|'Is Photography Art?'||13 February 2018|
Colin Tracy ARPS came to Devizes Camera Club to ask “Is Photography Art? - or is it imply technique.
Introducing himself, he said he envisaged his presentation as being participatory and started by asking the audience a series of questions: What is Art? Can photography be artistic? What makes it artistic? Does image manipulation make it more or less artistic?
Contributions from the audience suggested that, to be artistic, an exhibit should provoke a reaction, should tug at ones’ emotions and should be moving in some way. However, it was pointed out that some “art”, while provoking reaction, did not otherwise affect people emotionally. Examples included Damien Hurst’s work and an exhibit of carpet offcuts at the Guggenheim in Spain. Although, judging by these outburst, there did seem to have been some emotion was involved.
Colin explained that he has been a Buddhist for about 30 years and that the disciplines imposed through meditation and contemplation have influenced his photography. He tries to be clear-minded in what he sees, looking beyond the object of focus to see things as they really are, in terms of colour, texture, movement and light.
Colin follows a contemplative path to his photography, often capturing spontaneous images as a result of a “flash of inspiration”. Many of these are abstract images that confuse the viewer’s eye as they struggle to see what they are. Colin is often reluctant to tell the story behind the image to the point of refusing to give them titles. He prefers people to react to what they see rather than the mundane explanation of the objects involved.
He showed a number of images to illustrate this issue and asked the audience “How does this image make you feel?”. Reaction to this question showed a certain amount of confusion as different perspectives were expressed from different people. This was particularly true of a monochrome image of swan’s feathers floating on water.
Other images, which Colin did expand on, included close-ups of a gnat on the surface of water in a glass tumbler and a willow leaf embedded in a frozen compost bin (right). A reflection of a tree in a stream in the New Forest (above) was intriguing for the levels of nature it presented. There was light on the orange bed of the stream, objects floating on the surface, the tree in reflection, and beyond that, the blue of the sky.
To illustrate that good art, whatever the medium, should show some profundity, he had images of a Koi Carp feeding frenzy, raindrops on a pond with an orange streak (fish?), and a reflection of a tree with a floating leaf appearing to cling to a reflected branch (left).
Colin told us about his Art Exchange project in which he and some artist friends work together and swap ideas and inspiration. They paint from his photographic images and he takes images of their work, juxtaposing them with everyday objects. He, himself, had painted from images he had taken of ponies in a snowstorm (one of his best sellers) and of Carrick Castle.
He showed some creative images, asking if creative photography is more artistic. These included an image of the Earth juxtaposed against a dandelion seed-head, half a dandelion seed-head against a bright red background and close-ups of magnolia leaves presented in a triptych.
When asked about his favorite genre, he said “Whatever catches the eye”. And he certainly showed us a wide range of different subjects, from wonderful moody landscapes and monochrome seascapes through flowers and plants to insects and pictorial images. All of these images had a quality beyond mere technical excellence and illustrated that composition and light help the presentation of an artistic image.
A further series of abstract images leading to his final photo, that of a seated Buddha, brought this fascinating presentation to a close.
The Chairman thanked Colin for sharing his insights with us and suggested that many of the audience will have been inspired to think a little differently about their photography. DF
|Warminster Camera Club Annual Print Day|
Warminster Camera Club invited 5 clubs to join them in the Annual Print Battle held on the afternoon of Saturday 10 February.
|Landscape Group trip to Snowdonia||3 - 5 February 2018|
The latest Landscape Group weekend away saw 19 members and partners head for the mountains of Snowdonia, dressed in their winter finery, based at the Royal Victoria Hotel in Llanberis. Mountain weather is always fickle, but the group found sufficient sunshine over the weekend to bring some sparkle to the photography, even if we sometimes had to go to Anglesey to find it.
Many choose various detours on the drive up from Wiltshire, some going via the Elan Valley dams, others the Mawddach Estuary near Barmouth, while some of the early arrivals headed for the ‘lonely tree’ on Llyn Padarn near Llanberis. The weather was at this stage dry and cloudy, though with just occasional shafts of sunlight to add some drama to the scene.
Saturday was forecast to rain all day, but true to the saying that mountains make their own weather, it turned out sunny on Anglesey and there was just an occasional shower on the mainland. Those heading for Anglesey visited the Twr Mawr lighthouse on the tidal island of Llanddwyn, or alternatively the South Stack lighthouse near Holyhead. On the mainland, the dull conditions suited the party who walked around the disused slate quarry at Dinorwic, and marvelled at the ‘barracks’ where quarrymen from outside the area were quartered.
Sunday was altogether different. The forecast suggested clear skies, and so a large group walked up Snowdon’s Miner’s Track before daybreak as far as Llyn Llydaw. Clouds initially covering the summits began to clear as the first cold light of day appeared. There was then a magical 10 minutes or so of quite amazing light, as the first rays of sunshine illuminated first the summit of Snowdon, and then Crib Goch, turning the snow into a kaleidoscope of orange and pink, reflecting in Llyn Llydaw.
The rest of the day was good, with visits made to Llyn Llynnau Mymbyr for the classic view to Snowdon, Llyn Ogwen and Llyn Idwal for views of Tryfan and the Glyders, the Idwal Pinnacles, and then onto Anglesey for shots of Telford’s suspension bridge at sunset, with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Some even found time to go to Conwy Castle for a crossover light shot of the castle over the estuary.
Monday morning couldn’t possibly be as good, although a large group made the steep climb to Llyn Cwmffynnon for reflections of Crib Goch and the Glyders in the still water of the lake. It was then time to head back to the hotel for breakfast before driving home.
This being February, we also had a full itinerary for the long evenings.
Friday saw presentations from Robert Harvey and Richard Watson on the local area, and also from Josh Cooper who lives on the southern edge of the National Park.
Then on Saturday, we had another of Robert’s inimitable quizzes, including the feared but hilarious Just-A-Minute round.
All in all, this was another very successful trip which was enjoyed by all. Our thanks go especially to Robert and Richard for organising the whole trip, booking the hotel, managing payments and offering their guiding services for photographic vantage points. DG
Images © Dave Gray Top: Snowdon Group from Llyn Llynnau Mymbyr, Right: Dinorwic Quarry, Bottom: Golden Light on Snowdon and Crib Goch
|Competition 3 Projected Images - Portraits||6 February 2018|
Club Chairman Richard Watson welcomed Beryl Heaton ARPS EFIAP CPAGB who judged the competition and was visiting Devizes CC for the first time. This was the first time the club had a competition for portraits for many years so it was interesting to see what images members would enter. Although not a huge number of members entered - each competition section managed to have some excellent images.
|Light on the Wiltshire Landscape||30 January 2018|
This week we welcomed Stephen Davis to the Devizes Camera Club to hear his talk entitled Light on the Wiltshire Landscape. Stephen had travelled right across Devizes to share his photographic love affair with the Wiltshire countryside, especially that within easy reach of a curtain twitch on a day with enticing light.
He told us that he moved to this area about 20 years ago and joined Wiltshire Wildlife Trust about 6 years ago. He has always been a naturalist and enjoys exploring meadows and woodland in search of landscapes, wild flowers, trees and butterflies. He said he likes making prints and tries to envisage the finished output at the time of planning and taking his images. Stephen explained that his presentation would follow the year from January to December and that the majority of the images were taken in the Pewsey and Marlborough Downs area.
True to his word, his first images were of Avebury Stone Circle in the January frost with dramatic skies. (left)
He followed this up with some snow scenes taken in Savernake Forest in 2013. He stated that we don’t often get a good amount of snow these days and advised us to get out quickly when snow does settle as it is likely to have melted by lunchtime!
Martinsell is one of his favourite spots when there is mist in the Vale. He showed us several excellent images and explained that he often likes to take this sort of landscape image with his 70-300 lens because different zoom lengths can provide a completely different feel to the same scene. Other images from February and March included Starling murmurations at Lavington vedette and Silbury Hill with a fabulous dawn sky.
In April, Stephen was in the Pewsey Vale with an image of Woodborough Hill. He confided that the field around the clump of trees was a haven for Green Winged Orchids in the first two weeks of May. He showed us several images of Fritillaries taken at Clattinger Farm, explaining that he liked to have just one flower in sharp focus with the rest, in front and behind in soft focus. He also had images of Marsh Marigolds, taken at Drew’s Pond, Bluebells at Gophers Wood and West Wood, and Wild Garlic taken near Castle Coombe.
For June and July he had several images of wild flower meadows, especially extolling the virtues of Clattinger Farm meadows as some of the best in the country. In August, a time that he regards as the worst of the year for photography, he had a lovely image of stooks of corn (left) and returned to Martinsell to take some more misty images at 300mm. In September, he headed for Caen Locks shortly before the equinox, to capture golden light in the mist at the bottom of the flight.(right)
For October, he had a wonderful sunrise image taken through some trees across the road from Silbury Hill. Then there were a series of lovely compositions with autumn colours taken in Savernake Forest. He showed us a wonderful sunrise image taken at Langford Lakes and by December we were back in the Pewsey Vale with some original shots taken from the Pewsey Downs between Oare and Walkers Hill. Stephen ended his talk back where he started with some more stunning images with dramatic skies taken at Avebury.
During the break we had an opportunity to take a closer look at many of the images he had presented displayed as prints.
After the break, Stephen showed us samples from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s book, entitled Wild Wiltshire, on which he and 12 other photographers had collaborated. Some of the memorable shots, amongst a range of stunning images, included a Sparrowhawk, taken from the photographer’s kitchen window; Pewsey Vale in the snow, taken from Walker’s Hill; a fiery Firecrest; Waxwings taken in a car park in Wroughton; and swans, deer and otters taken at Lower Moor Farm.
A lively ‘question and answer’ session followed Stephen’s presentation during which it was clear that the audience had been inspired by Stephen’s images. When asked where is favourite location was, Stephen tactfully said that different places gave him different pleasures. His list of favourites WWT reserves included Clattinger and Lower Mill Farms, Jones Mill, Morgan’s Hill, Coombe Bisset Down, Ham Hill and Conigre Mead.
The Chairman thanked Stephen for an inspiring evening and the audience backed that up with a warm round of applause.DF
|GB Cup Results 2018|
Devizes CC entered the 2018 GB Cup Open and Nature Projected Image competitions. These competitions are held annually by the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain who organise photographic events for photographic Clubs in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.
|Landscape Print & Projected Image Competitions 2018||23 January 2018|
The judge for the 2018 Annual Landscape Competitions was John Tilsley ARPS DPAGB APAGB who travelled from Dorchester. John is a very experienced judge and is himself a very competent landscape photographer and when he saw the glorious sunrises and sunsets depicted in many of the entries he quipped that it usually rains whenever he goes to photograph landscapes!
|Photographic Competition that members might be interested in|
|Oxford Brookes University 'Think Human' Photography Competition.
Photographers of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels are invited to enter their best images for a chance to win, and entry to the competition is free.
The competition is now open for entries and runs until 31st March 2018.
The four themes are: , , or
|'The Secret Forest'||16 January 2018|
There was a very good turnout at the Camera Club to welcome Betty and Tony Rackham (both FRPS) for their presentation entitled The Secret Forest. During the club’s introduction it was mentioned that both Tony and Betty had been photographers most of their lives, starting out on a Box Brownie.
Betty started by saying that both she and Tony had been brought up in the New Forest, had been to school there and ended up lecturing at Brockenhurst College, where Tony became Head of Technology and Betty Head of Photography.
She gave us a potted history of the Forest’s existence, explaining the various influences that had made it what it is today. From Saxon times, when it was just common land; through William the Conqueror, who enclosed it as a hunting forest; its use as a resource for timber in the middle ages; and the re-establishment of common rights in the 19th century.
Betty explained that she and Tony would take it in turns to show various habitats in the New Forest and give us a close-up view of flora and fauna that most people would miss. She started with Ponds and said that, while you can see some unusual plants in these habitats, some are wild and others have been introduced and cultivated. We saw images of Royal Fern, which has clearly been planted on the edge of some ponds as ornamental features, but has also managed to establish itself in other areas as a wild plant. She said that white water-lilies are usually wild, but pink ones will have been introduced. She showed us close-up images of unusual and, in some cases, rare plants, including Burr Reed, Water Horsetail, Lesser Spearwort, Frog-bit, Bog Pimpernel and Pillwort.
Tony took over to talk about Streams and Rivers and Boggy Areas. He started with an image of baby Pond Skaters, followed by one of a forest of red Damsel Flies mating above a section of water weed. He then went on to say that many plants in these wet areas are insect eating because of the poor quality of the soil. He illustrated this with a series of images of various Sundews, including the English Sundew, which is larger than other sundews and, other than the New Forest, is more normally found in Scotland. Also Bladderwort, which catches organisms under water and Common Butterwort, which normally grows on mountains and whose leaves fold over insects that land on them.
There was a series of images of Gentians which, he said, flower in profusion some years and do not appear in others. Studies have suggested that the plants are there each year but do not always flower. Tony then presented an image showing that Brown Moth Caterpillars like to eat the buds and wondered whether this might be an explanation.
As the first half drew to a close, it had become clear that some plants that grow in the New Forest are not found anywhere else in England. This was again illustrated by Tony with an image of Club Moss which is rare and normally grows in mountains such as the Alps.
Betty began the second half talking about Plantations and Ancient Ornamental Woodland. She explained that, over many years conifers had been planted in stands amongst the ancient deciduous trees, but that this practice is being scaled back. She showed us some lovely images of woodland in autumn, together with pictures of coppiced Alder, Chestnuts, Crab Apples, ferns in the frost and flowering gorse covered in snow.
She also had shots of lichen in the autumn and a whole series of different fungi. Betty lamented the fact that many people come into the Forest and pick large numbers of fungi, perhaps to be used in the restaurant trade. She expressed her concern that this could prevent plants from reproducing and lead to a serious reduction in numbers and even extinction of some species.
Tony took over to talk about Heath and Lawns. He explains that some of the heathland had been cleared of undergrowth to provide Lawns of grass for the ponies and donkeys to graze on. In some areas the heather is beginning to re-establish itself. In these habitats we saw images, not only of pony and donkeys, but also various species of deer and reptiles. He was keen to tell us that 10% of adders in the New Forest are black adders.
Tony likes to take images of the Forest floor in close-up - what he calls “Fragments of Nature”. He shared some of these, including Nail Fungus, Heather florets and a lichen that presents tiny red fruiting bodies in winter.
During questions at the end, they were asked whether they have seen evidence of widely publicised plant diseases such as Ash dieback. Tony answered that, while some evidence can be seen from time to time, the plants usually recover well and the problem is not wide-spread anyway. Betty suggested that the biggest danger to the well-being of the Forest is the number of people that visit and their behaviour.
During the evening, it was clear that both Tony and Betty have a passion for the New Forest and their enthusiasm and knowledge made this a very entertaining evening. The audience showed their appreciation with a warm round of applause and, as they were leaving, could be heard discussing the excellent prints that had been displayed. DF
|Projected Image League-results||9 January2018|
Competition Secretary Caroline Wright has done all the calculations for last weeks Projected Image League Competition and Richard Watson LRPS read out the results at the meeting.
|Projected Image League||2 January 2018|
Club Chairman Richard Watson LRPS welcomed members back after the Christmas break. It was a shame less members than usual were present but maybe the wet and windy weather was to blame or some may still have been getting over the New Year or maybe just forgot it was a Tuesday but anyway they missed seeing some excellent images.
|Salon Results for 2017|
Congratulations to Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP for retaining the Ryder Rathband trophy for the forth year in a row.
The Trophy is presented annually to the club member who gains the most acceptances in Salons.
Since the last Salon update Robert has been awarded a PSA Ribbon for his image 'Monkey Orchid' (right) in the Nature section of the Smethwick International Salon. The Monkey Orchid is a very rare in the UK and is unusual in that the flowering spike opens from the top.
Robert was awarded an NCPF ribbon for 'Snow Moon, Oks Fjord' (left) in the Northern Counties International Salon Photo Travel section.
Robert has recently gained 23 acceptances in the Greek Olympic Circuit and 4 acceptances in the Yorkshire International. During the year Robert has been awarded a total of 94 acceptances in Nature, Travel and Open categories.
During 2017 Richard Atkinson AFIAP has 27 acceptances and Kevin Ferris LRPS, Hilary Eagles and Gill Cardy FRPS EFIAP DPAGB have all gained acceptances during the year. Very well done to all.
Thanks to Richard for compiling all the results. There is more information about how to enter Salons on the website see Salons
Full results for 2017 pdf.
Look out for Challenge 2018 - a different subject each month to inspire you to go out and find something new to photograph during the month.
In 2016 the club ran a weekly ‘challenge’ which many members enjoyed and produced many interesting images that they might otherwise not have taken.
We invite constructive criticism and you can ‘like’ your favourites. The top 3 most ‘liked’ mages by members will be shown on the club website and the winner might like to choose the next subject.
|Christmas Knock-out Competition 19 December 2017|
The last meeting of 2017 was the Christmas knock-out – a light hearted competition where the images entered are knocked out one by one until just the winner is left.
Monochrome Print and Creative PI Competitions
|12 December 2017|
The judge for the two competitions was Tony Byram EFIAP ARPS AWPF DPAGB who travelled to Devizes from Bristol on a very cold evening.
It was an evening of contrasting images with the monochrome prints tending to be more traditional and the creative digital images more imaginative.
Commenting generally on the monochrome prints Tony said that he looks for a wide range of tones with a good contrast but some of the prints entered appeared rather all over grey.
There should be detail in the darkest areas and a good balance of light and shade. A few prints looked rather dark and lacked ‘sparkle’ Tony commented but however other prints were praised for their sharpness and good range of tones.
There was a good entry of monochrome prints from members for the judge to give his comments on. Subjects ranged from moody landscapes and interesting architecture to sport, portraits, street scenes and many more interesting ideas that worked particularly well in monochrome.
A sepia toned portrait of a bearded man (left) by Pam Mullings particularly appealed to the judge who commented on the detail and the presentation awarding ‘Randolf’ first place. Another print by Pam – this time in black and white of a white rhino titled ‘Endangered’ (right) was in second place.
‘Talisker Bay’ - a seascape by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP was in third place.
Eight prints were awarded Highly Commended including 2 from Kyra Wilson – see the full list below.
Altogether different were the imaginative projected images in the Creative Competition. The club would have liked a few more entries but many of the club’s newer members seemed reluctant to try their hand at something a bit different.
Creative can be an image taken in camera or an image altered or combined with others using editing software. Again a range of interpretations were entered – some double exposures taken in camera, some images altered using software effects and others combined images to give sometimes amusing and improbable results.
An image by Pam titled ‘That Sinking Feeling’ (left) was an altered reality image of a red-headed lady sinking into a muddy hole and coming face to face with a frog! The judge liked the odd combination and awarded the image first place.
Close behind was an amusing image by Robert titled ‘To Business, Gentlemen’ (right) with penguins made to look like city gents and was awarded second place. In third place was another brilliant idea by Kyra Wilson ‘Pop up Little Owl’ with the bird appearing to pop out of a print.
Hopefully those that entered had fun thinking up new ideas and more might enter next year.
The Syd Holley ‘Pencil of Nature’ Trophy for a monochrome print and the ‘Demiurgic Trophy’ for a creative projected image were both presented to Pam Mullings by the judge Tony Byram.
Congratulations to all who gained awards and especially to the new members who entered.
Thanks to Tony for judging two such contrasting competitions and for giving such helpful comments on each one.
Full results The awarded images can be seen in the Galleries