Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow

Almost into the holiday season and in many ways it is fitting that this weeks theme challenge is Yellow. Takes me away from the doom and gloom of winter and this last week where the days have been nothing but miserable and grey. Saying that, I’m in a pretty good mood because unusually for me I’ve done the bulk of my Christmas present shopping. I’m normally a Christmas Eve guy, not because I can’t think what to get, I just enjoy that last minute thrill of wandering around the shops and getting into the Christmas spirit. Nowadays I think Christmas comes far to early. No sooner is Halloween (Trick or Treat) over and suddenly the shops are flooded with Christmas advertising.

Although I’m ahead I’ve still got a busy few days coming up, so here is my yellow.


I’d not long had the Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens so I was still experimenting and although this might not be the greatest photograph the colour yellow is certainly present. Not only in the flower but also in the bee. Doesn’t it look really summery?

First and foremost, make it an obvious picture of colour! Rather than looking for rocks, leaves, trees, waterfalls, birds, flowers, fire hydrants, starfish, boats, orchards, or bridges, focus your energy and vision on red, blue, yellow, orange, green, or violet. Colour first, content second! – Bryan Peterson

What intrigues me though. Look at the wings of the bee, especially the right hand one. It is damaged and from what I have read it will not re-generate. Wear and tear like this is usually the sign of am older bee. Want to know more? Have a look at Bumblebee.Org where there is some amazing information about bees.

Now that I have got the challenge photograph and post out of the way it’s time for me to get in the Christmas spirit. If you don’t already know all of my blog photographs come with a Creative Commons, Attribution, Share Alike License, which means you are free to copy and use the images as long as you credit me. Full details of the license term can be found here.

If you want to use this photograph just click on it and you will be taken to my Flickr account where you can download the large size which should be good enough to be used on even the largest monitor. Of course if you want to use it on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, etc, feel free but please don’t forget to credit me.

In the meantime I’d like to take this early opportunity to wish those of you who celebrate Christmas “A Merry Christmas” and more importantly to all of you “A Healthy and Happy New Year”

Good News!

In a dramatic turn around Yahoo owned Flickr have decided to cease selling Creative Commons licensed photographs through their Wall Art service. Bowing to pressure from many on-line photographers Yahoo have accepted that selling Creative Commons photographs went against the spirit of CC Licensing. So where does that leave “Say It With A Camera”? I have decided to bring back the CC license on photographs which appear on my blog with the continuing proviso that they cannot be used for Commercial purposes. Clicking on any photograph will generally link to my Flickr Account where you can download the photograph at a maximum width of no more that 1280 pixels, suitable for web use, desktop wallpapers, etc


Creative Commons Licence

Photographs by Mike Hardisty appearing in “Say It With A Camera” are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://mikehardisty.wordpress.com/licensing/.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twinkle

Normally at this time of the year I visit Saint Asaph Cathedral in North Wales to photograph the Christmas Tree. It’s a very large tree positioned just before the entrance to the Choir and twinkles with lots of Christmas lights. This year is no exception but there’s no tree. Just a small one in the corner of the cathedral, almost tucked away out of sight. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. So I’ve decided to use one from a previous Christmas visit to the Cathedral which I’m sure will fit the challenge this week.

Christmas from the Cathedral at St Asaph

Whilst I was in the cathedral I took the opportunity to try out some ideas incorporating the lights in the Choir Stalls and whilst I was doing so spotted something I wasn’t expecting to see. In fact I’m amazed I haven’t spotted it before because I have stood in the same spot loads of times taking photographs. What am I talking about?

Cathedral Lights

There’s graffiti carved into the wood. Mainly initials, probably of choir boys. I say boys because traditionally in the past Church and Cathedral Choirs were made up of boys and adult males.

The use of choirboys in Christian liturgical music can be traced back to pre-Christian times. Saint Paul’s dictum that “women should be silent in churches” (mulieres in ecclesiis taceant) resonated with this largely patriarchal tradition; the development of vocal polyphony from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance and Baroque thus took place largely, though not exclusively, in the context of the all-male choir, in which all voice parts were sung by men and boys. – Source Wikipedia

That set me wondering. How long ago were the carvings done? It’s not recent, because nowadays there are cameras installed in the Cathedral for security purposes, so it is likely that no one would chance carving the wood now. But there again the carvings are not ancient as the writing looks modern. In the end we are left with a mystery – a sort of “Whodunnit” but without an ending.

Topaz Glow

Over the last month I have been beta testing a new product from Topaz Labs called Glow. The software works either as a standalone program or as a plugin for Lightroom or Photoshop. Topaz Glow uses fractals to get some interesting results, very similar to Redfield Fractalius. Topaz have released a short product video showing the interface along with some before and after photographs.

I’m sure over the next few days there will be plenty of tutorials released so I’m just going to show you some of the results I achieved using Topaz Glow.

Electric Sky

Glow is not one of those plugins I would use on every photograph. I’m more likely to use it when I am creating some digital artwork and I want to bring in an electric sort of look. Topaz Glow has lots of ready-made presets that you can just click and apply but my personal method is to choose a preset and then adjust the sliders to get more of the look I want.

Engine Bay

Like this engine bay from a Ford. I still wanted to maintain a lot of the detail and by adjusting the opacity and blend modes of Topaz Glow directly in the plugin or standalone program I’m able to get the look I want. Similarly in the photograph below I used blending an opacity levels along with fine tuning the preset to maintain the ripples in the sand but add a bit of light and texture

Purple Haze

Applied carefully you can get a painterly look to your photograph. look at this one of a blue tit sitting on a branch.


Admittedly Topaz already have a paint plugin called Impressions but I quite like the effect that Glow brings to this photograph. The tree below is so simple but Topaz Glow has added just that little bit of texture


Disclaimer: I have been a beta tester for Topaz products for well over a year now and as such I am give copies of the software for testing which has often resulted in my receiving a free license when the product is brought to market.

Converge – It’s In The Lines

This weeks challenge is to submit a photograph where objects converge. It could be people, lines in architecture, or maybe a road disappearing into the distance. The cloisters at Paisley Abbey in Scotland fits into this category. Don’t you think?

Regular readers will have noticed that I have changed the blog theme for Say It With A Camera. This is prompted by the fact that I am now hosting my blog photographs on 500px as a result of an announcement by Yahoo who own Flickr that they were going to start selling Creative Commons Licensed photographs. Admittedly they say it will not affect CC licensed as Non-Commercial but going on past performance I’m not so sure. If anyone is going to monetize my photographs it will be me and that is why with regret I have to announce that from today any future photographs that appear on Say It With A Camera will no longer have a Creative Commons License. Instead they will be Copyright ©Mike Hardisty 2014 – All Rights Reserved. I have not taken this step lightly, and to be honest I have been considering it for some time. I suppose I just needed this push to get me going.

When I first started as a photographer I always maintained the copyright of my photographs. In later years I found it was difficult to chase up illegal use of my photographs, and there were lots. In some cases I used DMCA Take Down quite successfully, in others I had to threaten legal action, all time-consuming. I’d rather be out taking photographs so I made the decision to change the licensing of my photographs to Creative Commons, Attribution, Non-Commercial. In the last year though I have sold several photographs privately and been paid for my work with the Sacred Doorways project. This has made me realise that my work could be commercially viable. Maybe not in vast numbers but the odd commission wouldn’t go amiss.

Of course I am still open to free licensing options. The difference is that now permission must be sought and I will consider it on a case by case basis.

I would love to hear thoughts on this, good or bad, so please let me know.