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.

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A Final Thought…..

I thought my post the other day would be the last for this year, but here I am New Years Eve with another quick one. Yesterday wasn’t too bad weather wise so I decided to take my eldest son, home for the holidays, to show him some of the street art which can be found in the Baltic Triangle of Liverpool. Like me he’s a keen photographer, wildlife is his passion, though.

Some see street art as a public nuisance, others describe it as a political statement, yet more will say it’s an individuals way of expressing themselves. Whatever your view of street art I think it’s safe to say that it attracts attention with it’s colourful, graphic designs. We spent a good 4-5 hours and covered just over 7 km walking around the Baltic Triangle, photographing the various artworks. I’m only going to show a few here as we need to start prepping for New Year. Hey! I’m a Scotsman. It’s an important time of the year for me.

I really do recommend that you click on this first photograph to see it in greater detail on Flickr. It’s made of from a series of photographs stitched together to form a panorama. It’s on the wall of a night-club.

Panorama

One of the great things I have found, as soon as you get of the main roads and turn down the side streets, there is very little traffic. So you can stand in the middle of the road and take time to compose your photograph.

New Bird Street

Colourful to say the least. I could have included so many photographs from yesterdays trip but time is running out…..

Street Art

……..and here’s the downside. I was at this abandoned skate park a few weeks back and I recognise that there has been some new artwork added. The other obvious clue is the spray cans left lying on the ground.

Spray Cans

Well that’s it. An unexpected post but sometimes that’s the way it goes…..Mike

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

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

A Sign Of The Times!

Last weekend I was in Liverpool for a street photography walk organised by the guys from Shoot Mirrorless. This walk was different as it took me to parts of Liverpool I’d never been before. So let’s get on with the photographs. After all that’s what you’re here to see…I hope. Oh! I should mention the walk was around an area where there is a lot of street art, so you won’t see, apart from one photograph, any people this week.

And this is the one. I saw these guys working and with a simple gesture to my camera and a smile they were happy for me to take a photograph. For privacy reasons I have blurred the registration number of the vehicle they are washing.

Car Wash

On the streets there is an amazing amount of art. Some people would call it graffiti. What do you think, graffiti or art?

White

Between the wall and the pavement, sidewalk for my American readers, there are a series of these little paintings that you can see below.  They stretch for some distance along the street with a little figure appearing every so often.

Hello

I think everyone must have heard of Banksy, but if not here’s a link. Go read for yourself.

Banksy

I love this one. It’s one of a series that I found when we were walking around the streets in the Baltic Triangle

The Fox

The Hobo Bazaar, now that sound interesting, but where is it.

Hobo Bazaar

Great sign but no real directions……and there it was just around the corner

Hobo

I love this one. But there’s always someone who wants to ruin the scene with that odd bit of rubbish spray painting to the right of the artwork.

Coke

Another reference to Banksy and there’s one of those little ladies just below.

Steal a Banksy

Well that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the photographs. I don’t feel as though I spent enough time in the Baltic Triangle so it’s somewhere I’d like to revisit with my camera.

Oops! I Forgot

It’s 4;30 pm on a cold Tuesday afternoon, here in the UK. I’m sitting at my computer when it struck me. I haven’t submitted anything for this weeks challenge. Although to be fair, I’ve been busy testing new software and working on a new project.

Now here’s the other thing, I haven’t taken any photographs, that I can use, since my visit to Budapest nearly a month ago. For me that is really strange…….So for this weeks challenge I’m going to have to rely on past photographs, taken from almost the same spot at two different times of the year.

I’m standing at Cwm Idwal, it’s January, the lake is behind me and I’m looking over the Ogwen Valley to Pen yr Ole Wen. As you can see, there’s been quite a heavy fall of snow and I remember on the day I took this photograph there weren’t too many people about.

Pen yr Ole Wen

It’s also the same day that I and another photographer, whom I met that day, got caught in a blizzard white out. At the time it was disconcerting because you can’t see much in front of you. But despite there not being too much shelter up there we decided to stick it out and see if it cleared. and fortunately after about five minutes it stopped snowing. Time to get off the mountain as soon as possible. It’s no great panic, we were both equipped to be there, but when you can’t see where you want to go, then it gets a little bit tasty.

Then we have this photograph, from nearly the same spot. Taken just over a year later in the February. Considering the month it’s surprising there’s now snow.

Pen yr Ole Wen

So that’s it for this week. It’s a quick one and I hope you enjoyed them – Mike

It’s In The Bag!

Regular readers will know that I’m always willing to share how I took a photograph and  any steps I might have taken to develop the photographs that I publish to this blog. I even let you use the photographs for free as long as it’s not for commercial purposes. But one thing I’ve always been pretty vague about  is what I carry in my camera bag. “A camera, a few lenses, some filters and cleaning cloths” is my usual response. It’s not that I’m trying to hide anything, it’s just a pain in the rear end to say “Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2, Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens”, and so on.

A little while back I was contacted by Julie Williams from MightyGoods asking me about the kind of bag I used, what I carry in my bag and how it’s organised. An involved question that really required something better than the vague response, I usually give. Julie explained that it was for an article being written in MightyGoods and so I decided to send her a response. So if you really want to see what’s in my bag follow the link to find out “How 21 Photographers Pack & Organise Their Photography Bags” and you will see why I carry those little black bags that you can buy in pet shops.

Right to this weeks challenge, which is all about experimentation. One of the great feature of the E-M1 is a mode called Live Composite which allows me to shoot a long exposure, which is made from a series of shorter exposures, combined in camera after I press the shutter release to stop the exposure. In effect what happens is the camera software only applies the brighter areas, which make it perfect for shooting light trails, light painting, fireworks etc.

So in the photograph below. The first time I click the shutter button the camera takes an exposure for all of the static items. It’s just like a normal photograph. Now this is where the magic comes in. Because the next time I click the shutter the camera then takes a series of photographs, at an interval set be me, but this time it only reacts to light changes.

Saint Anna Parish Church

As the building and street lights are static and their light is not changing they don’t get included. But moving vehicles with their lights on will be recorded in the series of photographs which are then combined to show the light trails.

Lion

Sounds complicated, but it really is just three presses of the shutter button, One to record the base exposure, one to start the light capture.

Riverside

Now the other good thing about this is, being a mirrorless  camera I can watch the Live View and see the picture build. When I’m happy with what I am seeing, the third press of the shutter button tells the camera to stop recording and show me the final photograph, which by the way is a full size RAW file.

Light Trails On The River

So where’s the experiment in this. It’s in the time that you set the camera to take the different exposures and through experimentation I have found that 1 second interval works great for light trails, where vehicles are involved.

Buda Castle

From a safety point of view, you have to be aware that you are photographing moving vehicles and I’ve had some strange looks from drivers who see me there with a tripod taking photographs. Some will even beep their car horns. But the main thing to remember here. Moving traffic is unpredictable and in the dark, even on well-lit streets, it’s harder to judge their speed. Also be aware, drivers are not expecting to see you standing on a traffic island in the middle of the road, so try to blend in. or be really obvious. However through experience again I have found wearing a bright day-glow vest does not go down well.

In the photograph below I wanted to catch the symmetry of the vehicles entering and exiting the tunnel and fortunately a convenient traffic island gave me the vantage point I wanted. It’s a well-lit area and I was standing under a light with bright clothes, well the jacket was bright, so they could see me well in advance of exiting the tunnel.

The Tunnel

I hope you enjoyed this little foray with me to capture light trails of moving vehicles at night.

Chain Bridge

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

This is Another Story Photo of the Day!
Kings Canyon National Park – MERCEDES CATALAN
Experimental Angles! – Travel. Explore. Sparkle. Shine
Anita Sikorska – artishorseshit
Experimental- Bokeh Lights – Rebecca Wiseman Portfolio
Simply Photos Shake It Up A Bit
Half a photograph Turn, turn, turn
Experiencing, recognising, learning – picturesimperfectblog
Experimental – By Sarah
The Land Slide Photography Experimental