Walking in the sand dunes at Talacre Beach I found this rather large piece of driftwood. How did it get there? OK! I know it came in on the tide at sometime. But how did it end up in the dunes? Was it carried? Did a really high tide push it up there? I’d like to think so, but it’s probably the former.

What do you think? Carried, or the Power of the Sea?

52/2013 Week 43

52/2013 Week 43

52/2013 Week 43

With off-shore winds and a high tide predicted today it seemed like a good idea to visit Talacre Bird Reserve. The tide would force the birds who use the estuary, further on shore, hopefully giving me some good photo opportunities.

Talacre Bird Reserve has a hide where you can sit or stand and watch the birds. It’s a good walk along the side of the salt marsh to a promontory which takes you closer to the shore. Just as well the hide is there because the wind was biting cold, blowing in from the sea, and there was the odd spot of rain.

Now I’m not really into birding but I can identify quite a few of the common ones that were flying around, Red Shank, Curlew, Little Egret, Cormorant, Oyster Catcher, Shelduck and of course the Herring Gull.

Lucky me! This Curlew decided to fish for crabs right in front of me.

Technical Note: Photograph taken with a Pentax K-30 and the Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 APO HSM Lens. ISO 100,  Aperture f6.3, Focal length 500mm, Shutter Speed 1/500 sec


The Carneddau

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of You

Blue, Green, Orange, Yellow, Red, what is my hue? Probably none of them, or maybe all of them. I know that during the day I like a nice blue sky with white fluffy clouds and in the evening a sunset with lots of red, yellow and orange. What about green? That’s the colour I go when I see some of the great photographs that are out there.

One colour I do like is that sort of yellow/green/brown/rusty one that the grasses change to at the start of Autumn (Fall) and there’s nowhere better to see them than the Snowdonia National Park. So come with me along a 900-metre long stone-paved path to Llyn Idwal and let’s see what we can find.

Wooden Bridge

Memo to Self: Don’t shoot into the sun. You get lens refraction, parts of your image is under-exposed and parts are over-exposed.

Anyway the bridge is the start of the path to Llyn Idwal. It crosses a small waterfall, which can be a roaring torrent, after the rains or a small trickle at the height of summer.

Cross the bridge and you will find a well-defined path leading to Llyn Idwal and the Glyderau.

Mountain Path

Llyn Idwal is a small lake (approximately 800 m by 300 m) that lies within Cwm Idwal in the Glyderau mountains of Snowdonia.

It is named after Prince Idwal Foel a grandson of Rhodri Mawr, one of the ancient Kings of Wales, legend stating that the unfortunate offspring was murdered by being drowned in the lake. In fact Idwal Foel died in battle against the Saxons in 942 and the legend is that he was cremated beside the lake as was the burial custom for Celtic nobility.

I forgot to mention. As you are crossing the bridge, don’t forget to stop and take a photograph of the waterfall and what must be the most photographed tree in Wales, maybe even Britain.


Right, back on the path which gently slopes up the hill towards Llyn Idwal. If you have time take a quick detour after about four hundred metres and walk over the slope on your left hand side.

Llyn Ogwen

It will be well worth it because you will be able to see Llyn Ogwen which lies alongside the A5 road between two mountain ranges of the Carneddau and the Glyderau. Llyn Ogwen lies at a height of about 310 metres above sea level and has an area of 78 acres (320,000 m2), but is a very shallow lake, with a maximum depth of only a little over 3 metres. It is fed by a number of streams from the slopes of the mountains which surround it, which include Tryfan and Pen yr Ole Wen.


Tryfan forms part of the Glyderau group, and is one of the most famous and recognisable peaks in Britain, having a classic pointed shape with rugged crags. At 3,010 feet above sea level it is the fifteenth highest mountain in Wales.

Pen yr Ole Wen is the most southerly of the Carneddau range and is the seventh highest mountain in Snowdonia. It is the same height as England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike. It is often climbed as part of a longer route on the Carneddau range. The mountain’s average annual temperature hovers around 5 degrees celsius.

The Carneddau

Many of the upland paths in the Snowdonia National Park can become easily flooded, due to the large amount of rain which falls in the area. The water erodes the path surfaces and, with millions of visitors each year, the wear and tear on the defined paths and adjoining land, as walkers try to avoid the floods, impacts greatly on wildlife and the landscape.

Mountain Path

Drainage channels are now being dug along the side of paths and in some cases paths are now being re-stoned. As the path heads up towards Llyn Idwal you can just see the outline of Cwm Idwal which is a hanging valley in the Glyderau range of mountains.

In a 2005 poll conducted by Radio Times, Cwm Idwal was ranked the 7th greatest natural wonder in Britain.

Once you reach Llyn Idwal one path encircles the lake.

Llyn Idwal

Two paths lead from opposite side of the lake to the top of the ridge close to the Twll Du (Devil’s Kitchen), but these paths become rather steep in places. They lead to Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr.

Rusty Bridge

A number of small streams flow into Llyn Idwal from around Cwm Idwal. One small river flows out under this bridge and joins the Afon Ogwen river at Pont Pen-y-Benglog near Ogwen Cottage, immediately above the Rhaeadr Ogwen waterfall. It’s the same river you see at the bottom of the hill as it flows under the wooden bridge.

There is a small pebble beach at the northwest edge of Llyn Idwal which is occasionally used by visitors for recreation, including bathing in the summer months. You can get to it by going through the gate and following the path.

Mountain Gate

As a mountain lake, the waters can be cold and care should be taken by swimmers not to go out beyond their depths.

I hope you enjoyed this brief virtual walk with me to Llyn Idwal and maybe we can do it again sometime, only for real.

Technical Note: All photographs were shot using a Pentax K-30 and Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 Wide Angle Lens with the focal length at 10mm. As usual I shot for HDR with brackets of –2, 0 and +2, hand-held, no tripod. Shake reduction was enabled on the K-30. The ISO was 100, Aperture f11

HDR processing was done in PhotoMatix version 5, still in beta trial, using the new Contrast Optimizer, tone-mapping algorithm, which give a very natural look. Final processing in Photoshop used NIK Color Efex Pro Contrast to counterbalance some of the flat contrast that can often occur with HDR Tone Mapping. NIK Glamour Glow was also used to warm the photographs slightly. Finally the Lens Correction Filter was used to straighten and take care of perspective problems caused by using a wide-angle lens, shooting hand-held.

Pen yr Ole Wen

52/2013 Week 42

Pen yr Ole Wen
Pentax K-30 : ISO 100 : f11 : 1/90 sec : Focal Length 10mm

Pen yr Ole Wen is the seventh highest mountain in Snowdonia and in Wales. It is the most southerly of the Carneddau range.

For many years the mountain’s name was translated as “Head of the White Light”, the interpretation of which was a mystery. However in 2004 Professor Hywel Wyn Owen at the Place-Name Research Centre at Bangor University in Bangor, Gwynedd resolved the matter saying that Ole comes from Goleddf, which means slope or hillside, making the correct English translation: “Head of the White Slope”.

Pen yr Ole Wen is often climbed as part of a longer route on the Carneddau range. It is the same height as England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike.

The mountain’s average annual temperature hovers around 5 degrees celsius

Fremantle Prison Cell Block

Weekly Photo Challenge: Infinity

Perspective in photography and art utilizes the concept of imaginary vanishing points, or points at infinity, located at an infinite distance from the observer. This allows photographers and artists to create photographs and paintings that realistically render space, distances, and forms.

Fremantle Prison Cell Block

In my opinion, Photography is not a precise subject. Two people can stand on the same spot, viewing the same subject, use the same camera and get two different photographs. Aperture, Shutter Speed, White Balance and Zoom all contribute to the final image captured by the cameras sensor and saved to memory. Infinite possibilities? Maybe! Bit what exactly is infinite? Wikipedia describes Infinity (symbol: ) as an abstract concept describing something without any limit.

So what about Vanishing Points? If they can be located at an infinite distance from the observer and infinity is described as having no limits, does this mean I can have an infinite number of vanishing points at infinite distances into a photograph.

Confused? I know I am. Maybe I should be worrying less about infinity and vanishing points and concentrate more on getting the photograph.

However for the sake of argument let me explain why I took the photograph above of the Fremantle Prison Cell Block.

Simple really. I liked the composition.

The lines of the floor levels all converged towards the same spot at the opposite end of the corridor and if the corridor had been longer eventually the would have met at the same point. Hey! That’s a Vanishing Point.

OK! What about the next one of the beach shelter. First of all, I liked the sunset. But the main reason I photographed this was the perspective. The angles, especially in the roof. From where I was standing the two extreme points of the roof at the left and right of the photograph attracted my eye, especially as they both led away from the point nearest to me.

Beach Pavilion

Uhh! Oh! Have I found more than one Vanishing Point? Is that allowed? Well have a read of this.

In graphical perspective, a vanishing point is a point in the picture plane π that is determined by a line in space. Given the oculus or eye point O and a line L not parallel to π, let M be the line through O and parallel to L. Then the vanishing point of L is the intersection of M and π. Traditional linear drawings use one to three vanishing points.

This is getting too scientific for me. Maybe I should just concentrate on taking photographs of what I like and forget all this scientific mumbo jumbo. So here’s a few that I thought you might be interested in.

Gloucester Cathedral Cloisters

I love this one of the cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral. The lighting. The stonework. The way the passage gets smaller and smaller towards the centre of the photograph. Did you know that some scenes from the Harry Potter movies were filmed here in the cloisters.

Starlit Bridge

The bridge in the photo above is situated over the River Clyde in Glasgow. What particularly attracted me to photograph the bridge was the lighting. Oh! And the way the bridge just got smaller and smaller towards the centre of the photograph. It almost disappears. Well It would,  because it slopes down on the other side.

Train Curves

I like trains, the older the better. Here are two from the Ffestiniog Railway which takes you on a 13½ mile journey from the harbour in Porthmadog to the slate-quarrying town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Conveniently both pulled into the station at the same time and I was able to capture them. What I like about this photograph is the way the carriages get smaller and smaller before disappearing round the corner.


This spiral staircase caught my eye as i was walking the ancient town walls of Conwy in North Wales. First of all the colour and then the way the stairs spiralled down getting smaller and smaller, not quite disappearing, but you get my drift.

Berwyn Station

Berwyn railway station in Denbighshire, Wales, was formerly a station on the Ruabon to Barmouth line. Passenger services were originally suspended from 14 December 1964 following flood damage and officially closed to passengers on Monday 18 January 1965. It has since been restored and reopened in 1986 as an intermediate station on the preserved Llangollen Railway.

What attracted me to photograph the station was the long sweeping curve of the platform and railway lines as the got smaller and ……..need I say more.

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