End Of An Era

When I first started blogging “The Weekly Photo Challenge” motivated me to write at least one post each week. Sadly it has been announced that after this weeks challenge, that’s it, for some weird reason, there will be no more.

So as a final flourish I’m going to finish with some of my most popular photographs on Flickr, not that stats really mean much, as I only use Flickr to host my blog photographs.

I thought I should also point out that I’m not ceasing to blog. I’ll still be here writing posts, and I’ve got a lot to write about after my trip to Japan. But bear with me for a while. I got back and “her indoors” presented me with a list of tasks, including cleaning and refurbishing the deck, shifting two tonnes of gravel, just delivered, from the front to the back of the house (about a ton and a half done already). It’s for a project we’re working on to make the garden so much more maintenance free. Oh! and I must not forget to order the new summer-house and of course build it.

Gardening can bring out the inner child, and sometimes, especially after all that time out in the hot sun, it can bring out the inner surrealist. When the urge comes over you to construct a zucchini zeppelin or a tomato truck, give in to your muse and then document [photograph] your masterpiece, preferably against an uncluttered background. – Bart Barlow

Anyway, enough of that, let’s get on with the photographs.

2016_Reflections on Llynnau Mymbyr

Sometimes you just get lucky when you’re out and about. More often than not I have seen this lake with white caps on the water. It’s very rare to see it flat calm like this. But just look at it and with a magnificent view of the Snowdon Horseshoe. I have honestly never seen it so clear.

Lakeside Reflections

And here’s another lake that is normally not flat calm like this. I’m just so lucky……

Talacre Sunset

Talacre Lighthouse is my go to place when I want to practice new techniques with my camera or try out new equipment. I have a 1 metre canvas print of this exact photograph hanging in our lounge. Yes it breaks the “Rool of Thurds” but hey Rools are there to be broken and I like this one.

52 in 2015 Week 43 Texture

A secret place that I once visited. It’s so secret that I can’t even remember where it is.

Rhyl Harbour

Just along the coast from where I live is Rhyl. The bridge is blue…they’d just finished painting it and the sun is a golden orange. Not much more I can say about this one.

Valle Crucis Abbey

Not far from Llangollen and the Horse Shoe Pass lies the ruins of the Abbey of Valle Crucis. surrounded by hills on all sides the grounds of the abbey are a quite haven. Best time to visit is Autumn when the leaves are just starting to turn orange. best of all, at that time of the year, you have less chance of someone wandering into your photograph.

Ogwen Bank

The Ogwen Falls cascade over rocks that are so jagged you can hear the water roar from some distance away. This is only a part of the falls I’ve shown here

Kingfisher

One to cross of my must captures. For years I tried unsuccessfully to capture a Kingfisher, with little success. Then it happened. Just sitting by a lake and this lovely little bird perched on a branch within good range of my 300mm lens. I shot so many photographs to make sure that I got at least one good keeper. What a beautiful little bird.

Afon Idwal Waterfall

At the start of the path up to Llyn Idwal, there is a waterfall that flows under a wooden bridge before tumbling over rocks to join up with the Afon Conway. The water is ice-cold, it’s coming off the mountains and Llyn Idwal, and it’s probably the most photographed waterfall in all of Snowdonia. I’ve seen tourist coaches pull up, loads of people get out and all rush up to the bridge to get that photograph. But if you are a little bit more adventurous, you can cross the river a little further up from the bridge and then walk back down to get this photograph.

Ponies

When the snow falls on the mountains, the wild ponies come lower in search of food. They’re reasonably friendly, although with all wild animals you should exercise discretion, so you can usually get quite close to get a photograph.

Over The Bridge

Well this brings me to my final photograph. Taken in Glasgow, on a cold winters evening, the bridge crosses the River Clyde, near the city centre. At that time of night you need a long exposure, but if anyone walks across the bridge whilst you are taking a photograph you might as well forget it and start over. I’ve never know a bridge bounce so much when someone is walking on it.

So that’s it. The end of an era. The Weekly Photo Challenge is no more but Say It With A Camera is still going strong. Until my next post.

Over the years, whilst taking part in the weekly challenge, I have been able to read some amazing blogs and see some great photographs, whom I’ve highlighted here. This is my final ten, all of whom I’ve visited this week and liked what I’ve read or seen.

http://40again.com/2018/05/31/all-time-favourites-the-final-weekly-photo-challenge/
https://mirthandmotivation.com/2018/05/30/photo-challenge-a-few-farewell-favorites/
http://thenarrowbamboogate.com/2018/05/30/all-time-favorite-japan/
https://thereluctantphotographer2014.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/i-couldnt-decide/
http://lifeisgreat0.blog/2018/05/30/some-pictures-to-say-good-bye/
http://outofmywritemind.com/2018/05/31/its-a-wrap/
http://adogslife.blog/2018/05/24/working-from-home/
https://spiritinpolitics.wordpress.com/2018/05/31/keep-on-your-own-track-thoreau/
http://theartofdisorder.net/2018/05/31/favorite-photos-friends-forever/
http://angelafurtadophotography.com/2018/05/30/wpc-all-time-favorites/

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What No Equipment? Are You Serious?

A little known fact about me is that occasionally I have been known to give talks about my photography in the National park and surrounding areas. Of course my photographs are featured and usually the institution/club provides the projector and screen. That’s pretty normal and accepted by most speakers. So all we have to do is turn up, plug our laptop into their system and away we go.

Now it’s not quite as simple as that, there’s prep before hand on my part, but you get the idea. This Thursday I’m due to give a talk to a group who last week let me know that all they have is a screen. No projector. Panic stations. So this week has found me trying to source a projector for the talk which I’ve finally managed to do. But it’s been a nightmare. My laptop only has an HDMI output. Most projectors I tried  have a VGA input and never the twain shall meet. I borrowed a little projector prom the camera club but using the HDMI projection wasn’t doing my photographs any justice. In the end I sourced am HDMI to VGA convertor which strangely didn’t work with some VGA only projectors, but did work with the camera club projector as long as I used it in VGA mode. Confused, so am I, but tomorrow I’ll be able to give the talk and do the photographs justice.

Which brings me to this week challenge, what with prepping for Japan, I go on Monday, and try to get the projector sorted, I’m way behind with writing this blog post. Anyway, here are some photographs which include lines.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong, one of my favourite cities, but throughout all of my trips there I’ve never managed to get a photograph from the peak that wasn’t hazy. Just seems to be my luck.

Staying in Hong Kong, there are some fascinating buildings to photograph.

Lippo

I particularly like the one below with all of the port-holes.

Hong Kong Skyline

All of these photographs were taken from an open top bus. It’s the easiest way to get around and take photographs of buildings. And because you are not at street level you can miss out a lot of distractions like people, cars etc. Not only that, you don’t have security guards coming along, saying you can’t photographs.

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Well that’s it. I’m really late this week and of course this will be my last post for a couple of weeks, whilst I’m in Japan.

I’m Off Again–14 Days In Japan

My flight is booked, I’m off to Japan in two weeks time and I suspect I’m going to use all of my memory cards for the camera during my two-week trip. My base is going to be Hiroshima whilst I’m in Japan but I will be travelling around. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I intend to make the most of it. So what’s that got to do with Prolific? A lot (excuse the pun). Those fourteen days will be spent with a camera in hand and I’m going to be pressing the shutter a lot of times.

Meanwhile I spent a day last week at the National Slate Museum, Llanberis. I’ve been there before but it’s one of those places you can go back to time and time again and find different things to photograph, each time.

Caban

The museum is quite large and you can easily spend a good few hours there taking photographs. The beauty is , no glass to photograph through and in the main you are using natural light which streams through the windows. There are some electric bulbs around but these are very small and generally unobtrusive.

Puffing Billy

You can see that here, natural light streaming through the door and lights up in the ceiling. They’re not bright, like you find in many museums and in general they cast a soft warm glow over a scene.

Pattern Loft

One of my favourite places in the museum, the Pattern Loft. It was here that carpenters created the moulds for the foundry which was downstairs. It’s usually one of the quietest parts of the museum because people don’t , for some reason, want to go up the stairs.

No Smoking

I’ve shown this photograph before, it’s the entrance to the Pattern Loft. What I like about it is that if the sun is shining you get a lovely pattern cast onto the wooden floor from the window frames.

Workshops

Throughout the museum, did I mention that it was the old workshops for Dinorwic Quarry, you can find all of the industrial lathes, furnaces , tools etc. that were used in the workshops. And as I said you can get really close to your subject in most cases.

Big Wheel

I really like this one, the way the light comes through the window and illuminates the flywheel. But there’s still shadow areas and you can even see the cobwebs.

I’ve come to the end of my time in the museum so I’ll leave you with this photograph taken outside. In the background you can see part of Dinorwic Slate Quarry, but trust me it’s only a small part of the quarry you can see.

Crane

Finally I would like to leave you with this video. Near the start (1.01 minutes) you can see the National Slate Museum and from that you can get an idea of the size. It’s 32 minutes long but well worth watching the whole video as it explains how the mountain was quarried and the condition that the miners had to work in.

Don’t Make Me Laugh

It’s been a while since I took part in the Weekly Photo Challenge but I’m back with a few photographs that made me smile. I’ve just got back from a trip to the Caribbean sailing around the islands and then sailing back to the UK via the Azores. That’s the story behind the photographs and here they are.

Girl on the beach, battered umbrella, sheltering from the sun. It’s a photograph that I’m really happy I captured. Admittedly there’s a lot of background distractions but that small boat does give you the location, it’s Barbados.

Right on to the next one.

Three dogs in St Lucia, just wandering along the street. The one in front, kept looking at me, looks like he’s smiling. Probably thinking, “another stupid tourist with a camera, why is he photographing us?”

One of the things I was concerned about during this trip was that I had swapped my normal camera and lenses for a small, lightweight compact camera. Weight was a big consideration when flying to the Caribbean as my equipment exceeded the carry-on limit set by the airline. So I decided to bite the bullet, buy a compact camera that had some pro features and hope that I would still be able to capture some of the wildlife.  Despite my reservations I’m really impressed with the results that I got from the Panasonic DC-TZ90.

Even this one at the long end of the 720mm zoom lens has come out pretty good.

I’d like to leave you with this final photograph and hope that you have enjoyed the series.

Nearly every shop has these signs and it must be a local pastime to sit and watch the world go by. Because outside every shop were little home-made seats, some quite fancy like you see here. Others, just a few breeze blocks and a plank of wood. But it mad me smile to see them.

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

RuthsArc Weekly Photo Challenge – Smile
Traveller on a Mission The three most candid smiles I have received around the world
That Look – Words Won’t Do Photography
Sandra Pavloff Conner
Eiwawar The greatest lie in the north
Bare Bones Landscaping Co. – Note to Traveler
The Land Slide Photography Grand Slam
Smile, it’s not that bad. – David Meredith’s photo blog
WPC – Smile – Julie Powell – Photographer & Graphic Artist
Weekly Photo Challenge- Smile – Cindimatography

One final note. I finally solved the WLW problem. I found Open Live Writer which is almost a clone of WLW apart from the ability to add photographs via a plugin. However it’s a familiar interface that works for me and should now bring some consistency to the photograph sizes. I have to to a bit of work getting the Flickr photographs in, it’s a compromise, but you can’t have everything.

Where Are The Dragons?

Wales, or more specifically North Wales, where I live, is the land of magnificent castles, stately homes, railways, festivals and the scenery is superb. Fantastic sandy beaches, tumbling rivers, waterfalls, mountains and lakes. I think I’ll just let the photographs do the talking this week

Yes we have rugged coastlines, but look at the sandy beaches.

Heather

There are sand dunes and of course that old abandoned lighthouse that I love to photograph

Talacre Dunes.jpg

You can fish, even at night…..

Fishing

….although you shouldn’t leave your nets behind.

Net Blue

We get some fantastic sunsets

Purple Haze

And there’s that lighthouse again

Talacre Beach

We have an industrial heritage as well. I wonder who Karen is?

I Love Karen

Of course much of the heavy industry is long gone and we are left with the ruins.

Porth Wen Chimney

It’s not really a castle but we do have them, honest

Gwrych Castle Gate

Lead was also mined here

Minera Lead Mines

And we’ve got the odd waterfall

Waterfall

Plus mountains. One of my favourite walks. Take the path up to Cwm Idwal

The Glyderau

…and this is Cwm Idwal

Heather

If you turn your back to Cwm Idwal you get to see Pen Yr Ole Wen

Pen-yr-Olwen Reflections

Butt we also get snow.

52/2013 Week 4

That’s when you ate likely to see the ponies who live wild in the mountains. They come down for food.

Ponies

I did mention we had lakes. Didn’t I?

Reflections at Llyn Nantle Uchaf

With walking paths that let you appreciate the countryside. This one eventually leads to Snowdon.

Llyn Teym

Probably the most photographed bridge in Snowdonia. Despite it looking rugged, one of the main roads through the park is no more than a short walk of about 75 metres away. I’ve seen coach loads of tourist stop here to photograph this bridge and they think they’re seeing Snowdonia. By the way cross that bridge to the left and you’re on the path to Cwm Idwal

Afon Idwal

Another one of my favourite walking areas. I’ve been in this valley 3-4 hours and not seen another person. It is quite lonely but so peaceful and usually the only sounds you hear are the water tumbling down the hillside, sheep and birds calling.

Rhosydd Terrace

Yet in this remote valley, families lived and worked, mining slate. Above are some of the small terraced houses and below is the ruins of the church

Cwmorthin Chapel

Slate mining was probably the most industrial activity in North Wales with several large quarries extracting slate in vast proportions with Welsh slate, used to roof houses and buildings worldwide

Tracks

Well that’s it. I could have shown so many more photographs. If you want to know more about North Wales follow the link at the top of the page.

It’s Now Tuesday……

All is quiet in our household. Photography has taken a bit of a back seat as the weather, once again, has not been conducive (that’s a big word for Monday morning) to getting out with the camera. By this time last year I had made eight photography trips out into the National Park and yet, this year I have done just one and that was none too successful. Even outside of the National Park I have been very limited in travel for photography. Maybe it’s just me, perhaps I’m slowing down or just getting bored with photography. Even now as I’m looking out of the office window I can see nothing but grey skies, that’s no incentive to pick up the camera and go out and shoot something.

What is a good photograph? I cannot say. A photograph is tied to the time, what is good today may be a cliché tomorrow. The problem of the photographer is to discover his own language, a visual ABC. The picture represents the feelings and point of view of the intelligence behind the camera. This disease of our age is boredom and a good photographer must combat it. The way to do this is by invention – by surprise. When I say a good picture has surprise value I mean that it stimulates my thinking and intrigues me. The best way to achieve surprise quality is by avoiding clichés. Imitation is the greatest danger of the young photographer. – Alexey Brodovitch

Like last weeks challenge, which I missed, this weeks, just does not excite me. Usually in my mind’s eye I have a good idea what photographs I’m going to use but I’m sitting here at the moment with a sort of blank in my mind.

It’s now Tuesday morning, I had writers block yesterday. Last night the Met Office issued a severe weather warning for the whole of the UK. However in my opinion, severe is relative. Leaves fall on the track, trains stop running, heavy rain, schools close. There’s severe and severe. But saying that, I’m sitting in my office looking out at blanket of snow which is still falling, so maybe they were right.

OK I’ve prattled (another big word) on enough, let’s get some photographs….

The Road To Snowdonia

My favourite road leading to the Llanberis Pass with a view of the Snowdon Triangle. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have stopped somewhere along this road just to take in the beauty of the National Park.

Meanwhile in the Ogwen Valley the Afon Ogwen tumbles over rocks on it way to Nan Ffrancon and the sea.

Ogwen Valley

One of the things I like about the National Park is that you can find little waterfalls in places you’d least expect them. Always fun to photograph and if the light falls right what more could you as for as a photographer.

Waterfall

Well that’s for this week. I hope you enjoyed the photographs. Yes it’s still snowing but I suspect that as we live very close to the coast that soon it will start melting again. Too much salt in the air.
 

It Is What It Is

How do you think up the title of your posts? At one time I used to use “Weekly Photo Challenge: and then whatever the them was for that week i.e. Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence. Real interesting and very eye-catching. So then I started to think of a catchy phrase that I could use each week like “Oops! I Forgot” or “The Donkey Said “What’s Behind Me””. But how do I come up with that phrase? Usually it’s based on one or more of the photographs I include in my post so this week I give you “It Is What It Is”.

A bustling kitchen and yet very quiet. Not because the nuns have sworn a vow of silence, they haven’t, because they are not real. Their just mannequins dressed up in a nuns habit for an exhibition in a museum

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Now you might have noticed that the above picture is a bit heavy on the HDR side. That’s because it was adjusted to appeal to a specific audience on Instagram. Yep! I’m on there now, happily gathering followers and following others. Slowly but surely I’m weaning myself away from Facebook. It no longer has the hold it used to and to be hones I’m sick of all the bullcrap advertising that is appearing there. With their new Algorithms I’m seeing less and less of the people I follow and more and more of “stuff” I’m not really interested in. So I’m now an Instagrammer.

Despite being right next to a busy rail and road bridge crossing the Menai Straits from North Wales to Anglesey, this spot down by the shoreline was quite peaceful and calm. However, once the tide turns this becomes a noisy flowing dangerous torrent due to the fact that there are differential tides at the two ends of the strait. Differential tides = very strong currents to flow in both directions through the strait at different times. Due to the narrow width of the strait between North Wales and Anglesey and with hidden rocks, this makes for a difficult passage for sailors.

Britannia Bridge

Yesterday I was out in the Snowdonia National Park. One of those spur of the moment ideas. We’ve had terrible grey days for what seems like weeks now, not ideal for photography. Yesterday I got up, saw a patch of blue sky and thought, fresh air and a stop at Moel Siabod Cafe, what more could I ask for? Go to their website and you’ll see why it’s so popular amongst walkers and photographers. Anyway, weather wasn’t great in the mountains so after a stop at the cafe for lunch I headed to the coast and caught this female Goosander fishing at the mouth of the river at Llandullas.  So peaceful, just me and her. I’m sure she knew I was photographing her because she kept posing for me.

Goosander

Further afield now. To Berlin and the top of the dome in the Reichstag. We managed to get in one winters evening and there was no one there. Plenty of time to get the photographs I wanted.

The Dome

Well that’s it for this week and I hope you enjoyed the photographs – Mike