A Mixed Bag, This Week

It’s been a week of contracts. New phone, car insurance, broadband, travel insurance, had to get that renewed as I’ve got some interesting trips coming up this year starting in March. Told the kids I’m going to take up SKI’ing, they thought I was mad. Anyway  bit of a mixed bag this week, photograph wise. So without further ado let’s get on with it…

First up is Valle Crucis Abbey, or to be more precise the ruins of the abbey. Although it is maintained nowadays. time has not been good to the structure and although it is safe to walk around the site, especially when the snow falls. One year when i visited that low wall was completely hidden, instant leg or ankle breaker.

Valle Crucis

A couple of years back I found this great little piece of artwork on the Wirral near Hoylake. It’s made from driftwood found on the beach and the structure is sound enough for kids to climb on it. It’s a great pirate ship, don’t you think?

Grace Darling

This bench sits at the side of a river in an area where the conditions are right for moss and lichens to grow. Not sure I’d sit on this bench because it looks as though it could be permanently wet.

Bench

Out on the Denbigh moors I found this building. Although it looks in disrepair and isn’t obviously habitable. There are official looking signs saying “No Entry”, and I have seen some plain unmarked vans parked right next to the door. Maybe it’s the entrance to a secret bunker. Or probably it’s just an old abandoned building out on the moors.

Abandoned

The only tree, honestly. You can see the ones down in the valley but this was the only one in view when I got to the top of the hill.

Lone Tree

My next photograph is a bit of a strange one. The structure in the background is the Point of Ayr gas terminal and I’m standing on the surface of the now defunct Mostyn Colliery. Lot’s of coal beneath me, but apparently it’s the “wrong type”. So they closed the colliery and flooded the mineshaft by opening a hole to one of the levels from the sea which is just behind me. At high tide, the sea rushed in and filled all the levels of the mine, which incidentally went out under the sea bed. Of course all this happened  a good fifty years or so and it’s unlikely they would ever be able to recover the coal now.

Tracks

A metal bar, left behind when the copper mine closed. I love that little patch of light as the sun broke through the clouds.

Steel Bar

I really am not sure what this was used for, but it’s at the side of the Menai Strait, so I assume it was used for winching something in from the water.

Winch

So that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the photographs.

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Red Light On Router–Internet Down

Regular readers may have noticed that it’s been pretty quiet here on Say It With A Camera in the last few weeks. First of all I don’t have a working internet connection. Haven’t done for 14 days now. Got up in the morning and there it was a RED light on the router. Between my ISP, the wholesaler (middleman) and the telecoms company, no one would admit they had done something to disconnect me. To cut a long story short, here we are 14 day later, I’m still disconnected, well sort of, but the telecoms company now have a dedicated faults team, whatever that means, working on it. All I can say is they work awfully slow for a dedicated team, excuse the pun.

Meanwhile my ISP finally agreed that I could buy a mobile dongle and a data allowance and they would cover the cost. Now those dongles are nothing like hi-speed broadband, they’re slow, prone to dropouts and the cost of the data package is extremely expensive, but I’ve got a connection, albeit it’s only useful for email and maybe a bit of blogging.

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Now you might be wondering what this weeks photographs are all about and that brings me to my second reason for being so quiet. A couple of weeks back I was asked to give a talk to a photographic society about some of the abandoned buildings I have visited in the last few years. “We just need a one hour session, followed by a short break for tea and coffee, and then if you could do another three-quarters of an hour that would be great” That’s a long time to fill up and first I was really reluctant. But hey I need a challenge at the moment so eventually I agreed. This week I am showing you some photographs from the talk I gave. Are the appropriate for the weekly challenge, probably not, but with my broadband still being down, with no sign of it being restored, this is it.

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The top photograph is from Porth Wen on Anglesey. Not the easiest place to get to but well worth the visit. Followed by Grwych Castle. It’s really a modern castle, built in the last 150 years, not like some of the really old one we have here which were built 8 to 9 hundred years ago.

Just below is Sheldrakes, or to be more precise, Lower Heswall. It’s a boat graveyard and all along the tidal estuary you can find old abandoned boats that are fantastic to photograph. You have to watch though, the tide comes in really fast, and I mean fast. It’s very muddy and wellie boots are required if you go walking there.

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Of course no talk about abandoned would be complete without including Dinorwic Slate Quarry, Lots of tunnels, old ruined buildings, rusty metal and fantastic views over to Snowdon.

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Way out in the middle of nowhere is Ynys-y-Pandy Slate Mill. It’s now a preserved building, so the outside views are much better. Visit on a nice day or wait for those dark brooding skies when you’ll get some amazing black and white photographs.

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Another place well worth visiting on a sunny day is Copper Mountain on the island of Anglesey. When the sun is out it seems to enhance all those reds and oranges of the rocks. The only building worth photographing though is the old windmill which sits high on the hill, where else, with commanding views over the countryside.

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Dorothea Quarry is another great source of unusual abandoned building. This is the entrance to the stables, lots of graffiti, vastly overgrown, but worth photographing.

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So why do I photograph these old buildings? For one, they are there, and two, in past times I used to do quite a lot of digital art, compositing different photographs together to give me a totally new scene. Unfortunately I’ve let that skill slip over the years, but last week I was looking at some old composites I had put together in years back and thought maybe it  was time to rebuild that skill. Especially as “winter is coming”, where have I heard that before, I go out less often to take photographs so it’s an ideal time to spend some time in front of the computer.

Below is a couple of examples of what I’m talking about. Both of the figure in these composites are stock photographs supplied by Phelan Davion who can be found on DeviantArt. The buildings are mine. The first one from Dinorwic Quarry and the second is from an abandoned industrial site called Greenfields.

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That’s it, normally I would include ten blogs here who were taking part in this weeks challenge and whom I’d visited but with the limited data allowance and slowness of the broadband circuit I’m going to skip that this week.

52 in 2015 Week 44 Abandoned

In reality the challenge could encompass anything old, abandoned or decaying. Talacre would be my first choice here as it meets all three of the criteria.

52 in 2015 Week 44 Abandoned

I caught the lighthouse just before the sun set as it was bathed in some absolutely fantastic golden light. Interestingly there was some work going on inside the lighthouse, “tidying up” is how it was described. But the nice young man I spoke to said they were probably going to paint the lighthouse next year.

That would be a shame because it’s a photographers dream at the moment with all those textures and the broken up pattern, exposing the brickwork.

My other choice would be “the Duke”. I have photographed this poor old ship loads of times and it’s getting worse every time I visit it.

Apparently it’s still in very good condition inside. Shame we will never get to see it.

52 in 2015 Week 44 Abandoned (2

That’s it. I hope you enjoyed the photographs.