A Personal Response - Chris Palmer FRPS EFIAP DPAGB APAGB  21 September 2021   

CP IcelandThe club was delighted to get back a bit more to normality with it’s first ‘live’ presentation after 18 months of just seeing our speakers virtually through zoom!!
A warm welcome was given to Chris Palmer who showed us an amazing selection of his prints. With 35 years of photography and experience judging he knows just what makes up a good image and says it’s not so much about the equipment used but the photographers eye. Chris says – ‘we all see the world slightly differently’ and he constantly strives to produce images that are different to the work of other photographers.
Chris has visited Iceland on many occasions and showed how he concentrates on small areas of the landscape rather than the usual wide views. He often uses a telephoto lens to isolate areas with interesting shapes or colours. Another area he finds interesting is Yellowstone NP with its hot springs and steaming geysers giving subtle colours.
CP pebbleChris looks very carefully at the composition and how a viewer would see the image before he takes each photograph. The broken ice on a puddle and close-ups of the worn paint on the side of a container give him inspiration. A pebble on a beach or the lines in the sand as the tide goes out can result in interesting abstract images.
The resulting prints are almost always as taken with little cropping or post processing. Chris suggests that prints should not look cramped in their mounts so it is better to print smaller. Some of the prints were displayed in groups of 3 or more in the same mount to great effect.

CP panelAfter the break Chris explained how he came to select his images for his visual arts panel that gained him the prestigious Fellowship of the RPS.
Chris achieved his Associate RPS some years ago using traditional darkroom monochrome prints and earned a Distinction of the PAGB with colour transparencies. Seven years ago Chris thought he might be ready to try for a Fellowship. He needed to find a subject that was different and that nobody else had done before. Whilst on a trip to Venice with a group of photographers he suddenly got inspiration after visiting a small island which is the main cemetery of the city. No burials are allowed in Venice so Isola di San Michele is a large cemetery with beautifully carved memorial stones. The area is very atmospheric with different emotions expressed on the memorial stones. After taking many close-up photographs of the detailed carvings Chris decided that he could produce enough images for the required submission panel. Each image was carefully selected for both colour and subject with texture layers added to great effect.
With some trepidation Chris showed some of the prints to a photographer whose opinion he respected who thought the images showed promise. To make up the required panel of 20 – 21 images takes a great deal of thought both in content and layout. Finally, after months of work the panel was submitted and then after a long wait he finally heard that he had gained the much coveted Fellowship.
Chris says now it was a lot of hard work but also a very enjoyable journey.
Thanking Chris for such an interesting evening, David Wilkinson said that the standard of the photography and printing was phenominal. PM
Images © Chris Palmer    See more images on Chris Palmers website

Getting the Best from your Camera - a practical workshop 14 September 2021   

meeting 2The evening began with a presentation by club member Dave Gray who gave an illustrated talk about the various functions of a camera and how to use them and get the best from your camera.
Dave explained that you could use ‘auto’ and just point and shoot to take a photograph but with a little ‘know how’ there is so much more you can do to get better results. The aperture, shutter speed and ISO can all be varied depending on the type of image you are taking and must all be balanced to get the best image
The aperture that is set controls how much of the image will be in focus. For landscapes usually it is preferable to have everything in focus from the foreground to the far distance. For a close up of a flower or bird for instance the subject should be in focus but the background looks better if it is blurred. The settings range from 2.8 to give a very shallow depth of field up to 22 to give a wide depth of field although not all cameras have such a wide range.
meeting 1The shutter speed controls the amount of light the camera takes in —while a slow shutter speed gives the photographer a longer exposure. Taking photos of sport or wildlife a fast shutter speed is needed but to give moving water a blurred appearance a slow shutter speed could be used. Trial and error is needed to work out the optimum speed.
The ISO can be changed to reduce the amount of digital noise that appears particularly in the dark areas of an image. As you increase your ISO number, your photos will look brighter so a higher ISO can help you capture images in darker environments.
Many cameras have built-in histogram so the image can be checked for over exposure (too light) or under exposure (too dark) and adjustments made.
meeting 3Most cameras today have both manual and auto focussing which adjusts the focal distance of the lens. You can set how many focus points you use depending on your subject. For a landscape you would probably use many focus points to get overall focus but for a portrait you would get better results if the focus is just on the eyes with fewer focus points.
Other more advanced topics mentioned were focus stacking and bracketing.
Thanks to Dave for giving such an inspirational insight into all the technicalities.
After the break members split into groups for a practical session where they could ask for advice about their particular make of camera. Most had brought along their cameras and handbooks so that fellow members could help with any queries. There was a group that use Canon cameras and a group that use Nikon. Also several members have the popular mirrorless cameras so they got together to discuss any problems they might have.
A useful evening to get everyone ready to get the very best from their cameras. PM

Member's Successes 9 September 2021   
DW cuckooMany congratulations to two club members who have gained awards in the 43rd Welsh International Salon.

Awarded a Gold Medal in the Nature section of this prestigeous competition was David Wilkinson with his image
RH Llyn Cau'Cuckoo Flight in the Rain' shown left
It is a very great honour for any photographer to recieve such an award. 
David also had an image titled 'Wild Tawny Owls Feeding in DayLight' accepted in the Nature section.

Another member who gained awards in the competition was Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP who had 5 acceptances.

In the Landscape section 'Llyn Cau at Sunrise' right was accepted as well as 'Brimstone Butterfly on Betony' in the Nature section.
In the Travel section 3 of Robert's images were accepted - 'Milky Way over Kyance Cove' Milky Way over Portland Bill' and 'North Landing, Flanborough Head'

To encourage members to enter their images in Salon's the club has the Ryder Rathband trophy awarded annually to the member with the most awards.
If any other members have gained acceptances in any salons in 2021 then please keep a record and show your list at the end of the year.

 

 

Welcome to the New Season 7 September 2021   

We’re back, so it was great to be able to meet up once again the clubroom after 18 months of just meeting on Zoom.
Standing in for the Chairman, Frank Collins welcomed back both new and returning members and outlined the programme for the 2021/2022 season.
There is plenty to look forward to with 16 speakers lined up on a wide range of photographic topics from still life to creative, wildlife to travel and much more. There will be 11 competitions for all abilities including mono, macro, nature, landscape and open. Competitions for prints are back again after the long break when it was not practical to include them.
There will be 4 practical evenings for members to take part in and 4 ‘in house’ events for members to enjoy. Using Zoom during the time we could not meet did enable the club to invite speakers from too far away to travel to Devizes so there will be a few of those to enjoy. Also Zoom will be used for some meetings so that members who are away can still log in to see presentations and competitions. See Programme for full details.
RH portlandThanks to Dave Eagle there was a splendid array of polished silverware to be handed out as the last two trophy presentation evenings had to be cancelled.
The names of the recipients for the 2019/2020 season were read out and trophies briefly presented, but then in many cases the trophies were then handed straight on to the 2020/2021 winners! Too many to mention individually so see the full list of trophy winners.
After an extended break where members could catch up with fellow photographers after the long time there was a ‘Show and Tell’ session. Members could show some of their recent images and say something about what inspired them.
GC BugNew member Adam Woodhouse was thrown a bit in the ‘deep end’ as his images were the first to be projected but he very ably told members about his experiments using film with his Pentax Spotmatic camera. This nostalgic little camera, though otherwise completely mechanical, was one of the first options to offer a through the lens light meter. Adam scans his mono and colour developed film images so that they can be digitised for viewing.
Next came Frank Collins who showed some images of his recent visit to Tenby on the Yorkshire coast. He said the light had been very frustrating during most of his stay, but he did manage to show some delightful images of the town bathed in glorious evening sunlight.
Experimenting with a 180 mm macro lens Gerald Clarke showed us the interesting details in his images including the Cinnamon Bug left. He found it great fun to see into the fascinating world of such tiny insects. Gerald has also been experimenting with focus stacking.
Next came Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP with some of his recent images that have won acceptances in International Salons. Among others was an impressive view of Lake Calder Idris was taken with a fish-eye lens. An astrophotography image of the Milky Way was taken at Portland Bill right and Robert got lucky when a passing Druid turned up to act as a model in his image of Avebury.
Dave Gray said that the Landscape Group is now able to meet up again monthly at the club and also resume field trips.
Frank finished off by saying he hopes the season will be straightforward and without all the changes to the programme that have been needed during the last 2 seasons.
Thanks to Frank for all his hard work setting out such an interesting Programme for 2021/2022. PM

A Shot in the Dark 17 August 2021   

MK TheatreThe final zoom meeting of the Summer Programme was yet another interesting topic that we have not had before. Mike Kwasniak ARPS showed his passion for the Theatre as he gave his chatty and informal presentation from his home in East Anglia.
Still as enthusiastic as ever after taking photographs of both professional and amateur productions after 37 years! He got into it by accident when he was asked to take some publicity photos as a favour. The images went down well and so he got involved in several theatres in the Suffolk area and he was asked to take over the publicity and supply photographs for the press and to display in theatre foyers.
In the early days this was of course using film and he was often limited to the amount of film he used and processed. Theatre lighting is very difficult for photography and in those days the camera ISO often gave rather grainy images because of the low lighting. Images were in monochrome but non the less Mike produced some of amazing images with the equipment then available.
MK 2In the early 2000’s came the breakthrough with digital – although basic at first they have improved immensely and now Mike can use very high ISO’s to give superb results in the dimmest of conditions.
Mike explained that he takes his images at the final dress rehearsal before a production opens and he has to get the images approved and ready for the publicity often by the next day. His lively talk was full of stories about what can happen when the auditorium is in darkness and he has to move about as best he can to get in a good position.
Mike has to capture the key moments of the production using both close-ups of the cast and also shots of the whole stage. Using flash is a completely prohibited so the camera has to cope with all the changes of lighting. Mike says ‘know your camera – it is a tool - keep it to your eye at all times or you will miss the action’.
Most of us will not have the chance to get up close or move around during a theatre production but the same principles apply to taking any action photos. Maybe wildlife, sport, music events, street theatre or re-enactments etc. Mikes advice is – be patient, try to anticipate what might happen and wait for the moment.PM 
Website

David Wilkinson thanked Mike for sharing his enthusiasm and passion for theatre photography.
Many thanks to Frank Collins for arranging such a diversity of photographic subjects for club members to enjoy during the summer break. Thanks also to Dave Eagle for all the work he has done setting up all the technical side of the zoom meetings.

Architectural Photography - in search of the 'genius loci' 3 August 2021   

IHL 2The club has had a diversity of interesting speakers this summer and tonight was no exception. Speaking to us from Bilbao, Spain, Iñaki Hernández-Lasa FRPS FIPF AFIAP gave us an insight into his work photographing contemporary buildings in his own very individual style.
With the famous Guggenheim Museum near his family home he became interested from an early age in the architecture. Now living with his family in Ireland he has built up his own very distinctive style of photographing the iconic buildings of many countries.

IHL 1Iñaki uses light, reflections, angles, curves, shadows and colour to produce almost abstract studies. He showed the images he produced to gain his fellowship in the Irish Photographic Federation. A stunning set of images using mainly the complimentary colours of blue and yellow. Later when he was working on a panel for his Royal Photographic Society Fellowship (below) he wanted to try something different so this time his images were very soft and subtle with just hints of colour. Paying great attention to every detail he showed the trouble he had taken to select, set out and print his panel of 21 square format images.

Iñaki says he sets out to show the ‘genius loci’ or in other words the ‘pervading spirit of a place or building. To show the buildings at their best he goes early before many visitors arrive. Occasionally he incorporates a figure to give a sense of scale but more often his images are deceptively simple details showing aspects of the interiors and exteriors of contemporary buildings. Many images were of iconic buildings abroad but some amazing images were taken nearer to home in the Central Library, Liverpool.
IHL panel
The images were all of very clean-lined modern buildings and bridges but he did say that sometimes, he has to clone out litter or bird droppings to get his very pristine looking images. Always using manual he carefully selects his camera settings. Many images were in monochrome but others showed subtle colours to great effect. He carefully looks at every aspect of his composition, eliminating any distracting elements. Symmetry is perfect and every angle and curve considered.

He takes great care that components in the architecture do not overlap and that he is in exactly the best place to get the image he wants. He advises spending time looking around to get the best angle and best light and sometimes uses long exposures to get just the best effect.
A master of his craft, Iñaki was thanked for giving the club such an inspirational evening. PM
See more images   Website

Mongolia - From Steppe to Eagle Hunters 20 July 2021   

Award winning professional freelance landscape and travel photographer Julian Elliott took us on an interesting journey to see the landscapes and people of this vast country.
Having first becoming interested in photography in 2005 Julian decided he ‘wanted out’ of being a bored office worker and in 2010 took the plunge into fulltime freelance photography. Self-taught he has built up a portfolio of images from his travels to many countries many of which have appeared in publications. He now leads photographic workshops to many European countries as well as further afield.
JE MongoliaTonight’s Zoom presentation showed images from his 10-day visit to the rarely visited country of Mongolia with its troubled history.
Starting in the capital city, Julian was able to photograph some elaborate Buddhist Temples and the monks going about their daily lives. Once out of the city things looked very different as most of the population have a very basic lifestyle with a shortage of water, electricity and communications.
With extremely cold winters and with many parts still unexplored, Julian said that after visiting the area everyone will change the way they think about life.
Led by a local guide a small group of photographers travelled over rough terrain into some of the remotest areas. Vast uninhabited deserts and high mountain ranges with just a few small towns. The frozen rivers and lakes made some remarkable images.
A highlight of the visit was the Nauryz or ‘new day’ Eagle Festival where traditional displays of horsemanship and falconry are ably demonstrated. Golden eagles are used to hunt foxes and other animals for their meat and the skins are used to keep out the bitter winter cold.
Julian showed many interesting portraits of Mongolian characters with their traditional embroidered costumes and descibed how they train their eagles. He advised always asking before taking portraits and respect the local traditions.
As there is no light pollution in the remote areas Julian was able to photograph the clear night skies. Many of his stitched panoramas showed off well the incredible vast empty spaces and Julian advises waiting until the natural light is at its best.
Julian was thanked for giving us an insight into a very different country with its interesting culture. PM

Adventures of a Wildlife Photographer 6 July 2021   

sr BreakfastAward winning wildlife photographer Simon Roy showed the club a range of his superbly crafted images and gave an insight into how they were created. Simon mainly photographs the wildlife found near his home and in his Yorkshire garden as he likes go back time and time again to observe his subjects.
Simon has a background in graphic design which is a great help in creating well composed images that do well commercially and for editorial use. Many are published in wildlife and photography magazines. The images are often deceptively simple with soft subtle harmonising colours and good use of negative space.
From a young age Simon has built up his knowledge of his wildlife subjects he is able to predict by observing their habits where he will be able to get the photograph he wants. SR BootWhilst observing a Water Vole trying to reach some berries overhanging the water he improvised by fabricating a rock that appeared under the bramble which led to his image ‘Ratty Breakfast’
Simon takes great care that the colour of the out of focus background co-ordinates well with his subject and sometimes even sets up a suitable piece of board to mask out an unwanted distraction.

Simon showed the time and trouble he takes to set up his images in order to get the bird or mammal to appear in just in the right place. Small mammals and birds can be tempted by cleverly hidden pots of food to appear in just the spot Simon has set up.
He observed bank voles in his garden and set up feeding stations so that the voles could be photographed in a range of situations. In the image ‘Life in an Old Boot’ Simon adapted the boot so that vole poked its head through the hole.
With remarkable patience, Simon goes back time and time again to the same place to get the image he has in mind. The image of a partridge amongst the heather took 5 years before achieving just the image he planned.
SR Pink
The relationship between man and nature is a recurring interest with wildlife often photographed alongside manmade structures. SR BluesOther projects that Simon often goes back to is wildlife in snow and bluebell woods with birds, foxes, squirrels and deer. Tiny wrens are one of his favourite birds and bluebells feature in his endearing image ‘Morning Blues’

Simon sets up hides so that he can take images of Little Owls as well as small woodland birds, hares and rabbits. At one time he had captive harvest mice which he was able to take out and carefully position on wild vegetation to great effect.
With his creative ideas Simon carefully plans out his images in great detail and he showed us how he sets out an area to attract his subject. Planning, patience and knowledge of the subject are crucial to achieve such high quality wildlife images.

Simon was thanked for such very interesting and enlightening insight into his photography and for showing such a wide range of superb images. PM
See more of Simon's images

WCPF Members Exhibition 2021
Congratulations to two club members who have gained acceptances in the Western Counties Photographic Federation Members Exhibitions. 
RH petraThe results of the much delayed 2020 Print section and the 2021 Digital section have just been announced.

Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP had entries in both competitions. In the Print Classes, Robert had 2 acceptances in the Open Colour Class, 1 acceptance in the Open Monochrome and 2 acceptances in the Nature Class. Robert's Nature image 'Large Marsh Grasshopper' gained a Selector's Award.

In the 2021 Digital competition Robert gained 2 acceptances in the Open, 2 in the Nature and 3 in the Photo Travel Class. Robert was awarded a Selector's Award for his Travel image 'Overlooking Petra'

David Wilkinson also gained acceptances in the 2021 Digital Competition with 4 acceptances in the Nature Class.

Very well done to both members. Robert's image 'Overlooking Petra' is shown right.

'The Imaginarium' 15 June 2021   

This inspiring presentation by multi-award winning photographer Lynne Morris MPAGB FBPE AFIAP AWPF, gave members the chance to see a rather different genre of photography. Lynne has won numerous gold medals and other awards in National and International competitions with her creative images and is a member of the renowned Wigan 10 photo group who frequently win National photographic competitions.
LM creativeTo enter creative photography competitions, every component of the composite image must have been taken by the photographer. The art is to blend all the elements seamlessly together so that the lighting, perspective and colouring makes up a believable image.
A composite image consists of 2 or more images that are blended together to make a new image. At a very basic level, dropping in a different sky is a composite image but Lynne has taken this much, much further and uses many layers and expertly blends them together to create a unique image. The goal is to make the finished image look as believable as possible.
A creative image is not just a case of using a Photoshop filter but of using one’s own imagination to create something original. Lynne demonstrated how she uses photo-manipulation to create her imaginative composite images. She showed how, layer by layer she adds complex combinations of her own photos to make up her final image. Amongst the many delightful images shown was ‘Octopuses Garden’ and the amusing ‘Catfish’.
LM catjpgLynne uses a bank of her photographs saved in folders – any ‘stuff’ as she calls it - that might be useful to help make up an image.
Cats, dogs, birds, fish and zoo animals feature in many of her humorous images. Taking photographs of old buildings, items in museums and antique shops can provide suitable subjects to help build up the image. Sometimes she uses family and friends to dress up and pose or searches especially for just the right prop.. Lynne can create an image of just about anything she has in her imagination - a hare on a sledge, a goose on a bicycle or an angry fish with boxing gloves!
Editing software has a vast array of useful tools for selecting and cutting out images. Warping tools can transform, colours can be changed and textures added so that the original photograph is unrecognisable.
Inspiration can come from anywhere – a photo, TV, films, adverts or just in the mind. Titles are important and Lynne comes up with many witty and original ideas.
A delightful monochrome portrait of a child looking as though she is behind a dusty window has recently gained a FIAP gold medal. Lynne likes the fact that a single image can mean different things to different people.
Lynne showed us her very clever and imaginative panel of images which were all based on Beatles song titles. Recently a range of Lynne's ‘goose’ creations has been made into a delightful children’s book. 
Lynne has a very creative mind and clearly loves what she does. She was warmly thanked for giving the club such a memorable evening.
Maybe members will be inspired to have a change from straight photography and have a go at making up their own creative images! PM

Chasing the Light 1 June 2021   

KM Quiraing GlowKeiran Metcalf BPE1* joined us on Zoom! from the Peak District to give us his presentation entitled Chasing the Light, sub-titled Confessions of a Sunburst Junkie.
He started by giving us some insight into his equipment, based around a Canon EOS 80D, mostly bought second hand. He then told us that a defining moment in his photographic journey was when he heard someone say that ”you can tell you’re with a photographer - they are always banging on about the light”. As a result, he started looking for and using light and the different styles of light in his photography.
The structure of Keiran’s talk took us through a range of different types of light, starting with Shooting into the Sun. Illustrated with many impressive images of sun bursts and more diffuse light, he covered the challenges of composing with the sun in the image. He pointed out that changing one’s point of view and timing of the shot can have a big influence on the vibrance in the image.
He talked about side lighting, which can bring out the shapes and contours in the landscape. He said that atmospheric conditions can affect the light. Rain can soften the light, but colours can be vibrant after the rain, as Keiran showed in an image of Salford Quays. During the day the light can be very harsh, but clouds can soften it and create good conditions. Keiran also advised getting into woodland areas where the sun is shaded. He showed us an image of a sunlit sapling against a shaded woodland backdrop to illustrate how contrasting light can work.

KM DragonKeiran suggested that when conditions are poor differing effects can be obtained using different focal lengths. Longer focal lengths in fog, for example, can foreshorten distances making more interesting images. Storm clouds, he said, can create tremendous atmosphere and drama. Keiran stated that, when conditions are poor, composition becomes even more important to successful photography. But sometimes, he pointed out, it is worth waiting for the light to change as interesting light can result from changes in conditions. Wind can blow clouds away, fog may burn off as the sun rises, and light can improve as the sun reflects off the underside of clouds after sunset.
Keiran talked about the glow that can be created during the blue hour and beyond, pointing out that, with longer exposures, the camera can pull out more detail than the eye can see, especially after dark. He talked us through a number of techniques for taking images at night, covering star trails, noctilucent clouds, and how to reduce noise in the resulting images.
In his final section, called Do You Feel Lucky, Keiran talked about the methods and benefits of planning your photography trips and mentioned a number of apps that can help with the planning process. He admitted, however, that the best laid plans can sometimes not work out, but that good images can still be obtained with a bit of persistence.
Throughout his presentation, Keiran illustrated each point with a range of wonderful images, showing just how much work he puts in to his photography. After a few questions, David Wilkinson thanked Keiran for his marvellous presentation and the attendees showed their appreciation with hand-claps. DF

Congratulations
DW Brown Hare
The club congratulates club member David Wilkinson on his recent Salon successes.

David had 2 images accepted in the Nature section of the Cheltenham International Salon 2021.
The images were titled 'Brown Hare Sitting Alertly' shown right and 'Red-breasted Merganser Feeding'.

David also had an image titled 'Red Squirrel Leaping' accepted in the Neath & District UK Salon 2021.

Very well done to David.
Annual General Meeting 18 May 2021   

Club members once again used Zoom for the AGM as it has for the whole of the club meetings of the 2020 - 2021 season.
Chairman Steve Hardman began the evening by thanking all the members who have contributed in so many ways to make the club thrive during the last, very difficult year. Steve thanked Programme Secretary Frank Collins for arranging an excellent programme of speakers and managing the many changes that had to be made.
A huge thanks must go to Dave Eagle who masterminded the technical aspects. Dave did a huge amount of work behind the scenes setting up meetings, online polls and even break out rooms for the speed critique evening. He also runs training and practice sessions for our speakers and club members and without his invaluable help I am sure that we would not have enjoyed such a glitch free year. Combined with that he has also run a very busy and successful competition season.
Next September the club hopes to be back at the Sports Club but we now have a wide range of technology available which will enable us to hold hybrid meetings whereby we may have a live audience, but a remote speaker. We may be able to have Zoom for those who cannot attend some meetings but the social aspect is still a very important part of the club. Steve also thanked all the other committee members for their commitment during the year. Reports from all the officers had been circulated to members
Club treasurer Lynda Croft said that she has now made it possible for the club to collect payments using bank cards on club nights.
All of the present committee members were re-elected, Bridget Codrington takes over Publicity and Jennifer Skjoldbro was welcomed as a new committee member.

There were several resolutions put before members who were able to vote using Zoom.
1 It was proposed that those members who had paid a subscription during the 2020-2021 season should have a reduced rate next season. The Sports Club venue has been closed, and so the £30 per member has not been paid. Members voted in favour of this resolution.
2 The Competition Secretary proposed that there should be an adjustment to the numbers competing in the Beginners and Intermediate sections. This was to even up the number of members eligible for each of the Competition sections. During the last season only 4 members were eligible to compete in the Intermediate section but there were so many more competing in Beginners section making it difficult to gain enough points to be promoted. The vote was carried to allow a one off adjustment so that 7 of those with the highest points in the Beginners section are now promoted to Intermediate.
3 The next resolution was to clarify the rules regarding images taken when a photographer is receiving tuition. There was some discussion about exactly what this meant if the photographer gets help or advice from an instructor. Members voted in favour of the rule stating that the image must be created and processed under the direction and control of the author.
4 Next came a more contentious issue and that was how much post processing could be done to a Nature image. The proposal was to bring the club rules in line with the PAGB rules which state that ‘Cloning of image defects and minor distractions, including overlapping elements, are permitted when these do not distort the truth of the photographic statement.’ Members were divided about allowing any cloning of Nature images – some thought it a good idea as this would discourage any ‘gardening’ before taking an image. The resulting vote was that the club’s rule remain unchanged.
5 It was proposed that the rules for entry in both the Print and Projected Image Landscape Competitions should be the same – either British Isles only or worldwide. This was to avoid the present confusion when members submit their entries. There was discussion about discouraging foreign travel because of climate change. After some dissent members, voted in favour of only allowing images from the British Isles for both competitions.
6 Carried unanimously was a proposal to congratulate the committee for keeping the club functioning during the very difficult circumstances of the 2020-21 season. In particular, the club thanks Frank Collins for delivering an excellent programme of speakers and Dave Eagle for his outstanding contribution in efficiently running club competitions and expertly hosting the Zoom sessions.

After the break instead of the usual presentation of awards the club had once again to just hear the names of the trophy winners.
The lists of trophy winners - past and present can be seen on this website. Hopefully when we can start club meetings again the winners can actually be presented with their trophies.

During the summer break Frank has organised fortnightly Zoom presentations on many topics for members and visitors to look forward to.
The 2021-2022 season starts on Tuesday 7 August so with any luck we can all meet up again face to face and enjoy the forthcoming programme together. PM

Ladies -v- Gents Battle - a Win for the Gents 11 May 2021   

Time once again for the annual contest between the genders at the Club but it’s not at all competitive of course!
Club Chair Steve Hardman was able to welcome the Judges Pam and Eddy Lane - both ARPS DPAGB EFIAP whilst in Dorset so Zoom has some advantages!
The Captains were Bridget Codrington for the Ladies and Gerald Clarke for the Gents and they had each selected 30 images for the Battle.
The number of images entered by each photographer was limited, at least 10 images must not have been entered in a club competition or any that were in the PI of the Year competition. Those members that were in the Beginners and Intermediate sections had a bonus of 2 points added to the judges scores.

Without knowing who had taken the images, the Judges each awarded points out of 10 without conferring beforehand. Both Pam and Eddy gave a very good critique on each image and as they are very experienced Judges it was not surprising that in most cases they agreed and gave very similar points. Usual comments about cropping and adding more contrast – especially to monochrome images – some of which were described as rather ‘grey’. Another comment that came up several times was that an insect or a bird on a twig would, if appropriate, look better if the twig was not strait up or strait across. They suggested rotating the image slightly to give a more diagonal line which helps make an image more dynamic.

Comments were given and points awarded as each image was shown and very soon the Gents were well ahead with 9 images having the maximum 10 points from at least one judge by the interval and only one Ladies image had a 10. The halftime scores including the bonuses were Gents 274 and Ladies 250. The Ladies picked up a bit in the second half with the Judges giving 6 images10 points and the Gents had 3 more 10’s. This was still not enough to catch up the Gents score so the Ladies lost on this occasion with the final scores being - Gents 543 and Ladies 503.

DE Hung Out to DryDE Still FightingNotable was Dave Eagle who scored maximum 10’s from each Judge for intriguing image ‘Hung out to Dry’ left.
This was a very unusual sepia toned still life which both judges said made them smile! 
It took a lot of imagination to use teabags and clothes pegs to make an interesting image!

Dave also got 10 from both judges for his well titled image ‘Still Fighting’  right 
This depicted a forest scene with an ancient tree with just the broken remains of the trunk but still alive with a small branch emerging with fresh green leaves!

Dave also got 4 bonus points added as he is in the Intermediate Section so congratulations to Dave.

PM BlowingPM Pastel DelightAlso maximum points went to a creative image by Pam Mullings titled ‘Blowing in the Wind’ left 
The monochrome image showed dandelion seed heads with the seeds blowing away.

Just missing out on the double were seven images that got a ten from one judge and a nine from the other including a creative flower image by Pam titled ‘Pastel Delight’ right 

Shown below are several delightful landscapes which did well including ‘Sunrise over River Kennet’ by Bridget Codrington,
‘Bishops Cannings Sunrise’ by Sue Wadman
and ‘Golden Light, Lindisfarne' by Dave Gray.

A seascape titled 'Motion' by Pete Souster and a nature image by Tim Tapley with a hoverfly titled ‘Eupeodes Luniger' were also was awarded 19 points.

Other images with a total of 19 points were 'Dawn Landing' by Kyra Wilson and 'Grey Heron with Hungry Chicks' by Clive Rathband. Very well done to all.

BC Sunrise  SW Bishops Cannings  DG Golden Light  PS motion TT fly

 Well done to all those whose images were chosen by the Captains for the Battle  Notably the Ladies had entries from 2 new members who had never entered club competitions before so well done to them.

Many thanks to Pam and Eddy for taking the time and trouble to judge the images and give their helpful comments. Thanks to the two captains, also Dave Gray, Frank Collins, Dave Eagle and all those who helped make it such a good evening.

Congratulations to the Gents for winning this year after their defeat last time but let’s wait and see if the Ladies can beat them next time. PM

Projected Image of the Year 2021 4 May 2021   

The club was delighted to welcome Adrian Herring ARPS DPAGB to judge the clubs last club competition of the season. Adrian is very experienced judge and his difficult task was to pick out the ‘best of the best’ from images that had gained either a first, second or third place in club competitions. The entries were from Open competitions as well as the annual landscape, nature, monochrome and creative competitions. Adrian said that it was a most challenging competition to judge as all the images had already been classed beforehand as worthy winners. A number of images were held back from each of the 3 sections as a short list of images which Adrian said that he had particularly enjoyed.
Those images that are placed first in each section are awarded the Projected Image of the Year Trophies. Unfortunately, during this season the club has been unable to run the print competitions hence no Print of the Year.

DE Power PerformanceStarting as usual with the Beginners section Adrian said he was very impressed by the standard of the photography. In first place was an image of an aircraft titled ‘Power Performance’ by David Evans. The judge said it was a very powerful image with an excellent feeling of speed. It was well taken with a good composition.
In second place was another image giving a good impression of movement was ‘White-tailed Eagle’ by Hilary Tapley. The bird in flight was very well caught with a good background. Hilary was also awarded 3rd place with a macro shot ‘Hoverfly on Scabious’ and also had a Highly Commended for her image ‘Reflection’. Mark Sommerville was awarded an HC for an impressive image of ‘Caen Hill Locks’ in the snow.
So very well done to Hilary, Mark and David who will all be in the Intermediate section next season.
The club has a system where by the number of awards the judge can give depends on the number of entries but It was decided that the extra images that the judge particularly short listed should be given ‘Honourable Mentions’.
Picked out from this section as worthy of holding back for further comment and given HM’s were ‘Western Cattle Egret’ by Penny Clarke and ‘Cygnet in Morning Light’ by Megan Boardman.

SH gannetIn the Intermediate section first place went to ‘Gannets’ by club Chairman Steve Hardman. The judge said that a flying gannet was a difficult bird to photograph but this image was well caught with a good composition and exposure.
In second place was ‘Great Crested Grebe’ by Martin Stokes - an image that the judge enjoyed for its simplicity. Martin not only gained second place but also 3rd place with ‘Poole Bay Storm’ and 2 HC’s so very well done Martin. Martin and Steve will be in the Advanced section next season.
DW HareAn HC was awarded to David Eagle for a woodland scene titled ‘The Embrace’ and David also had an HM for ‘Fly Agaric with Climbing Rope’.

After the break the judge commented that the Advanced was a very powerful section and that it was difficult to judge between the 27 excellent entries. Adrian picked out 15 images that most appealed to him for further comment. After giving out the titles of the 6 Highly Commended and the 6 Honourable Mentions there were just 3 images left.
Adrian said it had been extremely difficult to choose the winner out of the two nature images but finally he awarded first place to ‘Brown Hare sitting in Stubbles’ by David Wilkinson. The judge said that it was a great shot and the hare stood out well against the background and he wondered how the photographer had managed to get so close. In close second place was ‘Sidewinding Adder’ by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP another image the judge enjoyed. He said that it a most unusual image of the adder almost buried in sand with just its eyes showing.
The judge said that he found it difficult to judge creative images against traditional ones but he found ‘Too Close for Comfort’ by Pam Mullings remarkable. He said it needed imagination to create such a fun image and awarded it third place.
Tim Tapley LRPS did remarkably well with no less than 4 HC’s for his extreme macro shots of insects. Also David Wilkinson and Dave Gray both were awarded HC’s.
The chairman thanked the judge for his excellent comments and for judging this final competition of the season.
Thanks also to Competition Secretary David Eagle for organising the competitions and running the Zoom sessions so well during the season and to all those members who took part throughout the season. PM
See the full list of awards              See all the awarded images

The Great Post-Processing Challenge 27 April 2021   

The challenge to members was; given a RAW file what can you do with it?
This was a new idea for the club and involved members trying their hands at editing some RAW images taken by Dave Gray. There were 5 images sent out to members to see what they could do – 3 were landscapes, one was a portrait and one was a nature image.
Twelve club members had a go at the post processing although not all managed all 5 images. Most of those that took part used Lightroom to edit the images although Camera Raw and other editing software was also used. Many also tweaked the images using such add-on software as the Nik Collection or the TK Panel to give further enhancements.
The edited images of the first landscape were shown and it was interesting to see the variety of results. The image was titled ‘Red Pike’ and it showed an area of the Cumbria fells with rocks strewn across the grass. After the first basic editing, some members chose to give the scene a very stormy look while others chose to convert to monochrome or to crop the image in various ways. Dave then demonstrated how he had edited the image using Lightroom.
The next image was an HDR composite image of a waterfall taken in the Brecon Beacons. The slow shutter speed made the fast flowing water very white in the image and many members struggled to get any detail into it. There was also a patch of white sky showing through the trees which a judge would probably have criticized so members tackled that problem in different ways. Some chose to crop the offending area and others disguised it in different ways. Again the results were very varied – some colourful others muted or monochrome.
Next another tricky image to edit with just the cloud covered summit of a Scottish mountain to contend with. Again some members had difficulties with the highlights and some tried various filters to improve the image. Dave then explained how he would have solved the problems of blown highlights.
The portrait ‘Gambian Girl’ presented those taking part with many post processing problems. The lighting was harsh and the colour of the girls’ skin was difficult to get right. The background needed replacing or subduing it in some way to make it more complimentary to the subject. Some cropped the background away completely, just leaving the face and the head covering in the final image. Some found the image looked better when flipped.
Several members asked how best to replace a background and Dave demonstrated his method using layers in Photoshop.
The final image for members to work on was a brimstone butterfly image with an annoying grass stem and a distracting background. Members used various techniques to soften and tone down the background and Dave demonstrated how he selected the subject and then used Gaussian blur on the background. Members cropped in various ways and some preferred the image flipped.
It was very interesting to see the different ways that members presented their edited images and the results very much depended on individual taste. Many taking part found it more difficult editing someone elses images rather than their own.
David Wilkinson thanked Dave Gray for his work setting up the idea and giving his advice. Thanks to those members that had a go at the post processing challenge.
At the end of the evening everyone learned something from each other and said that it would be good to do something similar again. PM

‘Mastering Mountain Photography' 20 April 2021   

On Tuesday 20th April, we welcomed Alex Nail on Zoom!, all the way from Bath, to give us his presentation entitled “Mastering Mountain Photography”.
Originally from Peter Tavey, in South Devon, Alex became interested in photography after seeing long exposure images during a rugby trip to the Antipodes. On his return, he started venturing out onto Dartmoor making images of tors all over the region. In search of original images, he went deeper into the moors, off the beaten tracks, and began to realise that remoteness was becoming important to his work. So he started travelling to, and camping in, Scotland, shooting among the Munroes and remoter mountain areas.
    Alex gave us an insight into his trip planning process, describing an 18-day pack raft and hiking trip to Greenland. Starting with Google Earth, he searched for likely photographic subjects in remote areas. He then did further research using Ordnance Survey maps and, in this instance, Harvey’s Maps which he said were the best for Greenland. Having decided on his target, he found out about other trekkers experiences and decide on his route. He planned his kit, organised transport and food drops - and left his job at Airbus!
   Showing us loads of fantastic photographs, Alex described some of the difficulties he and his friend encountered on the trip. On the first evening, his pack raft drifted off on the high tide and disappeared down the fjord requiring the help of a local rescue service. Having found it and continued on the trek, they also encountered near impenetrable birch forest, and energy-sapping boulder fields, before they reached a suitable camping spot where he could take an evening shot of the view of Ketil mountain that he had originally seen on Google Earth.
   Giving us his thoughts on composition, Alex felt that balance in the image is the most important issue. While the classical concepts such as the Rule of Thirds, symmetry, separation, repetition and leading lines should not be overlooked, getting a good balance to the picture is something that can become natural and intuitive.
Alex then went on to talk about “working a location”. Using a wild and photographic location known as Mbundini Abbey in the Drakensberg mountains of South Africa, he showed a series of images taken from essentially the same position in different lighting conditions. There were shots at sunrise; with cloud inversions; crepuscular rays; an approaching hail storm; rainbows; and night shots. He also broke the vista down into smaller sections by zooming in and focusing on compositions within compositions, such as pillars of rock against a ridge and a series of receding ridges.
   Alex ended his presentation with an illustrated account of a workshop he led to Holmselern in Southern Iceland. The group stayed in a Mountain Hut in this remote, picturesque area of Iceland and went hiking each day to find photographic locations. The area is vast and it can be difficult to get a sense of scale, so he showed us images of the group trekking within the vista. While there were days when they were soaked in rainstorms or had to stay in the hut, Alex suggested that bad weather can create some fantastic photographic opportunities. He finished his talk with some of the most wonderful images of Maelifell, a conical volcano standing in black sand and surrounded by glacial rivers.
    After a question and answer session, our Chairman thanked Alex for an awesome presentation and highly entertaining evening. Our members were unanimous in their agreement and provided a round of muted applause. DF
See Alex's amazing images

Open Projected Image Competition No 3 13 April 2021   

Wiltshire photographer David Sage ARPS judged the club’s final open competition of the season. David has been taking photographs for about 40 years and gained his Associate Distinction with the RPS in 2014. He looks for originality and something a bit different when he is looking through the images entered. The winners he chose from the competition entries ‘jumped out’ for him. He likes to give all entrants feedback on their images as it is a good way to learn how to improve your photography. David had looked in detail at the EXIF and the settings used and had also checked the images using the histogram. Comments were made about cropping out unnecessary areas of the images to make better compositions and increasing the contrast to make some of the images stand out more.

RB AvonIn the Beginners section it was a delightful winter scene by Richard Blackbourne that caught the judges eye. Titled ‘Christmas on the Avon’ the image showed the Bradford on Avon Bridge with its lights and frosty trees. David remarked that it was a good use of available light and a good composition and gave it first place.
There were several good bird studies entered in the section and second place went to ‘Long-tailed Tit’ by Gerald Clarke.
In third place was an interesting image of a derelict barn reflected in the water by Hilary Tapley. The judge said that ‘Reflections’ had strong colours and a good composition.
Hilary were also awarded an HC for a monochrome image ‘House by The Ford’ and Richard had an HC for ‘Garden Greenfinch’.

MS Old JettyNext came the Intermediate section and the image that stood out most for the judge was ‘Old Jetty’ by Martin Stokes. David said the long exposure and the well-positioned red buoy made it very pleasing on the eye.
In second place was a well taken image by Mark Sommerville of toadstools titled ‘3 in a Row’. The well-lit, sharp image had appealing autumn colours. Trees featured in the third placed image by David Eagle. ‘The Embrace’ depicted twisted trees with mossy trunks and some autumn leaves in a woodland setting.

TRH Woodborough Hillhe Advanced section was shown after the break with 30 entries for the judge to peruse. David said that there were many good local landscapes and awarded Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP first place for his image ‘Freezing Fog’ Woodborough Hill’. The judge said it stood out for him as it was a strong image showing good lead-in lines and an interesting composition. Robert was also awarded HC’s for his other 2 images.
Second place went to David Wilkinson with his bird image ‘Collecting Nesting Material’. It was well caught and showed the birds natural behaviour.
The judge said that Frank Collins image was taken at one of the best locations in the Lake District. ‘Sunrise over Buttermere’ showed a bare tree reflected in the still water of the lake and it was awarded 3rd place.
Two images by Susie Bigglestone ARPS were awarded HC’s as were images from Tim Tapley LRPS, Dave Gray and Pam Mullings.

Thanks to all those who sent in images and thanks to the Competition Secretary David Eagle for organising the competition.
The judge was thanked by club Chairman Steve Hardman and who said he hoped members had all learnt something from the excellent critiques. PM

See the full results         See the awarded images in the Galleries

Devizes CC v Frome Wessex CC – Inter-club Battle 6 April 2021   

RH adderThe inter-club battle between Devizes and Frome Wessex Camera Clubs has become an annual fixture over the last three years, with the latest instalment taking place via Zoom. The battle aims to test each club’s ‘strength in depth’: no more than 2 images can be entered from any one member; and entries must include images from at least 5 members who do not compete in the club’s top competition section. This also makes for a very inclusive contest, giving many members an interest in seeing how their images fare at the inter-club level.

JW BlossomOur judge for the evening was Ralph Snook ARPS EFIAP, who gave a very thorough and fair assessment of each image, giving everyone the benefit of his considerable knowledge and experience. The subjects ranged through Landscape, Nature, Architecture, Still Life, Creative, Nude Studies and many more besides, but each was given a mark out of 20 reflecting its quality as an example of its particular genre.

Maximum marks were given to 3 images on the night: ‘Sidewinding Adder’ left by Robert Harvey (Devizes), ‘Blossom and Bird’ right by Jane Wiltshire (Frome Wessex) and ‘In Your Arms’ below by Alan Denison (Frome Wessex). Our congratulations go to Robert, Jane and Alan.

On a club level, the first half of 30 images saw both clubs closely matched, with Frome Wessex just in front with 257 points against Devizes’ 255. However, in the second half of 30 further images, Frome Wessex steadily pulled ahead and finished with a convincing win, scoring 516 points against Devizes’ 502. AD ArmsCongratulations from Devizes go to the worthy winners on the night. The aggregate score over the last 3 years is now 2-1 in favour of Devizes, so both clubs will have everything to play for when we next meet on 8th April 2022. DG


Thanks to Battlle secretary Dave Gray for organising the Battle. Frank Collins for reading out the titles and score and to David Eagle for hosting the zoom meeting.

Full scores can be found here

 

 

 

Two Pairs of Eyes 30 March 2021   

Long standing friends of the club John Tilsley ARPS, APAGB, DPAGB and Di Tilsley APAGB CPAGB made a welcome visit to the club to show images of their recent travels. Even though they are often at the same location at the same time they take usually take different viewpoints and aspects.
John feels that his images should be shown as prints as the printing and paper used can really enhance the images. John is sponsored by Fotospeed and takes a great interest in the wide variety of printing paper available and experiments to find the most suitable paper for each type of image.
For this presentation both John and Di had to show projected images using Zoom so we will have to wait to see John's well presented prints.
John began the evening by showing images taken on a visit to Tenerife. They were hoping for some time to relax in the sunshine but it turned out rather differently. The island experienced unexpected storms and very rough seas which did bring some drama and excitement to the visit. However, in spite of the torrential rain neither he nor Di were deterred and made the best of the conditions. Both showed some dramatic images of the sea breaking over the coastal rocks and harbour walls. As they travelled towards the centre of the island and higher ground there were some dramatic images of the mountains and rock formations above the clouds. After the break Di showed some monochromatic images showing recession in the misty mountain ranges, the volcanic stacks and the lava flows.
A long term interest of John’s is the Swanage Railway and he has been taking photographs of the steam trains for some years. He showed some interesting character portraits with their grimy faces as they take pride in looking after the locomotives. John has photographed many of the enthusiastic volunteers that work on the trains with a view to making a composite collage.
A favourite photography location for both John and Di is the island of Mull with is abundant wildlife and photogenic coastline. Both showed us images of the stunning scenery and John showed some interesting, very minimalistic, atmospheric images of the scenic islands. Di showed some stunning images of white-tailed sea eagles picking up the fish thrown for them from the boat they were on.
John and Di enjoy travelling by narrowboat along the Midland canals photographing the interesting architecture, scenery and wildlife along the quiet waterways.
East Anglia is a favourite winter destination both for its birdlife and coastal scenery. John showed some superb, almost abstract images of flying birds in his own very individual style. Di had some impressive images of flying geese as well as some misty landscapes.
John and Di were thanked for giving the club such an enjoyable evening and an insight into the interesting areas that they had photographed. It was fascinating to see that two people can visit the same place but record it in very different ways. PM

WCPF Members Exhibition  
RH petraMany congratulations to club member Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP who has 7 acceptances including 2 awards in the competition.

In the Photo travel section Robert was awarded one of the selectors awards for his image titled 'Overlooking Petra' right and also an HC for 'Sandstorm, Namib Desert'

Congratulations also to David Wilkinson had 4 acceptances in the Nature section of the competition.
David is a relative newcomer to salons but has recently had success at the Bristol Salon with 3 acceptances in the Nature Section and also 2 acceptances in the South Birmingham Digital Exhibition.

Members from any of the affiliated clubs can enter the annual Western Counties Photographic Federation Member Exhibition.Usually an exhibition of the print entries is held and a slideshow of the digital entries for the public to view.
Last years exhibition was cancelled but the digital entries have been judged this year.
You can see the prizewinning entries on the WCPF website


 
Open Projected Image Competition 10 (Print 2) 23 March 2021   

LC MoonrakerThe club welcomed back Mike Hendon LRPS to judge what should have been an open print competition. The competition had to be changed to open projected images as we have been unable to run print competitions over the last year. Never the less there was a good entry of projected images with a wide variety of interesting subjects.
Mike said that when judging he looks for images that show originality and that have something striking about them. A lot depends on what he has seen before and which images are most appealing on the day that he finally makes his mind up about the awards. Mike said that he was impressed by the overall standard of the entries from each of the sections.

Starting with the Beginners section Mike gave his comments on each entry. He said he was impressed by the generally high standard and went into great detail about each image.
A still life image titled ‘Memories of a Moonraker’ right by Lynda Croft intrigued him. He felt he wanted to know how and why the objects were connected. There were books on Wiltshire, a camera and a spool of film, a compass and an hourglass. The arrangement was well balanced, the colours blended well and it ‘told a story’. The image was awarded first place in the section.
In second place was a well-lit monochrome portrait of a young lad which the judge said reminded him of an old advertisement. ‘My Little Mate’ was by Mark Somerville who also was awarded 3rd place with a view of the Caen Hill locks. Snow covered the path alongside the impressive flight with a good reflection in the water. Mark was also awarded a highly commended for an action shot of a motorbike race at Thruxton. Two images by Bridget Codrington and one each from Gerald Clarke and Richard Blackbourne also gained HC’s.
MS Grebe
In the Intermediate section an atmospheric image 'Great Crested Grebe' left by Martin Stokes gained first place. The judge said that the simplicity and negative space worked well, the tones were muted and the ripples and reflection captured well.
RH Milky WayTwo woodland images by David Eagle caught the judges eye and were awarded second and third places in the section. ‘The Magician’ showed a magnificent ancient tree that the judge said had a mystical quality and ‘Skinny Dancers’ showed a simple and effective monochromatic area of young saplings.

The Advanced section had a range of interesting images with some excellent landscapes but none of them were selected for awards. However, the judge was very impressed by ‘Milky Way over Kimmeridge Bay’ right by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP. The judge said he had tried astro-photography himself but found it very challenging. He said that staying for hours in the cold and dark could be quite frightening and also the image must be well researched and the location pre-planned. Robert captured an excellent image of the night sky over the coastline and lighthouse. Another lighthouse image by Robert also impressed the judge this time framed by a dramatic wave in ‘Storm Ciara’
Second place went to an outstanding macro image by Tim Tapley. The judge said that ‘Common Blue in Morning Dew’ looked as if it was jewel encrusted. Tim also had an HC with another macro image ‘House Fly’ captured all the minute details including the hairs on its body and the amazing, large deep red eyes.
A monochrome image titled ‘Twilight Barley’ by Susie Bigglestone ARPS was in third place. The image showed the heads of the barley under a cloudy sky. Susie also gained an HC with ‘Bromham Jack’ with a characterful bull strutting his stuff and a very unimpressed cow in the distance.
David Wilkinson’s well caught image of two hares ‘The Chase’ was also awarded an HC. The judge said he appreciated the time the photographer probably took to catch the action.
Congratulations to those who gained awards and thanks to all those who entered the competitions.
Many thanks to Mike for taking the time to give his comprehensive, detailed critique and his judgement on all the entries. Thanks to David Eagle for organising the competition and hosting the Zoom meeting once again.
Full results        The awarded images can be seen in the Galleries

 

 

GB Cup - results  

RH adderRH StonehengeThe GB Cup is an annual competition between Camera Clubs throughout the UK, organised by the PAGB (Photographic Alliance of Great Britain). It is always judged behind closed doors, though normally by three judges sitting alongside each other.

This year was different, due to the pandemic, and it took a little while for PAGB to solve the technical issues around remote judging. However, judging did eventually take place on 13th-14th March, and we now have the results.

In a change to the rules this year, we were allowed to enter as many images as we liked, all of which would be judged, and the best 12 scores used to make up our final score. This at least meant that a single error in selection would not impact the overall score.
However, being a national competition, Devizes is used to a placing in the lower part of mid-table, and this year was no exception:

• In the Open category, our best 12 images scored 132 points, giving us a placing of 71st= out of 120 competing clubs. For comparison, the winners (Rolls Royce Derby) scored 161 and the bottom club scored 111.

• In the Nature category, our best 12 images scored 123 points, giving us a placing of 64th= out of 104 competing clubs. RH Milky Way
Again for comparison, the winners (South Manchester Camera Club) scored 162. The bottom club scored 28 points, presumably due to an incomplete entry.

On an individual level, congratulations go to Robert Harvey, who scored 13 (out of 15) for ‘Sidewinding Adder’, 12 for ‘Milky Way over Pondfield Cove’ and also 12 for ‘Stonehenge by Moonlight’. DG

Thanks to Battle Secretary Dave Gray and the selectors for entering the DCC images in this National Competition.

See the full results                          Images © Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP    
    

Wildlife Through a Lens 16 March 2021   

Multi-award winning, wildlife photographer, Tom Way gave an excellent presentation to the club. His images have a very distinctive style with usually just one animal as the subject either as a close up portrait or against a simple uncluttered background. The image of a white rhino is a typical of Tom's style with it’s clean background and unconventional, centrally placed subject.
TW rhinoTom began a career in sport and travelled to many parts of the world but about 10 years ago took the plunge and changed direction completely to become a professional wildlife photographer. Realising that his images had to sell to provide him with a living he had to work out what makes a successful image. Why do some images sell and others not? Learning from his mistakes he recognised that he needed to capture the character and personality of his subjects. Even before he presses the shutter he has in mind what the image would look like as a fine art print. Favouring mostly a fine art black and white style of photography which is not usual for wildlife subjects, he has proved that this style really works for him. Any colour in his prints is very subtle and does not distract from the character of the subject. He seeks out subjects with their own individual personalities whether it is an aged scar-faced lion, a mud covered, angry looking buffalo or the thoughtful face of a gorilla.
Tom says ‘do your own thing’ and develop your own individual style. He has taken his own photography to the next level and certainly stands out from the crowd with his own very successful individual style.
To eliminate distracting backgrounds Tom says ‘get down low’ and use the sky as the background. This viewpoint makes large mammals such as elephants or giraffes look even more impressive. Tom has even laid down on the ground, close to a full grown elephant to get just the image he wanted!
TW elephantDedicated to his profession Tom will wait for hours or even days to get just the image he has in his mind. Light is very important and he will wait until his subject has the early morning or evening light to bring out the detail. He advocates quality over quantity so is prepared to wait until he gets jut the expression of the subject or the composition he wants.
Sometimes he shoots very tight with just the head of the subject sharp but other times prefers a wider view to give an impression of habitat. Clean backgrounds are very important for his style of wildlife image with just enough background or foreground to indicate the type of habitat.
The image of the lone elephant against a sunset also shows a large area of dry, cracked mud to capture the emotion he felt about the drought in the area at the time he took the photograph.
Using mainly a 400mm 2.8 prime lens he finds the shallow depth of field can eliminate distracting background detail.
Tom showed us the methods he uses to edit his images using Lightroom. Usually converting the image to monochrome, he then makes adjustments to bring out the contrast and advises photographers to be careful not over sharpen their images.
Tom feels that an image should be printed to be able to see its true quality and to make you a better photographer. Seeing his images in print is very important to him and he regularly exhibits his impressive large scale prints in galleries and exhibitions around the world.
Club members greatly enjoyed this very relaxed and informative presentation. Tom was thanked for his fascinating evening and for showing the club his superb images and an insight into his life as a professional photographer. PM
Images © Tom Way       See more images on Tom's Website

Creative and Close-up/Macro Competitions 9 March 2021   

PM SoothsayerThese two very different competitions were judged by Clive Rathband FRPS FPSSA EFIAP and Joan Ryder Rathband FRPS FPSSA AFIAP DPAGB who were welcomed back to the club by chairman Steve Hardman. PM Cracked ItClive and Joan are judges for national and international photographic competitions so the club was honoured to have them to give their judgement and comments on the entries.
There was a good entry for the two competitions with 82 images to be judged during the evening. Members from all 3 sections of the club could enter so it was good to see so many from the Beginners section having a go in these competitions.

A club competition just for creative images started about 10 years ago when an annually awarded trophy was given to encourage members to explore the possibilities of the genre. This year there were 37 entries using a wide range of interesting techniques and subjects. Entries can be created in camera in a variety of ways or the image can be manipulated using editing software. Clive and Joan said that they look for creative input from the photographer and something special that makes an image stand out and have impact. Each image was commented on in great detail with the judges looking at technical quality as well as the creative aspect.
Many images were imaginative and well taken but did not have the ‘glow’ that the judges always look for and would have benefited from a little more editing to bring out their full potential.
Many of interesting in camera techniques were used including bubbles of oil on water, coloured liquid in glasses, frozen flowers and reflections. Other images were composites of several images blended together.

Clive and Joan finally decided that an image titled ‘The Soothsayer’ top left by Pam Mullings was the competition winner. The image showed an aged man as he prophesied the future in his glowing ‘crystal ball’. The judges liked the unusual technique used and the two tone colouring.

PM Too CloseIn second place was another unique image titled ‘Cracked It’ right by Pam depicting an egg with a distressed looking face being smashed by a spoon and flying egg shell. 
The third placed image which was also by Pam and was again a unique composite titled ‘Too Close for Comfort’ the image depicting an elephant tusk smashing through a mobile phone.

TT RobberflyOf the 9 images awarded highly commended, three were interesting images by Penny Clarke created in camera using reflections, oil bubbles and close up on water droplets so very well done Penny. Well done to new member Susie Bigglestone ARPS who was awarded an HC on her first competition with the club.

After the break came the 46 entries in the Macro & Close Up competition. Many entries did not comply with the specific criteria which stated that the image should show greater detail than would be seen with the naked eye.

Entries that were rejected can be entered into other competitions next season where they should do much better.
One of the problems often encountered with such extreme close ups is the shallow depth of field which often gives many of the images out of focus areas. Focus stacking can be used but can be very difficult to use on a moving or flying insects.
Another problem that spoilt many of the images were the cluttered and sometimes ‘noisy’ backgrounds.
TT Hawk mothDespite all those problems 8 of the images were held back for awards.

An amazing macro image titled ‘Striped Slender Robberfly’ right by Tim Tapley was awarded first place.
The tiny insect was not only very sharp, but its prey and even the minute caterpillar feeding on the prey were shown in great detail.
RH bee and cowslipAnother image by Tim was awarded 2nd place – this time an image of a flying Hummingbird Hawk-moth gathering nectar from a buddleia flowerhead.
Third place went to an image titled ‘Hairy-footed Flower Bee and Cowslip’ which was an excellent shot by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP showing the pollen collected on the legs and body of the insect.
Both Robert and Tim also were also awarded HC’s.
Congratulations also to Caroline Wright, Helena Chambers and David Eagle who also gained HC’s in this very challenging competition.

Thanks to Clive and Joan for taking considerable time and trouble judging the competitions and all their helpful comments on each image much appreciated.
Thanks to David Eagle for organising the competition and hosting the zoom meeting. PM

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

 

 

 

The Landscape Group Presents ... 3 March 2021   

DG Sunbeams on NewlandsMembers of the club Landscape Group were not able to have their usual day or weekend field trips during 2020 because of the Covid restrictions. Following the rules at the time, members were able to visit scenic areas on their own or in small groups and so were still able to show their images to the rest of the club. During the evening members enjoyed seeing images and hearing some of the stories about where they were taken.
Dave Gray as leader of the group began the evening by showing his images taken on another of his treks to the Cairngorms. Climbing some of the high peaks each year, Dave has now reached the top of 269 of the Munros with only 13 still to conquer!
Dave showed us some breath-taking views of the mountain ranges, the deep valleys with the lakes and waterfalls and the wonderful scenery of the Scottish Highlands. Vast landscapes with no one else in sight Dave thinks nothing of walking 24 miles in a day. He likes to take photographs as the rays of the sun break through the clouds to light up the landscape and give the occasional rainbow. Later in the year Dave met up with some others in the group as they visited areas of Cumbria.
SW Falling Foss Waterfall
Next Sue Wadman showed some of the photographs taken as she visited areas of North Yorkshire on a walking holiday with her husband in September. Based in Whitby Sue enjoyed photographing the spectacular coastal scenery. The weather was not always kind and the sunrises and sunsets she wanted did not often materialise. Sue managed to get some interesting images including some taken of the ruins of Whitby Abbey and its scenic surroundings.
The wild unspoilt and deserted coastline around Robin Hood bay was another area that inspired and on another occasion Sue visited the spectacular Falling Foss waterfall left.
BC Rolling Mist on the Ridgeway
Local areas inspired Bridget Codrington and recently she went out to photograph nearby hills with a dusting of snow and swirling clouds. An image right shows the rolling mist over the Ridgway. Another very successful image showed Lacock Abbey across the icy river with frost on the nearby trees. Starting out early in the morning Bridget managed to catch a spectacular sunrise at Avebury.
North Dorset was another destination Bridget visited with the picturesque mill at Sturminster Newton on the River Stour and Gold Hill, Shaftsbury good subjects.
During the summer Bridget met up with some other club members and they managed to get photographs of an amazing sunrise over a field of poppies at Bratton.

After the break Robert Harvey who often organises group trips showed us a sequence of images of Porlock Marsh on the North RH Bossington Beach SomersetSomerset Coast.
Robert showed how quickly one of the highest tides of the year floods the area and how he almost got marooned on a tiny hillock. In the same area Robert photographed a sequence of images as the tide came in around the groins on Bossington Beach.
In October Robert made a return visit to the Lake district collecting images for his forthcoming book on the technique of landscape photography.
Robert showed his excellent images of well known viewpoints of Coniston Water, Lloughrigg Tarn, Buttermere and many other scenic places in the area.
Another interesting destination was Hardknott Hill Fort and Wasdale head with its ancient field system.
SH stack
Steve Hardman and his wife Helen spent some time during the summer travelling around the northern isles of Orkney and Shetland.
It is an area that both have visited many times before and Steve shared a photo of his first visit when he stayed on the very remote Island of Foula. Then it was very basic and he slept in a tent but this time they enjoyed the facilities of a converted bothy with fantastic views over the coastline and even had the luxury of wi-fi!!
Steve has taken some amazing images while in the Orkneys of Rathwick Bay and the rock stack known as the ‘Old man of Hoy’ right was one of his many interesting images of this photogenic area.

DE gateDave Eagle spent a lot of his time walking around the fields and hedgerows around his home. He decided to travel light, abandon his DSLR and just take his Fuji x100 camera with him and practice the technicalities of using such limited equipment.
The large-sensor, fixed-lens compact gave excellent results which Dave later converted to monochrome to good effect.
The area is mainly flat fields divided by broken fences and some interesting old trees. Dave was intrigued by the variety of weather-worn fence posts encountered on his walks.
The different angles and the often attached pieces of barbed wire made interesting photographs and he spent time working out how best to compose the images.
Dave was looking for footpaths and field edges that made good leading lines for his images. Detail of a gate shown left.

FC Evening Light Loughrigg TarnLast but not least Frank Collins gave an account of his visit to the Lake District in October with its fast changing dramatic skies and autumn colours.
During his visit he often met up with Robert as they visited the many beauty spots around the lakes. Frank showed images of the well known view of the Ullswater boathouse and the Loughrigg cottage.
Other scenic sites encountered on the trip were the picturesque Ashness and Slaters bridges and the forceful flow of water at Aira Force falls.
Views of the Pikes and their reflections made some delightful images. Frank's view of Lloughrigg Tarn is shown right.

Steve thanked all those who had presented their images and he hoped that group trips can be arranged when travel is allowed again later in the year. PM

 

 

 

 

Photoshop Clinic  - part 2 23 February 2021   

The club was delighted to have Ray Grace ARPS DPAGB back for a second time to give members advice about using Photoshop. Ray came to us in December and answered many queries but has come back to answer some more questions on this very comprehensive editing software.
Ray explained that as you get used to using the editing tools you get into a routine which you can apply as a first step to all your images. There are many ways of doing each task and in time you work out your own preferred method. Editing can give an image more impact by increasing the contrast and sharpen where required. Colours can be corrected and faults removed and then finally the image can be cropped if needed to give a better composition. When required there is an endless selection of editing tools to do just about whatever you need to produce an amazing image. All this can seem very difficult and confusing at first but with patience you can pick up the basics and then go on step by step to more advanced editing. In time members can get used to using the many keyboard shortcuts for the editing tools to save time.
The Zoom session was recorded so that those that were present have a chance to watch Ray's demonstrations again and practice in their own leisure.
The first question Ray answered was how to select and edit just a small section of an image. In a recent competition a judge commented that it was a good photograph of a lion's head  but the eyes should be lightened to have more imact. Ray went through his technique selecting the eyes and using a curves adjustment layer to increase the contrast.
Next Ray showed how the colour could be adjusted as the waterfall in an image had a rather blue tint and some areas were too dark. There are many Photoshop techniques to remedy these problems and Ray demonstrated his favourites. Ray showed the differences between opacity and flow when using brushes to alter areas of the image.
Other queries that Ray answered were how to remove the ‘fringing’ that can appear between areas of high contrast and also the purple fringing (chromatic aberration) that can spoil some images.
Another query was how to make a subject stand out more from the background. Ray demonstrated how to easily select the subject, invert the selection and then de-saturate or blur the background.
Ray has shown how to replace a sky on previous workshops but this time he demonstrated how a sky and also its reflection can easily be replaced.
Ray gave lots of useful tips throughout his demonstration that can save time and make editing easier. Ray also kindly sends the club his helpful information notes so that members can go through the techniques step by step at their own pace. He says ‘keep practicing’ and in the end you get to remember how to use the tools at your disposal and editing becomes easier.
Club Chairman Steve Hardman thanked Ray for sharing his expertise and for giving his time to help others. PM

Annual Landscape Projected Image Competition 16 February 2021   

Making a welcome return visit to the club was Peter Orr ARPS to give his judgement on images entered in the Annual Landscape competition. 
Peter who is an accomplished landscape photographer himself had looked through all the entries very closely and gave his thorough and well informed comments on each one. Peter said that in the first few seconds of viewing an image he wants to get an immediate impact.
MS pooleEntries for this competition must be taken within the British Isles and show 'an extensive area of natural scenery’.
There is a very fine line between editing to enhance the image and overdoing any adjustments to give an unrealistic impression. Many images in the opinion of the judge were either over or under saturated and care should be given to give an accurate rendition of the natural scene. The use of HDR (high dynamic range) was in many cases overdone giving an unnatural appearance. Peter felt that often the colour green was captured unrealistically by digital cameras and members should take care to make the green areas look more natural. Another problem often overlooked is the removal of sensor spots before the image is given very close scrutiny by a judge.
Many of the images featured the rolling Wiltshire hills on which Peter was very knowledgeable with the misty valleys and beech clumps which are very typical of the area.
Some images were from scenic areas that the Club had recently visited including the Lake District, Northumberland and the Snowden area. Interestingly some members had taken the same view at the same time with differing results.
RH conistonThe standard of entries was generally high and Peter held back 18 of the 60 images so that he could then give his final judgement on the awards and the Highly Commended’s.
Peter said that many images although of a high standard did not make his final cut but another judge might have a different opinion.
In first place and the winner of the Landscape Projected Image trophy was a seascape by Martin Stokes. Titled ‘Poole Bay Storm’ right the judge said that the image had impact and a lot of interest with a good redition of a stormy sea with a ship on the distant horizon. Very well done to Martin who also gained third place with a panoramic view titled ‘Pewsey Vale Sunrise’ below right which Peter said had good exposure and tonal range.
MS pewseyIn second place was ‘Old Man of Coniston’ left by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP. The light and reflections were excellent with detail in the foreground boulders. Robert also was awarded an HC for another Lake District image – this time featuring Langdale Pikes.
Four other images were awarded Highly Commended including local images of a comet over Oliver’s Castle by Caroline Wright and Frosty Trail at Barbury Castle by Dave Eagle. ‘Autumn in Elterwater’ was the subject of the image by Tony Leach and Early Sunlight, Lindisfarne was by Dave Gray.
Well done to all those who entered the projected image competition. The Landscape Print competition was unable to be held this season but hopefully will return next year.
Thanks to Gerald Clarke who for his first time hosting both the Zoom evening and dealing with the complexities of the DiCentra software to show the images. Thanks to Dave Eagle for collecting the images and putting the competition together.
Many thanks the Peter for taking the time and trouble to look over the entries and giving his advice. PM

Full results        See all the Awarded 2021 Landscape Images          

Close-Up and Macro Photography – Art & Techniques 9 February 2021   

For our latest Zoom! evening, we welcomed Adrian Davis MSc ARPS with his presentation entitled Close to Nature. Adrian is essentially a “natural history and wildlife photographer” with a particular interest in Close-up and Macro photography. The distinction between the two, he said, was that Close-up means images of anything “closer than normal”, whereas Macro refers to images in which the magnification in camera is at least 1:1
AD wasp pollen  Throughout his presentation, Adrian used his images to illustrate the point he was discussing. He said that images, too, should “tell a story”, as with his wasp pollinating a Broad Leaved Helleborine Orchid. Another consideration to take into account is how much of the frame you want to fill with your subject. In some instances, for example with butterflies, you may want to provide some context, but at other times it may be better to fill the frame. You will also need to think about how close you want to get to the subject and, therefore, which lens to use. Close-ups of crocodiles are better taken with a long lens - preferably from the other side of the river!
AD PorcelainOn the other hand, patterns on lichen or the underside of fungi may need macro lenses and extension tubes to get close enough. Adrian showed us a series of images of lichen on gravestones in a churchyard in Devon in which each shot was a more magnified image than the previous one. He also showed us a whole array of fungus images, some in woodland context and others in ultra close-up taken in studio conditions.
Adrian said his favourite lens combination was a 105mm macro lens with a 1.4 converter, which he recommended should be by the same manufacturer as the lens. He explained that a teleconverter will increase the focal length of the lens (in this case to 147mm) while extension tubes will allow you to focus closer in on the subject. He said he almost always uses a tripod and manual focus, and rarely uses flash.
Bright light can be difficult when photographing nature as it can create unwanted highlights and play havoc with colours, as Adrian showed with a pair of bluebell images. In sunlight the image had some dappled shade but a lot of bright highlights on the flowers, whereas under cloud cover, the image was much flatter overall, but the colours were rendered more accurately.
  When considering depth of field, Adrian warned that you need to decide whether you want the background blurred or in focus. He used an image of a Deathcap fungus to illustrate that the distance between the tip of the cap and the stem will be from 1-5 cm. To show this subject in focus with a blurred background would be difficult, but he showed us that, using a focus-stacking technique, you can take a series of images with slightly different focus points and blend them in software.AD stag beetle He said that, to be successful, the subject must be stationary and you must be using a tripod. As well as his Deathcap, Adrian showed us images of Bird’s Nest fungus and Butterfly eggs in which he had blended 6 or more images in this way.
Adrian’s latest work, which he calls Invisible Imaging, centres on the use of Ultraviolet light, which, it is suggested, allows us to take images of subjects as insects see them. He showed some images to illustrate this effect including flower petals with different colours under UV that appear to attract insects to the pollen; pitcher plants that accentuate drops of liquid under UV to attract their prey; brimstone butterflies that have patches of brighter yellow on their upper wings under UV that is thought to be used to attract a mate.
Adrian warned that UV photography is not for the faint-hearted as it requires extensive, and expensive, modifications to camera equipment. However, he said that it was possible to use ultraviolet fluorescence to take some interesting images. Using an ultraviolet torch in a dark room, you can take images that show hidden patterns and colours. He showed us a whole range of images taken in this way, including the flow of quinine as the tonic was poured into his gin!
After a Question and Answer session, which centred mostly on focus stacking techniques, our Chairman thanked Adrian for a fascinating presentation and the provision of a set of new techniques for us to try out during Lockdown. DF
Images © Adrian Davis MSc ARPS

WCPF - DPIC Competition 2021 7 February 2021   

DPIC 2021 was a virtual affair this year, with over 360 members of Western Counties Camera Clubs joining a Zoom call to see the judging. It was gratifying that 58 clubs had submitted entries, very much on a par with previous years. This meant that as usual, we were treated to just over 1000 excellent images from all photographic genres displayed over the course of 2 DW Harehours.

For newcomers to DPIC, it is the Western Counties annual ‘Digital Projected Image Competition’. Competing clubs each submit 18 images, with limits on the number of images per author and number of Nature images allowed. Each image is scored by 3 judges who award it a mark out of 5, giving a maximum score per image of 15.

RH adderThe virtual process actually worked very well. Judging sessions had been pre-recorded and club totals already totted up, so apart from a couple of 10 minute breaks, proceedings ran pretty much continuously.

When all was done, Devizes had achieved a creditable =14th place, with an overall total of 204 points. We were towards the upper end of a tightly bunched mid-table, and just 8 more points would have moved us level with the club which came 3rd. Our congratulations go to Bristol Photographic Society who were winners with 226 points, and Dorchester, whose 215 points gained them 2nd place.

Within our entry, congratulations go to David Wilkinson for his ‘Brown Hare Sitting In Stubbles’ right, which achieved our highest individual score of 13 points. Also, congratulations to Robert Harvey for ‘Sidewinding Adder’ left, which scored 12 points including a 5 from one judge. DG


Thanks to Battle Secretary Dave Gray for organising the Devizes CC entry.   See Devizes CC full results



Wildlife Reintroductions and Conservation and Southwest Wildlife Photography 2 February 2021   

Wildlife conservationist and photographer Nick Upton made a welcome return visit to the club to give an update on some of the projects he is involved with and also a look at some of his latest projects. Since his last visit Nick has been given the Conservation Documentary Award at the Bird Photographer of the Year 2020 for his project on swifts and the work of the Bradford on Avon Swift Group.
NU 001Nick has for many years concentrated on film making and spent 20 years with the BBC on Wildlife projects, working alongside Sir David Attenborough on Trials for Life and contributing to Springwatch and other wildlife programmes. Nick follows a range of projects using his videos and photographs to help publicise the work of the various conservation organisations. Wildlife and conservation magazines regularly publish his articles and photographs.
NU sealThe Beaver introduction programme Nick told us about on his last visit continues to do well with about 30 beavers established in several locations. Several club members have since been to photograph the beavers at their release site. The project to re-introduce pine martins has done well with them now breeding in Wales and the Great Crane project has seen the return of common cranes onto the Somerset levels and other areas in the South West.
Recently Nick has been following a project to re-introduce white storks back into Britain. The Cotswold Wildlife Park has been involved and Nick has been taking photographs of the storks breeding, raising chicks and then being released into the Knepp Estate in Sussex as part of their re-wilding project. Nick will continue to follow the progress as the storks begin to nest and breed in the area after a gap of some 600 years.
Nick showed photos he has taken at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary as they treat and re-habilitate the rescued Grey Seals whose numbers have dropped dramatically in recent years. Nick followed the volunteers as they treat the injuries often sustained from getting tangled in fishing nets and then when possible release them back to the sea.
Injured bats from over the UK are often cared for by the Devon Bat Rescue group and Nick has been taking photographs to publicise the good work they do. Using various techniques including infra-red Nick shows the fast flying bats catching insects.
NU badgerMost of Nick’s work on conservation is here in the UK but recently he got involved in the work to help the endangered Siberian flying squirrel. Only a few are still to be found in the forests of Estonia where a scientist is studying their lifestyle and Nick was privileged to be able to photograph this very cute nocturnal mammal in it's natural habitat.
NU squirrelThe second half of this presentation concentrated on local projects in the South West. Because of the 2020 lockdowns Nick was unable to travel as far as usual but took the opportunity to appreciate the local wildlife.
Nick's own garden gave him the chance to notice the abundance of unusual and rare insects to be found and was able to capture unusual behaviour never photographed before. Experimenting with remote cameras, floating camera housing for underwater shots and various lenses he was able to view the wide range of mammals, birds and insects that frequent his Wiltshire garden. 
Local wildlife reserves brought him many photographic opportunities including Morgan’s Hill where he found many wild flowers and butterflies. Visiting Brown's Folly reserve, Nick observed mason bees using snail shells as nests.
A project being followed is the restoration of old dew ponds to encourage the return of great crested newts to the Pewsey Down. Photographs were shown of the work of the Sustainable Eel Group to restock rivers with the once numerous glass eels.
Always full of interesting stories, Nick gave members a fascinating evening and an insight into some of his latest projects. PM
images © Nick Upton

Annual Monochrome Competition 26 January 2021   

FC Peggys CoveThe club welcomed back Sandie Cox ARPS DPAGB AFIAP to judge the Annual Monochrome PI Competition. As usual this season the club was not able to run the Monochrome Print competition and Sandie had to give her comments and awards via Zoom. Non the less members were able to enjoy seeing all the entries and hearing the judge’s helpful comments on each one.
Sandie said that she likes to almost feel the softness of feathers or fur, the crispness of grass, the roughness of stone and always looks for good texture in the images. She looks for a full range of tones with white white’s and black black’s, detail should be visible in the lightest and darkest areas. Images should be sharp where needed and members should always look out for light in the eyes of subjects and also check there are no light spots on the edges of their images that draws the eye.
DW Oil RigsAs mainly a natural history photographer herself, Sandie said that she enjoyed looking through the wide range of subjects entered in the competition. Many misty landscape and woodland scenes, seascapes, architecture, portraits, creative and wildlife subjects were entered. There were so many strong images that some had to miss out on the list of awards but other judges might have had other ideas. Judging is always subjective and all judges have to choose the images that especially appeal most to them.
On some images Sandie gave her ideas about cropping out some areas to give a better balance to the image or to draw more attention to the subject. Some images she thought were rather ‘grey’ and needed some editing to give a wider range of tones.
Out of the 74 entries Sandie held back 22 for awards.

In first place was ‘Abandoned Oil Rig’ shown left by David Wilkinson which the judge said as taken from a good low angle, showed good textures and recession.
David will be presented with the ‘Constance Mundy Trophy’ for best Monochrome Projected Image in due course.
MS ChinookSecond place went to ‘Waiting for Business, Peggy’s Cove’ right by Frank Collins which showed a harbour scene with a waiting boat at this popular Canadian tourist attraction. Sandie said it was a strong monochrome image showing some interesting buildings.
A very different subject again was depicted in the third placed image – this time a flying helicopter. ‘RAF Chinook’ below right was an image by Martin Stokes with well caught action.

Nineteen images were awarded Highly Commended including 3 from Martin Stokes, 3 from Tim Tapley and 3 from Pam Mullings.
Special mention of Christine Ellerby whose image ‘Spiralling Navel College’ has gained her an HC in the first competition she has entered with the club so very well done to her. Also ‘Lime Avenue on a Foggy Morning’ by Bridget Codrington which the judge declared the best of the many misty woodland scenes that were entered.
Awards were given to members in all 3 sections of the club with many of them going to those in the Beginners section which was very pleasing. Well done to all those who entered.
Thanks to Sandie for all her helpful comments and for judging the competition. Thanks to Competition Secretary Dave Eagle for organising the competition and hosting the Zoom session so successfully once again. PM
Full results          All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries

Member’s Speed Critique 19 January 2021   

DW EagleThis critique evening gives some club members the chance to show some of their images to groups of fellow members. The 'speed' aspect is that they have about 10 minutes to show and discuss their photographs.
JR Oil on WaterUsually members can meet up and have face to face discussions but this time it all had to be set up using Zoom. After some trial runs 6 members were able to present their images with the rest of the members split into 3 ‘rooms’. Sounds complicated but it all worked perfectly on the night thanks to Dave Eagle and his patience dealing with a group of ‘amateur’ presenters!
Some of those showing their images were experienced photographers and wanted some feedback others were quite new to photography and so comments from fellow members can be really helpful for presenting their images at their very best.

Sharing his ‘photographic journey’ David Wilkinson said that he first showed his early images a few years ago at a critique. Having advice and learning from his mistakes has very much helped him progress into a very competent wildlife photographer. David has learnt a lot editing skills as well as field craft which has helped him achieve some excellent images of birds, mammals and insects. An outstanding image of a White-tailed Sea Eagle shown on the right.

During the lockdown Janet Rutter had fun trying out several photographic techniques that she can do indoors. Using flowers or grasses placed on light box produced some interesting images and Janet experimented by freezing flowers in ice and floating oil on water shown left to produce some very interesting and unusual photographs.
DS steps
LC Savoy CabbageAs a newcomer to photography Graham Sawyer has concentrated on getting to know more about his camera and showed a range of his images for members to comment on. Some excellent snow scenes and other images which just needed a bit of editing to bring out the best in them. The photograph of weather-worn steps left made an interesting abstract image.

Having recently retired Lynda Croft has more time to develop her interest in photography and showed members a range of images. Landscapes and architecture are her usual interests but she recently took an unusual image of water droplets on a savoy cabbage right with good results.

Already an accomplished photographer Pete Souster presented some of his outstanding minimalistic landscapes. Pete experiments with seascapes using long exposures and likes to photograph areas of the Wiltshire countryside such as the clump of trees near Beckhampton shown below.
Pete showed us an interesting image of the Royal Crescent in Bath as well as a sunset image that was published in a photography magazine.

Members complimented Tony Leach on the excellent colours of his image of a balloon flying over Namibia below right.
Tony showed some of his landscapes as well as zebras and a stag and asked members for ideas about any improvements that might be made.


PS beckhamptonTL NamibiaAll those members showing their images for the critique said that they enjoyed the experience. As usual there were lots of ideas put forward about cropping and whether an image looked better in mono or colour but as always the final judgement has to be made by the photographers themselves.

Thanks to all those who presented their images for others to comment on. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the critiques and learned some new ideas.

Special thanks to David Eagle who sorted out all the technology needed, so that we could all join in the discussion from our own homes. PM

 

 

Bird Photography Simplified 12 January 2021   

This presentation was a first for Devizes Camera Club, we welcomed a photographer from overseas to our Zoom! meeting. Glenn Bartley joined us from Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada.
GB Pic1For those of us who had browsed his website, we knew we would be listening to an expert. Glenn is an award winning bird photographer, particularly known for his hummingbird portfolio. Fascinated by these “mesmerising birds” since childhood, Glenn has spent months, over the years, in the rain forests of Ecuador and Costa Rica developing and honing his skills. He his a regular contributor to magazines and journals, and has published a number of his own books.
Glenn started by talking about his approach to capturing images, in particular the 7 elements of a great bird photo: Exposure, Light, Composition, Sharpness, Perch, Background and Pose.
GB Pic2He said it is important to balance the exposure and avoid images such as a dark bird against a bright sky. Use your histogram, he urged, and “expose to the right”. He said that, although Manual exposure is best in some situations, he uses AV most of the time and dials in exposure compensation as required. Glenn prefers to work in natural light, but the quality of the light is important. He gave us a great tip, suggesting that it is only worth taking photos if your shadow is longer than you are tall - otherwise the light will be too harsh. He said that bright overcast conditions are great, especially in the Tropics, giving you more shooting time and flexibility of composition. However, images may appear a bit flat out of the camera and will need more post-processing time. Using flash is useful, especially for fill-in purposes, but you need to learn how to control the power and you should get the flashgun off the camera. He showed how the use of flash with the right mode and power can help to freeze the action, particularly of hovering hummingbirds.
Key composition issues for bird photography, Glenn suggested, include the orientation of an image, which will depend on the shape and pose of the subject. And he suggested leaving some space around the subject to allow for some cropping in post-processing. For wildlife images, Glenn confirmed, sharpness is all about the eyes and the factors required to achieve sharpness include using a tripod, good quality lenses with stabilisation and an appropriate shutter speed. But he warned us not to over prioritise sharpness as its not the only factor in achieving a good image.
Glenn pointed out that a good perch for the subject can be essential for a great shot, whether it is about finding a branch in the wild that a bird keeps returning to or a set-up in your back garden. While a messy, distracting background is to be avoided, Glenn warned against getting too hung up on blurred backgrounds as the inclusion of some environment can be important. The pose of the bird is also important, he said, and should always include eye contact with the subject.
Having sorted out all these elements, Glenn then talked about finding an x-factor that will really make an image stand out. He provided a long list of things to watch out for including birds feeding, especially with prey, birds mating, birds with chicks, birds in bad weather or any sort of action shot.
GB Bird PhotographyIn the second part of his presentation, Glenn talked about the research that he does before going on a trip. He likes to find out where birds are located for which he recommended ebird.org which provides information on sightings. He familiarises himself with bird calls (xenacanto app) and other peoples trip reports (cloudbirders website). In the field, he advocated keeping it simple, only taking the equipment you need, setting realistic goals and taking your time to get set-up correctly.
When building a portfolio, Glenn emphasised the importance of defining your goals with regard to species diversity and styles of images. During post-processing, on your calibrated screen, he recommended targeting the deletion of at least 90% of the images taken. Becoming picky about your images will make you a better photographer, he said. He also recommended establishing your own workflow, using basic techniques, and building your skills over time. He encouraged us to share our work with others through websites, social media and email.
Glenn finished off by talking about the sort of gear you need for successful bird photography. In answer to questions from the audience about his basic camera set-up, he said that he starts with AV, f5.6 and an ISO setting depending on the available light. He generally uses Evaluative Metering with AV and checks his histogram to see whether any exposure compensation is needed.
Throughout his presentation, Glenn showed us some stunning images to illustrate points he was making. His website at glennbartley.com is full of amazing images of birds from the various countries he has visited. Despite having spent considerable time in countries such as Ecuador and Brazil, when asked which country he would most want to return to, Glenn unhesitatingly said - “Colombia”
A thoroughly interesting and comprehensive evening was enthusiastically applauded by the audience. DF

 

Projected Image League 5 January 2021   

RH SunflowersThe first club competition of 2021 was rather different this time – not only a virtual competition as we have become used to, but instead of members all using pencil & paper to vote it was all very cleverly done with a click on our own screen and some clever software!
Members are asked to score each set entered out of ten taking into account how they look as a set of 5 images, the quality of each image and how well they all the images fit the set title.
There were 54 sets entered altogether from 18 members who were each required to enter 3 sets. Frank Collins set out the guidelines and a demo set was shown so that members could try out the on line voting system. It was suggested that it would take an exceptional set to warrant the top score of 10 but none the less several sets achieved this high score. Thumbnails of the whole set were shown and then each of the 5 separate images then members had to give their own score. After members had voted for each set the results were shown and we could see the range of votes. It was interesting to note that scores for some sets ranged from 4 up to 10 showing a big difference in how members regarded those sets and how very much opinions can vary!
DW hareThere was a large range of subjects entered with as usual wildlife and landscape photographs dominating but there were also some rather unusual subjects that members had dreamed up. Who would have thought images of padlocked gates, traffic lights, heirlooms, or vintage car steering wheels could make such interesting sets! We also had pilots waving from aircraft, laughing animals, slices of fruit and even ‘slightly flighty’ portraits.
Members gave their points out of 10 for each of the sets except their own and the scores were averaged – then each entrants 3 scores were added to give the results.
For the third time in a row Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP won the competition and the Hewitt Cup, this time with landscape images of the Cornish coast, Savernake forest and Wiltshire fields. One of the images from the set showing a field of sunflowers of is shown above.
SH gannetIn second place with delightful images of hares and red squirrels as well as autumn scenes was David Wilkinson. Third place went to Club Chairman Steve Hardman with images of the isle of Skye, monkeys and gannets.
Peter Souster, Pam Mullings and Dave Gray were awarded Highly Commended for their sets.
The individual set with the highest score was ‘Hares’ by David Wikinson, ‘Just White’ by Pam Mullings was second favourite and the set ‘Red Squirrels’ by Gill Cardy FRPS DPAGB EFIAP was placed third.
It takes a lot of time and trouble to find all the images and put 3 sets together so many thanks to members who entered.
Another very succesful and interesting evening showing the great talents of club members.

Very special thanks to David Eagle who not only collected up and put together all 54 sets for the competition but also sorted out so successfully the software that allowed the scores and results to be shown so well. Thanks also the Frank Collins, David Wilkinson and Gerald Clarke who verified the scores. PM

See the top sets as scored by members

Christmas Lights 2020  
SW xmas lights
A few club members went out recently and took photos of the Christmas lights in their area and added them to an Album on the DCC Facebook. Mostly festive street scenes, but some members came up with a few different ideas as well.

BC xmas lightsOne of the images with the most likes was by Sue Wadman and showed the attractive lit up tree in Devizes Market Place. right

Another photo was a rather topical 'sign of the times' by Bridget Codrington showing  the Social Distancing sign and all the clutter in the lit up Marlborough High Street. left

Other images in the album were by Helena Chambers, Richard Blackbourne, Pam Mullings, Jennifer Skjoldbro and you can see them all by going to our DCC Facebook.