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.


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: 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.

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: 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: Dialogue

Short one from me this week as I’m preparing for a week on Anglesey. I hadn’t intend to show another photograph from Cribinau this week but when the Weekly Challenge was announced it seemed appropriate to use these two photographs.

Church In The Sea


























Cribinau is tidal and as I wrote last week you better make sure you get the tide times right or you could find yourself stuck on the island till the tide goes out again. Although taken at different focal lengths I managed to get both the churches about the same size. It’s the foreground that is slightly different but if you look at the photograph on the left hand side, the clump of rocks you see in the foreground is the same as those about half way up in the right hand photograph. Time between those two photographs being taken – 4 minutes. Have you ever seen anywhere where the tide comes in as fast as this?

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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Summer Lovin’–Yeah Right!

I hate summer. For photography, at least. If you’ve trekked somewhere with the backpack holding the camera, lenses, tripod, food and drink you’re usually hot and bothered by the time you get there. If you’re like me, pale skinned, you’ve got to the slap the lotion on as well and that just makes me feel icky and don’t forget the bugs which bite the hell out of you. So yeah, I hate summer. But what about you?

Shall I continue? Trying to get a decent landscape photograph in harsh sunlight is not my idea of fun either.

Llyn Peninsula

I like this photograph, mainly because of the foreground interest but I do think it lacks something, it just looks rather flat. Whereas the sunset offers more in my opinion.


There’s detail in the shadows and the highlights, the photograph looks warm and not so harsh, more like I prefer.

Well that’s it for this week and I’d just like to finish by saying sometimes I wonder about the theme choices of WordPress. Summer Lovin’ give me a break….

A Passion For HDR

Ever since I saw my first HDR photograph by a great photographer called Peter van Allen that was it, I was sold. HDR was something I wanted to do and I was going to find out how. Search around the web and you will find plenty of tips, tutorials, etc on how to do HDR. You will also find lots of articles talking about how HDR sucks or similar. Look at the dates of when these articles were published, most of them are a good couple of years back, some even longer. The photography world is divided as are the camera manufacturers, some like Pentax and Olympus have dedicated HDR functions built into some of their cameras now. My old Pentax had 4 HDR functions, 5 if you include the Night Scene setting. The Olympus OM-D E-M1 has two and but makes up for this by having dedicated Auto-Bracket settings for HDR available at the turn of a dial.


If you read my last post about going mirror-less you might recognise this photograph. It’s the HDR version of the yellow gorse which I shot on a rainy day in the hills above Colwyn Bay. HDR, or to give it it’s proper name, High Dynamic Range (Imaging), is a technique used to get a greater dynamic range of luminosity than you would get from a normal photograph. In other words, by using HDR you can compensate for loss of detail in the Highlight or Shadow areas by taking multiple exposures at different exposure levels and then combine those photographs using software to give you a more balanced result.


Here is an example of what I am talking about. In the original photograph I was having trouble balancing the highlights because the stained glass window and the side ones were over-exposed. If you compare the original to this one above you will see that there is more detail in the HDR photograph but it also has a certain “look”. This “look” has nothing to do with the HDR technique which combines the photographs. It’s about how I then use the software (in my case PhotoMatix) and post-process in Photoshop to give the photograph a style.


Now you may or may not like “my style” – feel free to say so, I won’t be offended, in fact I welcome criticism and I won’t bite back. However, others do and this style has been working for me over the last couple of months as I’ve been providing photographs for a funded tourism project. More about that in the coming months when I’m officially allowed to talk about it and show you some of the photographs.

Of course HDR used inside presents different challenges to when your outside but a great time to use HDR is when the sun is setting or rising for that matter.


I mentioned “styles” before and this photograph would not look good if I had used the same processing techniques as I did for the churches. Each photograph presents different challenges for HDR processing and therein lies the problem. Some HDR practitioners find a style they like and then apply that to every photograph they take. But what is good for one may be absolutely terrible for another.


Even these two, taken about ten minutes apart had different styles applied to them. Subtle changes, but different, nevertheless.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on HDR. Have you ever tried it? If you did, did you like the results you wanted. Or maybe you’re just thinking it’s not for you. Let me know.

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