Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity

Humanity! I knew I was going to have trouble with this one right from the start. I don’t photograph people, well rarely, and it’s usually more a case of them being in the frame by accident, rather than me deliberately putting them there. Looking back through my back catalogue I did find this one from 2011.


So what’s the story? I wish I knew. I was at an air-show, mad pilots were doing what mad pilots do with aircraft. Everyone was saying Ooh! and Aah!, well almost everyone. The photographers like me weren’t and neither was this guy. He was in his own world, not looking at the aircraft. Maybe he was an ex-pilot, dreaming of days long gone. Maybe he just hated flying? Who knows?

But he looked interesting and I guiltily snapped this photograph. I felt I was intruding, even although he didn’t notice me…but that’s why I rarely photograph people.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure

I’ve been on Anglesey all week, mainly to take a short break from it all. The Olympus was with me but photography wasn’t the priority; taking it easy as well as exploring was. Although I’ve been to Penmon Point and the lighthouse my wife never has so Monday we paid a little visit. As you can see not great weather but I was lucky to capture this little boat rounding the lighthouse on it’s way through the Menai Strait  which separates the island of Anglesey from the mainland of Wales.

Penmon Point

About 25 km (16 miles) long the shallow strait is influenced by the tides which cause very strong currents to flow in both directions through the strait at different times, creating dangerous conditions. The “Swellies” is considered to be the most dangerous area of the strait and this is located roughly between the two bridges that join Anglesey to mainland Wales. In this area rocks near the surface cause over-falls and local whirlpools, which can be of considerable danger in themselves and cause small boats to founder on the rocks.

The strait varies in width from 400 metres (1,300 feet) to 1,100 metres (3,600 feet), narrowing in the middle to about 500 metres (1,600 feet). Stand on the hills above the strait at the Swellies and you will see different current flows and whirlpools all moving fast roughly about 4.8 knots when the tide is flowing. The effect of the tide approaching from the south-west cause the water to flow north-eastwards as the levels rise. But that same tide flows right around Anglesey and several hours later it starts to flow into the strait from the opposite end. The tide continues to rise in height but the current flow is reversed through the strait.

Map picture

For sailors who do not wish the long journey round Anglesey passage through the strait is the only answer. But there is danger if the passage is not done at the right time. As Sailing Almanac explains;

The flood enters the Menai Straits initially at the southern end at Caernarfon and quite some time before it enters through the north at Puffin Island – at times 6 hours out of phase and with a tidal difference of almost a metre. This means there’s a virtual moving waterfall as the water chases itself in and out of the Straits. It also means that HW and Slack Water do not coincide, however in order to traverse the Straits, especially through the Swellies, we need to know where this area of slack water is moving. Thanks to the magnificent studies made by the Oceanographic Dept of Bangor University we can plot the moving schedule of this slack water relative to HW Liverpool, as if like a bus time table. At various points along the Straits, we need to catch this movement of slack water in order to traverse the Straits, perhaps even with just a knot of tide in our favour. Any more, is a recipe for trouble.

And that to me seems like an Adventure. I hope you agree?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue

Sorry this one has to be short this week as I’m off to Anglesey in the morning. I was thinking about this weeks challenge and thought these two photographs might meet the brief

Olympic Football

Couple of years back we had the Olympics here in the UK and whilst most of it was held in London, some of the football was hosted by Manchester United at Old Trafford. One of the approaches to Old Trafford is along a suburban street and I wonder what the people living in those houses do when there is a match day. Maybe they get free tickets? What about parking?

Who Is Karen?

Whilst I was at Parys Mountain last week I spotted this bit of graffiti etched into the Trig Marker near the tower.

I Love Karen

I wonder who Karen is? I don’t suppose we will ever find out? It got me thinking. How many times have we spotted a piece of graffiti and never given it a second thought? Sure it can be good to photograph, especially the more colourful ones. But why do people feel the need to leave their mark. maybe they’re just like us photographers and bloggers. It’s a way of expressing themselves.

But it still does not answer the question? Who is Karen? My thoughts. I think Karen has a love of the outdoors, after all why etch her name into something if she’s not there to see it? At the time she was young, probably quite fit, but could be any age now. Probably Welsh, we are on Anglesey. What do you think? I’d love to hear your description of Karen.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fray

Maintaining two blogs sometimes leaves me with a decision; which one to write first or what photographs to use for which blog. Happily this week I knew straight away which one to use for the Weekly Challenge.

Porth Wen Brickworks

Porth Wen Brickworks has long since been abandoned and has gradually fallen into a state of disrepair. Brick production, using local yellow clay started around about the early 1900’s. Unlike red brick clay, yellow can withstand higher temperatures and is often used for lining furnaces. However there was a problem with the site. As you can see the cliffs behind are steep and there was no easy access to the brickworks, trust me I walked down the steep path, meaning everything had to be transported by sea. Although the site had a harbour it was subject to tides and the prevailing winds making it unsafe for ships transporting the raw materials and bricks to and from Porth Wen.

Once the First World War started Porth Wen was closed, later, some of the useful machinery was moved to Caernarfon, but some was left to the elements and has slowly rusted away.


Porth Wen is Private Property but judging by the number of photographs I have seen I’m not sure how much access restrictions are imposed. Certainly it’s not the easiest site to get to. You have to walk across some hills following the coastal path and then there is a very steep, one person wide, extremely uneven path bounded by ferns and prickly gorse for about 100 metres to the shore. Porth Wen itself is showing real signs of erosion, not only in the buildings, but also on the coast and the cliffs behind.

Porth Wen Chimney

Just to the side of where I’m standing is another chimney with a crack running from the base up to about ten foot high and as wide as about three inches, possible making the structure unsafe. As you can see the surface is uneven and I had to be careful where I put my feet, making sure I did not stand near any of the edges on the left hand side.

Porth Wen

So there you have it. I think the state of Porth Wen definitely demonstrates something that has frayed. What do you think. I would love to hear your thoughts on Porth Wen and the photographs. As usual if you wish to use any of the photographs for your own blog please feel free to do so as long as you credit me and provide a link back to Say It With A Camera.

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