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
                                                                                                                            

Projected Image League Results 10 January 2017 
PenguinlittleCompetition Secretary Caroline Wright has calculated the average scores and then totaled the 3 scores from each of the 17 entrants. Last week members present scored each of the sets out of a maximum of 10 and all the scores were entered on a spreadsheet.
Richard Watson announced the very close run final top 6 awards.
The Highly commended's went to Dave Gray with images of Primates and Odonata from Borneo and a Floating Thai Market. Kevin Ferris had 3 sets of Smoke images and Hilary Eagles had sets titled Magline Lake, Feathered Friends and Whales & Tails

The final scores of Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP and Kyra Wilson were exactly the same so were tied in 2nd place.
Roberts sets were of Penguins taken in the Falklands (one image shown left)
Winter in the Lake District and Flocks - large groups of birds including gulls & starlings.

Kyra who has not been in the club long has done exceptionally well  - she entered a set of images of Red Deer taken in Richmond Park, a Little Owl & her Chicks (one image from the set shown right) and Bugs - depicting various damselflies

Just by a small fraction Pam Mullings gained 1st place with a set of Eagle Portraits, a set of Floral Images and another set titled One Foggy Morning. The final result depended on the scores for all 3 sets and there was only 0.2 of a point between the top 3!!
Thanks to all the members who entered sets for this competition and to Caroline for doing all the calculations to reach the final results.

Thumbnails of the top 15 sets and the scores can be seen here.


Projected Image League 3 January 2017  

balloonwaterfallOn a chilly evening Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP welcomed members back after the Christmas break and wished everyone a Happy New Year.

From balloons to waterfalls and from boats to wild hares members managed to think up a very wide range of subjects for the PI League. To enter the competition members had to choose 3 subjects and find 5 images that displayed well together for each title. This year there were 51 sets of projected images for the members present to score each one out of 10. Members were asked to assess the quality and composition of the images and also how well they displayed as a set and fitted the chosen title.

The results of the competition will be announced after all the calculations as all the scores for each set are averaged and then each entrants scores for their 3 sets added together.
The Hewitt Cup trophy will be presented to the winner next Tuesday

.hares
Boats Battle Secretary Frank Collins updated members about the forthcoming Battles.
The prints have been selected for the Warminster Multi Club Print Battle which takes place on Saturday 11 February (see Competitions - Battles for the various venue details)

Frank presented the 25 digital images selected for the 3 way battle with Swindon PS and Stratton CC which members are invited to attend on Thursday 19 January in Swindon.
Members were also shown the 18 images selected for DPIC which takes place on Sunday 5 February in Exeter - tickets must be bought in advance (see Exeter Corn Exchange website)
Altogether over 50 images from 22 members are representing the club for the various competitions so it is hoped members will go along to the Battles to hear the judge's comments, see the entries from other clubs and support Devizes CC.
Also selected were the 15 images for the GB Open Cup - a National competition and the GB Nature entries will be selected shortly.PM

 

2016 Challenge

At the start of 2016 Club Chairman Richard Watson LRPS set members a Challenge - the idea was for members to take a photo on a set subject every week for a year. 24 symmetryRichard set out a list for members to follow with the idea that members would get out their cameras and find something to photograph that fitted the subject and post it on the Club facebook. The images have then been transferred to this website for all to see on the Challenge 2016 page.

Not all went to plan - working as a group should have encouraged everyone to keep going but only a couple actually completed the whole year. 
Hopefully those few that took part even for a short time felt that at least they got their camera out from time to time or at least gave the subjects some thought. SquareLooking through files to find something that fitted  wasn't really the point. If the challenge was taken up as suggested then it should have made you sometimes get out of your comfort zone and try out some new ideas. 

Some subjects were easier than others - but then it was not meant to be all easy or it would not be a challenge! A couple of the images shown here would probably not be ceated if it wasn't for the Challenge!

All the images members submitted can be seen on the 2016 Challenge page for a few more weeks.

Members who wish to challenge themselves for 2017 can find many lists if they search for 'Photographic Challenges'
Some are for 52 weeks or there are monthly or even daily lists which might be a challenge to keep up! Anyway its entirely up to any of you if you want to set yourself a personal challenge in the new year. Good luck and  try to keep it up if you do.
Thanks Richard for setting the 2016 Challenge! PM

 

Christmas Party and Projected Image Knock-Out
 20 December 2016  

For our last meeting before the Christmas break we had the pleasure of Santa (alias Frank Collins) with his ho ho ho and in his usual jovial manner acting as Master of Ceremonies for this light hearted competition.
Members sent in digital images for this fun knock -out competition for which Dave Gray devised an excellent way of projecting the images.  BowImages were randomly paired and at first each shown singly and then side by side so then members voted with a show of hands which of the 2 images shown they preferred - the left or the right.
After each round the chosen images were then shuffled and again paired randomly for the next round.
SpanishThe competition can be extremely unfair as often 2 potential winning images or two by the same photographer come up together and only one can go through but it all caused a laugh.
Frank was called in a final adjudicator on several occasions when the member's votes were tied and his was the final decision.
Eventually 5 rounds later there are only 4 images left in the running and from these the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th places are decided.
Everyone loves penguins and so 'Take a Bow' by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP above left
was a very popular winner. 
street lifeThe very interesting composition and lighting made a night scene 'Spanish Streets' above  by Tim Pier a well deserved second.
TreeA portrait artist in 'Street Life' left by Hilary Eagles was voted third and a monochrome 'Lone Tree' right by Richard Watson LRPS was in forth place.

Frank presented each of the winners with small christmas gift.

Thanks to all the many members who entered images, those that exercised their arms by voting and special thanks to Frank and Dave for the organisation and for making it such a good fun evening.

To round of the meeting members brought in a large array of delicious seasonal treats which were very much relished before members departed.

The next meeting is on Tuesday 3rd January 2017 so anyone interested in photography and not yet a member would like to come along they will be made very welcome.

 

Monochrome and Creative Competitions 13 December 2016  

Two very contrasting competitions were judged during the evening by Andy Beel FRPS who was welcomed back to the club by Chairman Richard Watson LRPS.
The prints were shown first and Andy who is a renowned monochrome print worker himself commented on the 32 entries and remarked that many images were to him almost an all over grey and that an effort should be made to add 'punch' to the prints by enhancing the contrast in the editing.
Case TPThe important factor is the direction of the light - side or back lighting gives much more interesting effects than straight on lighting and Andy commented that the lightest part of the image is where the viewers' attention is drawn and should be the main subject of the image. Some images had overblown skies and Andy recommended setting the exposure on the camera for the sky or lightest part of the image so as not to lose detail as then the darker areas can be lightened in post processing.

gambian girlAn entry by Tim Pier titled 'On the Case' (right) was awarded first place, Andy said it was an interesting subject with very good lighting and composition and was well printed. 'Pathway to the square was another print by Tim that was judged to have  a good leading line that drew the eye to the light through the archway and it was placed third.
It was the eyes and soulful expression of a young Gambian girl (left) portrayed by Dave Gray that the judge admired and that gained second place. Only four Highly Commended's were awarded although the rules allowed more but Andy felt that other prints although he had praised them did not deserve an award.
Richard Atkinson AFIAP and Stuart Barnes were each awarded an HC and Kyra Wilson did well with 2 HC's.

Adragonfter the break the Creative entries were projected and Andy said he was right out of his comfort zone with this type of competition and it was not the type of image he was used to judging.
There was a great variety of interesting techniques among the 44 entries - some in camera and some in the post processing. Andy confessed that some images he did not understand and others were not to his taste.
Members seemed to really enjoy seeing the interesting and sometimes extraordinary efforts from fellow members who had experimented with various filters that resulted in some very different images to those that they are usually associated with.

Andy gave his comments on the images and held back 6 images on which he then commented and expressed his reasons why he gave them the awards.
ChoirA montage by Pam Mullings was awarded first place - titled 'Choir Practice' (left) portraying owls instead of choir boys, Andy said he liked the composition and the expressions of some of the owls depicted.
Another image by Pam was placed third this time featuring a man 'Haunted' by an eerie ghost from the past.
Smoke images from Kev Ferris LRPS - one titled 'Dragon Lord' (right) was in second place and 'The Ballerina' gained an HC.
Janet Rutter LRPS and Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP were the only other entrants to gain awards in the Creative competition.
Thanks to all those who entered and had fun creating their images.

Members present had the pleasure of seeing both traditional monochrome prints and more experimental digital images during the same evening so hopefully something for everyone.
Thanks to Andy for judging and giving his comments on both sets of entries and for those members who entered such a variety of images. PM
Full results                    All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries

 

Latest Salon Acceptances
This month has been very quiet with only 7 acceptances- all by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP including a highly commended from the Wrekin salon. Congratulations Robert.
 The end of year results will be added at the end of December as there are still few salons left to announce their acceptances. MB
Salon Information

‘Why Am I Taking This Photograph?  6 December 2016  

Former psychotherapist Diana Neale ARPS gave a presentation of her very unique and imaginative photographic images. The digital images have been greatly influenced by her work and aim to convey an interpretation of the multi-layered nature of memories and dreams, an insight into the unconscious, with which the observer can interact.

DN1Enjoying the creativity of digital photography Diana set out in 2013 to gain her LRPS and fairly shortly afterwards gained her ARPS with a panel of visual art images. Each image was projected and Diana explained where the image was taken and in some cases what appealed to her about the location and described some of the techniques used.

Diana invites viewers to engage with the images and create their own thoughts about what the untitled image represents to them rather than her own interpretation. Diana taught herself the technical Photoshop skills to be able manipulate her original photographs in order to transform them into individual works of art. Spooky graveyards, derelict buildings, woodlands and landscapes are often used as the base image.Texture, colour, watercolour wash photographs and other images are added as layers then all are blended skilfully together until a pleasing image is created. The results of blending layers are unpredictable so no two of the often very complex images are ever the same - the fun is playing and around seeing what happens!

DN3Many of Diana's images have an air of mystery, What's going on? What does it mean? 

Viewers are encouraged to use their own imagination to interpret the images.
Still lifes are set up using the large selection of 'bits and pieces' found around the home, fruit and flowers - particularly when decaying are often featured. Each photographic image then has additional layers and even when appropriate the addition of people images found in a collection of very old photos. The use of other photographers images is not allowed in club competitions so members must not try the same idea.
A mobile phone is often used as it can take a good image and nowadays has excellent built in software allowing a wide range of visual effects. Recent images feature trees with interesting colour effects applied.
Members may have been inspired to try out some of the layering techniques for themselves so we may see more creative images in the future.
Thanks Diana fo giving us an insight into your photographic world and for displaying a selection of prints.. PM
See more of Diana's images

 

Competition 2 - Open Prints  29 November 2016  

The second Open Print competition of the season was very ably judged by Keith Cooper LBPPA from Gloucester. There were over 80 entries for members to enjoy seeing with Keith giving very helpful and concise comments on each one and finally giving the awards for each section.

GannetKeith remarked on the high quality of some of the prints in the Beginners section. Some really amazing wildlife entries caught the judge's eye including a little owl and a kingfisher by Kyra Wilson but a Gannet in flight by David Wilkinson (shown right) was awarded first place with 'Red Stag' also by David in second place.
Steve Hardmans landscape 'Pondfield Bay was placed third with Steve and David and Kyra also gaining a HC's.

An atmospheric monochrome titled 'Early Mist, Caen Hill' Locks by Caroline Wright was placed first in the Intermediate section and Caroline was also awarded an HC for 'Beckford's Spiral' A colourful flying shot 'Sacred Ibis' by Jean Ingram was in second place and Stuart Barnes gained 3rd for 'Three Irish Lads' and also was awarded two HC's.

Venturing OutThere were 35 prints entered in the Advanced section including many stunning landscapes, smoke images and wildlife prints of all sorts. The judge remarked how difficult he had found it to put the top images in order Keith finally announced his decision for the awards with an image of Amur leopard cubs 'First Venture Out' by Pam Mullings placed first (shown left).
A flower study 'Lady's Slipper Orchid' and a landscape 'Blackrock Cottage' both by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP were placed second and third. Eight HC's were also awarded.

Thanks to Keith for travelling on such a cold and frosty night and for taking the time and trouble to look so carefully at the large selection of print entries. PM

Full Results      Awarded images can be seen in the Galleries.

'Welcome to My Outdoor Office' 23 November 2016  

Landscape photographer Stephen Spraggon likes to get away from his indoor day job into what he feels is his outdoor office where he can travel around the countryside seeking scenic places to photograph. What started as a hobby has developed into serious photography and each image is very carefully planned in advance. After holding some successful exhibitions of his work, Stephen's reputation grew and he now takes on commissions and also continues with his personal projects. Outdoor Photography magazine often features landscapes by Stephen and many images appear in other publications and advertisements.

the cobbMembers enjoyed a slideshow of some early images featuring misty landscapes, dawn and sunset coastal scenes, rugged rock formations and tranquil woodland. An image of the Holy Thorn in silhouette against Glastonbury Tor is a particular favourite of Stephen's as sadly the tree is no longer standing.

Stephen brought along some of his kit and members were particularly interested in the tripod with extra-long legs - very useful on sloping ground and on rocks over water and the use of an L frame making the camera very stable on the tripod even in portrait mode. A spirit level on the hot shoe together with one on the tripod and the electronic inbuilt level in the camera combine to make sure the camera is perfectly level. Stephen also explained the uses of a tilt/shift lens which can give front to back sharpness in difficult situations.

To get such high quality landscape images takes planning, timing and persistence. Using maps and a photographers Ephemeris to find the exact position of the sun at the location, a tide table for coastal shots and the local weather forecast together with his experience Stephen hopes all this comes together for the ideal shot. Despite all the planning the conditions may still not be ideal on arrival and the weather not as predicted so sometimes waiting for the cloud to break might give a chance of an image for a few seconds but on other occasions it means hoping for better luck next time.
TorOn the point of giving up after many visits over 4 years, finally the colour of the sky, position of the sun, tide height and light all came together for the superb image of the Cobb, Lyme Regis shown above was just the shot Stephen always had in his mind to acheive. The reflection of the Glastonbury Tor in a dyke right meant finding exactly the right position to set up the tripod and then to return to the spot several times until the bankside vegetation hid the unwanted line of electric fence posts and just the right amount of mist in order to get the ideal image.

Stephen prefers to keep post production work to the minimum. Adjustment layers are used in Photoshop to balance levels, white balance adjusted, annoying dust spots removed and cropping if needed. Sometimes several images are blended together to give just the result needed.

Finally Stephen showed a selection of his recent work with some images of Snowdonia and his experiments with star trails and full moon shots on Glastonbury Tor.

Thanks Stephen for giving useful advice and tips for landscape photographers and for showing a selection of your superb images. PM
Images © Stephen Spraggon       Website

 

Calne Multi-club Battle 2016  

ComingThe 2016 version of this long-established event took place on Monday 14th November at the Beversbrook Sports Centre on the outskirts of Calne. A record 10 clubs were entered this year; joining the traditional ‘core’ clubs of hosts Calne, Devizes, Frome Wessex, Trowbridge, Warminster and Royal Wootton Bassett were new clubs Lacock and Stratton, as well as the invitation-only group Nonpareil. Each Club entered 9 images for consideration by judge Matt Revell.

It is to be expected in a competition like this that each club will try to put forward its best images and accordingly the standard will be high and the competition a fierce one. The contest becomes even more intense when the judge utilises only a narrow band of the marking spectrum available; on this occasion no image scored less than 15 while 11 achieved the maximum of 20 – with 6 of the 10 clubs having at least one image achieving the maximum marks. A further 24 images each scored 19 points, meaning that almost 40% of the 90 images involved were awarded one of the top two marks. In these circumstances small variations can make a big difference to the final outcome – and it is therefore especially important to remember that while a judge’s opinion may differ from your own views, on the night the only rule that matters is that the Judge must always be right!

Golden LightThe contest therefore inevitably went ‘down to the wire’ – and in the end only 4 points separated the top 4 teams. No Devizes image scored less than 17, yet we finished 4th on 166 points, behind Frome Wessex in 3rd with 167, Calne in 2nd on 168, and winners Nonpareil with an impressive 170 points scored out of 180 available – with their first 6 images they dropped only 3 points to the maximum possible score.

Devizes however had two images scoring the full 20 – Lynda Rugg’s sublime ‘Golden Light’ left , and Mike Valentine’s dramatic nature action shot ‘Coming – ready or not’ above.
Mike went on to be honoured as runner up in the Judge’s pick of best image of the evening.

It is always good to be able to see the work of other photographers from our local clubs, and there were a lot of excellent images to enjoy. My thanks therefore go to all who made work available for selection by the Club, without which entry to the Battle would not be possible; to the selection panel, and to those members of the Club who turned out to support us on the night.     Frank Collins - Battle Secretary
Devizes CC images and results

 

'Himalayan Kingdoms' 15 November 2016  

Sue Winkworth LRPS and her husband Richard gave us a presentation on Tuesday entitled “Himalayan Kingdoms”. They are members of Kingswood Photographic Society and introduced themselves as keen amateur photographers who like to travel, take photographs and produce Audio Visual (AV) presentations. In this five-part Annapurna1presentation, they provided us with a mix of images and AVs covering their 2007 tour of Kathmandu, the Annapurna foothills, Chitwan National Park and parts of Bhutan.
They started with an AV of Kathmandu street life, covering images of temples, markets and crowds. Sue commented that it was difficult to tell which buildings were old and which new as they were all built to the same basic design.
Following this AV, Sue showed us images of their flight, by Yeti Airways, to Pokhara and their 6-day trek through the foothills of the Annapurna range. We shared in their steep climbs on rugged paths, through paddy fields, hills and gorges. Over suspect suspension bridges, swinging above rushing rivers, and dodging mule trains, with the majesty of Machapuchara (the Fish Tail Mountain) always somewhere in view, until they reached the Ghandruk Luxury Lodge. BhutanHere they visited a tiny temple next to the old Gurung Museum, proudly presented by resident Gurkhas. On their way back to Pokhara, they had an interesting encounter with very polite Maoist Militants who demanded a “voluntary” contribution to their cause and provided a neatly written receipt. While they thoroughly enjoyed the trek, Sue expressed some relief on returning to Kathmandu and respite from the many leeches they collected on each day of their trek.
The next part of the talk was entitled “Searching for Unicorns”, a reference to the Indian Rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis). This was an AV showing their trip into the Chitwan National Park. Here, they travelled everywhere by elephant - through the swamp to their hotel, as well as on safari through grasses that were taller than the elephants. chitwanThey also showed the tiny airfield which had to be cleared of dogs and other animals when the plane approached.
In the second half, we were whisked away to the Land of the Thundergragon - Bhutan. We were told that the airport at Paro is built on the only piece of flat land in Bhutan and that only a handful of pilots are qualified to fly in and out. They showed us images taken in Thimpu (the capital) and Punakha (the administrative centre) showing examples of the grotesque and colourful decorations and artwork, before heading on into the Haa Valley.
They completed of their presentation with an AV entitled “On the Roof of the World”. This showed images taken from a small aeroplane on a flight from Kathmandu over the Himalayas, round Mount Everest and back to Kathmandu.
This rounded off a very enjoyable evening which, I am sure, will have inspired a number of people to consider a trip to this enigmatic part of the world. Our thanks to the Winkworths. DF
Images © Sue & Richard Brinkworth

 

Photographing the Moon

DG moonNovember’s full moon was the closest to earth and therefore the biggest full moon in 68 years so the Landscape Group decided to try and capture moonrise on our cameras.  No fewer than 15 group members and guests turned out for the occasion.

Although the moon would not be visible from Wiltshire at the actual moment of full moon and closest approach, from a photographic point of view we wanted to make our images at moonrise to include some terrestrial landscape in the image.  On Sunday afternoon the (almost) full moon rose at 4.16pm and the sun set at 4.20pm.  This provided a period of about 10 minutes when the moon and the terrestrial landscape were of similar brightness, enabling them to be included in the same image using a single exposure. 
Our chosen location was Charlton Beech Clumps on the northern edge of Salisbury Plain, providing a clear view to the north-east.  It was a fine day and we were hoping that encroaching cloud would hold off just long enough.moon 
Picking our way across electric fences and trenches, we lined ourselves up with telephoto lenses at the ready in the calculated location.  Right on cue, the huge, pink-tinged moon began to show above the horizon.   This revealed that we were standing about 25m too far east for the moon to align with the tree clump, so a rapid relocation of photographers, cameras and tripods ensued.  We had about 10 minutes of photography before hazy cloud obscured the detail of the moon’s disk.

All in all a fun afternoon, a chance to try some different photographic techniques and a bit of a carnival atmosphere. RH

Thanks to Robert Harvey for researching suitable foreground subjects and getting us all in the right place (nearly) at the right time for the moonrise.
Image above by Dave Gray  right: group photo by Leila Searight

 

Landscape Group Weekend in the Peak District
On Friday 28th October 2016 a group of 22 members and partners headed to the Peak District for the 2016 Landscape Group Weekend.
The aim was, to see and photograph the autumn colour in one of Britains most visited National Parks. 

LadybowerSurprise viewOn Friday afternoon after checking in to the Little John Hotel on Hathersage,  members of the group took a short drive to Padley Gorge where there was lots to photograph. Plenty of autumn colour, moss covered trees in the ancient woodland and   the brook running through the gorge.

On Saturday Morning the weather was overcast so we headed up to a misty Bole Hill Quarry where there was a selection of discarded millstones,many overgrown with moss, discarded many years ago .  After breakfast most of the group went to Wyming Brook where the stream rushes through the rocky brook presenting lots of photographic opportunities to capture images of moving water, mossy Wyming Brookrocks and autumnal foliage in the trees.
After the group split up some going to Castelton and Cave Dale and some going to other locations such as Bamford Weir and Ladybower Reservoir.

Saturday night we took part in the quiz to test our knowledge of Britain's National parks. led by team captains Dave Gray, Sue Wadman,  Steve Hardman and Richard Watson. Dave Gray’s team were the victors in the very entertaining and fun evening.
On Sunday Morning again the weather was overcast so the group split some going again to Bole Hill Quarry and the rest heading up the hill to Millstone Edge, Over Owler Tor and Mother Cap. After breakfast we headed to Lathkill  Dale, where parts of the stream was very dry but a short walk along the dale was rewarded with some images of a small waterfall. After lunch and a stop for a genuine Bakewell pudding for  some members of the group we then head to the Monsal Head and a view of the viaduct. Only one member of the group walked into the valley to photograph the weir and some of us walked from Millers Dale to the magnificent limestone gorge of Chee Dale.

Those that stayed through until Monday morning were rewarded with the first sunshine of the weekend and a few photographs of a sunrise with mist in the valley provided a great finish to the trip.

Many thanks to Robert Harvey and Dave Gray for organising the weekend and also Sarah Harvey for her assistance with the quiz. CW     Images by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP, Caroline Wright and Hilary Eagles

More images can be seen in the Landscape Group Album 

 

Competition 2 PI - subject 'Street Photography' 8 November 2016  

The subject for this competition led to some prior discussion by members about what exactly was meant by 'Street Photography' but judge Peter Crane LRPS who is an experienced street photographer himself had no doubts about how it should be interpreted. The image needed to tell a story and 'catch a moment in time'
Attention should be on the subject, it should not appear posed and should have an uncluttered background or any distracting areas should be cropped or desaturated.

MumIn total 75 images were entered on which Peter gave his interesting comments and in some cases pointed out how a better viewpoint could have improved the image. Although very well taken, images depicting mainly architecture or a portrait did not really qualify as street photography but might have done well in other competitions.

Starting with the Beginners section Peter particularly enjoyed the expressions on the faces of two boys in
'But Mum do I have to? (left) by Kyra Wilson and awarded it first place.
Again the facial expressions in 'The Game' by Heather Collins earned it 2nd place.
Ian Preedy who entered a competition for the first time was placed 3rd with an interesting image of a policewoman and a street protester titled 'What do you think?'
Very well done also to two other first time entrants Andy Baugh with 'The Piper' and Craig Purvis with 'Rubbish Irony' both gaining HC's. Great to see new members taking the plunge and entering club competitions - that's how to learn and improve.
quality
In the Intermediate section 'Quality Time' (right) by Hilary Eagles was placed 1st - the image showing an lady and a child enjoying playing together. Peter commented on the excellent composition and focus in the image and the same qualities applied to 'Jumping Jack' a skate boarding image by Caroline Wright in 2nd place. 'Pale Rider' by Jean Ingram was placed 3rd and images by Caroline and Hilary wiringalso gained HC's and Stuart Barnes was awarded 2 HC's.

The subject was interpreted in a variety of ways in the Advanced section but Peter felt that many  images missed out on the Street Photography theme as he was really looking for images that showed the interaction between people.

Dave Gray had just the right image with 'Third World Wiring'  (left) depicting a typical crazy street scene, men working overhead and an expressive face in the foreground and awarded it 1st place.
Dave was also awarded 3rd place with another expressive face in 'Only Bananas for Sale' and also an HC for 'Fish for Tea'
Second place went to 'Stalking' by Pam Mullings, an image caught just by chance that appeared to tell a story and another chance encounter in a street titled 'Exchanging Smiles' caught the judges eye and was awarded an HC.

This made up a very interesting evening with many entrants taken out of their comfort zone and trying something different.

Thanks very much to Peter Crane for judging and commenting on the images and for giving helpful tips on how to go about taking candid photographs of people in public places and to those members who entered such an interesting selection of images.​ PM

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

 

Congratulations

Club member Michael Barnes has been awarded an AWPF by the Wales Photographic Federation (Undeb Ffotograffig Cymru). To achieve this distinction Michael had to submit a panel of 12 themed images for consideration by five distinguished judges. His chosen theme was titled 'Water Embraces Land' and entirely consisted of landscapes some of which were taken on club field field trips. Living in Wales Michael will be especially pleased to have received this honour and hopes in due course to bring his panel to a future club night for members to see.

The Nature Group presents.... 1 November 2016   

Thursday 1 November was billed as "The Nature Group Presents"; an opportunity for the Club's specialist Nature Group to share some images and some experiences with the rest of the Club members.

For the first half, Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP took us on a journey of discovery of the butterflies of England.  Having set himself the task in 2016 of attempting to take an image of every one of the 57 native butterfly species, he shared with us his experiences of achieving the goal, along with hints and tips for photographing butterflies and of course some stunning images.

Orange tipStarting in May and proceeding right through to September when he finally photographed the elusive clouded yellow, Robert took us through the catalogue of our native butterflies one by one, along with a fascinating explanation of how and where he had achieved each image.  This varied from the simple - walking out into his garden - to the downright difficult - driving to a specific hill in the North of England to look for one individual species.  Some butterflies are apparently very elusive, living for most of the time in the tops of trees.  Clouded yellowIt helps to know when they come down out of the trees and be there at the right time to catch them on camera.  Alternatively it helps to know that there are very short oak trees on Browndown Ranges!

Certain butterfly species have a very small geographical range and here the correct research and planning to know exactly when and where to go to find them was a crucial part of achieving photos of all 57 species.  As Robert pointed out, since Wiltshire is generally such a good county for butterflies, he did manage to see over a third of the species in and around his own garden.  Others required a much greater tenacity and dedication to the cause, with locations such as the Norfolk Broads, Exmoor, Cumbria and the South Coast of the Isle of Wight being specific locations for individual species.  A number of Nature Group trips were made to known butterfly locations, allowing others from the Group to have the chance to photograph some more unusual butterflies such as the Glanville Fritillary and the Green Hairstreak.

Robert's top tips for photographing butterflies are:

• The butterflies are less active in the early morning or the evening and thus more likely to sit still for you. This may also work on a sunny day if it becomes overcast and they sit with wings spread trying to warm up
• Use a tripod (if they sit still for long enough) and a monopod if they don't
• Do your research first.  Knowing when and where to find a particular species is key.  Knowing the food plant they like is also very helpful.
• If you want to get all 57, be prepared to spend a lot of time driving!

Our thanks to Robert for sharing his journey with us.
Images: Orange Tip & Clouded Yellow - the first and last butterflies that Robert photographed in 2016 - see all 57 species on Roberts website

RWThe second half of the evening was a chance for a number of other Nature Group members to share some of their photos.  Several members had selected their favourite wildlife shots of the year and so we were taken on a trip around the UK and then to the other side of the world. 
Selections included: Deer in Richmond Park,  Birds of prey and owls photographed from a hide, Butterflies, birds and insects taken locally in Wiltshire.
A series all taken within a mile of Cardiff, including a regularly visiting kingfisher.
Early morning shots of snakeshead fritillary at Clattinger Farm.
A series of Scottish Highland wildlife including grouse, mountain hare and red squirrel. 
Finally we moved a long way from home to series taken in Borneo, which included shots taken on a night drive.

A fascinating glimpse into some of the shots that Nature Group members have taken through the year and our thanks to them for sharing with us. 

Battle Secretary Frank Collins showed members the images chosen to represent the club in the Calne Multi-club Battle to be held on Monday November 14.
Frank explained that choosing just 9 images from the large selection of excellent images was very difficult. Members are encouraged to go to the battle to support the club and to also see the images from the 8 other clubs represented.HC
Above: Me and My Reflection by Richard Watson LRPS

Latest Salon Acceptances

During October club members have achieved a further 26 salon acceptances thanks to Robert Harvey who achieved 19 acceptances including one honourable mention in the 4th Olympic Circuit (Greece) and Richard Atkinson who obtained 5 Acceptances in the Gradac Salon (Montenegro).  With just two months to to go before the Ryder Rathband Trophy is concluded for this year Robert is beginning to pull away with a total of 71 points.  Gill however is not far behind on 59 points. The race currently for third place is between Kevin Ferris (41 points) and Richard Atkinson who is on 34 points so there is all to play for.

To date club members have a achieved an impressive 225 acceptances, and entered 48 Salons worldwide During recent weeks some club members have indicated that they would like to have a go at entering salons. With this in mind it has been suggested that those who have not entered a salon before, and would like to do so, might like to dip their toes into the salon pool by first entering the Western Counties Photographic Federation Members' Exhibition which takes place on the 4th March 2017.  There is a nominal charge for entering.

Entries are normally accepted one month before this date so there is plenty of time to put to gather a little portfolio of your best images. The Committee have agreed to support a club initiative along these lines and further advice will be given in the new year. Entrants from new club members would be especially welcome. Normally the WCPF have digital categories for Open (Colour), Nature, Travel and Creative,  and print categories for Open Colour, Mono and Nature.  Normally you can enter unto 4 images in any of the categories. Last year the club achieved 21 acceptances so it would be good to break this target. MB
Further details can be obtained on the WCPF website             Latest Salon Acceptances pdf

 

'English Wildlife' 25 October 2016  

On Tuesday 25th October members welcomed well-known local wildlife photographer David Kjaer to the club to see his wonderful presentation of images of English Wildlife to be found during a typical English autumn & winter. David took us on a tour of the Southern half of the Country to show us the sites and the Wildlife he has photographed 
deer DKHe started in Richmond Park for the Red Deer rut which is in late September to October, although the time can vary slightly from year to year.  We learnt that this is a good location as deer are so used to people that they are easy to see, although the stags can be dangerous during the Rut. There is also the opportunity to see Fallow deer slightly later in the season, the park is also home to many other species that make good photographic subjects including Egyptian Ducks, Kestrel and Rose Ringed Parakeet - a non-indigenous species which has become established in the UK after captive birds escaped or were released.
David then moved on to show us some marvelous images of Fungi including Honey Fungus, Magpie Inkcap, Porcelain Fungus and Yellow Staghorn. Some of these were taken last year in Savernake Forest while he was on an arranged trip with the club Nature group. He pointed out that images of Fungi can be taken during any landscape or nature walk in the late autumn.
Owl DKWe then moved on the RSPB Arne on the edge of Poole Harbour and were shown images of Sika Deer and Dartford Warblers . Then we were on a short boat ride across the harbour to Brownsea Island where David often goes to photograph waders including Avocets, Black Tailed Godwits, Redshanks and the slightly rarer Greenshanks in the lagoons which can be observed from the Dorset Wildlife Trust hides on the island. David identified that it is always worth checking tide times as high tide is the best time to see the wildlife. Little Egrets, Spoonbills and kingfishers are also common visitors.
swan DKNext David took us to the Norfolk coast to show us his images of Atlantic Grey Seals; these are present in large numbers in this area in November and December. As this is mating season, it is possible to see large adult males, females and some pups.  David will often get up shortly after midnight to travel to Norfolk to be there in time for sunrise.
We also saw images of Barn Owls, which are not necessarily nocturnal; they are easier to spot and photograph after a wet and windy night. The Barn Owl relies on its hearing to hunt and during stormy weather it will have struggled to hunt so will continue to try to feed well into daylight.
 We also visited Cley Marshes on the edge of The Wash in north Norfolk to see images of Snipe, Water Rail, Snow Bunting and Rock Pippets and it was near to here that David heard of a Bittern that was living at an isolated pond, again he made a very early start from Wiltshire to arrive at the pond close to sunrise to find another photographer already there. While they were talking as they set up the camera equipment he spotted the Bittern no more than a few feet away unfazed by their presence. He was able to stay for several hours taking lots of beautiful images of the bird while he feasted on frogs and voles hunted in the pond.
We then moved on to WWT at Slimbridge a favourite place for David and he showed us images of Bewick swans, Barnacle Geese, Mute Swans, Tufted Ducks, Greylag Geese  and even Mallard Ducks. David explained that it is always worth staying for sunset and showed us some gloriously colourful reflection images of the birds taken at this time of day.  The White Fronted Geese who overwinter in UK were the inspiration for Peter Scott to open the first WWT centre at Slimbridge. Close by to the centre David has also photographed a long eared owl at Oldbury power station
The journey to photograph English Wildlife then moved closer to home and the Somerset levels and stunning pictures of Cranes both on the ground and in flight. These have been introduced to the area by the Great Crane Project, which has to date released 93 young birds to the area which has hatched from imported eggs.
The next images were taken even closer to home in Victoria Park, Bath. This is a very good site to see Jays. David collects acorns when they are in season, and use these to attract the Jays helping him to get some great images however the local squirrels will eat most of the acorns. Salisbury Plain has in the last few years been one of the best sites to see large murmurations of Starlings, in which tens of thousands of birds gather together to avoid predation. This results in the most fantastic display of flying by the birds. David showed us a short video clip of the spectacle.
In the final section David showed images of Birds and other Wildlife taken in his garden. They included Goldfinch, Redpoll, Blackbirds, Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Nuthatch and some Bank Voles.
Thank you David for an interesting and informative presentation which has given us inspiration to get out and about in the autumn and photograph some of the subjects. CW   Images © David Kjaer

 

Landscape Group trip to Ystradfellte waterfalls 22 October 2016  

PowysAn autumn visit to the Brecon Beacons waterfall country around the village of Ystradfellte is becoming a club tradition. 
This year, a dedicated group of waterfall enthusiasts travelled west from Devizes on a lovely autumn day, hoping for vibrant colours.  Eira waterfallThe walk of around 6 miles is fairly rugged and takes in four principal waterfalls. 

Autumn so far has been fairly dry with the result that water flows were moderate, exposing plenty of interesting rock architecture for our compositions.  We were able to get close to several of the falls, taking advantage of rocky ledges for our tripods to make unusual and dramatic compositions.  Sgwd Isaf Clun-gwyn is a curtain of water with a foreground of swirling rapids, within which fallen leaves sometimes gyrate. 
With practice, a long exposure can capture the patterns made by swirling leaves.  Further down the same gorge, Sgwd Isaf Clun-gwyn looked particularly attractive with golden light reflecting down the valley sides, illuminating wet rocks and leaves.  waterfallSgwd y Pannwr offered a range of viewpoints to take in different aspects of its multiple tiers and cascades, with gentle autumn colours of trees as a backdrop.

Finally, at Sgwd yr Eira we were able to walk behind the waterfall for a spectacular experience of the falling water.  We then set ourselves up with suitable foregrounds of luxuriantly green mossy boulders but had to wait for the falls to clear of other visitors.  Eventually we were rewarded for our patience and made our compositions in time to get back to the car park as dusk fell. 
All enjoyed what is surely one of the most spectacular day trips from Wiltshire; people would travel long distances to photograph many lesser sights.
 
Thanks to Dave for expert knowledge and guiding. RH 
Photo top left - Club members behind the falls by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP

 

Competition 1 Prints 'Open 18 October 2017  

Entries in the first Print competition of the season were ably judged by John Randall from Andover Camera Club.  Welcomed by Dave Gray, John prefers to judge 'cold' and so only had a quick look through the entries prior to giving his comments.
EagleIn each of the 3 sections John then looked closely at each print, pointing out in his opinion any flaws such as lack of sharpness, composition that perhaps could have been helped by some cropping, contrast that could have improved the image or distractions that could have been cloned out. John remarked that there was generally a very high standard and that many prints deserved an award but that there was only a set number allowed in each section (1/3 of the entries)
John then had the difficult job of making his final selection so some were disappointed to be in the 'nearly there' group.  All those whose prints were picked out as possibles should feel pleased as there was no real criticism of their images but the final placings as always come down to the judges preferences on the night.

In the Beginners Group John awarded first place to David Wikinson for 'White-tailed Sea Eagle'. (right)
The image was sharp and well placed in the frame and a difficult subject for anyone to photograph.
A close up 'Early Morning Poppy' by Kyra Wilson was second with another flower image 'Love in a Mist' placed third. As a first time ascententrant Steve Hardman did well with an HC for a landscape titled 'Frosty Sunrise'

Many images were picked out of the Intermediate section as possible winners but finally a very worthy winner was Caroline Wright with a monochrome 'First Ascent of the Day' (left) and also '@ Bristol' in third place - two stunning images so very well done!
Andy Vick's 'Keepers Catch' was second, a sporting action which is notoriously difficult to catch at just the right moment so well caught Andy.

FragileThe Advanced section had an entry of 20 prints and John picked out 10 as worthy winners but after a lot of consideration had to announce his final placings. A soft delicate image of an orchid 'Fragile Beauty' (right) by Pam Mullings caught the judges eye as being something a bit different and was given first place. A stunning image of a night sky in Namibia 'Three Galaxies' by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP was a very close second and Dave Gray's 'Silver Leaf Monkeys, Borneo' was third.

It is daunting to enter your first competition but even after entering many previously you always wait nervously to hear what an experienced judge has to say about your efforts. Hopefully you learn from any criticism and don't make the same mistake again and your photography improves. Please continue to enter and take note of the comments on your own and also other member's entries as that is how you improve.
Thanks to all those who entered and made it such a close and interesting competition and to John Randall for taking the time and to travel over to judge the members prints. PM

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