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 will be shown in the Galleries soon.

'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

 

Photo Management

Following the 'Practical Evening' on 20 September - Dave Gray has put together a very informative tutorial on the use of Adobe 'Lightroom'. 
There is a lot of information about how to import, save, tag, index and find your images on your computer.
Members can find the pdf together with lots of other helpful photographic information by going to the Members Login and entering their user name and password.

 

'The Idle Rich Rambles On'  11 October 2016 

Dont messThere was a large turnout to welcome back Leo Rich ARPS, EFIAP/gold, DPAGB, BPE3 to Devizes Camera Club. Responding to a late call because of the unavailability of the scheduled speaker, his presentation was advertised as “an eclectic mix of images with no apparent theme to keep everyone guessing and even amused”. However he admitted that there was evidence of a “lavatorial theme”, especially during the first half.Aisha
He started by expressing his frustration at the way that, while he was concentrating on getting a particular shot right, his wife would have taken several images of life going on around him. He talked about how this intensity on one subject, like the nightjars he and a group were trying to photograph in India, can lead to you missing a better shot, like a leopard in a tree behind you! He also described how a photographer he knew would set himself up at a place where wildlife often visit and wait for the animals to come to him. I couldn’t help thinking that these were things worth thinking about when out and about with your camera.

During the first half of his presentation he showed us some quirky images taken in France. These included some fascinating wall art in Vaux-en-Beaujolais depicting characters from the book Clochemerle, a satirical novel dealing with the ramifications of the town mayor’s desire to install a new urinal in the main square.

We also saw a series of images from a camping trip to the Okavango delta in Botswana. As well as some great wildlife shots, we saw some interesting images of tents on the roof of a 4x4 and the facilities available at camp sites, including toilets surround by reed fences on the edge of the crocodile pool! And he showed images of (allegedly) the first Hippo and Croc cage diving site!!

Kota LaundryThe second half of the evening was dedicated to Leo’s love of India. He regularly goes to India with a group of other photographers and they like to get off the beaten track and head for some remoter villages.
We saw images of ceremonial processions and water carriers taking holy water from the Ganges to villages and towns up to 250 miles from the great river. We saw some of the people that Leo encountered as he tried, with no little success, to capture the expressions in their eyes. There were images of people at work in brick factories and river laundries. He showed us images of birds and animals from safaris into National Parks. And he showed us images of the main reason he keeps going back to India - tigers.
Tigers padding along the sandy roads; tigers looking forlorn as their prey runs away. And a great sequence of a tiger hunting through the depths of a lake.

Leo’s somewhat scattergun approach to presenting his images certainly kept us guessing. And his amusing anecdotes and wonderful sequences of images made for a very enjoyable and entertaining evening for which our thanks go to Leo.  DF

 

'The Great Divide' 4 October 2016  

The audience were entertained from start to end by this excellent evening by Leigh Preston FRPS EFIAP MPAGB portraying the contrasting sides of America.
Presenting a large
selection of mainly monochrome prints Leigh explained thet he had an interest in taking photographs, processing and printing since his school days.
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The evening began with a selection of expertly printed images taken over the years depicting many unusual views of US cities with their amazing monumental architecture and then moved on to some striking images taken in some of the US the National parks such as Bryce Canyon and Monument Valley with Leigh prefering to avoid the usual views with their 'ready made tripod holes' 
Members thoroughly enjoyed the interesting images of of 'forgotten America' that few photographers visit as well as
leigh3Leigh's expertly delivered, hilarious stories relayed in a variety of regional accents, recalling many of his encounters while travelling alone into very remote almost uninhabited areas.
Often inspired by poems, books, films, music and lyrics Leigh is unconventional in the way he goes about finding his subjects.

Leigh states 'it is why you took the image rather than how that is important' 
Leigh explained the importance of spending time getting exactly the composition and lighting to create the atmosphere needed for each image and is meticulous in presenting his image in a way that regains the emotion he Leigh1felt when taking the image.
 Using film and techniques such as long exposure and infra-red to take the photograph and then experimenting later with the processing and printing Leigh often using lithograph and a variety of toning effects in the darkroom to get just the effect he needs to show each image as he feels best fits the subject.
Nowadays Leigh still enjoys the darkroom process but also uses the digital equivalents, always taking care to create a unique effect that particularly suits each individual image.

The second half of the presentation was an inspiring collection of prints taken during his many visits to the now mostly deserted 'Badlands' of the southern states of central USA. Leigh explored these now dilapidated buildings finding inspiration in the barren, hostile terrain abandoned long ago - derelict homesteads, schools, churches, vehicles and even poignant belongings left behind as the inhabitants departed for a better life further West.
Travelling alone Leigh wanted to experience the atmosphere left in the forgotten buildings and the details that portrayed the hard lives of the former residents.

Never afraid to explore unknown territory Leigh quoted 'if you don't know where you are going you can never get lost!'
Thanks  so much Leigh for such an amusing and entertaining evening. Members later said how much they enjoyed all the hilarious and inspiring stories and seeing the range of very well-presented and interesting prints. PM                                       Images © Leigh Preston   Website   


Projected Image Competition 1: Open 27 September 2016  

The judge for the first Projected Image competition of the season was Jim Marsden FRPS APAGB AFIAP who was welcomed back to the club by Chairman Richard Watson LRPS.There was a large number of entries and Jim  who has judged for us on previous occasions remarked on the high standard particularly in the Beginners section. Just to explain to those new to the club - most new members start off in the Beginners group and after gaining enough points they move to Intermediate and then to Advanced. Many in the Beginners are not new to photography but have probably not experienced club competitions before.

firstFirst to be judged were the 22 images in the Beginners section with some outstanding landscapes and wildlife images. With so many superb images it was difficult for Jim to pick out the award winners but finally a stunning landscape 'First Light at Bamburgh' (shown left) by Sue Wadman was given first place.
In second place was an excellent close up by Heather Collins titled 'Common Carder Bee' and in third place was another wildlife image titled 'Kingfisher' by Kyra Wilson. Two HC's were awarded to David Wilkinson and Sue and Kyra were also awarded HC's.
With such a very high standard in the Beginners section we can look forward to many more outstanding images in the future.
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There were 33 entries in the Intermediate section - the unusual treatment of the image 'Trooping of the Colour' (right) by Tim Pier caught the judges eye and was awarded first place with a speeding whale watching boat titled 'In Hot Persuit' by Hilary Eagles in second place. With lovely lighting an eagle owl about to take off by Michael Valentine was placed third. Eight HC's were awarded in this group including 2 for Tim Pier.
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In the Advanced section Jim said he took a long time making his final decision on the 30 entries - some came very close but there is a limit to the number of awards allowed so they sadly just missed out. Depicting a wide range of subjects and using some unusual techniques this section had some very interesting images including outstanding landscapes and wildlife subjects.

A cleverly executed 'smoke' image by Kevin Ferris LRPS titled 'Mask' (left) was the judges favourite with a close up of a rare Damselfly from Borneo by Dave Gray taking second place.
In third place was a study of 'White Tulips' by Pam Mullings who also was awarded 2 HC's.
Two HC's were awarded to Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP and Kevin Ferris also gained an HC for a butterfly close up.

Very well done to everyone for giving members such an interesting evening and thanks to judge Jim Marsden for taking the time to look so carefully through the images and give such helpful comments.

Members can gain a lot by listening to the judges comments as experienced judges can pick out flaws and distractions in an image which the photographer may not have even noticed .By looking very carefully at their images before entering them in future might get  them an award. PM
Full results              All the award winning images can be seen in the GALLERIES

 

 Practical Evening  20 September 2016  

'What do you do after you click the shutter?' Club Secretary Dave Gray gave a presentation to members regarding the importance of cataloguing and organising images on your computer so that they can easily be located when required.
Nowadays photographers often store many 1,000's of images on their computers and trying to find an image taken some time ago can be frustrating if you do not have a filing system in place.
Dave demonstrated how Adobe 'Lightroom' has many tools to help you keep track of your images. After importing from your camera the images can be saved in named folders which you can then divide by subject into sub folders or any other way you wish to organise your collection. After editing, your original file is still unaltered and always available if you want to re-edit at a later date - the Lightroom editing information is saved separately.
Using a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop  you have everything you need to bring out the best in your photos, from organising your files, adding keywords, editing, preparing and saving images for competitions. Collections can be made of your best images ready for making presentations or entering into competitions.
See the Adobe website for many tutorials to help you do just about anything to bring out the best from your images.
There are several other methods of organising your files on your computer so use whichever you prefer.
During the break several members demonstrated print mounting and showed the various materials and mount cutters available. Entries for the first print competition of the season are needed in just a weeks' time.
In the second part of his presentation Dave demonstrated some more of the many features included in Lightroom such as stitching panoramas, focus stacking and merging HRD images. Members were shown how the many tools can be used to enhance the images ready for printing or for presentations.
Finally members were reminded how important it is to frequently back up your files onto a separate hard drive or send them to the 'cloud' in case of a computer break down - otherwise your images could be lost forever!

 

'The Digital Adventure' 13 September 2016  

mesaMembers looked forward to a very interesting presentation as Colin Harrison FRPS MFIAP EFIAP/p MPAGB EPSA FBPE FIPF was welcomed to the club by Dave Gray.
Colin started the evening with a selection of images mainly taken on a recent fly drive visit with his wife to the southern US.  Stunning landscapes, interesting rock formations, stormy skies, panoramas, old cars and odd looking vehicles, steam trains and of course the people were favourite subjects. Fish eye and wide angle lenses were often used to give unusual views. Almost always taken as Jpeg's - Colin waits for just the right light to capture his subjects and has an eye for finding quirky ideas that he can use to later build up his creative images.  During processing, colours are often enhanced and HDR, infrared, mono and other techniques used to make stunning, award winning images.
clockColin explained that the advantage of digital photography was that once you had suitable equipment you could 'boldly go where no photographer had gone before'.
You can take as many images as you like, experiment as much as you want, develop new techniques and create unique images.

After the break Colin continued to chat in his informal, humorous way and showed the wide variety of his images that gained him the award of EFIAP 'Platinum'
gypsyCategories entered included - Photojournalism, Travel, Creative and even a few Nature images to make up the 100 different images needed. Included among the award winning images were several moving images of the repatriations held at Brize Norton.
Colin has a whole string of distinctions to his name and explained that achieving them makes you really work hard at your photography and were a challenge. After being awarded EFIAP 'Platinum' his next goal is the newly introduced 'Diamond' award so there is always another goal to strive for.

Many images are cleverly put together montages - often using a close up of an interesting face, an old car or bus, a strange building and a suitable background. Textures, reflections and even snow are sometimes added in layers and moved around until a pleasing result is achieved - all the photographs merging together to make unique images.
Always mindful of what judges might like he often finds a touch of humour and a good title often help to gain a few extra points.

Thanks Colin for giving members an insight into your very creative world, sharing some of your secrets and encouraging them not to be afraid to experiment with their photography. PM         Images © Colin Harrison            Website

 

Chairman's Evening 6 September 2016  

DCC Chairman Richard Watson LRPS warmly welcomed members and those that were interested in joining the Club to the first meeting of the 2017-2017 season.
Richard and committee members outlined the plans for the coming months with an interesting selection of speakers, competitions and outings for members to look forward to.Richard
Richard started the evening by showing a selection of his images taken using one of the latest Smartphones.
With the quote 'The best camera is the one you have with you!'
Richard said that many photographic opportunities can be missed because you don't have your DSLR or other camera with you. Nowadays many have a phone in their pocket and can capture that moment - anytime - anywhere.
It's amazing what you can do now with the latest i phone - as well as taking straight photographs you can experiment with close-up's, panoramas, multiple exposures and use multiple shots to capture the moment.
Richard happened to notice the interesting shadows on a trough while out working and quickly produced the image shown right.

club3The latest phones takes excellent quality 18 megapixel images with the touch screen making it quick and easy to chose the format, select filters use HDR and much, much more. For most subjects the results are good but as Richard has found as there is no lense hood light spilage can be a problem, depth of field is not adjustable and night shots may not come out so well but for all other purposes the phone gives good results (although most club members will probably still use their camera when available.)
After taking the image you can do a lot of processing in the phone using an app such as Snapspeed which has tools to sharpen, crop, adjust contrast etc. etc.
If you feel like being creative there are many tools to chose from and then finally when you are pleased with your photo you can send it straight off to a website, social media, friends or even send an image to a printer and get a large size good quality A2 print!

Richard uses Twitter and Instagram to share and discuss images with fellow photographers.

After the break members enjoyed looking through a selection of photobooks by club members (above left) 
A selection of images can be printed as a very professional looking hardback book to enable you to share your special memories with others.
Thanks Richard and committee members for an interesting evening and an introduction to the forthcoming season. PM
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Members - please note that next week entries for the first competition of the season will be collected

Further details and competition rules can be found in COMPETITIONS

Any queries please contact Caroline.

 

 

 

Landscape Group visit - Avebury by Moonlight Monday 15 August 2016   

Moonlight SWSix hardy Landscape Group members gathered at Avebury after dark to try photographing the stones by moonlight. 

Photographing Avebury RHThe gibbous moon illuminated the whole landscape, whilst not being too bright to swamp all the stars. 

We tried exposures of 20 to 30 seconds at apertures from F/2 to F/4 and ISO settings of 800 to 1600, which gave correct exposures by moonlight. 

The constellation of Ursa Major (the Plough) was well-positioned low in the northern sky, enabling some pleasing compositions of ancient stones under the stars. RH

 

 

 

More photos of Avebury