'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

 

Photo Management

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

 

'The Idle Rich Rambles On'  11 October 2016 

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

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

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

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

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

 

'The Great Divide' 4 October 2016  

The audience were entertained from start to end by this excellent evening by Leigh Preston FRPS EFIAP MPAGB portraying the contrasting sides of America.
Presenting a large
selection of mainly monochrome prints Leigh explained thet he had an interest in taking photographs, processing and printing since his school days.
 leigh2
The evening began with a selection of expertly printed images taken over the years depicting many unusual views of US cities with their amazing monumental architecture and then moved on to some striking images taken in some of the US the National parks such as Bryce Canyon and Monument Valley with Leigh prefering to avoid the usual views with their 'ready made tripod holes' 
Members thoroughly enjoyed the interesting images of of 'forgotten America' that few photographers visit as well as
leigh3Leigh's expertly delivered, hilarious stories relayed in a variety of regional accents, recalling many of his encounters while travelling alone into very remote almost uninhabited areas.
Often inspired by poems, books, films, music and lyrics Leigh is unconventional in the way he goes about finding his subjects.

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

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

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


Projected Image Competition 1: Open 27 September 2016  

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

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

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

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

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

 

 Practical Evening  20 September 2016  

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

 

'The Digital Adventure' 13 September 2016  

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

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

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

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

 

Chairman's Evening 6 September 2016  

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

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

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

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

Further details and competition rules can be found in COMPETITIONS

Any queries please contact Caroline.

 

 

 

Landscape Group visit - Avebury by Moonlight Monday 15 August 2016   

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

More photos of Avebury

 

Landscape Group Field Trip to Porlock   Saturday 13 August 2016 


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Welcome to the new DCC Website

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Summer Social Event 25 June 2016      

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Group Visit to the Isle of Wight 11 June 2016  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Nature Group trip to Cotley Hill   Sunday May 29th      

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

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

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

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

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

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

AGM & Presentation of Awards    
17 May 2016   


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(for full committee list see About Us)

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

group

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

List of 2015-2016 awards

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

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

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

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

Audio Visual Spectacular   
10 May 2016  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Landscape Group visit to Dorset          
Saturday 7 May 2016

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

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

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

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


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

 

Print & Projected Image of the Year 3 May 2016         

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

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

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

Beginners:

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

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

Intermediates:

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

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

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

Projected Images:

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

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

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

'Wildlife Images from my Travels'                                26 April 2016  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

 

 

Nature Group Excursion to Clattinger Farm 
Sunday 17 April 2016        ‏

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


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

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

 

'A Short History of Photography' 
12 April 2016   

The club welcomed Sid Jones, a member of Dorchester Camera club who gave members an interesting illustrated talk on the history of photography from the early attempts up to some 20th century icons who were pioneers of the photography we enjoy today.
Joseph Nicephore Niepce made the first photographic image with a camera obscura. Heliographs or sun prints as they were called were the prototype for the modern photograph, by letting light draw the picture.

In the mid 19th century Louis Daguerre, a French artist and photographer was recognized for his invention of the daguerreotype process of photography. He became known as one of the fathers of photography.

The metal-based daguerreotype process soon had some competition from Henry Fox Talbot who created permanent (negative) images using paper soaked in silver chloride and fixed with a salt solution. Talbot created positive images by contact printing onto another sheet of paper which meant he could duplicate the images and he patented his process under the name "calotype".

At first long exposures were needed but by 1845 exposures were down to 2 minutes allowing studio portraits to be created as long as the sitter did not move. Painters and artists thought they would be put out of business by the invention.

Although early photographers had to transport heavy cameras and tripods over often difficult terrain images of faraway places were seen for the first time 

Queen Victoria became interested in this new process and even had a go herself. Soon photography became popular with the gentry and in 1890 the invention of the Box Brownie brought photography to the masses.
Faster shutter speeds meant photographers could capture action.

Although even then photographs were not always what they seemed as several images could be stitched together.

After the break Sid showed images taken by his favourite 20th century photographers including Ansel Adams who in 1981 said 'I believe the electronic image will be the next major advance' and that turned out to be so right. Adams images had a superb quality of light and he experimented with early colour which very quickly improved to give stunning landscape images.

Members enjoyed seeing images by Henri Cartier-bresson, Edward Weston, Eliot Erwill and Denis Thorne and others. Many images have become famous classics still very much admired today.
Thank you Sid for giving such an informative talk.

'In Isolation' Set Subject Competition
5 April 2016   

SeatOur final open competition of the season on the theme of ‘In Isolation' proved to be a well-supported and fascinating competition on many different levels. Firstly, having narrowly being beaten by the gents in last week's Battles the ladies shone through and took most of the leading places in each competition category (Beginners, Intermediates and Advanced). Secondly, it was fascinating to observe how the advanced photographers interpreted isolation compared with the less experienced photographers. In the main the advanced photographers tended to view isolation in terms of photographing an object separated from its environment. On the other hand the less experienced photographers (with some exceptions) tended to interpret isolation as something 'within the person’.Despair 

As a result we saw a lot of lone trees contrasting with images of people or situations where there was a conscious attempt to convey feelings of abandonment and separation. The choice it seemed was whether to photograph something alone or something that was lonely.  Both approaches in their own way exemplified emotion and storytelling, and resulted in some excellent well thought images.

The competition was ably judged by Les Loosemore ARPS, AWPF, DPAGB, who travelled from South Wales to be with us. 
Although he was clearly impressed with the standard of imagery where necessary he offered suggestions for improvement in a helpful way. In particular he was impressed with the clever use of vertical letterbox type images, and the way some chose to use silhouettes to emphasis separation.
He did suggest however that some other images did not look their best because they were, perhaps unavoidably, photographed at the wrong time of the day when the light was harsh and unflattering. A consistent theme of the evening was the need to avoid distracting highlights particularly at the edges of the image, and not to be shy of cropping.

Alone

In the Beginners section there was a rich variety of very well taken pictures which augers well for next season. In third place was  'Stonechat' by David Wilkinson.  In second place was 'Pattens' by Kyra Wilson, and in first place a striking but simple image titled 'Seat with a View’ above left also by Kyra taken on a white ship down a passage way with contrasting blue sea and sky providing the perfect frame.   

In the Intermediate section third place went to Gill Ford Pier with an image of a lone tree in sunnier climes. Second place also went to Gill with an image of lone boat 'Long Way from Home’. In first place was ' Despair' right a mono image by Caroline Wright of a man drinking alone with head in his hands. All of us present I think could identify with his despair even though very little of his face was shown.

In the Advanced section 12 images were selected for commendation. First place was awarded to Pam Mullings with a rather sad picture of a dishevelled young boy ‘Left All Alone'. left Second place was awarded to Gill Cardy FRPS DPAGB AFIAP for 'Lone Tree in Snow' which perfectly captured the different textures in the snow. Third place went to Pam with picture of a lone Waterbuck standing in reflected water and looking straight at the camera.  

Congratulations to all those who took part.
We are grateful to Les for his considered approach, his constructive comments and consistent judging.    Diolch yn fawr!    MB (Our Welsh corrospondant)                               

                                   


Ladies V Gents - a win for the Gents

29 March 2016   

It’s been sometime since the club held a Ladies v Gents competitionripples but when Battle Secretary Jean Ingram challenged the men to a battle few of us could resist. Jean unfortunately had to resign from the position but Pam Mullings took over and organised the 'Battle'
To avoid any risk of gender bias the competition was ably judged by Eddy and Pam Lane (both ARPS DPAGB EFIAP) each of whom could award up to 10 marks which were combined to give marks out of 20.
It was a condition of the competition that at least 50% images had to be selected from the Beginners and Intermediate competition groups.
red foxThe ladies team captained by Pam had chosen a wide range of images including 3 architectural, 8 landscapes, 9 nature and 5 portraits. Amongst their 30 images there were also 5 monos.
Included were images from 6 ladies from the Beginners section who only joined the club this season - 2 of whom had never entered a competition before.

The Gents team captained by Michael Barnes chose 2 creative, 12 landscapes, 7 nature including 5 flowers/fungi, and 2 portraits.
They also included 2 monos. 

It was not clear whether this difference in approach was down to strategy or to gender bias. 0058

What was apparent however that was if you viewed each image on its own merits it would have been extremely difficult to determine whether it had been taken by a lady or by a gent. 

The competition itself proved to be very close with the lead changing hands at different times.

During the evening several images were awarded the maximum 10 points by one or other of the judges.
Five participants were awarded 10 points by both judges including Gill Cardy FRPS DPAGB AFIAP whose image of a red fox in snow (top left) was chosen a by Pam Lane as ‘image of the evening’,
Ripples Everywhere (top right) by Michael Barnes

which Eddy Lane selected as his 'image of the evening'. 
Also awarded 20 marks were Lynda Rugg (Golden Light)  right,
Richard Watson LRPS (Squirrels Leap) below
Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP (Three Galaxies) bottom right 3galaxies

leaping
Ultimately the Gents came out on top securing 509 points to the Ladies 496 


We are grateful to our joint judges Pam and Eddy and for ensuring that, above all else, the evening was fun. We are grateful to the team captains for collating their team’s images, and to all those who took part. We are also especially grateful to Jean for suggesting the idea and wish her a speedy and full recovery. 


All in all a very good club night. We must do it again sometime soon! MB          
            

Club News articles from 2014 to March 2016

September 2015 - March 2016 pdf.  September 2014 - May 2015 pdf. September 2013 - September 2014 to follow
September2012 - September 2013 - to follow


September 2011 - September 2013 - to follow

 

 

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