Point of Ayr – Long Abandoned

Normally on a Wednesday night I’d be at the Camera Club but with the floor being renovated in the hall it was time for a field trip. A place I haven’t been to in a long time is the  site of the old Point of Ayr colliery, located just a short walk along the coast from Talacre at Fynnongroew. The colliery was situated on reclaimed land right along side the Dee Estuary and entrance to the two original shafts were with yards of the sea-shore, with the workings extending out under the sea. In later years the colliery was taken over by the National Coal Board (NCB) and a new shaft was added in the early 80’s, but now coal came to the surface on a conveyor belt.

Despite extensive reserves of coal in the mine, the colliery closed in 1996, mainly as a result of reduced demand for coal-fired power stations. All of the buildings were levelled and today you would be hard pushed to know that a colliery even existed there, other than for this sculpture of a miner with a pit pony and a cart of coal.

Miner and Pony

I was there to catch the sunset, though, and on part of the land that was once the colliery, lies the Point Of Ayr Gas Terminal. Ironically, the move from coal-fired Power Stations was prompted by the introduction of more cleaner gas-powered ones and the gas from the Point of Ayr terminal is used to provide power to half of Wales.

The fenced off areas are overgrown but you can see the Gas Terminal’s structure beyond the trees…… and that was my idea for a photograph last night. Try and get a sunset with the plant structure in silhouette.

Point of Ayr

Of course, you need a decent sunset and last night it certainly wasn’t. Hardly a cloud in the sky, coupled with a dull orange glow, but you work with what you’ve got.

Since the last time I visited Point of Ayr there have been a few additions to the site. I mentioned the sculpture earlier and I also found this wheel, which represents the winding gear from a mine. Who knows it may even be the original wheel?

So with the gas plant in the background and the wheel silhouetted against the setting sun this was probably the photograph of the night for me.

Point of Ayr

One last little point. One of the old miners who used to work at the colliery told me an interesting story. On the final day of colliery operations they flooded the mine, by boring a shaft from the dock, coal was shipped by sea, and letting the high tide do the rest.

Right that’s it. I’m off on holiday. No doubt I’ll take a lot of photographs whilst I’m away. Many of them will be touristy, but hopefully there will be the odd gem amongst them, worth writing about – Mike

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Photography Wind ups

Chris, gives his unique perspective on the world of photography

Photography Grouch

1 . Stupid watermarks on even worse images , Why do some people insist on putting indiscrete watermarks their photos  that take up quarter of the page or even worse plonk it right in the middle of the photo ! – I look at some of these and sit there thinking why would anyone want to steal that let alone print and hang it ! , you’d be hard pushed to give it away ! if you insist on marking your image make it small and don’t let it detract from your photo !

2. Fuji owners – The arrival of the new Fuji medium format camera is great in my opinion if only for the fact that all the Fuji snobs can no longer brag about owning the top of the range Fuji camera unless they are will to fork out the 6k plus  required – in that respect…

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Has “Say It With A Camera” Lost It’s Way?

I’m not a stats guy. I don’t look at the WordPress stats every day, In fact I might not look at them for months and months. But one thing I am aware of. The number of comments on “Say It With A Camera” have dropped dramatically. So that prompted me to look at the stats…..and it’s depressing.

According to WordPress “Say It With A Camera” has 3481 followers and yet after I published my latest post for the weekly challenge only 80 people have viewed the post…..and looking back over past weeks it’s very similar.

On that basis I’m beginning to think is it worth my while continuing to blog.

Maybe it’s me, it’s possible I’m not writing anything that’s of interest. Or perhaps it’s the photographs?  I’m not looking for my ego to be stoked here. I just think something is missing and I don’t know what it is. If you do, I’d appreciate your thoughts, although going by current stats I’m unlikely to get much in the way of replies.

In the meantime I was taking a break from blogging whilst on holiday, but I think I will extend that break to give me time to contemplate the future of “Say It With A Camera”.

But I will leave you with a photograph – Mike

The Crypt

The Truth Of Art

So let me start by saying that after this post I’ll be taking a break from blogging for a week or so, as I head off on a late holiday.

Right then to this weeks challenge. Don’t you just love shiny things? I know I do, but can you really portray shiny in a photograph? I’m not one hundred percent convinced and neither was E. H. Gombrich

The photographic enthusiast likes to lure us into a darkened room in order to display his slides on a silver screen. Aided by the adaptability of the eye and by the borrowed light from the intense projector bulb, he can achieve those relationships in brightness that will make us dutifully admire the wonderful autumn tints he photographed on his latest trip. As soon as we look at a print of these photographs by day, the light seems to go out of them. It is one of the miracles of art that the same does not happen there. The paintings in our galleries are seen one day in bright sunshine and another day in the dim light of a rainy afternoon, yet they remain the same paintings, ever faithful, ever convincing. To a marvellous extent they carry their own light within. For their truth is not that of a perfect replica, it is the truth of art.

But let’s get on with it and I’ll start with the SEC in Glasgow reflected in the River Clyde. I took this on a cold winters night, late November, 2012. I was in Glasgow to visit my father and it seemed like a good idea at the time to get out in the evening to capture some night scenes. Boy it was cold. Have you ever been out on a cold night with a camera and tripod? The metal in your equipment seems to act like a cold magnet. Being down by the river doesn’t help either, but at least it was a still night with no wind.

Glasgow Armadillo

I should say that normally I would use HDR for photographs of this type but I’ve been experimenting recently with Luminosity Masks, a technique I’ve long dabbled with. Sometimes I think I’ve got it right and then along comes a photograph that LM’s just don’t seem to work with. But I’ve been doing some heavy research and I think I know where I’ve been going wrong. So hopefully I might have cracked it this time. Why use LM’s. The main reason is, HDR for all it’s benefits, can create a lot of noise in the photographs, whereas LM’s do not. Anyone out there using LM’s in their workflow?

On The Rocks

Now this next photograph really is shiny. It’s made of metal and when the sun sets you can get some amazing colours which are reflected in the metal of the sculpture.

Dechrau a Diwedd

All right, so where’s the shine herein this next photograph. There isn’t really, unless you consider that all of those heads have a bit of a sheen.

Talking Heads

You know that photograph earlier in this post of the SEC. Well on the side of the river where I took that photograph from lies the Glasgow Science Centre and that cold winter evening when I visited the centre was open. Just as well, because when I went to get my car from the car-park, next to the centre, the machine would only take shiny £2 (2 pound) coins. Although the coin was introduced in 1998 I very rarely saw them in my loose change, so I was beginning to panic as there’s not too many shops around that area. Fortunately the nice people in the Science Centre gave me the magic code to open the barrier free of charge

Glasgow Science Centre

If you really want to see “shiny” pay a visit to Littledean Jail in the UK. But be warned if you are easily offended or of a sensitive nature then Littledean is not for you. It’s probably the largest true crime museum in Europe, but the exhibits can be politically incorrect, downright bizarre and extremely diverse.

Quadrophenia

And for my final photograph this week I’d like to leave you with a section of the cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral. Did you know the cloisters featured in some of the Harry Potter movies?

Gloucester Cathedral

Right then, that’s it from me. To all those who are going out to watch the eclipse today, be careful, you only have one pair of eyes. As for me I’m going to miss it. Here in the UK it wasn’t going to be that great anyway, but the sky is overcast, it feels like winter, so I’m not even going to venture outside.

Don’t forget I’m taking a break for the next week or so, therefore, it just leaves me to say.

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

This is Another Story Trip to Mirror Lake
Wanderlost For Now SQUIRREL! …wait…
Shiny Oasis – My Kitchen Witch
It’s a Wonderful World! The “stop in your tracks” architecture of Madrid
Feeding Winnie Ooh, Shiny!
Photography- Oh look! Another Flower! – Sumyanna Writes
WPC- Shiny – Let’s Visit Worcester, UK – Tvor Travels
WPC- Ooh, Shiny! – MK pix
POTW- ooh, shiny! – Did You Know-
Those Tiny Lives on Daisy – From Hiding to Blogging

They Are Going To Get Wet

I don’t know if it’s because we are an island nation but we British do love the water. Get a nice hot sunny day and people will go for a paddle at the beach. The really brave will go swimming, even if the water is cold. Watersports abound. I have lost count of the number of people I have seen using the rushing white waters of our Snowdonia Rivers. Not so far from me is a Surf Centre. An artificial lake with a giant wave machine were people can go surfing. We like our water.

Just last weekend the Royal National Lifeboat Association (RNLI) held a charity event in Rhyl Harbour. Build your own raft and race it against others around the harbour. And for added fun do it against an incoming tide which rushes into the harbour at Rhyl.

Build Your Raft

With dark, ominous clouds some of the contestants get started in building their rafts. Nothing fancy here, Some barrels, tie pallets to them and you’ve got yourself a raft. Not the most stable of platforms.

Meanwhile, the RNLB Lil Cunningham enters Rhyl Harbour and will tie up against the jetty.

Bridge Up

During the time RNLB Lil Cunningham was tied up children were invited to “come on board and have a look around”

Alongside

Whilst we were waiting for the races to start a water version of Gladiators was fought in the harbour.

Gladiators

Soon it was time for the first race to start. Launch from the slipway, paddle to the bridge, go around the bridge support and then paddle back to the slipway. I was standing on the slipway when I took the photograph of RNLB Lil Cunningham entering the harbour. It doesn’t look far to paddle there and back but against an incoming tide it was going to be hard work getting to the bridge.

They're Off

The crowds were really out in force by now, lining the harbour wall, both sides, standing on the bridge as well.. And soon they were off, at this point organised chaos comes to mind.

Paddle Paddle

But it soon settled down and this is where “the ringers” came to the fore. Remember I said right at the beginning, turn up, build your raft and  how unsteady they looked. Seems like some built their rafts in secret. This is a craft of beauty. It looked very stable in the water and they seemed to be powering along. Of course once they get around the bridge you’ve got the advantage of going with the current as the tide comes in.

Working Hard

Another one. I think this was the RNLI’s entry.

Keep Paddling

For safety’s sake the RNLI inshore craft were on hand to help any team that got in difficulties.

Around The Bend

Meanwhile RNLB Lil Cunningham had moved out into the centre of the harbour and to help the crews along and add to the fun. They were using the hose to provide a little water borne encouragement to the contestants.

RNLB Lil Cunningham

Well that’s it for this week. As you can see my element was water, here’s a few bloggers, who have written about  this weeks challenge and I have liked.

Elemental – Jodie Pages Waterfalls
Gwyncurbygodwin’s Blog BUTTERFLIES
O’Neill Photography & Design Misty Morning Surf
This is Another Story Exploring the Elements
New Goal – The Unkempt Wife
Sue’s words and pictures No fire!
Weekly Photo Challenge – Elemental – Julie Powell – Photographer & Graphic Artist
Fueled by Chocolate The Elemental Muskrat – Reshaping the Banks of Their Watery World
Seek the Colors of the Harvest – From Hiding to Blogging
Funky Weather – tybeetabby

All Is Quiet And I Am Half Asleep

All is quiet in the Hardisty household. Our summer visitors have gone and No 1 son is currently sitting in Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, awaiting a flight to take up residence again in the mysterious orient. For him it’s a new adventure, as he has said goodbye to Hong Kong.

But for me, I’m sitting here, half asleep, it was a very early run to the airport this morning, trying to think about this weeks challenge.

So anyway, let’s get on with the textures. Starting with this one taken on a promenade. There are so many individual tiles here, I gave up trying to count them.

Promenade

As you can guess from the photograph below, I’m not in the UK. Look at the wooden balcony and the cobblestones. It’s the colours as well, they make the photograph look rich.

Museum

And so to some bronze statues I found in a park. I like bronze, not only to photograph, but the feel, Unlike marble or stone you can really feel the textures and once bronze gets weathered, you get some amazing colours.

The Three of Us

Now this was an interesting photograph I took in Lisbon. It was an old ruined house, near the docks. All painted with the stone showing through and just as an added extra, a tatty pigeon sitting on the window frame.

Ruins

Another bronze statue, look at the colours here. It’s caused by tarnishing of copper, one of the metals used when making bronze.

Statue

Texture, textures, textures and more textures, there are lots of them evident in the next photograph.

The Square

In the photograph below I was tempted to capture just the pattern, but to be honest, I thought the pattern on it’s own would look lost. You have to see the overall picture to really appreciate the pattern.

Photography has an amazing ability to capture the fine detail of surface textures. But far too often these intricate patterns are loved by the photographer for their own sake. The richness of texture fascinates the eye and the photographer falls easy prey to such quickly caught complexities. The designs mean nothing in themselves and are merely pictorially attractive abstractions. A central problem in contemporary photography is to bring about a wider significance in purely textural imagery. – Arthur Tress

Patterns

 

Well that’s it for this week and I hope you liked the selection of photographs. As usual, here’s what others are saying about this weeks challenge.

Textures – Emovere
ashstylegourmet’s Blog WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE- TEXTURES
Beach Reflections, Tofino, BC – Jane Lurie Photography
Texture in Photo Essay – On a mission
Weekly Photo Challenge- Texture – Dragonfly’s Dance
Texture – kriztyne
18-200 mm View Smooth
Writings from the Meadow Texture – weekly photo challenge
Weekly Photo Challenges – Sea Shells on Sea Shore – Celina2609’s Blog
Shi Yali Photography Tenacious Roots Textures

What’s In A Sunset? Macphun Luminar Windows Beta

I’m always willing to try new software and when Macphun anounced a beta version for Windows of their popular program for Mac called Luminar. I thought, why not? Especially as one of my favourite plugins NIK Color Efex is no longer supported by Google.

Luminar is already a well established piece of software for the Mac, so it will be interesting to see how it shapes up in Windows. As Macphun say;

Faster, even more powerful and now featuring Accent, the world’s first AI-powered photo filter. Make photos beautiful in seconds with 1 slider. Luminar adapts to your photo style to make complex photo editing easy and joyful. Prepare to be astonished.

So the first thing to note, this is still a beta version, it’s nowhere as feature rich as the Mac version, but I can still get a flavour of how the software works.

The first thing I noticed, there are quite a few ready-made presets, one click looks, that could fit a variety of purposes.

Normandy Sunrise

In the photograph above I have selected a  preset called Artistic Copper Strong. It’s quite good for any photograph that features a sunset.

Ashampoo_Snap_2017.07.29_13h17m02s_003_

But you can also use filters to affect certain elements of a photograph, such as sharpness, colour, foreground, All in all there are about 65 filters you can use to affect your photograph

Ashampoo_Snap_2017.07.29_13h13m10s_002_

This one was developed using some of the filters from Luminar

Night Star

Maybe it’s me, but during my first day of trialling Luminar I started gravitating to trying it out with sunsets, I seemed to be having better success with those. Photographs taken during the day didn’t seem to gain much advantage using Luminar. However it is early days, so I might change my mind.

Orange and Blue Sunset

Anyway, here’s a few photographs that I processed using Luminar

Nova Centre

Weston Beach Shelter

Reflections

It’s far too early to draw a conclusion as to whether or not I would incorporate Luminar into my workflow. First of all the program is not complete and Macphun have a long way to go before the Windows version will equal the power of the Mac one. But it is still in beta.

At the moment, I have found it great with sunsets but I’m still indecisive as to ordinary photographs, personally I think NIK Color Efex does a better job.

Disclaimer: I’m not being paid to write this, nor am I getting free software, or anything like that. Macphun have made the beta free to download to all Windows users but the final version will be a paid model. I have included links to the Macphun Facebook page and their website in case anyone wishes to have a look at Luminar for themselves.

Here’s what others are saying about this weeks challenge

Potpourri Weekly Photo Challenge- “Satisfaction”
Pin(terest) Wins! – In the Wild Los Angeles
Natural Satisfaction – aroused
I can’t get no… – Reinhold Staden Photography
BeCre8ive
‘Satisfaction’- How personal should we get – Writing On A Rock
Spirit in Politics Photo Challenge, Satisfaction- Serenity Coasting on the Summer Breeze
The Land Slide Photography Pausing
Hot Dogs and Marmalade Summer Swimming
Stupidity Hole Valleys Past the Trees