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

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

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

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

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

Full results                       The awarded images can be seen in the Galleries

 

WCPF Members Exhibition & Salon Acceptances

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

'Speed Critique' 28 March 2017  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Competition 3 - Open Prints   21 March 2017  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full results                The awarded images can be seen in the Galleries

 

‘Inspiration and Perspiration’  14 March 2017  

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

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

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

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

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

Competition 3 2017 - Open Projected Images 28 February 2017  

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

'The Opportunistic Photographer' 14 February 2017  

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

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

 

Warminster CC Multi Club Print Battle 2017 11 February 2017  

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

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

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

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

 

Landscape Print and Projected Image Competitions 7 February 2017  

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

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

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

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

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

 

DPIC & GB Cup Nature & Open Competitions

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

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

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

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

'The Art of Composition' 31 January 2017  

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nature Print and Projected Images 2017 24 January 2017  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Full results

 

'The Science and Beauty of Birds' 17 January 2017  

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ryder Rathband Trophy 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

'Near and Far' 10 January 2017  

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

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

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

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

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

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


Projected Image League 3 January 2017  

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

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

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

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

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

 

2016 Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

 

Christmas Party and Projected Image Knock-Out
 20 December 2016  

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

Frank presented each of the winners with small christmas gift.

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

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

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

 

Monochrome and Creative Competitions 13 December 2016  

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

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

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

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

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

 

‘Why Am I Taking This Photograph?  6 December 2016  

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

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

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

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

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

 

Competition 2 - Open Prints  29 November 2016  

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

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

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

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

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

Full Results      Awarded images can be seen in the Galleries.

'Welcome to My Outdoor Office' 23 November 2016  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Calne Multi-club Battle 2016  

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

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

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

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

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

 

'Himalayan Kingdoms' 15 November 2016  

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

 

Photographing the Moon

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

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

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

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

 

Landscape Group Weekend in the Peak District

GroupSurprise viewOn 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. 

On 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 . Wyming Brook 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 rocks 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 right by Hilary Eagles and Caroline Wright

RH Reflections          DG Stannege            CM Weir
TP Footpath          SB Avenue           RH higger

 

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

'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