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.


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: 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: 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: 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: Silhouette

Why is it I’m nearly always late with submitting photographs for the weekly challenge? I was searching around for a silhouette photograph taken in North Wales and it made me realise that I don’t have too many. Mainly because I tend to photograph sunsets either on Prestatyn or Talacre beaches and I’m sure you’ve seen enough of the lighthouse or groyne markers to be found on these beaches. Now as luck would have it I’ve been doing quite a lot of testing of the Olympus E-M1 including a few moon photographs I took a few nights back.

Moon silhouette

Now it’s not the greatest of images. The shutter speed was 1/4 second but the ISO was 3200 which makes for a lot of noise. But hey it was just a test to see how the camera performed at high ISO settings.

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Why You Should Always Look Behind You

So there I am on the beach last night waiting for sunset and then the moon to rise. A chance to capture the “super-moon and also get this Groyne Marker silhouetted against it. What is they say about the best laid plans? Oh! Sure the sun was setting. But I couldn’t see it. Not behind that cloud.


If the light is great in front of you, you should turn around and see what it is doing behind you. – Jay Maisel

That seemed like good advice, even if the light isn’t great in front of you, turn around. You never know what might be behind you. On the beach the tide might be coming in. In the wild, it could be a grizzly or a tiger. Not that we see too many of them here in North Wales, but you never know?

Anyway back to the photograph. When I turned round from the non-existent sunset I could see the storm clouds building up. No chance of a super-moon last night, but the ripples in the sand make for a good texture. Time to get off the beach. That’s it from me this week……and don’t forget.

It’s Behind You….

13 Steps To Emergency Help

Apparently a good way of attracting readers to your blog is to include a number in your post title. You know the type I mean;

  • 5 surefire ways you can….
  • 10 websites you must…
  • 7 steps for …..

Oh! And don’t make your post title too serious. Oops! Slipped up there. Or did I?

The Quarry Hospital

Now you can see that there are more than thirteen steps here. Probably about sixty, but I could hardly say;

60 Steps to Emergency Help

Or could I….

Anyway this weeks photograph for the Weekly Challenge is from Llanberis, North Wales and shows the Quarry Hospital Museum. Inside you can see some of the original medical equipment from the period around about the 1800’s. There’s also a ward that has been restored, an operating theatre, even an X-Ray Machine, and my personal favourite a gory display of amputating equipment along with the mortuary.

The hospital was opened to treat the men of Dinorwic Quarry, which with over 3000 workers at it’s peak had a lot of accidents. Elfin Safety wasn’t a consideration then. At least, not as much as it is now. Consequently, broken bones, lost fingers, and crush injuries were common-place and having the hospital near to the place of work meant the men could get back to work, quickly, after being treated. Interestingly the hospital remained open until the 1940’s.

A Little Test

According to the blog theme the largest size of image I can use here is 1200 pixels. But I’ve noticed that text spills beyond this size so a little test to see if I can use an image larger than 1200 pixels on the widest size.

Penmon Point

How The Other Half Lived

For the Weekly Challenge I thought I’d show you two photographs I took at the National Slate Museum, which is located at Llanberis in North Wales. Previously known as the Welsh Slate Museum, the 19th century workshops, which were once part of the disused Dinorwic Slate Quarry, make a fascinating day out.

In the museum you will find the Engineers House which has been furnished typical of the period around about 1911. The Engineer was responsible for all things engineering in the quarry and workshops, so it made sense to give him a house in the courtyard of the workshops. The status of the Engineer was far higher than the quarrymen or skilled crafts people who worked in the workshops, therefore his family enjoyed a greater standing of living, as evidenced by the furnishings and the red velvet curtains in the parlour.

The Engineers House

Contrast that, I knew I’d get that word in somewhere, with a typical quarrymans cottage which can be seen at the museum.

Miners Cottage

In the 1860’s the slate industry was the largest employer in Gwynned. As demand grew, workers moved from their low paid work in the fields to the dirty and dangerous slate industry for a better wage. By 1881 the population of Ffestiniog parish had grown to eleven and a half thousand, an increase of nearly ten thousand. Available housing struggled to cope and it was not uncommon to have two families living together in the cramped accommodation. Disease, especially typhoid and tuberculosis, were constant threats. Dampness, poor water supplies and sewerage added to the conditions. Can you imagine living like that?

In November 1900 two thousand, eight hundred quarrymen walked out of Penrhyn Quarry, the other side of the mountain from Dinorwic. The bitter dispute lasted for three years and is considered one of the worst in British Industrial History. However, in 1901 fifty five men went back to the quarry; they were to be branded “traitors” by the still striking quarrymen and their families.

In the window of this replica house from this period there is a printed card with the words ‘Nid oes Bradwr yn y t? hwn’ (‘There is no Traitor in this house’). Most of the cards remained in the window but when a card was removed it was a sign that another quarryman had gone back to work.

Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge

I’ve finally found the time to have a go at one of Cee’s Odd Ball Challenges


I came upon this guy playing the bagpipes on the seafront, whilst I was down photographing waves breaking against the sea wall. I live in North Wales, not exactly known for a surplus of Scottish pipers so I was interested to find out what he was doing. First of all he’s not Scottish and he doesn’t live in Scotland either. He’s from England and he comes to Prestatyn every year to play the pipes.

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