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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces Of Nature

A great subject for this weeks challenge and one I can relate to seeing as I’m often outdoors. Instead of a photograph this week I’m going to start with a video I shot early December 2013.


We were lucky. Although the sea defences were breached there was no localised flooding as desperate workers from the county council managed to put in place a secondary defence of sand bags to impede the seas progress.

Further along the coast at Rhyl the sea did breach the defences and many homes were flooded.

And now for some photographs, after all that’s what Say It With A Camera is about.

Gone Fishin'

In the photograph above this guy was fishing on a really stormy day at Rhyl. If the wind is in the right direction incoming waves hit the curved sea wall and break up with these amazing plumes of spray. I don’t know about you but I think he was totally crazy to be still fishing. I’m using a zoom lens so I’m far enough back to be safe. Just after I took the one above a really big breaker came in and nearly swept him off his feet.

Stormy Seas

Under certain conditions those waves travel along the curve, creating a thunderous roaring sound, and if you are standing on the earthen bank you can really feel the ground vibrate.

Rhyl Seafront 4

The force behind these waves is so powerful, once again the only safe way to photograph close up like this is to stand back and use a zoom lens. Regular readers will know I have a golden rule. “No photograph is worth taking chances for”. I broke that rule last year and ended up in the Emergency Department, thankfully it wasn’t serious but I had a lucky escape.

52/2013 Week 49

Back to Prestatyn. Where those waves are breaking over is part of the North Wales Coastal Path. People regularly walk and cycle there, even at normal high tides. High winds, the right on-shore conditions and exceptional Spring Tides all contribute to a damaging force that very quickly can turn to coastal flooding. I’m standing on a small hill, behind me is the town of Prestatyn, but it’s in a dip. Flooding is inevitable if the sea defences break down, as they did in Rhyl.

Talking of high Spring Tides. In the photograph below you are looking at the Talacre Beach Car-Park. Talacre is where I go to photograph the Lighthouse. The incoming Spring Tide comes round behind to sand dunes to my right and floods the salt marsh. If the tide is high enough it will also flood the car-park and continue away to the left behind the sand dunes


Of course what this means is that you can get cut-off by the tide. In the photograph below, which is just beyond the far left of the photograph above, you can see someone with a check shirt waiting it out. They’ve been cut off and will have to spend a few hours there till the tide recedes.

Weekly Photo Challenge: My Neighbourhood - 11

In reality it’s not as bad as that as long as you know the area. Climb the fence to the left, walk along the sand dunes for about half a mile and you can get onto drier ground. But you have to know the area to do that.

That’s it for this week and as usual feel free to leave comments.

Related Articles or here’s what others are writing about this weeks challenge

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.