Quick Post – Long Exposure

Whilst I was at Talacre on Friday I did this really long exposure using a 10 Stop ND Filter

Wild Talacre

That’s it…no more to say.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

Unusually this week I’m ahead of schedule for writing my blog posts. Usually I get around to it about Tuesday or Wednesday but as I was out yesterday experimenting with long exposures I thought one of the photographs from Talacre would fit the bill for this weeks challenge.

Talacre Lighthouse

But for this week I also decided to use a few textures to give me a sort of dreamy look. What do you think? Now at one time I used to use all of my own textures, manually adding them to each photograph and slowly building up the layers using different blend modes. It’s effective but slow. Recently Adobe released a nice little free extension for Photoshop CC 2014 called Adobe Paper Texture Pro. It’s a Creative Cloud exclusive for Subscribers only and you can download it from Adobe Add-On’s by following this link. You will need to install Adobe Extension Manager if you haven’t already done so

When you run the extension you are shown a panel with thumbnails for the various textures that are available. All you have to do is select the texture you want, set the blend mode, change the opacity if required and that’s it your done. Want another texture on top? Do the same again. Simple fast and efficient. You don’t even need to resize the textures. Adobe Paper Texture Pro takes care of that for you.

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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Between, In More Ways Than One

All this week we’ve been having some great sunsets. So last night seemed like a good time to go out again with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the 12-40mm f2.8 Pro lens for some more familiarity and testing. The more I experiment and use the new camera the easier I will find it when I need to take that all important photograph without thinking about what I need to set on the camera.

My favourite outdoor testing place is Talacre Beach and the abandoned lighthouse. Wide open beach, some good pools of water if the tide has just receded and the sunsets are generally pretty good. You’ve also got the lighthouse to add that little bit extra.

Talacre Sunset

I like to think that I’m a pretty considerate photographer. When I’m out with my camera I’m usually aware of my surroundings and the people around me. If someone is taking photographs, even with their phone, I won’t walk in front of them. I’ll either wait or go round the back. Just as equally I expect the same consideration. OK, you don’t always get it with your average smart phone user, they are usually blithely unaware that you are taking photographs, even though the camera is on a tripod. But hey, I don’t have an exclusive right to any view. It’s something you have to live with, especially in tourist hot-spots.

But you would expect someone with fancy Canon DSLR, filters and a tripod to have come consideration. Not this guy. He came onto the beach, almost as the sun had set, walked right past me and proceeded to start photographing all round the lighthouse. In effect “photo-bombing” He didn’t care that he was in my frame. Oh No! He was Mister Important and he was going to get that photograph no matter what.


Sunset last night was about 21:40, so I was only waiting around for another ten minutes or so anyway before packing up to go home. Note that time. Anyway I left him on the beach busily snapping at everything in sight. As I walked through the now deserted beach car park I couldn’t resist taking this final photograph. “What goes around comes around”.


Have you ever had anyone “Photo-Bombing” your photograph. Did you do anything about it? I’d love to hear from you.

Room With A View

A room with a view. Well it would be if anyone bought it. The old lighthouse at Talacre beach has been up for sale for sometime but it does not look like there are any takers.

Talacre Sunset

It’s been a while since I was on Talacre, it’s my outdoor goto place when I want to try out any photographic techniques or new gear for that matter. So Saturday night, whilst my wife is watching football (soccer for my American readers), I took the new Olympus to the beach for my first test of HDR during sunsets. I’ve been to this beach loads of times and shot off hundreds of photographs of the lighthouse from all sorts of angles and times of the day.

Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fixes a precise moment in time. We play with subjects that disappear; and when they’re gone, it’s impossible to bring them back to life. We can’t alter our subject afterward…. Writers can reflect before they put words on paper…. As photographers, we don’t have the luxury of this reflective time….We can’t redo our shoot once we’re back at the hotel. Our job consists of observing reality with help of our camera (which serves as a kind of sketchbook), of fixing reality in a moment, but not manipulating it, neither during the shoot nor in the darkroom later on. These types of manipulation are always noticed by anyone with a good eye. – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Now Henry was probably right at the time but in todays modern digital age, photo manipulation is all too easy. There’s someone in your shot, clone them out, only takes seconds. Forgot to clean your lens or dust on your sensor, leaving spots in the sky. That’s easy, use the Spot Removal Tool. Likewise you can boost colours, a little bit more red, a touch of purple, get that orange a little darker. All can serve to enhance a photographic or if you overdo it make it look terrible.

But what about composition? Once you hit that shutter button, that’s it. The moment is fixed in time. The clouds are where they are, as is the lighthouse. All that is left is the crop tool to allow better framing of the subject, which some will argue, you should be doing before pressing the shutter. Talking of composition. What do you think of the way I have framed the lighthouse against the sky? I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment.

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