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.

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Storm Eleanor

My first photograph of 2018 and it seems appropriate that it should be of the sea, seeing as I live in a coastal town. Today sees our coastline battered by Storm Eleanor and with higher than normal tides predicted Natural Resources Wales issued a Flood Warning for properties along the Beach Road. High tide today was around 11:30 and expected to be around 9 metres. But with the storm raising sea levels the tide level was expected to be 5.5 metres above this level.

First stop for me was Rhyl sea-front just along the coast. Because of the way the sea defences are shaped you can see some pretty spectacular wave action.

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But it was my home town I was more worried about. There have been improvements to the sea defences in the last couple of years but with the Flood Warning in place there’s always the possibility the sea defences could be breached. I’m lucky. I live high enough that I doubt our house would be affected, but there are an awful lot of low-lying properties which rely on those defences.

And fortunately they have done their job, this time. It’s high tide, although the sea is surging now and again with some of the bigger waves, there is no need to close the flood  barriers which I’m standing just in front of.

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First post of 2018, here’s to many more and before I forget, A Happy New Year to you all.

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

The Donkey Said “What’s Behind Me”

Last Saturday was Prestatyn’s annual carnival day and amazingly in the seven years I have lived here I’ve never attended. So with the challenge this week being unusual, I thought there might be a good photo opportunity.. How wrong I was. First of all there were loads of children in the floats and also in the marching bands. I don’t photograph children period. In this country you are likely to be accused of photographing for nefarious reasons, so it’s better to just switch the camera off.

But I did manage to get some photographs, not my normal landscapes or street photography, Something just a little different.

Behind You

Along with the carnival parade there’s also a fun-fare and donkeys. I love donkeys, sadly we don’t see them on the beach at Prestatyn, so I don’t know where this one has come from.

Of course there are loads of food stalls, Ice cream, well that whipped chemical they call ice-cream is popular, but give me the real stuff any day.

Ice Cream

…and they even do healthy smoothies, amazing. Good old Micky for thinking of people’s health.

Food Glorius Food

What do I want to capture most in my photographs ? Human emotion and the essence of human being. I am less interested in forcing my subjects into a visually interesting form or putting them against an unusual background. – Philippe Halsman

Lots of charities trying to raise a pound or two, good luck to them, make the most of it. Higher, Higher, Lower, Higher…….Bust

Play Your Cards Right

And the Town Crier was there too. I never even knew Prestatyn had a Town Crier. I never seen him in the town.

Oyez! Oyez!

Well, that’s it for this week. As usual here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge.

The World Is a Book… Era of Impressionism
Live life; make meaning. Bird Bridge
Yvette’s photography Unusual
Change Is Hard WordPress Photo Challenge- Unusual
Ana Linden Unusual
Unusual – By Sarah
Photography- Finding Beauty in the Unusual – Sumyanna Writes
Musings of a Random Mind Weekly Photo Challenge- Unusual
A Submerged Town – MY TIME AND I
Shi Yali Photography Ride the Duck Bus

Another Great Sunset

I just knew it was going to happen, a great sunset. You could see the way the clouds were forming that it might be worth taking a trip down the beach. So when the Prestatyn and District Camera Club finished last night I headed straight down there. Not Talacre this time just our local beach.

Now the only thing of interest worth photographing on our wide swept beaches are the Groyne Markers. They’re there to make sure sailors don’t run aground on the sea defences which disappear at high tide.

Not fantastic, but put them in silhouette, and you’ve got a reasonable photograph. Anyway it’s more about the sky. So here it is in all it’s glory last night.

Prestatyn Sunset

Enough said – Mike

A Bit Of Everything This Week

I sometimes wonder what the guys who dream up the WordPress Weekly Challenge themes are on. So they take a photograph, dream up some vague relationship to time passing and then name the theme Delta. Seriously! So here’s my alternative. By the way, if you want to see a larger version of any photograph, just click on it. You’ll be taken to my Flickr photostream where you can view the larger version.

Over the last week I’ve been out an about the Olympus E-M1 Mark II testing some settings for photographing birds in flight. I’ve also been doing a bit of street photography and took the opportunity to capture some birds of prey in captivity, which were on display at Llandudno. As far as I know they are all rescued birds who have got in difficulty.

First up this beautiful Harris Hawk. He’s a male, great to photograph, when he kept still. Their natural hunters and Llandudno has it’s fair share of gulls and pigeons. He kept moving his head to watch them fly over.

Male Harris Hawk

Being in captivity, I was able to get very close, so the level of detail is amazing. For this photograph I used the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75‑300mm 1:4.8‑6.7 II lens.

Using the same lens on another day I was out trying to see if I could actually capture Birds in Flight. Now down at Prestatyn Beach you can always find gulls, flying around, but not this day. Only the odd one about and flying pretty far away. Wing definition is not too bad but it could be sharper.

Over The Top

Back to Llandudno and another little beauty, a Barn Owl, I’m pretty sure this one is a male.

Barn owl

Now to a bit of street photography, which I did on the same day as the bird of prey. This time using my goto lens the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12‑40mm 1:2.8 PRO. I tried this time to get really close to my victims err subjects before firing the shutter. There’s more chance of error this way but it makes for a better photograph.

Over There

I’m quite pleased with these ones

Red Headed Girl

Yes I do photograph men as well

He's Not Seen Me

I think she knew because that sardonic little smile just appeared.

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And now for a real beauty. A Eurasian Eagle Owl, this one is a female and is apparently a runt being only two-thirds of the size it could be. Don’t get me wrong it’s still a big bird.

Eurasian Eagle Owl

Another bird in flight. A bit sharper this time.

Gull in Flight

I’ve obviously got the shutter speed just right because the wings aren’t blurring when they are moving. I just have to get the focus sharp enough now

A shutter working at a speed of one-fourth to one-twenty-fifth of a second will answer all purposes. A little blur in a moving subject will often aid to giving the impression of action and motion. – Alfred Stieglitz – “The Hand Camera” (1897)

Not with birds in flight Alfred. I’m using 1/1000th second to ensure that the wings aren’t blurred.

Landing Now

And finally today’s weather here in North Wales. A dark grey day with very light rain coming in from the sea. You can see the wind turbines in the background fading away as the rain comes in, they almost look like shadows against a grey backdrop.

Ghosts in the Mist

Well, that it for this week and I’d like to leave you with this final thought.

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

Hopefully, you liked one my photographs this week, maybe enough that you thought it was a great photograph.

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

Weekly Photo Challenge – Delta – Seafield Castle Beach – Eye For A Pic
Madame Zenista Delta- Illusory like…
Cellular Jail – Through the Lens
Delta- December to June – Time of Transition… – Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!
Change – More 2 Explore
McKenzie Falls – By Sarah
Delta – Optimistic Odyssey
Leya WPC- Delta
Transition & Change – Rebecca Wiseman Portfolio
Erin’s Big World Weekly Photo Challenge- Delta