52 in 2015 Week 30 Sport

People just don’t want their photographs taken nowadays. This weeks 52 in 2015 challenge is sport and I had a hard time convincing someone to allow me to take their photograph. Despite asking politely I got a lot of bad-tempered replies so I was left with no option but to go into “sneaky” mode for this one.

52 in 2015 Week 30 Sport

I like to get emotion in a photo. I like it when people laugh at a picture – or react with tears. A sports image works when people don’t have to read the caption. – Bernard Brault

Our local golf course runs along side the coastal path. Strictly speaking I don’t need permission to take a photograph of someone but I do like to ask. However in this instance…….

That’s it. as always the 52 challenges are very quick posts but I hope you like the photograph and as there’s no caption I leave the rest to you.


52 in 2015 Week 6 Low Key

Week 6 and it’s taken me until the weekend to get the final photograph for Low Key. With the successful visit into the National Park and the “Hairy Moment” in our pursuit of snow I needed some time to recover before shooting that Low Key photograph. But what exactly is Low Key?

Wikipedia describes Low Key as a style of lighting for photography, film or television and a necessary element in creating a chiaroscuro effect. Traditional photographic lighting, three-point lighting uses a key light, a fill light, and a back light for illumination. Low-key lighting often uses only one key light, optionally controlled with a fill light or a simple reflector. However I think Lakshman Lyer’s definition sums it up far more simply;

One can consider/define the over exposed and under exposed portraits as High Key and Low Key Portraits.

So to this weeks photograph. I managed to convince this rather distinguished “old” gentleman to pose for me whilst I experimented with lighting.

52 in 2015 Week 6 Low Key

I have to admit he was not the easiest subject to photograph because he thought he knew a bit about photography and kept chiming in. “Move the light there” or “I look better on my other side” but eventually I managed to get two photographs I could work with.

52 in 2015 Week 6 Low Key

Now it seems like the chosen medium for Low Key photographs is Black and White which I’ve been experimenting with recently so here goes. I hope you like them?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Depth

For this weeks challenge photograph I’m doing a bit of lateral thinking, or, maybe I’m just trying to make a photograph fit the theme again.


There has been a reasonably heavy fall of snow in the Snowdonia National Park but with strong winds a lot has blown off the upper parts of the mountains meaning that at the lower levels it’s deep. Welsh wild ponies who roam the hills here are in search of food and we found them higher up the valley where grass and roots are exposed. This is the first time i have ever seen them at this level and surprisingly we were able to get quite close, even stroke some of them, maybe they thought we would feed them.

A great photo happens when a photographer sees a situation unfolding in front of them that evokes an emotion that the photographer feels deep down, in the middle of their chest. And in a split second, they then make a conscious choice of exposure, lens, depth of field, lighting, body language, composition, etc., and releases the shutter. The film is then processed, scanned, laid out on a page, printed on a press, driven across town to the newspaper carrier who throws it on some guy’s porch, who then opens the newspaper and looks down at that photo … and if that guy gets the same feeling deep down in the middle of his chest that the photographer did when they viewed the situation in the first place, they have made a great photo. – Anonymous

I’m not sure that it’s a great photograph, I can see plenty wrong with it but I am pleased that I managed to capture these magnificent little animals in their natural habit.

This week is a short one from me. I hope you like the photograph as much as I do.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow

Almost into the holiday season and in many ways it is fitting that this weeks theme challenge is Yellow. Takes me away from the doom and gloom of winter and this last week where the days have been nothing but miserable and grey. Saying that, I’m in a pretty good mood because unusually for me I’ve done the bulk of my Christmas present shopping. I’m normally a Christmas Eve guy, not because I can’t think what to get, I just enjoy that last minute thrill of wandering around the shops and getting into the Christmas spirit. Nowadays I think Christmas comes far to early. No sooner is Halloween (Trick or Treat) over and suddenly the shops are flooded with Christmas advertising.

Although I’m ahead I’ve still got a busy few days coming up, so here is my yellow.


I’d not long had the Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens so I was still experimenting and although this might not be the greatest photograph the colour yellow is certainly present. Not only in the flower but also in the bee. Doesn’t it look really summery?

First and foremost, make it an obvious picture of colour! Rather than looking for rocks, leaves, trees, waterfalls, birds, flowers, fire hydrants, starfish, boats, orchards, or bridges, focus your energy and vision on red, blue, yellow, orange, green, or violet. Colour first, content second! – Bryan Peterson

What intrigues me though. Look at the wings of the bee, especially the right hand one. It is damaged and from what I have read it will not re-generate. Wear and tear like this is usually the sign of am older bee. Want to know more? Have a look at Bumblebee.Org where there is some amazing information about bees.

Now that I have got the challenge photograph and post out of the way it’s time for me to get in the Christmas spirit. If you don’t already know all of my blog photographs come with a Creative Commons, Attribution, Share Alike License, which means you are free to copy and use the images as long as you credit me. Full details of the license term can be found here.

If you want to use this photograph just click on it and you will be taken to my Flickr account where you can download the large size which should be good enough to be used on even the largest monitor. Of course if you want to use it on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, etc, feel free but please don’t forget to credit me.

In the meantime I’d like to take this early opportunity to wish those of you who celebrate Christmas “A Merry Christmas” and more importantly to all of you “A Healthy and Happy New Year”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Angular

This weeks photography challenge is Angular and straight away I knew I was going to include this photograph in my post.

Talacre Lighthouse

I took this photograph on Saturday evening, only yesterday, on the beach at Talacre. Regular readers will know that the lighthouse features in many of my photographs and I’ll tell you why. The lighthouse is the only constant and even that changes over time as the paint is worn away by wind and waves. Talacre beach is open and exposed and often subject to wild seas. This photograph was taken at low tide and at the moment you can see the lighthouse base. But when the tide comes in the sea rises as high as the painted black area and in stormy conditions higher. Those sand dunes you can see in the background used to be a lot higher but storms at the beginning of this year totally washed them away.

Photographs testify to the relentless effacements of time. I say “inevitably” because the photographer has little to say about it. No matter what the conceptual intent of the photographer – whether it be “serious” image-making or family snapshots – the camera renders, first and foremost, and with indisputable sufficiency, the details and lineaments of its subject: a smooth, fresh, laughing face, the sleek angularity of a new building, a dotted veil worn by a woman coming out of church. Years later – when the young face is wrinkled and the modern building looks corny and nobody wears veils anymore – these photographs tell a story. And who could have guessed what that story would be? The melancholy of Time inheres in photographs, in the resemblance that no longer resembles. – John Rosenthal – Ideas, from The National Humanities Center

And so that brings me nicely back to Angular. I said at the start of this post I was going to include this photograph because it has so many angles. Yes! The lighthouse does lean, that big dark cloud with the obtuse angle and the way the water creates angles as it courses down the beach towards the sea. I did however keep the horizon straight. Can you see the man on the beach? He was using one of those portable metal detectors and finding quite a lot of things, mainly old coins and some shrapnel left over from WWII.

“Talacre was used by the military during World War II, as an aircraft firing range. Fighters flew over the remote village every day, shooting at wooden targets in the dunes and at drogues towed by aircraft. It was also used for testing new devices, such as “window” the anti-radar foil that, on occasion, covered the whole village with silver”. Source Wikipedia

That wraps it up for this week. I hope you enjoyed the photograph and as usual please feel free to use it if you want as long as it’s not for commercial use. Clicking on the photograph will take you to my Flickr stream where you can download any of the 1200 pixels wide photographs.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

Oh my! Oh my! Another one of those WordPress Photo Challenge themes that is so open to interpretation. I mean what makes a photograph fall into the minimalist genre? Look on the web and you will see hundreds of definitions for minimalism, many of them similar, but some at the opposite ends of the spectrum/ Who’s to say which one is right. As a primarily landscape photographer can I practice Minimalism in my art? Up until now I’ve never thought about it but I would almost go as far as saying no. Landscapes are too rich in detail to be minimalist, or are they?

The Beach

Way back in 2007 I took this photograph on our local beach. It was at a time when I was really starting to experiment with my photography. I’d moved from a little Point and Shoot camera to a more expensive bridge camera which mimicked a DSLR except for the ability to change lenses. I took this photograph because I liked the leading line of the posts and the reflections on the wet sand after the tide had gone out. Did I think about it being Minimalist? No. Is it Minimalist? You tell me. “Say It With A Camera” has 2314 followers and I would hazard a guess that if everyone replied to my question “Is it Minimalist” I would probably get a 50/50 split.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

I’ve been experimenting with long exposures this week by sticking a 10 Stop ND Filter on the front of my lens. These filters are almost black and cut down the amount of light reaching the sensor which means you have to keep the shutter open longer to capture the same amount of light. For example, yesterday was a sunny day with clouds, without the filter my camera was saying that the exposure should be 1/500 second. With the filter in place the exposure time was two seconds. That’s enough to give blurry movement of the clouds. With me so far?

Wild Talacre

But maybe not enough to give me a “dreamy” look. I wanted a longer exposure and one way of getting that is to use HDR. The other way is to by using a smaller aperture in conjunction with the ND Filter to let even less light hit the sensor. In this case you would have to keep the shutter open longer to get the same amount of light. Do you understand the relationship between “f number”  and the size of the aperture in your camera and how it affects the final picture. I have a simple rule of thumb that I use. Nothing scientific. The higher the aperture number i.e. f22 the smaller the opening will be in my lens, therefore the longer I will have to keep the shutter open. Of course I don’t have to calculate it, the camera does it for me, most of the time. Want to understand more? There’s an excellent article with simple diagrams about Aperture and Shutter Speed on Face The Light that you can read. Of course using longer exposures means that you need to use a tripod to keep your photograph in focus. Well the non-moving parts at least.

ND filters come in two types, circular ones that you screw to the front of your lens, or square ones that you place in a filter holder that screws onto the front of your lens. They also come in various price ranges from cheap and cheerful through to extremely expensive, but one thing they nearly all do is leave a colour cast to the final result. Usually it’s red or orange, but if you shoot in RAW that you can compensate by adjusting the “White Balance” temperature.

I use a cheap and cheerful one that I ordered from a company called SRB Photographic, mainly because I’m only experimenting. Also I had seen a review of the filter from a photographer called Brad Kalpin who had recently bought a 10 Stop ND Filter from SRB Photographic and he was quite positive about it’s use. For me reviews are a great way of helping me make a decision about future purchases. What about you? Do you use reviews?

While some people are afraid of snakes, others have phobias about high places – I’m scared of long exposures. – Ralph Bartholomew Jr.

Not me! Now that I have tried long exposure photography I want to do more. I can see the potential for taking photographs that look different and i can’t wait to get out and try that 10 Stop with moving water.