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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Point of Ayr – Long Abandoned

Normally on a Wednesday night I’d be at the Camera Club but with the floor being renovated in the hall it was time for a field trip. A place I haven’t been to in a long time is the  site of the old Point of Ayr colliery, located just a short walk along the coast from Talacre at Fynnongroew. The colliery was situated on reclaimed land right along side the Dee Estuary and entrance to the two original shafts were with yards of the sea-shore, with the workings extending out under the sea. In later years the colliery was taken over by the National Coal Board (NCB) and a new shaft was added in the early 80’s, but now coal came to the surface on a conveyor belt.

Despite extensive reserves of coal in the mine, the colliery closed in 1996, mainly as a result of reduced demand for coal-fired power stations. All of the buildings were levelled and today you would be hard pushed to know that a colliery even existed there, other than for this sculpture of a miner with a pit pony and a cart of coal.

Miner and Pony

I was there to catch the sunset, though, and on part of the land that was once the colliery, lies the Point Of Ayr Gas Terminal. Ironically, the move from coal-fired Power Stations was prompted by the introduction of more cleaner gas-powered ones and the gas from the Point of Ayr terminal is used to provide power to half of Wales.

The fenced off areas are overgrown but you can see the Gas Terminal’s structure beyond the trees…… and that was my idea for a photograph last night. Try and get a sunset with the plant structure in silhouette.

Point of Ayr

Of course, you need a decent sunset and last night it certainly wasn’t. Hardly a cloud in the sky, coupled with a dull orange glow, but you work with what you’ve got.

Since the last time I visited Point of Ayr there have been a few additions to the site. I mentioned the sculpture earlier and I also found this wheel, which represents the winding gear from a mine. Who knows it may even be the original wheel?

So with the gas plant in the background and the wheel silhouetted against the setting sun this was probably the photograph of the night for me.

Point of Ayr

One last little point. One of the old miners who used to work at the colliery told me an interesting story. On the final day of colliery operations they flooded the mine, by boring a shaft from the dock, coal was shipped by sea, and letting the high tide do the rest.

Right that’s it. I’m off on holiday. No doubt I’ll take a lot of photographs whilst I’m away. Many of them will be touristy, but hopefully there will be the odd gem amongst them, worth writing about – Mike

What’s In A Sunset? Macphun Luminar Windows Beta

I’m always willing to try new software and when Macphun anounced a beta version for Windows of their popular program for Mac called Luminar. I thought, why not? Especially as one of my favourite plugins NIK Color Efex is no longer supported by Google.

Luminar is already a well established piece of software for the Mac, so it will be interesting to see how it shapes up in Windows. As Macphun say;

Faster, even more powerful and now featuring Accent, the world’s first AI-powered photo filter. Make photos beautiful in seconds with 1 slider. Luminar adapts to your photo style to make complex photo editing easy and joyful. Prepare to be astonished.

So the first thing to note, this is still a beta version, it’s nowhere as feature rich as the Mac version, but I can still get a flavour of how the software works.

The first thing I noticed, there are quite a few ready-made presets, one click looks, that could fit a variety of purposes.

Normandy Sunrise

In the photograph above I have selected a  preset called Artistic Copper Strong. It’s quite good for any photograph that features a sunset.

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But you can also use filters to affect certain elements of a photograph, such as sharpness, colour, foreground, All in all there are about 65 filters you can use to affect your photograph

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This one was developed using some of the filters from Luminar

Night Star

Maybe it’s me, but during my first day of trialling Luminar I started gravitating to trying it out with sunsets, I seemed to be having better success with those. Photographs taken during the day didn’t seem to gain much advantage using Luminar. However it is early days, so I might change my mind.

Orange and Blue Sunset

Anyway, here’s a few photographs that I processed using Luminar

Nova Centre

Weston Beach Shelter

Reflections

It’s far too early to draw a conclusion as to whether or not I would incorporate Luminar into my workflow. First of all the program is not complete and Macphun have a long way to go before the Windows version will equal the power of the Mac one. But it is still in beta.

At the moment, I have found it great with sunsets but I’m still indecisive as to ordinary photographs, personally I think NIK Color Efex does a better job.

Disclaimer: I’m not being paid to write this, nor am I getting free software, or anything like that. Macphun have made the beta free to download to all Windows users but the final version will be a paid model. I have included links to the Macphun Facebook page and their website in case anyone wishes to have a look at Luminar for themselves.

Here’s what others are saying about this weeks challenge

Potpourri Weekly Photo Challenge- “Satisfaction”
Pin(terest) Wins! – In the Wild Los Angeles
Natural Satisfaction – aroused
I can’t get no… – Reinhold Staden Photography
BeCre8ive
‘Satisfaction’- How personal should we get – Writing On A Rock
Spirit in Politics Photo Challenge, Satisfaction- Serenity Coasting on the Summer Breeze
The Land Slide Photography Pausing
Hot Dogs and Marmalade Summer Swimming
Stupidity Hole Valleys Past the Trees

Fire In The Sky

Don’t you just hate it. I started to write this post and then got side-tracked into doing something else. The result is as you can guess, I lost it all. For some reason, Windows Live Writer didn’t do it’s normal auto-recovery so I’m starting again. That’s if I can remember what I originally wrote.

Last week I was invited to a shoot at my favourite lighthouse and better still it was at sunset with an incoming tide. I’d never met any of the other photographers before and they were all travelling from England to be here in North Wales. So there’s my connection to bridge, this weeks challenge.

Talacre Lighthouse

In my camera bag I have some Neutral Density Filters which can be used to slow the shutter speed of the camera down. The filters come in various densities of darkness and the darker the filter the slower the shutter speed becomes. Slow the shutter down enough and moving objects like clouds become blurred and water takes on that milky sort of look. If you want to see more have a look at the photographs on “Longer Exposure, Extreme Neutral Density”.

I don’t use these filters enough, in fact I very rarely get them out of the bag. It was one of those things you buy but end up hardly ever using. So it was good to meet with other photographers who do use them and maybe pick up some pointers along the way. Later we were going to publish some of our photographs to a Facebook group dedicated to Neutral Density Filters.

Talacre Sunset

Lately I’ve noticed that a lot of photographers using Facebook and Instagram seem to be adding a watermark to their photographs. I thought that had more or less died out, but it seems to be having a bit of a revival in recent months.

This is my final photograph for this week and I’ve included a watermark. What do you think? Too intrusive? You don’t like to see them? I’d really appreciate your thoughts on the use of watermarks on photographs.

Fire In The Sky

Well that’s it for this week. As usual here’s what other photographers are saying about this weeks challenge.These are blogs I have visited and left a “like” on, because I did like their photographs.

Nan’s Farm-Inside Out Bridging the Ancient With the New
The View From Wallace Monument – James Collett Photography
Nature & Travel Pix WPC – Bridge
Light Words Weekly Photo Challenge Bridges
The Bridges – Reflections on the river
WPC- Bridges Across the World – Battling the Bone Breaker
Moonlight Reflections Covered Bridges in Parke County, Indiana
simply.cindy Trestle Bridge
Light Words WPC Bridging the Bay Bribging The Seasons
Spirit of Dragonflies WPC – Bridges in Alaska

So Much Promise…But

Last night I was in town for our camera club meeting. During a short break for coffee we all stepped outside the building to get a breath of fresh air to be met with this glorious pattern in the sky. Just too good to missed and suddenly a load of photographers are diving for their camera bags.

Sunset In Prestatyn

You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn’t waste either. – Galen Rowell

After the meeting I thought I’d take a chance and head down to the beach, maybe I’d get a good sunset. It wasn’t looking that promising but living on the coast cloud patterns can change rapidly, so you never know.

At first it was looking good. Some nice clouds forming with good colour in them.

Nova Centre

But as the sun began to set it was obvious that I wasn’t going to get anything as good as the first photograph.

It is light that reveals, light that obscures, light that communicates. It is light I “listen” to. The light late in the day has a distinct quality, as it fades toward the darkness of evening. After sunset there is a gentle leaving of the light, the air begins to still, and a quiet descends. I see magic in the quiet light of dusk. I feel quite, yet intense energy in the natural elements of our habitat. A sense of magic prevails. A sense of mystery. It is a time for contemplation, for listening – a time for making photographs. – John Sexton

Not A Great Sunset

No magic tonight! But I was happy to just be there, doing something I love, on a warm summers evening. Just as an aside. These three photographs are the first sunsets I have taken this year. I must be slipping….

Billy No Mates

Long time readers will know that I’m an avid fan of Ansel Adams. Sitting on my desk right now is a book called “Ansel Adams 400 Photographs”,  I’ve read it cover to cover, or to be more accurate, I’ve looked at every one of the 400 photographs included in the book. Several times over.

I can’t verbalize the internal meaning of pictures whatsoever. Some of my friends can at very mystical levels, but I prefer to say that, if I feel something strongly, I would make a photograph, that would be the equivalent of what I saw and felt. – Ansel Adams

I’m not at the mystical level. for me, nearly all of the photographs show a unique style and technical mastery, coupled with an amazing sense of composition.

So you might be asking “what’s this got to do with friends”? The answer is nothing and here’s the thing. I don’t photograph friends. If I’m socialising I don’t normally drag along my camera.

So instead here’s a few landscapes;

Starting with a quick one of the shore at Loch Lomond, Scotland. Actually it’s more like the exit from the marina into the loch. Go at the wrong time of the year  and you will fall foul of the voracious Scots Midgies. Trust me on this one I came away with a load of bites. You’d think that because I’m scots they would treat me differently and just go after the tourists. I mean where’s their loyalty.  Scots Wha Hae An Aaw That.

Loch Lomond

Right then, it’s off to the beach. Notice there are no friends here either. Definitely a case of “Billy No Mates” besides which they only get in the way of the photograph you are trying to take.

Prestatyn Beach

…and you’re not likely to find any friends in a field of straw bales at sunset. Just as well really because the midgies had taken up residence here.

Straw Bales

Two friends went out to play golf and were about to tee off, when one fellow noticed that his partner had but one golf ball.
“Don’t you have at least one other golf ball?”, he asked. The other guy replied that no, he only needed the one. “Are you sure?”, the friend persisted. “What happens if you lose that ball?” The other guy replied, “This is a very special golf ball. I won’t lose it so I don’t need another one.”
Well,” the friend asked, “what happens if you miss your shot and the ball goes in the lake?”
“That’s okay,” he replied, “this special golf ball floats. I’ll be able to retrieve it.”
“Well what happens if you hit it into the trees and it gets lost among the bushes and shrubs?”
The other guy replied, “That’s okay too. You see, this special golf ball has a homing beacon. I’ll be able to get it back — no problem.”
Exasperated, the friend asks, “Okay. Let’s say our game goes late, the sun goes down, and you hit your ball into a sand trap. What are you going to do then?”
“No problem,” says the other guy, “you see, this ball is fluorescent. I’ll be able to see it in the dark.”
Finally satisfied that he needs only the one golf ball, the friend asks, “Hey, where did you get a golf ball like that anyway?”
The other guy replies, “I found it.”

Corny I know but I had to include some reference to friends somewhere……and here he is. Deefer the Dog. One time friend, now long gone……

Deefer

Here’s what other blogger are saying about this weeks challenge;

Isabel Caves WPC- Turtles
Story Twigs the Imagination! Be a Friend – Read To Them
Yvette’s photography Friend
Grandma Monkey – Scribbles to Compositions
Weekly Photo Challenge – Friend – Celina2609’s Blog
Shots and captures Weekly Photo Challenge- Friend
Hammer Home True Colours
Friends for life, my mini me. – Phoenix Moon Creations
It’s REALLY Nothing – Wind Kisses
Two Girls and Giant Hotdogs – By Sarah

Solitude! Where Have I Heard That Before?

This weeks challenge is easy, or so I thought. I was almost certain we had covered Solitude before, several years back, but could I find a post referring to Solitude in any of my blogs. So instead I’m going to indulge in a bit of nostalgia and hopefully get Solitude across in the process…and I’ve missed the deadline, which is now Wednesday to Tuesday.

I took this photograph way back in 2007, it shows “Bah Humbug” and “Mr Grumpy” on the beach on a quiet summers evening.

Bah Humbug

Now “Bah Humbug” had a hatred of cats that can be best described as homicidal. Needless to say the neighbours cats never sh*t in our garden. He once caught one under the car, it was hissing and spitting, if he had got to it I dread to think what would have happened. Yet he was the quietest of dogs otherwise and it really was as shame that he developed epilepsy at a very early age. Now living on the coast, we have a lot of gulls around. To “Bah Humbug” they were just funny flying cats.

On the other hand “Mr Grumpy” was such a patient dog, loving, friendly, my pal. He lived to a ripe old age for a Cavalier, although in later years he slowed and became a right “Grumpy Old Man”, just like me.

Grumpy Old Man

Oh! I suppose I should mention “She Who Must Be Obeyed” tagged along as well.

She Who Must Be Obeyed

It’s a  great beach for walking on, especially in the evening once the tourists have gone. The tide has just gone out so all of the excess rubbish had been swept out to sea.

Now you might have noticed that I’ve introduced a watermark again. My policy is that photographs I publish on Say It With A Camera and Flickr are free to use as long as it’s not for commercial purposes and also that you credit me as the photographer. That’s not too much to ask for, after all, I’ve done all the hard work.

So it really annoys me when I see scraper sites just offering my photographs to be downloaded without accrediting me as the photographer.

Ashampoo_Snap_2017.02.09_15h16m26s_002_

The photograph you are about to see featured in my post about Cilla Black, a much-loved 60’s British pop-star who died recently and has had a statue erected in her honour near The Cavern Club in Liverpool.

Ashampoo_Snap_2017.02.09_15h14m36s_001_

Now whilst a watermark will not deter a determined thief, it’s all too easy to remove them in Photoshop, it does screw up these scraper sites, because they just take the photographs as is.

So that’s it this week, a bit of nostalgia, a rant about misuse of my photographs and hopefully I’ve covered Solitude as well.

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

Eiwawar The Great Dipper Show
My Quiet Place – Nes Felicio Photography
PhotosbyGoldie Solitude- A Winter’s Day
Georgia Adventures with Pauliana Weekly Photo Challenge- Solitude
@ The West Gate On my own
Simply Photos Standing Out in Solitude
Indira’s Blog Solitude- Weekly Photo Challenge
Solitude Found At Penmon Point – Tish Farrell
Instant Human…just add coffee. The Art of Solitude
Julie Powell – Photographer & Graphic Artist Weekly Photo Challenge – Solitutde