Summer is here with clear skies!

 

 

Summer is here and it’s the best time to view the Milky way in the UK. Luckily we have been blessed with some brilliant clear skies.

 

Penmon Point, Anglesey.

Milky way over Penmon cottages

The weather again was looking good for an evening at Aled Isaf with the tent. A few shots from here.

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Me and my wife Laura headed over to Madeira  for our summer holiday and took advantage of a sunset and stargazing excursion. Unfortunately it was a full moon so the Milky way wasn’t as visible but the views were amazing. Sitting at 1818 meters, Pico Arieiro is the highest peak on the island and you sit above the clouds. I’d love to go back there on a moonless night!

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Above the clouds

 

The radar dome.Under the domeBack home, I went for a drive to Llyn Geirionydd. Another moonless night and 19 degrees at 1 am was perfect for taking time out to marvel at the wonders of the universe.

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Comets

 

Took a drive over the moors home and thought I’d try this shot. I’d seen a few previously from America and thought this worked pretty well.

The road

 

 

And one from the other night. The ISS pass. Taken behind Abergele at an old lookout tower. 6 shots stitched together.

ISS over the tower

 

Cheers for looking!

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Bodnant Garden

I had to get some prints done today from Cambrian Photography and had a few hours to kill while they were being printed so I headed over to Bodnant Garden with my main photography priorities being the in bloom Laburnum arch and a long exposure of the waterfall in the valley.

Laburnum arch.

 

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Waterfall and the stream.

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Some flowers. I don’t remember the names of them though.

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I tried my hand at a bit of Macro but wasn’t very successful

Bodnant-8 Bodnant-5And a couple of Pheasants that really didn’t mind the public.

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Liverpool revisited.

Planned another trip to Liverpool yesterday with Dean, and with most of our trips, the weather didn’t help us! When I want clear skies, its usually cloudy, when I want clouds and wind, its been blue skies and still! Yesterday wasn’t any different really!

First stop, New Brighton lighthouse – 30 second exposure.

New Brighton

 

Then off to Liverpool center.

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Bombed out church.

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Museum of Liverpool, shot before I was told no tripods indoors!

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I wanted to see Antony Gormley’s  “Another place” on Crosby beach, and after a bit of research, opted to go there at low tide. Turns out my research was poor, and you should go there nearer high tide to see the sculptures in the water. Another day maybe!

Here’s a swan from the boating lake there.

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To finish the trip we headed over to Woodside to get some shots of Liverpool from the across the Mersey.

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While you are sleeping…

One of my favourite photography genres is night photography, especially the stars. In North Wales we have some cracking places to sit and watch the other worlds go by, weather permitting of course. I usually try to get out when there is no, or little moon, and as far away from the light pollution because even if you think you are somewhere dark, the sensor of the camera will pick up so much.

With my star trail shots, I started off using free software called Starstax (www.starstax.de) but now I use Photoshop to create the final image. All of the shots in this blog are taken with my Canon 550d, and most are shot on the Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 lens with one exception when I used the Sigma 17-25 f2.8.

This is one of the first that I took. Its an old passenger ship that is permanently moored on the North Wales coast. The light pollution is coming from Liverpool and the Wirral.

One shot.

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110 shots stacked.

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The next shot is a small church in Cefn near St.Asaph.

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124 shots. Would have been more but the clouds started coming in.

St Marys Church star trails

A month or so back, me and a friend went to Llyn Geirionydd.

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134 shots. I actually took 170 but the lens started to fog up due to the cold.

Old lake shelter

This shot of llansylnnin church in the Conwy Valley was taken using the Sigma 17-35 at f2.8. The difference is unreal. It picks up a lot more stars. Unfortunately, the clouds came in early again! I didn’t get the shot to light up the foreground like I usually do but I think it works quite well.

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Another angle from that night using the fish eye lens.

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The Milky way is one of the most spectacular sights you will ever see. If you ever get the chance then do it, you won’t regret it.

These were taken on the Denbigh moors just after midnight in June.

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And this one at nearly 2am in Snowdonia in July.

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I look forward to spending some more nights searching for the milky way, watching hundreds of satellites pass above my head, and waiting for the sun to rise.

 

An early start

This is my first post of the new year. I’ve been busy with work recently and haven’t really had the time to keep up with this, and although I have had my camera with me most days, I haven’t done much with it.

I had planned to get up early on my day off to go and get the sunrise over Llangollen. After dropping my wife off at the train station at 5.40 a.m  I picked up a friend and headed over to Llangollen. After finding the car park, we headed up the Panorama Walk, only to miss the turn off to the point we wanted to get to, meaning a long walk around. Luckily, we had enough time to get to where we wanted before sunrise.

Greeted by this, we headed towards the end of the fence.

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There was a lovely view of Castell Dinas Bran too from up there with the moon still visible.Image

I thought I’d try my hand at a panoramic of the scene. This is 9 vertical shots stitched using Microsoft ICE.

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On the way back down to the car.

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We then headed to Pistyll Rhaeadr in Powys. The highest waterfall in Wales.

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A Quick trip to Snowdonia

I had planned to make the short trip to Cwm Idwal in Snowdonia for a while and with the winds forecast to be still, I thought it was the perfect day to get some reflections in the lake. I planned to set of early but that didn’t happen. After picking a friend up, we set off around 8.30, stopping o the way for a quick coffee to go.

On the way up there, we detoured and stopped off at Aber Falls. A couple of quid to park and a 45 minute walk up the gentle path led us to one of the best waterfalls I have seen, and its practically on my doorstep!

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So we had an hour at the falls we then made our way down the A55. After turning off for Bethesda and heading down the Ogwen valley, we were greeted with some lovely low lying clouds.

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We arrived at the visitor center and the weather didn’t look too good but we decided to make the short walk to the lake on the off chance it would clear. And it did. Just!

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Lighthouses…

I’ve always been a fan of light houses. They withstand all types of weather and are there 24/7 for photographers to take advantage of. Working with a ten stop ND filter, and with good cloud movement, you can produce some striking shots.

Point of Ayr, Talacre. 

Point of Ayr also gives its name to a lighthouse, built in 1776, though inactive since 1883. It stands on Talacre beach, at the entrance to the River Deeestuary

A ten minute drive for me, and a regular stopping off point for me on the way home from work. Some people might recognize this lighthouse from the Dulux adverts recently, although they had done some work to make it look clean and new.

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Pen Mon (Trwyn Du).

Trwyn Du Lighthouse is a lighthouse between Dinmor Point near Penmon and Ynys Seriol, or Puffin Island, south east Anglesey, at the north entrance to the Menai Strait and produces some brilliant images. I’m waiting for the weather to turn so I can get some images of the waves crashing against it!

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South Stack.

The South Stack Lighthouse has warned passing ships of the treacherous rock below since its completion in 1809. The 91-foot (28 m)-tall lighthouse on South Stack was designed by Daniel Alexander and the main light is visible to passing vessels for 24 nmi (44 km; 28 mi), and was designed to allow safe passage for ships on the treacherous Dublin–Holyhead–Liverpool sea route. It provides the first beacon along the northern coast of Anglesey for east-bound ships.

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I will be visiting a few more lighthouses in the future to try to capture the what they can withstand along with the brilliant architecture that has enabled them to stay standing and protecting the many ships that navigate through the UK’s waters.

Liverpool…

Liverpool has long been one of my favorite cities in the UK, maybe the world.

It boasts some of the best architecture, some brilliant people and it comes alive at night. Its also only an hour drive for me which is a bonus! With some nice cloud movement on the day I opted to go, it was a good day for long exposures.Image

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One of Banksy’s walls. Pre plastic protection.

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We headed up to the Anglican cathedral. For £5.50 you can go to the roof to take in the views. On a clear day you can see Snowdonia. We got there for the sunset but it wasn’t that good. Once the street lights came on though, it looked fantastic!

Before heading up to the top, I got one a shot inside. A fabulous building!

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And the view!

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Then back to the docks before heading home.

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