|Biennial Print Exhibition 1-28 September 2019|
|Members are preparing busy their prints to be exhibited in the Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Devizes. The exhibition will be opened on the afternoon of Sunday 1 September when the judge will give his comments and present the trophies - everyone is welcome.
This is a chance for the club to showcase the high standard of members prints to visitors so they can see what the club has to offer to those interested in photography. For those who want to progress from a quick 'snap' tto something that they can proudly hang on a wall then the club can help by showing members how they can get the best out of their camera and the software used to edit and enhance images.
The club has a PROGRAMME of excellent speakers for the 2019-2020 season who will be showing their images and giving hints and tips on how to take interesting photographs on a wide range of subjects. Lanscape, nature, portraits, astrophophotography, creative and travel are some of the subjects covered. Members might be inspired to try out something completely new and also learn from fellow members.
The club has a Landscape
Members can take part in club competitions and also competitions are arranged between Devizes and other local camera clubs.
Interested? then the club always welcomes new members so come along and see what the club has to offer to both beginners and the more experienced.
Browse the website for more infomation and see ABOUT US for the venue and see the images that have gained awards during the last season in the GALLERIES
|Get ready for the 2019 - 2020 Season|
|In no time at all the summer break will be over and weekly Tuesday meetings begin.
The new programme is on the website for you to browse through and see all the speakers who will be giving their presentations. There is a wide variety of topics so something for everyone!
The presentation on the 3 September is titled 'What Makes a Good Photograph?' Probably everyone has a different opinion so come along and see what the speaker has to say and see the images that he thinks are 'good' or maybe otherwise!
Just be aware that entries for the first projected image competition of the season are needed for the 12 September so be prepared!
Details of how to enter digital projected in club competitions are on the COMPETITIONS page of this website. Please check that your entry is correctly sized and titled or if you need assistance please ask one of tthe Competition Secretaries for advice. PM
|Summer Social Event 2019|
|Members of the club gathered together on a hot June afternoon in the Melksham garden of Ian & Gill Cardy.
Members brought along some salads, sweets and cakes for all to enjoy and Frank Collins was in charge of the BBQ.
Many thanks to Gill and Ian for hosting the event. Thanks to Joan Ryder Rathband for the photos.
|Landscape Group trip to Cornwall|
May 2019 saw the Devizes Landscape Group venture down to Tintagel on Cornwall’s sunny North Coast for a spring photoshoot weekend.
The weather forecast was set fair and the group had been booked in to stay at the Camelot Castle hotel, with its commanding views over the coastline including views toward Tintagel Island and Tintagel Haven.
The Camelot Castle hotel dates back to 1894 and was originally constructed under the auspices of a Victorian entrepreneur, by the name of Sir Robert Harvey (no relation?). It is now owned by John Mappin (of Mappin and Webb fame) and is run jointly as a family home and hotel welcoming visitors to Tintagel on the Cornish North coast.
Tintagel Island is famous for its connection with the legends surrounding Merlin, King Arthur and Camelot. However, the ruined castle on the island dates from Norman times, much later than the time of the Arthurian legends, however the island does hold signs of much earlier settlements. Sadly, we were unable to explore the castle as the island was closed off in preparation for the installation of a ‘no steps’ foot bridge to allow access to the island without the need to climb the existing steep cliff path.
Probably feeling somewhat cheated, Dave Gray seemed to take this as a bit of a challenge and established an interesting photographic itinerary for the group that made absolutely sure that we didn’t miss out on our fair share of steep cliff paths.
On the Saturday, the first day’s excursions started with an early a trip out to the cliffs near Trevelga between Tintagel and Boscastle to see the rock arch known as the Ladies Window. With the sun in the right direction the window casts its shadow on the cliffs opposite, which we duly photographed, ably assisted by some willing models to add some human interest and a sense of scale.
Although only a half mile walk, this introductory walk was sufficient impetus to split the group into ‘Walkers’ and ‘Non-Walkers’. The Non-Walkers took the eminently sensible option of letting the car take the strain, while the ‘Walkers’ were to be subjected treated to yet more cliff path challenges.
Boscastle was next on the agenda, back in 2004 the town of Boscastle was devasted by floods, but 15 years later the buildings around the harbor have now been rebuilt and refurbished such that you would never know that the flood had taken place.
The classic view of Boscastle harbor is from Penally Hill looking toward Willapark and its small castellated coastguard lookout perched on the opposite headland. The climb up Penally Hill is yet another steep walk, which although a well-worn path with steps, is still a bit of a challenge to the fully laden photographer.
From Penally hill we walked out to the headland and back into Boscastle Harbour, ready for our next destination, the ominously named Strangles beach.
Strangles beach is located on a stretch of the Cornish coastline well known for its high cliffs (there’s a surprise), with one of the nearby cliffs being ‘High Cliff’ which stands at some 700 feet above sea level. The beach itself is reached by negotiating an undulating section of the South West Coast path followed by descending several hundred feet down a very steep cliff to the beach, the last stage of this descent being facilitated by a length of ships hawser to allow the steps to be safely negotiated.
Once on the beach, the focus of our photographic efforts was to be the rock stack and arch known as Northern Door. The Northern door marks the division of the Strangles into two beaches here which join up at low tide.Images by David Eagle
The smaller beach to the north of the rock stack is known as Little Strand and although Little Strand is said to be popular with naturists, we confined our photography to the stack and the arch (honest!)
Having survived the descent to the Strangles and subsequent ascent and return to the cars, we set off for Crackington Haven ready for the sunset and high tide, but not before an excellent early supper at the Coombe Barton Inn.
The beach at Crackington is surrounded by cliffs of some 400ft, the cliffs feature some dramatic sedimentary rock folds, while the beach itself hosts some spectacular quartz veined ledges and ridges which made for great photographic subjects as the tide advances. The tide at this beach, in common it seems with a number of beaches in North Cornwall, has great potential for cutting off the unwary photographer, so care had to be taken to work out both the chosen composition and also an escape route from the rising tide.
continue reading Day 2,
|Annual General Meeting and Presentation of Awards||14 May 2019|
|Chairman Steve Hardman opened the proceedings for the clubs 2019 AGM by saying how surprised he had been to find he had been made chairman in his absence at the previous AGM!
One of the things Steve particularly noticed when he first joined the club was that there was a huge wealth of experience and photographic knowledge amongst members which they only too ready to share if asked.
Steve said that there is a very hardworking, dedicated and enthusiastic committee who beaver away in the background trying to make things happen and deserve massive thanks.
In his Annual report Steve went on to thank the committee members starting with Roly Barth who found himself as Competition Secretary after Stephen Burgess could not take on the role because of work commitments. Roly also took on the role of Vice Chairman and has stood in for Steve when he has not been able to attend meetings.
Dave Gray was thanked for his dedicated work as Club Secretary and also for leading the Landscape Group.
Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP has been a member of the Club for many years but over the last 4
years as Programme Secretary he has excelled in producing an ever-improving speaker programme which must be the envy of other clubs far and wide. The quality and range of speakers he has organised has attracted many visitors to come along to club presentation evenings. Robert has organised and led many of the clubs Landscape Group day and weekend visits to many parts of the UK. As a thank-you for all the work he has done for the Club Robert was made a Life Member.
Battle Secretary Frank Collins was thanked for his role in organising the outside competitions and battles with other clubs and will be standing down for next season as the club has a rule that and roles have to be changed after 4 years.
Richard Atkinson AFIAP was thanked for stepping in early in the season when work prevented Lynda Croft from continuing as Treasurer. Richard has been ably assisted by Peter Tasker taking attendance fees on the desk. Caroline Wright as Membership Secretary had done a great job and Craig Purvis has hugely raised the profile of the club, and kept it up to date, on social media in his role as Publicity Officer.
A big thanks went to Mike (Mr Fixit) Saunders who arrives early and sets out the chairs and equipment and attends Sports Club meetings on behalf of the club. Mike stepped in to sort out the trophies and has even built the secure cupboard for the club equipment.
Jean Ingram stepped down from organising the break-time refreshments for many years and the Role has been taken over by Pam Mullings. Although no longer on the committee, Steve thanked Pam for her work in many different roles for the club since joining in 2007 and was made a Life Member.
|Ladies V Gents - a win for the Ladies||7 May 2019|
|Members have been looking forward to the Battle between the Ladies & Gents of the club which is a bit of friendly rivalry between the sexes. So that there is not a cry of bias we invite a male and a female judge to come and award points to each image without knowing who has taken the images. This year we welcomed experienced judges John Tilsely ARPS and his wife Di CPAGP to take on the task of judging the 60 entries.
The judges had both viewed all the entries separately and told us had not conferred at all so they had no idea what scores each had given. John and Di both gave their comments on each image and then each gave a score out of 10. In most cases they completely agreed and in only a few cases did they slightly disagree but as they said a lot of judging comes down in the end to personal preference. Both had looked very closely at all the images and picked up on things like buildings and objects that stood out and detracted from a scene and could have been removed as his was an Open competition. Unnecessary
areas on some landscape images could have been cropped and a few distracting light areas toned down.
To encourage entries from the Beginners and Intermediate sections a bonus of 2 points was added to the scores of those in these categories. The Gents had 30 bonus points and the Ladies who managed to persuade some new members who had never entered a competition before to show their images had 38 bonus points added.
At the end of the first half the Ladies were ahead and that lead continued with the final scores being Ladies 553 and the Gents 536. It was pleasing that the ladies won by 17 points so it was not just the 8 extra bonus points that made the difference.
Four of the images were highly regarded by both judges and scored a 10 from each – these were an interesting forest scene titled ‘Alive in the Forest’ by David Eagle who also had 2 bonus points as he is a fairly new member and in the Beginners Group so very well done to him. Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP also scored a total of 20 for the Gents with his image ‘A Rabbit Before Me’ with its footprints in the snow.
The Ladies with the top scores were Gill Cardy FRPS DPAGB EFIAP with an impressive ‘Golden Eagle’ and Kyra Wilson with ‘Kingfisher with Catch’
Close behind were 2 Ladies from the Beginners Group with 19.5 points plus bonus for Helena Chambers with a dirt biking image ‘Tight Corner’.Entering a competition for the first time, Gina Gordon with a monochrome portrait titled ‘The Matriarch’ was awarded 19 points plus bonus and also scored 18.5 for ‘Chapatti Baker, Amritsar’.
Kyra Wilson’s ‘Llyn Padern’ scored 19 as did Clive Rathband’s ‘Malachite Kingfisher’
Another new member entering for the first time was Bridget Codrington who scored 18.5 for ‘Blue Hour at Silbury Hill’.
Also doing well with 19 points were Tim Pier with a colourful creative image of a pheasant ‘Loud and Proud’ and Steve McCartney with monochrome ‘Lovers Moon’
Well done to all the other entrants who hopefully learnt something from the judges’ comments.
Many thanks to the team captains - Sue Wadman for the Ladies and Martin Stokes for the Gents who collected the entries and organised the selections. Thanks to Battle Secretary Frank Collins who listed and put the competition together and Roly Barth and Dave Gray who ran the competition and Steve Hardman who kept the scores.
A special thanks to John and Di who had taken such a lot of time and trouble to look so carefully at the entries and give their comments and scores.
This was a very pleasurable light-hearted event to end on as this is the last competition for the season. It all starts again in September when we hope for good competition entries from all who took part in the Battle. PM
Just some of the images not seen in competitions before are shown.
|Print and Projected Image of the Year competitions||30 April 2019|
Entered in this final competition of the season were the ‘best of the best’ and the judge Peter Orr ARPS had the onerous job of selecting the award winners. All the images had been placed either 1st, 2nd or 3rd in Print and Projected Image competitions held since September.
Entries covered wide variety of subjects and styles as the club has competitions for nature, landscape, creative and monochrome as well as the images in Open competitions which can be of any subject. In this case the judge said his particular interests were nature and landscape but he likes to see the trends and fashions that come and go in photography but he felt that usually nothing beats a good classic image.
Peter had not visited the club before and was surprised that he had the luxury of studying all the images closely beforehand rather than judging cold on the night. He usually judges for the Southern Photography Federation clubs where it seems judging on the night is the norm.
Peter certainly did a thorough job of looking closely at the entries and noticed the tiniest of blemishes - dust spots that had been missed and the eye was drawn to tiny light areas once they had been pointed out. Peter was very knowledgeable and gave very comprehensive comments on every image.
Members whose image was placed first in each section were awarded the Print or Projected Image Trophy for their section.
As usual the prints were shown first starting with the Beginners section. In first place was a simple image titled ‘Thistle Do’ right by Richard Blackbourne. The judge commented that the seed head was well focussed and stood out well against the dark background. Richard was also awarded second place with a colourful image titled ‘Forest Funghi’ ‘Deer Hunt’ by Helena Chambers was in third place.
Next to be judged was the Intermediate section where Peter placed ‘Moonscape’left - a very atmospheric seascape by Steve McCarthy first. The judge commented that the exposure was just right and he liked the panoramic format. In second place was an image of a kestrel titled ‘Winter Arrival’ by David Wilkinson and third in the section was ‘Log of ages’ by Craig Purvis.
The last print section was the Advanced with fifteen entries with a range of stunning wildlife, landscape and architectural images to be judged.
Not surprisingly Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP was awarded the trophy for at least the fourth time!
In first place was a stunning close up image titled ‘Cold mountain Hare’right which the judge said the detail in the fur was incredible. Second was another nature study by Robert ‘Striated Caracaras, Falklands’ in which the two birds were perfectly photographed as they perched on a seaweed covered rock.
Tim Pier’s tranquil seascape ‘Morning Light at Whitby’ was in third place and images by Chris Wilkes-Ciudad and Pam Mullings were awarded HC’s.
Trophies were presented to Print competition winners present by chairman Steve Hardman.
After the break came the three projected Image sections starting with the Beginners.
An action shot of three dirt track riders caught the judges eye – ‘Tight Corner’left by Helena Chambers.
The well caught image showed the flying mud as the riders negotiated the racing track.
In second place was ‘Dam Built with Elan’ by Craig Purvis and in third place was ‘Crash’ an expressive monochrome image of a dog by Avril McCarthy. Roly Barth, Helena Chambers and Hilary Tapley were all awarded HC’s. (Craig & Roly have since been promoted to Intermediate’s)
Martin Stokes had a great evening with his PI’s gaining 1st, 2nd & 3rd in the Intermediate section.
Winning him the Trophy was a stunning early morning image ‘Mount Snowdon’ right with a very colourful sunrise over the mountain reflected in the lake below. Second was ‘Tiny Racer’ - a well captured image with a great sense of speed and third was a seascape ‘Storm’ which showed excellent lighting on the shore and a rainbow over a pier.
Last but not least came the Advanced group with tough competition from all of the 19 excellent entries. Unfortunately,
Robert just missed out on his haul of all the Advanced Trophies this year as Pam Mullings was declared the winner of the Projected Image trophy.
The image that caught the judges eye was ‘Despair’ left with a Victorian mother and children in a dark alleyway.
Robert came in 2nd & 3rd and with 3 HC’s as well! In second place was ‘Rainbow and Beech Clump’ – the judge commented that the photographer was lucky to be in just the right place to get that shot but no doubt Robert knew exactly where the rainbow would appear! Third was Robert’s Milky Way, Mars and Meteor’.
Steve Hardman presented the PI Trophies to those present – those winners not there for the competition will be presented with their trophies at the AGM on 14 May.
See - Club Competition Awards 2018 - 2019
Steve then thanked Peter for judging the competition and giving his comments.
Congratulations to all and thanks to all who have entered competitions this year. Get prepared and look out during the summer break for interesting ideas ready for the busy 2019-2000 season! PM
|'Wild South West’||23 April 2019|
|The club welcomed Nigel Hicks who described himself as a professional photographer covering many types of photography including travel, wildlife and architecture. Trained as a biologist Nigel’s images appear in books and magazines and he also runs his own workshops and tours. As a professional photographer he takes on commissions to photograph hotels, people and cityscapes often used to illustrate travel brochures and guide books.
In the first half of the presentation Nigel explained about the projects he has been working on and showed us some of his images taken in Iceland with its mountains, waterfalls, glaciers and geysers. Nigel says he looks for something different and tries to photograph the landscape from unusual angles and likes simple uncluttered compositions with a limited colour palette. He seeks out hidden gems that others might not notice.
Another project that Nigel has worked on for many years is the wildlife of the Philippines where he wrote and illustrated a book 20 years ago when little was known about the diverse wildlife unique to the area.
The country with its many islands has many volcanos and rain forests with a vast variety of flora and fauna and Nigel even went underwater to photograph the life found on the coral reefs. He has recently returned and stayed for a few months photographing the country for a new updated version of his book recording the scenery, wildlife and the people.
In the second half of the presentation Nigel came much nearer to home and showed a few images from his project to photograph his home county of Devon as well as Dorset and Cornwall.
About to be published is his book titled ‘Wild Southwest’ which is a guide to the finest landscapes in the area which visitors might like to explore.
From the heather moorland through the deep valleys down to the rugged coastline Nigel photographs the diverse landscapes. Also in the book will be images of some of the wild flowers, insects and birds found in those counties as well as some spontaneous images of the people who live and work there.
Club vice chairman Roly Barth thanked Nigel for giving us an insight into the commercial aspects of his photography and the images of the southwest. PM
Images from 'Wild Southwest' © Nigel Hicks Left: Dipper Right: Cornish Tinmine
|Inter-Club Battle with Frome Wessex CC - a win for Devizes||16 April 2019|
|The club were delighted to welcome members of Frome Wessex Camera Club for a projected image ‘Battle’ The judge for the evening was Peter McCloskey FRPS APAGB who had previously had a close look at all the entries but had no idea which images came from which club.
Each club had entered 30 images and no author could have more than 2 images in the selection. Devizes entries came from the Beginners section as well as Intermediate and Advanced so very well done to all of them for having their images selected to represent the club.
The judge gave his comments on each image and then according to his opinion of the image he gave it a score out of 20. Only one image out of the 60 in the competition was rated highly enough to score the maximum points – this was ‘A Beautiful Trio’ by Alan Denison from Frome Wessex CC. The image was well photographed with excellent lighting and portrayed 3 attractive models in a studio pose. Alan also gained 19 points for his image ‘Flour Power’ with models throwing white powder to create interesting shapes against a black background. Another Frome Wessex image also gained 19 points – this time a delightful portrait of a young girl holding a rose titled ‘Poppy’ by Loveday Powell so many congratulations to those 2 photographers.
Hilary Tapley was one of 2 Devizes entries that was awarded the highest score for the club of 18 points. The image was a macro shot of a pair of common blue butterflies left. The judge said that the image was well captured and the focus and the positioning in the frame were excellent.
Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP was also awarded 18 points for his astro-photography image titled ‘Milky Way, Mars and Saturn over Durdle Door’ right. The judge commented that the lighting on Durdle Door was well potrayed and that the milky way and planets were well photographed.
Devizes had 6 of its entries gaining 17 points and the rest of the entries ranged between 13 and 16 points.
At the halftime break the scores from the 2 clubs were equal and that continued until the last few images were shown – then Devizes managed to just creep ahead with the final scores Devizes 467 and Frome Wessex 464.
Club Chairman thanked the judge and remarked that the standard of entries was extremely high.
Battle Secretary Frank Collins was unable to get to the meeting so Roly Barth operated the computer and Steve did the scoring so many thanks to both for stepping in.
Many thanks for the members of Frome Wessex for travelling over for the evening. We will look forward to a return ‘Battle’ between the two clubs at Frome next season. PM
|Competition 3 - Open Projected Images||9 April 2019|
This was a return visit to the club by Simon Caplan LRPS who recently gave a presentation but this time he came to judge the last Open Projected Competition of the season.
|'Photographing Landscape Whatever the Weather’||2 April 2019|
Tony Worobiec made a welcome return to Devizes Camera Club on Tuesday to present his talk and was quick to say, however, that he would prefer to think of it as a workshop, rather than a lecture, and that he would welcome and encourage questions.
He told us that the idea for this talk originated during a workshop he attended some years ago somewhere in America when the delegates were restricted to their motel for 2 days because of poor weather. He felt that was a terrible waste and wanted to show photographers what could be done whatever the weather conditions.
He explained that he tends to expand his definition of “Landscape” from merely images of the countryside to include Coastal Landscapes, Industrial Landscapes and Urban Landscapes. Then he tries to match the feel of his chosen landscape to the weather. And if it isn’t working, he will change location. Tony illustrated these ideas with images of derelict farm buildings in Montana with dramatic, threatening skies, and shots of piers glistening in the rain.
Tony proceeded to work his way through various weather situations, giving hints and tips as to how good images can be achieved in any conditions. He showed us how dramatic cloudy skies can enhance an otherwise lifeless, flat scene. How breaks in the cloud can provide fantastic illumination on dull days. He enthused on the beauty of clouds, presenting images of Super Cells, Mammatus clouds and the approach of a dust storm. And he illustrated how breaking clouds can be illuminated from beneath after the sun has set, transforming a landscape with its glow, as a sequence of images taken at the Grand Canyon showed perfectly.
Many people avoid going out with their cameras when its is raining, but Tony implored us to rethink. Dressed properly, armed with a waterproof camera cover (maybe a shower cap from the hotel bathroom!), a lens hood and a microfibre cloth to wipe your lens, many subjects are transformed by the extra luminosity of light on wet surfaces. His wonderful images taken on various piers round the UK bore witness to the truth of this. He also pointed out that the pathos and abandonment of derelict buildings can be enhanced in the rain.
After the rain, Tony said, the light can be magical as the rain clouds recede. Rainbows add drama to images and can infuse the sky with its colour. Puddles can provide beautiful reflections and foreground interest.
Wind can be an interesting challenge as it can’t be seen - you can only capture the effect of the wind. Tony showed how this can be done in images of the shapes of trees swaying, the spume on waves, moving clouds and fields of barley with poppies. The steam billowing from cooling towers was another effective image of wind.
And the lack of wind can be shown in images of still water and smoke/steam ascending vertically. Tony talked about the phenomenon of Atmospheric Decoupling - the stillness that occurs about 40 minutes before sunrise and 35 minutes after sunset as the temperature of the air and the land equalise. An image of a line of trees on the banks of a canal perfectly reflected in the still waters illustrated what he meant.
Tony expressed his love of foggy and misty conditions. He suggested using a telephoto lens to compress the composition of a woodland scene so that clutter disappears in the fog and simplifies the image. He talked about rising mist that forms about 40 minutes before dawn after a cold night which can provide an extra dimension to a landscape.
He showed us how frost, ice and snow can provide their own kinds of magic. He illustrated the minimalism achieved in snow with high key images of landscape, the structure and texture that emerges in images of fields with a thin layer of snow, and the fascination of ice patterns formed on his car windscreen and in puddles with low early morning light.
While photographing landscapes when there is a blue sky, Tony told us to remember that blue is a primary colour and to select a landscape with complimentary colours, such as desert sand dunes or orange cliffs like those found at West Bay in Dorset. With bland skies, he suggested thinking of them as a sheet of white paper on which lines can be drawn such as the tracery of trees or structures such posts and telegraph poles. On bland cloudy days, try to make images where the sun is a mysterious presence glowing threateningly through onto the composition.
Tony finished his presentation by imploring us not to let the weather stop us from going out with our cameras, reminding us to dress appropriately and try to select locations that complement the weather conditions.
Our Deputy Chairman thanked Tony for a fascinating evening with some wonderful images which he felt would inspire our members to try to emulate. DF
Images © Tony Worobiec
|Inter-Club Battle at Stratton CC||27 March 2019|
|The latest in the long running series of Annual Battles between Devizes CC and photographic clubs in the Swindon area took place on 27th March. This year the other participants were Swindon, Stratton and Royal Wootton Bassett and the event was hosted by Stratton Camera Club at their premises in north Swindon
Each Club was represented by 15 images, with no more than two being allowed from the same photographer. Images from 10 different members represented Devizes, with images coming from members in each of our three competition sections.
Judge for the evening was Sandy Watson, a new judge so far as Devizes are concerned, judging on the evening without having seen the images prior to the night. He gave commentary on each image before giving it a score out of 20, with his marks being in the range of 15-20. Ten of the 60 images were awarded the full 20, including 4 from the Devizes entry, and from the Judge’s comments it was clear that Kyra Wilson’s ‘Kingfisher with Catch’ was the ‘Judges Choice’ image of the evening – congratulations Kyra.
As always, judging brings into play the judges preferences and personal opinions and, quite rightly, two different judges will not necessarily see the same image in the same way.
This evening therefore was one in which the “creative” images did not find the judge’s favour, and he also expressed a preference for images to be more tightly cropped to the main subject matter.
Nevertheless, in addition to 4 images scoring 20, a further 4 each received 19 points, and in a contest which in its early stages looked very tight, these contributed to Devizes final winning score of 273 points, 9 points clear of Royal Wootton Bassett in second place.
Our thanks go to the Sandy Watson for his judging, and to Stratton Camera Club for organising the event and hosting it, including providing a very splendid buffet at half time. FC
Images gaining the maximum 20 points from Devizes CC Top: Kingfisher with Catch by Kyra Wilson
Top right: Living Dangerously by Craig Purvis
Left: Common Blues by Hilary Tapley
Right: Is that me? by Frank Collins
|‘Street Photography My Way’||26 March 2019|
|Peter Crane ARPS began his presentation by describing Street Photography as ‘fishing for people’ and catching a moment in time. Peter said that you need to always be alert and have your camera ready because you never know when something might happen that will make an interesting photograph.
Described the kit he takes out with him Peter gave some tips on how to blend in so that people do not even notice that you are taking photographs. Once people spot a camera pointing their way they might get annoyed or alternatively stand and smile which is not what you want. The idea is to watch people going about their everyday lives and capturing the interaction or something that stands out to make an interesting image.
Peter displayed his ARPS panel of prints – all in colour as it is colour that often attracts him. He likes to find someone’s clothes or hair that harmonises with the scene such as the shoes against the painted pavement right or the coloured hair with the painted wall below.
Images are occasionally changed to monochrome when the background colour takes attention away from the situation that caught his eye.
Use a smallish zoom lens for flexibility as you have no idea how far away your subject might be and Peter also suggests setting the camera manually, pre focussing if you can and then using the camera back button to set the focus. Using a wrist strap you can then ‘shoot from the hip’ without anyone noticing by reaching for the back button and pressing the shutter. A spirit level on the hot shoe can make sure the camera is level. Use a fast shutter speed and continuous shooting to catch the moment. Or conversely use a slow shutter speed to blur the movement of people as they hurry by. Find a quiet viewpoint to observe what is going on without being noticed – look up or look down and you get a different aspect.
Wear inconspicuous clothing and comfortable shoes as you may be standing around for a long time – street photography takes a lot of patience. Peter often sees a poster or shop sign and just waits until someone passes that conveys what he has in mind and he showed many examples. Some situations were quite odd, others humorous and nowadays the subject is often so engrossed looking at their phone that they have no idea what’s going on around them.
Good places to look for subjects are café’s, markets and train stations where people are busy just getting on with their lives.
Reflections can be found in wet pavements and shop windows giving interesting effects. Look out for dogs or other animals behaving oddly or looking cute. Images can be found with or without people or pets by looking for interestingly worded signs or graffiti or strange vehicles. Use your imagination and see what you can find.
Keep your eyes open, keep alert, keep your camera ready and hopefully catch that decisive moment!
Dave Gray thanked Peter for showing his interesting images and giving such an inspiring presentation. PM
|Club Member's Successes||21 March 2019|
|The results of the selection for the 2019 WCPF Members' Exhibition have just been announced and Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP has had 8 of his entries accepted for this prestigious event.
Members from any of the clubs affiliated to the Wester Counties Photographic Federation which includes the counties from Wiltshire to Cornwall could send in print and digital entries.
The entries have now been judged and all those with a score of 12 or over will be displayed in an exhibition which takes place at Bovey Tracey Golf Club TQ13 9NG from Sunday 5th May to Sunday 19th May
Congratulations to Robert for his acceptances. All the accepted images can be seen on the WCPF website.
Image © Robert Harvey - 'Langdale Valley' accepted in the Open Digital Class
|Competition 2 - Open Prints||19 March 2019|
Derek Gale was welcomed back for his second visit to the club to judge an Open print competition.
Unfortunately, there were not many entries in the Beginners and Intermediate sections but quite a good number in the Advanced section. Maybe newer members think that printing and mounting their images is going to be difficult and expensive but it need not be as commercial prints are allowed and they can cost very little.
Derek gave some comments on how to best present prints and said that the right mount can make a big difference as it can complement the image. Select ta colour that enhances the image as the wrong colour can make the image appear rather too dark or too light. Leave space around the image so that it does not appear cramped.
Starting with the Beginners entries Derek said these members were probably new to the club and by entering a competition it was a good opportunity for them to learn more about the presentation of their prints. Small details are important and Derek said that distracting light areas should have been toned down.
‘Thistle Do’ left - a close-up image of a seed head by Richard Blackmore gained first place. The judge liked the simplicity and the dark complimentary background.
Second place went to Helena Chambers with ‘Hello, I’m up Here’ a monochrome which portrayed a man playing a violin on a tightrope. Although some of the bystanders shown were rather distracting the image was well caught.
Members who had progressed to the Intermediate section should achieve a higher standard and show more imagination said the judge.
An image of a lone deer titled ‘Surprised’ right by David Wilkinson was well presented with the subject in focus and the background blurred. The colour was good and it was awarded first place in the Intermediate section.
‘Log of Ages’ by Craig Purvis was an image of a log lying on a beach – the judge liked the simplicity and the composition and placed it second.
Next came the Advanced section with 21 entries to judge. Derek said that those who had reached the club’s advanced level should have images with no faults such as poor focus or composition so he expected great things! He really did not have too much to criticise – just some tiny details that might have been better removed. He had some comments about painted mounts and in one case the mount would have been better another colour.
Finally Derek made his selection with a creative image titled ‘Bald Eagle‘ left by Tim Pier in first place saying that the eagle stood out well against the dark background.
Derek liked the interaction between the two birds in ‘Striated Caracaras, Falklands’ by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP and awarded the print second place.
Tim Pier gained third place with a landscape ‘ Morning Light at Whitby’ an area that the judge knew well.
Congratulations to all.
After the break Derek showed us some of his macro images and gave some tips on macro photography. He showed several ways of taking close up images that could be tried out before deciding to buy a special macro lens – he even improvised using the cardboard tube from a toilet roll!
He suggested trying to get as close as you can with a standard lens set to wide angle or if you have them try adding extension rings. With a compact camera good results can be had by using the close up setting. It is essential to use a tripod to keep the camera absolutely steady and use a timer or cable release to avoid any shake when pressing the shutter.
If you want to get more extreme macro images then you will have to get a specialist macro lens.
Derek said that you see the world in a different way when you see the tiny details on an insect or a flower that you would not even know were there.
Thanks to Derek for giving his helpful comments on the prints, Roly Barth for organising the competition and to all those who entered. PM
Full results All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries.
|‘Four Seasons in One Day’||12 March 2019|
|Four Seasons in One Day, or as Stephen Spraggon suggested, “Four Seasons in One Evening”. That was how Stephen introduced his presentation on his welcome return to Devizes Camera Club. He explained that he had got into photography when he bought a Nikon D70 with his student loan while studying for a degree in Packaging Design, and that most of his early landscape work was done in Somerset, centred on his home town of Glastonbury, and on Exmoor. Since then he has explored other parts of the UK, particularly the south coast and several of our National Parks.
Stephen doesn’t think of the seasons as just the differences in flowers and foliage, or sunshine and snow. He thinks also about the differences in temperature and light, and the effect they can have on the landscape - and on photography. He illustrated this by showing us 4 images of Glastonbury Tor taken at the same time of day, from the same position, but during the different seasons.
In winter, he said, in Southern England we get about 8 hours of daylight, whereas in summer we get about 16.5 hours. Using screenshots from The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE), Stephen showed just how much the angle of sunrise and sunset differs between the seasons, and explained how this can mean that some locations will only work photographically at certain times of the year. He suggested that TPE is a valuable tool that he uses extensively, together with weather forecasts, to plan his photography. He illustrated how he had found the best viewpoint for an image of Colmer’s Hill, near Symondsbury by using TPE.
Using short audiovisual (AV) introductions, Stephen talked to us about the sort of images that can be taken in each of the seasons. He interspersed some wonderful images with hints and tips to think about when photographing landscapes.
Starting with Spring, which he feels starts around March as flowers add colour to the landscape and foliage starts to emerge on trees, he showed us images of fields of Oil Seed Rape, where he had managed to find leading lines left by tractors. Misty sunrises and woodland compositions are other subjects, especially with new leaves on beech trees. At Badbury Clump in Oxfordshire, there is a small wooded area where bluebells grow. Using a long lens to compress perspective, Stephen used the woodland path to provide a leading line through a composition of tree trunks and bluebells. Coastal landscapes can also be special in the spring with thrift and sea campion as foreground interest on clifftops, as shown in Stephens image from Hurlstone Point above Porlock Marshes.
There are some locations that work better during the summer months. North facing coastlines and hills have better light because the sun rises and sets further north. The bays around Weston-Super-Mare and the north Devon coast are examples. Poppies and heather are good subjects while in flower, but once the colour is fading at the peak of summer, Stephen suggested heading into town for images of people and architecture, as shown in a great picture of a car park spiral. Stephen also suggested getting out and shooting the moon or the Milky Way.
Once Autumn hits its peak the warm oranges and golds of the foliage can be spectacular. And even fallen leaves can enhance the forest floor. Stephen said he likes to use a slow shutter speed, even in windy conditions, to convey a sense of movement in the branches. He said overcast days are good for images of trees and water as the shadows will be softer. He also recommended using a polarising filter to reduce glare and enhance colours. Autumn is also a time for mist which can be used creatively to produce more abstract images, especially when cropping in to a scene. An image of Wastwater bathed in the pink light of the setting sun was especially captivating.
In Winter, with the sun rising and setting further south, Stephen suggested that the south coast becomes a particularly attractive prospect. Also snow can transform a landscape by hiding distracting elements, like clumps of grass, under a blanket of whiteness. An image of a circular shaped tree in a hedgerow, with tractor patterns in the snow in the field behind, and blank white in the field in front reminded Stephen of a flag of an unknown country.
To round off his excellent presentation, Stephen showed us an image taken at Draycott Sleights in Somerset. Earlier he had shown us an image of a stand of trees in the fog in spring with a branch of new leaves providing a highlight. This last image was of the same stand of trees, but taken after a heavy snowstorm. Both images were great in their own right and served to show us how different seasons can produce different photographic results. These and many other excellent images can be seen on Stephens website at www.spraggonphotography.co.uk
Our Chairman thanked Stephen profusely for an entertaining presentation with lots of hints and tips for us to consider. DF
Images © Stephen Spraggon
|Members’ Speed Critique||5 March 2019|
Eight of the club’s newer members took the plunge and brought along a selection of their images for fellow members to look at and give their views. The idea is to provide positive feedback on images to help members get the very best out of their images – this might involve the presentation and any editing that might enhance the image in some way. The critique is always done in a very gentle manner anyone showing their images should go away with helpful comments that will help them get the best from their photography.
|Creative & Audio Visual Competitions||26 February 2019|
The judge for the competitions was Tony Byram EFIAP ARPS AWPF DPAGB who together with his wife Jennie has visited the club many times – both as a judge and also to present his own images and AV’s.
What is a ‘creative’ image? asked Tony - a question that members ask themselves. It may not be apparent how an image is created and that does not matter for this competition but the resulting image should cause a reaction suggests Tony.
There were many interesting and imaginative ideas entered by members – some had fun photographing water droplets others went for abstracts and there were also some humorous ideas. Clever use of software turned straightforward images into something rather different.
Tony picked out 9 very different images for awards giving first place to Pam Mullings for ‘The Sorcerer’ left - a colourful image which depicted a wild haired gent and his book of Spells. Second place went to ‘Fun with Milk’ by Kev Ferris LRPS in which the falling droplets had formed into the shape of a mushroom. Third was an image of trees titled ‘Winter to Autumn’ by Chris Wilkes Cuidad ARPS which transformed a scene of woodland trees from monochrome to colour.
After a break Tony set about judging the Audio - Visual sequences entered explaining how the images should flow well together and have appropriate music. The order in which the images are shown is important with each sequence telling a story with a beginning, a middle and an ending.
The club has not held an A-V competition for a few years so for some members it was their first attempt. Lively music accompanied a surfing sequence and sea water swimming featured in another.
First place went to an informative sequence that had taken Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP many hours to compile. Titled ‘Visions of Heaven’ it showed in detail the wonders of the universe and asked ‘how far can we see with our naked eye’. Using Robert’s superb images, it started with the Aurora Borealis which is comparatively close and within the Earth’s atmosphere and went on to the phases of the moon and an eclipse showing a ‘blood red moon’ Then further out in space to the planets in our solar system and an eclipse of the sun itself. Deeper in space there were images of the Milky Way which is still in our Galaxy and even further away we can just see the Galaxy of Andromeda which is an astounding 2.537 million light years away. There was so much information in Robert’s A-V that it really needs to be seen many times to absorb all the interesting facts.
Right: One of the many images in 'Visions of Heaven'
In second place was ‘Isle of Skye’ with its stunning images taken by Chris Wilkes Ciudad which showed the beautiful mountains and lakes of the area.
‘Dawn to Dusk’ by Martin Stokes was a sequence taken in the New Forest with its landscapes and wildlife which included a clever sequence of woodland bird images and their calls. Martin’s A-V was in third place.
Tony suggested that members wishing to learn more about making A-V’s should join WAVES which meets locally 4 times a year.
David Wilkinson thanked Tony for judging the competition and for giving his helpful comments.PM
Full results Most of the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries.
|'Night Sky Wonders' Landscape Astrophotography||19 February 2019|
In a change to our programme, Alyn Wallace travelled over from South Wales to deliver his presentation entitled Night Sky Wonder - Landscape Astrophotography. He introduced himself by telling us that he had studied Astronomy and Physics at University and had always had an interest in photographing the night sky, even before he could afford to buy a camera. Among his first astrophotography images was an excellent beach scene taken at a frequently visited, but under-commercialised holiday destination in Turkey.
Living near the Brecon Beacons, he would often spend nights taking images around Pen-y-Fan and share them with friends and family. Eventually, he acquired some sponsorship which has enabled him to turn his hobby into a full-time job.
Alyn proceeded to show us a range of images from various international destinations, always explaining how, and why, he had taken them, usually including an amusing anecdote, or a time-lapse or vlog to illustrate the process. From Northern Lights in Iceland, through star trails in the Dolomites, a moonrise in the arc of the Milky Way on Las Palmas, to strange night-time landscapes in Cappadocia, Turkey, each image had something different and captivating.
The remainder of his presentation was illustrated with images taken in the UK, predominantly taken in his native Wales or around Durdle Door in Dorset.
He started this section by talking about the equipment needed for successful night time photography. Cameras, lenses, tripods and head torch were obvious elements, but he showed us how different lenses can be used to provide different images. He stressed the need for warm clothing, advising that merino base layers and down jacket insulating layers are the best way to go. Hand warmers and hot drinks were also on his top tips list. He also discussed camera settings, post-production tips and light pollution.
Alyn moved on to cover what can be photographed at night, a list that was much longer than one might expect. It included Stars, Constellations, Planets, the Milky Way, the Moon, the Northern Lights, International Space Station, Meteor Showers, Star Trails, Solar and Lunar Eclipses and Bioluminescent Plankton. He had advice, stunning images and interesting stories to illustrate each of these, together with a number of Apps that can be used to help with planning and research.
Alyn’s website and his YouTube channel are worth a visit to see some of his fantastic images, videos and time-lapses. His Blog is the place to find some of his stories, including the trials and tribulation of photographing his Yoga Teacher friend against the rising moon on Pen-y-Fan.
Alyn’s attention to detail and extensive planning have enabled him to take some breathtaking images and made this one of the best presentations we have had at Devizes Camera Club. Our Chairman commented on the obvious passion that Alyn has for his photography and thanked him for a very entertaining evening. DF
Images © Alyn Wallace Top left: Milky Way from the Gower Coast Right: Startrails Left: Northern Lights from the Brecon Beacons
|Warminster Annual Multi-club Print Battle|
On Saturday 16th. February the Club entered the Warminster Print Day, competing against six other local clubs. As ever, the organisation by the host club was superb with a good venue and an even better buffet afternoon tea!
The competition was judged by Syd Jones from Dorchester Camera Club who began the afternoon by demonstrating his own experiences behind the lens, when giving a short talk entitled ‘Monolands’. Sid amused everyone when displaying some of his stunning landscape black and white images; almost every image had a story attached. He made a very good point about the light and your own eyes (and head) being the most important factors. His judging was most informative, and he clearly explained his reasons for scores.
It was a really exciting afternoon and we were in the lead from the start right up to the final print when Frome Wessex pulled the rabbit out of the hat with their final image which scored 20 and also was judged the best print of the day.
Many thanks to all members who provided images for the competition and to Frank Collins and the selection committee for their hard work.
Congratulations to Tim Tapley who was awarded 20 for his image of a Marbled White and Small Skipper Butterflies left and to Pam Mullings who was also awarded 20 for her image of Claire Austen Roses right. SH
|‘RAW Nature: Images Uncovered'||12 February 2019|
|Oliver Smart’s excitingly titled presentation attracted a large audience on Tuesday evening. Oliver, who studied ornithology at Birmingham University, took us through his approach to Wildlife photography, providing many, and sometimes surprising, tips along the way. His presentation was accompanied by an array of wonderful images, many of which have appeared on the covers and in articles of magazines and books.
He started by going through the equipment that he regards as essential for photographing wildlife. He prefers full-frame cameras and has a vast array of lenses, from 600mm coupled with 2X converter, through mid-range and wide angle to fish-eye and macro lenses. He uses low-tripods, angle finders, extension tubes and bean bags (filled with rice, sand, earth or similar on arrival at his destination).
Oliver advised taking binoculars to find wildlife and he also uses waist belts on location so that he doesn’t have to keep taking off is back pack when tired.
And who knew that a kitchen tray with a tripod head screwed to it was ideal for getting down low and protecting your camera from wet grass! And for keeping other accessories to hand! Another tip for keeping all your camera equipment with you on flights was to take a large coat with lots of pockets and remove lenses and other equipment from your camera bag to reduce its weight! You don’t even need to wear the coat as it won’t be included in the bag weight!
Moving on to planning your photography, Oliver advised that the key question should be “What is your end goal?” What wildlife do you want to photograph and where will you find them? Think about where the animals can be found, how scarce they are and the difficulty of getting to them and being able to photograph them.
Oliver made a distinction between captive and controlled subjects. He showed us a Merlin on a post set up for one of his workshops at the Hawk Conservancy as an example of a captive subject. He talked about how butterflies can be moved from one position to a better composition location before they have warmed up sufficiently to fly, and how birds can be controlled by the judicious positioning of feed.
Research is also important, Oliver said, and, as well as knowing sunrise and sunset times, includes checking the weather forecast, location access and the behaviour of the subject. Depending on how close you want to get to the subject, the availability of cover, be it hides, topography or greenery, should be investigated.
Oliver also talked about the techniques he uses to maximise his chances of getting commercially useable images. The most important issue is to focus on the eye of the subject using an aperture of between f5.6 - f8. If the eye isn’t sharp, the image won’t work. He also advocated using AV mode to control depth of field and to use lighter exposures (load the histogram to the right) to maximise the flexibility of image processing.
He showed us a series of images of a stone curlew where he had adjusted the depth of field to illustrate the camouflage effect of the bird. He told us not to be afraid to play with depth of field or to increase the ISO in low light to ensure a higher shutter speed as it is important to get a sharp image even if there is some noise.
He told us how props, such as plant clamps, are useful to help prevent movement or to keep plants out of the way of the main subject. and the use of sets to generate a stage to lure animals in with food is also a good way of bringing subjects closer to the camera.
He also talked about more advanced techniques, such as shooting birds in flight, capturing the interaction of different animals and showing animals in their habitat. He said that he tries to tell a story through his images. He showed us a series of photos that illustrated these techniques including birds carrying nesting material, surfing Gentian penguins and feeding Striated Caracara on the Falkland Islands.
Oliver ended his presentation by telling us about his workshops and the availability of a hide he runs near Avebury where we could photograph Kites, Buzzards, Ravens and Jackdaws. Details are on his website
Our chairman closed the evening with heartfelt thanks for a very informative session which demonstrated Oliver’s passion for his subject. DF
Images © Oliver Smart
|Results of DPIC and GB Cup Battles|
|The Digital Projected Image Competition (DPIC) is organised annualy by the Western Counties Photographic Federation (WCPF) and all affiliated clubs from the area which stretches from Cornwall to Wiltshire can enter.
The competiton was held in Exeter on Sunday, 10 February - with 57 clubs entered.
Battle secretary Frank Collins and other members attended what was a very busy day with over 1,000 images projected.
The 3 judges can award up to 5 points each so the top mark is 15.
Two images from Devizes were awarded 13 points and seven images were awarded 12 points and the club was in 18th place.
The results have also been announced for the GB Cup Open and Nature projected image competitions which are organised by the Photographic Federation of Great Britain (PAGB) which covers the whole of the UK..
Points are awarded by 3 judges with a maximum 15 points as with DPIC.
2 club images gained 12 points in the Open competition and the club top mark was 11 in the Nature competition.
Thanks to Frank Collins for organising the club entries and to those who chose the images to be entered.
Full results and the top placed images can be seen here
|The Landscape Group presents...||5 February 2019|
|Dave Gray has been the leader of the DCC Landscape Group since its inception in 2010 and gave us an update on its history and the latest activities.
Members had in 2010 requested more feedback on their images and also a chance to learn more about using their camera and software so a special interest group was formed for those with a particular interest in landscape photography. More experienced members arranged visits to suitable locations and later weekend visits were organised which allowed members to get to know each other better and give a more social side to the club. The group has monthly indoor meetings where members can discuss their images informally with others and learn new techniques.
Dave together with Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP have organised very many trips in the last 9 years which members have found very enjoyable. Dave and Robert have had years of experience and can lead the field trips showing others how to find the most scenic areas.
Dave showed images taken on these visits during the last year. Starting with the very successful weekend visit to the Snowdonia area in February 2018. Stunning photographs of snow-capped mountains, lakes, valleys and a disused quarry as well as the Menai Bridge were shown.
Images taken during that weekend have since won many of the club competitions and Dave showed a selection. A full report on the Snowdon trip, reports on other visits and more information on the Landscape Group can be seen on the Groups page of this website.
Dave went on to show images from field trip combined with the Nature group to Skomer.
A group met at the Caen Hill locks early on 15 September to capture the sunrise as for a short time on that date the sun is aligned directly down the flight.
Many times before the group has visited Stourhead to capture the autumn colours but in 2018 the visit was earlier than usual as the hot dry summer made the colour change early and were not quite as spectacular as in previous visits but members still managed to capture some beautiful scenes.
The latest field trip was to Dorset this February where members captured images of dawn over Corfe Castle and then went on to the spectacular Jurassic coastline. Members photographed stunning Lulworth Cove and Kimmeridge Bay as well as other scenic places in the area. The group finished the busy day trying to capture some sunset shots over the rock pools and the limestone pavements.
Thanks to Dave and Robert as well as Sue Wadman, Roly Barth, David Fraser, Martin Stokes, Frank Collins, Craig Purvis and Dave Evans for sharing some of their many landscape images Taken when out with the group.
The next Landscape Group trip is a weekend visit to North Cornwall and other visits will be organised during the year.
After the break Dave Gray gave a presentation titled ‘Walking with my Camera’
Dave is a very dedicated hill walker and explained that photography and long distance walking do not always go well together. For walking dry weather and nice blue skies are preferable but for good atmospheric photographs it is better to have cloudy skies and even storms to give good light and shade. Dave showed us images taken on his walks in the Lake District with high peaks, deep valleys and spectacular views over the lakes. Next Dave showed images of another of his favourite areas and that was the coastal paths of the spectacular Purbeck coast taking in the many spectacular bays and rocky coastline. Interesting images of the unusual rock strata to be found in the area were shown.
Another area Dave often visits is Scotland with its mountains and lochs. Dave has captured images of dramatic skies, unusual rock formations, waterfall and deep valleys many of which require walks of many miles over difficult terrain to reach. Dave finished with an amazing image of a complete rainbow which he managed to photograph on a sudden break in the weather on a very stormy day.
Frank Collins thanked Dave for his presentation and for showing a selection of stunning images not seen by the club before. PM
Images: top - Lulworth Cove by Sue Wadman, top right- group members by Craig Purvis, left- Corfe Castle by Roly Barth
below right- Westmoreland Cairn by Dave Gray.
|Landscape Print and Projected Image Competitions||29 January 2019|
The Landscape competitions were judged this season by Adrian Herringwho has judged the club competitions many times before. Adrian praised the generally high standard of the entries and gave helpful comments on those images where some improvement would be needed. Some images Adrian felt were unbalanced and many of the ‘reflection’ subjects cut the image in half.
The judge remarked on the high number of images featuring sunrises and sunsets. Many entries were taken in the Snowdon region which a group of members visited last year and Skye was another popular destination, rocky coastlines and lakes were featured in many images and also local hills, fields and woods.
Some images the judge felt did not fit the criteria of ‘an extensive area of natural scenery' and man-made structures were rather too prominent in others.
In the projected image competition images must be taken within the British Isles and the judge said he very much enjoyed looking through the large number of entries.
‘Langdale Valley’ right by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP was the judge’s favourite and Robert was again presented with the annual Derrick Turner Memorial Trophy for the 5th time in a row.
A ridge in Snowdonia was the subject of Dave Gray’s ‘Early Light on Crib Goch’ left which was in second place and in third place was another image from the same area ‘Mount Snowdon’ was by Martin Stokes.
Eleven entries were awarded Highly commended with many of those images taken in the Snowdon and Cumbria areas but a misty Pewsey Vale and Knapp Hill also featured in the awards as well.
In the print section the landscapes could be taken anywhere in the world but all except one of the 14 entries again featured either local or British scenery. Again the most popular areas were the Isle of Skye and Snowdonia with a few more local landscapes as well.
Once again Robert Harvey was awarded first place with ‘Frosty Morning, Old Man of Storr’ right
Robert was presented with the the Silver Birches Trophy for the third time in a row and 5 times in total
Another Skye image was in second place with ‘Storr Reflections’ left by Chris Wilkes Ciudad.
In third place was another print by Robert this time taken in the Snowdonia area titled ‘Ogwen Valley & Cwm Idwal’
Adrian was thanked for judging the entries and for travelling a long way on such a cold snowy evening.
Thanks to Competition Secretary Roly Barth for compiling the entries and running the competitions and to all those who entered such beautiful landscapes for all to enjoy. PM
See all the awards All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries
|‘Extraordinary Ordinary' Look differently at your photography!||22 January 2019|
On a frosty evening Simon Caplan LRPS was welcomed to the club for a presentation which he described as looking for 'the beauty hidden in the environment'.
Simon has a creative eye for finding subjects that most people would not even notice – patterns on a floor, textures, peeling paint, rusty iron as well as shiny metal objects – even air conditioner fans can make a good subject for him!!
Interesting images can be found anywhere if you look hard enough – look beyond the obvious he said.
Simon has had many exhibitions of his prints some of which now hang in public places and he brought along a selection to show the club.
Giving his humorous presentation Simon described some of the problems he finds when taking photographs of rather unusual subjects – often in odd situations.
Setting up a tripod can cause problems sometimes as industrial areas, churches and shopping centres have ‘health and safety’ rules about such things.
When you have found a suitable subject the background is very important – try and find a complimentary colour by moving around or even take something with you that can be used for an out of focus colour.
Decide exactly where your point of focus is going to be as Simon believes that every image should have a really sharp area however small. Learn how to use depth of field to have just the amount of the image sharp that compliments the subject.
In his travels Simon looks around for interesting buildings and often contrasts old with modern and looks for unusual views and suggests sometimes using the camera at an angle to get something a bit different.
Laying on the floor looking up or looking down can give a completely different image – move around and take the subject from lots of different angles.
He looks out for geometric shapes, symmetry, interesting colours and often focuses on just a tiny area that is just a few centimetres in size.
Look out for subjects in scrapyards, fairgrounds, dockyards, railways and museums – even in the home a cheese grater or sieve can be used.
Sometimes Simon combines photographs making a montage of images that work well together.
When post processing - make sure that straight lines and angles are perfectly lined up to give a clean looking image. Sometimes making a monochrome image high key can give very clean blacks and whites to enhance the image.
Simon went on to show that he also takes landscapes, sets up still life’s and even people photos as well and encourages photographers to have fun and try out different things.
Steve Hardman thanked Simon for travelling from Bristol to give such an inspiring presentation and he says will now look at everyday objects in a different way. PM
Images© Simon Caplan LRPS Top right: air conditioner fan, top left: detail in a church, left: old an modern buildings, right; rusty metal
|PI League results 2019|
|Members handed in their scoresheets at the end of last weeks PI League Competition and the results have been calculated by Competition Secretary Roly Barth. The scores were averaged and the scores of the 3 sets entered added together to give the winner.
Many congratulations to the winner Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP who was presented with the Hewitt Cup by club chairman Steve Hardman.
In 2nd place was Kyra Wilson, Chris Wilkes-Ciudad was in 3rd place and
Dave Gray was in 5th place,
|'Projected Image League'||15 January 2019|
There were 48 sets of images entered in the Annual Projected Image League and members present were each given a scoresheet and requested to score each set out of 10.
Members were asked to score the sets on their opinion of the quality of the 5 images, how well the images fitted the chosen title and above all how well the images looked together as a set.
Club members had been asked beforehand to send in their 3 sets of 5 images - each set to be on a theme of their choice. The images were then put together by Pam Mullings as a slideshow which showed the individual images and how the images looked together as a set.
Half of the sets were projected and then members took a break before the rest were shown.
Predictably for a club with a very high standard of natural history and landscape photography most of the sets featured these subjects but there were some other subjects to give variety.
We had sets featuring architecture, telephone boxes, people, flowers and even pigs!
Images shown are from some of the more unusual sets - 'Prayer Wheels' top 'Blown Away' right and 'Little Planets' below. The winning sets will be shown next week.
Landscapes depicted Snowdonia, Lake District and Bhutan, coastal and autumn scenes were popular subjects as well.
Four of the sets featured damsel and dragonflies as well as many sets of other tiny creatures. Birds were a popular subject with sets of robins, kingfishers, swans, pelicans and ‘pretty birds on sticks’.
Members had a great many superb images to view and score during the evening – we could have done with a few more entries but hopefully now members will have some ideas on making up their own sets so more will enter next time.
Thanks to all who entered and gave us an interesting evening.
Competition secretary Roly Bath collected the scoresheets at the end of the evening and has the difficult job of calculating the results. Scores for each set are averaged and then then scores from each entrants 3 sets are added together to give the final results and the winner of the Hewitt Cup. The results will be announced next Tuesday. PM
|'Timelapse Photography'||8 January 2019|
The first meeting of 2019 was well attended with many visitors keen to see the presentation by Ben Maliphant on the subject of timelapse photography. Ben was fairly new to photography in 2013 with an entry level DSLR when he was intrigued by a time-lapse sequence which
Anything that moves can be used for a timelapse sequence – hundreds of images are taken at set intervals and then processed to give the appearance of everything speeded up. A scene might take hours to record but can be seen in seconds showing the changing light as the sun rises or sets, clouds racing across the sky or waves crashing on a shore. Starry skies are another way that time-lapse is used as rather than taking one image with the camera set up for a very long exposure you could take hundreds of images at set intervals and then combine them into one image.
Ben began the evening by showing his impressive video taken around Portishead Quay – many sequences are edited and expertly put together with added music to make a 3-minute promotional video. Ben explained how a sequence can take thousands of separate images which are condensed down to just a few seconds.
After Ben was given a tripod he decided to try out time-lapse – first the tripod must be absolutely stable as any slight movement will prevent a seamless looking result. Careful thought must be given to the view to be photographed and the camera settings then a test shot or two taken.
Correct focus, exposure and depth of field need to be established. Difficulties arise because the light will change over the hours so Ben recommends setting the camera up manually. Most camera now have a timelapse setting and can be set at intervals of a few to many seconds and for a set length of time. Use a cable release to start up the camera and then the photographer just sits back until the camera stops – hoping everything goes well and the resulting images as expected.
For fast moving scenes use about 1 sec intervals and 5 or longer for slow moving scenes. Once the basics are mastered you could make things even more interesting (or difficult) for yourself by introducing rotation or panning in the sequences – this requires specialist equipment to keep the camera absolutely steady.
One of Ben’s first sequences was posted on Youtube and out of the blue he had a phone call from the BBC asking if he would help by setting up a timelapse sequence showing the 6-hour rise and fall of the tide in the Severn Estuary. Keen to fulfil the commission he found that the bridge moved with the wind and traffic so it would be difficult to keep a tripod steady but gained permission to use one of the concrete towers for support and managed to get the required 20 second sequence.
After the hundreds of images are taken for each sequence the computer is used to complete the process. See ‘LR Timelapse’ for information and downloads to find out how the whole process works. Finally, all the sequences have to be skillfully put together to tell a story and give an interesting high quality video. The added music can dramatically effect the mood of the final video – gentle sound gives a calm effect but loud, fast music can give a racy dramatic effect. Ben demonstrated this by showing some time-lapse videos taken by others.
Photographers can specialise in different ways of using their images and timelapse is way that images can be used to create interesting videos. There are lots of tutorials on line to give ideas. Even smart phones can take time-lapse but if you want super quality then you will need to get the specialist equipment and software.
To see the full effect of his timelapse videos you will need to visit Ben’s website and many more sequences by others can be seen on line.
Club chairman Steve Hardman thanked Ben for his informative, entertaining and inspirational presentation and for showing the club something rather different that can be done with photography. PM
Images © Ben Maliphant. Still images taken from timelapse sequences.
|Challenge 18 - December|
|The subject for the very last DCC facebook Challenge 2018 was the colour 'Red'.
The month started with some photos - as might be expected at this time of year with some Christmassy ideas – a bauble, Santa Claus and colourful shop windows and inevitably a robin. Other subjects photographed included a Winter Solstice sunset, a lighthouse and an old Morgan sports car
As the month went on evidently members were much too busy to look out for something red to photograph so the challenge has rather fizzled out.
The image that received the most ‘likes’ was a rather late in the season, fading red rose by Richard Blackbourne.
Thanks to those who took part who maybe have thought up a few new ideas and taken a few photos that they may not otherwise have taken. Only one completed the challenge which was to take at least one photo every month on each of the monthly chosen subjects.
You could always set yourself a personal challenge of finding something interesting to photograph - evey day, every week or every month!
Now is the start of a new year so go on looking for interesting new subjects to photograph wherever you might be..
Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy 2019
|Christmas Knockout Competition||18 December 2018|
The last meeting before the Christmas break is a light-hearted competition where one by one entries are knocked out until after several rounds we have a winning image.
The master of ceremonies for the evening was Frank Collins dressed as Santa. Twenty-Six club members entered up to 6 images each and Frank worked out that the optimum number of entries to show would be 128. With a little bit of adjustment this figure was achieved.
At the start of the evening no one has any idea which image would escape elimination and win. The images were shown randomly in pairs and a show of hands vote taken on the preferred image to stay in the competition. There is a lot of rough justice along the way as often 2 images - each of which would be a worthy winner came up together but one has to be eliminated.
As one would expect from the club there were many wildlife and landscape images but also many new creative ideas. The range of subjects was extremely diverse with many members trying out new ideas perhaps to see how popular they would be with fellow members.
Frank did all the hand counting and on a couple of occasions choosing the image to go forward when there was a tie.
Gradually members who entered saw most of their images knocked out round by round.
A spread of festive food had been set out by Caroline and Sue Wadman so members were able to take a short break and partake of a drink from the bar and the Christmas goodies before the final few rounds.
It came down to the last 32 images left in - then 16 then 8 and finally the remaining 4. These last 4 images were pitted against each other until we had a final winner and the runners up.
The winning image was ‘The Music Room’ top left by Steve McCarthy so very well done to him.
In second place was an effective monochrome image of wine glasses titled ‘All in a Row’ above by Caroline Wright.
A nature image ‘Frogs’ left by Gill Cardy FRPS EFIAP DPAGB was placed third and in fourth place was a Venice waterfront scene titled ‘Dawn Commute’ right by Caroline.
Club Chairman Steve Hardman thanked Frank Collins for his work collecting the entries and presiding over the evening. As a late replacement Roly Barth had the difficult job of operating the computer to get 2 images to be shown side by side – with a couple of hitches Roly managed to get through the competition so many thanks to him. Steve thanked all the members who entered and made it a long but enjoyable evening. Caroline and Sue were thanked for organising the festive food.
Steve gave out a carrot for Santa’s reindeer, a mince pie for Roly and for Frank and Roly a bottle of something to enjoy over Christmas and wished everyone all the best for Christmas and the New Year.
Members can look forward to the next meeting on Tuesday 8 January 2019 and anyone thinking of coming along and joining the club will be made very welcome. PM
|Monochrome Print and Projected Image Competitions||11 December 2018|
|For the first time the club has two monochrome competitions – one for prints and another for projected images. The large entry was judged by Clive Rathband FRPS FPSSA EFIAP DPAGB together with Joan Ryder Rathband FRPS FPSSA AFIAP DPAGB both being very experienced judges of National and International photographic competitions.
Clive said that he and Joan had scrutinised each image very carefully and they had both agreed on the final placings.
Clive said that the print entries were well presented but that ‘big is not always better’ as a large print shows up any imperfections and an A4 print can look very effective with a standard size mount. Clive said that as a judge he looks for images that have a ‘sparkle’ to give them lift and that makes them stand out. With monochrome images there should be a full tonal range - from black through to white with a range of tones in between.
There were 34 entries in the print section with a wide range of subjects. Clive commented on the good points in each print and gave his comments on how the image could have been improved. He said that members should carefully check over their images before printing and either crop, clone out or darken any light areas that take attention from the main subject. Many images had a bland sky giving a large area of white while some others lost detail in the darker areas. Clive and Joan felt that some of the images were ‘too busy’ with too many elements in the image taking attention away from the main subject.
Members from all sections of the club entered the competition and were judged together and it was pleasing to see that those awarded came from all three sections.
The winner of the monochrome print trophy was Chris Wilkes Ciudad ARPS with a stunning image of a church titled ‘St. Marys’. Architecture is a subject that converts well to monochrome and the detail on the stonework was outstanding. Chris was also awarded second place with 'British Museum' another architectural image.
‘Harry the Hat and his Uke’ left was an interesting, well executed image by Kyra Wilson LRPS and was in third place.
Highly Commended's were awarded to six more of the prints - see the details below.
Clive presented the William Fox Talbot Trophy for Monochrome prints to Chris – the first recipient of the new trophy. As there are now two monochrome competitions the club decided to purchase 2 new trophies. The ‘William Fox Talbot Trophy’ for prints and the ‘Constance Mundy Trophy’ for Projected Images – Constance was the wife of William and is credited as the first woman to take a photograph. The attractive new trophies were much admired as they each depicted the experimental image of a fern taken by Fox Talbot – one has the negative image engraved on it and one the positive.
After the break Clive set about giving his comments on the 59 projected images.
First place went to ‘Trees in the Mist’ right a woodland scene photographed by Gill Cardy FRPS EFIAP DPAGB. Clive said the tones were good and the trees well-spaced and it was a well-deserved winner.
'Arum Lilies' left by Pam Mullings was awarded second place – the judge commented that the focus was good throughout and the white areas well captured.
In third place was ‘Temple of the Night’ below right by Chris Wilkes- Ciudad with its temple building set among huge rocks set against a stormy night sky.
Twelve of the projected images were awarded Highly Commended.
Clive presented Gill with the Constance Mundy Trophy which was very appropriate as it went to a long standing lady member of the club.
The club is very grateful to Clive and Joan for taking on the difficult job of looking through all 93 monochrome images, giving helpful comments on each one and selecting those that gained awards in the two competitions.
Thanks to Roly Barth for organising the entries, Caroline Wright for selecting the new trophies and to all those members who entered giving us a very interesting evening.
Club Chairman Steve Hardman thanked Clive and Joan very much for their efforts judging such a marathon! PM
Full results All the awarded images will be shown in the Galleries soon
|‘Architecture and Landscape’||4 December 2018|
Ian Thompson ARPS EFIAP/g was welcomed to Devizes Camera Club to present a talk on Architecture and Landscape. Ian explained that he had been an architect all his working life and when he retired, he wanted to do something different. He went walking in the Scottish Highlands and English Lakes, often getting up before dawn and taking photographs around the rising sun.
However, there came a time when he wanted to move from “technicolour sunrises”, and a series of images of the Infinity Bridge in Stockton-on-Tees marked, he said, the start of a transition back to architectural photography. He said he always wants to get some dynamism into his shots to create additional interest. His bridge photography progressed to taking ever more detail, creating abstracts of shapes, including bridge pylons and supporting wires.
He moved on to buildings, creating interest through his choice of angles and shapes, including squares, triangles, diamonds and curves, within the structure of a building. Ian likes to work handheld, usually with a 16-35mm or a tilt-shift lens, so that he can easily adjust his position to get the best composition and maintain vertical verticals. He tries to fill the frame with shapes and sometimes will endeavour to include people in the images to add some context. He also demonstrated the use of long exposures on external images which can help with cleaning up unwanted cloud reflections on glass. During his post-processing, he will often replace uninteresting skies and remove distracting elements surrounding the building.
Ian demonstrated all these techniques with many wonderful images of dramatic perspectives and sweeping curves from buildings and staircases in different countries across Europe. Always concentrating on shapes and angles, he showed us how a different position, or a different lens, can alter the perception of the same structure. He also showed us how much more dynamic night-time shots can be in places like railway stations.
Ian gave us an insight as to how he finds buildings to photograph. He scours the architectural press and e-architect.com to find lists of new buildings and buildings of different styles. He marks the location of structures in which he is interested on Google Earth and uses 3-D view and Street-view to take a closer look. Using apps such as Maps.Me he can get step-by-step offline travel instructions.
In the second half of his presentation, Ian went back to his love of landscape photography. Although he said he likes bright colours, several of the images he showed us were great in monochrome. He likes to get up in the dark to capture the full range of the sunrise and he often goes back to the same location on different days or times of the year. He illustrated this with several images of Bamburgh Castle all taken from the same place (roughly) about 20 minutes before the sun rose. Some were of dazzling sunrises while others (with no sunrise) were more muted using wave movement to create a different atmosphere.
His research of locations and planning of shoots was as detailed as it was with his architectural photography. Using software such as Theodolyte he finds the co-ordinates and bearing of suitable place and drops them into Google Earth, where he can add photos and notes. Setting “animation” in Google Earth he can scroll through time to see how the sunrise will affect the location he has chosen.
And so he took us to some of his favourite locations with wonderful images taken in various places across the UK. There was a sequence of shots taken over 20 minutes as the sun rose through the mist at Chew Valley Lake; there were misty woodland shots in places like Savernake Forest and West Woods; and there were waterfalls in the Yorkshire dales. There were also some great images taken at Derwent Water and Ullswater in the Lake District and shots taken in changing weather conditions on Harris in the Outer Hebrides where he wanted to capture the structure of the sand.
After taking some questions our Chairman concluded the evening by thanking Ian for a very entertaining talk which not only presented some “refreshingly different” architectural images, but showcased Ian’s continuing passion for landscape photography, and expressing his respect for Ian’s meticulous approach to research and planning. The audience showed their appreciation with a warm round of applause. DF
Images © Ian Thomson ARPS EFIAP/s Top: Infinity, Top right: Painted Staircase, Left: Wooden Spiral, Bottom: Last Leaves of Autumn
|Challenge 2018 - November|
|A different subject has been set for each month during 2018 to encourage members to get out their cameras and photograph something new that is perhaps outside their usual comfort zone.
Some subjects have had more uptake than others and sadly the November subject 'Black and White' did not seem to inspire that many members. However there was a limited range of subjects - a black& white half timbered building & a still life of old black and white photos - however mostly were monochromed flowers and woodlands. The most 'liked' image was a close up of the stylus on a gramophone by Tim Pier right
For the last Challenge we can get back to colour with the subject 'Red' - this can be anything you like so long as there is something red somewhere in the image.
For example for nature lovers might look out for a few birds with red on them or maybe some fungi, landscapes or townscapes can have something in them that stands out in red or maybe someone might come across a bearded gentleman in a red suit at this time of year! Anyway use your imagination and have fun trying something a bit different.
Your images can be uploaded to the Album on our DCC facebook - if you are not yet a member then apply to join as you can then keep up with members photos, comments and information. PM
|Competition 1 - Open Prints||27 November 2018|
|For the first Open Print competition of the season the judge was John Randall from Andover Photographic Club. John has been a photographer and judge for many years and has a wide range of photographic interests. He prefers to judge ‘cold’ and so only has a brief look through the prints before they are commented on individually and awards decided.
Just 45 prints entered as sadly there is a trend towards less members printing images nowadays which is a shame as they miss out on the thrill of seeing a print emerging from a printer or even opening the package of a commercially printed image! The judge said the standard of prints entered was very high and many were judged to be technically spot on which made it difficult to finally choose the awards – he commented that if he was marking with points many of the images would have been awarded a 10 out of 10!
There were some of the usual comments about distracting light spots so members please check over your images carefully as this mars the image. John said images were all about the lighting and he also liked images with good composition that drew the viewer through the image from front to back.
In the Beginners section John had only 13 images to look through so could spend time pointing out the good and poor points of each print. Six prints were held back to be looked at again and finally John chose his four prints for awards.
As a motor sports enthusiast himself John pointed out the difficulties of photographing fast moving machines and said that ‘Lap of Honour’ left by Mark Somerville was an excellent example. The correct shutter speed blurred the background and wheel spokes to give a sense of speed while showing the bike and rider in sharp focus and awarded the monochrome print first place.
Second place went to a silhouetted image of a deer against an evening sky titled ‘Deer Hunt’ by Helena Chambers.
The judge said that the photographer had done well by getting down low showing the colourful fungus up well against background trees and awarded third place to ‘Forest Fungi’ by Richard Blackbourne.
‘Bird on a Stick’ by Mark Somerville was a tongue in cheek title because judges often dismiss images of a bird sitting doing nothing and want some action but in this case the kingfisher was very well captured and gained a highly commended.
Only 12 entries in the Intermediate section with a range of colourful landscapes and wildlife subjects. Two very different images of kestrels caught the judges eye both by David Wilkinson – finally ‘Winter Arrival’ right was awarded first place. This image showed the bird almost hidden in a snowstorm which the judge found very effective as only parts of the kestrel were visible – David’s other image was awarded an HC.
In second place was a monochrome image by David Lock titled ‘Corridor’ which effectively showed interest right through the image with the interesting light on the pillars and a lamp in the far distance. Third was a letterbox shaped misty seascape by Steve McCarthy which the judge said showed good lighting and texture.
After the break the twenty Advanced prints were shown being mostly landscape and wildlife prints. Other subjects included monochrome townscapes, aerobatics, flowers and a Victorian street scene.
After picking out his favourite 10 prints John had to deliberate for some time over which 6 of them would gain an award. Finally, an image titled ‘Claire Austin Roses’ left by Pam Mullings was awarded first place. This was a very simple image of a cluster of white roses with the judge commenting on the good focus and composition.
John took some time to decide which of the two red squirrel images was second – ‘Red Squirrel on a Pine Tree’ by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP gained the award. The judge liked the rendering of the snow on the tree and the flakes of fresh snow on the squirrel. The other print was ‘Red Squirrel in Winter’ by Gill Cardy FRPS EFIAP DPAGP was awarded third place - the judge saying that it showed every hair.
Robert had 2 HC's and Gill 1 HC for their other prints.
Many thanks to John for giving his judgement and opinions on all the prints and for pointing out in some cases how they might have been improved. Thanks also to Competition Secretary Roly Barth for organising the competition and to all those members who entered. PM
See full results The awarded images can be seen in the Galleries
|Sad loss of club stalwart|
|It is with great sadness that the club were informed of the passing of Eddie Marsh who had been a member for over 20 years.
Condolances to Eddies wife Joyce and his family.
Eddie was always the first to volunteer when anything needed doing - he arrived early to set out the chairs and the equipment. Eddie made the tea and coffee for many years while we met at the Crown Centre. He and always helped setting up the exhibitions in the Museum and the displays in the Market Place.
For many years Eddie sent weekly reports to the local newspaper and kept an archive of press cuttings and photographs of the clubs activities
With his camera handy he was always around to take group photos and presentations. Even after several major operations Eddie was soon back helping where he could.
He very much enjoyed photographing the local countryside and wildlife with his slides and prints doing well in club competitions.
Finally after a stroke Eddie was unable to attend club meetings but many members remember him with great affection.
Sadly missed the funeral will be at Devizes Cemetery on 3 December at 2pm.
|‘Rewilding the UK’ and ‘Wiltshire's Wildlife Riches’||20 November 2018|
We were privileged this week to have the multi-award winning film maker and photographer, Nick Upton, visit the camera club to tell us about Rewilding the UK and Wiltshire’s Wildlife Treasures.
He introduced himself by saying that he has always been a naturalist and began his interest in photography in his teens. He likes to tell a story with his work and for many years concentrated on film making. He spent 20 years with the BBC on Wildlife projects, working alongside Sir David Attenborough on Trials for Life, and contributing to Springwatch, among other wildlife programmes.
He has also contributed many articles to organisations such as BBC Wildlife Magazine, Wiltshire Wildlife magazine and National Geographic, and picked up awards along the way, including British Wildlife Photographer of the Year and International Garden Photographer of the Year.
Nick said that he had been lucky enough to have privileged access to several important projects involved with the re-introduction of wild animals in various parts of the UK, including Cranes in Wiltshire, Water Voles and Harvest Mice in Cornwall, Beaver in Devon, and Pine Martins in Wales.
He started by talking about the Great Crane Project, which is a Europe-wide programme for cranes across Europe. He showed us images of 20,000 strong flocks of cranes over the Pyrenees and told us of his involvement with the breeding project at Slimbridge and the Somerset Levels. He explained that he likes to show human interaction with the wildlife, so there were images of volunteers (including himself) dressed as cranes guiding and feeding chicks.
Water Voles, decimated by American Mink, are being re-introduced through a captive breeding programme in North Cornwall. Nick showed us a series of images illustrating the process of re-introduction of voles and an associated project for Harvest Mice. He also told us that when capturing images of the released animals in the wild, he uses either a macro lens to capture close-ups or a wider angle lens using a close focus technique to show some context in the background. He often sets his camera up close to where he expects an animal to visit and uses a wireless remote shutter release to trigger the shot from distance. He used this technique to capture a shot of a Water Vole on a rock used as a latrine, although it took about 10 hours of waiting before the vole came and sat on the rock!
Nick has been extensively involved in a Beaver re-introduction at a secret location in South Devon. This project started naturally and it is still a mystery as to where the Beaver came from. Local residents were instrumental in ensuring that the project became official so that the animals could be monitored and in 2015 DEFRA trapped a number of beaver to give them health checks. Since then the project has gone from strength to strength and has shown how much beaver can benefit the environment, in particular through improving water management. Nick has been involved in providing a photographic record of the project from which he showed us a good sample of images. He has used a variety of approaches including using a camera converted to infra-red for night-time shots and the use of camera trap videos to view the beaver at night when gnawing trees and building dams. Sequences from these efforts have been shown on Springwatch.
The Pine Martin re-introduction started in Scotland where B&B accommodation is available specifically to show off the martins visiting feeding stations in the garden. In 2016, 60 pine martins were captured for eventual release in Wales. Nick showed us images of the process using infra-red cameras so that the animals did not get stressed. He also had some great images caught through his camera traps. Pine Martins have been shown not to harm the environment and have become popular as they hunt grey squirrels.
Clearly enthusiastic about these re-introduction projects, Nick was keen to stress how successful they had been and intimated that several further releases of these animals are planned in the coming years.
continue to 'Wiltshires Wildlife Riches' Images © Nick Upton From top - Common Cranes - Water Vole - Harvest Mouse.