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.


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


Weekly Photo Challenge: Twinkle

Twinkle, Twinkle, little star…..where the heck are you? My intention for this weeks challenge was to do a night shot showing the stars but all this week, in my little part of North Wales, we have had nothing but overcast skies. With an f2.8 lens and the Olympus OM-D E-M1 I should have got a good photograph. But alas it is not to be so instead I bring you The Catherine Wheel.

Twinkle Twinkle

Now you might be asking where is this? Is it in North Wales? You’re right it could be anywhere….but for this photograph I’m in Caernarfon. There’s a little stone jetty, just to the right of the harbour bridge, in front of the castle and the Anglesey Arms. That’s where we were for this amazing Catherine Wheel being twirled round and round by Nigel Thomas.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Converge

I’ve been thinking about this weeks challenge for a few days now, wondering which photograph would fit the theme. I mean Converge is open to a lot of interpretations and this week I thought of going with a more literal, or should that be lateral, interpretation? Anyway I have gone with a church scene. Goodness knows I shot enough of them earlier this year and not too many of them have seen the light of day yet.

But why go for a church? People converge there. Well at least they used to. Nowadays congregations are so much smaller but hey I’m not preaching. But in a way I am or I’m about to.

You may have noticed that I have changed the theme. Also if you click on a photograph instead of being taken to Flickr you will now end up on 500px. Why? Well it’s done to this. If anyone is going to make money out of my photographs it’s going to be me. Recently Yahoo through the medium of Flickr decided that Creative Commons photographs were up for grabs and would now be offered for sale. Admittedly any photograph that had part of it’s CC license as Non-Commercial wouldn’t be considered, according to Yahoo, but call me cynical but …..need I say more.

So with that in mind I am changing the license on all of my future published photographs to Copyright © Mike Hardisty 2014 – All Rights Reserved

I don’t want anyone to appreciate the light or the palette of tones. I want my pictures to inform, to provoke discussion – and to raise money. – Sebastiao Salgado

Hopefully you will understand my reasons for doing this and if you maybe want to use a photograph for your blog or desktop, contact me.

On The Beach

Just before that amazing sunset on Tuesday I took this quick landscape photograph using just some seaweed and footprints in the sand. With the tide having just gone out the sand was quite soft still and my boots just kept sinking in.

Shadows and Highlights

I’m not complaining though because I knew I could use this to my advantage and coupled with the debris left behind by the outgoing tide I had my foreground interest, one of the key elements I try to incorporate into my landscape photographs.

I often find it useful to consider landscape images as comprising three areas, foreground, middle-ground and background. While our human perception tends to focus more on foreground details and objects in our near vicinity, the camera makes no such distinctions. Foreground rocks that the photographer could reach out and touch while at the scene are rendered with the same presence as distant clouds in the final image. When visualising, I think it pays to try to see background and foreground details with equal importance. – Pete Bridgwood

Of course dramatic clouds will always provide the second element for any photograph and coupled with a setting sun what more could you ask for. In my mind this photograph is maybe missing something from the middle but with a vast expanse of flat sandy beach in front of me I’d be hard pushed to get that third element. Maybe you could say the thin ribbon of hills and mountains provides the middle ground?  What do you think? Is the middle ground missing?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Angular

I was thinking about what photograph to show for the Weekly Photo Challenge and then this evening  I caught this amazing sunset on Ffrith Beach at Prestatyn. I had to share it.

Ffrith Beach sunset

Has it got a connection to Angular? Who cares? Look at that sunset it’s amazing and I almost missed it. I got down the beach at 2:45pm thinking that maybe I get something. But as the sun started to set behind Snowdon it wasn’t looking to good and I was thinking about packing up. Especially as it was starting to get quite cold on the beach. Suddenly the sky started to colour up, little bit of orange at first, then some reds and then purples. Oh! Boy. It was beginning to look really good, not something you want to miss. I was firing off photograph after photograph constantly changing my position on the beach to get different items in the foreground. Then I got a lucky break when I realised that one of the groyne markers further along the beach was now fully exposed as the tide went out. Quick dash and this is the result.

Now then. What about Angular. If you look, there are lots of angles, the way the pole is bent, the chains holding the pole upright, even the triangular marker at the top of the pole. What do you think? Does the photograph fit the brief?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement

As my old granny used to say “you need your head feeling”. Yesterday I ended up at Llyn Cowlyd about 1100 feet above Trefriw. It’s remote, lonely and desolate, there doesn’t seem to be any inhabitation in the valley, only the pipeline that runs down the valley to Dolgarrog Power Station and a row of electricity poles.


This weeks challenge is about achievement and you might be wondering where this post is going? To me, it’s an achievement that after my fall in the Llanberis Pass I chose to visit this remote location on my own for another photography trip out. This time I was more careful where I put my feet and with an intermittent phone signal it’s not the place to have another fall.

Llyn Cowlyd

Llyn Cowlyd is now a reservoir with a dam and that’s where I’m standing when I took this photograph. On the dam. It’s the best viewpoint but you only have a narrow path to walk along as the dam slopes away from you into the water.

Rusty Gate

The rusty gate looks out-of-place as it doesn’t seem to serve any purpose. Maybe it’s to keep the sheep from walking out on those rocks. Talking of sheep, they seemed to be the only inhabitants in the valley. The whole time I was there I never heard a bird sing or call out and even the sheep were pretty quiet. Loudest sound came from that pipeline and it was quite eerie, hard to describe but I think it was the echo of the water slapping against the tower and being carried down the pipe.

At this point I would normally add some tags and related articles from Zemanta which has always been my goto when I’m looking for other WordPress Bloggers who are writing about the Weekly Photo Challenge. However in recent months Zemanta has not been coming up with articles that I want to include and some really weird tagging suggestions. I’ve tried working with the folks at Zemanta and a couple of times I thought they had fixed the problem but it seems it’s gone down again. I mean why would I want to tag this post with Chicago City Hall, or what about Ray Hanania, whoever that is.

Related articles is even better. “Sports Smackdown at 6pm” from 247Miami.tv or maybe “Wife of Muammar Gaddafi wants to return to Libya” by famagusta-gazette.com are really related to a post about a dam in North Wales. Sorry Zemanta you need to retune that algorithm again if you want me to keep using your plugin. Do you use Zemanta? Are you getting the results you expect from it?


Barkby Beach

After my fall last week in the Llanberis Pass I haven’t been out much. I’m slowly recovering, the black eye has almost gone, but the bruising on the leg is still there and I still get the odd sharp pain when I walk. I was getting bored today, itching to get out with the camera again and with the clouds forming up for what looked like a nice sunset, the beach was looking good. I mean. What can go wrong? Flat beach, tide on the way in, sure there are some rocks but if I stay off them, should be good to go.

Barkby Beach

Of course if you are going to photograph the sunset, you should work out where the sun is going to set before hand. There’s an App for that, I’ve got several on my phone. Come to think of it there must be an App for just about every photography task I can think of, but you’ve got to use them. Guess who didn’t today. Suffice to say the sun wasn’t setting over the sea. But I still managed to get this long exposure HDR down at Barkby Beach.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

I have often wondered if you can have a minimalist landscape. To me landscapes are so rich in detail and yet when I look through my back catalogue I can find many photographs that could qualify as minimalist depending on how you interpret the word. I hate these open to interpretation themes. But that’s the nature of the WordPress Weekly Challenges. Some are very good. I know more or less straight away which photograph I will probably use. Some are wishy-washy. I have to search through my back catalogue to find something that I think will fit the theme. And so to this weeks photograph.

Grey Day

I’m not so sure that it qualifies as minimalist, there’s a lot going on even although it looks quite simple. The waves, the clouds, the ripples in the water, the shapes in the sand all contribute to what I consider to be quite a complex photograph, but as Seyda Deligonul once said;

“The tension between nature’s complexity and the minimalist expression of it fascinates me”

Admittedly my eye is drawn to the groyne marker. It dominates the scene, maybe to the detriment of everything else. But can you see the couple walking on the beach or maybe the gull flying out to sea? So I’ll leave you with question.

Minimalist, Yes or No?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent

For this weeks challenge I decided to head into Snowdonia and see if I could find a waterfall or river flowing down the side of the hill. You can be spoilt for choice but in the end I decided to settle for a photograph of the Afon Nant Peris as it descends from Pen-y-Pass through the Llanberis Pass to Llyn Peris

Afon Nant Peris

There are plenty of photo opportunities along the side of the river which is easily accessible from the A4086 which runs through the pass. Biggest problem is parking but yesterday the roads were quiet and I managed to stop at several of the well-known ones as you descend the pass.

Say I’m on a path along a stream, but what I really want to do is be down at the stream, not along the path. I go down along the side of the stream and I move up and down, back and forth, looking for, say, reflections. I’m watching the movement of the water. When I find something that pulls me in, something that I feel connected to—and usually it’s a quality of the light—then I open up the technical box… – Eddie Soloway

….and it pulled me in quite literally. I slipped and fell, had my own descent, in a manner of speaking. To cut a long story short smashed my camera into my face, bashed my knee and shin on a rock but today I got the all clear from A&E. I look like a one black-eyed Panda, the bruising is so bad. How did I end up doing this? I broke my cardinal rule by putting myself in harm’s way and I should know better. Wet rocks do not make a good platform for launching yourself off. I stepped onto the rock, my foot slipped and I ended up trying to rugby tackle another rock.

This photograph was taken before I had my fall.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art

It’s been a few weeks since I posted. Family has taken priority recently but I am back with a photograph that I hope you will like. Taken last night on Prestatyn Beach it’s a 10 stop long exposure HDR about an hour before sunset.

Purple Haze

The Weekly Challenge was to create Cover Art and I did consider adding some text to this photograph but in the end I decided to leave it as it is.