A Mountain Path–Back To My Roots

Regular readers will know that I am a great fan of Ansel Adams and his amazing Black and White photographs taken in the Sierra Nevada’s, his spiritual home, and in America’s great State Parks. You might also have noticed that in the last few weeks I’ve been doing a bit of bird photography, which I have a bitter-sweet relationship with.

Like Ansel Adams, I’m more at home in the mountains taking landscape photographs….and so that is my path for next year. Go back to my roots and spend more time in the mountains. Now obviously I can’t go to the Sierra Nevada and in a country the size of UK there really isn’t any great wilderness left. There are some areas where you could go walking and not see anyone else but in truth you are never really that far from civilisation.

However the Snowdonia National Park has some great areas to photograph and that’s where I’m going to be next year.

Old House

I’ve photographed many places in the National Park but this time I’m going to be looking at it differently. For a start I want to try to get it right in Black and White, medium that I’ve dabbled with before, mainly for street photography

Ask yourself, “Why am I seeing and feeling this? How am I growing? What am I learning?” Remember: Every coincidence is potentially meaningful. How high your awareness level is determines how much meaning you get from your world. Photography can teach you to improve your awareness level. – Ansel Adams

Lone Tree

Ansel Adams once said “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer”, and I want to you to see what I see, the stark beauty that can be found in the National Park.

This lone tree in the photograph above sits at the side of Llyn y Dywarchen. Why is it there? When you consider the landscape all around it’s amazing that it has grown to such a size and survived especially through it’s early years as a sapling. This is sheep country a tasty morsel like a new sapling would have gone down well to the sheep that roam this terrain. Yet it survived because it is growing against the side of a wall which stopped the sheep gaining access to it.

The Valley

Of course it means I have to be more prepared for walking the hills and getting off the beaten path. Where previously I would visit several locations in a day I think I need to research a location and stick to it. It’s all too easy in this digital age to press that shutter button and just keep taking photographs. But a more refined approach is called for.

The ‘machine-gun’ approach to photography – by which many negatives are made with the hope that one will be good – is fatal to serious results. – Ansel Adams

So that’s my path for the coming year. I hope you will join me – Mike

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Snowdonia National Park In All It’s Winter Glory

Well that was the plan. But I hadn’t anticipated two things. One the weather and two “She Who Must Be Obeyed” having Christmas week plans that did not involve photography. So I’ve not been out in the National Park and the weather has been very mild. So no snow, not even a frost to speak of.

Which leaves me with a dilemma. What photographs to include in this weeks post?

Like doctors, photographers work with what is present. I suspect our chief emotions are anticipation, frustration, and patience, balanced by a marvellous sense of elation when things go right–when we think we’ve captured within a photograph some missing feeling, some sense of beauty, or bit of mystery in the fabric of life. – John Loengard

Before “She Who Must Be Obeyed” put the embargo on photography I went back out one more time on the Saturday to try to capture those elusive Waxwings. They were there again, but very flighty. They fly near the Rowan trees with all the berries but just wouldn’t settle. But all was not lost. This beautiful Thrush was having a good time and so was I.

Thrush

At last it happened. Good light, bit of sunshine and one of the more daring Waxwings settled long enough to get a photograph all from birds in the wild.

I photograph all my birds and animals in the wild, in their natural environment. Some photographers will cut branches from nearby trees and bolt them to a small table. They’ll then put food at the bottom of the branches and sit back, behind a blind, with a long lens, and wait. To me, that may be bird photography, but it isn’t wildlife photography. – David Young

Waxwing with Berries

Meanwhile the Thrush was making regular forays from the trees behind me to hit those berries.

Thrush with Berries

…..and then a real bonus. A Redwing, first time ever seeing one and obviously first time ever photographing one. I know the wings aren’t red, but trust me, I asked a man who knows birds to identify this one for me.

Redwing

I’m on a roll now and to finish off, another Waxwing, this time with a berry.

Waxwing with Berry in Mouth

That’s it, I wasn’t anticipating getting the Redwing, or the Thrush for that matter, so I’m happy.

Here’s what other blogger are saying about this weeks challenge. These are blogs I’ve visited and liked.

Photograph – Santa Claus – MINDING MY P’S WITH Q
Innocence – DirtRoadWife
And We Wait – Live Younique Photography
Waiting… – Margaret writes about life and everything else
Books, Music, Photography, & Movies WPC- Anticipation
Anvica’s gallery Anticipation
Indira’s Blog Anticipation- Weekly Photo Challenge
Waiting to Hatch- Anticipation – Rebecca Wiseman Portfolio
WPC- Anticipation – Christine’s Blog
Anticipation – Photo Challenge – Ladyleemanila

Wild Bird Photography–What A Malarkey

I’ve come to the conclusion that wild bird photography is not for me. Standing around or sitting in a cold hide waiting for something special to land on a branch long enough that you can photograph it. Take yesterday for instance. A bright sunny day, not much wind, perfect for a bit of bird photography. Yeah it is, as long as the birds come out to play as well.

Over the past weeks there have been reports of Waxwings, a winter visitor to the UK, arriving in numbers at St Asaph, a city not too far away from me. So camera in hand I set off to photograph this winter visitor.

Waxwing

They were there. Wonderful. High on the trees, flying around, chattering to each other, and way out of range for my 300mm lens. They just weren’t coming down to the lower levels of the trees. Anyway, I hung around for an hour and half before finally giving up. Apparently in the afternoon all the photographers, and there were lots of them, got some great photographs when the Waxwings decided it was feeding time and came down to the trees beside the river.

It was such a nice day so on the way home I decided to stop off at Rhudlan Nature Reserve. I’ve had mixed results here with wildlife photography so I wasn’t hoping for much. Wonderful, a Cormorant in the pool, drying it’s wings and silhouetted against a low-lying sun. But how frustrating. I can’t really see the head and the sun is playing havoc with the colours.  Not only that the wind has started to get stronger and it’s cold down by the pond despite the sun being out. Hung around for about 30 minutes but that Cormorant never changed position, always facing away from me.

Cormorant

Seen as I’m out and it’s still not too bad a day I decided to visit Big Pool Wood as well. There had been reports of Kingfishers and Siskins putting in appearances, might as well see if there’s anything about. Now to get to Big Pool Wood you have to walk along the side of an Equestrian Centre. The path was so chewed up with horses passing back and forwards along it that it was just a slippery, muddy mess. Just as well I had put my boots on. So settling down in the cold hide I waited for the Kingfisher to appear…..and waited ….and waited.

I did however catch a Robin, but frustratingly it’s only got one leg (the other one is almost hidden by the Robin’s body) and there’s also a big bit of stick obscuring part of the tail.

Robin

Maybe I’ll have better luck with this little, err, what is it? My bird identification is not that great but I finally worked out this must be a Coal Tit. Lovely little bird. Of the twenty photographs I shot, this was the only one I could use. They really are nervous, dart onto a branch, sit for a second, dart to the feeders, quick peck and away.

Coal Tit

Now then. Blue Tit or Great Tit?

Blue Tit

Finally something different, a Dunnock with a twig sticking out of it’s rear end.

Dunnock

Yep! I’m convinced bird photography is too much of a malarkey for me. I’d much rather be out there in the hills, getting some good exercise and fresh air. Besides which, hills, mountains and streams are nice and big, they don’t move, well the streams do, but that’s a minor detail, and as I’m walking about I keep warm.

Coming next week. “Snowdonia National Park In All It’s Winter Glory”. That’s assuming we get some winter weather between now and next week because right now I don’t think there’s any snow on them there mountains.

It’s That Time Of The Year.

I don’t know if you know this but all photographs on Say It With A Camera by Mike Hardisty (that’s me) are licensed using a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This mean you can use them for blogs, desktop wallpapers etc as long as you accredit me – you can find out more about licensing here

I say this because here’s a few photographs that you might be able to use at this time of the year.

Weekly Photo Challenge Let There Be Light

This is one of our Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, long gone now to Rainbow Bridge, but forever immortalised in this photograph. It’s my current desktop background.

Bah Humbug!

I was sent this a good few years back and I have published it before on Say It With A Camera. At the time I could not find any providence for copyright and it seemed to be freely available on the web. If you are the original copyright holder just let me know and I will either withdraw the post or attribute it you. Anyway……

I wanted to send some sort of holiday greeting to my friends and colleagues, but it is difficult in today’s world to know exactly what to say without offending someone. So I met with my solicitor yesterday, and on advice I wish to say the following :

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all .

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2012 , but not without due respect for the calendar of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great (not to imply that Great Britain is necessarily greater than any other country) and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms:

This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/ him or others and is void were prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. The wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Best Regards (without prejudice)

Name withheld (UK Data Protection Act 1998)

Zzzzz’ Do Not Disturb, I’m Sleeping

At last, I can relax. Hopefully I will now have answered all of your kind comments for my blog post about the Kingfisher, which was featured as an Editor’s Pick on Discover. Between your wonderful comments and my replies there were in total 172 comments on that post. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has decided to follow Say It With A Camera – I must be doing something right.

When I read about this weeks challenge I knew straight away which photograph I was going to feature. Photographed way back in November 2007, yes I keep every photograph, it shows a man having a sleep on a bench.

Lazy-Way

What I always found strange about it was he’s wearing a watch but I couldn’t see any shoes. Maybe they’re on the bench with him? And the location? Tai O Fishing Village, Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Follow the link to read more about this fantastic village which is a photographers dream.

That’s it for this week and as usual here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge – Mike

Jaspa’s Journal Hopewell Rocks, Bay of Fundy, Canada
Just Relax … – Rose Bay Letters
Julie’s Travel Photography Walking to Lehner Waterfall Längenfeld Austria
Angela Kay Weekly Photo Challenge- Relax
Relax. Take it Easy. – Lyrallya
Photography- Focus – Stay Strong, Daily Warrior!
Seal Trip @ Dunvegan Castle – $OUL on C@NVA$
Weekly Photo Challenge- Relax – Retrospect
Weekly Photo Challenge- Transmogrify – Svetlana’s Photography
Simply Photos Something Moved

Discover–A Time To Catch Up

My mailbox is full. Just under 400 messages from WordPress in the space of a couple of days with comments on “It’s A Kind Of Magic” and new followers to “Say It With A Camera”. It’s going to take me some time to catch up with all of your comments and have a look at my new followers blogs.

So I’d like to thank you all for your kind comments and follows and I promise over the next week I will get round to replying and visiting your blogs.

In the meantime I’d like to show you some photographs from an area that I have the fortune to have in my back yard – the Snowdonia National Park. It’s such a beautiful and wild place to visit, yet easily accessible and because of this it is difficult to find areas where you can be truly alone. This photograph of Pen-Yr-Ole-Wen (that’s the mountains name, looks remote and yet at the bas of the mountain lies one of the busy main roads through the national park.

Pen-yr-Olwen Reflections

In the park you will find sheep, lots of them, Wales is well-known for it’s sheep farming, feral goats and these lovely little Welsh Ponies. Most of the year they live higher up on the slopes of the mountains but once the snows come they start to come lower down into the valleys which makes them more easy to photograph. Although most of the year they live quite wild I have found they are pretty friendly, you can even stroke them as long as you take it slow and easy. Of course like all wild animals you just have to be careful.

Ponies

Throughout the park you will find evidence of abandoned dwellings from the 18/19th century, maybe earlier in some cases. These are left over from when sheep farmers had small holdings and lived a very simple way of life.

This Old House

That’s it and I will get round to everything this week – Mike

It’s A Kind Of Magic

Well for me it is. Over the years I have tried to capture a Kingfisher with little success. Too far away, or flying too fast for the camera focus to lock up on, always a disaster when I looked at the photographs. Until yesterday. So here it is my first ever Kingfisher that I’m happy enough to show you.

Kingfisher

To me that’s magic….

That’s it for this week, a really short one but I wanted to show you the photograph, not ramble on.

discover-badge-circle

Update – 25 November 2016 17:18 hrs: Not long after I posted this to the Weekly Challenge I received an email saying it had been selected for Discover, a place where WordPress highlight some of the best content published with WordPress. Wow, that is an honour.

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

annembray Magic Moment – From Studio to Gallery
aNadventures Magic
Fairy Tale World – Lizz Beth Ashley
Colline’s Blog View from a Train
magic – Photographic Trek
through the luminary lens All about the magic of water & photons – no joking!
Weekly Photo Challenge- Magic
It’s OK Because You Made It – The Foxy Igorota
Ruth E Hendricks Photography Late Afternoon at U of Pitt Campus
Julie Powell – Photographer & Graphic Artist WPC – Magic