Another Year Has Gone……I’m Getting Old

It’s nearly the end of the year and I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite photographs that I have taken throughout 2017. It’s hard to choose though but here goes.

January started off blustery with some high seas. It’s hard to believe from this photograph that when the tide goes out I can walk around the base of this marker which is probably about 30ft high. Our tides are quite high at times; combine that with an on-shore breeze an there is potential for flood damage. That’s why we have some very large sea defences. This marker notes that underneath surface there are large rocks, the first part of our defences, positioned to break up tidal surges.

January

February saw me in Chester Cathedral which I had been meaning to visit for some years now, but just never got around to it. The cathedral is very large inside and I was thinking about how to show the scale. So I was really please when one of the clergy cam and sat down right in front of me. If you look really closely you will see two other people, but they are lost in the scale of the cathedral.

February

In the UK we are lucky to still have many of our stately homes in good preservation order thanks to the National Trust, of which I am a member. Although tripods aren’t allowed, photography is is permitted and so I’m able to get some great photographs from inside the houses I have visited. I like this one with the table set for dinner.

March

Back in Chester, this time on the streets on a cold, wet and windy April’s day. With horrible grey skies, street photography seemed the best option. A bit of Black & White, some extreme HDR and there you go….

April

Warmer climes in May, beautiful sunny Lisbon, Portugal. Walking away from the tourist paths I came across a series of street art, that was on doors, the sides of building, even the streets themselves. This one caught my eye, although to be honest I could have included any of the ones I photographed that day.

May

I am extremely luck that in summer time the sun sets out to sea. This can make for some great “big sky” sunsets. Yet in this case, here I am in town, with the sun starting to set and so I decided to go for the silhouette.

June

July caught me chasing sunsets again, this time at Talacre and the lighthouse. Only this time I was trying to capture some long exposures which give the clouds that blurred look and the sea looks as though it has gone flat and milky.

July

When I knew I was going to be visiting the South of France I was determined to get to the Museum of Photography in Chalon-sur-Saone. August was so hot with temperatures in the 40’s centigrade. far too hot to be walking around. Inside the museum it was like a sweat box but I was determined to stick it out and see the exhibits.

August

One of the things I like about Olympus, as well as the cameras, is that they run experience days, where Olympus users can get together with Olympus experts, to ask questions, borrow equipment for the day and usually get some good deals as well. It give you a chance to meet other Olympus users who are likely to be local to you area as well. So in September we were on the Llangollen Railway which is a heritage line running here in North Wales. Apart from the weather, a great day out as we had access to areas that, such as the workshops and signal boxes, that most visitors never get access to.

September

Another overseas trip, this time to Budapest. Of all the photographs I took in Berlin I had to include this one of the Parliament taken from the Buda side of the river. Such an ornate building and well-lit at night, great for photography

October

It was cold, so cold, but a gang of us decided to brave the temperature, to photograph the bridge over the River Dee at Connah’s Quay in November. I had all the gear on that I normally wear for walking in the mountains so I should have been warm, but when you are just standing around you don’t generate your own internal heat the same way. We stuck it for about an hour, then decided to move on to Flint Castle. Never did get that photograph because the snow started to fall and unusually the castle wasn’t lit, as it usually is at night.

November

Unusually for me, I’ve only been out on one photography trip through December and that was to a long-standing engagement to take a walk around the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool. It’s an industrial area that has many old buildings and warehouses; along with some great street art. What more could a photographer ask for.

December

Well that’s it for this year, for those who take part in the Weekly Challenge, here’s to some new and interesting ones in 2018.

I’d like to thank all those who follow Say It With A Camera. Your comments are appreciated and hopefully I have managed to acknowledge all of your comments over the last year. Finally I wish you all a Healthy and Happy New Year – Mike

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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

On the Beach In Black And White

This week it’s going to be a quick one with just two photographs. Circumstances and time have caught up with me. But hopefully you will like the photographs. Sunday afternoon saw me at Talacre, I managed to break away for a couple of hours to meet up with a group of photographers who, like me, are into long exposure photography.

Now you might be asking “what is he talking about”?. So let me explain in the most simplest of terms. By sticking an extremely dark filter in front of the camera lens. I can force the camera sensor into computing that I am effectively photographing my subject at night, even although it’s broad daylight. Therefore the camera computes that to get the right exposure for the photograph it need to take a lot longer to keep the shutter open. How long depends on a few factors, but suffice to say I was looking at exposures of between 2 seconds and 70 seconds throughout the day. To ensure the photograph is not blurred I am using a tripod and a remote control.

I am lucky that I can use Live View with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 and watch the photograph develop on the rear screen. I let the camera do all the work. But other photographers have to calculate the exposure using charts, or these days, usually an app on their smart phone.

He [Brassai] times his long exposures by smoking cigarettes – when his smoke was out, he closed the shutter. – John G. Morris

First photograph. Taken as the tide was coming in. Even at two seconds you can see that the sea is beginning to be smoothed out. It wasn’t particularly rough that day, with almost no wave action to speak of.

Talacre Lighthouse

This second photograph is a seventy second exposure. It’s more noticeable in the clouds now as they have started to streak which is a characteristic of long exposures.

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

It was a bit of a grey day and the colours weren’t that fantastic so to get more effect i have converted to Black and White using NIK Silver Efex.

Talacre Lighthouse

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

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

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