'The Night Sky' 25 May 2017  
An excellent evening of astrophotography presentations started as threatening dark grey clouds rolled over the club house and deposited unseen snow in the car park.
Dr Ed Cloutman EFIAP started the show with his talk on photographing distant astronomical objects, while our own Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP followed with his presentation of astrophotography landscapes.
EC andromedaEd started by explaining that he works from his back garden in South Wales, surrounded by light and air pollution which provide significant challenges to photographing the night sky. A sturdy mount, telescope, filters and long (20-30 minute) exposures are essential. After giving us a glimpse of his camera, which bolts onto the telescope, takes images in black and white and comes with its own mini-refrigerator (to cool the chip and help cut down on image noise), he started his presentation with an AV. The Star Wars theme blared out as he took us on a journey out of our atmosphere, through the solar system, past nebula and galaxies, into deep space. The images and the music were amazing. EC orionAfter the last chord died away, Ed began to tell us how he takes his images. First, there is the tripod, or mount, which needs to be very stable and have the ability to track the subject of the image as it appears to move across the sky. He has 2 telescopes, a 1000mm f7.5 refractor and a 2000mm astrograph made of carbon fibre. He uses a dedicated CCD camera together with Broadband RGB filters (to add colour) and Narrow Band filters (which help reduce light pollution). He said it takes him about an hour to set the camera up, including aligning it with the pole star, connecting all the electronic equipment together (including his laptop), and taking relevant precautions against condensation. Ed showed us images of the small domed observatory he has built in his back garden. And he talked about the software that he uses, both to control the camera during shoots and to help with post-processing. He explained that he usually stacks a large number of images together before using Photoshop to ensure colour corrections. He finished his presentation with a series of images from his AV to illustrate some of the technical issues from earlier in his talk. These included spectacular images of Cassiopeia, the Cocoon Nebula, the Owl Nebula, the Pin Wheel Galaxy, Andromeda (top right), Triangullum constellation, and the Globular Cluster. There were also images from Orionshowing Betelgeuse, the Orion nebula (above), the Running Man nebula and the Horsehead nebula.

What a show! A cup of tea was definitely needed to take it all in before Robert’s presentation on Landscape Astrophotography. Called “Stumbling Around in the Dark”, Robert explained that he was going to concentrate on taking images of brighter celestial objects with a less technical Digital SLR, lens and tripod combination. First he talked about shooting the moon. He explained that it is best to take the full moon when it is close to the horizon and of a similar brightness to the surrounding landscape. Short exposures of around a second are needed to avoid blurring due to the earth’s rotation. He illustrated this with images taken on Lundy Island, Glastonbury Tor, and of an eclipse of the moon rising over Overton Hill.

RH devilRobert showed us a series of images taken of Solar eclipses round the world and said that he would be attending the next total eclipse taking place later this year in America. We were shown some beautiful moonlit images taken at Avebury; the first Severn Crossing; a bridge in Tromso, Norway; Portland Lighthouse; and the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park. Taking landscape photos by the light of moon, he said, requires long exposures because the moon is considerably less bright than the sun. However, they can look remarkably similar to daylight shots using exposures of around 8 minutes at ISO100 and f11.However, if you want to include stars in your nighttime images, he explained, it is better to take them by the light of a gibbous moon rather than a full moon but that exposures need to be no more than 20-30 seconds to avoid blur as the earth rotates. Images from Avebury and Zion National Park in Utah were used to illustrate this. On moonless night, Robert suggested finding a dark place (e.g. Salisbury Plain, or the Namib Desert) to avoid light pollution from nearby habitation. Foregrounds can be light-painted with a torch to provide interest, as illustrated with images from Devil’s Den, near Marlborough (right) and Glastonbury Tor. Or the landscape can be used to provide a strong silhouette as shown in shots of Great Stable Tor on Dartmoor, the Old Man of Storr on Skye, and the North Window in the Arches National Park, Utah.

Robert also had images of star trails taken at Stonehenge, Wheal Coates engine house in Cornwall, and a quiver tree landscape in Namibia. He explained that to obtain star trails one needs to point the camera and tripod towards the north star and take a series of 30 sec exposures for about an hour. These exposures would then be blended in Photoshop to produce a single image. One of the 30 sec exposures can have the foreground light-painted which will then show clearly in the final image. Robert finished his presentation with a series of images of the Milky Way. He said that it is best photographed in late summer and, as the Milky Way is quite faint, he uses a fast lens and exposes at f2 for 20 secs at ISO3200. He showed images taken at West Kennet Long Barrow and Dunkery Beacon, followed by a couple of images taken with his fish-eye lens, one through Delicate Arch in Utah, and one with quiver trees in Namibia.
On a visit to Norway Robert captured some spectacular images of the Aurora Borealis as it lit the sky over the snow covered landscape.
RH milkyFinally, his piece de resistance was a 10 frame stitch panorama (left) taken in Namibia showing the arch of the Milky Way behind rocks and quiver trees which included 3 other galaxies. A magnificent canvas print was also on display for us to study.

What an excellent evening with so much for us to take in, consider and admire. And when we left the clubhouse, the sky had cleared to reveal an array of bright stars.

Overheard snatches of conversation as people left suggested that some were contemplating going and getting their cameras.   Many thanks to both presenters. DF
See more of Robert's Astrophotography images                                       See more of Ed Cloutman's images

 

“From Muck to Magic” 18 April 2017  

Spike (AFIAP DPAGB) and Penny (EFIAP DPAGB) Piddock made a welcome return to Devizes Camera Club to present their enigmatically titled “Muck to Magic” presentation. Penny explained that the images in their presentation were taken in Indonesia and the Philippines and, while Spike spent most of his time scuba diving with his photographic kit, she would only snorkel and spend time exploring the local people and customs. In Spike’s case, she said, the “Muck” related to the volcanic sand and murky conditions of his dives and the “Magic” related to the wonderful images he was able to make of the sea life. in Penny’s case the “Muck” related to the recycling tips she visited and the “Magic” to her wonderful Balinese cultural images.
PPPenny started by taking us on a photographic tour of the area where they stayed in the Philippines, showing images of children in the local school, market stalls in the town, and the transport options available (mainly bikes, motor bikes and tuktuks). She showed us the contrasts between the beautifully painted church with its clean lines and statuary, the shops with corrugated iron walls and roofs, the wooden houses on stilts linked with rickety wooden walkways, and the workers on the local recycling tip.

PP1Spike took over and presented a range of images taken when he was diving in the Marine Reserve. Several of the images were of extremely small animals including a sea slug that was millimeters in size and nicknamed Shaun the Sheep from the impression of its appearance. There were other fabulous images, including Juvenile Frog Fish; the fabulously camouflaged, but poisonous Scorpion Fish; Eels; Sea Horses; and different types of crab. He also explained how the Blue Ringed Octopus scares his attackers by expanding the blue poison rings on its body. There were also some enchanting images of Anemone Fish swimming amongst the poisonous tendrils of the anemones.

After the break, we were entertained with a couple of Audio Visual presentations. The first was called Bali Magic and took us on a tour of some of Bali’s temples and statues of Gods. The Gods came in all shapes and sizes, encompassing both the human and the animal kingdoms. There were images of innumerable masks, a number of musicians and their instruments, and a set of images of Balinese dancers. The second audio visual presentation was about Komodo Dragons, showing them being fed chickens from the back of a boat. Spike also showed some more amazing images taken in the waters where the Komodos had been swimming!

The evening was rounded off by Spike showing images he had taken when diving over wrecks in the Red Sea. Many images of fish and wreckage had been taken using available light, but he showed us how the use of flash can bring out the colours of a focal subject while leaving objects in the rest of the images dull and grey. Images of the wrecks cargoes were also of interest. The SS Thistlegorm was sunk on 6th April 1941 carrying a cargo of military supplies to Egypt including motor bikes, generators, railway engines and a large quantity of Wellington boots! The Yollanda struck a reef on 1st April 1980 and eventually rolled off the reef into deeper water, leaving much of its cargo of baths and toilets on the reef.

Throughout the evening the audience raised questions about the technicalities of underwater photography which Spike and Penny answered enthusiastically. Our Chairman’s thanks to Spike and Penny were seconded with a warm round of applause. DF                                                     Images © Spike & Penny Piddock

 

Set Subject Competition - The Kennet & Avon Canal  11 April 2017  

The judges for the set subject competition were husband and wife team Peter Brisley ARPS and Sue O'Connell ARPS EFIAP/b DPAGB BPE3*.
This year the subject was the Kennet & Avon Canal and entrants could document anything seen near or on the historic waterway including - people, places, landscapes, details and wildlife.
Peter explained that when judging a competition he and Sue look through the images separately and then compare notes - sometimes they agree but sometimes they have differing views. Judging is subjective and after looking at the technicalities of the images the final awards given come down to the judges personal choice.
CP Cosy PintSue said that the images entered showed many interesting ideas on the set subject and said that for competitions she always looked for some of the photographers own input and not just a straight 'record shot' (although she did not really like the term.) Helpful comments were given on each entry and some images might have been improved by cropping out dull areas so the eye can concentrate on the subject and members were advised not to over saturate their images.

Amongst the Beginners entries were some interesting and unusual images of the locks and the ornate bridges that span the canal in Bath. Many images were converted to monochrome which in most cases suited the subject.
In this section an image by Craig Purvis beautifully depicted the Barge Inn at Seend Cleeve at dusk and Sue awarded 'Cosy Pint Beckons' (left) first place. Sue said it was a delightful image with excellent colours and it was taken at a good angle to show the reflection in the water. Craig was also awarded an HC for the monochrome 'Canal in my Cellar' with its elegant Georgian buildings. Placed second was 'Penelope's Maiden Voyage' by Kyra Wilson which cleverly portrayed the view from on board a narrowboat as it travelled peacefully along complete with glasses of wine on hand!
Martin Stokes gained third place with one of his colourful images taken near the historic Crofton Pumping Station and Sue Wadman was awarded 2 Highly Commendeds.

CW First LockIn the Intermediate section Sue began commenting on the images with Peter continuing after the break.
The monochrome atmospheric misty scene 'First Lock of the Flight' by Caroline Wright (right) depicting a narrowboat about to ascend the Caen Hill flight of locks was awarded first place. Second place was awarded to the view through one of the canal's many bridges by David Fraser titled 'Ladies Bridge'.  Another tranquil scene 'Coming Through' by Andy Vick was third and an HC went to the image with the title 'Glorious Autumn Colour' which perfectly described this image by Caroline.
RH Wootton Rivers
Peter commented on the Advanced section entries which again showed a great variety of interpretations of the subject.
A colourful sunlit scene showing cluttered barges reflected in the water titled ' Winter Sunlight at Wootton Rivers' (left)
by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP gained first place and another image by Robert showing moored narrowboats on a tranquil frosty morning was placed second. 
'Sorting the Line' an image of a fisherman and a lad by Richard Atkinson showed a different canal activity. Richard was also awarded an HC and images by Richard Watson and Pam Mullings also gained HC's.
 
Interested to see more of the canal after viewing the member's images Peter and Sue stopped in Devizes on their way to the club to view the Caen Hill flight and the lock workings.

Richard Watson thanked Peter and Sue for judging the competition and for giving members a very informative evening.PM

Full results                       The awarded images can be seen in the Galleries

 

WCPF Members Exhibition & Salon Acceptances

The first quarterly update of salon acceptances has now been published.
RA VillageSo far this year club members have achieved 34 acceptances half of which were in the WCPF Members' Exhibition.
Particular congratulations must go Hilary Eagles on gaining two acceptances - her first everHE Parasols - and to Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP on achieving a highly commended and a selectors ribbon. Well done to both of them and to the other club members who also gained an acceptances.
The next update will be at the end of June. MB
In the meantime please keep a careful record of your acceptances .

DCC members were awarded 18 acceptances in the WCPF Members' Exhibition
Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP - 9 acceptances with an HC and a Selector's Ribbon
Richard Atkinson  AFIAP - 3 acceptances
Gill Cardy FRPS AFIAP DPAGB - 2 acceptances
Hilary Eagles - 2 acceptances
Kevin Ferris LRPS - 2 acceptances                      Congratulations to all

WCPF Accepted Images                   2017 Salon Acceptances PDF           
Images:- Morrocan Village by Richard Atkinson AFIAP & Parosols by Hilary Eagles

 

'From V to A – The Creation of a Visual Arts ARPS Panel' 4 April 2017  

Members warmly welcomed back Tony Byram EFIAP ARPS AWPF DPAGB who has visited the club on several previous occasions both as a speaker and a judge. On this visit Tony presented his prints and AV's showing his journey to gain his AWPF and ARPS distinctions with his panels of Venetian Carnival images.
A frequent visitor to the annual Venice Carnival Tony set the scene by first showing an AV of the magnificent architecture, canals, bridges, picturesque corners and of course the gondolas that make Venice such an attraction for photographers. Tony is the chairman of WAVES - group who meet locally to study and practice the making of Audio Visual sequences.
TB MilanRedLeading groups of photographers around the crowded streets during carnival time in Venice Tony finds the best places to get images of the elaborately dressed, masked revellers as they pose against historic backgrounds. Tony recounted some of the many interesting experiences he had when photographing the costumed people from many countries who come especially for the carnival.
Every year there are different costumes and now as well as the traditional venetian costumes there are is also a variety of rather surreal outfits from oriental to punk, comic to bizarre to be photographed!
After the break Tony presented his prints as panels and explained his thoughts on how to go about setting out a successful panel. Tony was awarded his LRPS distinction 'rather a long time ago' when the requirements were to show that you were a competent photographer and could take a variety of different images. Using film in those days Tony's panel of 10 prints portrayed a selection of straightforward wildlife, landscape and close up images.
More recently when setting about gaining his ARPS Tony was advised to present his Venice portraits in a more creative way.
TB Three FrenchTony demonstrated how he changes the images by first showing the original and then the final creative effect he achieved after experimenting using Paintshop Pro software. Using filters to change the appearance of the background and some parts of the costumes Tony left the face, hands and accessories as taken. Various layers of the images were faded in and out until the desired effect was achieved. Tony said that all of the images in his panel were 'fiddled with' in one way or another. When satisfied with the image, a border was added to give a painterly effect.
A panel of 12 prints of his creative Venetian prints was put forward for the Associate of the Welsh Photographic Federation distinction (AWPF). Presentation of the panel is very important so time must be given to choosing the best images and getting a good balance of subject and colour.
After successfully gaining his AWPF Tony set about putting together a panel of 15 prints for his Associate of the Royal Photographic Society (ARPS) distinction but found this was not quite so straightforward. Some images used for the AWPF panel needed to be changed and others added to make up the panel of 15 prints. Next the section entered had to chosen as the panel could be rejected if the judges felt that it should have been in a different category. Then a 'statement of intent' had to be written explaining the photographer's theory behind the images. Tony decided to enter his panel in the visual arts section and after an anxious wait the judges awarded him his visual art ARPS Portrait Panel.
Club members were invited to closely examine the excellent prints in the same way the distinction panel judges do.
Club Chairman Richard Watson LRPS thanked Tony for displaying his prints & AV's and for his insight into aquiring a photographic distinction. PM
Images © Tony Byram EFIAP ARPS AWPF DPAGB

 

'Speed Critique' 28 March 2017  

The evening was expertly led by club members Clive Rathband FRPS FPSSA EFIAP DPAGB and Joan Ryder Rathband FRPS FPSSA AFIAP DPAGB.
The idea of a 'speed critique' is to give members feedback on their images and sometimes suggest ways that could transform a good image into a superb image!

Some members were invited to show a selection of their new images to small groups of members for discussion and comment - the groups are moved around to view all the images.

Most of the members who bravely showed their images had only very recently joined the club and all of them presented an excellent selection of their digital photographs. The members present gave very favourable comments about the images which with just a few tweaks could all be award winning images in club competitions. A wide range of interesting subjects was presented from speeding motor bikes to misty landscapes and from cityscapes to birds in flight.

Both Clive and Joan have had a lot of experience judging both club competitions and salons and so are very well qualified to give helpful tips on how images can be digitally improved.

In most cases the focus and depth of field of the images presented was very good but some suggestions were made about improving the composition. It was suggested that some areas which added nothing to the image would be better cropped to draw more attention to the main subject.

A few images had unwanted distractions such as highlights or unnecessary objects which the viewer's eye kept going back to. When pointed out some of the members remarked that they had not themselves noticed the distractions before but when pointed out agreed that removing them would improve the image.
Joan's tip was when taking photographs, if possible move around to find the best angle and in some cases try to not include any sky in the image to reduce the chance of distracting light areas in the background.

Members were encouraged to try reversing some images to see if it gave a better flow as often images 'read' best from left to right but it's easy to go back again if that is preferred. Avoid reversing though if the image contains text or a well known area or landmark.

It was pointed out that all digital images can be  very much improved in post processing - adjusting the histogram carefully can bring light to the dark areas or reduce down the over exposed areas. There are many tools in 'Photoshop' that can greatly improve the image and add impact but Joan warned against going too far and over sharpening images - often it's just small changes needed to make a big difference.

Some of the discussion between members was about whether the image would be better in colour or monochrome - try both but the final decision is up to the photographer.
At the end of the evening there was time to sum up the thoughts and ideas on some of the images presented and to give some general hints and tips to help everyone present their photographs at their very best.

Thanks to those who brought along images for discussion, the members who gave suggestions which might further enhance the images and thanks especially to Clive and Joan for sharing their expertise. PM

 

Competition 3 - Open Prints   21 March 2017  

The judge for the last Print competition of the 2016 - 2017 season was Derek Gale who is a professional photographer and trainer based near Shrivenham. Derek is a very accomplished speaker and said he very much enjoyed looking through the club members entries. With a lot of humour thrown in Derek gave detailed comments on all the prints and emphasised that members should note that as well as producing an excellent image, the presentation is very important.

Members in the Beginners section may not necessarily be new to photography but might not have much experience of entering competitions so Derek gave helpful advice about improvements that could have been made to present each image at its best. To enhance an otherwise well taken image Derek advised cropping areas that detract from the overall appearance so that the eye can concentrate on the main subject. Some landscape prints had large areas of uninteresting foreground or sky which would be better removed. It is not necessary to print large as some prints would have been better printed smaller to improve the look and avoid pixelation
First place in the Beginners section went to Steve Hardman for a snowy landscape titled 'Cold Winter Afternoon' Derek remarked that it is very difficult to keep detail in both the very light areas as well as the dark areas and that Steve had done very well controlling the exposure of a very difficult subject. Steve also gained second place with another stunning landscape 'Stickle Tarn in Winter' 
Derek said that from the title 'Amethyst Sunbirds' he expected bright colours but in this case the birds were either juvenile or female but it was a well caught moment and third place went to Peter Eley.

SpanishIn the Intermediate section Derek expected that the entrants would be more experienced and should be able to present their prints well. There was an entry of 32 prints with a wide variety of subjects - from wildlife and townscapes to still life and even a tattooed lady.
First place was awarded to 'Spanish Streets' (left) by Tim Pier with the judge remarking on the clever use of night lighting and the superb finish given to the print. Tim had an excellent evening with two other night scenes 'Salvador Dali's Home Town' was awarded second place and 'On the Thames' in third place. Tim's awards continued with an HC for a monochrome print entitled 'My First Love' which portrayed a musician - very well done Tim!
A monochrome print by Hilary Eagles and another mono with just a touch of red by Andy Vick were also awarded HC's with an HC for a raptor portrait by David Wilkinson completing the Intermediate awards.

In the Advanced section entrants should have gained a lot of experience as they had made their way up through the club sections and were expected to present their work well. 
The almost monochrome print featuring a group of impalas as they fled in a cloud of dust by Pam Mullings titled 'On the Run' (below) caught the judges eye and was awarded first Runplace with 'Martial Eagle Portrait' also by Pam placed second. 
A very appealing image taken in the Falkland Islands by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP titled 'King Penguin Chick' was awarded third place.
The judge remarked that he particularly enjoyed the simplicity and low key effect of several prints entered by Richard Watson LRPS and gave HC's to 'Grasses' 'Encircled' and the townscape of 'The Circus' taken in Bath.

Derek was thanked by Richard Watson for taking such time and trouble to give his comments and said what an enlightening and informative evening it had been. PM

Members might note that Derek gives excellent photographic workshops and tutorials on several subjects so those who would like to learn new skills might like to look at his website Gale Photography  for some 'serious fun'

Full results                The awarded images can be seen in the Galleries

 

‘Inspiration and Perspiration’  14 March 2017  

JT Cooling OffJT Lone treeHusband and wife team John Tilsley ARPS DPAGB APAGB and Di CPAGB whose presentations have been very much enjoyed by the club on previous visits brought along a selection of their latest prints and DPI's taken on their travels.
John explained the meaning of the title - the inspiration is when you get a gem of an idea in your mind but the perspiration comes when trying to achieve the final image as things rarely go exactly to plan!
Deciding whether colour or monochrome suits the image best or even which printing paper gives the desired effect all play a part in the final result.
John started off the evening by showing a selection of his excellent prints with simplicity and subtle lighting a constant theme. John displayed his prints of snow covered trees and icy landscapes taken while cross country skiing in Finland and told members of some of their experiences in such a cold climate. 
The stormy skies, misty coastal scenes and a wonderful sunset encountered on a visit to the west coast Scotland all made impressive prints although the bad weather hampered their intention of canoeing! 
Monochrome portraits of characters found at a steam railway and others taken at gypsy pony sales were another interest of John's. Observation and waiting for the right moment were key to an outstanding photograph.
The gothic architecture of Strawberry Hill House and wintry conditions on Dartmoor were other locations that had been visited and John explained how he set out to photograph them at their best.
Spain was another area recently explored with images of the empty roads, the wide open landscapes and the abundant wildlife.
DT DartmoorWalking the streets of Paris both David and Di find a wide range of subjects on their frequent visits - art galleries, stations, cemeteries and even graffiti can make interesting images. Enjoying the pavement cafe's also gave some good photographic opportunities.

 DT storkFor the second half of the evening Di gave a presentation of her projected images and explained that she now very much enjoyed digital photography as she felt she could experiment with different techniques and subjects with no worries about wasting film.
In the past using film, Di had mainly concentrated on taking landscapes but now she sets herself challenges to take a wide range of different subjects such as birds in flight and street photography. Di enjoys looking around for interesting details to photograph.

In Spain Di managed to get very good shots of a Griffon Vulture in flight, some obliging White Storks on a nest and even a rare Black Stork while it did a flypast. There were as everyone finds lots of failed wildlife shots to delete but that's not a problem using a digital camera.
John and Di try to avoid taking similar images even when they are both in the same area but often find afterwards that the same tree or statue appealed to them both but in most cases they take a different viewpoint. 
Members were given some helpful tips on how best to photograph snow and how to get the right white balance.
Despite feeling that bad weather always follows them on their travels John and Di both still manage to capture stunning images whether it is raining, snowing or even a white-out blizzard! 
Robert Harvey thanked John and Di very much for sharing their latest photographic experiences and the way they approach their photographic journeys. PM
Images: 'Cooling Off' and 'Lone Tree' © John Tilsley - 'Stork Scratching' and 'Dartmoor Stream' © Di Tilsley

How to Take Better Wildlife Pictures 7 March 2017  
It was with great pleasure that we welcomed Sandie Cox ARPS DPAGB back to Devizes Camera Club to present her talk on “How to Take Better Wildlife Pictures”.  Having previously judged our images in competition, and knowing that she liked to “feel” the texture of the fur and feathers on the subjects in wildlife photographs, we knew we would be in for a treat.
Sandra is an intrepid and frequent traveler to many of the best wildlife photography sites around the world. Her images took us on a tour of some of the places she has been to on several occasions, including to Kenya where she helps with a conservation project. Along the way she gave us hints and guidance on how to get rewarding images and how to make the best of them for presentation.
She started with images taken while walking her dog, emphasizing the need to keep practicing. Learning about how an animal behaves can help you be ready when the dog starts to shake water off its coat. Shots of birds landing, even on a television aerial, are easier than when they are taking off as they stall with their wings out before touchdown.
Among the images that Sandie showed us were birds in conservancies; seabirds around the UK and around the world; polar bears and walruses in the Arctic; penguins and albatross in the Antarctic; boobies, crabs and iguanas in the Galapagos; tigers and sloth bears in India; grizzly bears  in Canada; and a host of wildlife in Kenya.
Each sequence was accompanied by a piece of advice or a story of a difficulty she tried to overcome. Her advice included:
  • Be patient - illustrated by her quest to photograph an albatross against a wave in rough seas off Antarctica. She told us she spent 8 hours on deck getting images of birds in the wrong place, but eventually got her shot, although it wasn’t an albatross. At other times, in other parts of the world, she merely had to wait in uncomfortable positions in safari trucks until a tiger moved into a better position.
  • Understand animal behavior - if you know what the animal or bird is likely to do, you can be ready with the right exposure and focus. Sandra showed some images of grizzly bears catching salmon where she had captured unusual stances and movement. She also showed images of bee-eaters which, she said, will keep coming back to the same perch.
  • Shoot from low down - Sandie castigated herself for a “lazy” shot of a blue-footed booby which she took in the Galapagos from a standing position. A much stronger image would have been possible by kneeling in front of the bird as it wasn’t bothered by her presence.
  • Isolate animals and avoid distractions - this was particularly illustrated in a series of images of tigers in the undergrowth. Grass is always a problem, she said, but if you can get a clear shot of their eyes, it can make a good image of the animal in its habitat. She also described the problem of gulls getting in the way of pictures of grizzly bears as they go for scraps of salmon.

Sandie said she liked images of animals walking towards her, but advised that judges prefer to see them moving across the frame with the furthest leg from the camera in a forward position. She conceded that there would usually be less of a problem with depth of field when taken this way.
Her biggest piece of advice for post-processing was to look for a crop that would enhance an image. She illustrated this on many occasions when she made a fairly ordinary shot come alive by cropping in to detail. She had transformed an image of chaotic wildebeest at a river crossing with a lion in the distance by cropping in so that it became obvious that the lion had intent and the wildebeest were in a panic.
As our Chairman, Richard, said in his summing up, not only were we treated to some excellent images and told how to shoot them, we also saw how near misses happen and how they can sometimes be transformed with judicious cropping. I’m sure everyone attending will have learned a lot and been inspired, not only to go out with the camera, but to take another look at previous images to see whether cropping can improve them. Sandie received a generous round of applause for a very enjoyable and informative evening.  DF

Competition 3 2017 - Open Projected Images 28 February 2017  

SW BreconThis was the club's last Open Projected Image Competition for the 2016-2017 season and the judge for the evening was Terry Hewlett ARPS. Terry runs photography workshops and courses on several subjects including wedding photography and the use of flash lighting.
Starting with the Beginners section an image by Sue Wadman of a picturesque waterfall in the Brecon Becons (right)
was awarded first place. Sue was also awarded and HC for her Italian landscape titled 'Barga, Evening Light'
A close up of a caterpillar by Kate Aston was awarded second place  and Peter Eley's 'Crystal Balls' was awarded third place out of the 30 images entered.
HE ParasolsTwo images by Heather Collins and others by Mair Bull, Martin Stokes, Kyra Wilson and David Wilkinson were all awarded HC's.

From the 21 entries in the Intermediate section a colourful image title 'Parasols' (left) by Hilary Eagles caught the judge's eye and gained first place with 'Daydreaming' another image by Hilary gaining an HC.
Silhouetted figures against a sunset reflected in the sea titled 'Another Place'
was Caroline Wright's entry which was RW Play timeplaced second with 'Sunrise on Derwent Water' also by Caroline gaining an HC.
A local landscape in monochrome by David Fraser 'Wansdyke' was in third place. An HC was awarded to Tim Pier for his Venice night scene.

Club Chairman Richard Watson LRPS entered an image of a small red clad child reflected in a shiny water feature titled 'Play Time' which the judge placed first out of the 24 images entered in the Advanced section.
'Portrait of a Bald Eagle' and an assortment of lively dogs in an image titled 'Who let the Dogs Out' both by Pam Mullings gained second and third places.
Two HC's went to Kevin Ferris LRPS one for a smoke image 'Along Came a Spider' and another for 'Small White Butterfly'
Gill Cardy FRPS DPAGB AFIAP was awarded an HC for 'Azure Winged Magpie' another bird - this time a kingfisher by Michael Barnes AWPS also gained an HC. Another HC went to Richard Atkinson AFIAP for his image 'Moroccan Village'

Thanks to the judge Terry Hewlett for giving his interesting comments and awarding the places, to Caroline for organising the competition and to those members who entered a such wide variety of images.
Full Results                                                                 The awarded images can be seen in the Galleries

 

The Landscape Group presents..... 21 February 2017  

SH GodafossSteve Hardman began the evening by showing images taken on his travels around Iceland. Back in 1972 Steve went on an expedition to do some conservation work and was able to explore the island taking slides as he went. Roads were very rough or non-existent and travelling was very difficult but in his more recent visits Steve found the roads had been made up so travelling is easier although a 4 x 4 vehicle is needed in more  remote areas. Steve showed some digitised early slides and compared them to images taken in recent years. There are many photographic opportunities in this scenic land of volcanic activity, lava flows, rugged coastlines, waterfalls and glaciers. Having learnt more about composition etc. since joining the club about a year ago, Steve now looks carefully for leading lines and foreground interest in his landscapes and continues to learn more about photography. Members very much enjoyed hearing tales of Steve's Icelandic travels and seeing his superb landscape and bird photographs.                  'Godafoss' by Steve Hardman right

MB ripplesMichael Barnes AWPS displayed his panel of landscape prints and gave a detailed account of his photographic journey.
Looking for ways of improving his standard of photography Michael aimed to always shoot in manual, get to know his camera better and practice as much as possible. After being awarded acceptances in Salons, Michael decided that gaining a photographic distinction would give him a target to aim for. After attending an Advisory Day his objective was to get together a panel of prints with the theme 'landscapes with water'. Needing 12 prints for submission he already had about 6 images he was really pleased with but with little time and a mishap with his camera he had to submit some images he was not sure were quite up to the required standard. Much to Michael's relief the judges approved his panel and he was awarded Associate of the Welsh Photographic Society. Many congratulations to Michael for his achievement. 'Ripples' by Michael left

Richard Watson LRPS showed some of the images taken by members of the Landscape Group on a variety of field trips during the last year. Led by Dave Gray and Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP the club has a flourishing landscape group who get together to visit scenic areas both local and further away.
A visit was made in May 2016 to photograph the beech avenue at Kingston Lacey and ancient Knowlton Church. In June a group headed off to the Isle of Wight to capture images of the Needles and the cliffs at Alum Bay. There were lots of photographic opportunities when visiting the Porlock area in August - the salt marsh with its decaying groynes, the hill with its heather and gorse and rounding off the day a stunning sunset over the Weir. Later in August a visit was made to Avebury to practice taking photographs by moonlight. Interesting photographs of waterfalls and autumn colour were taken by members on a visit to South Wales.
A very enjoyable October weekend was spent in the Peak District photographing the stunning autumn colours - discarded millstones, waterfalls, a mossy brook and misty landscapes. All this lovely scenery made excellent subjects for the group to try out various techniques. Members went onto Salisbury Plain in November to photograph the 'super moon' as it rose above the skyline.  Images by members of the Landscape Group can be seen on the Group page.
There were so many interesting visits with more locations planned for this year so thanks to Dave and Robert for the organisation which makes these outings so successful.

RH churchLast but not least Robert gave a short presentation titled 'Light on the Landscape' or 'The Point of Return' explaining that on the first visit to a location the conditions may not have been ideal to capture the image aspired to. Sometimes a different time of day or a different season would have made a more appealing scene. Would the light pre-dawn, sunrise or sunset or even moonlight complement the scene better? Frost or snow can enhance the contours; autumn colours can complement the scene or a stormy sky can add interest. Examples were shown of images taken on a first visit and then after a lot of thought about what could improve the image, the location would be revisited hoping the conditions would be ideal. It may take several attempts before finally everything comes together and the scene is captured perfectly. An example shows Knowlton Church taken on a group visit and later revisited in winter to show the contours of the Neolithic Circle.
Great dedication is needed by Robert to capture such stunning images so thanks for sharing your enthusiasm.
Thanks for all the members who gave their presentations making a very varied and interesting landscape evening. PM

 

'The Opportunistic Photographer' 14 February 2017  

cw pigeonThis was the first visit to the club by Colin Walls CPAGB who had travelled from Malvern to give his presentation. Remarking that he does not usually travel so far to visit clubs but Devizes held some special memories for him as he very much enjoyed the locally brewed Wadworths draught beer - and there were several more references to beer later in the evening!
Colin has had an interest in photography for about 40 years and has enjoyed being a member of several clubs as he has moved about the south of the country. Some judges came in for some criticism as they often made rather ill-informed remarks about the images - take photographs for your own pleasure - not to impress a judge was his advice. 
A very varied selection of images that have been taken over the years since Colin first had a  digital camera - 2 megapixels in the early days but even that gave surprisingly acceptable images for projection.

CW towerPreferring to capture what he sees directly with his camera Colin is not a fan of Photoshop mostly only using it to remove unwanted artefacts.
Travelling widely for his work Colin always carries a camera and often nowadays it is a phone at hand to take the opportunity to capture random subjects that catch his eye - a coil of rope, a shop front, a boat on the beach, an electricity pylon or even a pigeon framed by a broken window! above right
You do not have to show the whole image - a part makes a more interesting image such as the sunflower. below
CW sunflowersClub competition subjects such as 'Steps and 'Old & New'  left are useful as they encourage experimentation to find something different to portray or finding an interesting viewpoint resulting in images you may otherwise not have taken. 
Several interesting examples of silhouettes and contre-joir photographs were shown. Colin showed colour and then a monochrome version of some images with varied opinions on which was the preferable image.
Reflections are another theme that Colin returns to again and again - sometimes cropped to give an abstract looking image.
Another theme is 'infinity pictures' where you cannot see the full extent of the subject as the image fills the frame and beyond.
Colin likes to look for textures and shapes in his mostly very minimalistic images. A metal table and chairs with deep shadows made an interesting monochrome image as did silhouetted figures on a spiral staircase
A selection of interesting nature and portraits were also shown with candid photographs of people engrossed in their activity and unaware they were being photographed.
Some you win and some you lose Colin stated, but it's always worth having a go - memory cards are very cheap these days!
Colin was thanked by Chairman Richard Watson for his very thought provoking presentation.    PM
 Website 'Drawing with Light'        Images © Colin Walls CPAGB

 

Warminster CC Multi Club Print Battle 2017 11 February 2017  

The annual Multi Club Print Battle took place on Saturday afternoon at the Warminster CC club room with a good attendance from members of the 7 clubs taking part.
The afternoon began with judge Penny Piddock DPAGB together with her husband Spike showing a range of their prints taken over the years.
Both Penny and Spike are keen underwater photographers - Penny prefers to snorkel so her images are taken nearer the surface usually using the natural light filtering down from the surface. Several of Penny's images cleverly captured both under and above water views in the same image. Spike prefers to dive deeper and so has to use flash to show up the brilliant GC Owlcolours of the undersea world. Travelling to popular diving sights around the world they manage to photograph a variety of colourful and sometimes bizarre sea creatures. Some rather colourful creatures can be found around the British coast but the water tends to be rather colder and murkier than the clear tropical seas. Many of the images presented have gained awards in International Salons and other photographic competitions.

After the break Penny remarked that she was very pleased to be asked to judge the battle and that she found that the prints were of a very high standard. Those present very much enjoyed seeing the wide variety of subjects entered by the clubs - beautiful landscapes, stunning wildlife, charming portraits and much more.
Penny went on to comment on each one and give her scores out of  a maximum of 20. 
Out of the 70 prints Penny held back about 8 of the for final consideration.
The scores were very close between Devizes and Frome Wessex and both clubs had 3 prints held back so it was a case of waiting to see the scores given. Devizes finally had 3 prints awarded scores of 20 and Frome Wessex had 2 so we finished up in top place with Frome Wessex CC second and Calne CC in third place. Warminster CC & Trowbridge CC tied in 4th place, Norton Radstock were 6th and Wincanton were in 7th place.

Many congratulations to Gill Cardy FRPS AFIAP DPAGB as her print 'Great Grey Owl Sitting in Snow' left was judged by Penny as best in show. Gill was presented with an engraved glass. Prints also scoring 20 points towards the club total were 'Three Galaxies' by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP and 'First Venture Out' by Pam Mullings.
Very well done to Devizes CC who have now won the Trophy for 4 out of the last 5 years.

Thanks very much to Warminster CC for their hospitality and the excellent buffet provided in the break. Thanks also to Frank Collins for organising our entry and to the members who travelled to Warminster to support the club.   Full results

 

Landscape Print and Projected Image Competitions 7 February 2017  

Making his first visit to the club the competition judge Johnnie Rogers ARPS AWPF DPAGB AFIAP was welcomed by Chairman Richard Watson.
Experienced at judging at club level and soon to judge a salon and also a presenter, Johnnie gave an insight into how he goes about judging a selection of images - first looking through all the images to get a feel for the standard and then getting in really close to each image to see all the finer details. While checking for sharpness Johnnie commented many times on sensor dust spots and chromatic aberration and other flaws that even the most experienced of our photographers had not noticed! Members please note - get your sensor cleaned professionally, learn how to do it safely yourself or check your images very carefully and remove unwanted dust spots in post-production.
KynanceJohnnie made very fair comments on how an image could have been improved by cropping, dodging or burning or removing 'transient' elements of human origin from the scene . Opinions differ on how milky or sharp moving water appears according to the shutter speed used - but often it is a matter of personal taste.

There was a rather small entry for the landscape prints this year but nevertheless Johnnie commented on the generally high standard. Each print was expertly commented on in great detail - any flaws noted and relevent advice given on how the image might have been improved.
kilchurn castle
Many congratulations to Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP who had an extremely good evening with his print 'Kynance Cove' left gaining first place and 'Kilchurn Castle' (green tents and all!) in second place and also his 'Salt Cellar' was awarded an HC.
Dave Gray came third with a stunning Peak District image titled 'Stanage Millstones' in the evening light.

Robert was presented with the Landscape Print Trophy and later was awarded the Landscape Projected Image Trophy to complete his triumphant evening!

Johnnie had 47 projected images to comment on after the break and so had to reduce the time spent on each one but he still succeeded in giving each image a full appraisal and gave the photographers a lot of helpful advice on how their images could be improved.
Again Robert was awarded first and second places with the judge actually managing to find no faults at all with the winning image 'Buachaille Etive Mor' and congratulated him on such an excellent image.
Special mention should also be made of Steve Hardman who is a fairly new club member but who was awarded 3rd place and also an HC. Club chairman Richard Watson LRPS did well and was awarded an HC for each of his 3 entries. Dave Gray and David Fraser were awarded 2 HC's each so well done to everyone. 
All in all a very interesting evening with a wide range of landscape images for members to enjoy.

Many thanks to Johnnie for travelling from South Wales and for giving such close scrutiny to all the landscape images, we very much look forward to further visits from him in the future.
Members should have learnt a lot from the judges comments - not least to look much more closely at their images before printing or entering projected images and eliminate all those blemishes! PM
Full results                                       All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries

 

DPIC & GB Cup Nature & Open Competitions

As ever, a good attendance at the WCPF Digital Projected Image Competition (DPIC) held on Sunday 5 th February in the Corn Exchange, Exeter.

Sea Eagle57 clubs from the Western Counties Area entered 18 images each giving the judges 1026 images to view and make judgement on in about 3 hours. Images were projected at the rate of about 10 seconds each so immediate impact on the judges was vital.
Each of the 3 judges scored out of 5 but only one image in the whole competition scored the maximum 15 points, only one scored 14 with only a handful scoring 13 so 12 points was was therefore a pretty decent score.  There were several instances of 11s which included a 5!. Four of the Devizes CC images did well by scoring 12 points and with 4 more scoring 11 and others not far behind.
Nature and Landscape images had a particularly tough time of it but in this tough field therefore David Wilkinson can feel very proud of scoring 11 for his White Tailed Sea Eagle. right
The key for Devizes though was consistency so when all was done, Devizes scored 191 points and that put us 8th= out of the 57 clubs – a highly commendable placing.
SealWe were ahead of almost all of the other local clubs entering, Bristol were 3rd with 204, while F8 and Dorchester tied for the lead with 208 each. Dorchester were awarded the winners trophy on the basis that their entry picked up more judges individual awards that F8s.
DPIC 2017 results

The results of the GB Cup Nature and Open National Competitions have been announced.
Many congratulations to Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP who was awarded 14 points and a Judges Silver Medal for his image 'Elephant Seal Embrace' left
'Black Grouse at Lek' by Gill Cardy did well and was awarded 12 points with several other Nature entries awarded 11 points.
The final total score for Devizes in the Nature GB Cup was 109 points placing us in 37th place out of 110 clubs.
In the GB Open - Devizes scored 140 points and were placed 74th in this tough competition.
GB Cup results

As usual the judges opinions varied considerably giving very differnt results for the same images - Robert's 'Elephant Seal Embrace' scoring 14 and a silver medal in one competition but 11 in another and Gill's 'Black Grouse at Lek' scored very highly at Swindon but a rather dissappointing 10 in DPIC but that judging!
Thanks to Frank Collins for the DPIC report and for organising all the Battle entries.

'The Art of Composition' 31 January 2017  

There was a good attendance to welcome Tony Worobiec BA FRPS to the club this week to hear his talk on the “Art of Composition”. TW cliff

TW schoolAfter a brief explanation of how to pronounce his name, he told us of his introduction to photography at the Newbury Camera Club, where he was told about the “Rules” of composition that photographers should follow. On enquiry, he was informed that these rules had come from Art and had been followed by artists for centuries. This came as a surprise to him as he had completed a Fine Arts Degree before teaching Art for several years and had not heard of these “rules”. His subsequent experience has led him to regard these “rules” as Design Principles which can be used (or not) to convey the message that the photographer wants to communicate.
His talk then progressed through a range of composition principles he has used, accompanied by his brilliant photographs to demonstrate his points.

Tony started with the ubiquitous Rule of Thirds, explaining that this had originated in the Golden Ratio, or Section, devised by ancient Greek mathematicians. He explained that the Golden Ratio is actually 61.8% rather than 66% (two thirds), so subjects on the Third will not necessarily be in the right place anyway! He covered variations, such as the Golden Triangle and the Golden Spiral (formulated by Fibonacci). He also showed how the balance of colours by thirds will work well illustrated with an image of 2 red tulips on thin yellow/green stems with a strong blue background.
TW tulipsHe talked about using shapes, tones and lines in composition and showed several examples of leading lines, converging lines and strong diagonals to provide great images without having subjects on the Thirds.
Tony moved further away from the Thirds “rule” showing strong images where the subject was on the edge of the composition to emphasis space or threat, especially with large skies. TW pierHe encouraged the use of intuitive instincts, rather than “rules” to convey the message in your images. Balancing the subject of an image with elements in other parts of composition, matching elements in the foreground with those in the background, as in an image of a road sign with chevrons that mirrored the pattern of the rocks in the hillside in the background.

Also against conventional wisdom, Tony showed that a subject can be placed in the middle of the frame, as long the surrounding elements are not symmetrical. He also suggested that the choice of crop, and the orientation, landscape or portrait, can also be important for a composition. Square format also can work very well, especially when presenting abstract images with little structure or pattern.

There were other Design Principles that Tony talked about, such minimalistic compositions, silhouettes and using hi-key and lo-key depending on the mood one wants to convey.
There was so much information that Tony wanted to cover that he ran out of time to complete all his material. Even so, I think all those who attended went away with some new thoughts and ideas and a fresh perspective on photography composition.
I think we would all like to thank Tony for a very informative evening, extremely well presented by someone who obviously has a passion for his subject. I, for one, am looking forward to hearing him speak again in the future. DF
Tony Worobiec website            Images © Tony Worobiec

 

Nature Print and Projected Images 2017 24 January 2017  

Members were very pleased to welcome back Ralph Snook ARPS DPAGB EFIAP to judge the Annual Nature competitions. Ralph is a renowned wildlife photographer himself and so was highly qualified to judge and pass comments on the club's nature entries.

springbokWith over 80 Print and Projected images to look over Ralph commented that the standard was generally very high. With his comprehensive knowledge of wildlife from both Britain and abroad Ralph knew how the subjects could be best portrayed - he was looking for the subjects to be sharp and the colours harmonised and with the uncluttered backgrounds. Subjects should show their particular behaviour against a suitable habitat. There were some stunning insect studies, interesting mammals and birds and also some wild flowers.
The rules are quite strict with images taken in the wild and with modification limited to minor retouching of blemishes, cropping and contrast adjustment. Encouraging wild creatures to pose against an uncluttered background proved to be rather difficult in a lot of cases and Ralph remarked that other images would have been better presented with a tighter crop or in other images the subject needed more space around it.

Many congratulations to Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP who was awarded both the Nature Print and the Nature Projected Image trophies for his stunning images.

The print 'Springbok Browsing Acacia' (left) by Robert featuring a rather unusual close up caught the judges eye - the colours and the position in the frame made a striking image and it was awarded first place. In second place was an excellent shot of a Steller's Eagle in flight by Gill Cardy FRPS AFIAP DPAGB and in third place was a close up of a rather sad faced Proboscis Monkey taken in Borneo by Dave Gray.RH Hawker Dragonfly

After the break Ralph gave his detailed comments on the large entry of projected images. Amongst the many close ups of insects Roberts 'Southern Hawker Dragonfly' (right) impressed the most and gained him first place.
Gills image of Black Grouse displaying at a lek in the snow was awarded second place. A beautifully coloured close up of a damselfly by Caroline Wright was placed third.

There were 15 Highly Commended awards given with a special mention going to Kyra Wilson, Heather Collins, Peter Eley, Steve Hardman and Sue Wadman who are fairly new members of the club who all were awarded HC's with their very highly regarded nature images so it bodes very well for the club to have many high quality competition images in the future.

Thanks to Ralph for taking the time and trouble to look so carefully at all the entries and to give such expert comments and judgement. Thanks to all the members who entered and made it such an interesting evening. Also do not forget all the work undertaken by Competition Secretary Caroline who has the difficult job of checking that all the entries were correct and complied with the rules.

Full results                                  All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries

 

Battle between Swindon PS, Stratton CC & Devizes CC 19 January 2017  

The annual Battle between Swindon, Stratton and Devizes took place in a packed hall at Great Western Community Centre in Swindon.  
Each club had submitted 25 images to be judged by Peter Weaver LRPS CPAGB APAGB.

Devizes made a solid performance in the first half and at the interval were leading Swindon by two points, with Stratton third.  We then had a very good run in the early part of the second half, to put us in a lead of 5 points and an apparently winning position. We had some more excellent images to conclude our entry, but our lead slipped away for a final result of Swindon 445, Devizes 444 and Stratton 416.  Our two beautiful Lake District autumn landscapes and a brilliant creative image (about which the judge commented “full marks” but did not award them) surely deserved more.  

Grouse    Seal    Bow
Congratulations to Gill Cardy FRPS AFIAP who scored 20 with “Black Grouse at Lek” and to Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP who scored 20 with both “Elephant Seal Embrace” and “Take a Bow”.   shown above  

A very honourable mention to Sue Wadman who scored 19 with all three of her images “Swanage Old Pier”, “Frosty April Sunrise” and “First Light at Bamburgh”. 
Images shown below  
Thanks to Swindon PS for organising the event; Devizes will host a return match next season. RH
Swanage    April sunrise      Bamburgh

Full results

 

'The Science and Beauty of Birds' 17 January 2017  

It was with great pleasure that Club Chairman Richard Watson welcomed Oliver Smart who had travelled from Weston Super Mare. With a passion for wildlife Oliver explained that he had studied ornithology and was a BTO bird ringer so he had a lot of experience identifying and handling birds not only from Britain but all over the world.

OS grouseFirst the science - Oliver explained how birds are adapted to their various lifestyles. Wing shapes differ from the huge wings of a vulture built for soaring to the tiny hummingbird with wings that allow it to hover as it seeks nectar.
Beaks have adapted according to the food requirements of each species from the long thin beaks for delving in mud, strong beaks for cracking seeds, pointed beaks for snatching insects from the air to large hooked beaks capable of tearing meat from a carcass. Examples of bird camouflage and different types of feathers were shown.
OS albatrossPhotographed in places around the world a wide variety of bird images showed the interesting courtship, breeding and nesting behaviour of vast colonies of penguins and gannets down to birds found more locally in estuaries, woods, ponds and gardens.

After the break Oliver showed us the beauty of the birds photographed on his travels.
Oliver plans his trips carefully before he goes so that he knows how to get the best possible photographs. A tip was to make sure you were comfortable as you may be several hours in a confined hide waiting for the right moment to press the shutter.
To catch fast action Oliver pre focusses and then with the camera set to manual waits for the bird to be in just the right position. The direction of the light is important as shown in the excellent image of a Black Grouse (above left) with the light catching the feathers and its breath on a cold day.  Also important is to position yourself so as to have an uncluttered background and to think about the composition.
OS tawnyOliver likes to experiment with different styles to make his bird images have impact and stand out from all the others. The image right was taken with the Albatross silhouetted against the stunning sky just a the sun went down over the dark sea. 

The images are often used as the covers of wildlife and bird magazines as well as illustrating Olivers own articles. Space is often left around the image so that the publisher can add text.
Prints and other items can be brought through his website.

Most of the photographs are taken of birds in the wild but excellent images can also be taken of captive birds such as the Tawny Owl (left) at places like the Hawk Conservancy where you can also go on a course with Oliver who will help you to improve your bird photography.
Thanks Oliver for sharing your vast knowledge of birds and their behaviour and your wide range of bird images. PM
Images © Oliver Smart                                 
See Oliver's website

 

Ryder Rathband Trophy 2016

We can now announce the final places for the Ryder Rathband Trophy competition which is awarded annually to the club member who gains the most points from entering their images into various photographic salons throughout the world.

This years competition was keenly fought with the final places uncertain right to the very end. There was strong competition between Robert and Gill for first place, and even stronger competition for third place between Richard (Atkinson) and Kevin Ferris. There was also intriguing battle for fifth place between Michael and Stuart which ended in an honourable draw, both achieving 5 acceptance and bettering their previous achievements.

At the final count Robert needed a late surge to beat Gill. Robert gained 84 points from 73 acceptances compared to Gills 62 points gained from 72 acceptances (not all salon acceptances qualify for inclusion in the Ryder Rathband trophy).

On the way Robert also gained eleven awards by Judges including a First in the Western Counties Audio Visual Awards.

In third place Richard narrowly beat Kevin. Richard gained 35 points from 34 acceptances compared with Kevin’s 32 points from 41 acceptances. Kevin however achieved five awards compared to Richard’s three. We congratulate Robert his success and all those who took part.

Whilst this years tally is not our best the eventual 239 acceptances from 58 different national and international salons beat last years total (130) by more than one hundred.

The club is very keen to encourage more members to enter salons so why not put together a small portfolio of your very best images, bring to the club and see what more experienced members think of them.

For further details and advice please contact a committee member or someone who has been involved in entering salons. If any of those who have entered salons this year want a record of past entries during the previous three years please contact Michael (Barnes). 
See the final acceptances for 2016

 

 

'Near and Far' 10 January 2017  

On Tuesday 10th January, we were entertained by John Chamberlin FRPS MFIAP with a presentation that he called “Near and Far”. John is a member of Bristol Photographic Society, Arena, The London Salon and the Zoological Photo Club. He introduced himself, saying that he first presented to Devizes Camera Club some 24 years ago.
He explained that he does a lot of travelling, usually leaving his wife behind to concentrate on her writing.CraneJC 
John organises his trips himself and goes alone or with 3-4 other photographers. This presentation, he said, was made up of images that he had taken between 2013 and 2015 in no particular order.
John started with some stunning images of Japans Macaques, or Snow Monkeys. He managed to capture the atmosphere, expressions and the emotions of the monkeys as they enjoyed their hot tub.
Continuing with his “Far” theme, there were other wildlife images from his travels. Snow Geese, Cranes and other wintering birds in Bosque del Apache, New Mexico; lions in Etosha, Namibia showing adults feeding on various kills and family interactions with the cubs; fabulous images of birds in Bulgaria, Florida and the Danube Delta as well as a wonderful series of shots of sea Quiver treesJCeagles in Hokkaido.
From Namibia, we also saw images from the Quiver Tree forest and the Deadvlie trees juxtaposed against the massive dunes. And he went to Kolmanskop, an abandoned mining town where the desert is reclaiming the buildings. He showed a number of excellent shots taken inside the buildings showing the mounds of sand in the slowly decaying rooms.
Also on his travels he went to Oregon and showed fabulous coastline scenery that he said stretches for some 500 miles. Further inland, he visited the Painted Hills and got up close to show us wonderful rock patterns and colours.JCrust
He also took us to Arizona and Utah for more stunning rock structures and colours, including the South Coyote Buttes, for which a permit is required before you can visit. And we went to The Palouse in Washington state. A vast farming area, with enormous fields and a countryside akin to that of Tuscany.
Interspersed with all these travels he also showed a range of images taken closer to home. These included close ups of a rusting bridge with pealing paint and graffiti.(right)
On a trip to the north Devon and Cornwall coast, he demonstrated how it is worth looking more closely at a scene to obtain a more powerful image. He illustrated this with a range of photos of a waterfall. And he had some excellent images of the Bude Sea Pool. 
John also showed us 2 or 3 sets of British birds and a few squirrels.
He rounded his talk off with images of “colourful birds”. These included European Bee Eaters, Kingfishers, Hoopoes, European Rollers and some Red-Footed Falcons.
So, a wide variety of images taken from “Near”, often his own garden, and as “Far” afield as Japan,  Namibia, Mexico and Oregon. The one thing they had in common was their excellence. John’s ability to see compositions in the landscape, in the middle distance and in macro was brilliant. And the wildlife images always had some interest. From the Snow Monkeys chilling out in their hot pools to cormorants trying to swallow outsized fish, they were all doing something worth capturing. A very enjoyable evening for which we thank John and look forward to seeing him again in the future. DF                                                                         
Images © John Chamberlin FRPS MFIAP