Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral

Well this is an interesting challenge this week. I didn’t set out today to capture these daffodils. In fact I didn’t know they existed in the location that they are, more importantly I didn’t even know that the location existed. You’ll note that I keep saying location, There’s a reason. I was asked not to publish where I found these daffodils are they are in a protected area. Suffice to say I was in the Conwy Valley, although “in the valley” is probably the wrong thing to say as I was about 850 feet up on the side of a hill.

Daffodils

The whole area is carpeted with Daffodils, This photograph doesn’t really do it justice as they just seemed to stretch on and on along the hillside. Twenty minutes before this photograph I was sheltering from the rain and hailstone shower. Not easy when you are stuck on the side of a hill but thank goodness for one of the old ruined buildings that dot the North Wales landscape. It was cold as well with a blustery wind, the remnants of the storms we’ve been having in the past few days. But as soon as I stepped into this little cleft in the hillside, the sun came out, the wind dropped, even the odd spot of rain that was in the air stopped. Perfect!

What’s the connection with Ephemeral?  These daffodils will only be there another week or so, returning again next year.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rule Of Thirds

For my blog I store my photographs on Flickr and then link them into my posts using the excellent plugin for Windows Live Writer called Flickr4Writer. In all the years I have been using it Flickr4Writer has never let me down, apart from once when Flickr changed their API rules. Give him his due, when I notified Tim Heuer, the developer of Flickr4Writer, about the problem he quickly issued a new version of the plugin compatible with Flickr.

This morning uploaded some photographs to Flickr for this post but when I went to insert them into Windows Live Writer they just weren’t showing in the catalogue. To cut a long story short after a lot of time trying to resolve the problem myself I’ve had to contact Tim again to see if he can help. It could be Flickr have changed something again, they often do without telling anyone.

In the meantime, having wasted a lot of time today trying to sort the problem I’m extremely late in posting this challenge entry. Unfortunately I will have to use the limited space that WordPress provide for storing photographs

Rule of Thirds

I hate using the WordPress provided storage. But at the moment I have to use it.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale

In most landscape photographs I take I strive not to include what I call foreign objects, people, cars, low flying birds, sometimes animals, like sheep and cows. But sometimes you need something to provide that sense of scale.

Aber Falls

I could tell you the Aber Falls has a 120 foot drop. I can even show you the picture. But unless you have been there it’s hard to imagine it’s size and that’s why in this photograph I’ve allowed that foreign object to intrude. What do you think? Does it give a sense of scale?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Depth

Another week and another challenge. Yesterday we spent some time in the National Park in search of snow. There’s no doubt we certainly found it including a “hairy moment” on the old road through Nant Ffrancon. More on that later. This weeks challenge was to portray depth in some way and so I’d like to start with a photograph from Llyn Padarn, taken yesterday from that famous viewing point on the stone bridge. Talking of that bridge it seemed like anyone who had a camera was there yesterday, including a coach load of tourists. As usual they were in a hurry to get “that photograph”. No thought for anyone else. Move over and let me take one….

Llyn Padarn

At the moment the water is really clear and you can see the stones in the lake bed easily.

Don’t look for “depth” but instead search for subject aspects which prove the presence of depth. – Andreas Feininger,

I mentioned a “hairy moment” earlier and here’s what happened. Rather than take the A5 from Bethesda to Llyn Ogwen I decide with my fellow photographers to take the old road that runs up the opposite side of Nant Ffrancon from the A5. All seemed well at first. Some snow, a little bit of ice, but easily navigable, especially with 4 wheel drive and as a bonus we came across some ponies grazing right at the side of the road.

Ponies

But back to that “hairy moment” Not much further up the road rises quite steeply. Seemed OK but suddenly we were slipping. Instead of driving in snow we were now in pure ice and it was not going good.

Icy Road

To cut a long story short we did manage to make it back down, thanks to my fellow photographers guiding me until I could find a safe turning point.

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

..As a boy in school, my twin subject areas of strongest interest were Mathematics and Art. Photography combines the two so I feel I’ve really landed on my feet. I originally wanted to be a painter – I seemed to be good in that medium, but I didn’t see myself surviving in England. I felt that I needed a way to make a living and photography is an ideal vehicle for both survival and personal expression. – Michael Kenna

Now I was never that great at Mathematics in school, or Art for that matter. But in later years I came to be quite proficient in Mathematics at least. I see my photography today as Art. Photographing the rugged landscapes in the Snowdonia National Park and our North Wales coast is my way of expressing myself.

The Tree

This tree on the edge of Llyn y Dywarchen has always intrigued me. How did it end up there? Maybe it was planted for a reason but look at the surrounding landscape. But I think I know why it’s there. As you follow the wall towards the tree there are the remains of an abandoned stone house. Perhaps the owner of the house planted it? Interestingly enough, if you walk further around the lake you will find another abandoned house. It’s got a tree also, well a couple to be precise.

This Old House

A week or so ago I was on the coast waiting for the sun to set. But I’d got the tide times wrong. The tide was on the way in and I knew I was never going to see that setting sun. At least not from the spot I was currently standing on. Time to move before I get my feet wet…and it’s not the first time that’s happened. I broke the golden rule. Forgot to look behind me. Last summer I was so busy concentrating on getting the sunset I didn’t spot the tide creeping in behind my back. Fortunately I spotted it in time and had to paddle through a small puddle to a drier part of the beach. has that ever happened to you? Frightening at first. My first thought was had the stretch of water turned the sand into quicksand, I must admit I was glad to be carrying my tripod that day.

52 in 2015 Week 3 Silhouette

Here in North Wales I think as photographers we are extremely lucky. The National Park is easily accessible, as is our coastline. We get some amazing sunsets throughout the year, even in wintertime. What more could we ask for?

Talacre Sunset

Snow can sometimes be found on the mountains, transforming the landscape, making everything look brighter and enabling us to photograph “something different”

Cwm Idwal

I think you can see from this series of photographs that I enjoy getting out, photographing our wonderful landscapes. Am I expressing myself? I hope you think I am….

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity

Serenity, I could think of so many places in North Wales where I have felt serene. Talacre Beach on a cold winters day, Cwm Idwal, Llyn Cowlyd, the Denbigh Moors. Even Dinorwic Quarry seems so serene now despite it’s industrial past, when it must have been a height of activity. All have their own unique points but one place that has always struck me with it’s simplicity and serenity is Llangelynin Church which I’ve visited more than once.

Weekly Photo Challenge Serenity

Situated high in the hills above the Conwy Valley and the village of Henryd, at 900 feet, Llangelynin is considered to be one of the most remotest churches in Wales (53.2458°N 3.8730°W). I have visited Llangelynin several times over the years and it never ceases to amaze me how quiet it is there. Standing on the hill to the side of the church and looking out over the valley you feel as though you are alone in the world, that is, apart from the sheep, birds and maybe the odd hill walker who happens to be passing by. But it is quiet most of the time and the views are magnificent.

The very secret of life for me…was to maintain in the midst of rushing events an inner tranquillity. I had picked a life that dealt with excitement, tragedy, mass calamities, human triumphs and suffering. To throw my whole self into recording and attempting to understand these things, I needed an inner serenity as a kind of balance. – Margaret Bourke-White

Inside Llangelynin you will find a simple church. Stone floors, wooden pews, a small wooden table for an altar and plain leaded glass windows. Some imitation flowers provide a splash of colour but the simplicity of the church remains. Sit down in one of the wooden pews, take a moment and enjoy the peace.

Llangelynin Church Interior

Although Llangelynin is quite simple inside writing on the wall in front of you shows the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments, in Welsh. The inscription “Fear God and honour the King”, together with scrollwork, can clearly be seen today, as can a skull and cross-bones. Whilst I was researching Llangelynin using Wikipedia I discovered that the writings were covered by a whitewashed wall so it must have taken some skill to reveal them without too much damage.

I hope you enjoyed this little trip to Llangelynin with me. It is relatively easy to get to by car but you need to park about 100 metres away and walk up a farm track

13949872435_128aaf2fa2_b (1)

Llangelynin is not the easiest building to find if driving by car but it’s well worth the visit. The signposts to the church could be better and the first time I visited I got lost in the narrow single track lanes leading from Henryd so I’ve included a map for anyone considering driving to the church. Winter may not be the ideal time as the road is narrow and steep. For the walkers, apparently the church is not named on an Ordnance Survey Map but you can find it at reference SH751737 or (53.2458°N 3.8730°W). Services aren’t held in the church that often, usually summer and special occasions so it’s open to visitors most of the time.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed

I have suddenly found a passion for Street Photography and Black & White. It all comes from a talk I attended not so long ago at Cambrian Photography in Colwyn Bay. On Saturday last I took the opportunity to attend a photowalk in Liverpool organised by Matt Hart who is based in Liverpool. Great day out, I managed to meet and talk with a good few photographers, but best of all I learnt a lot and came away with  some photographs I really like.

But here we are in North Wales so I need to find something for this weeks Weekly Photo Challenge that I’ve taken in North Wales.

Shadowed

The National Slate Museum at Llanberis is one of may favourite places to do a bit of photography on a wet day. It’s nearly all inside and there are some great little places to photograph within the buildings. Lighting is not great but many of the workshops are flooded with natural light from the big windows. You can get some real dark and grungy photographs if that’s your thing. Previously I have done this photograph in colour, I love the shadows created by the narrow passageway and available light, but I thought I’d give it a go in Black and White.

No Smoking

I’ve added a colour version of more or less the same scene. Which do you prefer? Colour or Black and White? I’d love to get your opinion so please feel free to leave a comment.

Weekly Photo Challenge: New

2015, New Year and I’m trying something new with Photoshop. Previously when I had the Pentax camera and the wide angle lens attached I never really had to bother about landscape panoramas, that big old 10-20mm gave me a wide enough angle. But it’s not the same with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens. .

First up is this scene from the lower Ogwen Valley. The sun is low on the horizon to my left, throwing some shadows across the snow topped peaks. Personally I find this scene quite beautiful and luckily enough was able to stop on the A5 to capture this. It consists of 4 photographs stitched together using the Photomerge command in Photoshop combining 2, 3 or 4 photographs to give an ultra wide panorama. Personally I find it rather beautiful.

Ogwen Valley

Those who find beauty in a landscape do so because it touches a place of beauty already within themselves. – Courtney Milne

Further up the valley is the walk to Cwm Idwal and that’s where my second panorama photograph comes from. Well just a little bit beyond. If you walk around Cwm Idwal to the right you can then take the style across the wire fence, which allows you to climb a large rocky outcrop overlooking the upper and lower parts of the Ogwen Valley

Ogwen Valley Panorama

Once again I have taken four photographs and stitched them together using Photoshop. From the right this takes in Tryfan, Llyn Ogwen, Pen yr Ole Wen, the lower valley, where the first photograph was taken and a mountain I can never remember the name of. Help me out here?

That about wraps it up. I hope you enjoyed the panorama photographs as much as I did? Maybe you’ll consider giving it a go?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Warmth

By the time I post this somewhere in the world it will be January 1st 2015. So I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Healthy and Happy New Year.

Fishing

As you can probably guess this is going to be a short one, I hope you enjoy it and it only leaves me to say, looking forward to hearing from you all in the New Year.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow

As this weeks challenge is to include yellow somewhere in the photograph I thought I would get away from the doom and gloom of the miserable wet winters days we seem to have been experiencing recently. Just on the outskirts of Caerwys, as you come in from the A55, you will find several fields of bright yellow daffodils which are grown for medical purposes, probably for the extraction of galantamine from the bulbs to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Fields of Yellow

Neat rows of bulbs stretch into the distance and provide a wonderful carpet of yellow to photograph. If you’ve never seen them before and you happen to be in the area next spring, stop off and take a photograph. You can pull into a small lay-by right on the outskirts of Caerwys, hop over a stone style and walk right into the field to get close to the daffodils, No picking though!

There are many reasons for shooting pictures, not least the adrenalin pumping moment of knowing you’re caught a marvellous instant, but it’s all a little empty if all the results end up in a little yellow box in a cupboard. – Patrick Ward

Not long after I bought the Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens I took it to the Mountain Zoo. The 12-40 being a Pro lens, although it’s not a macro is supposed to be quite good for close-up photography, so I wanted to try it out whilst I was there. Walking around the zoo I came upon these beautiful yellow flowers with a bee resting on them.

Yellow

I’m pretty happy with the results. What do you think?

Bumble Bee

On the road to Abergele from Rhudlan you will often find fields growing beautiful carpets of yellow rape seed during the summer. This one I particularly like because of the tree which breaks up the sky.

Yellow and Blue

Well I think that covers yellow for this week. For those of you who celebrate Christmas it only leaves me to wish you a Merry Christmas and to everyone I hope you have a Healthy and Happy New Year