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

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On The Beach

I used to like walking on the beach, I still do, but I probably don’t take as many photographs as I used to. The beach at Weston and Uphill was particularly good for finding things washed up on the beach. Weird shaped tree trunks were my favourite to photograph. But for some reason you don’t often see large objects being washed up at Prestatyn or Talacre.

This Old Tree

Photography is not cute cats, nor nudes, motherhood or arrangements of manufactured products. Under no circumstances it is anything ever anywhere near a beach. – Walker Evans – American Photography, 1984

Probably the weirdest thing I have seen washed up is the wooden headboard from a bed….and what always amazed me, anything washed up seemed to land in the same area of the beach.

Bed On The Beach

It’s a short one this week but as usual here’s what others are saying about this weeks challenge.

A Sense of Wonder
Transient – justbluedutch Free Bird
Sexy Robot – Nes Felicio Photography
Isabel Caves Beautiful Autumn V- Coloured Leaves
Eiwawar City of darkness
Getting the Picture Weekly Photo Challenge – Transient
Penne 4 Your Thoughts Transient- Life in Klaserie
kochiphotography Weekend specials
GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast Fairies and Witches and Aliens (Oh My!)
Gina Ladinsky Weekly Photo Challenge- Transient – White Rose for a Green Frog

A Mixed Bag This Week

A bit of a mixed bag this week for the challenge. It’s strange how we all interpret a theme differently but this is how I see security. Weston-super-Mare has some fantastically wide and long beaches but it has one major failing. The tide goes out such a long distance and after the sand ends horrible thick cloying mud is exposed, the low tide mark in Weston Bay is about 1 mile (1.6 km) from the seafront. Trust me you don’t want to walk into it. you sink quickly and can immediately be up to your knees. Now here’s the worrying part. The tide that went out so far comes back in at a really fast speed and it’s unforgiving. If you’re stuck in the mud, and each year people do, you’d better hope the Rescue Team get to you in time, because Weston-super-Mare has one of the highest tidal rises in the world as much as 48ft (14.5m).

So for people’s own security and safety there are signs all along the beach warning of the dangers of sinking mud, and yet they are often ignored.

Danger Sinking Mud

Still in Weston-super-Mare. Because of those fast, incoming tides it is all too easy to get caught out. Take a look at the photograph below. On the causeway between Knightstone Island and WSM the tide often surges over the top. Now Knightstone really isn’t an island anymore. There is a perfectly good road which loops round the sea-front and is not much longer than the causeway. So there’s no need to put yourself in danger by walking across when the tide is coming in. Remember, it’s a fast tide that rises a considerable height. Look at the little dog on the lead. it’s been turned around by the waves. At this point she was halfway across and fortunately she made it safely……..

Washed Away

……and here’s the same causeway on a wild and stormy night.

Stormy Night

Further along the coast is Uphill Beach. You can walk from WSM to Uphill and it’s a really nice walk with sand dunes and of course long sandy beaches. Here they have a similar problem with mud, but there’s also an additional problem on the beach – boy racers. You can drive on Uphill beach and often the idiots will come on and start tearing up and down at a fair old speed. Supposedly there is a speed limit of 15mph but they don’t pay attention to that. So there are signs warning beach goers about the mud and speeding cars.. The local farmer makes a small amount of money each year towing cars out of the mud before the tide comes in. I’ve even towed a family car out that got stuck in soft sand.

Uphill Beach

I took this photograph a long time ago and it’s an old lighthouse at Burnham-on-Sea. further along the coast from WSM. Since I took this the steps have been repaired but it’s a long time since I’ve been to Burnham- so I can’t really say if the lighthouse is still in good repair.

The Tower

Although they have weapons, I think these guards are more for show than anything else. This is a popular tourist spot – Prague Castle.

On Guard

Anyway that’s it for this week and like I said a bit of a mixed bag which hopefully convey some meaning around security.

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

Margaretakirken – artishorseshit
By Tram, Escalator and Ferry- Hong Konging it – psychologistmimi
phoetryartwrasana Catalyst
This is Another Story A Special Necklace
Hot Dogs and Marmalade New Use for an iPod
This, that and the other thing Weekly Photo Challenge- Security…the One
Half a photograph Security
Weekly Photo Challenge- Security – nancy merrill photography
Weekly Photo Challenge. Security. – The Digital Teacup
Photography Journal Blog Weekly Photo Challenge- Security

Colour or Black and White

At the weekend I met up with a gang of photographers and I must admit I got some really interesting sunset photographs from Crosby beach.

On The Beach Colour

Out there on the mud flats on my own wasn’t exactly fun but the colours are very dramatic and worth the wait, even if I was sinking into the mud. But when I got home and started to look at the photographs I started to think maybe it would look more dramatic and give a sense of loneliness if it were in black and white.

On The Beach

What do you think? Colour or Black and White.

Another Place

Spent all day at the beach yesterday with a bunch of photographers photographing the amazing sculptures of Sir Antony Gormley. The day out was organised by ShootMirrorless.com with the view to getting photographers together so we can share and discuss our art and techniques.

Another Place

Another Place is a piece of modern sculpture by Sir Antony Gormley. It consists of 100 cast iron sculptures of the artist’s own body, facing towards the sea. After being displayed at several locations in Europe, it has become permanently located at Crosby Beach in north-western England. The work was controversial in the local area due to issues such as possible economic gain or environmental damage from tourism. A meeting on 7 March 2007 by Sefton Council accepted proposals that would allow the sculptures to be kept permanently at Crosby Beach in place of being moved to New York.

The cast iron figures face out to sea, spread over a 2 mile (3.2 km) stretch of the beach between Waterloo and Blundellsands. Each figure is 189 cm tall (nearly 6 feet 2½ inches) and weighs around 650 kg (over 1400 lb). In common with most of Gormley’s work, the figures are cast replicas of his own body. As the tides ebb and flow, the figures are revealed and submerged by the sea.

The figures were cast at two foundries, Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and Joseph and Jesse Siddons Foundry[4] in West Bromwich. Another Place was first exhibited on the beach of Cuxhaven, Germany, in 1997 and after that in Stavanger in Norway and De Panne in Belgium. – Source Wikipedia

Goodbye Luminosity Masking, Welcome Back HDR

Over the last few weeks I have wasted so much time trying to master Luminosity Masking. Sometimes I thought I had got it and then I would have a total failure, or several of them. Now you might be asking “what is Luminosity Masking?”

Luminosity masks are the cornerstone of tone-based image adjustments. These masks provide a convenient way to select specific tones in an image which can then be altered as the user sees fit. They have the ability to overcome shortcomings in the tonal values that were captured by the camera or film and to correct tones that shifted during image manipulation. Beyond simplifying these standard adjustments, however, luminosity masks also encourage a very individual approach to interpreting light. Luminosity masks make the captured light incredibly flexible and thereby provide the artist photographer unique opportunities to use Photoshop to explore their personal vision through photography. – Tony Kuyper

I have watched numerous tutorials, experimented on multitudes of photographs, spent hours at the PC, sometimes late into the night, trying to master this technique. All for very mixed results. Why? Because I want to display my photographs in the best possible way……and the experts will all tell you that “Luminosity Masking is much better than HDR. Oh! By the way I’ve got a course I can sell you to help you master the technique”. Look at this photograph. It’s not a great sunset, by any means but the photograph will serve to show what I mean.

Luminosity Masking

After messing around with Luminosity Masks for about 15 minutes I managed to get the image above. Look closely at it. It looks flat, lacks contrast, everything seems muddy, excuse the pun. I had to go an extra step to bring some contrast back into the scene by using ON1 Perfect Effects Dynamic Contrast filter.

Luminosity Masking with Contrast
Previously I had always used HDR to blend my photographs together. HDR is great for high contrast scenes such as sunsets or inside buildings and I like the results I get.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. For those who aren’t so acquainted with this high-tech shutterbug lingo, dynamic range is basically just the difference between the lightest light and darkest dark you can capture in a photo. Once your subject exceeds the camera’s dynamic range, the highlights tend to wash out to white, or the darks simply become big black blobs. It’s notoriously difficult to snap a photo that captures both ends of this spectrum, but with modern shooting techniques and advanced post-processing software, photographers have devised ways to make it happen. This is basically what HDR is: a specific style of photo with an unusually high dynamic range that couldn’t otherwise be achieved in a single photograph
Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/how-to/what-is-hdr-beginners-guide-to-high-dynamic-range-photography/#ixzz43eS4zF3E

However, HDR gets a bad press due to the surreal images that are often seen on the internet. Have a look at the image below this is the type of photograph that gets HDR a bad press.

Awful Awful HDR

The thing is HDR is a technique but it’s also a “look” which can produce results from the realistic through to the surreal. I don’t like this surreal type of HDR but I would never criticise anyone if they produced something like this. After all I have always said “My Photograph, My Vision”.

For me HDR can be used to create a natural looking photograph where the highlights and shadows are balanced to produce a photograph more like I saw at the time of pressing the shutter on my camera.

Lightroom HDR

So that’s it for me. No more Luminosity Masks. It’s back to HDR, takes me approximately five minutes to get the result I want using Lightroom’s HDR module, leaving me more time to get out and take photographs.

52 in 2015 Week 42 In A Row

Bit of a loose interpretation of the theme this week. On Wednesday I visited Lower Heswall on the Wirral. That’s in England. If I was standing at Talacre Lighthouse I’d just about see it as it’s on the opposite side of the estuary to me. Unlike Talacre, which has long sandy beaches, all you get are mud flats and marsh. Thick cloying mud, “welly boot” country. But the attraction for me was the number of old and abandoned boats that can be photographed.

52 in 2015 Week 42 In A Row (2)

One thing though. You have to watch the tide. I was amazed how fast the tide moves on the estuary. To give an example, I was photographing a boat on the mud flats. There’s a deep muddy gutter, you can just see it, top right of this photograph. Well suddenly the boats in gutter started swinging round on their moorings and as I looked at the jetty just to the side of me it was under about three-foot of water. Time to get off those flats, damn quick.

Meols Beach, pronounced Melz is a sandy beach just a little bit further up the coast. It’s still “welly boot” country though as there is a fine layer of mud on top of the sand. Maybe it dries out once the tide has gone out fully.

52 in 2015 Week 42 In A Row

The trip to the Wirral was really just an exploratory one in preparation for visiting at sunset. So now all I need is low tide and sunset to be in conjunction.