Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiration

Doesn’t time fly? I’ve been busy this week, what with a trip into the National Park combined with a one to one photography session, a good walk and then working through some lessons on Luminosity Masks.

So busy that I’ve not been checking emails and I suddenly realised that it’s Friday morning and I haven’t even started this weeks challenge post. So what inspires me? Nowadays it has to be the beautiful scenery we have in the Snowdonia National Park.

Pen yr Ole Wen

A this time of the year the grass is nice and green and the heather is just starting to bloom. Walking trails become eroded and dry out, the white stones stand out from the lush green grass

Steps to Tryfan

Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask “how,” while others of a more curious nature will ask “why.” Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information. – Man Ray

Padarn Tree

I chose nature photography as a way of capturing and sharing the beauty, power, and fragility of wild places and the life that inhabits them, so that those who have become mired in the man-made chaos may open their eyes to the real world. – Guy Tal

I love nature photography, fresh air, sun (sometimes), a good walk accompanied by a camera. What more could you ask for?


Whilst I’m out walking, it gives me time to think, to achieve an inner calm, to appreciate nature. The remoteness, especially in parts of the National Park always amaze me. Hard to think that not much more than 15 minutes walk from where I’m standing to take this photograph is a busy main road which cuts through the National Park.

My goal as a person and, consequently, as a photographer, is to witness, participate in, and hopefully share the delicate beauty of wilderness – those moments in time when nature and spirit transcend the make-believe world of politics, economics, religious squabbles, fleeting fashion, mass “entertainment,” and other means of wasting the precious gift of thought and inspiration we are each endowed with. – Guy Tal

That’s it for this week. A bit later than I intended. I said I was busy. It’s now late afternoon and I’ve just got back from another photo session on Talacre Beach, site of my favourite lighthouse, so now I’m really behind schedule.

Anyway, here’s what other have said about this weeks challenge.

Elizabatz Gallery Weekly Photo Challenge- Inspired by Monet
Life in the Foothills Inspiration – A WordPress Photo Challenge
Wishing My Life Away Weekly Photo Challenge- Inspiration
My Photographic Life Inspiration- Friends
Mindfulness through a lens WPC- Inspiration
Half a photograph Variety
Sky Blue Pink Design Weekly Photo Challenge- Inspiration
Anything for the Photo My Secret to Happiness
Julie Powell – Photographer & Graphic Artist Inspiration – Light Painting
Annika Kellner foto Weekly Photo Challenge – Inspiration


Secret Valley

First of all, let me say, if you ever want to look at a larger photograph, just click on it. You’ll be taken to my Flickr photo stream.

There’s a hidden valley in North Wales where the scenery is quite beautiful. Where is it? Shhhh! That’s a secret.

Access to the valley is up an old quarry track, passing by a waterfall on your way.


Following the path, which has quite a steep climb before it levels out, you will eventually reach the valley floor at 1072ft. Fortunately at the start of your climb, from where you can park a car you’re already at 880ft, so it’d not too far.

One of the first buildings you will see is the Terrace. Built about 1860 and consisted of 8 houses. Five more house were built in 1870. The census of 1871 recorded that there were 32 people living in the row of houses.

Cwmorthin Terrace

Just opposite the Terrace is the lake which more or less stretches along about three-quarters of the valley. From the photograph you see here, the Terrace is situated to the left .

Llyn Cwmorthin

From the Terrace I started to follow a path to the left around the side of the lake. Eventually I came to this old building which used to be a chapel. It was built about 1867 to accommodate 100 worshippers. Sadly, like all the buildings in the secret valley, it’s now a ruin. Notice the slate fence, lining the path.

Cwmorthin Chapel

Carry on up the valley and you’ll come to the stables which housed the ponies who were used in the quarry. Look closely and you can see the chapel in the distance.

Rhosydd Stables

Just behind the stables is another Terrace which was built between 1865 and 1881. Here’s an interesting fact. These houses were not big. The chimney to the wall at the far right was the size of a house. Trust me I’ve stood in one, they really are small. Incredibly, No 1 housed 13 occupants, John Williams, his wife Elizabeth, six sons, three daughters. That’s eleven people. The other two? Believe it or not, they were lodgers.

Cwmorthin Valley

The path I’m standing on leads to the quarry further up the hill. It rises steeply as you can probably see. Fine to walk on during the summer months, but I’d hate to attempt it in the winter when the snow was down. Yet the quarrymen did, nearly every day of the year. There were few holidays in those days.

Just below is another view of the Terrace near the quarry.

Rhosydd Terrace

There are other buildings in the valley which I did pay a visit to. But like the ones I’ve shown you they’re also ruins. so I’ve not included any photographs.

I hope you enjoyed this little visit to a secret valley in North Wales.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning

I was thinking about this challenge and deciding what photographs to use this week. So I’m going to take you back to 2004 when I first bought a digital camera. A little Fuji S304, cost me an arm and a leg, but it opened up so many new possibilities for my photography. It’s still in working order and this is one of the first photographs I took with it. (I never throw anything away)

John Arthurs

I wasn’t experimenting. I took this photograph for a purpose. My wife was working on her family tree and by recording this digital photograph of the gravestone of John Arthurs, her great, great-grandfather, we were able to share it with other family members.

Digital opened up a whole new world, we were able to visit locations where past generations had lived and instantly record grave stones and their location for future use in the family tree.

Saint John the Baptist - Sampford Peverell

This is the beautiful church of Saint John the Baptist in Sampford Peverell, Devon and it is where John’s grave is located. I am standing almost next to his grave and by recording this viewpoint it allows others to find the stone should the churchyard get overgrown, as many do nowadays.

Finally I’d like to mention the decision by WordPress to drop the Zemanta Plugin since the start of 2014. For a good few years I have been using Zemanta to point to other bloggers who were taking part in the Weekly Photo Challenge, or articles from the web that were relevant to my post. Suddenly we have lost the facility. No notice, just an arbitrary decision. I am not happy to say the least. The folks at WordPress say that their new in-house Related Posts is far better. I disagree. In fact I would go so far as to say it is totally useless as i only points to posts from my blog and i have no control over what is considered related. At least with Zemanta I could select how many related posts to add and choose what i consider related.

However there is some form of workaround. You can install a plugin for Zemanta into your browser which seems to work except for WordPress related posts. So far I have been unable to get Zemanta to find any related posts for this weeks challenge.


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It’s all down to interpretation

Whenever we post an image to the internet we should be prepared for it to be interpreted in many ways.  Depending on where you post it there may be total acceptance of the image, as is, or just as equally, you could have some very negative reactions. Take this image for example;

Kylie holding a giant bear in what looks like a rather compromising position

At first glance it does look Kylie is holding his penis and many people have found it funny because this image is all over the internet. Now if you look properly at the image you can see that it is really a microphone Kylie is holding. Why is Kylie laughing. Who knows, maybe someone pointed out to her what this image sort of portrays. When I posted this on the MyFinePix site which is run by Fuji for owners of FinePix cameras, to, as Fuji put it;

“come together to share images, knowledge and inspiration. It’s a buzzing online community featuring galleries, forums, photoblogs, news, features and competitions”.

The first few comments on the image saw it as quite funny. Overnight though someone objected to it and in the world of Fuji that means you’re tried, convicted and sentenced without any right of appeal. The image was immediately withdrawn. However, Fuji do not notify you of the actions they have taken, they just do it.  In the morning, when I noticed the image had been removed, I sent a query to Fuji. You get an automated reply assigning a tracking number, but generally that is all the communication you receive. If Fuji decide the image is OK they re-instate, if they think it’s not, they don’t. As an aside, the same is also true of posts in threads. Someone objects, Fuji immediately withdraw it. No appeal, nothing. if you’re lucky they will re-instate it. Just recently I had a post removed because I was mildly critical of someone and their actions.

Here’s another statement from the MyFinePix Site

“MyFinePix members love to help each other with ideas and tips through our forums. Whatever your knowledge and experience, you’ll meet fellow photographers who can help you learn and develop”.

In some cases that’s true, but there are many users of the MyFinePix site who are not open to suggestions about improving their work. When this happens they’ll mount campaigns against the more experienced photographer. They’ll criticise everything they say or do and will even use Fuji’s much maligned “Star System* to drive an image off the scrolling gallery, considered by many as the pinnacle of their achievements on MyFinePix. It’s no wonder many of the experienced photographers have left the MyFinePix site never to return.

Anyway to get to the point. To those of you who have taken the time to read this, the post on the MyFinePix site directing you here was the last one from me. I have also decided to leave.  My decision wasn’t taken lightly but the shabby treatment that I and others have received from Fuji finally prompted me to action. I am going to spend more time developing my blog and website and concentrating on what matters to me, my photography.

I wish you all well.