Push The Boat Out

I’m still struggling with the new schedule for the Weekly Photo Challenge. It just does not fit with my weekly schedule and so this week I’ve got a bit of a mixed bag for you.

I don’t know which is the more predominant colour here, that bright orange or the even brighter green of the benches in the shelter. What do you think? Green or Orange?

Beach Shelter

Now this is definitely green. If you are ever fortunate enough to visit Tai O stilted village on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. you will see these little tourist boats running around. Personally I preferred to walk around the village, mainly because there are far better photo opportunities.


Still in Hong Kong, if you get the chance visit the bird market, it’s right next to the flower market so you can kill two birds (excuse the pun) with one stone. Anyway, these are green birds with a little bit of red.. I’m very good at identifying birds as regular readers well know.

The Birds

Looks like I’m on a Hong Kong roll this week. This you definitely have to do. Catch the Star Ferry across the harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central. It’s a quick trip across Victoria Harbour, lasting about 15 minutes. Push the boat out (not another pun?) and pay extra for the Upper Deck. HK$ 2.50 or about UK£ 0.25p, US$ 0.30c.

Celestial Star

My last one today. I’ve been playing around with compositing photos. The model is a stock photograph courtesy of Marcus Ranum

The Sword

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

Ellen Grace Olinger – Haiku Art Site Photo Challenge- Green
New Shoots – Beyond the Window Box
A Texan’s View of Upstate New York Oh So Green
嘗試 Try – Lived in UK, Living in Taiwan
Welcome! It IS easy being Green! Photo gallery
It IS easy being green- Weekly Photo Challenge – Sunni Buchanan Photography
DAVID OAKES -IMAGES. Daily Post – Weekly Photo Challenge…..GREEN
simply.cindy Gallery of Green
“Snotgreen Sea” – Beach Books Blog
through the luminary lens Spring has Sprung


Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare

My bags are packed, batteries charged, I’ve got spare memory cards and the kit is all cleaned and ready to go. Done the online check-in, printed my boarding pass, I never trust those ones they send to your mobile. What happens if you have a problem with your phone? I’m a dinosaur, give me a hard copy any day.  I’m off on my holidays tomorrow with hopefully lots of photo opportunities as we travel through Germany and the Netherlands for a week. But before I go I was giving some thought to this weeks challenge and the more I thought about it the more I thought “all of my photographs are rare”

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. – Dorothea Lange

How true that is. Every time I press the shutter, no matter how many times I photograph the same subject, something will have changed. I will have moved, even if it’s just a little bit, or a cloud might change shape slightly, or move across the sky, tumbling water never takes the same shape, so in a way it’s not the same photograph. I’m sure sometime in the past I’ve argued this point before on a weekly challenge post.

This photograph was taken a good few years back on Talacre Beach. I was there to photograph the lighthouse as the sun was setting. I’d timed my visit to coincide with an incoming tide and this family of four decide to step in front of the camera. At the time I was annoyed but I did manage to catch several silhouette shots.

Weekly Photo Challenge Family

As a back story. They missed moving their car off the beach car-park which closes at nine and it looked like they were going to be stuck until the morning. Fortunately, they were able to contact the Security Company who were willing to come and open the gates. Lucky them.

Another silhouette and another rare one. It’s me, on the beach at Weston-super-Mare. A self-portrait, nonetheless, there’s not too many of them around, thank goodness. I prefer to be behind the camera.

Weekly Photo Challenge - Selfie

Lastly, my one and only photograph of a hovering Kestrel. I was standing on the cliffs and the Kestrel was searching for something at the base. It meant it was almost level with me and I was able to get this one and only shot before it moved position


Right that’s it. I won’t be here for next weeks challenge or to reply to your comments. I will get round to them when I get back though – Mike

I nearly forgot to mention, I’ve been asked to give a talk on some of the abandoned buildings I have photographed on my travels through Snowdonia and North Wales. So when I come back of my holiday I’m going to be super-busy as I’ve got about ten days to prepare. That’s going to be fun and I’m looking forward to it. Well, I am at the moment…..

Anyway – here’s what 10 other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge.

Japanese Lantern Lighting – From Hiding to Blogging
Wednesday Lensday- Rare Vintage – Aloada Bobbins
a night of rare decision for a dog- Dronesville’s adventure#3 – a nerd’s confession- when-iam-68
LPS 1921 – By the Wayside
Picture Worthy Aug 21, 2016 – [Sunday] WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge- Rare
Typing through time – Our World In Photographs
Sea Play Photography Photo Challenge- Rare
The Land Slide Photography Food
WY Pictures Photography Blog Red Jellyfish In Blue Water
Weekly Photo Challenge- Rare – My Dog Ate a Lightbulb

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

28th July 2008 started with a glorious sunny day and clear blue skies. I had a meeting with some of my staff in the training centre at 11 am and so was up early to walk the dogs. At the time I lived on the same street as the fire station and unusually at 06:48 there wasn’t one tender in the station. Strange to say the least but I didn’t give it another thought, especially as there had been no sirens……until I turned round and spotted the column of dirty black smoke rising into the sky.

Big Smoke

My immediate thought was “something big” and from the location, near the sea-front. Maybe one of the big hotels or perhaps a night-club.

Well the photographer in me couldn’t resist it. So the dogs were given the shortest walk ever and I was in my car and on the sea-front within minutes. I was wrong, it wasn’t a hotel or a night-club. it was the iconic Grand Pier and it was totally engulfed.

It has been reported that at 01:35 on 28 July 2008, a fire at the foot of the north tower on the shoreward (eastern) end of the pavilion triggered a privately monitored fire alarm, but the alarm monitoring company were unable to contact the key-holder by mobile phone and therefore no further action was taken. It was not until 06:46 that the Avon Fire and Rescue Service was notified. They deployed 13 fire engines, special appliances, and more than 85 fire-fighters to tackle the blaze, but the building was soon destroyed


If you look closely at this photograph you can see in the bottom left hand side of the pier a jet of water. This was from the fire-fighters attempting to fight the fire.

As observers we couldn’t get any closer but fortunately I had grabbed one of my telephoto lenses so was able to get some close-up photographs of the intense fire.

Blazing Tower

The Grand Pier had four towers, one at each corner. this was all that was left of one of them.

No Hope

By now it’s 7:24 and we were asked to move from our view-point as the emergency services wanted unrestricted access to that part of the sea-front.

The Grand Pier

This is the front of the pier. from this point to where the fire was blazing is probably about 300 metres.

It’s now 8:24. The main structure of the pavilion is totally destroyed, all that remains is the charred skeleton. The police move to close the beach area to the public. For one the pier is unsafe and secondly there’s money underneath the pier. The pavilion housed loads of slot machines, need I say more.

The End

That’s it the pavilion was gone and it had to be a big loss for Weston-super-Mare as it’s a big tourist attraction. Preliminary investigations suggested that the fire started due to a number of deep fat fryers which had been located within the pavilion area, however after further investigation this was later ruled out, as was arson. On 22 October 2008 at a news conference held by the fire service, it was announced that the cause of the fire would be recorded as unknown, but that the most likely cause was electrical.

Work began dismantling the wreckage on 12 September 2008 and the Bristol architects Angus Meek won the contract to design the new pavilion on 15 October. North Somerset Council approved the plans, which also included a rotating observation tower 91 metres (299 ft) in height, on 12 March 2009. Contractors John Sisk and Son were selected to construct the new pavilion, which was expected to be completed by June 2010, but was delayed following several setbacks and instead re-opened in time for half-term break on 23 October 2010. The opening day attracted more than 52,000 visitors, and an estimated 100,000 for the whole weekend.


I never got to see the completed new pier, except in photographs. In March 2010 I left Weston-super-Mare to live in North Wales. Maybe I’ll go back, who knows.

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Danger Sinking Mud

Warning sign silhouetted against the sunset on Weston-super-Mare advising of the danger of walking on sinking mud

Weston-super-Mare has some great sandy beaches, but venture beyond the signs in this image and you could soon find yourself stuck in thick cloying mud. Owing to the large tidal range in the Bristol Channel, the low tide mark in Weston Bay is about a mile from the seafront and this low tide uncovers areas of thick mud, hence the colloquial name, Weston-super-Mud. These mudflats are very dangerous to walk in, and yet, tourists still continue to walk beyond these signs and end up having to be rescued.

Although not generally known, Weston has the second highest tidal range in the world at a massive 15 meters, and when that tide starts to come in, it comes in fast.

HDR processing was done with Machinery HDR Effects on a bracket of 5 exposures (-2 to +2). Post processing was done in Adobe Photoshop Elements with NIK Color Efex, Detail Extractor and Tonal Contrast

Weekly Photo Challenge: Arranged

Wooden posts arranged in long line to mark off an area of the beach

Between Weston-Super-Mare and Uphill is a long, flat sandy beach with about 100 metres  of hard packed sand, when the tide goes out, which is ideal for kite-buggying. A kite buggy is a light, purpose-built vehicle powered by a traction kite (power kite). It is single-seated and has one steerable front wheel and two fixed rear wheels. The driver sits in the seat located in the middle of the vehicle and accelerates and slows down by applying steering manoeuvres in coordination with flying manoeuvres of the kite. This activity is called kite buggying. The speed achieved in kite buggies by skilled drivers can range up to around 110 km/h (70 mph), hence protective clothing, including a safety helmet, is commonly worn.

On a busy day there can be about 20-30 people kite-buggying but the beach is large enough to handle these numbers.

And that brings me to the posts. As I said earlier the buggies can achieve quite high speeds, making it unsafe for anyone who might venture across their path. So for safety’s sake the beach area allocated to the buggies is marked by the wooden posts shown in my image above.

Dog on Beach

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on the beach at Weston-super-Mare

Our dog, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Amantra Prince Rupert, but  that’s too much of a mouthful so we call him Deefer. Work it out, it’s not that hard…

This image has been created with Machinery HDR Effects from a bracket of  3 RAW images (-2 to +2). Image details ISO 80, f3.5, camera Fuji FinePix S9600

Beach Shelter Sunset

Sunset at Weston-super-Mare with a Beach Shelter in the foreground

Beach shelters like this are dotted along the sea front at Weston-super-Mare. They’re great to photograph and also great places to take shelter if you get caught by the rain on the long exposed beach.

This image has been created with Machinery HDR Effects from a bracket of  5 RAW images (-2 to +2). Image details ISO 100, f11, camera Samsung GX-10.