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.

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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

_.jpg

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

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.

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