Death By Slideshow!

Last Saturday was a really hot day, well for the UK and North Wales it was. Out in the open my car recorded a temperature of 95oF or 35oC. Too hot for a peely wally Scot like me. But I didn’t care I was indoors suffering “death by slideshow” as I watched the judging for the North Wales Photographic Association (NWPA) Exhibition. 859 images, including some of mine, from 62 photographers in 5 categories, Open Colour, Open Mono, Altered Reality, Flora & Fauna and People. All projected onto a screen, where the judges have about 5 seconds to score each image, awarding a score between 2-5 from each judge.

So how did I end up at this “prestigious” event? Well I’ve joined a camera club. Shock! Horror! You’ve got to be kidding….I here you say. Well maybe you didn’t but trust me it goes against everything I love about photography. Stuffy, competition based, cliques, you’re just a beginner, you don’t use CANNIKON, you can’t be a photographer. Been there, done that, had my fill of them.

When I first moved to North Wales, one camera club was touting for new members, so I went along to their open night…you never know. Without introducing himself, this fella comes up to me, shoves a DVD from Digital Camera Magazine into my hand and says, “this might help you”. I later find out he’s the chairman of the club. FFS. You could have introduced yourself, asked my name, asked my level of experience before insulting me in the way you did.

Catch Me If You Can

So back to this exhibition (salon). The goal as a photographer is to get an award or at least an acceptance. In “A Beginners Guide To Photography Salons”  David Candlish explains;

“Unless you’re a stunning photographer with a huge portfolio of world-class images, the goal of most photographers entering a salon is to earn acceptances.  This means your photograph is officially recorded as meeting a minimum standard by the salon judges and they want to include it in that year’s suite of exhibited images”.

The camera club I have joined is not into competitions. A few of our members have come from other clubs, feeling dissatisfied with the way they were run. Instead, we are more for the social aspect of photography, get together, chat, help each other with editing etc. It’s still in it’s infancy, our members have mixed abilities but the main thing is we want to help each other.

But we did decide to join the NWPA and as such we can enter their competitions, something I have never done before.  In each of the categories you can enter up to four photographs to be submitted to the judges. More for interest, than anything else, I decided to have a go and also attend the judging day. Cost me £10 ($12.50) to enter my photographs.


Having never attended one of these events I didn’t know what to expect, but I was interested in seeing what other photographers submitted and how the judges went about their job. First category was the Open Colour. I had four photographs in this one. As the judging started it was clear that the judges were marking low. Or at least i thought so, most images being presented were scoring 9, 10 or 11 with the occasional 12. But one thing seemed to be standing out to me. The more you Photoshopped, the higher score you were getting. How did I do in this category? Well not too bad. Out of four images submitted by me I got two “accepted”.  These were the two above.

Open Mono, Altered Reality, nothing there, but I had better success in Flora & Fauna, once again getting two accepted.

Blue Tit

I was particularly pleased the Red Squirrel scored a 12 as I thought it was one of my strongest images.

Red Squirrel

Finally in People I got this image accepted. These two ladies were fun to photograph. They had come out of the pub to have a cigarette and a bit of a chat. They asked me to take their photograph and all the while they were smiling.


Well that about rounds it up. I have to say that I was impressed by the standard of photography, we have some great photographers here in North Wales. But like most things, it’s all down to perception. Photographs that the judges were scoring low I thought were worth far more. Just as equally, some photographs scoring high, I wouldn’t look at twice.

By the end of the day I was flagging, the temperature had been steadily creeping up in the building we were in, no air conditioning here, it’s North Wales, we don’t need it. I had seen enough photographs to last me a lifetime and my interest was definitely dropping. Which made me have a thought. How do the judges keep their interest, from the first right through to the last photograph, especially as we had been there from 10:30 through to about 16:00 with a short break of an hour for lunch.



It’s All A Blur

Another one of those weeks when the challenge title can mean so much, depending on how you interpret it. Yes, you can always go with the guidelines laid down in the challenge but that’s all too easy sometimes. Besides, you  know me, I don’t always follow the challenge guidelines. But this week, I’m going to be good, so here goes.

The donkeys in this photograph were moving so fast that they’ve ended up blurred. Too fast for my camera to catch them. Cars are whizzing by but those donkeys are really moving.


It’s no good saying “hold it” to a moment in real life. – Lord Snowdon – on why you should shoot first and worry about the focusing on the second picture

So I’ll let you into a little secret. The donkeys were just walking along as normal. The cars are stuck in traffic and not moving, therefore I could photograph the cars without them looking blurred. Trick Photography…..

..If you get an opportunity in photography you have to grab it – they don’t come along that often. When you get the chance of a great picture, you have to identify that quickly and make the most of the situation. Whatever age you are you can do that. Even with luck, you will still have to press the shutter at the right time. You need good reflexes and you need to be fit. – John Giles

And I blew it in the next photograph. You can’t shoot in a dark area of the underground, whilst you are moving and so are the musicians. Worse still I had a really slow shutter speed. Shame really, it could have been an interesting photograph

Dark and Gritty

Finally another one of those photographs, slower shutter speed and the point of focus is to the back of the gallery. Once again I’m lucky because the lady in the foreground moved just as I pressed the shutter.

The Gallery

Well, that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the photographs and as usual here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge- Focus – Sky Blue Pink Design
In A Mendocino Mood – Jane Lurie Photography
Clare’s Cosmos A New Happy Place
Weekly Photo Challenge- Focusing on Nature’s Mystery – By Alanna Pass
Fried Ice Cream – Just me musing
Weekly Photo Challenge- Out of Focus – Image & Word
Weekly Photo Challenge- Focus – A Girl with Geography
Photo Challenge; – Searching For Elsewhere
Weekly Photo Challenge- Focus – My Last Photography Blog
Shoot ‘N Go WPC- Focus (or Lack Thereof)

An Apology

It’s more than likely that you received a Temporary Post from me on Thursday as a result of me changing the theme I use for Say It With A Camera. Regular readers will know that I use Windows Live Writer to write my blogs and when WLW adopts the new theme it sometimes sends out a temporary post. It’s almost like a spam message, because there are no photographs, just some text within the email, followed by a load of numbers.

This is a temporary post that was not deleted. Please delete this manually. (28833f2c-9186-4ba0-8af7-76e97ce3ff17 – 3bfe001a-32de-4114-a6b4-4005b770f6d7)

I can only apologise for this, we all lead busy lives, and an unwanted email in our inbox is all something we could do without.

I had some great news this week. Say It With A Camera has been awarded a place in the Top 100 Photography Blogs by Feedspot, a service that lets you read all your favourite blogs in one place. I must be doing something right.

And so to some photographs. I’ve just come back from Dunham Massey, another one of Britain’s Stately Homes that is managed by the National Trust. So here’s some photographs from inside the house.

Just before you go into the house proper, there’s a room with this nice old car.

Vintage Car

Not sure if it’s still being driven on the road but there is mud on the tires and the wheel arches, maybe it does. Once inside the house, like nearly all National Trust properties, you get the chance to wander around the state rooms and usually the servants quarters. It’s usually quite difficult to get a photograph because you’re not allowed to use flash (none on my camera, anyway), and tripods are also not allowed. Not only that, there’s always people walking around, looking at the rooms. So, as a photographer, if you want photographs with no one in sight, you have to be patient and ready to click that shutter as soon as a room becomes empty.

Dining Room

Just like in the photograph below, I waited ages and suddenly, an empty room. Maybe not the best angle but I’ve got a photograph I can use.

Green Settees

The next room is a bit of a strange one. I’m not quite sure what function it has. It looks more like a room a lady would use, but I was so intent on getting the photograph I forgot to look and see what it was used for. What do you think? A room for the lady of the house?


Not too hard to know what the next one is used for. It’s a study and definitely a mans room.


Right, let’s go below stairs now. Into the kitchen. Sometimes I think the National Trust over decorate rooms. Just too much on the tables and work surfaces. But it does give an insight to typical items used in a kitchen of a stately home.


Again another room I forgot to take a note of it’s use. It looks like the servants dining room. That’s another thing about the National trust, they leave signs and things explaining what is going on. As a visitor it’s great because it lets you know all about the room. As a photographer I hate them, much too hard to clone them out, but they ruin the aesthetic of the room.

Dining Room

On to the laundry now. The tubs on the floor are where items were washed, Those wooden objects with the funny legs were effectively the agitator for the wash tubs. All done by hand, real hard work. Then there’s the mangle in the forefront of the photograph, used to wring out the washing. No tumble dryers here……

Laundry Room

….and this was the drying room. Missing from this photograph is all the washing hanging from the ceiling.


Well that’s it. I hope you enjoyed the photographs and once again my apologies for the spurious post you received yesterday – Mike

Order, Order, Order

I was thinking about what to do with this weeks challenge, probably far too long, here we are Tuesday afternoon and I still haven’t written anything. But regular readers will know that I’m often on the last-minute.

Right now I’m starting to prepare for a talk I’m due to give next month about wildlife and aircraft I’ve photographed, entitled “Wings And Things”, my title not the clients.

I’m slowly working through a series of photographs, identifying ones that I could possibly use. Later on I will narrow it down and then start to build the presentation.

So to this weeks challenge….

The Kitchen

All those copper pans, that would be my idea of hell, trying to clean them after use. Imagine the poor scullery maid who would have to clean everything after a dinner party in the house.

Talking of dinner parties, everything neatly laid out on the table from cutlery, crockery, table decorations, even the chairs. Setting a formal table means that every place setting should be exactly the same. Butlers would often use a measuring device to ensure that everything on the table was in its exact place, to the millimetre. There is pride in getting it just right and rightly so.

Dining Room

Book after book, all neatly filed on the shelves. I sometimes wonder if they’ve all been read or where they just for show.

The Library

That’s it for this week. Here’s what other bloggers have to say about this weeks challenge.

Gwyncurbygodwin’s Blog LIBRARY
Pecking Order – Wind Kisses
Photography- Finding Beauty in the Order of Disorder – Sumyanna Writes
Order and Creativity – Susan Rushton
Pictures without film. Bobbins – Weekly Photo Challenge- Order
Life is for Living Every Day And you thought you had one up on this Granny … definitely not!
Made to order, made in order – The Chaos Within
Books, Music, Photography, & Movies WPC- Order
Photo Challenge- Order – Figments of a DuTchess
Neatly in Order – lifeofangela

Billy No Mates

Long time readers will know that I’m an avid fan of Ansel Adams. Sitting on my desk right now is a book called “Ansel Adams 400 Photographs”,  I’ve read it cover to cover, or to be more accurate, I’ve looked at every one of the 400 photographs included in the book. Several times over.

I can’t verbalize the internal meaning of pictures whatsoever. Some of my friends can at very mystical levels, but I prefer to say that, if I feel something strongly, I would make a photograph, that would be the equivalent of what I saw and felt. – Ansel Adams

I’m not at the mystical level. for me, nearly all of the photographs show a unique style and technical mastery, coupled with an amazing sense of composition.

So you might be asking “what’s this got to do with friends”? The answer is nothing and here’s the thing. I don’t photograph friends. If I’m socialising I don’t normally drag along my camera.

So instead here’s a few landscapes;

Starting with a quick one of the shore at Loch Lomond, Scotland. Actually it’s more like the exit from the marina into the loch. Go at the wrong time of the year  and you will fall foul of the voracious Scots Midgies. Trust me on this one I came away with a load of bites. You’d think that because I’m scots they would treat me differently and just go after the tourists. I mean where’s their loyalty.  Scots Wha Hae An Aaw That.

Loch Lomond

Right then, it’s off to the beach. Notice there are no friends here either. Definitely a case of “Billy No Mates” besides which they only get in the way of the photograph you are trying to take.

Prestatyn Beach

…and you’re not likely to find any friends in a field of straw bales at sunset. Just as well really because the midgies had taken up residence here.

Straw Bales

Two friends went out to play golf and were about to tee off, when one fellow noticed that his partner had but one golf ball.
“Don’t you have at least one other golf ball?”, he asked. The other guy replied that no, he only needed the one. “Are you sure?”, the friend persisted. “What happens if you lose that ball?” The other guy replied, “This is a very special golf ball. I won’t lose it so I don’t need another one.”
Well,” the friend asked, “what happens if you miss your shot and the ball goes in the lake?”
“That’s okay,” he replied, “this special golf ball floats. I’ll be able to retrieve it.”
“Well what happens if you hit it into the trees and it gets lost among the bushes and shrubs?”
The other guy replied, “That’s okay too. You see, this special golf ball has a homing beacon. I’ll be able to get it back — no problem.”
Exasperated, the friend asks, “Okay. Let’s say our game goes late, the sun goes down, and you hit your ball into a sand trap. What are you going to do then?”
“No problem,” says the other guy, “you see, this ball is fluorescent. I’ll be able to see it in the dark.”
Finally satisfied that he needs only the one golf ball, the friend asks, “Hey, where did you get a golf ball like that anyway?”
The other guy replies, “I found it.”

Corny I know but I had to include some reference to friends somewhere……and here he is. Deefer the Dog. One time friend, now long gone……


Here’s what other blogger are saying about this weeks challenge;

Isabel Caves WPC- Turtles
Story Twigs the Imagination! Be a Friend – Read To Them
Yvette’s photography Friend
Grandma Monkey – Scribbles to Compositions
Weekly Photo Challenge – Friend – Celina2609’s Blog
Shots and captures Weekly Photo Challenge- Friend
Hammer Home True Colours
Friends for life, my mini me. – Phoenix Moon Creations
It’s REALLY Nothing – Wind Kisses
Two Girls and Giant Hotdogs – By Sarah

Brest, An Unexpected Stopover

So there we were happily sailing across the Bay of Biscay doing about 19 knots. I’m sitting in the 800 seat theatre and I can feel a definite list on the ship. We are changing course, I can’t see it, but I can feel it.

There’s been a medical emergency and we have to turn back to Brest in France. A good few extra hours sailing.

As we approach Brest we pass the concrete German U-Boat pens which are left over from WW2, now used by the French Navy.

Submarine Pens

The ship we are on is one of those massive cruise liners. It’s like an 18 floor , floating apartment block and from the attention we are getting from small craft, ships that size are not often seen in Brest.

Getting Close

We won’t be getting off, just docking, whilst the passenger with the medical emergency is transferred to a French Hospital. The dock we are going into is really a maintenance dock but as the old saying goes “any port in a storm” or in this case emergency.

In Port

As our ship gets alongside the guys working on the one across from us stop work to have a look

Have A Look

News has got around because I’m starting to see photographers on the dockside taking photographs, I’d be the same, too good an opportunity to miss. I would imagine that it’s not that often a 330 m (1,083 ft) long, 70.67 m (232 ft) high ship with a 94 metres (308 ft) national flag of the UK on her bow appears in port.

Let's Photograph That

The transfer is reasonably quick and I hope the passenger who was ill has made a recovery. Our ship sets sail again and as we leave Brest I get a final view of some more concrete emplacements left over from WW2

Leaving Brest

That’s it. I hope you enjoyed this brief trip to Brest with me.

I Want To Paint My Door…

I’m back. Just had a really good break cruising to The Canaries, Madeira, Portugal and Spain. Oh! And an unexpected stop at Brest in France. More on that later.

Whilst I was away I shot 1793 photographs, a mixture of architecture, flora and fauna, landscapes, people and anything else that caught my eye. C’mon I’m was in tourist mode and over two weeks that’s not too bad a total. Of course being in tourist modes means that you get a lot of tourists in your photographs so I’ll probably reject a good two-thirds of them. I never get rid of them though, you never know when they might come in handy for some weird WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

Right then, some photographs. Wandering around the old town in Madeira I found a whole street where every door was painted with some beautiful artwork, some sort of so-so and some downright weird stuff. I can’t show you them all but here’s a selection.

I’ll let the photographs do the talking from this point……there’s not much I can really say about them that can’t be seen in the photographs.

Bird of Paradise


Lady and Dog

Musical Instruments


I don’t think many tourists would find these. You have to go off the beaten track to even end up in the street. I sort of found it by accident but I’m glad I did.

Well that’s it. It’s good to be back, but this short trip has kindled my yearning for far away places again, so I might just have to take another trip later in the year.

As usual here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge;

Photography- The Evanescent Beauty of Winter’s Touch – Sumyanna Writes
Evanescent – Jodie Pages Vivid with colour
The Land Slide Photography The Free Throw
Mr H
A Certain Slant of Light Photography Fly Fly
Evanescent – Thoughts of SheryL
Beyond the Brush Photography The Shopper
Books, Music, Photography, & Movies Wordless Wednesday
Simply Photos Shrouded in Mist
Madame Zenista That blue above and flowers below…