s chillies as well, everything priced but you do have to shop around, prices for the same items vary from stall to stall.  What’s cheap on one stall will be dearer on another and when you want to buy several items you’ll find that at least one of them is less expensive on the stall next door. Swings and roundabouts.

Paprika
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/25s, f5, ISO 400

There’s all the tat a tourist could ever want. Head on around the corner though, don’t go for the fancy presentation and you’ll get better and fresher products.

Tourist Tat
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/320s, f5, ISO 400

Now for those Europeans amongst us. Would you believe there’s an Aldi store in the basement of the Great Market Hall. I kid you not. That’s the advert for the stores weekly bargains that you can see in the background.

Meeting Up
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/25s, f3.5, ISO 400

Still on the ground floor, there’s a whole section of the Great Market Hall devoted to meat. Hungarians love meat, Duck (Kacsa) is a speciality in many restaurants. We went to a fabulous restaurant called Kacsa on Kacsa Street, where the speciality was duck and boy was it good.

Meat Eater
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/125s, f5, ISO 400

On the upper floor of the market there are long narrow terraces along the sides of the building with a few crossing from one side to the other. It’s here that you will find all the tourist stuff. Walking along these passages is quiet tight, there’s so many people walking about. I don’t know how old this lady is, a gentleman never asks, but she was there doing here best to sell, sell, sell.

How Old?
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/13s, f5.6, ISO 400

With open stalls, I don’t suppose you can just walk away and leave it for any time. So it’s a drink on the spot for this stall holder. There’s a lot of lace and embroidery here on this floor, but nowadays I’m always wary. After all the three most used words in the English language nowadays are “Made In China”. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t, but the cynical me is always about.

Drink Time
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/30s, f5.6, ISO 400

On the opposite side of the Great Market Hall is where you get food. Lots of food, large portions as well. It ranges from Goulash, to pasta, to sausages, there’s all sorts, hot and tasty

Food Glorious Food
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/60s, f3.5, ISO 400

You know I said it was lots of food. That’s a bowl of Goulash those girls are photographing. Full of chunks of beef with a paprika sauce/gravy. It’s hearty and filling that’s for sure.

Photo Op
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/100s, f3.5, ISO 400

Ok! So that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed this visit to the Great Market Hall, Budapest, Hungary with me. Later this week I’ll be writing about the architecture and hopefully by the weekend I’ll be able to show you some night photographs from Budapest.

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

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.