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.


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.


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


I’m Not Running Away…………

So much to do, so little time. In the run up to Christmas I’ve been kept busy by “She Who Must Be Obeyed” doing all sorts of things. Not had much time for photography, but anyway the weather hasn’t been that great. Planned trip to Cwm Idwal, cancelled, heavy snow. Planned trip to the Wirral, cancelled whilst I was on the road there, dark grey skies, followed by heavy torrential rain, Just not worth going out. Finally a glorious winters day, Some sun, a bit of cloud, some blue skies. “Remember you said we would do this today……”. Never forgets anything. So here we are. It’s Christmas week, I’ve been out five hours around the shops, how many times do you need to go back and look at that “special item”; I’ve finally managed to sit down and take a break and starting answering some of the emails that have been piling up as well as write this post.

So anyway to this weeks challenge. I’m going back in time with this one to when we had predictions of real stormy seas off the coast. At first it didn’t look too bad but as the incoming tide swept in, boosted by off-shore winds it was obvious that the waves were going to get higher and higher.


Along the sea-front the wall is designed to break up the waves, which makes for some very interesting formations.

Rising Seas

A normal person sees a storm, thinks help and runs away
A photographer sees that storm, and runs the other way
Off into the cold they go, the wind, the rain and more
To capture pics no matter what, of all the things they saw
Watching all the huge waves crashing, defiantly they stand
Looking out from beneath the pier, with camera in hand
Why do we do such stupid things, like photograph the snow
We can’t resist to get that pic, so off we always go
We see the world through rule of thirds, and many shades of grey
The search to get the perfect shot, continues every day
Dean Thorpe – The poem: “The photographer” by Dean Thorpe

Still Fishing

The guys who fish off the promenade are sort of like the photographers who chase the storm. Whenever it’s predicted for stormy seas you will see them there. To be hones they’re always there, either fishing on the tide line, and slowly walking back up the beach as the t tide comes in. Or else they’re on the promenade. One thing though, no matter what the weather, you’ll find them there. Although most know when to pack up and get to safety if the waves get too strong.

I’d been talking to this guy, taking the odd photograph, up until the seas got a bit strong. At that point I decided discretion was the better part of valour and retreated further up the embankment. Although my camera is weather-proof I still think salt water spray can do a lot of damage, if you forget to clean it when you get home. Anyway I switched to a telephoto lens and continued taking some photographs. Then this big wave came in, most of it broke up on the sea wall, but you can see how far it came up. My fisherman man managed to keep his footing, but talking to him afterwards he said it was touch and go. It was his time to practice a bit of discretion and he packed up just after that.


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

Night Time–Who’s Out There?

I am, at least I was on Wednesday night. After a busy day in Stockport I rushed back to get out with a group of photographers from the Prestatyn & District Camera Club for an evening shoot in Rhyl. If you want to look at some of the members photographs, just follow the link to our public Facebook page. But going back to that night-time shoot, “How convenient that this weeks theme is Glow”.

So let’s get on with it and show a few of my photographs from that evening. It was a cold night in Rhyl with the wind blowing off the sea. We were down by the sea-front, there’s no real shelter from the wind, so it’s a case of wrap up well, especially as you’re going to be standing around quite a lot.

Keep Still
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk2 with Olympus M 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Lens – f2.8, 0.6s, ISO 200

Just to the left of this picture is the sea. That evening I could hear it but the light drops off dramatically as you get away from the promenade, I just couldn’t see it. With gulls crying out it’s quite eerie, even although I’m standing in a well-lit area. The blue shelters have changed to red now and the Sky Tower to purple.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk2 with Olympus M 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Lens – f16, 60s, ISO 200

At the harbour it was just as cold. This is an area that has been re-generated so it’s well lit, but quite lonely. Not so sure that I would go down there on my own at night.

Rhyl Harbour
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk2 with Olympus M 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Lens – f18, 13s, ISO 200

Whilst everyone stayed at the harbour I decided to walk up to the roundabout on the opposite side of the river. It’s only a short walk and it helps to keep warm. I was looking for something different; light trails from cars.

Roundabout Light
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk2 with Olympus M 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Lens – f6.3, 1s, ISO 200 using Live Composite Mode

Just up from the roundabout is the bridge over the river, the harbour is to the right of this photograph, and it’s here I was really looking to capture some light trails. Luckily enough a bus came along whilst I was taking the photograph, adding some extra colour to the scene.

Light Trails
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk2 with Olympus M 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Lens – f6.3, 1s, ISO 200 using Live Composite Mode

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

They Are Going To Get Wet

I don’t know if it’s because we are an island nation but we British do love the water. Get a nice hot sunny day and people will go for a paddle at the beach. The really brave will go swimming, even if the water is cold. Watersports abound. I have lost count of the number of people I have seen using the rushing white waters of our Snowdonia Rivers. Not so far from me is a Surf Centre. An artificial lake with a giant wave machine were people can go surfing. We like our water.

Just last weekend the Royal National Lifeboat Association (RNLI) held a charity event in Rhyl Harbour. Build your own raft and race it against others around the harbour. And for added fun do it against an incoming tide which rushes into the harbour at Rhyl.

Build Your Raft

With dark, ominous clouds some of the contestants get started in building their rafts. Nothing fancy here, Some barrels, tie pallets to them and you’ve got yourself a raft. Not the most stable of platforms.

Meanwhile, the RNLB Lil Cunningham enters Rhyl Harbour and will tie up against the jetty.

Bridge Up

During the time RNLB Lil Cunningham was tied up children were invited to “come on board and have a look around”


Whilst we were waiting for the races to start a water version of Gladiators was fought in the harbour.


Soon it was time for the first race to start. Launch from the slipway, paddle to the bridge, go around the bridge support and then paddle back to the slipway. I was standing on the slipway when I took the photograph of RNLB Lil Cunningham entering the harbour. It doesn’t look far to paddle there and back but against an incoming tide it was going to be hard work getting to the bridge.

They're Off

The crowds were really out in force by now, lining the harbour wall, both sides, standing on the bridge as well.. And soon they were off, at this point organised chaos comes to mind.

Paddle Paddle

But it soon settled down and this is where “the ringers” came to the fore. Remember I said right at the beginning, turn up, build your raft and  how unsteady they looked. Seems like some built their rafts in secret. This is a craft of beauty. It looked very stable in the water and they seemed to be powering along. Of course once they get around the bridge you’ve got the advantage of going with the current as the tide comes in.

Working Hard

Another one. I think this was the RNLI’s entry.

Keep Paddling

For safety’s sake the RNLI inshore craft were on hand to help any team that got in difficulties.

Around The Bend

Meanwhile RNLB Lil Cunningham had moved out into the centre of the harbour and to help the crews along and add to the fun. They were using the hose to provide a little water borne encouragement to the contestants.

RNLB Lil Cunningham

Well that’s it for this week. As you can see my element was water, here’s a few bloggers, who have written about  this weeks challenge and I have liked.

Elemental – Jodie Pages Waterfalls
Gwyncurbygodwin’s Blog BUTTERFLIES
O’Neill Photography & Design Misty Morning Surf
This is Another Story Exploring the Elements
New Goal – The Unkempt Wife
Sue’s words and pictures No fire!
Weekly Photo Challenge – Elemental – Julie Powell – Photographer & Graphic Artist
Fueled by Chocolate The Elemental Muskrat – Reshaping the Banks of Their Watery World
Seek the Colors of the Harvest – From Hiding to Blogging
Funky Weather – tybeetabby

52 in 2015 Week 41Night Photography

I’ve been waiting for this one for some time as it gives me the motivation to try the Live Composite Mode on my camera.  For an explanation of Live Composite have a look at the video I’ve included at the end of this post.

Anyway to this weeks photographs. I’ve got two for sharing this week. The first was taken using the Live Composite Mode of the Olympus OM-D E-M1

52 in 2015 Week 41 Night Photography

Using this mode I was able to capture vehicle lights as they travelled over the Afon Clwyd bridge at Rhyl. Incidentally, this photograph tied with another for best photograph of the week for the 52 in 2015 Group on Flickr.

The next photograph was a straight night shot of the Pont y Ddraig, a pedestrian swing bridge across Rhyl Harbour.

Pont y Ddraig

Finally here’s the video of Live Composite Mode

Gone Fishin’

This weekend Flood Alerts have been issued for coastal areas in North Wales and other parts of the country. Natural Resources Wales has issued 10 flood alerts, warning of dangerous conditions that could breach sea and river defenses. Higher than normal tides, the biggest for two decades, will combine with unsettled weather to batter our coastlines.

Yesterday I was on Rhyl  seafront, which has only recently been repaired and strengthened since last years storms which caused so much damage, and was able to capture some great photographs.

That's Enough

About an hour before high tide the sea was up, some big waves were breaking but nothing series yet. The young lady had just cycled along the promenade so it wasn’t too bad yet.

How things change though, within a quarter of an hour the wind had got up and waves were crashing right over the railings. The two fishermen seen in the photograph had decided enough was enough, they packed up and left, leaving one brave soul to carry on.

Gone Fishin'

Eventually even he decided it was getting too dangerous to be on the sea front. Although it doesn’t look as bad, this wave nearly swept him off his feet. Fortunately he regained his balance and was able to get behind the small wall you can see at the bottom of the photograph.

Stormy Seas

We are expecting higher wind speeds today so the sea will be much rougher. At the moment 09:30 about four hours before high tide there is only a soft breeze blowing, hopefully it will stay that way and allow the high tide to pass without incident.

52 in 2015 Week 3 Silhouette

Week 3 already and another hard week to try to get a photograph. Weather has been the hampering feature. Poor light, grey skies, bitter cold, gale force winds, not ideal for standing outside with a camera. But last Friday the skies cleared a little in the late afternoon and I took myself down to the seafront hoping to maybe catch the setting sun and a silhouette. In the end I came up with two and I must admit this first one is just bordering on the edge of being a silhouette, but nevertheless it fills the brief.

52 in 2015 Week 3 Silhouette

Although the skies had cleared, providing some good light, it was still bitter cold with the wind blowing off the sea. With the tide on the way in as well I didn’t have a lot of time to shoot on Friday afternoon. But wrapped up well I hung around to take both these photographs.

52 in 2015 Week 3 Silhouette

This is more of a silhouette and with the sun starting to dip it was getting colder and colder. By now the sea was creeping in behind and in front of me so it was definitely time to get off the beach before I got my feet wet.

There you have it, Week 3 completed, only another 49 to go. Next week look out for an opening in a door or window, maybe a hole in a fence. I have some ideas but once again it all depends on the weather