|Members’ Speed Critique||31 October 2017|
|Critique evenings give members the chance to get feedback on their images from fellow members.
Members can voluteer to bring along a selection of their images for comment before possibly entering them for competitions. By looking carefully at the images either as prints or projected images members can discuss whether some minor changes might improve the image or give some other suggestions if needed. Sometimes some cropping or increased contrast can make a lot of difference. Competition judges tend to notice any distracting areas that mar an otherwise award winning image so by removing light spots, straightening horizons or other slight tweaks gives the image a better chance of an award.
Getting together to discuss images is a great way to learn more about your fellow members and new members can get to know the more experienced photographers and vice versa.
Photographers usually have their own personal favourite subjects so it is interesting to see what others enjoy. Amongst the images shown tonight there were many very well photographed landscapes and seascapes with amazing skies and colourful autumn scenes. Nature was another popular subject as well as motor sport, portraits together with some interesting cityscapes and nightscenes.
One of the clubs newest members Steve Burgess brought along a range of his prints with some remarkable macro images of insects, well photographed New York skyscrapers and some interesting portraits.
David Eagle who is also a new member showed a delightful range of subjects including some impressive monochrome landscapes, seascapes taken at Meadfoot Bay, Torquay and some stunning autumn scenes.
A monochrome image of an abandoned old tractor by Mark Somerville should do well in competitions as well as several of his interesting images of motorbikes and cars.
Brian Appleby showed members his colourful landscapes taken in New Zealand as well as some close ups of insects and other subjects. Members were impressed by Roly Barth’s stunning kingfisher images as well as some glorious sunset scenes and photos of dogs as well.
A visit to South Africa gave Lynda Croft the chance to take photos of the interesting wildlife as well as some of the people she encountered. Peter Tasker had been to a safari park to take photos of a range of mammals including an impressive tiger and he showed members some of his images of raptors and owls taken on a photographic day.
Craig Purvis had braved the recent storm to photograph the huge waves at Porthcawl, took some attractive images on a recent visit to Scotland and also a portrait which should do well in the forthcoming portrait competition.
Thanks to all those who shared their images - the high standard of photography bodes well for the future of the club. A very interesting and enjoyable evening for all. PM
Photos of the members discussing the images taken by Club Chairman - Richard Watson LRPS
|‘Visions of America'||24 October 2017|
Members enjoyed a very entertaining evening given by Tony Gervis FRPS in which he showed 450 of his images taken in the US over the last 25 years. Tony has visited all of the National Parks at least twice and very much enjoys photographing the stunning scenery and meeting the friendly people.
Tony travels in a campervan so that he can park up wherever he wants and explore the less well known areas. He explained how it is best to be up before dawn and wait for just the right moment when the sun to lights up the rocks giving him his ideal photo.
Tony often revisits sites where he took his first photos using a Hasselblad film camera and showed some of those early images compared to the digital camera used today.
Hanging over a 1,000 ft. drop Tony showed us his spectacular images of Horseshoe Bend. (right)
Photographs of Bryce Canyon and Yellowstone Park in snow, rock formations in Monument Valley and Arches National Park and the stunning colours of the Wave on the Colorado Plateau and Antelope Canyon.
We saw images of the unbelievable rock formations in Goblin Valley (left) as well as many other locations.
Tony takes dramatic photographs at the rodeos as the tough cowboys try to stay on their bucking horses often taking spectacular tumbles or they wrestle with steers with often painful consequences. To get his action images Tony says he has learnt to anticipate just when to click the shutter to capture the action and prefers not to use the camera’s motor drive.
There were some atmospheric images taken on a Wyoming ranch as the cowboys rounded up the horses throwing up dust in the early morning light.(right)
Often experimenting with different in camera techniques such as infra-red, panoramas and images taken with a fish eye lens. Tony compared his image of flowing water taken with a slow shutter speed giving a milky effect to the image showing every detail of the water droplets using a fast speed and combining multiple images. Several images were of long exposures showing silhouetted rock formations and star trails. Another subject he explored was desert cacti taken with dramatic storm lightning.
Tony told us many amusing tales of his adventures while travelling across the states. A less amusing tale at the time he recalled that whilst visiting Alaska to photograph the bears as they feasted on the spawning salmon, Tony’s motorhome slipped underwater in the river leaving him stranded with just the clothes he stood up in!
Tony passed on some advice given to him from another photographer ‘If there is nothing to take then take a photograph anyway’ Using this adage Tony showed several successful images he had taken of subjects that nobody else would usually think worth taking. Perhaps give this a try sometime!
Thanks Tony for your very professional and amusing presentation and for showing us a glimpse of the spectacular scenery to be found in the US National Parks. PM
|Nature Print and Projected Image results||17 October 2017|
The competition for Nature prints and projected images was judged by Penny Pinnock DPAGB AFIAP who is herself a renowned nature photographer specialising mostly in underwater images. Penny said that she had very much enjoyed looking at the clubs entries and that she felt that all the images were of a high standard so it was very difficult to choose which ones to give the awards.
|Landscape Photographer of the Year competition|
Congratulations to Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP who has recieved the good news that his image 'Knowlton Church and earthworks, Dorset' is one of those commended in the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year Competition.
|Congratulations to Gill Cardy|
In the recent competition run by the Royal Photographic Society an image by Gill Cardy FRPS DPAGB EFIAP has been proclaimed the winner.
Gill has the honour of her image of a Great Grey Owl sitting in Snow appearing on the 2018 RPS Membership Card.
The image was one of the 21 images shortlisted from all the images entered and then gained the most votes from RPS members and the public.
Two other images entered in the competition will also be used for the membership cards but I am very pleased to see that Gill's image gained the most votes.
Congratulations Gill for winning this very prestigious competition.
Many thanks to DCC members who voted. The winning images can be seen on the RPS website
|'Confessions of a Failed Five Second Flasher’||10 October 2017|
Bob Train LRPS CPAGB was welcomed on his first visit to the club. He is a member of Gloucester Camera Club and is also a judge of photographic competitions.
|Latest Salon Successes|
|Congratulations to Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP for his award from the Northern Counties International Salon. Robert was awarded an NCPF Ribbon for his PDI titled 'Snow Moon, Oks Fjord' The image was one of many taken by Robert in the arctic areas of Norway in February 2017.
Robert also recently had 5 acceptances from his entries in the Narova Salon, Slovenia and 3 from the Welsh International Salon including 'Sparrowhawk with Prey'
These impressive results put Robert well in the lead for the Ryder Rathband Trophy with 66 points.
Entering Salons gives members a chance to let a wider audience see their images and gives a comparison with not only other photographers in this country but those from across the world. Entering and seeing the work of other photographers will broaden your horizon and give you stimulating ideas of how to progress your photography.
If images are accepted in FIAP supported Salons then a photographer can gain an internationally recognised accreditation.
The first level of accreditation AFIAP is within the reach of many of our members and recognises you as a competent photographer.
More information regarding Salons can be found on our website.
If members are interested in showing their images to a wider audience then please get in touch with Richard Atkinson AFIAP for advice and support.
|Results of the vote for the Favourite Print|
|Our 2017 Biennial Print Exhibition closed yesterday, Sunday 8th October. Feedback from the Museum was that it was an excellent exhibition which generated a lot of interest from members of the public.
As part of the public’s experience, we asked them to nominate their favourite picture, which may or may not be in accordance with the choice of our official judge. 83 votes were cast, and I think the first notable fact is that no less than 35 out of 59 images in the exhibition was at least someone’s favourite.
The print gaining the most votes was 'Synchronsed Landing' by Richard Atkinson AFIAP.(shown left)
In second place was 'Bank Vole' by Kyra Wilson and tied in 3rd place were 'First Run Of The Day' by Caroline Wright and 'Woodborough Hill Frosty Morning' by David Fraser.
Other favourites were - 'New Day At Work' by Lynda Croft, 'Village Stream' and 'Moonrise Glencoe' by Craig Purvis, 'Scorpion Fly' by Richard Atkinson, 'Little Owl' by Kyra Wilson, 'Stannage Millstones' by Dave Gray, 'Three Galaxies' by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP and 'Who Let the Dog's Out? by Pam Mullings
Many other prints received one or two votes so it showed the wide range of subjects that were the favoutites with the public.
We hope all those that visited the exhibition enjoyed looking at the very high standard members prints.
Thanks to all the club members who organised and set up the exhibition and mant thanks to the Wiltshire Heritage Museum staff for all their help.PM
|A Professional’s Approach to Outdoor Photography||3 October 2017|
There was a great turn out to welcome Guy Edwards BA (Hons) Photography to Devizes Camera Club to see his presentation - and what a presentation it was!
Guy started by saying that most of his photography these days is done during his many workshops that he conducts around the world. Indeed his presentation contained images from Costa Rica to New Zealand, from Namibia to Iceland, from Scotland to Slovenia and many countries in between. He also gave us many insights to the techniques he uses when planning, setting up and making his images.
The first half of his presentation was on wildlife and nature and we started in Costa Rica, where he explained that, because of the low light in the rain forest, he has to use ISO settings as high as 6400 with wide apertures to obtain good shots. The important thing, he said, was to ensure that the eyes of subjects were sharp. A series of exquisite shots of various frogs, hummingbirds, parrots, macaws and bats showed what he meant. He said that many of his hummingbird images had been set up with flower petals sprayed with sugar-water to attract the birds in front of artificial backdrops of blurred leaf-scapes. He also used shots of macaws coming in to land to show that getting down low to the ground and shooting up with dark trees in the background gives a much more dramatic image.
On to Canada and a series of stunning images of snowy owls. Guy showed us how the use of a long lens and misty conditions can help to reduce the impact of background trees and hedgerows to a suggestion of context. In Botswana, Guy explained that fewer tourist vehicles around enabled him to spend more time photographing individual animals. He showed us several images of a leopard with which he spent over an hour. There were also images of Pied Kingfisher, Bee-eaters, Squacco herons, African Fish Eagle and young baboons. He also explained his technique for adding movement and reducing background clutter by using a slower shutter speed (less than a second) and panning while an animal is running. He demonstrated this with shots of a Leopard, a Lion and an Impala. He said that the success rate for good images was much slower because of the difficulty of keeping the focus on the animals eyes. At this point he told us that, when editing the 25,000 shots he has taken on a weeks safari, he takes the view that if an image doesn’t look good as a thumbnail, it gets deleted!
Other images included a sequence of Orca hunting moulting Eider ducks off Shetland and of Barn Owls flying over wild flower meadows at the Hawk Conservancy. Guy also showed images of Blue Tits taken on his new workshop in Slovenia where he has set up a camera trap with flash lights and infra-red beams to trigger the shutter as the bird flies round obstacles. He also showed Puffins, Gannets and Razorbills taken in County Wexford on the Irish coast.
Another highlight of this part of his presentation was a series of images of Dalmation Pelicans at Lake Kerkiri in Greece. Guy explained that, in one part of the lake, these large birds have got used to being fed by local fishermen. As a result they are tolerant of humans and will approach quite closely making photography a more satisfying experience. It is well worth checking out his blog of these workshops on his website.
Guy talked about how he spends time setting up shots of Flora and Fungi. Using a long lens, a wide aperture and a floor level angle, he selects his composition to provide soft focused foregrounds and diffused backgrounds. He then ensures that the background is as uncluttered as possible, spreading autumn leaves around to give a consistent of colour. Next he considers the use of LED bulbs, reflectors and mirrors to enhance the lighting on his subject. And then he will experiment with different lenses and angles to achieve different effects.
After a mid-presentation break to assimilate the superb images we had already seen, Guy started the second half of his presentation, on Landscapes, in his native Dorset. He said he loves going back to places he likes, looking for different vantage points, using different lenses and making use of different light. He especially enjoys misty conditions and tends to use his 100-400 mm lens quite often.
He showed us images of Colmer’s Hill near Bridport at different times of day, in different seasons and light. There were also images of Corfe Castle, Wimbourne Chase and Kimmeridge Bay. An image of Durdle Door and the bay taken with a fish-eye lens particularly caught the eye.
Guy presented images of heather and mist in the New Forest, coastlines and lighthouses in Cornwall, castles in Northumberland and stars scapes and Northern Lights at Sycamore Gap at Hadrian’s Wall. He talked about getting down to ground level to maintain symmetry in reflection images, as illustrated in a shot of Alnwick Castle. He also explained how he had blended several 30 second shots taken with different filters to bring out the best dynamic range in an image of Dunstanburgh Castle.
Amongst his images of Scotland were the Old Man of Storr, the Fairy Pools at Glen Brittle and Talisker Bay on the Isle of Skye, the coastline on the Isle of Lewis and sand dunes on Harris. Guy used images of sea stacks in Shetland to show how to read the histogram in Live View for optimum exposures.
Then on to colder climes with images taken in Finland of rime ice on trees, and pancake ice on a lake. He explained that pancake ice is formed when running water from a river enters a colder bay and swirls to form circular, pancake-like blocks of ice. And eventually we came to what he said was his favourite landscape location - Slovenia. He had images of canyons and mountains with misty recessions, and lots of little churches on hilltops. And he finished with a superb image of Lake Bled.
From Iceland he showed us images of sea stacks and waterfalls, which he said were better taken with a longer lens. We also saw, ice patterns with northern light in the background, images in ice caves under a glacier, and icebergs on a beach of black sand.
Our Chairman led the applause in thanks for a fantastic evening of magnificent images, presented knowledgeably with plenty of hints and tips for us all to think about when next we are out with our cameras. DF
Images © Guy Edwardes Top: Outer Hebrides Left: Lake Bled, Slovenia Top right: Red-eyed Tree Frog Right: Dunstanburgh Castle Guy Edwardes website
|Results of Projected Image Competition 1: Open||26 September 2017|
The judge for the first competition of the season was Peter Weaver LRPS CPAGB APAGB who has visited Devizes CC to judge club competitions on many previous occasions. Peter remarked how much he enjoyed looking at the clubs images with such awide range of subjects and the very high standard of the entries.
|Practical Evening - editing using Adobe 'Lightroom'||19 September 2017|
Often photographers can be rather disappointed when an image taken straight from the camera looks rather dull and soft on their monitor so as club secretary Dave Gray says ‘clicking the shutter is just the first step in the process’.
|'Tides and Tempests' by Rachael Talibart||12 September 2017|
A large audience, including several guests new to the club, gathered to hear our first speaker of the season. Arriving at the club after an interview with BBC Radio Wiltshire, fine art photographer Rachael Talibart took us on a fascinating journey exploring her relationship with the coast and her distinctive approach to making photographs of the sea.
|2017 Biennial Print Exhibition|
The prints by club members are now all framed and hung on the walls of the Gallery in the Heritage Museum, Devizes resulting in an excellent exhibition that is a real credit to the club. Many members were present at the opening on the afternoon of Sunday 9 September as well as visitors who all very much admired the work on display.
Starting with the Derek Parker Trophy competition Adrian praised the quality of the Beginners and Intermediate section prints and said there was not much to distinguish between those and the Advanced group. The winners were announced with first place going to an early morning canal scene by Caroline Wright titled ‘First Run of the Day’(top left) in second place was ‘Village Stream’ (left) a very well taken night scene by Craig Purvis and placed third was the atmospheric ‘Red Deer in Misty Grass’ by Kyra Wilson. (below left)
|RPS Digital Imaging Expo 2017|
Joan Ryder Rathband FRPS FPSSA AFIAP DPAGB has sent details about the RPS Digital Imaging Group Expo 2017 which members might be interested in attending.
This is an invitation to anyone, whether they are RPS members or not. They have a special offer for 4 people for £100, which is very attractive, as it is a whole day event with some interesting speakers, workshops and trade stalls.
|'Chairman's Evening - a warm welcome to existing and new members||5 Sept 2017|
Club Chairman Richard Watson LRPS welcomed members back after the summer break. This was the first meeting of the 2017-2018 season so there was a great deal of chatter about trips to exiting places and photographic experiences.
|Latest Salon Acceptances|
Congratulations to Robert Harvey for being awarded a PSA Gold (Best in Category) for his image
|Social Event 2017||15 July 2017|
|Club members and guests met in the large secluded garden of Gill and Ian Cardy. The weather was kinder this year as there was only some light rain late in the afternoon and not the deluge we had last year!
A very enjoyable buffet was organised by Gill and the club committee. Frank Collins provided and cooked the excellent barbeque with meat obtained from a farm butchery.
Everyone enjoyed an excellent meal in the delightful surroundings and it was a great occasion for members to meet up during the summer break and chat about their photography and holidays as they enjoyed the food and drink.
There was a chance to look around the large interesting garden and towards the end of the evening Gill brought out her immaculate 1925 Austin 7 which was greatly admired by all.
There was a lot of peering under the bonnet and discussion about the technicalities of such a vintage car. The car is Gill's pride and joy so she was only too pleased to take some members out for a spin!
Many thanks to Gill and Ian and their family for ther kind hospitality and to those who made it such an enjoyable afternoon,
The 2017 -2 018 season starts on 5 September with a wide range of interesting speakers to enjoy - competitions to enter and photographic topics to discuss.
The many interesting presentations include Portraits, Movement, Altered Reality, Bugs, America and Fine Art.
See the Programme for details.
|Wiltshire Art Project|
|Would any members like to help with a Public Art Project which aims to locate, record and photograph public art, namely artwork made by an artist, arts practitioner or craftsperson and located in publicly accessible spaces and places in Wiltshire. At present very little is known about the whereabouts and extent of these artworks which are vulnerable to change through environmental damage or vandalism, or through redevelopment of an area in or around them.
Data collected as part of the project will be made available in the Local Studies Library at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre with images deposited in the Historic Photograph and Print Collection. The images will then be pinned to the Know Your Place site http://www.kypwest.org.uk to map their location geographically.
More details can be found at the link https://creativewiltshire.com/get-involved/
The data collected will be used to aid the ArtUK’s sculpture project and will be made available to Wiltshire Council’s Planning team.
Julie Davis County Local Studies Librarian Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre
|Club Members Successes|
Many congratulations to two of our club members on their recent successes.
The competition was organised by FIAP with 20 countries taking part.
|AGM and Presentation of Awards||16 May 2017|
|The Club Chairman Richard Watson LRPS welcomed members to the AGM which was the last meeting of the 2016 - 2017 season. About 30 members attended and the evening began with some apologies followed by the approval of the 2016 minutes.
Reports from officers of the Committee had previously been circulated to members but Richard asked if a brief resume could be given to the members present.
Richard said he had been very encouraged by the enthusiasm members have shown for club life and the high standard of photography, which has led to some keen competition in the Beginners and Intermediates.
Richard thanked all those who had worked so hard in their various roles. Committee members spoke briefly about the events and activities that had taken place during the season.
There was a resolution proposed for a number of minor changes and clarifications to the present competitions rules. There was some debate on some of the changes but finally they were all voted in on a show of hands. In future more information will be required when sending in competition entries so members must follow the instructions very carefully. The new rules will be published on the website when the final wording is agreed.
The committee was elected with Richard Watson continuing as Chairman and Dave Gray as Secretary. Mike Valentine takes over as Treasurer from Richard Atkinson as each post has to be changed after 4 years. Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP continues as Programme Secretary. Caroline Wright is in her 4th Year as Competition secretary and Hilary Eagles has volunteered to shadow her with a view to taking over the role in 2018-2019.
Frank Collins continues as Battle Secretary. Three new committee members were welcomed - Lynda Croft, Steve Hardman & Craig Purvis and last but not least as the club could not do without Mike Saunders the 'chairman' who always puts himself out to arrive early and set out the hall!
As this club year draws to a close, we can already look forward to two major events next year. In September, we will hold our Biennial Exhibition at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Long Street, with the opening ceremony and judging being held on the afternoon of Sunday 10th September. This will be closely followed by a resumption of our high profile speaker evening, which we hope will be supported by photographers from across the Western region as well as from the general public. On Saturday, 11th November, we look forward to an ‘Evening with Charlie Waite’ at the Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford on Avon. Charlie is a world renowned Landscape Photographer and founder of the Light and Land photographic group, and by reputation an excellent communicator, so I am sure we are in for a great evening.
The evening concluded with the presentation of the 20 Annual Competition Trophies by Richard Watson.
The awards were not spread out very far amongst the members as there were only 7 recipients.
Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP had the lions share with 7 of them, Pam Mullings 4, Caroline Wright 3, Kyra Wilson 3 (1 tied) Tim Pier 2, David Wilkinson 1 and Steve Hardman 1 tied with Kyra.
The full list of Awards can be seen in Club Awards.
Make a note that the theme for a competition next season is 'Portraits' and there is also a competition for images taken on a phone - further details will be sent out to members. Keep in mind that images will be needed for Landscape, Nature and Monochrome competitions and why not get inspiration for some Creative images either in camera or by manipulation!
Finally have a great summer, take lots of photos and come back ready for a new season which starts on 5th September.
|Thanks to Tim Pier and Derek Mason for the photographs. Top left: Robert Harvey, above right: Pam Mullings and above left: Caroline Wright
Below: Kyra Wilson, Tim Pier and David Wilkinson. Many Congratulations to all
|Ladies v Gents Battle 2017 - a win for the Ladies!||9 May 2017|
Adrian Herring ARPS DPAGB and Vanessa Herring LRPS are both very experienced judges and did an excellent job of jointly judging what Adrian described as 'a fantastic set of images - especially the wildlife'. This 'friendly' battle between the sexes of the club is always closely fought and both sides do all they can to win!
Out of the 60 images projected 5 scored the maximum 20 points with Gill Cardy FRPS AFIAP DPAGB bumping up the Ladies total considerably with perfect scores on all 3 of her images. Both judges were in agreement and each gave top marks to the 3 stunning wildlife images 'Black Grouse at Lek', Great Grey Owl sitting in Snow' and 'Osprey Bringing Nesting Material' (right)
The total scores for the rest of the entries went from 12 to up to 17 points but members should not feel disappointed if they did not get top marks because, as Adrian said, the judges had to be 'picky' with such a high standard of entries so even any very minor flaws lost a point or two.
|Landscape Group visit to South Devon||Sunday 23 April|
|A small group led by Robert Harvey visited several locations on the South Devon coast.
Our first stop was at Ringmore where we walked for a mile or so past Anstey Cove to Westcombe Beach
just west of Bigbury on Sea. As is often the case with coastal paths it was quite a steep and undulating path, but fortunately dry. Described by Adam Burton as having “all the ingredients necessary for atmospheric and dramatic seascapes”, after our visit we felt that Westcombe would be better photographed at low tide in the winter with a little more cloud and atmosphere!
Our next stop was a brief viewing of the sea tractor which carries visitors to and from Burgh Island and its exclusive hotel before our supper in Challaborough
(not in the exclusive Burgh Island Hotel!).
From here we drove round the very narrow country lanes to Bantham Beach – for reference note that the main gate to the car park is locked at 8pm, something to be considered for summer sunset shots. Here time was spent exploring the location which has many rock “spines” leading seawards and different coloured boulders of various sizes. We stayed for the sunset – amazingly the disc of the sun set exactly over the cupola of the Hotel, probably on only this day of the summer.
Care must be taken at this location as it is possible to be cut off by the high tide, but at neap tides high water access should be OK.
A long journey home, many thanks to Ray for driving and to Robert for organising. SH
|Images: Top - Burgh Island Sunset by Steve Hardman Above left - Bantham Beach and right - Westconbe Bay - both by Ray Grace ARPS DPAGB
Below: Bantham Beach, Sea Tractor and Westcombe Beach - all by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP
|Print & Projected Image of the Year 2016-2017||2 May 2017|
Entered ino this final competition of the season were all the images that have gained either a first, second or third place in this year's competitions.As well as the Open competition winners were prints and pprojected images from the Nature, Landscape, Creative and Monochrome competitions making it very difficult to choose the winners. The judge who took on this very difficult task was Eddy Lane ARPS DPAGB AFIAP.
|Landscape Group Trip to the Isle of Skye||24-30 March 2017|
The last week in March saw the Landscape Group’s most ambitious trip yet, travelling nearly 600 miles from Devizes to the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides, and spread over a whole week to make the extended journey worthwhile. In total, ten members judged the trip worth taking time off from work and family duties, in addition to Tim and Gill Ford Pier who were not able to secure the right week off work and who instead had their own trip the previous week. Most of the group flew to Inverness, and thence drove to Skye in hire cars, while others drove the whole way with the intention of extending their time in Scotland.
The location was ambitious, and so too was the weather. Skye lies on the western seaboard of Scotland, and with mountains rising to nearly 1000m within a couple of miles of the ocean; it is noted for its fickle weather, often being called ‘The Misty Isle’. However, the photographic gods were on our side, and for all but the final day, the sun shone from virtually cloudless skies, giving glorious sunrises and sunsets, and even the opportunity for astrophotography once darkness fell. Additionally, a brief spell of snow during the previous week had painted the mountains white, adding to the alpine atmosphere.
With such good weather, we were able to plan our location shoots with some certainty. The Quirang and Old Man of Storr produced excellent subjects for a dawn shoot, though the latter entailed a steep climb of 400m in the dark, in order to be in place as the first rays of sunshine lit up the Old Man pinnacles. Another early morning location was to photograph Blaven over Loch Slapin, followed by Beinn na Caillich from Loch Cill Chriosd. At the other end of the day, Elgol, Talisker Bay and Neist Point lighthouse provided sunset spectaculars, the last with the Outer Hebrides prominent on the horizon. The really hardy then returned to photograph the Old Man of Storr by starlight, though it has to be said they then spent a wonderfully sunny day in bed catching up on sleep. Meanwhile, there was much else to visit and photograph during the day, both on Skye and the nearby mainland, albeit with less then optimal lighting for photography. One shot which hardly needed any planning was the view to Sgurr nan Gillean and the northern Cuillin ridge virtually from the doorstep of the hotel. All in all, it was something of a relief when the clouds finally obscured the sun sufficiently for us to photograph the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle in subdued light.
This might have been a Landscape Group trip, but when Steve Hardman came back one evening with information about a boat trip to see White Tailed Sea Eagles, the group were unanimous in wanting to take up the offer. Our sighting of the Eagles was brief, but very worthwhile to see such a rare bird, and afterwards we were able to photograph seals hauled out on rocks in exceptionally good light. Many thanks to Steve for making this possible.
The week passed very quickly and with an early flight booked for the 31st March, most left Skye on the 30th to take in the area around Fort William and Glencoe before heading for Inverness. Others started the long drive south. Special thanks for the trip go to Sue Wadman for organising the flights, car hire and hotel, without which none of this would be possible. DG
|'The Night Sky'||25 May 2017|
|An excellent evening of astrophotography presentations started as threatening dark grey clouds rolled over the club house and deposited unseen snow in the car park.
Dr Ed Cloutman EFIAP started the show with his talk on photographing distant astronomical objects, while our own Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP followed with his presentation of astrophotography landscapes.
Ed started by explaining that he works from his back garden in South Wales, surrounded by light and air pollution which provide significant challenges to photographing the night sky. A sturdy mount, telescope, filters and long (20-30 minute) exposures are essential. After giving us a glimpse of his camera, which bolts onto the telescope, takes images in black and white and comes with its own mini-refrigerator (to cool the chip and help cut down on image noise), he started his presentation with an AV. The Star Wars theme blared out as he took us on a journey out of our atmosphere, through the solar system, past nebula and galaxies, into deep space. The images and the music were amazing. After the last chord died away, Ed began to tell us how he takes his images. First, there is the tripod, or mount, which needs to be very stable and have the ability to track the subject of the image as it appears to move across the sky. He has 2 telescopes, a 1000mm f7.5 refractor and a 2000mm astrograph made of carbon fibre. He uses a dedicated CCD camera together with Broadband RGB filters (to add colour) and Narrow Band filters (which help reduce light pollution). He said it takes him about an hour to set the camera up, including aligning it with the pole star, connecting all the electronic equipment together (including his laptop), and taking relevant precautions against condensation. Ed showed us images of the small domed observatory he has built in his back garden. And he talked about the software that he uses, both to control the camera during shoots and to help with post-processing. He explained that he usually stacks a large number of images together before using Photoshop to ensure colour corrections. He finished his presentation with a series of images from his AV to illustrate some of the technical issues from earlier in his talk. These included spectacular images of Cassiopeia, the Cocoon Nebula, the Owl Nebula, the Pin Wheel Galaxy, Andromeda (top right), Triangullum constellation, and the Globular Cluster. There were also images from Orionshowing Betelgeuse, the Orion nebula (above), the Running Man nebula and the Horsehead nebula.
What a show! A cup of tea was definitely needed to take it all in before Robert’s presentation on Landscape Astrophotography. Called “Stumbling Around in the Dark”, Robert explained that he was going to concentrate on taking images of brighter celestial objects with a less technical Digital SLR, lens and tripod combination. First he talked about shooting the moon. He explained that it is best to take the full moon when it is close to the horizon and of a similar brightness to the surrounding landscape. Short exposures of around a second are needed to avoid blurring due to the earth’s rotation. He illustrated this with images taken on Lundy Island, Glastonbury Tor, and of an eclipse of the moon rising over Overton Hill.
Robert showed us a series of images taken of Solar eclipses round the world and said that he would be attending the next total eclipse taking place later this year in America. We were shown some beautiful moonlit images taken at Avebury; the first Severn Crossing; a bridge in Tromso, Norway; Portland Lighthouse; and the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park. Taking landscape photos by the light of moon, he said, requires long exposures because the moon is considerably less bright than the sun. However, they can look remarkably similar to daylight shots using exposures of around 8 minutes at ISO100 and f11.However, if you want to include stars in your nighttime images, he explained, it is better to take them by the light of a gibbous moon rather than a full moon but that exposures need to be no more than 20-30 seconds to avoid blur as the earth rotates. Images from Avebury and Zion National Park in Utah were used to illustrate this. On moonless night, Robert suggested finding a dark place (e.g. Salisbury Plain, or the Namib Desert) to avoid light pollution from nearby habitation. Foregrounds can be light-painted with a torch to provide interest, as illustrated with images from Devil’s Den, near Marlborough (right) and Glastonbury Tor. Or the landscape can be used to provide a strong silhouette as shown in shots of Great Stable Tor on Dartmoor, the Old Man of Storr on Skye, and the North Window in the Arches National Park, Utah.
Robert also had images of star trails taken at Stonehenge, Wheal Coates engine house in Cornwall, and a quiver tree landscape in Namibia. He explained that to obtain star trails one needs to point the camera and tripod towards the north star and take a series of 30 sec exposures for about an hour. These exposures would then be blended in Photoshop to produce a single image. One of the 30 sec exposures can have the foreground light-painted which will then show clearly in the final image. Robert finished his presentation with a series of images of the Milky Way. He said that it is best photographed in late summer and, as the Milky Way is quite faint, he uses a fast lens and exposes at f2 for 20 secs at ISO3200. He showed images taken at West Kennet Long Barrow and Dunkery Beacon, followed by a couple of images taken with his fish-eye lens, one through Delicate Arch in Utah, and one with quiver trees in Namibia.
What an excellent evening with so much for us to take in, consider and admire. And when we left the clubhouse, the sky had cleared to reveal an array of bright stars.
|“From Muck to Magic”||18 April 2017|
Spike (AFIAP DPAGB) and Penny (EFIAP DPAGB) Piddock made a welcome return to Devizes Camera Club to present their enigmatically titled “Muck to Magic” presentation. Penny explained that the images in their presentation were taken in Indonesia and the Philippines and, while Spike spent most of his time scuba diving with his photographic kit, she would only snorkel and spend time exploring the local people and customs. In Spike’s case, she said, the “Muck” related to the volcanic sand and murky conditions of his dives and the “Magic” related to the wonderful images he was able to make of the sea life. in Penny’s case the “Muck” related to the recycling tips she visited and the “Magic” to her wonderful Balinese cultural images.
Spike took over and presented a range of images taken when he was diving in the Marine Reserve. Several of the images were of extremely small animals including a sea slug that was millimeters in size and nicknamed Shaun the Sheep from the impression of its appearance. There were other fabulous images, including Juvenile Frog Fish; the fabulously camouflaged, but poisonous Scorpion Fish; Eels; Sea Horses; and different types of crab. He also explained how the Blue Ringed Octopus scares his attackers by expanding the blue poison rings on its body. There were also some enchanting images of Anemone Fish swimming amongst the poisonous tendrils of the anemones.
After the break, we were entertained with a couple of Audio Visual presentations. The first was called Bali Magic and took us on a tour of some of Bali’s temples and statues of Gods. The Gods came in all shapes and sizes, encompassing both the human and the animal kingdoms. There were images of innumerable masks, a number of musicians and their instruments, and a set of images of Balinese dancers. The second audio visual presentation was about Komodo Dragons, showing them being fed chickens from the back of a boat. Spike also showed some more amazing images taken in the waters where the Komodos had been swimming!
The evening was rounded off by Spike showing images he had taken when diving over wrecks in the Red Sea. Many images of fish and wreckage had been taken using available light, but he showed us how the use of flash can bring out the colours of a focal subject while leaving objects in the rest of the images dull and grey. Images of the wrecks cargoes were also of interest. The SS Thistlegorm was sunk on 6th April 1941 carrying a cargo of military supplies to Egypt including motor bikes, generators, railway engines and a large quantity of Wellington boots! The Yollanda struck a reef on 1st April 1980 and eventually rolled off the reef into deeper water, leaving much of its cargo of baths and toilets on the reef.
Throughout the evening the audience raised questions about the technicalities of underwater photography which Spike and Penny answered enthusiastically. Our Chairman’s thanks to Spike and Penny were seconded with a warm round of applause. DF Images © Spike & Penny Piddock
|Set Subject Competition - The Kennet & Avon Canal||11 April 2017|
The judges for the set subject competition were husband and wife team Peter Brisley ARPS and Sue O'Connell ARPS EFIAP/b DPAGB BPE3*.
|WCPF Members Exhibition & Salon Acceptances|
The first quarterly update of salon acceptances has now been published.
|'From V to A – The Creation of a Visual Arts ARPS Panel'||4 April 2017|
Members warmly welcomed back Tony Byram EFIAP ARPS AWPF DPAGB who has visited the club on several previous occasions both as a speaker and a judge. On this visit Tony presented his prints and AV's showing his journey to gain his AWPF and ARPS distinctions with his panels of Venetian Carnival images.
|'Speed Critique'||28 March 2017|
The evening was expertly led by club members Clive Rathband FRPS FPSSA EFIAP DPAGB and Joan Ryder Rathband FRPS FPSSA AFIAP DPAGB.
Some members were invited to show a selection of their new images to small groups of members for discussion and comment - the groups are moved around to view all the images.
Most of the members who bravely showed their images had only very recently joined the club and all of them presented an excellent selection of their digital photographs. The members present gave very favourable comments about the images which with just a few tweaks could all be award winning images in club competitions. A wide range of interesting subjects was presented from speeding motor bikes to misty landscapes and from cityscapes to birds in flight.
Both Clive and Joan have had a lot of experience judging both club competitions and salons and so are very well qualified to give helpful tips on how images can be digitally improved.
In most cases the focus and depth of field of the images presented was very good but some suggestions were made about improving the composition. It was suggested that some areas which added nothing to the image would be better cropped to draw more attention to the main subject.
A few images had unwanted distractions such as highlights or unnecessary objects which the viewer's eye kept going back to. When pointed out some of the members remarked that they had not themselves noticed the distractions before but when pointed out agreed that removing them would improve the image.
Members were encouraged to try reversing some images to see if it gave a better flow as often images 'read' best from left to right but it's easy to go back again if that is preferred. Avoid reversing though if the image contains text or a well known area or landmark.
It was pointed out that all digital images can be very much improved in post processing - adjusting the histogram carefully can bring light to the dark areas or reduce down the over exposed areas. There are many tools in 'Photoshop' that can greatly improve the image and add impact but Joan warned against going too far and over sharpening images - often it's just small changes needed to make a big difference.
Some of the discussion between members was about whether the image would be better in colour or monochrome - try both but the final decision is up to the photographer.
Thanks to those who brought along images for discussion, the members who gave suggestions which might further enhance the images and thanks especially to Clive and Joan for sharing their expertise. PM
|Competition 3 - Open Prints||21 March 2017|
The judge for the last Print competition of the 2016 - 2017 season was Derek Gale who is a professional photographer and trainer based near Shrivenham. Derek is a very accomplished speaker and said he very much enjoyed looking through the club members entries. With a lot of humour thrown in Derek gave detailed comments on all the prints and emphasised that members should note that as well as producing an excellent image, the presentation is very important.
In the Intermediate section Derek expected that the entrants would be more experienced and should be able to present their prints well. There was an entry of 32 prints with a wide variety of subjects - from wildlife and townscapes to still life and even a tattooed lady.
In the Advanced section entrants should have gained a lot of experience as they had made their way up through the club sections and were expected to present their work well.
|‘Inspiration and Perspiration’||14 March 2017|
Husband and wife team John Tilsley ARPS DPAGB APAGB and Di CPAGB whose presentations have been very much enjoyed by the club on previous visits brought along a selection of their latest prints and DPI's taken on their travels.
|How to Take Better Wildlife Pictures||7 March 2017|
|It was with great pleasure that we welcomed Sandie Cox ARPS DPAGB back to Devizes Camera Club to present her talk on “How to Take Better Wildlife Pictures”. Having previously judged our images in competition, and knowing that she liked to “feel” the texture of the fur and feathers on the subjects in wildlife photographs, we knew we would be in for a treat.
Sandra is an intrepid and frequent traveler to many of the best wildlife photography sites around the world. Her images took us on a tour of some of the places she has been to on several occasions, including to Kenya where she helps with a conservation project. Along the way she gave us hints and guidance on how to get rewarding images and how to make the best of them for presentation.
She started with images taken while walking her dog, emphasizing the need to keep practicing. Learning about how an animal behaves can help you be ready when the dog starts to shake water off its coat. Shots of birds landing, even on a television aerial, are easier than when they are taking off as they stall with their wings out before touchdown.
Among the images that Sandie showed us were birds in conservancies; seabirds around the UK and around the world; polar bears and walruses in the Arctic; penguins and albatross in the Antarctic; boobies, crabs and iguanas in the Galapagos; tigers and sloth bears in India; grizzly bears in Canada; and a host of wildlife in Kenya.
Each sequence was accompanied by a piece of advice or a story of a difficulty she tried to overcome. Her advice included:
Sandie said she liked images of animals walking towards her, but advised that judges prefer to see them moving across the frame with the furthest leg from the camera in a forward position. She conceded that there would usually be less of a problem with depth of field when taken this way.
|Competition 3 2017 - Open Projected Images||28 February 2017|
This was the club's last Open Projected Image Competition for the 2016-2017 season and the judge for the evening was Terry Hewlett ARPS. Terry runs photography workshops and courses on several subjects including wedding photography and the use of flash lighting.
|The Landscape Group presents.....||21 February 2017|
Steve Hardman began the evening by showing images taken on his travels around Iceland. Back in 1972 Steve went on an expedition to do some conservation work and was able to explore the island taking slides as he went. Roads were very rough or non-existent and travelling was very difficult but in his more recent visits Steve found the roads had been made up so travelling is easier although a 4 x 4 vehicle is needed in more remote areas. Steve showed some digitised early slides and compared them to images taken in recent years. There are many photographic opportunities in this scenic land of volcanic activity, lava flows, rugged coastlines, waterfalls and glaciers. Having learnt more about composition etc. since joining the club about a year ago, Steve now looks carefully for leading lines and foreground interest in his landscapes and continues to learn more about photography. Members very much enjoyed hearing tales of Steve's Icelandic travels and seeing his superb landscape and bird photographs. 'Godafoss' by Steve Hardman right
Michael Barnes AWPS displayed his panel of landscape prints and gave a detailed account of his photographic journey.
Richard Watson LRPS showed some of the images taken by members of the Landscape Group on a variety of field trips during the last year. Led by Dave Gray and Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP the club has a flourishing landscape group who get together to visit scenic areas both local and further away.
|'The Opportunistic Photographer'||14 February 2017|
This was the first visit to the club by Colin Walls CPAGB who had travelled from Malvern to give his presentation. Remarking that he does not usually travel so far to visit clubs but Devizes held some special memories for him as he very much enjoyed the locally brewed Wadworths draught beer - and there were several more references to beer later in the evening!
Preferring to capture what he sees directly with his camera Colin is not a fan of Photoshop mostly only using it to remove unwanted artefacts.