Fire In The Sky

Don’t you just hate it. I started to write this post and then got side-tracked into doing something else. The result is as you can guess, I lost it all. For some reason, Windows Live Writer didn’t do it’s normal auto-recovery so I’m starting again. That’s if I can remember what I originally wrote.

Last week I was invited to a shoot at my favourite lighthouse and better still it was at sunset with an incoming tide. I’d never met any of the other photographers before and they were all travelling from England to be here in North Wales. So there’s my connection to bridge, this weeks challenge.

Talacre Lighthouse

In my camera bag I have some Neutral Density Filters which can be used to slow the shutter speed of the camera down. The filters come in various densities of darkness and the darker the filter the slower the shutter speed becomes. Slow the shutter down enough and moving objects like clouds become blurred and water takes on that milky sort of look. If you want to see more have a look at the photographs on “Longer Exposure, Extreme Neutral Density”.

I don’t use these filters enough, in fact I very rarely get them out of the bag. It was one of those things you buy but end up hardly ever using. So it was good to meet with other photographers who do use them and maybe pick up some pointers along the way. Later we were going to publish some of our photographs to a Facebook group dedicated to Neutral Density Filters.

Talacre Sunset

Lately I’ve noticed that a lot of photographers using Facebook and Instagram seem to be adding a watermark to their photographs. I thought that had more or less died out, but it seems to be having a bit of a revival in recent months.

This is my final photograph for this week and I’ve included a watermark. What do you think? Too intrusive? You don’t like to see them? I’d really appreciate your thoughts on the use of watermarks on photographs.

Fire In The Sky

Well that’s it for this week. As usual here’s what other photographers are saying about this weeks challenge.These are blogs I have visited and left a “like” on, because I did like their photographs.

Nan’s Farm-Inside Out Bridging the Ancient With the New
The View From Wallace Monument – James Collett Photography
Nature & Travel Pix WPC – Bridge
Light Words Weekly Photo Challenge Bridges
The Bridges – Reflections on the river
WPC- Bridges Across the World – Battling the Bone Breaker
Moonlight Reflections Covered Bridges in Parke County, Indiana
simply.cindy Trestle Bridge
Light Words WPC Bridging the Bay Bribging The Seasons
Spirit of Dragonflies WPC – Bridges in Alaska

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The Earth Is Art, The Photographer Is Only A Witness…..

So said Yann Arthus-Bertrand  in his book: “Earth from Above, Third Edition” and I tend to agree. So this week come with me to Big Pool Wood and Talacre Beach to see what I have witnessed. Big Pool Wood is a small nature reserve managed by the North Wales Wildlife Trust. Despite its name the pool is quite small and only really fills up during the winter. But with the addition of a new bird hide and a dedicated team of photographers we are beginning to see all that the wood has to offer.

I’ve written about BPW before, mainly about the birds who visit, so let’s go for a walk around the woods, which you can do in about 15 minutes, or if you are like me, constantly stopping to take photographs, it could take an hour. Spring is here and the Mallard Ducklings have left the safety of the reed beds to paddle in the pool. There were seven little ducklings a week or so back but it looks like predators, or other Mallard Ducks, have whittled the population down by almost half.

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Of course with Spring, comes colour and the wood is now carpeted with purple and blue flowers.

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Bluebells form the biggest carpet and the path through the woods is lined either side by them.

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And flowers bring out insects like these Orange Tipped Butterflies. Common in the UK, so I haven’t really found anything rare.

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Likewise for this Comma, another common butterfly to be found in the UK.

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Not far from BPW is Talacre Beach and it with being such a fine day it seemed a shame not to pay a visit. Now if you go onto the beach it will be busy. But take a walk amongst the dunes and you will see plenty of wildlife. But you can also photograph the lighthouse with showing people and you get a different sort of photograph from what others might take if they were on the beach.

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Whilst I was walking through the dunes I came across this little Meadow Pipit, shot at the extreme length of my zoom lens and against a very bright background I struggled to get a decent photograph, especially as I had to crop in so much but the new Olympus camera with the improved sensor has done a reasonable job at the distance involved. Don’t get me wrong, It’s not perfect by any means, far from it, but at least I managed to get it good enough to post on my blog.

 

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As you wander around the dunes you see the odd sign of man made structures. During WWII Talacre was used as a bombing range and in later years there were buildings in amongst the dunes. Nowadays all that’s left are bits of fence like this.

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I’d just got back to the car-park when I spotted a little Robin perched in a tree. It was very quiet, normally they’re singing their little hearts out but this one wasn’t. He/She (both have that distinctive red breast) hung around long enough for me to get a few photographs and then took off.

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Right that’s it for this week, I hope you enjoyed the photographs and as usual here’s what other bloggers have got to say about this weeks challenge.

Exploring the world Wild flowers
Shape Shifters – Wind Rush
Weekly Photo Challenge- Earth – Or, The Earth At My Feet – Petchary’s Blog
The Photo Junkie Earth II- Belogradchik Rock Formations
Pictures without film. Solstice Sunrise revisited – Weekly Photo Challenge- Earth
Simply Photos Here Today – Gone Tomorrow
Our Beautiful Earth – Geriatri’x’ Fotogallery
The Blog of Maggie Weekly Photo Challenge- EARTH
picturesimperfectblog Synecdoche
Photography Journal Blog Weekly Photo Challenge- Earth

Talacre Dunes

Another post, using the new theme and the WordPress servers to host the photographs. Most comments said everything was OK but “It’s Just A Theory” reported having problems displaying the photographs. So could you please check and let me know if the images are displaying with the post and that you don’t have to click a link or a thumbnail to see them. Thanks in advance for checking.

So this week it’s Graceful. Those people in Automatic sure pick some weird themes at times but here we go.

The sand dunes at Talacre have always been my goto place when I want to test new equipment or a particular method of taking photographs.

Talacre Sand Dunes

Wandering amongst the dunes gives me plenty of scope to photograph wildlife, like this jay which was sitting on one of the trees that are dotted around the dunes. Beautiful birds, very intelligent and this photograph in winter plumage really doesn’t do the colours justice.

Jay

And wherever you go your sure to find little Blue Tits at the edges of the dunes, hiding in the trees. Although not this one, quite cheeky, but very nervous and surprisingly this one came quite close.

Blue Tit

However, back to the dunes, There are certain areas were a lot of conservation work is going on so you will find these areas fenced off.

Dune Protection

It may be for a rare species of plant or wildlife. Sometimes it’s just to protect the ever-changing infrastructure. Sand dunes are very susceptible to damage by us and of course the wind. I never question it. If it’s fenced off, it’s for a reason, so I see no need to enter, even if it means I have to go a longer way round.

Finally you can’t go to Talacre without taking a photograph of the abandoned lighthouse. But this time rather than go onto the beach I’ve stayed in the dunes to give me some foreground interest.

Talacre Lighthouse

Is it graceful? It might be but hey, my post my choice of photographs. Do they fit the theme….of course they do.

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

Yvette’s photography Graceful
PhotosbyGoldie Graceful in Repose
Photoessayist The Blog Graceful- A Richard Serra Sculpture
A Certain Slant of Light Photography Underwater Grace
Flight of a Seagull
Anvica’s gallery Graceful
Half a photograph Graceful
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Vietnamese Girl in Ao Dai – Nes Felicio Photography
Sara Doolittle Gracefulness, air, and water

Transmogrify–Is That A Word?

It’s early morning, the sun is up and I’m sitting in my study watching a rainbow form out to sea. Looks like we are going to be in for some heavy weather as the clouds are really dark and rain laden. How transient a rainbow can be. There one minute and then gone in a second. Anyway I digress. This weeks challenge is one of those WordPress ones that I hate. To me it is ambiguous, that’s a big word for so early in the morning, I prefer solid subjects.

Where better to see change than Autumn, especially on the mountains, the bracken changes from green to gold, the trees start to take on those brilliant patches of orange, reds and yellow whilst patches of sunlight breaking through the clouds dapple the slopes.

Autumn Colours

As winter approaches the landscape will change. The lake will freeze up, the tree will lose its leave sand I can guarantee that there will be snow here. Even now the heather has lost it’s brilliant purple hue as it gets ready for winter.

Llyn Ogwen

The night before last I went to Talacre Beach, it’s been a while since I’ve been there, mainly because of tourists. In the summer time it’s almost impossible to get a good photograph of the lighthouse or a sunset. You can forget that. because there will always be someone there clambering over the rocks or steps. You can’t stop them, the beach is open to everyone and lots stay for the sunsets. But in the late Autumn and Winter it’s totally different. For a start the sunset is a lot earlier, although not out to sea. But the other good thing, you hardly see anyone on the beach. It’s too cold for most people. Talacre is long and open with no protection from the prevailing winds which tend to be from the sea, so you have to wrap up well.

Talacre Sunset

Sunsets too are very brief. The light changes so fast but at this time of the year you get those great cloud formations which make for some amazing colours in the sky when the sun sets. Finally I’d like to leave you with another Autumn scene looking down the valley towards Snowdon in the distance. Anyone could get this photograph, it’s taken from a roadside stop on the main A5 road just outside Betws-y-Coed.

Autumn

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

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

This is Another Story Color Transformation
From Egg to Sheer Beauty – Micks Blog
Doug Couvillion’s Photo Blog Weekly Photo Challenge- Transmogrify
Sea Play Photography Weekly Challenge- Transmogrify
XingfuMama My little pumpkins don’t do scary
Crafting Photolog Weekly Photo Challenge- Transmogrify
Mataro Photographs Halloween Transmogrification
Nature & Travel Photos WPC – Transmogrify
Let the Images Speak Transmogrify
The Land Slide Photography Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Future

I have a pretty decent camera in my phone, in fact I have two cameras, the rear one is 13 megapixels and the front facing “look at me” one is 5 megapixels. So why do I use a camera that has only a few megapixels more than my phone? In a way it’s pretty simple. For serious photographs I use my camera. I can control the input; aperture, f stop, ISO, shutter speed. I can add filters, stick it on a tripod for better stability and in the end, the results I will achieve with my standalone camera will be far more pleasing to my eye. On the other hand, my phone’s camera is quick, simple to use, is discreet – who pays attention to someone with a phone taking pictures, it’s my “fun” camera

I think the equipment you use has a real, visible influence on the character of your photography. You’re going to work differently, and make different kinds of pictures if you have to set up a view camera on a tripod, than if you’re Lee Friedlander with handheld 35 mm rangefinder. But fundamentally, vision is not about which camera or how many megapixels you have, it’s about what you find important. It’s all about ideas. – Keith Carter

If you think back to the early photographers, they would work with big bulky equipment and dangerous chemicals to achieve the final results which would be far from perfect.

Example of Early Wet-Plate

They were the early pioneers, a distinct few, who strived to achieve perfection in their photography. If they could have seen into the future they would be amazed at what we the masses can achieve with a simple click of a button today.

Modern Day HDR With Luminosity Masks

Early photographs required exposure times in camera for hours which was later, as new techniques evolved, was reduced to minutes. But the chemical process was still dangerous and care had to be taken, not only to get the print, but to make sure you didn’t kill yourself with the chemicals involved. It took time to get the final result. Nowadays, in this digital age we take the picture and almost instantaneously we can publish it to the web.

But therein lies the rub. The early pioneers were very selective in what they photographed, They had to be considering everything that was involved in getting that final print. Compare that with todays average phone camera user, selfies, selfies, and yet more selfies. A recent survey shows that “young adults will take more than 25,000 pictures of themselves during their lifetimes”. Another survey suggests that “over a million selfies are taken each day”. All done with their phone camera on automatic letting the machine make the decisions. That’s how SKYNET started and we all know how that ended.

Anyway enough of this. I’ve got packing to do for another trip away. So until next time….

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

Eyes of Acumen
A Bridge Between the Past and the Future – Old Woman on a Bicycle
The Wish Factor Weekly Photo Challenge- Future
Weekly Photo Challenge- Future – Jedi by Knight
Through the Lens of my Life Buds
Weekly photo challenge – Future – WitchWithaView
Shooting Venice and more Night Lights over Samuel Beckett Bridge
The Digi Canvas Weekly Photo Challenge- Future
Chasing Serenity with a Lens Weekly Photo Challenge- Future
Half a photograph Housewarming

Weekly Photo Challenge: Victory

It took me a long time to get a photograph like this.

Talacre Lighthouse

The lighthouse I can get any time, but those rays of light are something else again. As Ken Rockwell once said;

No matter how advanced your camera you still need to be responsible for getting it to the right place at the right time and pointing it in the right direction to get the photo you want. – Ken Rockwell

How true that is. When I went to the beach that evening I didn’t expect to see a cloud formation like that. So I was lucky. but sometimes that’s all you need..

Here’s what other bloggers are saying are saying about this weeks challenge

https://elainemcnulty.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/weekly-photo-challenge-victory/
https://dunelight.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/dont-sweat-the-small-stuff/
https://elleturner4.wordpress.com/2015/11/17/weekly-photo-challenge-victory-2/
https://natashashilbhadra.wordpress.com/2015/11/17/wpc-victory/
https://4otomo.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/victory/
https://dervishimages.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/victory-miss-teen-taranaki/
https://pictureswithoutfilm.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/victory-daily-post-weekly-photo-challenge/
https://throughthelensofmylife.wordpress.com/2015/11/14/volcano/
https://carolynsonlinemagazine.wordpress.com/2015/11/14/rosalie-and-i-conquered-schoodic-mountain/
https://halfaphotograph.wordpress.com/2015/11/14/half-dome/.

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.