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.
trooping
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.
mask
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!

 

Latest Salon Acceptances

As you will see the club members have nearly amassed 200 (196) salon acceptances for the current year.  This compares extremely well with the 130 achieved during the whole of last year (Jan-Dec inc). Almost all entrants have already exceeded their totals gained in 2015. Salon Acceptances - September pdf
However we would still like to see more members taking a dip into salons. It need not be expensive and its a great way of testing yourself against more experienced club members. 
To begin I suggest you choose your favourite genre (Open Colour, Mono, Nature/Wildlife. Landscape, Travel or Creative, and then select your 4 of your best images in the relevant category. If a judge has already been full of praise for one (or more) of your images why not use that to start you off.
A good place to start is the Western Counties Members Exhibition which is being held in March so there’s plenty of time to  prepare.
See SALONS for more information about entering. If you need further help please ask. MB

 

'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

 

Landscape Group Field Trip to Porlock   Saturday 13 August 2016 


Our summer field trip this year was to Porlock on Somerset’s Exmoor coast.   Failed groynes2 RH
We drove there under leaden skies and rain but as we arrived, the sun came out and stayed with us the rest of the day.
Dead trees RH First stop was Porlock Marsh.  Owned by the National Trust, this was formerly a meadow which was flooded by the tides when the sea breached the shingle beach in 1996.  A healthy salt marsh has now developed, studded by dead trees that perished due to salinity, tumbledown farm walls and other remnants of its former existence as agricultural land.  There was plenty to interest us photographically for a couple of hours, such as compositions of skeletal trees framing other trees.

 Next we drove up Porlock Hill, reputedly the steepest “A” road in England.  Our trip was timed to coincide with flowering heather, providing a rare opportunity to capture a purple landscape. 
The foreground was further enhanced by contrasting yellow flowers of gorse. 
Looking north-east we enjoyed views over Porlock Bay to Bossington Hill and across the Bristol Channel to Wales.  Heather

To the south-east, the heather gave way to wooded combes and beyond that to Dunkery Hill, enveloped in another purple haze.

Porlock weir MV A drive towards Exford and then through Luccombe took us over the moors, enabling us to view a large herd of red deer, and through some precipitously steep coombes to a 13th century church.  Then it was down to Porlock Weir for a pub meal. 
The shingle beach at Porlock Weir is well-known amongst photographers for its groynes, some of which are dilapidated and photographically more appealing as a result.  Using neutral density filters, we were able to capture images of the old timbers and cobbles surrounded by smooth, misty water.

Sunset was spectacular, as pink hues spread across the sky from north to west, ending in a finale of fiery orange.

Thanks to Mike Valentine for driving. RH       See more photos from Porlock

 

Welcome to the new DCC Website

ImageDuring the last few months the club website has been re-built using new updated free software. The previous website was built 6 years ago and in that time many things have changed. Smart phones and tablets are in common use and many people view websites on them so websites now need to scale down and display well on anything from a large widescreen monitor to small phone screen.

Image2
You will find the club information that you are used to is still there, the 2016-2017 Programme, and Competition, Battle and Salon information and results. Last seasons award winning competition images are in the new look Galleries. Landscape and Nature Group Albums are under Groups.
The images from the 2016 Challenge will be continued from the old website as we are over halfway through the year.
Members can log in to see the Members Information and the points tables - if you do not have a password yet then let me know.

The website is by members for members so maybe you would like to play a part in some way!

A few members have started Albums showing their favourite images - if you would like to start one just let me know.
Links can be made to members personal websites so visitors can see more of your work or if you take any photos at Club events and would like them included in the Club News then just send them to me.

It would be great if members did some of the write -ups in the Club News or if you would like to be an administrator on the site and help keep it updated then please let me know.       
Pam Mullings - DCC web support

Salon Acceptances - August 2016

We must also congratulate Chris Wikes-Cuidad on gaining his AFIAP. To do so he was required to ...
•have taken part with success in international salons under FIAP Patronage for at least a year
•have taken part with success in at least 15 international salons under FIAP Patronage in at least 8 different countries (Circuits are considered as a single salon.)
•have obtained at least 40 acceptances with at least 15 different works in international salons under FIAP Patronage.
•10% of the required acceptances in salons under FIAP Patronage have to be gained in “Print” salons

Whilst Chris is a fine photographer this is by no means a small achievement.  Not surprisingly Chris is going to have a little rest from entering salons but we hope he will soon be back and adding more to his impressive portfolio.

This has also been a busy month administratively.  Apart from the July update a full audit has taken place of all acceptances achieved by club members since 2014. This reveals that there has been 780 acceptance gained during this period involving some 367 different images. This is a staggering figure and one which those involved and the club can rightly feel proud. A copy of the audit can be obtained from Michael - Salon co ordinator

This month has also seen the development of an easier to read directory of forthcoming salons. The directory which you can download here contains information about upcoming salons, as well as information concerning closing dates, file resolutions, categories, entry fees and website address. This is work in progress. Once this year is complete it will make it easier to setup a similar list in Jan for the whole of next year. As you will see there are still a few salons that can be entered before the end of the month. Why not give it a try.

Nature Group Butterfly Trip  Saturday 17 July
FritillaryThe Nature Group's latest outing saw of small party travel to the Wiltshire/Hampshire border to photograph some of the butterflies on the wing in July.  First stop was Bentley Woods, with many tall oak trees favoured by the elusive Purple Emperor, as well as our largest Fritillary, the Silver Washed Fritillary, and various more common species such as Ringlet, Gatekeeper and Skippers Large and Small.  Despite various extremely smelly potions laid out as bait, only one Emperor was seen, and that nowhere near the bait.  However, all the other butterflies were often seen on the wing, though finding them at rest for photography was very elusive.  One pair of mating Ringlets did however provide a good static subject to photograph.
Ringlets 
The group then took the short drive to West Dean Hill, to photograph chalk downland species, notably the Dark Green Fritillary and Marbled White.  Again, the butterflies were very active on the wing, but difficult to find at rest, though all the group eventually managed images of the two target species.
From West Dean Hill, we took another short drive to Blackmoor Copse, hoping to catch sight of a White Admiral butterfly.  The weather was becoming increasing humid and overcast, so very few butterflies of any species we seen, although a White Admiral was glimpsed but not photographed before flying up into the trees.

All told, the list of species seen by at least some of the party during the day was :
Large skipper, Small skipper, Green veined white, Brimstone, Red admiral, White admiral, Purple Emperor, Comma, Dark green fritillary, Silver washed fritillary, Meadow brown, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Marbled white and Speckled wood.

Our thanks go to Robert Harvey for researching the sites and for coordinating the trip for those who went.


Congratulations

Club member Chris Wilkes Ciudad ARPS has recently gained enough acceptances in FIAP salons to be awarded an AFIAP distinction.
To gain this Chris had to submit entries and gain acceptances over a prescribed period of time plus entering a portfolio of his images which according to FIAP 'should be examples of the candidate's best exhibition photography, and be of the highest possible standard'.

Many congratulations to Chris for this achievement.

See Salons for the latest acceptances and information on how you might also set out to achieve this distinction.

Summer Social Event 25 June 2016      

social foodThis year Gill and Ian Cardy kindly invited the club to their large garden, hidden away in the heart of Melksham.

social frankThe sunshine of the morning unfortunately turned to heavy rain with claps of thunder and flashes of lightening by the afternoon - not exactly the sort of weather expected in June!.

Club members, partners,  friends and a dog frequently had to take cover but despite the weather enjoyed meeting up, having a chat and looking around the interesting wildlife garden.

There was a welcome slightly dryer spell towards the end of the evening when some managed to have a game of boules but sadly the grass was too wet for croquet.

Gill challenged those present to name 14 of the wild flowers she had marked scattered around the garden - a few more common ones were easy to identify but most required some good botanical knowledge.social cake

A fine spread was laid on by committee members with special thanks to Hilary Eagles, Frank Collins, Richards Watson, Richard Atkinson, Mike Valentine, Peter Tasker and Michael Saunders.

Frank managed to get the BBQ going under the shelter of a large garden umbrella and Richard did a heroic job carrying the hot food across the lawn to those sheltering from the rain.

social gillRobert Harvey celebrated his wife Sarah's birthday and brought along a delicious chocolate cake to share. It also happened to be the birthday of Clive Rathband so we wish both of them all the very best.

Club members are hoping that we get some better weather soon and can get out and about to take some photos ready for the 2016 -2017 season which starts on 6 September when we all meet up again.

Many thanks to Gill and Ian for the use of their garden and to all those who helped make the evening so enjoyable despite the weather. PM

 

Group Visit to the Isle of Wight 11 June 2016  

fritillarySix members from the Nature and Landscape GroupsSteve ventured over the waters to the Isle of Wight in search of some rare butterflies and inspiring landscapes. 

 A dry, bright, but overcast day promised some good conditions for our challenges.

 Our initial quarry was a rare butterfly, usually only found in small colonies on the   south coast of the Isle of Wight.  “The Glanville Fritillary is named after Lady Eleanor   Glanville, a 17th century Lepidopterist. After her death, one of her sons contested her will on the grounds of lunacy, as eloquently described by Moses Harris in "The Aurelian" in 1766: "This Fly took its Name from the ingenious Lady Glanvil, whose Memory had like to have suffered for her Curiosity. Some Relations that was disappointed by her Will, attempted to let it aside by Acts of Lunacy, for they suggested that none but those who were deprived of their Senses, would go in Pursuit of Butterflies" www.ukbutterflies.co.uk

Kate
 Far from being senseless we soon found a few specimens at our first site, Compton Chine, resulting in some excellent images.

needlesSome members also took the opportunity to photograph looking west over Freshwater Bay towards Tennyson Down which was to be our second stop. 
Species found included – Glanville Fritillary, Large Skipper, Small Heath, Painted Lady, Meadow Brown, Common Blue

After a less than memorable supper in Totland we took the long stroll up to the Needles Old Battery for views down over the Needles pinnacles towards Purbeck.

With the sun in a less favourable position we then moved on to Alum Bay, noted for its different coloured sandy cliffs. Sediments of sands, lignites and clays laid down were pushed vertically some 10 million years later to form the multi-coloured cliffs we see today.
Three minerals, mica, quartz and feldspar make up the sands.
Alum BayIn their pure state these are white but become coloured by contamination by other minerals.

Unfortunately, we had to leave before sunset to catch the last ferry back to Lymington.

Our thanks again go to Robert Harvey for organising the trip and researching the sites, as well as to Steve and Michael for driving. 

Certainly a day trip to the Island was easy, and with many photographic opportunities it would be well worth repeating in the future. SJH 



Nature Group trip to Cotley Hill   Sunday May 29th      

adonis blueFritsSome members of the Nature Group have signed up to a spring and summer of Butterfly photography, inspired in part by Cate Barrow's presentation to the club last season. 

The first of these trips took place last Sunday, 29th May, to Cotley Hill near Warminster.
 
Cotley Hill comprises a very steep chalk slope, mainly south facing, which is an SSSI especially on account of its butterfly populations.

The weather was sunny although quite breezy, suitable for active butterflies though the light was sometimes unforgiving for the camera. 

The subjects took some finding, at least initially, but became easier to spot once the Hairtell tales signs had been assimilated. We soon started seeing many Marsh Fritillaries, including some paired for mating, and also Adonis Blue with their irridescent blue sheen. 
 
A sheltered spot near the bottom of the hill then revealed Green Hairstreak, Small Blue, Grizzled, Dingy and Large Skippers, and a total of 6 other more common species. 

By midday, the site was becoming very warm, and butterfly activity had dwindled, so after 3 hours on the hill, it was time to head back and check the results on the computer. 

Our thanks go to Robert Harvey for researching the location and the butterflies to be found there at this time of year. DG

AGM & Presentation of Awards    
17 May 2016   


Club Chairman Richard Watson LRPS welcomed members to the last meeting of the season and was pleased to see that the AGM was so well attended and he thanked members for their continued support during the season. Richard said he was proud seeing the member's prints on display at the Biennial Print Exhibition held in August 2016 and thanked all those who made it possible.

The 2015-2016 programme had been very varied and successful thanks to the work by Dave Gray and Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP.

Dave and Robert also led the thriving Landscape and Nature Groups and organised many very enjoyable weekend and day outings during the year.Visits had been made to the Dorst Coast,West Sussex and waterfalls in Wales and many other photogenic areas.

Caroline Wright was praised for successfully organising the many competitions held during the season.

Stuart Barnes was thanked for his role as Membership Secretary as well as arranging the refreshments each week and the monthly Newsletters produced by Stuart and  Michael Barnes are regarded as a great benefit to the club.

The club was pleased to welcome many new members during the season and attendance at meetings had been good.

Richard Atkinson has as usual been a very efficient Treasurer. A new projector which received much praise and sound equipment had been purchased from the club funds.  Mike Saunders and Mike Valentine have kindly acted as links to the Sports Club.

Pam Mullings was thanked for running the website and taking on the role of Battle Secretary part way through the season.

Our thoughts and best wishes go to Jean Ingram for her loss and Derek Mason for his recovery after ill health.

Committee members read out their reports covering the years activities and answered any queries from the members.

There were 7 resolutions put before members and after much discussion on some points, all were eventually carried.

The membership fee will rise to £35 mostly to cover the increase in the amount paid to the Sports Club for the use of the facilities.

The new committee was duly elected with most posts staying the same. Changes are - Frank Collins to take on the role as Battle Secretary and Peter Tasker to be the Publicity Officer. Mike Valentine is to understudy the Treasurers role and Hilary Eagles is welcomed back onto the committee

(for full committee list see About Us)

Richard Watson was thanked by members for his role as Club Chairman.

group

After the break the Trophies were presented by Richard Watson to the very worthy winners. Robert Harvey received 6 out of 20 awards - the rest spread were spread amongst 10 of the club members. Some award winners were unfortunately away and not present for the group photo.

List of 2015-2016 awards

During the summer break members might like to bear in mind the Set Subject for 2016/17 is 'The Kennet and Avon Canal' which luckily is nearby for most members so look out for some interesting images.

It was announced that 'Streetlife' is to be a competition theme so look out for suitable interpretations while you are travelling around.

Enjoy your photography and hopefully get lots of interesting images to show members and enter in the competitions.
The Programme and details of the competitions for next season will be on the website soon.
Members are invited to the Social Event on the afternoon of Saturday 25th June.
Look out for Landscape and Nature Group visits during the break and look forward to all meeting up once more in September.

More Presentation Photographs      Above: some of the 2015-2016 award winners.  Photographs by Tim Pier

Audio Visual Spectacular   
10 May 2016  

Members enjoyed seeing a variety of the award winning sequences from the WCPF Audio Visual competition 2015.

Guiding us through the evening and explaining the good and bad points of each sequence were Devizes CC members Clive Rathband FRPS FPSSA DPAGB EFIAP and Joan Ryder Rathband FRPS FPSSA DPAGB AFIAP who had been the judges for the competition.

rocksThere were 33 entries divided into 3 categories with a wide variety of subjects - some showed stunning landscapes and wildlife while others set out to tell a story in images, words and music. A sequence in the Photo Harmony category titled 'Jurassic Coast'  by  club member Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP showed stunning images of the Dorset heritage coast from Orcombe Point to Old Harry Rocks (left) and gained 2nd place. 'In the Footsteps of Darwin' was another excellent sequence by Robert and was placed 3rd in the long AV category (up to 12 minute). Images taken in the Galapogos Islands were cleverly timed to fit in with the spoken words written by Darwin about his observations of the unique species such as the Giant Tortoise (below) which he found on these islands. Well done Robert.

An Innovation award was given to 'Dreaming' and Joan commented that although the sequence had some faults it deserved an award for its creativity.

Joan explained what judges look for in a good AV - the images must all be of the very best quality, the music and any recorded voices must be appropriate for the subject and dissolves should be timed to fit in exactly with the audio.

'Forgotten Industry' showed the history of an area on Dartmoor where granite sets were quarried and showed the hardships endured by the workers.

Another sequence featured the story of the love between Edward and Wallis Simpson.

tortoiseIn first place in the long AV's was 'Svalborg Sojourn' with stunning images of arctic scenery and wildlife with wonderful polar bears and other wildlife. In third place was 'First Light-Last Light' with amazing sunrise and sunset photographs set to stirring music.

Sequences in the short category are limited to just 3 minutes 21 seconds. We enjoyed the very moving 'Lest we Forget' which opened with the poppies that surrounded the Tower of London and went on to show war graves and some of the inscriptions. In the same category was 'Legacy' which told some of the history of Brunel & Fox Talbot and 'Venetian Reflections' showed some very colourful images. 'Semana Santa' was 2nd in the long AV category and followed the colourful religeous processions of Holy Week and the various brotherhoods in their rather sinster costumes.

The evening finished with the best long sequence of 2015 which had an extremely moving and thought provoking commentary and harrowing images telling the story of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Joan explained what judges look for in a good AV - all the images must be of the best quality, the music and any recorded voices must be appropriate for the subject.

Many thanks to Clive & Joan for sharing their expertise. Any members interested in making AV's can join WAVES which is based in Trowbridge and can offer help and advice.PM

Landscape Group visit to Dorset          
Saturday 7 May 2016

beech treesThe latest Landscape Group trip saw seven members photographing at various sites in Dorset, each one not meriting a full visit in its own right, but still producing memorable images. Our thanks for organising the logistics as usual go to Robert Harvey, who strung the locations together to take best advantage of the light through the day.

orange tipFirst stop was the beech avenue at Kingston Lacy, clad in the first flush of fresh green leaves, where we had to be careful to avoid traffic speeding along the A3082.  From there, we continued to Swanage aiming to photograph the rotting supports of the old pier.  Unfortunately on this occasion a diving school pontoon surrounding the pier somewhat spoiled the composition.  Nevertheless, the group will know where to come sometime in the off season when the pontoon will have been removed.

Landscape then became Nature, as we headed for the Alners Gorse Butterfly reserve.  This had been highly recommended by Cate Barrow, one of the club's speakers in 2015-16, and the site did look highly promising though it was a little too early in the season for the sites noted rarities. We did however find Orange Tip, Brimstone, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral Butterflies, as well as a Common Lizard and a Grass Snake.

barnknowlton churchBack to the Landscape theme, the group headed to Sixpenny Handley to photograph an old Dutch Barn surrounded by the yellow flowers of oilseed rape.  Robert had anticipated that as part of a four year crop cycle, this would be the year that the field would be planted with oilseed rape, and indeed it was.   From there, it was just a short drive to Knowlton Church, our final venue for the day.  Knowlton Church is a curious blend of pagan and Christian, with the ruins of a medieval church sited within the banks of a Bronze Age henge.  The church provided our sunset shots for the day, with the sun performing well before eventually sinking into a thick bank of cloud. DG


Images:   Beech Trees, Kingston Lacy & Orange Tip, Alners Gorse by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP                Barn & Rape Seed, Sixpenny Handley & Knowlton Church are by Dave Gray

 

Print & Projected Image of the Year 3 May 2016         

Our Image of the Year competitions, in both Prints and Projected Images, are always keenly fought so it proved to be this year. 

flowerOur judge for the evening was Margaret Collis ARPS, DPAGB, APAGB and Hon EFIAP. Margaret was full of praise for the high standard of entries especially in the beginner’s section. She was particularly pleased to note that entrants in this group had been "imaginative, creative and technically very sound”

stonechatShe also suggested that the club standard in all sections was high particularly in respect of nature entries. It was clear she had enjoyed judging all the entries and that in the final analysis the difference between placed images and the rest was marginal.

Beginners:

Prints: In third place was Andy Vick with ‘On Middle and Off' depicting a cricket scene, in second place Michael Valentine with a portrait of a Red Kite. The winner however was Mair Bull, with a lovely soft image titled 'A Variety of Nigella' (top left) This was not only a very popular choice amongst members but also, as the judge remarked, richly deserved. Well done Mair.smokin

Projected Images:  In the PI section the judge chose three very contrasting images. In third place was Michael Valentine with a strong image of the interior of St Giles Church, Cheadle which not only captured the light beautifully but also exposed the churches architecture with absolute clarity. beeIn second place was Kyra Wilson with 'Seat with a View'. In first place was an extremely well taken picture by David Wilkinson of a Stonechat eating seed (top right). The judge remarked how well it had been placed in the frame and how well the background complimented the bird’s plumage. I think it was evident from her remarks that this image would have down very well even at the next level. Well done David

Intermediates:

Prints: There were less entries in the intermediate print section this year in which Michael Barnes enjoyed a clean sweep. In third place was 'Heron with a Catch' which the judge appreciated for its simplicity. In second place was a very different picture of a sunrise titled 'Misty Morn’, and in first place a candid mono shot of publican enjoying a cigarette titled 'Smoking Joe'  (left)

Projected images: Fourteen very contrasting images were keenly fought in this section. Indeed the judge found it impossible to choose an image for third place so awarded two with equal ranking one to Caroline Wright with 'East Dart Falls’,  and one to Jill Ford Pier with ''Coming into Land'. In second place was 'Seat with a View' by David Fraser. This was also a very strong image in that it somehow willed you to take of advantage of it, sit down, have a rest, and enjoy a stunning view. Michael Barnes secured first place with 'Bee Gathering Nectar'(right) which came as a great surprise because in her critique the Judge remarked that the image might have been improved if there was a little more colour in it.

HareAdvanced: Prints: Competition in the advanced section was also very keenly fought.  Although several strong landscape images were considered on this occasion all of those finally placed by the judge, bar one - and even that was in a natural setting -  were nature/wildlife images.  Again the judge scored two images in equal third place, an image of a fly titled ‘ Empid' by Richard Atkinson, and an image of a very English scene by Chris Wilkes Ciudad ARPS, showing Wells Cathedral in the distance. In second places was a rather humorous image 'Room for One More’ by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP of a zebra trying to force its way between three others, in order access a water hole. Robert also obtained first place with a stunning winter image of an upright Mountain Hare bearing it teeth in an aggressive pose. (left)

Projected Images:

In the PI section there was a rich variety of images to choose from. 2autumnIn third place was a picture of a lone, alert, waterbuck by Pam Mullings, beautifully reflected in water in which he was standing. In second place was a rather haunting image of Dead Vlei (a salt marsh)  taken at the Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia by Robert Harvey. In first place was an often photographed image 'Autumn in Stourhead' (right) taken by Chris Wilkes Ciudad.

Congratulations to everyone whose images were eligible for this competition. It not only showcased your talent but also the strength, depth and quality that exists within the club, and in particular the progress members have made in getting to the next level. Well done everyone.

We are also very grateful to Margaret for judging what, to many in the club, is considered as the 'competition to win’ and for her appreciative remarks, helpful comments and useful tips, including to think ‘square’!
Next year it will be interesting to see who has taken her advice and just how many square formats are considered. MB

'Wildlife Images from my Travels'                                26 April 2016  

JaguarRalph  Snook ARPS EFIAP DPAGB has visited the club as a judge but on this occasion members were able to see some of his many wildlife photographs and hear the many interesting stories behind them.
The evening began with Ralph's recollections of his visits to the Pantanel region of South America.
cheetahsThis large wetland is home to a large variety of interesting birds and mammals. Caymen alligators frequent the lagoons along with numerous wading birds, beautiful Hyacinth Macaws, Toucans and many other colourful birds can be found in the area.
 

Capybaras are common and can even be seen sunning themselves along the tracks. Waiting patiently in a boat on the main river, Ralph was rewarded with several views of the elusive Jaguar including a mother with 2 cubs and sightings of the Giant River Otters.

AnteaterRalph recalled some of his memorable moments - the Cheetah with six clubs playing in a tree, the Kiskadee trying to snatch a fish from an Anhinga and the rare Lesser Anteater (left) that brushed right past him.
As any wildlife photographer will know, these encounters do not always result in perfect Panicimages but the memories stay with you forever.

Ralph often uses a slow shutter speed to give a sense of movement in his photographs; the image of the wildebeest on migration (right) portays well the panic and turmoil as they cross the river.

Having travelled to Kenya many times Ralph knows the best areas and the best time of year to find the many photogenic wildlife subjects.

Ralph pointed out some of the many difficulties encountered when taking wildlife photographs, nothing stays still for long, the light is often poor, the grass is too long and the forests are dense.
However with patience and a bit of luck some wonderful moments are captured as members saw in this excellent presentation.

Thanks Ralph for sharing your images and some of your wildlife encounters with us. PM 
Images: © Ralph Snook

'A Few Of Our Favourite Things'  
19 April 2016   
Cheetah

A very warm welcome was given to club members Clive Rathband FRPS FPSSA DPAGB EFIAPHippos and Joan Ryder Rathband FRPS FPSSA DPAGB AFIAP who gave a presentation of the images that they are particularly fond of - and the stories behind them.

To set the scene they started the evening with an audio-visual sequence titled 'Call of the Kalahari' which showed images taken in the vast, very dry Kalahari National Park. Members enjoyed seeing the superb images of the birds and mammals found in the area together with a commentary and excellent sound effects.

Clive and Joan spend much of their time in South Africa and have a great deal of experience photographing the wildlife. Often with baking hot days and freezing cold nights they travel around observing the behaviour of the wildlife and capturing some very special moments. The excellent photographs showed the great variety of wildlife to be found in the SA National parks.

Clive and Joan spend many hours patiently watching the wildlife and endeavour to capture the birds and mammals in action.
FrostTernsWe were treated to superb images of birds in flight and catching insects, baboons leaping about in a pool, lions with cubs, hippos fighting and many other special moments. Having so much experience Clive and Joan know the best time of day to get the best light on the subjects and achieve some wonderful results.

When back in Britain Clive and Joan enjoy photographing the Wiltshire countryside and make frequent visits to the coast with the Lyme Regis area being a favourite. A series of images taken on Brownsea Island showed the dramatic fight between two Common Terns as they locked together and tried to drown each other.

Joan showed some of her artistic, creative images where she has used techniques such as adding Gaussian blur and various textures to create some very interesting images.

Members were given some useful tips and were able to handle some of the photographic equipment that Clive and Joan have found useful - some of which is improvised.
 
skiffsThe importance of always having your camera on a secure stable tripod, monopod or base in order to get really sharp images was emphasised.

Many thanks  to Clive and Joan for sharing their special moments and the interesting encounters behind them and for giving members a very informative evening. PM


Images: Left- 'Cheetah on a Tump' and Frosty Morning, River Avon' by Clive Rathband
Right: 'Hippos Fighting' and 'Common Terns Agression'  left: 'At the Harbour Wall' by Joan Ryder Rathband

 

 

 

Nature Group Excursion to Clattinger Farm 
Sunday 17 April 2016        ‏

frostedA small but enthusiastic group of club members met at 5.45am at Clattinger Farm to photograph one of Wiltshire’s wildflower spectacles, the snake’s head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris). These charming flowers are nationally rare and most of the British population is found in the Thames flood plain of north Wiltshire. Flowering in mid-April, fritillaries have to survive spring frosts. The excursion was scheduled to coincide with clear skies and the likelihood of a ground frost. We found a good number of fritillaries in flower at Bridge Field, one of the ancient wildflower meadows at Clattinger Farm managed by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
Each flower was encased in tiny ice crystals, making its survival through the night seem almost miraculous. Back lit


The even light reflected from the sky before sunrise enabled some good pictures using a telephoto lens to separate the flower from its surroundings and give a pleasingly diffuse background. As the sun cleared the horizon and began to illuminate the fritillaries, we experimented with front lit, back lit and side lit shots. Backlighting was particularly effective on the small proportion of plants that have white flowers, which are translucent to light. The frost quickly melted and when we left Bridge Field at 8.15am we were confident we had enjoyed the best conditions of the day for photography.
One further wildlife treat remained at a wildlife hide on the reserve – watching a pair of foxes frolicking on the narrow bank between Cottage Lake and Swallow Pool. RH

Images - Top left: Snake's Head Fritillary Frosted before Dawn by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP Right: Back Lit Snake's Head Fritillary by Kevin Ferris LRPS