In Search Of Autumn Colours

First of all please look at the photographs full size. You can do that by clicking on them and you will see a better resolution as well.

Here in our little part of North Wales Autumn is finally making itself present and we are beginning to see the trees assume some really nice colours.  According to the weather guru’s Thursday was looking like a good day to go in search of those colours.  So a quick call to,  Adrian Evans, a photographer buddy of mine and a day out was arranged.

First stop, Llyn Crafnant, where the wind was blowing nice and strong and boy was it a cold bitter wind. But there’s was the occasional break in the clouds were the sun was coming through, lighting the hills up in the distance. some nice colours but maybe another week or so.

Llyn Crafnant

On the road back down from Llyn Crafnant you have to go through the forest. By now the sun was really out , lighting up those orange and greens with a beautiful warm glow. I’m sure it didn’t look like this on the way up to Llyn Crafnant, but I’m not complaining.

Autumn Leaves

Before heading into Betws-y-Coed, now there’s a great Welsh name, we stopped off at the Grey Mare Falls. Nothing particularly exciting, as we haven’t had a lot of rain recently. Instead I settled for the view away from the falls. It just looked more enchanting. All I needed at this point was to find a fairy sitting on one of the rocks. What you don’t believe in fairies? Are you sure…..?

52 in 2015 Week 43 Texture

My final photograph is the stone bridge over the Afon Conwy on the Betws-y-Coed to Blaenau Ffestiniog road. I’ve passed over this bridge hundreds of ties and never noticed the view here.


Well that’s it. Autumn is starting to show here and if you live in the Northern Hemisphere it must be time to get out and seek those colours.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Extraordinary

There are so many things I could say are extraordinary. Living on the coast, the power of the sea, especially when we have a storm. Behind that small wall and about four feet lower is a road which runs along the seafront.

Storm Surge

Can you see that little green marker about one-third of the way down on the left hand side of the photograph at the top of the page. Here’s the same one when the tide is out. Which brings me to another of my extra ordinaries. We get some really great sunsets here. Who doesn’t like a sunset?.


I know I do. I suppose we are extremely lucky to witness sunsets like this and with a big wide open beach which stretches for 8.5 miles (13.7 km) along our part of the coast it’s easy to capture those amazing skies.

Rhyl Sunset

Further along the coast at Rhyl the markers are different but they serve the same purpose. To warn shipping that’s far enough. At Prestatyn, they mark the groyne’s, made of rock piles, to break up the action of the waves. Not much use when you have an extra high tide and a storm surge. You can just see them in the photograph below.

Reaching High

I am not very interested in extraordinary angles. They can be effective on certain occasions, but I do not feel the necessity for them in my own work. Indeed, I feel the simplest approach can often be most effective. A subject placed squarely in the centre of the frame, if attention is not distracted from it by fussy surroundings, has a simple dignity which makes it all the more impressive. – Bill Brandt

Oops! Never noticed it before, but i forgot to clone out the dust spots from my sensor. Can you see them?

My favourite sunset spot. Talacre and the lighthouse. Now this gets really lonely, especially in the winter months, when there are no tourists.

Talacre Beach Sunset

A few more storm photographs to finish. The sea defences are shaped to break up the waves hitting the seafront. Sometimes when the wind is in the “right direction” waves will hit at an angle. This causes these funny shaped waves which travel along the front. There’s a tremendous roaring sound but less damage is done by the force of the waves. Or I think that’s the theory.

Rhyl Seafront 4

Compare that to this full frontal wave which nearly swept this guy off his feet. Would you fish there in those conditions.

Gone Fishin'

A word of caution here. Never get close to breaking waves like these. They are unpredictable and it’s easy to get swept away. Although it looks as though I was close. I’m not. I’m using an extreme zoom lens, which lets me stand well back and take the photographs relatively safely.

That’s it for this week and as usual here’s what other blogger are saying about this weeks challenge. Please take the time to click the links. You might enjoy what you read, I know I did.

52 in 2015 Week 42 In A Row

Bit of a loose interpretation of the theme this week. On Wednesday I visited Lower Heswall on the Wirral. That’s in England. If I was standing at Talacre Lighthouse I’d just about see it as it’s on the opposite side of the estuary to me. Unlike Talacre, which has long sandy beaches, all you get are mud flats and marsh. Thick cloying mud, “welly boot” country. But the attraction for me was the number of old and abandoned boats that can be photographed.

52 in 2015 Week 42 In A Row (2)

One thing though. You have to watch the tide. I was amazed how fast the tide moves on the estuary. To give an example, I was photographing a boat on the mud flats. There’s a deep muddy gutter, you can just see it, top right of this photograph. Well suddenly the boats in gutter started swinging round on their moorings and as I looked at the jetty just to the side of me it was under about three-foot of water. Time to get off those flats, damn quick.

Meols Beach, pronounced Melz is a sandy beach just a little bit further up the coast. It’s still “welly boot” country though as there is a fine layer of mud on top of the sand. Maybe it dries out once the tide has gone out fully.

52 in 2015 Week 42 In A Row

The trip to the Wirral was really just an exploratory one in preparation for visiting at sunset. So now all I need is low tide and sunset to be in conjunction.

52 in 2015 Week 41Night Photography

I’ve been waiting for this one for some time as it gives me the motivation to try the Live Composite Mode on my camera.  For an explanation of Live Composite have a look at the video I’ve included at the end of this post.

Anyway to this weeks photographs. I’ve got two for sharing this week. The first was taken using the Live Composite Mode of the Olympus OM-D E-M1

52 in 2015 Week 41 Night Photography

Using this mode I was able to capture vehicle lights as they travelled over the Afon Clwyd bridge at Rhyl. Incidentally, this photograph tied with another for best photograph of the week for the 52 in 2015 Group on Flickr.

The next photograph was a straight night shot of the Pont y Ddraig, a pedestrian swing bridge across Rhyl Harbour.

Pont y Ddraig

Finally here’s the video of Live Composite Mode

52 in 2015 Week 40 Food And Drink

This week I was at a wedding and to make sure I was not classed as an “Uncle Bob” I just took my little Samsung Pocket Camera with me.

52 in 2015 Week 40 Food

First of all I am not a professional photographer, I have no desire to be and I certainly don’t want to get in the way of the official tog doing his thing. So photography for me was kept to the minimum, mainly family around the table. The sort of things the official guy  is not interested in.

I couldn’t resist this though. Found the stickers, left over from a McMillan Coffee Morning, which must have been held at the reception venue, and a quick “snap” later. I’ve got my photograph.

It’s not the greatest photograph but I can tell you that the cake was absolutely yummy.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place

Regular readers will know that I’m very fond of using HDR with my photographs and I’m always happy to be experimenting. Trying new looks or styles.

This week I have been testing a new software with some very good results. Whilst I say “new” it’s been around some time but just not in the mainstream of HDR software.

Any  way as usual I’m digressing. So where is my Happy Place? It’s got to be the Snowdonia National Park and if I have to be specific I’d say the Ogwen Valley and Nant Ffrancon.

Ogwen Valley Panorama

In the panorama above you can see the Ogwen Valley with Llyn Ogwen to your right and Nant Ffrancon, also a valley, to the left. I’m standing very close to Cwm Idwal at this point. It’s right behind me.

Llyn Ogwen

Llyn Ogwen is surrounded by mountains but luckily the A5 road runs right through the valley giving easy access to the lake and the mountains. Visit here during the summer, especially at weekends and there will be lots of cars parked in the various parking areas set aside for walkers and climbers.

At the far end of Llyn Ogwen lies the drop down to Nant Ffrancon, which is almost at right angles to this photograph. Go left at the far end and you will be at Cwm Idwal.

Let There Be Light

In this photograph we are looking the other way. Llyn Ogwen and the Ogwen Valley lie up there nestled between the mountains to the left of this photograph. Cwm Idwal is to the right of the photograph, also hidden behind the mountains.

Can you see why I have this area as my Happy Place?

Of course visit in the winter and you will see things differently. This is the same road that you can see in the photograph above. Fortunately it’s not the main road. That’s the black line you can see  to the left of the photograph about 2/3 rds of the way up. Where it meets the black clump of trees, that’s where the road bends to the Ogwen Valley.

Icy Road

Incidentally that’s where I got stuck on the ice. Even with 4 wheel drive I was just slipping and getting closer to the edge. Thankfully my fellow photographers where able to guide me back to safety. A hairy moment at the time.


Snow brings the wild ponies down from the higher slopes almost to the edge of the road. Although they live wild, I’ve always found them pretty friendly. Too friendly sometimes.

Water tumbles over rocks, I love to hear that sound, during the summer it can be just a trickle, but once the rains come or when the snow melts, it’s a different story.


Then there’s that bridge, I’m never quite sure if it lies in the Ogwen Valley or not as it’s at the start of the path to Cwm Idwal. One thing I’m pretty certain of. It must be the most photographed bridge and waterfall in Snowdonia. I’ve seen coach loads of tourists dropped off just to see this bridge……and they think they have seen the real Snowdonia

Wooden Bridge

So there you have it. My Happy Place and I hope you have enjoyed it with me?

Here’s what others bloggers are saying about their Happy Place

Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries

The Snowdonia National Park boasts areas of natural beauty; it’s I shoot most of my landscape photographs. The park has an area of roughly about 838 square miles.

Snowdonia National Park

Boundary Markers for the park can be seen all over and surprisingly the park not only encompasses the beautiful mountains and rivers I photograph, it also includes farmland and forests.

Within the park though there are natural boundaries. Flowing rivers. This one is pretty quiet just now, but when winter and the rains come it will be a flowing torrent.

Afon Nant Peris

Mountains also act a natural boundaries. Only the fit and sometimes foolish are prepared to tackle them and each year we hear of someone being killed or seriously injured whilst on the mountains. The Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team, who are all volunteers, were called out 34 times in August this year. In total they spent 750 man hours helping people who were in trouble on Snowdon and the surrounding mountains.

Have a look at this video showing one of the most dramatic  and dangerous walks in Snowdonia, the knife-edge track over Crib Goch. I’ve been walking down at the lake you can see in the video, watching people walk Crib Goch high above me, when the clouds have rolled in, completely covering the summit.

Dramatic. I couldn’t do it. Or maybe I should say I wouldn’t do it. I’m not experienced enough and I know my limits.

Of course in the park there are also man-made boundaries, gates, stone walls and barbed wire fences. Mainly they are there to keep the sheep in, not the walker and climber out. It always amazes me though when you see a stone wall which almost runs up to the summit a mountain in the National Park. The amount of effort which must have gone into, not only building the wall, but getting the stones there in the first place.  Look closely at this photograph you can see the wall stretching into the distance.

The Gate

Fortunately, there are many paths through the National Park and to save damage to the walls, wooden styles are provided for walkers to climb over.

Gate and Steps

Weather of course can act a boundary. Whilst I’m happy to walk up to Cwm Idwal, one of the easiest walk in Snowdonia, I’d think twice about doing it in bad weather conditions or heavy snow. Not entirely true. I have been up there when it was snowing. Not fun and I was glad to walk back down again.

52/2013 Week 4

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

Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge. Pay them a visit, you won’t regret it.