Llandulas Sunset

This is going to be fun. WordPress have changed the familiar desktop editor for this new fangled Gutenberg thingy. Apparently you have to add blocks instead of just writing and adding photographs as you go along. Seems like a lot more work to me. But as I don’t have much choice now for blog post editing, I’m sort of stuck with it, so here goes.

At this point I now have to go back to the menu system and add a photograph block.

Olympus E-M1 Mk 2 F11 | 75s | ISO64

Well that was different, I sort of like the way it works and I sort of don’t. I suppose I just need to get used to a new way of working.

Anyway last night, myself and about 18 other photographers from Prestatyn Camera Club arrived at Llandulas with the intention of capturing some sunset photographs and maybe also doing some long exposures as well. Some people like the milky effect on water you get from a long exposure others don’t.


A snapshot steals life that it cannot return. A long exposure [creates] a form that never existed.

Dieter Appelt

We were also using this as a bit of a teaching exercise with more experienced photographers giving advice to new members. Things like aperture and exposure settings, composition and even safety advice. For instance, if you’re going to clamber across rocks, put your camera back in your bag. If you slip and fall it can be a painful and expensive exercise in many ways. Or if you are sticking your tripod with camera attached into the sea, stay close to it. You never know when a big wave might come in. Also check the stability of your tripod now and again, wave action can undermine the surface your tripod is standing on.

Olympus E-M Mk2 F11 | 53s | ISO200

Just a short post this week. I’m trying to get back into a regular weekly posting schedule but life seems to be getting in the way at the moment.

Update: just before I pressed Publish I found a hidden menu item which allows me to go back to the classic WordPress Editor

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A Look Back In Time

Way back in 2013 I wrote about the sea defences that protect Prestatyn and showed a series of photographs taken at sunset. When I look back at that post I realise how cringe worthy my photographs were then, mainly due to over enthusiatic use of HDR processing. Nowadays I would do those photos completely differently, so I thought it would be interesting to compare what was then and and what is now. In each case I’ll show the “then” first, with the second being the “now”

Sunset on Prestatyn Beach

When you look at these two, the difference is not too bad, although I do think the bottom one looks more natural. Cropping to the “rool of thurds” has put a different perspective on the bottom photograph.

Wide expanse of beach area at Prestatyn

Lets look at another pair from the same post.

Footprints in the Sand

Oh! My goodness what was I doing in the photograph above. Mind you, I probably wouldn’t even have considered this photograph for inclusion in a blog post today. It’s pretty boring and has no obvious point of interest.

2 Footprints
Footprints in the sand made by me

You can see where this is going. Nowadays I generally veer towards a more natural look for photographs. Yes, I still use HDR but not the pumped-up on steroids version of yester-year.

This one below was originally titled Blue Hour on Prestatyn Beach and so I pushed the emphasis of light towards the blue end of the spectrum, easily enough to do in Lightroom. But I was so into pushing the colours and bringing out detail from the shadows that I often forgot to take care of lens flares or dust spots.

Blue Hour on Prestayn Beach

This is probably another photograph that I would reject for use on the blog. But I do prefer the more warm colour.

3 Ripples
Ripples in the sand caused by tide action

Over the years I have tried just about every HDR program that’s available for PC. When I want something a little bit grungy, usually abandoned buildings then invariably I will resort to PhotoMatix from HDRSoft but I don’t push the sliders, like I used to do. Today I’m more likely to use Exposure Fusion than Details Enhancer. If you’re a PhotoMatix user you’ll know what I mean.

This is supposed to be sunset and yet you can see every detail in those rocks below. There are no shadows to speak of and that’s what I was trying to achieve in 2013. Really.

Sunset on Prestatyn Beach

With the sun setting, those foreground rocks would never be like that. Come to think of it, even in broad daylight they wouldn’t be like that.

Hidden by the incoming tide, these rocks can be slippery when exposed

Halo’s around the groyne marker caused by pushing the strength slider in PhotoMatix far too high and then I think I added a touch of Glamour Glow from NIK Color Efex as it was then.

Groyne Markers on Prestatyn Beach

Compare this to the far more natural version of the same photograph below. I know which one I prefer.

5 Silhouette
Groyne marker silhouetted against the setting sun

Earlier in this post I mentioned the Detail Enhancer preset in PhotoMatix which if over enthusiatically used tends to give that grungy, way over the top look so indicative of HDR on steroids.

Thin Yellow Line

Compare that to the photograph below that, yes has been blened for HDR, but this time in Lightroom, then sharpened using Frequencty Separation in Photoshop. I hope you’ll agree it’s a vast improvent from it’s 2013 version?

6 Sea Defences
Concrete steps and a curved wall help protect Prestatyn against the sea

OK! My final photograph for this post. Oops look like I really went to town with this one in Photomatix.

Mind the Steps

I’ve alos learned how to correct perspective issues, which has been made so much easier in Lightroom these days

7 Warning
When the tide goes out the concrete steps can be slippery.

Well that’s it for this post. I hope you’ll take time to comment. Do you think todays version of the photographs is better than those from 2013. I really would like to hear your thoughts – Mike

Talacre

The semi-final of the World Cup is on. England are playing Croatia and everyone says “it’s coming home” (the world cup that is). England last won it in 1966.

However as a Scotsman, living in Wales, I’m off out for a bit of photography at Talacre with a few other togs who couldn’t care less whether England win or lose. I later heard they lost. So perhaps we can get back to some sanity in my house where “she who must be obeyed” is not screaming “c’mon ref he’s diving” or my all time favourite “oooooooohhh, he’s hit the post”.

So anyway down on the beach, timed for sunset (we didn’t get one) and an incoming tide. More on that later. To get to the beach you have to walk through the sand dunes before finally getting a sight of the abandoned lighthouse.

Through The Dunes

As you can see the sky is grey, and pretty flat so in order to get some interest in the photographs I’ve decided to add a 6 stop filter, with an 0.6 ND Grad and shoot some long exposures using a tripod and remote shutter release to steady the camera.With the incoming tide raining the waves a bit , the ND filter will smooth out the sea and hopefully I’ll get some good effects. The ND Grad should help bring some definition into the clouds as well.

Talacre Lighthouse

I’ve always been an advocate of “if you go to the beach check the tide times and height” and I did. I also noticed that where I was standing to take this photograph was a sort of sandbar and behind me was a dip. Ideal conditions for the incoming tide to creep in behind you, and it did. So there I am, thinking “just one more at a two second exposure” and then I’ll head further up the beach. My camera buddies had already moved and where shouting me to shift. When I turned around, oops. Lots of water between me and dry land. Fortunately I did have my wellies on so was able to wade through the water which was rising pretty fast and was just about up to the top of my wellies.

In reality I wasn’t in any real danger, because I could have run further along the beach and crossed where it was still pretty shallow.

But the moral is “don’t be distracted by one more shot and always be aware of what’s hapining all around you”. How many times have I told myself “no photograph is worth putting yourself in harms way”, and yet…….

So my final photograph is another of the Lighthouse.

Talacre

Last night was a bit of an experiment for me. I’m a proponent of shooting in RAW. I have been for years, but just recently I read an article about using JPEG if you weren’t going to be altering the photograph too much in Lightroom or Photoshop, which is generally true for me. Probably not ideal conditions for such an experiment but I decided to stick with it anyway. I’d also been reading about a different way of processing for Black and White and also decided to adopt that method as well. With the non, existant sunset and grey skies I thought that might be a good idea.

So there you are, a few from last nights trip to Talacre.

In The Doldrums

For the past few weeks I have I felt like I am in the Doldrums. Becalmed in a sea of indifference to blogging and photography, with no interest in either. There’s an area of high pressure sitting over the UK providing really good weather, we British always talk about the weather, and yet I am feeling low. That high pressure has brought some really flat calm seas and very wispy cloud coupled with some very good sunrises and sunsets. Yep! I’m not sleeping too well either so I’ve seen a few good sunrises these past few days.

Oh! And the World Cup is on, boring, I’ll leave that to ”she who must be obeyed” to watch. So, in an effort to shake myself out of this period of disquiet I went down to the beach the other night to see if I could capture a decent sunset and it wasn’t too bad.

Way off on the horizon you can see the amount of wind turbines we have in the bay. Some people find them a blot on the landscape, personally, I don’t mind them as they add a bit of interest to the photograph. That dark cloud you see, moving from centre to right of the photograph is from the gas terminal burning off excess gas. Normally you don’t see it and most people visiting the coast wouldn’t even know it is there.

To get this photograph I was standing on the rocks, the tide is incoming but I’m in no danger as it’s a gentle tide at the moment. To get the sea looking milky like this I used a 10 stop ND Filter at F22 giving me an exposure of about 2m 30s. Quite Ethereal…..

Tides In

Further along the beach I came to the NOVA Centre, a mixture of Gym/Fitness Centre, Swimming Pool and Café. The brightly coloured buildings really stand out on the sea-front and are a popular attraction during the summer months, even although it closes about about 9-30 pm

Nova Centre

Personally, I never use it, but it does make for a good photograph and a photograph similar to this is used by our local camera club, which I’m a member of. By the way if you want to see some great photographs from some very talented photographers have a look for @prestatyntoggers which will take you to our Facebook page.

Shades

Really looking good now. The sun has gone down and everything is flat calm. You can’t see them but behind that wall there are lots of people watching the sunset. Reminds me of Key West in Florida, where the tourists, including me, all gather to watch the sunset.

My final photograph is “Dechrau a Diwedd” which I’ve photographed many times before. It’s a metal sculpture celebrating the “beginning or end”, depending on where you start from, of the Offa’s Dyke National Trail, a 283km (176ml) footpath along the Welsh/English border. The trail, which attracts walkers from all over the world, mostly follows the remnants of Offa’s Dyke, an 8th century earthwork, ordered by Mercian King Offa.

If you are starting the trail from Prestatyn walkers would see the sculpture against the rising sun in the eastern sky, a reference to the start of their journey. If you are arriving in Prestatyn you see the sculpture against the setting sun in the western sky, a reference to the end of their journey. That’s of course if they arrive at sunrise or sunset, but you get the symbolism.

The burnished metal sculpture takes on the colours of the sunset. I could never tire of photographing this because every time I get a different photograph.

Dechrau a Diwedd

Well that’s it. I hope you enjoyed the photographs?

PS. At some time I must get around to sorting and deciding which photographs to use from my Japan trip. That happened weeks ago and although I have looked at them, that’s all I  have done.

Don’t Make Me Laugh

It’s been a while since I took part in the Weekly Photo Challenge but I’m back with a few photographs that made me smile. I’ve just got back from a trip to the Caribbean sailing around the islands and then sailing back to the UK via the Azores. That’s the story behind the photographs and here they are.

Girl on the beach, battered umbrella, sheltering from the sun. It’s a photograph that I’m really happy I captured. Admittedly there’s a lot of background distractions but that small boat does give you the location, it’s Barbados.

Right on to the next one.

Three dogs in St Lucia, just wandering along the street. The one in front, kept looking at me, looks like he’s smiling. Probably thinking, “another stupid tourist with a camera, why is he photographing us?”

One of the things I was concerned about during this trip was that I had swapped my normal camera and lenses for a small, lightweight compact camera. Weight was a big consideration when flying to the Caribbean as my equipment exceeded the carry-on limit set by the airline. So I decided to bite the bullet, buy a compact camera that had some pro features and hope that I would still be able to capture some of the wildlife.  Despite my reservations I’m really impressed with the results that I got from the Panasonic DC-TZ90.

Even this one at the long end of the 720mm zoom lens has come out pretty good.

I’d like to leave you with this final photograph and hope that you have enjoyed the series.

Nearly every shop has these signs and it must be a local pastime to sit and watch the world go by. Because outside every shop were little home-made seats, some quite fancy like you see here. Others, just a few breeze blocks and a plank of wood. But it mad me smile to see them.

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

RuthsArc Weekly Photo Challenge – Smile
Traveller on a Mission The three most candid smiles I have received around the world
That Look – Words Won’t Do Photography
Sandra Pavloff Conner
Eiwawar The greatest lie in the north
Bare Bones Landscaping Co. – Note to Traveler
The Land Slide Photography Grand Slam
Smile, it’s not that bad. – David Meredith’s photo blog
WPC – Smile – Julie Powell – Photographer & Graphic Artist
Weekly Photo Challenge- Smile – Cindimatography

One final note. I finally solved the WLW problem. I found Open Live Writer which is almost a clone of WLW apart from the ability to add photographs via a plugin. However it’s a familiar interface that works for me and should now bring some consistency to the photograph sizes. I have to to a bit of work getting the Flickr photographs in, it’s a compromise, but you can’t have everything.

It’s A Compromise

Well further to my last article about trying to replace Windows Live Writer with Word 2016 as my blogging editor I have come to the conclusion that I’m going to have to compromise.

Despite Word being a great editor, for some reason Microsoft decided to remove Flickr as service in the 2016 version. Therefore, although I can link to the photographs, that’s all you get, a link. Word will not show those photographs.

So here’s where the compromise comes in. During my research, and boy I spent a lot of time looking into this, I came up with using the WordPress Desktop App to write my blog posts. It’s not ideal but hopefully it will allow me to “crack on” and become productive again. Who knows. maybe in time I will get used to it…..

Uh! Uh! Just found a problem. I can’t save and come back to the article I’m writing. Correctiom, not entirely true. WordPress saves automatically from time to time and disable the save button until I type something.

Enough of this, it’s photographs you want to see, so here goes. Time to see if this works.

Sitting on a beach in Barbados I spotted this woman waiting for friends who had gone swimming. I don’t know what it is about this scene but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to get the photograph.

Girl On A Beach

Still in Barbados, this rigged ship was getting ready to leave on a cruise around the islands. Interesting way to travel…..

Tall Ship

I’m not convinced that using this desktop app is going to work. One thing I could be sure of with WLW was that all photographs were the exact same size when I was editing the post and when it was finally published. At the moment they look a right mess.

Lifeguard Hut

It had to hapen, late in the afternoon this helicopter dropped in over the beach heading for the airport. Managed to get a reasonable photograph with the little travel camera I took with me for this holiday.

Private Ride

Did I mention that I was cruising around the Caribbean islands before sailing back to the UK, via Ponta Delgada in the Azores (mid Atlantic). Anyway, at one of the island ports our cruise ship, one of the biggest in the P+O fleet, has to do a 180 turn in a narrow inlet. Standing by, just in case anything went wrong was this tug boat, although it was never used.

Tug Boat

So that’s it. First real post using the WordPress Desktop App. I really would like your opinion on whether the format works, or not. Mike

I’ve Been Busy–Is There Ever Enough Time

What a hectic two weeks it has been working on two separate projects at the same time. As many readers will know I joined a local start-up camera club, which is surprising for me as I’ve always been dead set against them for being too stuffy, with the usual CanonIkon users looking down on everybody else. But this local club is different, we’re a bunch of photographers who in the main like to socialise, discuss photography and have no real fixed agenda. We’re not into getting initials after our name, like some photographers do, but we do like a bit of fun and to see how our photographs are comparing against others in the area. But I’ll talk more about that later.

Meanwhile this week I’m going to show a few photographs from around the coast and especially the stretch near me from Talacre to where I live now, Prestatyn.

Talacre Beach

First thing I can say is that post is no longer standing. It was washed away last week in a storm. It’s still on the beach but much further up.. The dog was one of those lucky shots. I’d just set up the camera on a tripod with remote control attached, getting ready to do a long exposure. Fortunately I ghadn’t attached any filters or set the camera for long exposure photography so I was able to get this one photograph before the dog ran away.

Dog on Beach

Talking of one photograph and one of the projects I was working on. Our little camera club is a member of the North Wales Photographic Association and last week I was busy co-coordinating our clubs photographs for the inter-club championship. For copyright reasons I can’t show you the photographs, they’re not all mine. But suffice to say I spent hours making sure the entries from our club members where in, preparing a slide show so that our members could vote on the ones they liked best and then getting those scores onto spread sheets which allowed us to choose the highest scoring photographs for submission to the competition.

Right back to Talacre, I make no bones about this, I visit there a lot, it’s one of my go-to places for testing and when I’m not in the mood for travelling. It’s only ten minutes away.

Talacre Sunset

Yes, the lighthouse does lean. So what about the second project? Well that one is more closer to home. My youngest son has decided to go it alone and set up his own electrical contracting company. I’ve been helping him design his website amongst other things. If you get the chance please click this link, drive some traffic to it. Catchy name huh?

52 in 2015 Week 8 SOOC

And we’re still at Talacre. This is what happens when we have an exceptionally high tide and you ignore the tide tables. You get cut-off and have to wait it out on the dunes until the tide recedes. Of course if you know the area, you don’t let the tide catch you out, but if it does, you also know that if you walk along the top of the dunes for about ten minutes you can get behind the incoming tide and safely make your way of the beach.

Weekly Photo Challenge: My Neighbourhood - 11

If you look at the photograph below which was taken several years back and were to stand in the same spot today you wouldn’t see all those stones, nor would you see the dunes. The great storm of Dec 2013 along with higher than usual tidal surges served to destroy much of the dunes. The sand that was carried away changed the shape of Talacre beach and buried many of these stones, which were the remains of the pathway to the abandoned lighthouse. To date only a few have been uncovered by tidal action.

Ray of Light

One thing we are very luck to have here in North Wales, amazing sunsets, and with long wide beaches there’s always scope to show a mixture of both sky and beach

Reflections

…or perhaps just more of the beach, this is one of my favourites.

Purple Haze

And it’s an ever-changing scenery. Sure there are some fixed things like the groyne markers. but tidal action, weather and the sun can serve to give you a different photograph every time you visit.

Sunset on Prestatyn Beach

So that’s it for this weeks challenge. I hope you enjoyed the photographs and if you do get the chance please click the link.

It’s been a while since I visited any blogs which take part in the challenge, mainly due to other commitments, therefore there haven’t been any links to other sites on Say It With A Camera. But this week I managed to make some time, despite all the work I have on, so here are some bloggers whose work I have liked this week. Note, unlike other bloggers I have seen, I do not just spray links. I do take the time to visit and if I like an article I will say so, maybe even leave a comment. It’s only fair – Mike

Yvette’s photography Scale
Day-To-Day Photography Orange Beach, Alabama
Anvica’s gallery Scale
AEKShots Weekly Photo Challenge…Scale
Weekly Photo Challenge- Scale – Novice Photographer
Photography Journal Blog Weekly Photo Challenge- Scale
The Land Slide Photography Lone Fisherman
The Reluctant Photographer Scale