|The Landscape Group Presents ...||20 February 2018|
|Dave Gray began the evening with a look back over the last eight years of the DCC Landscape Group. It all began in 2010 when the committee decided that the club would benefit from a special interest group for members with a particular interest in landscape photography.
With his interest and knowledge, Dave was ‘volunteered’ to lead the group and eight years later he is still doing a great job organising visits to scenic places. Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP is very much involved with the group and is a tremendous asset with his great knowledge of exactly the best place and time of day to get the best light and superb sunrise and sunset views.
Many local field trips have been organised and in recent years, longer, more ambitious visits further afield have been a great success. When on a trip newer members can always ask for advice from the more experienced, thus building up their own skills.
The Group also have indoor meetings once a month where they can see presentations and demonstrations and also get advice on post processing. Everyone is welcome to show their latest landscape images for comment and advice from fellow members.
Dave went on to show some of his photographs taken on group trips which brought back happy memories to many. As landscape photography is always weather dependant it is difficult to plan visits in advance so sometimes photographers have to make the best of what they get on the day. The day was dull and foggy on a visit to Salisbury but nevertheless Dave got an atmospheric image of Salisbury Cathedral in the mist but on other trips the light has been perfect for capturing the scene.
Early morning visits have been made to Stourhead to photograph the autumn colour and many local historic sites such as Avebury, Devil’s Den and Silbury Hill have visited at different times of the year resulting in some amazing images. Robert arranged for an after-hours visit to Stonehenge and some members tried astrophotography.
Robert’s knowledge of the coastal tides has resulted in members being in the best places at the best time of day to get superb images. The Brecon Beacons area has been visited several times resulting in brilliant images of the waterfalls including one visit after heavy rainfall when the rivers turned into a torrent. Corfe Castle was another popular visit with members scrambling in darkness up the hill to capture a sunrise and a visit to Dartmoor resulted in dramatic photographs of the Tors.
The first longer stay trip was to the Gower peninsular followed by a trip to Sidmouth; both areas having very photogenic views. During a visit to Cornwall a raging storm resulted in some dramatic images of the crashing waves. The most popular Group trip was to the Lake District, attended by 29 club members and partners. That was followed in subsequent years by Dartmoor and the Peak District.
Getting more adventurous a group of 10 stayed on Skye for a week, and were really lucky to have wonderful weather with clear skies. The latest trip was a few weeks ago when 19 members visited the Snowdonia area for a long weekend.
After the break Steve Hardman showed some images taken on the groups visit to Skye in March 2017. Steve knows the area well and so the shared knowledge took members to many classic viewpoints around the region which is a very popular venue for photographers. Sometimes early starts and steep climbs were involved to capture some of the amazing classic views but there were also more easily accessible scenes to photograph. Robert searched for the actual rounded boulder on Elgol Beach that is featured in photographs by Joe Cornish so members could take photographs in exactly the same spot. A detailed account of the visit to Skye and many of the more recent visits can be seen on the Landscape Group website page.
Thanks to Dave for his review of the many interesting Landscape Group trips and to Steve for showing some of the members’ images taken on the memorable visit to Skye. PM
Images: top left - Ashness Bridge by Steve Hardman, top right- Stannage Stones by Dave Gray, bottom right - Brecon Waterfall by Sue Wadman, bottom left - Elgol Beach by Robert Harvey
|'Is Photography Art?'||13 February 2018|
Colin Tracy ARPS came to Devizes Camera Club to ask “Is Photography Art? - or is it imply technique.
Introducing himself, he said he envisaged his presentation as being participatory and started by asking the audience a series of questions: What is Art? Can photography be artistic? What makes it artistic? Does image manipulation make it more or less artistic?
Contributions from the audience suggested that, to be artistic, an exhibit should provoke a reaction, should tug at ones’ emotions and should be moving in some way. However, it was pointed out that some “art”, while provoking reaction, did not otherwise affect people emotionally. Examples included Damien Hurst’s work and an exhibit of carpet offcuts at the Guggenheim in Spain. Although, judging by these outburst, there did seem to have been some emotion was involved.
Colin explained that he has been a Buddhist for about 30 years and that the disciplines imposed through meditation and contemplation have influenced his photography. He tries to be clear-minded in what he sees, looking beyond the object of focus to see things as they really are, in terms of colour, texture, movement and light.
Colin follows a contemplative path to his photography, often capturing spontaneous images as a result of a “flash of inspiration”. Many of these are abstract images that confuse the viewer’s eye as they struggle to see what they are. Colin is often reluctant to tell the story behind the image to the point of refusing to give them titles. He prefers people to react to what they see rather than the mundane explanation of the objects involved.
He showed a number of images to illustrate this issue and asked the audience “How does this image make you feel?”. Reaction to this question showed a certain amount of confusion as different perspectives were expressed from different people. This was particularly true of a monochrome image of swan’s feathers floating on water.
Other images, which Colin did expand on, included close-ups of a gnat on the surface of water in a glass tumbler and a willow leaf embedded in a frozen compost bin (right). A reflection of a tree in a stream in the New Forest (above) was intriguing for the levels of nature it presented. There was light on the orange bed of the stream, objects floating on the surface, the tree in reflection, and beyond that, the blue of the sky.
To illustrate that good art, whatever the medium, should show some profundity, he had images of a Koi Carp feeding frenzy, raindrops on a pond with an orange streak (fish?), and a reflection of a tree with a floating leaf appearing to cling to a reflected branch (left).
Colin told us about his Art Exchange project in which he and some artist friends work together and swap ideas and inspiration. They paint from his photographic images and he takes images of their work, juxtaposing them with everyday objects. He, himself, had painted from images he had taken of ponies in a snowstorm (one of his best sellers) and of Carrick Castle.
He showed some creative images, asking if creative photography is more artistic. These included an image of the Earth juxtaposed against a dandelion seed-head, half a dandelion seed-head against a bright red background and close-ups of magnolia leaves presented in a triptych.
When asked about his favorite genre, he said “Whatever catches the eye”. And he certainly showed us a wide range of different subjects, from wonderful moody landscapes and monochrome seascapes through flowers and plants to insects and pictorial images. All of these images had a quality beyond mere technical excellence and illustrated that composition and light help the presentation of an artistic image.
A further series of abstract images leading to his final photo, that of a seated Buddha, brought this fascinating presentation to a close.
The Chairman thanked Colin for sharing his insights with us and suggested that many of the audience will have been inspired to think a little differently about their photography. DF
|Warminster Camera Club Annual Print Day|
Warminster Camera Club invited 5 clubs to join them in the Annual Print Battle held on the afternoon of Saturday 10 February.
|Landscape Group trip to Snowdonia||3 - 5 February 2018|
The latest Landscape Group weekend away saw 19 members and partners head for the mountains of Snowdonia, dressed in their winter finery, based at the Royal Victoria Hotel in Llanberis. Mountain weather is always fickle, but the group found sufficient sunshine over the weekend to bring some sparkle to the photography, even if we sometimes had to go to Anglesey to find it.
Many choose various detours on the drive up from Wiltshire, some going via the Elan Valley dams, others the Mawddach Estuary near Barmouth, while some of the early arrivals headed for the ‘lonely tree’ on Llyn Padarn near Llanberis. The weather was at this stage dry and cloudy, though with just occasional shafts of sunlight to add some drama to the scene.
Saturday was forecast to rain all day, but true to the saying that mountains make their own weather, it turned out sunny on Anglesey and there was just an occasional shower on the mainland. Those heading for Anglesey visited the Twr Mawr lighthouse on the tidal island of Llanddwyn, or alternatively the South Stack lighthouse near Holyhead. On the mainland, the dull conditions suited the party who walked around the disused slate quarry at Dinorwic, and marvelled at the ‘barracks’ where quarrymen from outside the area were quartered.
Sunday was altogether different. The forecast suggested clear skies, and so a large group walked up Snowdon’s Miner’s Track before daybreak as far as Llyn Llydaw. Clouds initially covering the summits began to clear as the first cold light of day appeared. There was then a magical 10 minutes or so of quite amazing light, as the first rays of sunshine illuminated first the summit of Snowdon, and then Crib Goch, turning the snow into a kaleidoscope of orange and pink, reflecting in Llyn Llydaw.
The rest of the day was good, with visits made to Llyn Llynnau Mymbyr for the classic view to Snowdon, Llyn Ogwen and Llyn Idwal for views of Tryfan and the Glyders, the Idwal Pinnacles, and then onto Anglesey for shots of Telford’s suspension bridge at sunset, with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Some even found time to go to Conwy Castle for a crossover light shot of the castle over the estuary.
Monday morning couldn’t possibly be as good, although a large group made the steep climb to Llyn Cwmffynnon for reflections of Crib Goch and the Glyders in the still water of the lake. It was then time to head back to the hotel for breakfast before driving home.
This being February, we also had a full itinerary for the long evenings.
Friday saw presentations from Robert Harvey and Richard Watson on the local area, and also from Josh Cooper who lives on the southern edge of the National Park.
Then on Saturday, we had another of Robert’s inimitable quizzes, including the feared but hilarious Just-A-Minute round.
All in all, this was another very successful trip which was enjoyed by all. Our thanks go especially to Robert and Richard for organising the whole trip, booking the hotel, managing payments and offering their guiding services for photographic vantage points. DG
Images © Dave Gray Top: Snowdon Group from Llyn Llynnau Mymbyr, Right: Dinorwic Quarry, Bottom: Golden Light on Snowdon and Crib Goch
|Competition 3 Projected Images - Portraits||6 February 2018|
Club Chairman Richard Watson welcomed Beryl Heaton ARPS EFIAP CPAGB who judged the competition and was visiting Devizes CC for the first time. This was the first time the club had a competition for portraits for many years so it was interesting to see what images members would enter. Although not a huge number of members entered - each competition section managed to have some excellent images.
|Light on the Wiltshire Landscape||30 January 2018|
This week we welcomed Stephen Davis to the Devizes Camera Club to hear his talk entitled Light on the Wiltshire Landscape. Stephen had travelled right across Devizes to share his photographic love affair with the Wiltshire countryside, especially that within easy reach of a curtain twitch on a day with enticing light.
He told us that he moved to this area about 20 years ago and joined Wiltshire Wildlife Trust about 6 years ago. He has always been a naturalist and enjoys exploring meadows and woodland in search of landscapes, wild flowers, trees and butterflies. He said he likes making prints and tries to envisage the finished output at the time of planning and taking his images. Stephen explained that his presentation would follow the year from January to December and that the majority of the images were taken in the Pewsey and Marlborough Downs area.
True to his word, his first images were of Avebury Stone Circle in the January frost with dramatic skies. (left)
He followed this up with some snow scenes taken in Savernake Forest in 2013. He stated that we don’t often get a good amount of snow these days and advised us to get out quickly when snow does settle as it is likely to have melted by lunchtime!
Martinsell is one of his favourite spots when there is mist in the Vale. He showed us several excellent images and explained that he often likes to take this sort of landscape image with his 70-300 lens because different zoom lengths can provide a completely different feel to the same scene. Other images from February and March included Starling murmurations at Lavington vedette and Silbury Hill with a fabulous dawn sky.
In April, Stephen was in the Pewsey Vale with an image of Woodborough Hill. He confided that the field around the clump of trees was a haven for Green Winged Orchids in the first two weeks of May. He showed us several images of Fritillaries taken at Clattinger Farm, explaining that he liked to have just one flower in sharp focus with the rest, in front and behind in soft focus. He also had images of Marsh Marigolds, taken at Drew’s Pond, Bluebells at Gophers Wood and West Wood, and Wild Garlic taken near Castle Coombe.
For June and July he had several images of wild flower meadows, especially extolling the virtues of Clattinger Farm meadows as some of the best in the country. In August, a time that he regards as the worst of the year for photography, he had a lovely image of stooks of corn (left) and returned to Martinsell to take some more misty images at 300mm. In September, he headed for Caen Locks shortly before the equinox, to capture golden light in the mist at the bottom of the flight.(right)
For October, he had a wonderful sunrise image taken through some trees across the road from Silbury Hill. Then there were a series of lovely compositions with autumn colours taken in Savernake Forest. He showed us a wonderful sunrise image taken at Langford Lakes and by December we were back in the Pewsey Vale with some original shots taken from the Pewsey Downs between Oare and Walkers Hill. Stephen ended his talk back where he started with some more stunning images with dramatic skies taken at Avebury.
During the break we had an opportunity to take a closer look at many of the images he had presented displayed as prints.
After the break, Stephen showed us samples from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s book, entitled Wild Wiltshire, on which he and 12 other photographers had collaborated. Some of the memorable shots, amongst a range of stunning images, included a Sparrowhawk, taken from the photographer’s kitchen window; Pewsey Vale in the snow, taken from Walker’s Hill; a fiery Firecrest; Waxwings taken in a car park in Wroughton; and swans, deer and otters taken at Lower Moor Farm.
A lively ‘question and answer’ session followed Stephen’s presentation during which it was clear that the audience had been inspired by Stephen’s images. When asked where is favourite location was, Stephen tactfully said that different places gave him different pleasures. His list of favourites WWT reserves included Clattinger and Lower Mill Farms, Jones Mill, Morgan’s Hill, Coombe Bisset Down, Ham Hill and Conigre Mead.
The Chairman thanked Stephen for an inspiring evening and the audience backed that up with a warm round of applause.DF
|GB Cup Results 2018|
Devizes CC entered the 2018 GB Cup Open and Nature Projected Image competitions. These competitions are held annually by the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain who organise photographic events for photographic Clubs in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.
|Landscape Print & Projected Image Competitions 2018||23 January 2018|
The judge for the 2018 Annual Landscape Competitions was John Tilsley ARPS DPAGB APAGB who travelled from Dorchester. John is a very experienced judge and is himself a very competent landscape photographer and when he saw the glorious sunrises and sunsets depicted in many of the entries he quipped that it usually rains whenever he goes to photograph landscapes!
|Photographic Competition that members might be interested in|
|Oxford Brookes University 'Think Human' Photography Competition.
Photographers of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels are invited to enter their best images for a chance to win, and entry to the competition is free.
The competition is now open for entries and runs until 31st March 2018.
The four themes are: , , or
|'The Secret Forest'||16 January 2018|
There was a very good turnout at the Camera Club to welcome Betty and Tony Rackham (both FRPS) for their presentation entitled The Secret Forest. During the club’s introduction it was mentioned that both Tony and Betty had been photographers most of their lives, starting out on a Box Brownie.
Betty started by saying that both she and Tony had been brought up in the New Forest, had been to school there and ended up lecturing at Brockenhurst College, where Tony became Head of Technology and Betty Head of Photography.
She gave us a potted history of the Forest’s existence, explaining the various influences that had made it what it is today. From Saxon times, when it was just common land; through William the Conqueror, who enclosed it as a hunting forest; its use as a resource for timber in the middle ages; and the re-establishment of common rights in the 19th century.
Betty explained that she and Tony would take it in turns to show various habitats in the New Forest and give us a close-up view of flora and fauna that most people would miss. She started with Ponds and said that, while you can see some unusual plants in these habitats, some are wild and others have been introduced and cultivated. We saw images of Royal Fern, which has clearly been planted on the edge of some ponds as ornamental features, but has also managed to establish itself in other areas as a wild plant. She said that white water-lilies are usually wild, but pink ones will have been introduced. She showed us close-up images of unusual and, in some cases, rare plants, including Burr Reed, Water Horsetail, Lesser Spearwort, Frog-bit, Bog Pimpernel and Pillwort.
Tony took over to talk about Streams and Rivers and Boggy Areas. He started with an image of baby Pond Skaters, followed by one of a forest of red Damsel Flies mating above a section of water weed. He then went on to say that many plants in these wet areas are insect eating because of the poor quality of the soil. He illustrated this with a series of images of various Sundews, including the English Sundew, which is larger than other sundews and, other than the New Forest, is more normally found in Scotland. Also Bladderwort, which catches organisms under water and Common Butterwort, which normally grows on mountains and whose leaves fold over insects that land on them.
There was a series of images of Gentians which, he said, flower in profusion some years and do not appear in others. Studies have suggested that the plants are there each year but do not always flower. Tony then presented an image showing that Brown Moth Caterpillars like to eat the buds and wondered whether this might be an explanation.
As the first half drew to a close, it had become clear that some plants that grow in the New Forest are not found anywhere else in England. This was again illustrated by Tony with an image of Club Moss which is rare and normally grows in mountains such as the Alps.
Betty began the second half talking about Plantations and Ancient Ornamental Woodland. She explained that, over many years conifers had been planted in stands amongst the ancient deciduous trees, but that this practice is being scaled back. She showed us some lovely images of woodland in autumn, together with pictures of coppiced Alder, Chestnuts, Crab Apples, ferns in the frost and flowering gorse covered in snow.
She also had shots of lichen in the autumn and a whole series of different fungi. Betty lamented the fact that many people come into the Forest and pick large numbers of fungi, perhaps to be used in the restaurant trade. She expressed her concern that this could prevent plants from reproducing and lead to a serious reduction in numbers and even extinction of some species.
Tony took over to talk about Heath and Lawns. He explains that some of the heathland had been cleared of undergrowth to provide Lawns of grass for the ponies and donkeys to graze on. In some areas the heather is beginning to re-establish itself. In these habitats we saw images, not only of pony and donkeys, but also various species of deer and reptiles. He was keen to tell us that 10% of adders in the New Forest are black adders.
Tony likes to take images of the Forest floor in close-up - what he calls “Fragments of Nature”. He shared some of these, including Nail Fungus, Heather florets and a lichen that presents tiny red fruiting bodies in winter.
During questions at the end, they were asked whether they have seen evidence of widely publicised plant diseases such as Ash dieback. Tony answered that, while some evidence can be seen from time to time, the plants usually recover well and the problem is not wide-spread anyway. Betty suggested that the biggest danger to the well-being of the Forest is the number of people that visit and their behaviour.
During the evening, it was clear that both Tony and Betty have a passion for the New Forest and their enthusiasm and knowledge made this a very entertaining evening. The audience showed their appreciation with a warm round of applause and, as they were leaving, could be heard discussing the excellent prints that had been displayed. DF
|'Oh Yeah!'||9 January 2018|
Club members who have seen Robin Gregory’s presentations before knew that they were in for a very entertaining evening. Like no other photographer both Robin’s images and his chat are really something different.
Robin uses miniature figures to great effect – posing them in various situations, taking photos from many angles often using a tilt lens effect and then adding backgrounds and effects. Another prop Robin often uses is a doll that he bought second-hand for £10 – she has ragged red hair and is posed clothed and sometimes unclothed in improbable situations – her face often altered using warping techniques to give odd expressions but the results are amazing.
Robin photographs all sorts of rather strange subjects with a view that they may be useful one day to include in an image. ‘The present Mrs. Gregory’ has a lot to put up with as she is often asked to pose in rather odd situations and to make her scream Robin deliberately put a Lego brick for her to tread on resulting in the agonised facial shot he wanted!
A photo of a models face or body can be digitally manipulated, objects and backgrounds added until he is happy with the result. Extreme digital noise is often added to give portraits a dreamy quality. Robin said always check the direction of the light and the colour tones when using multiple images together – the result should look seamless.
Robin demonstrated some of his tips and tricks and in some cases AV’s showed step by step the processes he went through to create some of his images.
Music is a great influence and whisky also helps a bit with the creative process! We were treated to music of various genres when Robin’s showed some of his clever AV’s – often a very simple idea such as his matchsticks but with amusing results.
Street photography is another interest and Robin has the knack of finding interesting subjects both human and architectural in all sorts of odd places that others would miss. Often building would appear in completely different surroundings such as the telephone box on top of a hill, a church taking off like a rocket and a rhino grazing in a Bath street
Robin has won many acceptances and awards in Salons for his unusual images. He says judges often do not understand or miss the point in his images but he just laughs to himself as he creates the images for his own pleasure so what others feel does not really matter.
Thanks once again Robin for giving us a thoroughly hilarious and thought provoking evening in your very own inimitable style. PM
Images © Robin Gregory Left: 'In and then Out' right: 'Eve'
|Projected Image League-results||9 January2018|
Competition Secretary Caroline Wright has done all the calculations for last weeks Projected Image League Competition and Richard Watson LRPS read out the results at the meeting.
|Projected Image League||2 January 2018|
Club Chairman Richard Watson LRPS welcomed members back after the Christmas break. It was a shame less members than usual were present but maybe the wet and windy weather was to blame or some may still have been getting over the New Year or maybe just forgot it was a Tuesday but anyway they missed seeing some excellent images.
|Salon Results for 2017|
Congratulations to Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP for retaining the Ryder Rathband trophy for the forth year in a row.
The Trophy is presented annually to the club member who gains the most acceptances in Salons.
Since the last Salon update Robert has been awarded a PSA Ribbon for his image 'Monkey Orchid' (right) in the Nature section of the Smethwick International Salon. The Monkey Orchid is a very rare in the UK and is unusual in that the flowering spike opens from the top.
Robert was awarded an NCPF ribbon for 'Snow Moon, Oks Fjord' (left) in the Northern Counties International Salon Photo Travel section.
Robert has recently gained 23 acceptances in the Greek Olympic Circuit and 4 acceptances in the Yorkshire International. During the year Robert has been awarded a total of 94 acceptances in Nature, Travel and Open categories.
During 2017 Richard Atkinson AFIAP has 27 acceptances and Kevin Ferris LRPS, Hilary Eagles and Gill Cardy FRPS EFIAP DPAGB have all gained acceptances during the year. Very well done to all.
Thanks to Richard for compiling all the results. There is more information about how to enter Salons on the website see Salons
Full results for 2017 pdf.
Look out for Challenge 2018 - a different subject each month to inspire you to go out and find something new to photograph during the month.
In 2016 the club ran a weekly ‘challenge’ which many members enjoyed and produced many interesting images that they might otherwise not have taken.
We invite constructive criticism and you can ‘like’ your favourites. The top 3 most ‘liked’ mages by members will be shown on the club website and the winner might like to choose the next subject.
|Christmas Knock-out Competition 19 December 2017|
The last meeting of 2017 was the Christmas knock-out – a light hearted competition where the images entered are knocked out one by one until just the winner is left.
Monochrome Print and Creative PI Competitions
|12 December 2017|
The judge for the two competitions was Tony Byram EFIAP ARPS AWPF DPAGB who travelled to Devizes from Bristol on a very cold evening.
It was an evening of contrasting images with the monochrome prints tending to be more traditional and the creative digital images more imaginative.
Commenting generally on the monochrome prints Tony said that he looks for a wide range of tones with a good contrast but some of the prints entered appeared rather all over grey.
There should be detail in the darkest areas and a good balance of light and shade. A few prints looked rather dark and lacked ‘sparkle’ Tony commented but however other prints were praised for their sharpness and good range of tones.
There was a good entry of monochrome prints from members for the judge to give his comments on. Subjects ranged from moody landscapes and interesting architecture to sport, portraits, street scenes and many more interesting ideas that worked particularly well in monochrome.
A sepia toned portrait of a bearded man (left) by Pam Mullings particularly appealed to the judge who commented on the detail and the presentation awarding ‘Randolf’ first place. Another print by Pam – this time in black and white of a white rhino titled ‘Endangered’ (right) was in second place.
‘Talisker Bay’ - a seascape by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP was in third place.
Eight prints were awarded Highly Commended including 2 from Kyra Wilson – see the full list below.
Altogether different were the imaginative projected images in the Creative Competition. The club would have liked a few more entries but many of the club’s newer members seemed reluctant to try their hand at something a bit different.
Creative can be an image taken in camera or an image altered or combined with others using editing software. Again a range of interpretations were entered – some double exposures taken in camera, some images altered using software effects and others combined images to give sometimes amusing and improbable results.
An image by Pam titled ‘That Sinking Feeling’ (left) was an altered reality image of a red-headed lady sinking into a muddy hole and coming face to face with a frog! The judge liked the odd combination and awarded the image first place.
Close behind was an amusing image by Robert titled ‘To Business, Gentlemen’ (right) with penguins made to look like city gents and was awarded second place. In third place was another brilliant idea by Kyra Wilson ‘Pop up Little Owl’ with the bird appearing to pop out of a print.
Hopefully those that entered had fun thinking up new ideas and more might enter next year.
The Syd Holley ‘Pencil of Nature’ Trophy for a monochrome print and the ‘Demiurgic Trophy’ for a creative projected image were both presented to Pam Mullings by the judge Tony Byram.
Congratulations to all who gained awards and especially to the new members who entered.
Thanks to Tony for judging two such contrasting competitions and for giving such helpful comments on each one.
Full results The awarded images can be seen in the Galleries
|'A Bug's Life'||5 December 2017|
On Tuesday evening, we welcomed back Johnnie Rogers ARPS DPAGB AWPF AFIAP to Devizes Camera Club for his presentation showcasing macro photographs of insects taken, mostly, in South Wales.
Johnnie started by showing us some of the equipment he has used in pursuit of his macro images. Firstly, he had a Nikon APS-C camera fitted with a 400mm F4 lens and extender, mounted on a monopod with a gimbal head. While this is an excellent combination, he explained that he finds it too heavy and cumbersome to carry around all day. So, he started using cameras with smaller sensors and sang the praises of one with a 13x9 mm sensor to which he can attach a 200-800mm equivalent lens, extension tube and a flash and which is small enough and light enough to carry in a shoulder bag without discomfort. Not only is this a much lighter combination, he claimed, but can provide better results. “Mirrorless cameras are the future” he announced.
Johnnie explained that he doesn’t travel too far for his macro photography, preferring to spend time in his local Gwent Levels or in the gardens of National Trust properties with their large array of insect attracting flowers. He tends to go to the same patch most days, walking his dog, Benson, who he credited with much of his success. The dog has become an expert at flushing out insects onto grass stems and leaf litter for the ever watchful Johnnie to photograph.
He then showed us a large array of fabulous close-up images of insects, including an Alder Fly guarding its eggs, St Mark’s Flies mating and a Bee Fly. He marvelled at the green fluorescence on the body of a Green Sawfly and described a Scorpion Fly as the clown of the insect world.(right)
He showed us a Hover Fly impaled on marsh grass and a Yellow Dung Fly suffering from a form of fungus.
Johnnie spent a moment describing a number of good Macro Focusing Rings that could be bought quite cheaply before showing us images of insects that he taken with such equipment. A Speckled Bush Cricket taken with a 90mm Tamron lens and extension tube, fitted with a Ring Flash; a Snip Fly so close that it showed golden flecks on its abdomen that are not visible to the naked eye. We also saw Early Bumble bees mating and a 10mm White Crab Spider spread across the screen in close-up and a tiny Mint Moth with its beautifully coloured 18mm wingspan.
He showed us night time shots of a red False Widow Spider and a Tube Web Spider, the two most venomous spiders in the UK. Having regaled us with horror stories of how people have suffered from their bites, he gaily stated that they were both very common in everyone’s gardens, sheds and garages!
In the second half of his presentation, Johnnie started with images of butterflies and moths. He explained that he never uses traps or nets or bait to obtain his shots, preferring to find the insects in their natural habitat. He said he usually sets ISO to automatic although he doesn’t want to go above 800 on his DSLR and on smaller sensor cameras his limit would be 400.
Among the memorable images we were treated to in this section were a Green-Veined White on a dandelion seed head,(above left) a Ringlet enjoying sunlight after rain, a Common Blue on buttercups, and a White Ermine Moth with its fluffy crown.
Johnnie talked about the need to keep all of the insect in focus and sharp from wingtip to wingtip and with the background out of focus. Although he did admit that, for personal consumption, he had several images with cluttered backgrounds that he liked but judges wouldn’t. An example of this was an image of a Migrant Hawker Moth on blackberries. However, the majority of his images did have beautifully diffuse and uncluttered backgrounds.
His final section covered Damsels and Dragons and showed excellent images including Broad-Bodied Chasers, Blue-Tailed Damselflies with water lice attached, newly emerged damsel flies with shimmering wings, and darters in mating rings.
He told us that the Red Damselfly (right) is always the first to appear and that he has found Hairy Dragonflies in the same clump of reeds every year. He also had a wonderful of image of Pond Skaters showing the depressions in the water made by their feet. (left)
He rounded off an extremely entertaining evening by saying that, in order to obtain good images of insects, you need to get to know your location well and keep going back time and again. Get to know what insects will be around at what time of year and in what weather conditions. And he acknowledged the help he gets from his dog, Benson.
Following a number of questions from the audience, the chairman thanked Johnnie for a great presentation and led a warm round of applause. I would add that it is well worth visiting Johnnie’s website at johnnierogerbsphotography.com to view his wonderful images. DF
|Open Print Competition 1||28 November 2017|
Terry Walters from Swindon Photographic society was the judge for the club's first Open Print competition of the season. Terry who has visited the club on many previous occasions began the evening by saying he might be considered to be a tough judge but he always tries to give members advice about their entries rather than just saying ‘a nice image’ and passing on.
|'Dance, Portraiture and Urban Exploration’||21 November 2017|
Derwood Pamphilon ARPS DPAGB EFIAP visited the club for the first time with subjects that were new to most of our members. The dance images were striking photographs of ballet dancers cleverly caught in mid-leap or in beautiful graceful poses. Some of the dancers were professionals from top ballet companies such as the Bolshoi and British dance companies and others were talented ballet school students.
Derwood explained how he has developed his techniques for studio photography after being given some equipment just before he retired. He set up a small studio in his home but now rents studio space and locations.
Getting the lighting right is essential – flash is used to freeze the moment and set up to best show the muscular definition of the models. With each leap there is only one chance to get just the effect required so timing is crucial. Manual focus is used and the camera set on a low tripod for best effect. Experimenting with shutter speed can give a deliberate blur to give the impression of movement, intermittent flash or continuous lighting can also result in interesting images.
Dancers can be creative and set up interesting poses, use props or even throw up dust to create interesting images.
The dancers are usually photographed against a white or black background and Derwood then likes on occasions to experiment with Photoshop textures and filters to give the final images a more painterly look and create something a bit different. The figures can sometimes be cut out and cleverly placed against other backgrounds.
Permission is sometimes given to photograph the dancers on stage as they rehearse or pose for publicity images but then the stage lighting set up has to be used which often causes difficulties.
We were often shown both a colour and monochrome versions of the same image to see which worked best.
Some very interesting shots were shown of the flaking paint and decay taken in some interesting old derelict buildings. Corners of an old mill, a chapel and even a swimming pool were all on occasions also used as locations for art nude photographs. Care must be taken as often the buildings are in a very poor state prior to demolition. Models used in such locations must be prepared to pose on dirty floors in draughty dangerous buildings so warn any models and take great care if you attempt anything similar!!
Models were shown posing in public outdoor locations – the shots have to be taken very early in the morning so passers-by do not get an unexpected shock!
Some models were photographed posing against rocks and jumping on top of cliffs on the Isle of Skye which - by the way was recently visited by club members but there were no nude models to be seen then!
Derwood is a members of Bristol Photographic Society and has achieved a great deal of success with his images in competitions and international salons.
Thanks to Derwood for a very interesting presentation of his stunning images and his hints and tips about studio and location photography. PM
|Calne Multi-Club Annual Digital Battle||20 November 2017|
Ten local camera clubs were invited to take part in the Calne Digital battle. The judge for the evening was Ralph Snook ARPS DPAGB EFIAPwho very ably commented and gave his judgement on the 70 images.
|Throw Away the Tripod'||14 November 2017|
“Throw Away the Tripod” was the title of Tuesday evenings presentation by Bob Ryan ARPS FRSA and Alison Price ARPS FRSA. Bob apologised for the fact that his wife, Alison, was unable to attend as work and home commitments had prevented her from coming. In preamble to his talk he said that on their many travels around the world they found that their tripods were often lugged around without ever getting used.
We would like to thank both Rob and Alison for their insights and images.DF
|'An Evening with Charlie Waite'||11 November 2017|
Around 250 people converged on the Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford on Avon to see world renowned Landscape photographer Charlie Waite speak about his photographic passion. They were not disappointed, as Charlie explained his philosophy, and how this had been inspired by some of the greats of photography such as Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Images taken at the event by Sue Wadman of Charlie Waite and club Chairman Richard Watson
|Competition 2 Open Projected Images - results||7 November 2017|
There were 84 entries for Peter McCloskey FRPS AFIAP to judge and comment upon in this second Open Projected Image competition of the season.
|Members’ Speed Critique||31 October 2017|
|Critique evenings give members the chance to get feedback on their images from fellow members.
Members can voluteer to bring along a selection of their images for comment before possibly entering them for competitions. By looking carefully at the images either as prints or projected images members can discuss whether some minor changes might improve the image or give some other suggestions if needed. Sometimes some cropping or increased contrast can make a lot of difference. Competition judges tend to notice any distracting areas that mar an otherwise award winning image so by removing light spots, straightening horizons or other slight tweaks gives the image a better chance of an award.
Getting together to discuss images is a great way to learn more about your fellow members and new members can get to know the more experienced photographers and vice versa.
Photographers usually have their own personal favourite subjects so it is interesting to see what others enjoy. Amongst the images shown tonight there were many very well photographed landscapes and seascapes with amazing skies and colourful autumn scenes. Nature was another popular subject as well as motor sport, portraits together with some interesting cityscapes and nightscenes.
One of the clubs newest members Steve Burgess brought along a range of his prints with some remarkable macro images of insects, well photographed New York skyscrapers and some interesting portraits.
David Eagle who is also a new member showed a delightful range of subjects including some impressive monochrome landscapes, seascapes taken at Meadfoot Bay, Torquay and some stunning autumn scenes.
A monochrome image of an abandoned old tractor by Mark Somerville should do well in competitions as well as several of his interesting images of motorbikes and cars.
Brian Appleby showed members his colourful landscapes taken in New Zealand as well as some close ups of insects and other subjects. Members were impressed by Roly Barth’s stunning kingfisher images as well as some glorious sunset scenes and photos of dogs as well.
A visit to South Africa gave Lynda Croft the chance to take photos of the interesting wildlife as well as some of the people she encountered. Peter Tasker had been to a safari park to take photos of a range of mammals including an impressive tiger and he showed members some of his images of raptors and owls taken on a photographic day.
Craig Purvis had braved the recent storm to photograph the huge waves at Porthcawl, took some attractive images on a recent visit to Scotland and also a portrait which should do well in the forthcoming portrait competition.
Thanks to all those who shared their images - the high standard of photography bodes well for the future of the club. A very interesting and enjoyable evening for all. PM
Photos of the members discussing the images taken by Club Chairman - Richard Watson LRPS
|‘Visions of America'||24 October 2017|
Members enjoyed a very entertaining evening given by Tony Gervis FRPS in which he showed 450 of his images taken in the US over the last 25 years. Tony has visited all of the National Parks at least twice and very much enjoys photographing the stunning scenery and meeting the friendly people.
Tony travels in a campervan so that he can park up wherever he wants and explore the less well known areas. He explained how it is best to be up before dawn and wait for just the right moment when the sun to lights up the rocks giving him his ideal photo.
Tony often revisits sites where he took his first photos using a Hasselblad film camera and showed some of those early images compared to the digital camera used today.
Hanging over a 1,000 ft. drop Tony showed us his spectacular images of Horseshoe Bend. (right)
Photographs of Bryce Canyon and Yellowstone Park in snow, rock formations in Monument Valley and Arches National Park and the stunning colours of the Wave on the Colorado Plateau and Antelope Canyon.
We saw images of the unbelievable rock formations in Goblin Valley (left) as well as many other locations.
Tony takes dramatic photographs at the rodeos as the tough cowboys try to stay on their bucking horses often taking spectacular tumbles or they wrestle with steers with often painful consequences. To get his action images Tony says he has learnt to anticipate just when to click the shutter to capture the action and prefers not to use the camera’s motor drive.
There were some atmospheric images taken on a Wyoming ranch as the cowboys rounded up the horses throwing up dust in the early morning light.(right)
Often experimenting with different in camera techniques such as infra-red, panoramas and images taken with a fish eye lens. Tony compared his image of flowing water taken with a slow shutter speed giving a milky effect to the image showing every detail of the water droplets using a fast speed and combining multiple images. Several images were of long exposures showing silhouetted rock formations and star trails. Another subject he explored was desert cacti taken with dramatic storm lightning.
Tony told us many amusing tales of his adventures while travelling across the states. A less amusing tale at the time he recalled that whilst visiting Alaska to photograph the bears as they feasted on the spawning salmon, Tony’s motorhome slipped underwater in the river leaving him stranded with just the clothes he stood up in!
Tony passed on some advice given to him from another photographer ‘If there is nothing to take then take a photograph anyway’ Using this adage Tony showed several successful images he had taken of subjects that nobody else would usually think worth taking. Perhaps give this a try sometime!
Thanks Tony for your very professional and amusing presentation and for showing us a glimpse of the spectacular scenery to be found in the US National Parks. PM
|Nature Print and Projected Image results||17 October 2017|
The competition for Nature prints and projected images was judged by Penny Pinnock DPAGB AFIAP who is herself a renowned nature photographer specialising mostly in underwater images. Penny said that she had very much enjoyed looking at the clubs entries and that she felt that all the images were of a high standard so it was very difficult to choose which ones to give the awards.
|Landscape Photographer of the Year competition|
Congratulations to Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP who has recieved the good news that his image 'Knowlton Church and earthworks, Dorset' is one of those commended in the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year Competition.
|Congratulations to Gill Cardy|
In the recent competition run by the Royal Photographic Society an image by Gill Cardy FRPS DPAGB EFIAP has been proclaimed the winner.
Gill has the honour of her image of a Great Grey Owl sitting in Snow appearing on the 2018 RPS Membership Card.
The image was one of the 21 images shortlisted from all the images entered and then gained the most votes from RPS members and the public.
Two other images entered in the competition will also be used for the membership cards but I am very pleased to see that Gill's image gained the most votes.
Congratulations Gill for winning this very prestigious competition.
Many thanks to DCC members who voted. The winning images can be seen on the RPS website
|'Confessions of a Failed Five Second Flasher’||10 October 2017|
Bob Train LRPS CPAGB was welcomed on his first visit to the club. He is a member of Gloucester Camera Club and is also a judge of photographic competitions.
|Latest Salon Successes|
|Congratulations to Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP for his award from the Northern Counties International Salon. Robert was awarded an NCPF Ribbon for his PDI titled 'Snow Moon, Oks Fjord' The image was one of many taken by Robert in the arctic areas of Norway in February 2017.
Robert also recently had 5 acceptances from his entries in the Narova Salon, Slovenia and 3 from the Welsh International Salon including 'Sparrowhawk with Prey'
These impressive results put Robert well in the lead for the Ryder Rathband Trophy with 66 points.
Entering Salons gives members a chance to let a wider audience see their images and gives a comparison with not only other photographers in this country but those from across the world. Entering and seeing the work of other photographers will broaden your horizon and give you stimulating ideas of how to progress your photography.
If images are accepted in FIAP supported Salons then a photographer can gain an internationally recognised accreditation.
The first level of accreditation AFIAP is within the reach of many of our members and recognises you as a competent photographer.
More information regarding Salons can be found on our website.
If members are interested in showing their images to a wider audience then please get in touch with Richard Atkinson AFIAP for advice and support.
|Results of the vote for the Favourite Print|
|Our 2017 Biennial Print Exhibition closed yesterday, Sunday 8th October. Feedback from the Museum was that it was an excellent exhibition which generated a lot of interest from members of the public.
As part of the public’s experience, we asked them to nominate their favourite picture, which may or may not be in accordance with the choice of our official judge. 83 votes were cast, and I think the first notable fact is that no less than 35 out of 59 images in the exhibition was at least someone’s favourite.
The print gaining the most votes was 'Synchronsed Landing' by Richard Atkinson AFIAP.(shown left)
In second place was 'Bank Vole' by Kyra Wilson and tied in 3rd place were 'First Run Of The Day' by Caroline Wright and 'Woodborough Hill Frosty Morning' by David Fraser.
Other favourites were - 'New Day At Work' by Lynda Croft, 'Village Stream' and 'Moonrise Glencoe' by Craig Purvis, 'Scorpion Fly' by Richard Atkinson, 'Little Owl' by Kyra Wilson, 'Stannage Millstones' by Dave Gray, 'Three Galaxies' by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP and 'Who Let the Dog's Out? by Pam Mullings
Many other prints received one or two votes so it showed the wide range of subjects that were the favoutites with the public.
We hope all those that visited the exhibition enjoyed looking at the very high standard members prints.
Thanks to all the club members who organised and set up the exhibition and mant thanks to the Wiltshire Heritage Museum staff for all their help.PM
|A Professional’s Approach to Outdoor Photography||3 October 2017|
There was a great turn out to welcome Guy Edwards BA (Hons) Photography to Devizes Camera Club to see his presentation - and what a presentation it was!
Guy started by saying that most of his photography these days is done during his many workshops that he conducts around the world. Indeed his presentation contained images from Costa Rica to New Zealand, from Namibia to Iceland, from Scotland to Slovenia and many countries in between. He also gave us many insights to the techniques he uses when planning, setting up and making his images.
The first half of his presentation was on wildlife and nature and we started in Costa Rica, where he explained that, because of the low light in the rain forest, he has to use ISO settings as high as 6400 with wide apertures to obtain good shots. The important thing, he said, was to ensure that the eyes of subjects were sharp. A series of exquisite shots of various frogs, hummingbirds, parrots, macaws and bats showed what he meant. He said that many of his hummingbird images had been set up with flower petals sprayed with sugar-water to attract the birds in front of artificial backdrops of blurred leaf-scapes. He also used shots of macaws coming in to land to show that getting down low to the ground and shooting up with dark trees in the background gives a much more dramatic image.
On to Canada and a series of stunning images of snowy owls. Guy showed us how the use of a long lens and misty conditions can help to reduce the impact of background trees and hedgerows to a suggestion of context. In Botswana, Guy explained that fewer tourist vehicles around enabled him to spend more time photographing individual animals. He showed us several images of a leopard with which he spent over an hour. There were also images of Pied Kingfisher, Bee-eaters, Squacco herons, African Fish Eagle and young baboons. He also explained his technique for adding movement and reducing background clutter by using a slower shutter speed (less than a second) and panning while an animal is running. He demonstrated this with shots of a Leopard, a Lion and an Impala. He said that the success rate for good images was much slower because of the difficulty of keeping the focus on the animals eyes. At this point he told us that, when editing the 25,000 shots he has taken on a weeks safari, he takes the view that if an image doesn’t look good as a thumbnail, it gets deleted!
Other images included a sequence of Orca hunting moulting Eider ducks off Shetland and of Barn Owls flying over wild flower meadows at the Hawk Conservancy. Guy also showed images of Blue Tits taken on his new workshop in Slovenia where he has set up a camera trap with flash lights and infra-red beams to trigger the shutter as the bird flies round obstacles. He also showed Puffins, Gannets and Razorbills taken in County Wexford on the Irish coast.
Another highlight of this part of his presentation was a series of images of Dalmation Pelicans at Lake Kerkiri in Greece. Guy explained that, in one part of the lake, these large birds have got used to being fed by local fishermen. As a result they are tolerant of humans and will approach quite closely making photography a more satisfying experience. It is well worth checking out his blog of these workshops on his website.
Guy talked about how he spends time setting up shots of Flora and Fungi. Using a long lens, a wide aperture and a floor level angle, he selects his composition to provide soft focused foregrounds and diffused backgrounds. He then ensures that the background is as uncluttered as possible, spreading autumn leaves around to give a consistent of colour. Next he considers the use of LED bulbs, reflectors and mirrors to enhance the lighting on his subject. And then he will experiment with different lenses and angles to achieve different effects.
After a mid-presentation break to assimilate the superb images we had already seen, Guy started the second half of his presentation, on Landscapes, in his native Dorset. He said he loves going back to places he likes, looking for different vantage points, using different lenses and making use of different light. He especially enjoys misty conditions and tends to use his 100-400 mm lens quite often.
He showed us images of Colmer’s Hill near Bridport at different times of day, in different seasons and light. There were also images of Corfe Castle, Wimbourne Chase and Kimmeridge Bay. An image of Durdle Door and the bay taken with a fish-eye lens particularly caught the eye.
Guy presented images of heather and mist in the New Forest, coastlines and lighthouses in Cornwall, castles in Northumberland and stars scapes and Northern Lights at Sycamore Gap at Hadrian’s Wall. He talked about getting down to ground level to maintain symmetry in reflection images, as illustrated in a shot of Alnwick Castle. He also explained how he had blended several 30 second shots taken with different filters to bring out the best dynamic range in an image of Dunstanburgh Castle.
Amongst his images of Scotland were the Old Man of Storr, the Fairy Pools at Glen Brittle and Talisker Bay on the Isle of Skye, the coastline on the Isle of Lewis and sand dunes on Harris. Guy used images of sea stacks in Shetland to show how to read the histogram in Live View for optimum exposures.
Then on to colder climes with images taken in Finland of rime ice on trees, and pancake ice on a lake. He explained that pancake ice is formed when running water from a river enters a colder bay and swirls to form circular, pancake-like blocks of ice. And eventually we came to what he said was his favourite landscape location - Slovenia. He had images of canyons and mountains with misty recessions, and lots of little churches on hilltops. And he finished with a superb image of Lake Bled.
From Iceland he showed us images of sea stacks and waterfalls, which he said were better taken with a longer lens. We also saw, ice patterns with northern light in the background, images in ice caves under a glacier, and icebergs on a beach of black sand.
Our Chairman led the applause in thanks for a fantastic evening of magnificent images, presented knowledgeably with plenty of hints and tips for us all to think about when next we are out with our cameras. DF
Images © Guy Edwardes Top: Outer Hebrides Left: Lake Bled, Slovenia Top right: Red-eyed Tree Frog Right: Dunstanburgh Castle Guy Edwardes website
|Results of Projected Image Competition 1: Open||26 September 2017|
The judge for the first competition of the season was Peter Weaver LRPS CPAGB APAGB who has visited Devizes CC to judge club competitions on many previous occasions. Peter remarked how much he enjoyed looking at the clubs images with such awide range of subjects and the very high standard of the entries.
|Practical Evening - editing using Adobe 'Lightroom'||19 September 2017|
Often photographers can be rather disappointed when an image taken straight from the camera looks rather dull and soft on their monitor so as club secretary Dave Gray says ‘clicking the shutter is just the first step in the process’.
|'Tides and Tempests' by Rachael Talibart||12 September 2017|
A large audience, including several guests new to the club, gathered to hear our first speaker of the season. Arriving at the club after an interview with BBC Radio Wiltshire, fine art photographer Rachael Talibart took us on a fascinating journey exploring her relationship with the coast and her distinctive approach to making photographs of the sea.