Quad Battle Results 17th March 2020   

RH rabbitIn recent years, one of the fixtures in our calendar has been a Four-Way, or Quad, Battle between ourselves, Swindon, Royal Wootton Bassett and Stratton (formerly Highworth) Camera Clubs. This year, it fell to RWB to organise and host.
Each of the clubs submitted 15 of their best images, which were sent off to the judge to mark and prepare comments. However, at this point, Coronavirus intervened, and the Battle as a live event had to be cancelled.

DW red squirrelNevertheless the judge did send out the marks for each entry, though sadly not with any commentary setting out the reasoning. The overall scores placed Devizes in 2nd place as follows:
Swindon Photographic Society – 259 points
Devizes Camera Club – 252 points
RWB Camera Club – 239 points
Stratton Camera Club – 207 points

Congratulations to Swindon on their success.
Within our own entry, congratulations go to Robert Harvey for ‘A Rabbit Before Me’ right
and David Wilkinson for ‘Red Squirrel’ left, both scoring a maximum 20 points.
Robert and David also had images scoring 19 points so well done to them.
There were only 2 other images scoring maximum points on the night. DG


   List of Devizes CC scores        Images & points fron all 4 clubs

 

Creative Competition 2020
PM blueThe Creative competition seems to have been fated this year as first of all the judge had to be replaced at short notice then the second judge appointed had to self-isolate after returning from Italy so the meeting was cancelled. The images were then sent together with the Competition 2 prints to a third judge and that meeting was cancelled as were all the other meetings.

Kindly the judge Beryl Heaton ARPS, EFIAP, CPAGB has sent her comments and given the awards.

PM nestSadly there were only 9 entries so where was everyone? Images taken after the popular demonstration of ‘Light Painting’ could have been entered. Members have had a go at creative camera movement and other techniques so these could have been entered. A lot of images taken in camera at our portrait evenings would have met the criteria for ‘Creative’. 
The trophy was presented to the club in 2011 to encourage more creative images which are so popular with many clubs and are often the winners in the National & International competitions. Maybe next year members might find a bit more creativity!!
The 9 creative images and the judges comments will be shown below.

Anyway we have the results – in first place was ‘Bolt from the Blue’ by Pam Mullings. The judge liked the scared look on the models face, the hair standing on end and the way the lightning streamed down.
In second place was ‘Nesting Time’ by Pam Mullings – described by the judge as a fun image. She said that she enjoyed the model’s expression with the eyes looking up in the direction of the ‘hat’ and the pigeon. The hat has been expertly constructed to resemble a nest. 
The judge commented that she didn’t normally pick out images in the same genre for awards like this but felt that these two portraits were first class.
In third place was ‘Knock Knock’ by David Eagle. The judge said it was a nice idea with well-chosen elements showing all types of doors from modern to old fashioned with different colours. The woodpecker using the knocker is fantastic.
DE knockOther entries featured an amusing lemur an ‘ebulb’ and Avebury in Wonderland!
Well done everyone who entered and at least had a go!

A very special thanks to the judge for sending her comments.

Thanks to the competition secretaries who have had so much to do sorting out these cancelled meetings and changes of judges.
The results of the Audio Visual competition which was also changed should be with us after the next competition.
Keep smiling and maybe try a bit of creativity if you have some spare time on your hands! PM

All the entries and the judges comments       Awarded Image Gallery

 

Open Print Competition 2 - results

At this unprecedented time the competition print entries were with the judge but unfortunately our meetings are cancelled. Very kindly the judge Beryl Heaton ARPS, EFIAP, CPAGB agreed to judge the competition and send us notes on each image and give us the awards.
Beryl sent the following message - 'Thank you for inviting me to judge your competition. I have judged at your club once before and I hope to have the opportunity to do so again. I have enjoyed looking at the images. I was particularly impressed by the fact that you have three sections. A lot of clubs strive to do this but are thwarted by lack of numbers. Furthermore, I was impressed by the high standard of work in the Beginners.'
BC Solstice
Sadly, there were fewer than usual entries in this print competition – maybe because it is getting near the end of the season or that members are not printing their images as much as they did in the past. This is a great pity as it is a great joy to see a well printed and mounted image.
Anyway the following write up has to be taken from the judges notes. So that members can see all the images entered and the full judges notes they will be added below.

In the Beginners section first place went to ‘Dawn Breaking, Winter Solstice’ right by Bridget Codrington. The judge enjoyed the dramatic with very clear silhouettes of all the dramatic with very clear silhouettes of all the observers and the symmetry. She said it was a ‘wow’ sort of sky with colours ranging from pale yellow to navy blue.
In second place was ‘Bird Box No 7’ by Dave Eagle with the judge commenting ‘What an inventive title!’ Beryl said she enjoyed the atmosphere of the woodland, the mistiness and the image was nice and sharp.
The viewpoint and interesting angles of ’Stairwell’ by Helena Chambers appealed to the judge and was placed third. It works well in monochrome and the square format suits the image.A colourful image ‘Southern Carmine Bee Eater’ by Tony Leach was awarded an HC.

CP SteepleIn the Intermediate section ‘Steeple in the Mist’ left by Craig Purvis was awarded first place. The judge said that the mist gives the lower part an air of mystery and at the top we have reality with a lovely coloured sky and trees silhouetted on the hill. The composition works well as we have interest from top to bottom and across the width of the image.
‘Morning Calm Coniston’ by Steve Hardman was awarded 2nd place in this section. The jetty leads us into the image across the lake and the frost on the jetty and on the top of the posts enhances the scene. Due to the calm water we have a lovely clear reflection and the sky is adding interest. 
A charming image of the fox which looks very alert with its ears up is titled ‘Fox on the Alert’ and is by David Wilkinson. The judge awarded it 3rd place saying that the pose works well as the fox stands out against the diffused background of a sympathetic colour.
PM cameliasHighly commended’s were awarded to Craig Purvis and Martin Stokes.

In the Advanced section there were just 11 entries.

First place went to ‘Camelias’ by Pam Mullings. The judge liked the composition with flowers on the diagonal. She wrote - they are lovely and sharp and the grainy background adds to the effect as does the unusual way the photographer has framed the image. She said that she always has a border around hers but this is something a bit different and it really works
‘Desert in Bloom Wadi Rum’ - captured this scene well at the right time of day to give interesting shadows. Beryl commented that it is amazing that the flowers can survive in this barren landscape and in such large numbers.Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP was awarded 2nd and 3rd places – ‘First Light in Deadviei’ – was rather different, concentrating on one tree which the judge liked. It was quite minimalistic with some lovely lighting on the branches and nothing in the background to distract.
‘Dancing’ by Chris Wilkes Ciudad was awarded an HC the judge stated that the photographer is attempting to give us a feeling of movement and thought the colours were delightful.

Very well done everyone and a special thank you to the judge for sending us the useful notes as we were unable to have the usual meeting. Thanks to the Competition Secretaries who sorted the entries and arranged for the club to get the results.

All the very best to everyone – keep safe. PM
Results        Awarded Images    Beginners Images& Judges notes       Intermediate Images           Advanced Images

No meetings for the rest of the Season

The Committee has been following developments on the Coronavirus outbreak, and has now reluctantly concluded that we must cancel our meetings for the rest of the season with immediate effect.
We have a number of members in ‘at risk’ categories, and there is also a strong possibility of our speakers and judges having to self-isolate at short notice. It seems only a matter of time before the Government recommends all social interaction is kept to an absolute minimum, and several Camera Clubs across the Western Counties have already suspended their programmes.

Our competition secretary team are looking at possible ways we can continue with the remaining competitions using remote judging. We will keep you informed about progress on these, but please submit your entries for the Open Projected Image 3 competition by Tuesday 24th March as currently scheduled.

'iPhone Photography' 10 March 2020   
BH viewOn Tuesday this week Bob Holman travelled over from Marlborough Photography to present a talk on iPhone Photography. A committed Apple user, Bob said he rarely goes out on photo shoots, preferring to take photos as they arise and sticks to the principle that “the best camera is the one that’s with you!” Saying that he aimed to change our perception of iPhone photography, Bob started by showing a series of well composed images taken using the Apple camera on his phone.

Bob gave us a few tips on using the camera, such as how to access the camera quickly, that the volume button will act as a shutter button, and that keeping your finger pressed on the button will take images in burst mode for as long as you hold it there. BH portraitHe also pointed out that bluetooth gadgets such as a key ring or the volume button on ear buds, will also act as a shutter button for more discrete shooting. He emphasised the importance of touching the subject on your screen to ensure that it is in focus, and that a long hold will lock the focus and exposure for you.

Bob ran through the app’s icons on the screen, giving a detailed account of the various facilities available, but not necessarily well known. For example, when taking images in Portrait mode, the camera will detect faces, allow you to change the lighting and the aperture for the shot. Furthermore, all these settings can be changed after the shot using Edit! He also demonstrated how to use Panorama mode both horizontally and vertically.

After the break, Bob showed us some of his images of animals, relating how he had taped his camera to a window and used his bluetooth key ring as a remote shutter release to take a load of images of a blue tit which kept landing in his hedge!
BH deerAnother technique he uses is to walk towards the subject with his finger on the shutter, thus using burst mode, until the animal moves away.

Finally, Bob introduced us to the Lightroom mobile app through which images can be shot in RAW. Again, he ran through the various options and icons to show us what can be achieved. He concentrated on Professional mode to show just how much control one can have over the images taken with his phone.

It was a fascinating talk during which many of the audience had their phones out trying everything he demonstrated.
Our Chairman thanked Bob for an enlightening evening, adding that he felt he was now going to have to buy a new phone to access all the facilities!  DF
Images © Bob Holman


'That's Not a Landscape Photograph!' 3 March 2020   
HA3The club was treated to an excellent presentation by Shaftsbury photographer Huw Alban. Huw was used to photographing Formula 1 events capturing high speed racing cars but has now turned his photographic interests to capturing landscapes in a variety of forms. Some images are what most photographers regard as a typical landscapes but in others Huw sets out to capture the atmosphere that he felt at the time – perhaps it was very wet and windy or very still and calm.
Sometimes Huw uses Creative Camera Movement to create an image he feels captures the feeling he had when taking the image. He suggests looking back at your images and recalling why you took the image and what was the feeling that you tried to capture.
HA4In order to get an image that conveys feeling of a damp still day Huw even uses a pinhole camera to give that soft, dreamy impressionistic image.  Simplify the composition to only include what interests you. Be patient and wait for the right moment.
‘Rules’ of composition help when you start out in photography but if everyone follows the ‘rules’ there is no self-expression. In time a personal style is develops and a photographer’s images become instantly recognisable. Look for something different rather than the flock to well-known photogenic scenes – look for a different view.
If you break the ‘rules’ then know how or why. Take photographs to please yourself and don’t allow the opinions of other to stifle your interpretation.
Looking through his favourite images Huw found that he was drawn to straight lines and they continue to feature in many of his images.

HA7Huw showed club members some views of Minnis Bay, Kent and no one present thought it looked an inspiring place to photograph but then he went on to show why after taking time to explore it has become one of his favourite destinations. He showed imaginative images of the breakwaters, jetties, decaying wood groynes and even making a striking image of the rusty sea defences!
Another favourite destination visited time and time again is Cumbria with its lakes and Castlerigg stone circle.

Huw advises - plan in advance by researching the area using maps, check on the expected weather conditions and the position of the sun but also be prepared to keep an open mind and be responsive to the situation that you find. Plans can go awry, so take any opportunity that arises and be open to new ideas. Images can be taken at any time of day or in any conditions.
Huw advocates keeping photographic equipment simple – the latest expensive camera and gismo’s do not give necessarily get you better images! He finds that an Olympus mirrorless four thirds camera with top quality zoom lenses (12-100 and 40-150) cover all his photographic situations. The camera is lightweight and the 20 megapixels adequate for up to A2 printing and the zoom lenses allow precise framing. Although Huw almost always uses a tripod so that he can set up his image precisely but, when the occasion calls for it, the cameras good image stabilisation allows it to be handheld.
Huw holds group and 1 to 1 workshops for those who would like to learn more about landscape photography.
Steve Hardman thanked Huw for his very entertaining, informative, thought and action provoking presentation. PM

Images © Huw Alban. Images of Minnis Bay, Kent  See website for more information on Photographic workshops, equipment etc.



'It Rained in Namibia’ 18 February 2020   
SP cheetahIn this weeks club meeting we were treated to a wonderful presentation by Simon Palmer entitled ' It rained in Namibia' when he showed us his images of the dramatic landscape of the country and its wildlife.
Simon is a highly regarded and award winning photographer who has developed a passion for conservation and works closely with a number of charities in Namibia, in particular The Africat Foundation which is committed to the long-term conservation and survival of Namibia's large carnivores in their natural habitat.

SP treesSimon's interesting, heart-felt and often amusing talk about the conservation work was illustrated by his wonderful photographs. We saw dramatic images of the landscape where the animals live including the brightly coloured sand dunes in the south of the country which provide such a contrasting back drop to the fascinating natural architecture of the jet black and dried out Acacia trees, which are between 8 and 900 years old. Abandoned vintage cars in the sun baked landscape, wonderful sunsets with silhouettes of Quiver trees and portraits of the indigenous people all feature in his photographs, many of which have been enhanced by his creative skills with colour popping, smoky filters, monochrome and image enhancing borders.

SP lionBut it is the wildlife which really ignites his passion and we saw beautiful images of Cheetahs and Lions basking in the golden African light, a charming baby Zebra in monochrome with a hint of sepia and some fascinating images of a lion under sedation receiving treatment for an ingrowing toe nail! Simon explained at length about the work the charity does and how they work tirelessly to resolve human/wildlife conflict which when successful allows both to live in harmony in such a challenging environment, where it often only rains once ever 3-4 years.

All in all, a most informative, thought provoking and enjoyable evening and we wish Simon and all his colleagues at the charity continued success in helping to save such wonderful animals whose numbers are becoming alarmingly low. Raising money through the sale of this photographs and him donating his time is a remarkably selfless way too support such great work. KS

Images ©  Simon Palmer




DPIC, Warminster & GB Cup Battles  
February is the month of interclub battles, though 2020 has not been particularly fruitful for Devizes Camera Club.
DPIC (Digital Projected Image Competition) saw entries from 56 clubs across the Western Counties Federation, in which Devizes came a reasonable 14th=, though we have done better.  Results of the competition had to be recalculated after it emerged that the initial winner, Bristol Camera Club, had included 2 ineligible images in their entry.  Further scrutiny showed that no less than 11 images had been entered into previous DPIC competitions, and points which had been awarded were annulled.  Congratulations go to joint winners Dorchester and Frome Wessex.
More locally, the Warminster Multi-Club Print Battle consisted of entries from 7 clubs, with Devizes coming a disappointing 6th with 176 points, although only 3 more points would have lifted us to 2nd=.  Congratulations again go to winners on the day Frome Wessex.
Finally, we have the GB Cup, which is judged behind closed doors as the entries are drawn from the whole of the UK.  In this, Devizes finished a disappointing 65th out of 71 in the Open Section, and 61st= out of 86 in the Nature Section, although in the latter, Tim Tapley’s image ‘Water Boatman’ was accepted for inclusion in the slideshow of ‘best images’ of the competition.  Congratulations to Tim on this achievement.
It looks like it’s back to the drawing board for our selection committee, to try to fathom out what judges are looking for in multi-club competitions such as these.  Many of the successful images were post-processed to a greater degree than we are used to, although not many were ‘Creative’ montages made up of several images, and clearly we have ground to make up in the traditional GB Cup Nature competition.  
Thanks to all of our members whose work made up our entry for these competitions.  Dave Gray- DCC Battle Secretary
Full results
Some of the images that did well in the Battles were 'Getting to the Point' by David Eagles, 'Water Boatman' by Tim Tapley, 'Close Knit Band of Brothers' by Dave Gray & 'Osprey Bringing Nest Material' by Gill Cardy.
DE point  TT Water Boatman DG brothersGC Osprey
Members' Speed Critique 11-February 2020   
speed critiqueThis weeks club meeting saw the annual Speed Critique evening where 8 fairly new members to the club were 'invited' to present 10 or 12 images to small groups of other club members who would provide a useful critique. As a true novice and beginner this was really quite a daunting prospect but the invitation was made so politely it was almost impossible to decline! Besides, I thought he said Speed Dating which would have been a very different evening altogether! 
Having searched through many photographs and said 'right that is the final list' about 10 times, I finally decided on a dozen, representing a range of topics including landscapes and wildlife and took my place at one of the 4 tables set up for the evening.  In the first half, with 10 minutes allowed at each table, my fellow victims, sorry, participants were Bridget Codrington, Mark Somerville and KS 1Gerald Clarke.

Bridget presented a range of images including wildlife, landscapes, interesting skies and even an award winning photo showing the effect of deliberate camera movement. Mark's images included motorbikes and aircraft, mainly in monochrome and cleverly capturing movement. Gerald presented some wonderful shots of African Wildlife which were very interesting indeed.

The second half saw Dave Dowding present a range of photos from a steam fair featuring engines and various characters at the event and Megan Boardman showing her lovely photos of wildlife and others from a day in London watching the trooping of the colour.
KS 2Jennifer Skjoldbro again gave us a varied range of subjects including monochrome shots of buildings, wildlife and my personal favourite, a rabbit, mid leap, with a leaf in its mouth!.

Finally, Peter Tasker showed us a selection of shots of mist over a valley and cunningly decided to use the time to ask Dave Gray how he might improve them in Lightroom. Dave very helpfully obliged and Peter was proud of his success at the art of delegation!. I thought, darn, why didn't I think of that!

Having survived the ordeal my fellow participants agreed that over all it had been a very useful process, from which we can all learn something. It was interesting  to see such a range of subjects presented and we were relieved that the critics had been gentle and constructive, for which we were all very grateful - thank you!  Kate Stephens
Images: Kate, Peter and Jennifer discussing their images with members



Landscape Print & PI Competitions 4 February 2020   
CW Snowden SunsetThe Annual Landscape Competitions attracted a large entry and John Tilsley ARPS APAGB DPAGB said that he had great difficulty judging them.
John is a very experienced photographer himself and explained that judging was subjective and each judge has to make decisions on which images are given the awards. Everyone responds to images in different ways and he personally wants to feel the emotion in the image. After looking at the images John felt he had been on a fabulous tour of the British Isles and with so many splendid images entered he found it very difficult to choose the winners.
CW Cherhill DownThere were many entries taken on the Landscape Groups visits to various areas – Northumberland cropped up many times with Dunstanburgh Castle featured in many entries. Other popular locations were Snowdonia, the Lakes and the north Cornish coast.

Starting with the 26 print entries John gave helpful comments on each image pointing out the good points and also where he felt the photographer might have improved the image – sometimes by choosing a better viewpoint when taking the image or by cropping in post-production.
Many prints were held back for further consideration and then John finally chose the winners.
DE BrokenA print titled ‘Snowden Sunset’ top right by Chris Wilkes-Ciudad ARPS appealed to the judge for its simplicity – the mountains were silhouettes with just a glimpse of the sun’s golden rays. John said ‘wow, a magic moment’ and awarded the print first place.
In second place was ‘Cherhill Down’ top left another print by Chris. 
CW SkyeA more local subject this time in monochrome which John said had a wonderful light on the cloud and mist.
John described ‘Broken’ by David Eagle right as an intimate landscape with a moody atmosphere and gave it third place. Six other prints were awarded Highly Commended. All the prints were displayed for members to be able to get a close look.

After the break the judge commented on each of the large number of projected images entered. John said again that there were so many wonderful images that he found it difficult to choose a winner.
By chance a monochrome image also by Chris Wilkes-Ciudad was chosen as his favourite to win the second trophy of the evening.
John said he must be on the same wavelength as Chris as he liked the same simple but dramatic style. The title of the image was ‘Sligachan, Skye’ left with its well-toned landscape and moody sky.

The Landscape Competitions include entries from all 3 sections of the club and in the Beginners section and a newcomer to the club Jennifer Skjoldbro was awarded both the second and third places. Very well done to Jennifer who was entering her very first club competition.
JS BeachA subtly simple image titled ‘Beauty and the Beach' right  was praised by the judge who particularly liked the wonderful reflections on the wet sand.
JS Mist‘Mist in the Vale’ left was the image by Jennifer which gained her third place and was a scene which the judge said perfectly captured the Wiltshire landscape. Thirteen projected images were awarded HC’s out of the large entry.

Many congratulations to Chris Wilkes-Ciudad who was presented with both the Silver Birches Trophy for the best landscape print and the Derrick Turner Memorial Trophy for the best Projected Image.
The judge was thanked warmly for his helpful comments and for choosing the winning images by chairman Steve Hardman.
Thanks to the 3 competition secretaries who between them organised the entries.


See all the results                  All the awarded images can be seen the Galleries



 
Landscape Group Trip to the Purbeck Coast 1 February 2020   
The Landscape Group’s latest trip saw 11 members and friends go to Purbeck for some winter coastal landscapes.  The Dorset coast benefits from being photographed in the winter, for that is the time of year when the sun both rises and sets over the sea, giving low angled light illuminating the many interesting coastal features.
DG old harry rocks 
The forecast for dawn was for cloud and possibly rain, so a leisurely start was made from Studland at 10am.  The sun was now shining strongly as the group headed up the South West Coast Path to photograph the chalk stacks of Old Harry Rocks and adjacent cliffs of Handfast Point.  Brilliant white chalk gleaming in the sunshine is not the easiest subject to expose correctly, but careful bracketing and merging as an HDR (High Dynamic Range) image on the computer greatly ease the task nowadays.  The group spent well over an hour at this location, probably enjoying the winter sunshine as much as the photography, but eventually hunger called and we returned to Studland. 
DG worbarrow bay 
Those who had brought packed lunches then headed over the Purbeck hills to Worbarrow Bay, a dramatic bay contained within the Lulworth Army ranges and so untouched by hotels, restaurants and other typical seaside facilities.  The others, perhaps with hunger calling more strongly, sought out Fish and Chips in Swanage.

At Worbarrow Bay, the main target involved a 200m trudge over the pebble beach, to reach an area of red, orange and yellow rocks, their colours enhanced by the low angled sunlight.  These are Wealdan Sandstone formations which are perhaps more usually associated with Alum Bay on the Isle of Wight.  The sea was also putting on a good show of spray in the stiff South Westerly breeze, challenging our photographers to ‘catch the moment’.  Meanwhile, some of the Swanage Fish and Chips group had decided to go to Kimmeridge Bay instead, to photograph the angular ledges leading out to sea in a falling tide. 
 
Both groups had hoped for a good sunset, but persistent haze out to sea meant that the sun was obscured long before it actually set.   It had however been a wonderful day to photograph interesting features, and to banish the memory of so many dull and wet winter days. DG
Images: Old Harry Rocks & Sandstone Formations at Worbarrow Bay by Dave Gray

 
Studio Portrait Evening 28 January 2020   
KyraThere was a very good turn-out of enthusiastic club members for the portrait session organised by Kyra Wilson.
Three sets of lights and backgrounds were expertly set out in the hall and Kyra and two other re-enactors came with their colourful costumes and patiently posed as club members photographed them from all angles.

model2Members could take photographs of the three models and ask them to take up a variety of poses
The models brought along various props – Kyra set herself up making lace (right) and the two men brought along guns, swords and a drum to help set the scenes for the photographers.

There was much discussion amongst members as they took their photos about which camera settings worked best and whether to use flash or not.  
Members very much enjoyed the evening and for many it was a new experience and a chance to try something different.

There were some very good images as a result and many of those can be seen on the club facebook for members to compare.

Many thanks to Kyra for arranging the practical session, David Eagles who brought along his equipment and to all those who helped set up and take it all down again.
Many thanks to the models who posed so patiently during the evening. PM

Some photos of club members taking their photos and discussing the results.

membersmembers2model3
 
Landscape Group visit to Northumberland  
This year’s Landscape Group weekend trip saw 12 members and partners travel to Northumberland to photograph iconic coastal and moorland locations.  We are very pleased to say that the ladies outnumbered the gents on this occasion, and also that three of the party have only joined the club in the last 12 months.  The story of the trip is best told through the eyes of Kate Stephens, one of our new members to both Landscape Group and Devizes Camera Club:
KS northumberland1 
“I joined the club in September 2019 as an inquisitive but amateur photographer and was delighted to learn after just a couple of weeks that the club was organising a trip to Northumberland to visit and photograph some of its most beautiful places. As it is a county I have long yearned to see i eagerly signed up and on the 10th January 2020 a number of us set off in the early hours with a rendezvous time of 6.00pm at the hotel in Alnwick. Some had travelled the previous day as the weather was set fair and indeed proved to be just right for almost every day.
After a very clear run accompanied in the first part by the setting beautiful full Wolf moon. we arrived in Northumberland at approximately 12.30 and keen to get started went to Druridge Bay for our first Northumberland photographic experience. Here we found an interesting snaking estuary making its way to the sea amongst gentle sand dunes with soft tones of blues and yellows. I for one felt like we had definitely arrived!. From here we went to Amble and found the wonderful photogenic features of a pier, a castle across the estuary, pastel coloured beach huts and a lighthouse! As the light started to fade we continued to Alnwick and met our fellow travelers as arranged.
KS northumberland2Day two was an early start in order to go to the magical and mystical Holy Island and Lindisfarne. A dry, cold and very windy day brought opportunities to photograph the castle as the sun rose although not on this occasion, with any particular colour. There was much to explore on the island and we all went our separate ways in order to discover all it had to offer. With water starting to be blown onto the causeway we shot back across with great haste at 12.30 and our little group of four continued to Whitely Bay to photograph the lighthouse on St Mary's Island. Here the conditions were just perfect with sunshine, lovely clouds, choppy seas and of course the wonderful lighthouse. We even managed to see a seal which really made an already fantastic day, almost perfect. Not content to rest on our laurels we then made the trip to Newcastle for sundown in order to photograph the illuminated Gateshead Millenium bridge. Although we had a little light drizzle it was definitely worth the trip.
KS northumberland3Day 3 saw the group up early again to photograph Bamburgh Castle at sunrise. Although a beautiful location the bright colours of dawn did not appear but everyone certainly saw the potential of this hugely photogenic location. I joined the group at 10.30am to make the trip to Housesteads in order to walk approximately 2.5 miles along Hadrians Wall to Steel Rigg, taking in Housesteads Crags and the Sycamore Gap, both very beautiful locations. The walk was challenging as it was very cold but the scenery was outstanding and it was so pleasurable taking turns to walk with different members of the group and chat about all manner of things and sometimes pause to take photographs together. Arriving at Sycamore gap just before sunset the idea was for the group to carry out some astro photography; the hope being that the stars and Milky Way might just make an appearance and provide an even more stunning backdrop to the famous tree. The cold beat about half the group and we made our way back but those who stayed and endured the plunging temperatures, were, eventually, treated to a starry sky which broke through the cloud cover. I very much look forward to seeing their photographs.
Day 4 and another early start in order to photograph Dunstanburgh Castle at sunrise. It was very cold and the intrepid amongst the group ventured out across very slippery boulders in the half light to reach an advantageous position. Those of us who didn't feel up to that found our own angles and greatly enjoyed the spectacular location. We then enjoyed the castle from the southern side as the sun came up and we walked along the coastal path to Craster. Craster was 'closed' so we returned to Alnwick and the wonderfully cosy location of Barter Books where we all enjoyed brunch next to the open fires. The afternoon was our own and we took the opportunity to photograph Alnwick Castle and then have a relaxing afternoon in our hotel rooms.
The final day saw us up early to return to either Bamburgh or Dunstanburgh Castles for the promised colourful sunrise and it did not let us down. The group of us that went to Bamburgh were treated to one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen in the most stunning location. We all stood poised with our cameras and took repeated photographs until the 'show' was finished. I don't think it was possible to take a poor photo of this amazing occasion. Making tracks for home we stopped once more at Whitely Bay to cross the causeway to St Mary's and I was so pleased we did because we got the chance to photograph a colony of Atlantic seals which were languishing on the rocks behind the lighthouse. This brought to an end a hugely enjoyable, interesting, instructive  and fascinating trip to Northumberland. Thank you to all who planned it for us and guided us to so many beautiful locations and to the experienced members who were very amenable to sharing photography tips and I'm quite amazed and proud to say that 90% of my photographs were taken on manual!!” KS      Images by Kate Stephens

'From Psychologist to Photographic Artist' 21 January 2020    
And now for something completely different!
Kirsteen Titchener travelled up from Newton Abbot to present her story, entitled 'From Psychologist to Photographic Artist'.
She explained that she regards herself as an artist who uses KirsteenTitchener Autumnphotography as a medium to develop her work, and showed us a number of examples of composite images that she has produced over the years.

Having studied Psychology to PhD level, specialising in Audio Perception, she started using a camera while working in Australia. Having been to night school to learn how to use her camera, she soon found that she preferred working in a studio environment and started photographing friends’ dogs. She also started using Photoshop to tidy up images and began to experiment with developing composite images.

She read extensively and researched online for sources to improve her knowledge of Photoshop and her understanding of Art. Back in the UK, she attended a workshop in 2014 that changed her approach and set her on a road to discover a personal style. She illustrated her journey with several composite images, One showed a woman who appeared to be swimming inside a bottle of Gin. Another told her version of the Merlin and Vivien legend where Merlin becomes trapped in a tree.

Kirsteen shared a number of images from her two main projects to date - 'Missing' and 'Floral'.
In her Missing series she took a series of self-portraits, meticulously standing in the same studio position with the same lighting. She then removed herself, manipulated the clothing artistically and added in different paraphernalia, such as autumn leaves, sparkles or even animals.
Her latest project, Floral, concentrates on macro images of flowers which she gives a surreal interpretation blending other images of, for example, smoke or clouds.

Kirsteen has won many awards in competitions, principally with the Society of Photographers and her images have graced the covers of magazines, including the Royal Photographic Society’s Visual Art. Her presentation, which will enthuse those of us who are interested in progressing our creative photography, was warmly received by those present. DF


'Audiovisual Spectacular' 14 January 2020   
This evening’s presentation showcased the winning entries from the Western Counties Photographic Federation AV competition that was held on the 6th April 2019.
The WCPF competition was judged by Colin Harrison (FRPS: FIPF: FBPE: MFIAP: MPAGB: EFIAP/d1: MPSA: AWPF: APAGB) and hosted 37 entries from 13 different WCPF clubs from across the south west (Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucester, Wiltshire).
The competition comprised of four sections :-
• The President’s Salver for the Best ‘Long’ Sequence (over four minutes)
• The Coote Challenge Cup for the Best ‘Short’ Sequence (less than four minutes)
• The Photo Harmony Trophy for the best ’Photo Harmony’ sequence.
• The Innovation Award for the most innovative entry

Our evening featured the Commended, Highly Commended, 3rd, 2nd and 1st place AVs for each section of the WCPF competition, with the President’s Salver section viewed first.
The opening AV ‘Why I gave up Slide Shows’, was a spoof of a Slide Show presentation where all the things that can go wrong with slides, did go wrong. This varied from slides with dust-spots, through slide jams, and popping slides. Judging from the laughter from the audience this brought back memories for some.
The longer AVs tended to have more of a story to them, and possibly as a consequence more voice-over narration, certainly the 1st placed ‘Fortescue Cup’ was of that ilk, with fewer pictures, but a very entertaining story.
After a break for teas and coffees we watched the remaining AVs. Possibly being shorter, these tended to be a little more dynamic, although still with a strong story element.
From the Coote Challenge Cup, the 1st placed ‘Shoes on the Danube’ although fairly simple from a photographic point of view, had a very poignant story line, and a well-deserved first place.
The next section ‘Photo Harmony’ concentrated less on the story element, and more on the blending of images in sequence, the Commended ‘Landscape Odyssey’ featured some very strong landscape images, that flowed very well through the sequence.
The winning entry in the ‘Photo Harmony’ section, ‘Yellowstone Winter’ blended so well, it was difficult to tell where the blends started and finished, and which was the actual image, very well done.
Finally, the ‘Innovation Award’ featured a very short AV, with some fairly odd images, prompting the comment from the judge “What the hell is going on here? “, it was a great AV to finish on, and certainly provided food for thought.
The Club’s AV competition is on the 25th February, with a cut-off date of the 11th February, so it will be interesting to see what the WCPF Audio-visuals have inspired.
If you feel sufficiently inspired to enter the WCPF AV competition for this year, it is to be held on Saturday 4th April 2020, 10:00 am, at Woodbury Village Hall, Flower Street, Woodbury, Devon Entry details  The Judges will be:- Clive Rathband FRPS FPSSA EFIAP and Joan Ryder Rathband FRPS FPSSA AFIAP. DE

 
'Beyond the Summit' 7 January 2020   
CP treesWhile welcoming members back after the Christmas break Steve Hardman was interrupted by the untimely ringing of the fire alarm which delayed the start of the presentation, however finally when it was silenced the guest speaker could be introduced.
CP budeChris Palmer FRPS EFIAP DPAGB APAGB has been interested in photography since the age of 7 and over the years has gained many prestigious awards culminating in the highly esteemed Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. After reaching what is considered to be one of the highest accolades in photography and with a busy life lecturing and judging, Chris felt he must also continue to enjoy his own very high standard of photography.
Always trying to set his own style and not copy other photographers, his images are deceptively simple. Each image is carefully considered and a lot time is taken looking around the location and finding the best viewpoint before carefully setting up the camera and pressing the shutter at just the right moment.
Chris presented a large selection of his excellent prints on a wide range of subjects descibing why he had taken the photograph. Trees were among the subjects he gets drawn back to and has photographed them many times both in UK and abroad with the images often converted to monochrome – very simple but effective.
Stormy skies and tranquil beech scenes, misty landscapes, close-ups of eroded rocks and pebbles showing subtle colours and interesting shapes are among his favourites.
CP rockThe sea breaking over a sea bathing pool at Bude was photographed from many different angles. Small details that others would miss catch his eye in urban settings as well as in the countryside and make very effective images.
CP paintChris showed a delightful series of superb prints showing children in Istanbul and just for fun he let us see some of his more ‘whacky’ prints!
Very close up images of peeling paint from the hulls of boats which can look like interesting landscapes – an example left looks like an aerial view flock of sheep on a beach.

In landscape photography the lighting is very important to show the form of the terrain and to make the image look 3 dimensional when printed. He says what is left out is as important as what is left in an image. Nature has many shapes, forms and textures that make interesting photographs if you look hard enough – even marks in the sand or a few blades of grass can make an award winning image.
Before printing Chris takes great care to bring out the tones in his images and says that the paper used is important as it can change the appearance of the print. Colours are sometimes de-saturated to give overall harmony to the image.
He enjoys the whole process of photography - the search to find the image that satisfies his creativity then enhancing the image to its best and finally the printing.
Chairman Steve Hardman thanked Chris for his excellent presentation and summed up the evening as both fasinating and inspiring. PM
Images © Chris Palmer     More images can be seen on his website


2019 Christmas Knock-out & Party 17 December 2019  
CW woodsTime once again for the club’s Christmas Knock Out – surely it’s not a year since the last one!
Suitably attired and with a ho ho ho Santa arrived to preside over the annual event and make sure all was fair and square – no cheating or bribing allowed.
There was a very good entry – so large this year that the numbers had to be reduced or we might have still been exercising our arms ‘til the next day. Instead of 6 entries from each member the number needed to be reduced to a more manageable 4, making 120 images altogether.
GC MacaqueThe process of elimination was explained to the new members present and Dave Gray was set up ready to project the images in random pairs. Those present had to choose which of the 2 images shown that they preferred – the left or right or occasionally just to confuse - the top or the bottom. Santa had the job of counting the raised hands or if there was a tie, he had the final say and no one could argue with Santa!
The first 60 pairs were shown with in some cases difficult decisions to be made if they liked both images equally. Subjects were varied but being Christmas there were several robins and snow scenes, also Silbury Hill and Caen Hill Locks were popular local subjects. Sometimes the pairings caused a laugh with similar or converse subjects against each other, but finally 30 images were sadly rejected and 30 went on to the next round.
After some clever shuffling using the computer software the random pairings were projected but this time you could have 2 images by the same photographer against each other (but then at least you knew one would get through the round! )

Then we were down to 15 and with a little bit of juggling down to 8 for the next round.
Then final four images that had avoided the knock-out were declared.
The winner was the delightful ‘Beech woods’ by Caroline Wright. In second place was ‘Japanese Macaque Bathing’ by Gill Cardy which had caused a laugh with its laid- back expression as it got through each round.
TT Water BoatmanThird was ‘Silbury Hill’ by Robert Harvey and in fourth place an insect whose odd pose caused some amusement - ‘Water Boatman’ by Tim Tapley.
RH SilburyThe four winners each received a gift from Santa.
Thanks to all who entered.

Club Chairman, Steve Hardman thanked Santa - alias Frank Collins for organising the entries and Dave Gray for operating the computer.
The 3 Competition Secretaries were thanked for their work organising all this season's competitions.
Thanks went to Caroline Wright for organising the spread of Christmas goodies that members were about to enjoy and thanks also to the members who contributed some extras.
Thanks were also given to Mike Saunders for setting out the hall every week and Bridget Codrington for organising the weekly refreshments.
Finally, Steve wished everyone a Happy Christmas and all the best for the next decade, the bar was opened and the feasting began. PM
See you all again in 2020!


Monochrome Print & Projected Image Competitions 10 December 2019   


DE pointThe judge for the Annual Monochrome Competitions was Ginny Campbell ARPS who was welcomed by the club chairman Steve Hardman. PM EryngiumThere was a very large entry so the meeting started earlier than usual and Ginny said she would not have time to say all that she would like to about each image. The standard was generally very high with a wide range of subjects.
Ginny made an excellent job of judging all the entries and commented on the good points in each image and in some cases where she felt they might have been improved. She said that she looked for a wide tonal range and good contrast between the dark and light areas. In monochrome images the eye goes to the light areas in an image so make sure that your subject stands out. In many cases felt that the image could have been cropped as often ‘less is more’. Images were mostly well processed but commented that a few were over sharpened which gives a halo effect. Ginny looks out for interesting images that tell a story.
Starting with the 34 mounted prints entered, the judge gave very concise and constructive comments on each one picking out 5 HC’s and holding back 6 images before giving the final awards.

First place went to a very interesting image by David Eagle titled ‘Getting to the Point’ left
The judge was intrigued by the subject as it unusually portrayed a lady blacksmith working at her anvil and stated that it had a good composition and was a moment in time well captured.
CW LochA very different subject was in second place with a botanical study ‘Eryngium’ right by Pam Mullings with the judge commenting on the good range of tones.
Next to catch the judges eye was an Isle of Skye landscape by Chris Wilkes- Ciudad titled ‘Loch Cill Chriosd’left  Chris also had 2 more of his prints awarded Highly Commended.
DE Ripple TideHC’s in the print section were also awarded to Pam Mullings, Robert Harvey, Craig Purvis, Steve Hardman, David Lock and David Wilkinson.

Next the judge started commenting on the 81 projected images with a very wide range of subjects – some interesting portraits, architecture, street scenes and many landscapes. Ginny commented that some birds and mammals lent themselves better to monochrome than others and zebras, pied wagtails, gulls and woodpeckers worked well.

DG happyAn image by David Eagle again caught the judges eye – this time a very different subject with a seascape titled ‘Ripple Tide’ right awarded first place. The composition, the patterns made in the sand and the people in the far distance made it an outstanding image.
In second place was a portrait by Dave Gray with the judge saying the monochrome conversion of ‘Happy, Happy, Happy' left suited the smiling subject.
Third place went to one of the nature images with ‘Common Gull at Sea’ right by Tim Tapley catching the bird very well as it flew over the stormy wave.
The judge awarded HC’s to 15 images on a wide variety of subjects, these will all be shown in the Galleries.
TT Gull
With an outstanding evening for David Eagle he was presented with the ‘William Fox Talbot Trophy’ for his print and the ‘Constance Mundy Trophy’ for his projected image.
Many congratulations to David for winning the double!

Thanks to all the members who entered and made it such an interesting evening and thanks to competition secretaries David Wilkinson and David Eagles for the organisation.
Very special thanks to Ginny for judging the entries so well and travelling all the way from Dartmouth to give her comments.
Steve Hardman thanked the judge very much, adding that he found her comments were honest, thorough and constructive.

See all the results           All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries

 

 

'Every Step I Take' 3rd December 2019   
HS rainbowOur latest guest speaker at Devizes Camera Club was Heidi Stewart AWPF who travelled up from South Wales to give us her presentation entitled “Every Step I Take”. After an introduction from our chairman Steve, which established that Heidi is a member of Gwynfa Camera Club, she explained that she would be presenting images taken on her travels around the UK and Iceland.
Now that their children have grown up, she and her husband, a predominantly wildlife photographer and fellow camera club member, treat their holidays and days out as photography workshops. These, and camera club outings, formed the basis of her presentation.

HS auroraShe started with some pictures of Pont-y-Pandy slate mill where she and her husband stopped on the way to Anglesey. They travelled around Anglesey and she shared some lovely images including shots taken around Newborough Beach, Llanddwyn Island and Ty Mawr lighthouse.They travelled to the north and east of the island, where she took photographs of the copper mines at Parris Mountain, Penmon Point and Puffin Island and Beaumaris Pier, before ending up at Aberffraw Bay and St Cwfan’s Church and sunset images of Menai Bridge.

The next section of Heidi’s talk centred on a camera club visit to Iceland. Accompanied by several amusing anecdotes of the trip, she showed us some wonderful images of waterfalls, mountains and volcanic beaches. Stand out images were a series of shots of a red farmhouse in the landscape with a full rainbow, and monochrome shots taken at Vik beach and Diamond beach of black sand and lumps of ice. Heidi also shared a wonderful series of images of the Northern Lights.

HS michaelsIn the second half, Heidi took us to Northumberland where we saw images of Dunstanburgh Castle, Craster and Lindisfarne. She was particularly fascinated with the upturned herring boats which have been turned into sheds. A very high tide covering the causeway to Holy Island gave her the opportunity to take some interesting images of cloud reflections in the water over the roadway.

Her journey continued back to Wales and images of the Elan Valley, Tintern Abbey, the Brecon Beacons and Nash Point. In Cornwall, she went to St Michael’s Mount, Porthleven and Mevagissey and on to various tin mines on the coast, including Crown Mines at Bottalack. And finally she showed us images of her trip to Scotland, taking in Ullapool, Sligachan and Elgol on Skye, Ardrech Castle, Glen Torridon and Wester Ross.

Heidi’s amusing stories to accompany her wonderful photography made for a highly entertaining evening for which our chairman thanked her enthusiastically to a round of applause from the members. DF
images © Heidi Stewart


Open Print Competition 1 26 November 2019   
The judge for the first Open Print Competition of the season was Tony Byram EFIAP, ARPS, AWPF, DPAGB who was welcomed by Steve Hardman.
Tony has visited the club many times before both as a judge and a speaker and said that the standard of prints entered was generally very high and particularly mentioned the very good work in the Beginners section.
DE ForestWhen commenting on the entries Tony advised keeping images simple so the subject stands out even when viewed from a distance as sometimes just concentrating on a part of the original image would have made a better print. Nowadays digital makes it easy to try out new ideas as you can experiment as much as you like with no extra cost involved. In some cases, reversing an image can improve it - so try it out and see if it works for some images.

There was a good entry in the Beginners section and Tony took time to comment on each print and pointing out the good points as well as in some cases how it could have been improved. By taking note of the judges’ comments should help members improve their images. There was wide range of subjects from speeding motorbikes to close up insects with lots of impressive landscapes in between. Tony commented that some images were rather small in the frame so members might like to think about cropping off unnecessary areas before printing.
First place in the Beginners section went to David Eagle with a striking image ‘Deep in the Forest’ left
The judge liked the contrast between the straight trees in the background making the only curved branch stand out in the foreground.
In second place was another woodland scene titled ‘Bluebells at Westwood’, This time the photographer Mark Somerville used the technique of deliberately using camera movement to blur the image. ‘Broad-bodied Chaser’ was a superb close up by David Evans and was placed 3rd. Four other prints were awarded Highly Commended.

PM FantasiaAfter the break the Intermediate Prints were shown with only 12 entries. The print that most impressed the judge was ‘Venetian Sunfire’ left by Craig Purvis. The judge knows Venice well but he said that was not why he chose it but it was becaus of the incredible sky and its reflection.
Second place went to a very different subject with ‘Fox Portrait’ by Steve Hardman. The image was sharp, the colour good and the subject well placed. Another landscape was in third place, this time impressive image of Avebury titled ‘Stones and Stars’. CP Venetian SunfireThe image by Craig Purvis cleverly showing the well-lit stones, a starry sky and clouds radiating from the centre. Other images gaining HC’s showed a flying barn owl, squabbling gannets and a poppy field at dawn.

Last but not least were the 20 Advanced prints with another large range of subjects. In first place was a portrait by Pam Mullings titled ‘Fantasia’ right The judge liked the pose and the creative treatment which picked up the colours around the subject’s eyes.
An image by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP taken on a visit to Jordan was titled ‘Overlooking Petra’. The judge said the colours and composition were excellent and the man sitting on the rocks gave a good impression of the scale of the building below which was carved from the solid rock of the mountain and awarded it second place. In third place was a delightful image of a dog running towards the camera by Tim Pier titled ‘Bertie and his Ball’
Four other prints entered in the Advanced section were awarded Highly Commended.

Thanks to Tony for looking at the print entries so closely and giving his helpful comments. Thanks to David Wilkinson who ran the competition and to all those who entered their prints – especially the Beginners as it takes courage to enter your work for the first time for judging. Hopefully more members will have a go and print and mount their images for Open Print Competition 2 in February. PM
 Full Results         All of the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries


Calne Multi-Club Annual Digital Battle  
Calne Camera Club held their annual multi club Battle on the evening of 21 November at the Beversbrook Centre, Calne.
Nine local camera clubs were invited to enter – each submitting 10 digital images.
The judge for the evening was local commercial photographer Darren Luschover.
RH sandstormDarren began by saying how difficult he found it to judge 90 images with such a diverse array of subjects and styles. He said that when he judges he looks for impact in an image and how he feels about an image, the technical details are to him less important. Giving his personal views on each image he talked about the subject of the image and what he found appealing in the image and then gave a score out of 20. He said he felt no image was perfect so he gave 2 images top marks of 19 with the other scores ranging between 9 and 18 points.
SW FungiiDevizes began the evening well with ‘Sandstorm, Namid Desert’ right  by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP scoring 18. Later Sue Wadman also scored 18 points for ‘Fungi in the Rain’ left so very well done to both of them.
At half time Devizes was just one point behind first placed Calne CC so hopes were high! However, that all changed after the second half when the final scores were announced and Devizes had slipped to seventh place with a total of 151 points. Warminster CC, Swindon PS and Corsham PC all tied on 152 points, Calne CC were third with 158, in second place were Highworth CC with161 and in first position were Frome Wessex CC with 164 - so many congratulations to Frome.
Alan Denison from Frome Wessex CC was awarded best image for his monochrome image ‘Window Dancer’
As the judge said - judging is a personal choice and if the results are compared to our results in the Battle with Frome Wessex held a few weeks ago that judge had a completely different opinion. Hopefully we have better luck in our next competition!
DCC Battle Secretary Dave Gray was unfortunately unable to attend but about nine members went to Calne on a very cold evening to represent the club.
Thanks to Calne CC for their hospitality and for organising the event, thanks to Dave Gray for sending in our entry and thanks also to members whose images were selected – well done. PM

Devizes results



'Shooting People and Other Stuff" 19 November 2019   
MM4Mike Martin is an award winning photographer who a few years ago started his passion for portrait photography after a group studio session. He says he is a hobbyist photographer and keen member of Bristol and Kingswood Photographic Societies. He photographs a wide range of subjects including urban photos, architecture, plants, beasts and bugs but always likes to ‘think outside the box’
MM3The evening began with Mike showing a great number of his excellent prints in quick succession. Starting with some taken at the start of his photographic journey in about 1996 using film and darkroom techniques. He says later on a group workshops gave him an interest in portraiture and he gained a lot of experience by working with other photographers as they could bounce ideas off one another. A fellow photographer introduced him to the world of models and make-up artists and so together they arranged photo shoots in a variety of interesting locations. Sometimes using natural light and other times setting up artificial light both outdoors and in the indoor setting or studio. The location often gives ideas for interesting poses and models often have to be prepared for anything that is requested!
Props of various sorts are used – backgrounds and costumes convey all sorts of scenarios and anything else can be used to make an interesting image. Mike carries around various items which might come in useful for adding the right colour or effect such as pieces of fabric and says he finds ‘gaffer’ tape often comes in useful to hold things in place. He even arranges for snakes and other reptiles, tarantulas and even scorpions to be used to great effect and models may even have paint dripped on them if Mike feels it creates an interesting effect.
Many of the prints shown were monochrome and with his colour prints he takes great care to make sure the overall tones were harmonious. Often the colours are de-saturated in post-production and great care taken to edit the whole image to his taste. Mike showed several examples of panels of 3 images where the subject and the colours must work well together as a set.
 MM2Mike is always experimenting and looking for new ideas and said he likes to learn something new every day! As well as working with studio set ups he always carries a compact camera to record anything that might make an interesting image or background. MM1Photographs are sometimes taken using infra-red to give interesting effects.

After the break Mike let us into the secrets of how many of his images we had just seen were created. Using projected images he showed the ‘before and after’ which appeared very different.  The advice is to simplify and show only the parts of the image that appeal, think why you took the image and eliminate or disguise everything else. This is sometimes done by cropping, blurring or darkening unwanted areas. Using masks, blend modes, textures and many other techniques the original image can be transformed into something completely different.
Combinations of several images were imaginatively used to create something unique. Mike likes to feel the images have his signature on them and are not similar to any other photographers. Even working alongside others on a group shoot with the same model he can edit his images to look completely different.
Mike was thanked by club chairman Steve Hardman for giving members such an inspiring insight into the creative side of portrait photography and said he expected he might possibly see more creative work from club members in future. PM
Images © Mike Martin

Light Painting 12 November 2019     
In a change to the scheduled programme, we welcomed Michelle Essenson to Devizes Camera Club for a presentation and practical session on Light Painting. Introduced as an enthusiastic speaker and regular presenter at the Royal Photographic Society, we had all been advised to bring our cameras (with Manual mode and Bulb function), sturdy tripod and plenty of batteries.
DF LightPainting 2First of all, Michelle explained what Light Painting is, referring us to a definition on Wikipedia. She said it might involve lighting a scene, creating a scene by recording light movement, or producing results by moving the camera and using a static light source. The history of Light Painting, she said, goes back to the 1880’s when the first photographs to trace human movement were produced. Later, in 1914, the technique was used in a Time & Motion study by strapping lights to workers and recording their movement on a camera with an open shutter. Today it is used mostly as an art form and in commercial photography. She referred us to lightpaintingphotograhy.com for further information.
Michelle told us a bit about her own photography journey, saying that she does some nature photography as well as shooting landscapes, astrophotography and likes to work with water, although she said she did not do much people photography. She started using Light Painting in January 2014 using just a torch and became hooked straight away. She now spends a lot of her time doing light painting photography with a vast array of tools, including light sabres, bicycle wheels and one, her favourite, that she described as a “rave whip”!
Many of her tools are homemade, using acrylic rods with torches attached using adapters made from plumbing accessories. Michelle recommended Hindleys Ltd for the inexpensive purchase of acrylic rods, tubes and sheets. She advocated using strings of LED lights, like Christmas decorations, attached to old bicycle wheels, curtain rails and skipping ropes. Specialist tools can also be bought from lightpaintingbrushes.com and elwirecraft.co.uk. Torches are essential and she recommended those with a memory mode and an on/off switch at the end. Variable intensity, multi-coloured features and strobe effects are also desirable.
Michelle then gave us a list of issues to consider for our own Light Painting activities. These included:
DF LightPainting 1• use a tripod
• work out the width of your work area, mark it out; move your tripod or zoom as need while the lights are on
• use Manual Mode and Bulb mode
• F8 and ISO 200 is a good starting point - vary according to the strength of the light source
• use autofocus initially and switch to Manual focus to fine tune
• take account of the usual long exposure considerations
• use Mirror lock-up or a mirrorless camera
• use a cloth to cover the lens while changing tools or during idle periods of exposure
• use a cable release or remote shutter trigger
• and then remove all other light sources (switch out the lights)
- and always be aware of SAFETY while working in the dark.
To emphasize the importance of safety, Michelle told us how she had been badly hurt when she tripped and fell near the canal on one of her many Light Painting forays.
After a quick cup of tea, Michelle led a fast-paced workshop, giving those who had brought their cameras a chance to capture images using a variety of her tools. Her enthusiasm was infectious and everyone really enjoyed the process. Both photographers and watchers were impressed with the results and inspired to do more.
Our Chairman was profuse in his thanks to Michelle for standing in at such short notice and providing us with a very memorable evening. DF
Images by David Fraser


Competition 2 - Open Projected Images - results 5 November 2019   

HT LionPenny Piddock DPAGB EFIAP was welcomed back to the club to judge the Competition 2 Open PI competition.
There were many interesting entries from members and Penny remarked how difficult it was to judge and that there were excellent images in all categories. She said that she looked for impact and storytelling in the images and judging was subjective with probably only 3 members happy with the results as they were winners of the clubs 3 categories!.
The members in the Beginners were not necessarily new to photography but start in that section when they join the club and work their way up with a points system.
There were 23 images entered in the Beginners and after giving her comments Penny carefully looked through the images she had held back before giving the awards. In first place was ‘Lion with a Kill’ right  by Hilary Tapley which Penny said ‘caught the moment’ as the lion licked its lips as it tucked in to its catch.
Hilary also gained 3rd place with another wildlife image – this time a close up of a hummingbird titled ‘Green Violet Ear’ with the judge remarking on the sharpness of the image. ‘Boat on Mull’ - another of Hilary’s images was awarded an HC so very well done.
MS BrokenPenny often commented that in some images the subject could have been photographed from a different angle or a close up would have been better but conversely some images needed more space around the subject.
In second place was a monochrome image by Mark Sommerville of a racing motorbike rider titled ‘Guy Martin’ who gained aclaim for TT racing in the Isle of Man for many years.
Next came the 18 entries in Intermediate section. Again a variety of subjects by for Penny to look through.
A well taken, subtly coloured landscape by Martin Stokes took her eye and ‘Broken’ left was awarded first place. The image featured a tree with a fallen branch set against distant hazy woodland. In second place was by contrast a highly coloured landscape ‘Lavender Field at Sunrise’ by Sue Wadman with the rows of lavender set against a fiery sky. 
Third place went to a delightful image by David Wilkinson ‘Male Woodpecker Feeding Juvenile’.

RA Hover FlyAfter the break Penny commented on the 30 images entered by members of the Advanced group.
After commenting on all the entries and holding back 12 of them Penny took a while deliberating on the awards. Seven were given HC’s and then the 3 top places were announced.
First place went to Richard Atkinson AFIAP for ‘Hover Fly’ right on which the judge commented on the excellent way the detail was captured on the flying insect. The image was extremely sharp and well presented.
In second place was ‘Milky way over Grandidier’s Baobab’ by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP. The image cleverly showed the baobab tree set against the starry night sky.
In third place was a very different image in which Penny liked the cheeky smile as a young lad played on a wheelbarrow titled ‘Who Says I Can’t’ by Dave Gray.

Chairman Steve Hardman thanked Penny for travelling all the way from Weymouth and giving her opinions and helpful comments on all the images.

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

'From Here to Eternity' 29 October 2019   
Members enjoyed an evening of Audio Visuals created by Paul Keene FRPS MPAGB EFIAP/p MFIAP showing a wide range of photography set to popular music. 
PK BelenPaul has been an enthusiastic photographer for many years and gained his FRPS in 1991. Pauls interests began at an early age with birds and wildlife but his selection of AV’s showed something of the wide range of photographic interests he now has.
AV’s consist of a number of still images, arranged and set to music. Paul began with an AV titled ‘Art or Junk’ which effectively demonstrated how a simple idea could be made into an interesting sequence’ Paul took just 10 minutes to take the photographs which he later edited to look like abstract paintings. The sequence gradually revealed that all the images were close ups of the interesting patterns of rust and old paint on an old derelict car.
PK cygnetsThe next AV was ‘Belén’ featuring an attractive Spanish girl posing with a horse. There were well taken close ups of both the girl and the horse blended together to great effect.
Paul enters many photographic competitions and said that bluebell images were rather scorned by judges in Britain as they are so commonplace but in other parts of the world they gain high praise. His next AV featuring a bluebell wood titled was ‘Midnight Blue’ and was set to music with the same title by the Electric Light Orchestra.  The images were taken at all times of the day over 2 weeks.

It took Paul several years to get all the images he needed for ‘The Life of Swans’ and by taking his time and watching the swans closely he photographed the swans lifestyle with some delightful images of the cygnets. The images were put together with music from Enya.

PK monkThe last sequence before the break was ‘Wish You Were Here’ The stunning images were taken on the coast of Queensland, Australia – a place Paul calls paradise. Lovely shots of the sunrise over the waves, deserted beaches, crystal clear water and even some underwater shots.

An invitation to visit Tibet to photograph the people and their way of life resulted in 2 colourful AV’s. First shown was ‘Portrait of Tibet’ showing the interesting faces of both young and old in their colourful costumes. Next was ‘Tales from Tibet’ which showed the lifestyle in the high mountainous area, elaborate temples with their robed monks, religious festivals, prayer flags and coracle making.
PK asension‘Ascension’ was the final AV of the evening with very creative images exploring how life on Earth might have started. Inspired by the music 'Songs of the Distant Earth’ by Mike Oldfield images of snow crystals, water droplets, spacemen all cleverly mixed together to give a sequence out of this world!.

A reminder to members – the club has an Audio-Video competition later in the season so hopefully you have drawn some inspiration from tonight’s selection and can make some AV’s of you own.
Maybe some photos you have already or ideas of where you might take some or maybe some music you love inspires you.
Paul uses Pictures to Exe software which is an excellent programme – visit the wnsoft.com website for information or see helpful information for mac users in this websites members’ area. If you are new to making AV's then experienced club members will give you some help to get started.
David Wilkinson thanked Paul for the wonderful evening of AV’s in a wide variety of styles. PM
Images © Paul Keene

Frome-Wessex CC v Devizes CC Battle - a win for Devizes! 25 October 2019   
Our return Battle with Frome-Wessex Camera Club was an away fixture held at the Beckington Memorial Hall Frome.  The judge on the night was Eddy Lane ARPS DPAGB EFIAP, who had decided to judge the entire set ‘cold’, or as he put it, ‘both judge and audience are seeing each image for the first time and through fresh eyes’.

The Battle consisted of 30 Projected Image photographs from each club, with rules specifying that no more than 2 images could come from any one photographer, that at least 5 images must come from less experienced photographers, and there should be no more than 6 Nature images.
Each image was scored out of 20, although Eddy Lane decided only to use a restricted range of marks, so overall on the night, the lowest score was 16 and the highest was 20. 
The evening began cautiously, with few very strong or very weak images, and in the whole of the first half, only one image received the full 20 marks, that being our own Robert Harvey’s ‘A Rabbit Before Me’ snow landscape of rabbit tracks leading to a tree on Martinsell Hill. 

At half time, Devizes had just about edged ahead, leading by 267 points against 262.
Someone remarked that something had been added to Eddy’s coffee at half time, because the second half brought an avalanche of no less than 12 images receiving 20 points, of which 7 came from Devizes.  These included images from Gina Gordon, Sue Wadman, Dave Gray, Martin Stokes, Tim Tapley, Pam Mullings and another from Robert Harvey.  Our other entries also reaped a rich harvest of points, so that by the end, Devizes had scored 558 points against 540 for Frome-Wessex.

Although disappointingly few of our members were able to attend on the night, we were very warmly welcomed by our guests.  Our thanks go to Frome-Wessex for organising the evening, and to Eddy Lane for his thoughtful and constructive comments on each of the images shown on the night. DG
Well done to Devizes CC     See the Devizes scores


'Pushing the Boundaries, Artistic Intent & Technology in Wildlife Photography' 22 October 2019   
The club was delighted to welcome photographer, conservationist and author Paul Colley CB OBE ARPS. Paul uses his photographs to help publicise a number of conservation issues that he is involved with and strives to create unique images showing animal behaviour.
PC mallardThe presentation began by showing the undersea images that Paul has taken in many parts of the world.  He showed how fragile ecosystems can be ruined by man but also how they can spring back to life when nature is allowed to take over. Using video and still photos images of colourful corals and the creatures that inhabit them. By knowing how to hold his nerve and behave correctly underwater, Paul can get really close to large and dangerous marine life allowing him to take incredible close up images of manta rays, sharks and sea snakes. Paul writes articles for many marine and conservation publications pointing out how vital it is to protect the seabed and all the creatures that depend on it.
As a successful photographer, Paul says you need to stand out from the crowd and images need to have impact. He experiments with many different techniques and showed some interesting shots of life above and below the water at the same time and unusual views such as ‘Mallard Photo Bomb’ right
PC batBy being extremely patient Paul was able to show the abundance of life in a freshwater chalk stream.  He needed to use different techniques as the water is shallow and the silt easily disturbed so he has worked out ways of setting up his equipment and using live view he can remotely control the camera from the bank.
Paul taken many award winning images and has spent many months working out how to take unique images of bats as they go about catching insects in the dark. This presents many challenges as the bats fly very fast and are tiny so even seeing them is difficult. Infra-red light is not visible to bats so Paul can use a specially adapted camera to see in the very low light. Technology helps as bat detectors can pick up the sonar sounds and even pick out the species.
PC contrailsTo take successful wildlife images the photographer needs to study the behaviour of the creature. With bats he needed to work out where and when the prey insects would be likely to appear and then the likely flight paths of the bats. Standing waist deep in water he experimented setting up laser camera traps, flash guns and getting the camera set up ready. Great care must be taken as the bats must not be disturbed in any way.
Paul has created bat images that show behaviour that has not been seen before and he went into a great deal of detail about how managed to get such superb images. He showed Incredible close up images of bats reflected in the water such as the ‘Bat Mirror Image’ above and others were taken using a strobe light showed the bats flight path. His image ‘Contrails at Dawn’ right won him the 2018 British Wildlife Photographer of the Year award. In some bat images he experiments using  double exposures to show some background interest or the moon and stitched panoramas give a different view.
Paul is an extremely dedicated photographer and is working towards gaining his fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.
Dave Gray thanked Paul and said it was one of the most interesting presentations the club had seen. PM
Images © Paul Colley

Nature Competitions - Results 15 October 2019   
RH chameleonThe judge for the club’s annual Nature competition was Victoria Hillman BSc MSc who with her extensive knowledge of flora and fauna and degrees in wildlife, conservation & zoology was very well qualified to take on the task. Victoria has travelled extensively and has a deep knowledge of all wildlife. 
RH sea eagleVictoria is a self-taught photographer herself and has visited the club previously to present her own excellent wildlife images.

Before showing the Nature print entries Victoria commented that flaws will show up especially with prints on images that are cropped too heavily and recommended that at least 70% of the original should be kept. Victoria had taken a really close look at all the images, wrong depth of field and over sharpening were other issues with some images. The point of focus was also not always where it should have been and the eyes of a bird, mammal or bug should always be pin sharp.

However, despite the faults Victoria said the standard of entries was high and that she had enjoyed looking at the entries which were from all club sections – Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced.

There were 24 prints entered and Victoria gave her comments as each one was displayed.
First place was awarded to ‘Parson’s Chameleon’ right by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP with the judge saying it was an excellent image – good composition and the colours of the creature were well printed.

RH HawkerDW Mountain HareAnother image by Robert was second ‘White-tailed Sea Eagle Hunting’ above left caught the action as the bird swooped over the water.
In third place was ‘Mountain Hare’ by David Wilkinson which was well composed and exposed. Four other prints were awarded Highly Commended.

After the break the 56 projected images were shown and again Victoria pointed out areas which were not quite sharp where they should be. There were also some examples of distracting backgrounds where if the photographer had moved slightly one way or the other the image would have been improved.
Victoria understood from her own wildlife photography experiences that you have to be quick to catch the moment so there is often no time to check that the camera is all set up correctly.

Again first place went to Robert Harvey – this time with an image titled ‘Southern Hawker in Flight’.
In second place was a very different image showing the varying flight patterns in a flock of starlings titled ‘Moving Murmuration’ taken by Kyra Wilson.
‘Red Squirrel, Brownsea’ was a charming image by David Eagle which the judge said was well composed and the colour correct and she awarded it 3rd place.
Seven other images were awarded HC’s.

DE SquirrelVery well done to Robert who won both the print and projected image nature competitions but was away on a professional photographic assignment and so was not there to collect the trophies which he has won on many previous occasions.
Very well done to all those who entered such an interesting variety of wildlife images and many thanks to David Eagles as Competition Secretary for organising the competition.

KW starlingsSpecial thanks to Victoria for looking so carefully at the images and giving her helpful comments.

See list of awarded Nature images                 All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries


‘Post Processing Images’ 8 October 2019   
This week we welcomed Dave Gray, our very own Lightroom guru to enlighten us about the mysteries of processing images.
presentationUsing a PowerPoint presentation linked to live Lightroom, Dave very effectively showed us how to use the more basic functions of Lightroom, how to manage and catalogue images and what has changed since his last presentation in 2017.
In the first half Dave concentrated on the Lightroom catalogue and then how we can change the appearance of an image looking at the major adjustments which can be grouped into colour balance, exposure, contrast and saturation.
Colour Balance can eliminate colour casts and render whites and greys as neutral colours. RAW files are needed and its is important that your monitor is correctly colour calibrated.
Exposure – Dave talked about using the histogram and also that the exposure slider may be rather heavy handed so use the Highlights and Shadows sliders.
Contrast depends on the author’s intent – again the contrast slider can be heavy handed so  Dave talked us through the use of the clarity, dehaze and texture sliders.
Saturation makes the image more or less colourful and again that slider can be quite forceful so the use of the Vibrance slider should be considered.
Having processed images he then went on to explain the importance of saving and disaster backup. Recommendations include a mirror copy of all images and the Lightroom catalogue held on another drive with a possible third cloud-based copy.
After the break Dave introduced Range masks - Luminance and Colour – and how to use them, new profiles and changes to presets.
Another very recent update includes batch processing which is very useful for dealing with the multiple images associated with HDR’s and Panoramas.
Dave then demonstrated how to create virtual copies, rename and organise images using Folders and Collections including a dire warning about only doing the moving within Lightroom itself.
To finish the evening we were then reminded how to prepare images for club competitions, resize them and export in the correct format.
Plenty of questions and answers made this a most informative evening and we heartily thank Dave for the huge amount of work that had obviously gone into producing such an excellent presentation. SH

For more information see Dave's 2019 'Editing in Lightroom'and 'Photo Mangement' and if you missed the presentation here are the images


2019 Print Exhibition - People's Vote
The Members' Biennial Print Exhibition held in the Devizes Heritage Museum during the month ofSeptember has now closed. We hope that you all went along to see the wide variety of framed images.
Thanks to all those who made it happen and made it look so impressive. The judge gave his opinion on the images he liked best but during the exhibition visitors could pick the image that they thought appealed to them most.
The voting slips have been collected and the image with the most votes is titled 'Fisherman's Cottage on Hoy' and the photographer of this delightful image is club Chairman Steve Hardman so very well done to him. Out of the 96 votes cast, Steve's print gained 8.
Robert Harvey's ‘Rainbow Over Salisbury Plain’ scored 5 votes and Sue Wadman’s ‘Emergence’ and Steve Burgess’ ‘Landing Lights On’ were joint 3rd with 4 points.  
Of equal significance is that 47 different prints had at least one person who thought they were the best which just goes to show that opinions vary widely.
Well done to everyone and now we can look forward to 2021 when we will have another chance to display the club's talents in the town!

 
'Creating Stunning Star Trails" and "Astrophotography Highlights' 1 October 2019   
An interest in astronomy started when Mary McIntyre was very young and she was captivated with the moon and said she wanted to be an astronomer when she grew up. The interest never waned and she showed her enthusiasm in her presentation.MM star trails Mary has a shed in her garden that she shares with her husband which is equipped with an array of telescopes and other instruments as they both have the same passion for exploring the heavens but go about it in different ways
MM earthshineMary began by saying that photographing star trails was easy and could be done with any camera or even a smartphone! However, to get the best results you need to experiment to get the settings right and you need a sturdy tripod as any movement will spoil the sequence. A cable release is also necessary to avoid camera shake when pressing the shutter.
Mary then talked in great detail through the techniques she uses. These can be seen on the PDF which you can study.
She advises finding somewhere with as dark a night sky as possible to avoid too much light pollution. Be prepared to spend many hours on often cold nights while the camera is set up to automatically takes an image every few seconds. 
After taking the many individual images they then have to be processed to make up the final star trail photograph. Star trail images are composed of hundreds or even thousands of images ‘stacked’ together to give a final image but luckily these days there is software that makes the job fairly quick and easy. You can either finish up with a single stacked image or software can be used to make a time-lapse video of the changing star trails. The many hours it takes to photograph the night sky can be reduced to a few seconds on a video!
Mary illustrated her presentation by showing examples of her own work. Star trails can have a foreground subject which can either be in silhouette or lit to show some colour and she experiments with different ways of showing the trails – they can be central by lining up on the pole star or by looking East or West when just part of the trail is shown. The image can also be cropped to give different effects.
MM cloudsMary then went on to show how extremely knowledgeable she is about anything related to space. She showed us images of solar eclipses, phases of the moon, comets and deep space galaxies and nebula. MM lightningUsing a camera attached to a telescope she is able to photograph extreme close ups of the moon and even the solar flares. Mary experiments to get ‘earthshine’ on the dark areas of a new moon. The milky way can be photographed with a landscape in the foreground to make a stunning image.
Mary is interested in photographing any phenomena seen in the night sky such as the aurora borealis which can be sometimes be seen from as far south as Oxfordshire. Lightning strikes are another interest and Mary showed many amazing single shots or stacked images. Unusual cloud formations, rainbows and crepuscular rays featured in other images.
Mary ended the evening by showing that her photographic knowledge is not only in the sky but she takes an interest in the natural world. She takes extreme close ups of snow flakes and uses a microscope to see tiny creatures that can’t be seen by eye.
Chairman Steve Hardman thanked Mary for her very interesting presentation and summed up the evening by saying it was lovely to hear someone conveying so well, the passion she has for her subjects. PM
Images© Mary McIntyre  Top left :Star-trails, Top right: Earth-shine 0n Moon, Left: Rolling Clouds, Right: Lightning stacked image


Open Projected Image Competition 1 24 September 2019   
The judge for the first competition of the 2019-2020 season was Sandie Cox ARPS DPAGB who was welcomed back to the club by Chairman Steve Hardman. Sandie has kindly judged club competitions several times previously giving her expert advice on how images could be improved and selecting the winning entries.
PW Days EndAs usual in Open competitions the entries are divided into 3 sections – Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced and Sandie remarked on the very high standard overall.
The evening began by projecting the Beginners section with a good entry of 27 images. Sandie spent some time giving her comments on how some images could have been improved by some cropping of unnecessary areas and the positioning of the subject in the frame.  There was a wide range of subjects with some outstanding landscapes, wildlife subjects and some interesting ethnic portraits.
DW SkylarkA member fairly new to club competitions did really well with Sandie awarding Paul Wells first and third places. A mono image by Paul titled ‘Days End’ right of a nostalgic harvesting scene with old machinery appealed to the judge and was placed first with a striking panoramic image also by Paul awarded third place. In second place was a well captured image of blackbird feeding her hungry offspring by Mark Somerville. Mark also gained a Highly Commended for an extreme close up titled ‘Longhorn Beetle’ Well done to all the Beginners who entered – some for the first time.

Next came the images entered in the Intermediate section. Again the standard was very high with some excellent wildlife photographs.
First place was given to David Wilkinson with a stunning image ‘Skylark with Bugs’ left and second was also given to David with ‘Green Woodpecker’ with both images having the subjects well positioned. TP Great TitThird was another nature image titled ‘Leopard Lacewings’ by Steve Hardman with judge commenting on the good depth of field keeping the whole image sharp. Steve also gained an HC with a very well taken landscape.
Sandie said that several more wildlife images in the section were worthy of awards but she had to limit the number given.

After the break came the turn of the Advanced images to be judged.
After picking out 8 of the images for awards Sandie gave a creative image ‘Great Tit with a Bee’ right  by Tim Pier first place. The image showed a Great Tit on a fence but a texture had been added which really made the subject stand out and Sandie said she would have liked the image on her wall!
In second and third places were images by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP. The colours in the well taken image titled ‘Sandstorm, Namid Desert’ appealed to the judge and in ‘A Rabbit before me’ Sandie remarked on the foot prints in the snow and the beautiful lighting. Five Highly Commended's were awarded.
The judge was thanked for taking the time to look so carefully at all our entries and for giving her very helpful comments.
Thanks to all those members who entered the competition and especially to those entering for the first time. Thanks also to our new Competiton Secretary David Eagle who collected all the entries and ran the competition.A very good start to the competition season so we very much look forward to seeing many more top class images from members. PM

See the full list of awards           All the Awarded Images can be seen in the Galleries               Members can log in to see the 2019-2020 points table



'Visions of Silence: Chernobyl 32 years on' 17 September 2019   
Welsh Photographer Graham Harries was welcomed to the club by Chairman Steve Hardman. Graham has a wide interest in photography including nature, landscape, portrait and wedding photography and he began the evening by showing some of his images.
GH1GH3Tonight Graham was giving a presentation on his 4 day trip to Chernobyl where tourists are now allowed into parts of the site where the Soviet nuclear reactor exploded in 1986. Residents of the city nearest to the explosion had only 3 hours to leave their homes never to return. Surprisingly only 32 people died directly from the blast but thousands have since died from ill health caused by the radiation.
The excellently presented evening started with a countdown and then the sound of a warning siren. Video, still images, news broadcasts of the time, archive images were all expertly combined with sound effects and appropriate music to make the rather grim topic very watchable.
Places visited on the tour were the abandoned top secret areas with the grim looking corridors and the radar jamming structures, the now derelict hospital and a school where pupils had to leave everything behind. Even a whole city with its rows of identical tower blocks of flats was left to decay.
The actual reactor is now entombed in concrete to help keep in the radiation and it is estimated that the area around will be unsafe for at least 300 years.

The total area affected was 1,000 square miles with all cities, towns and villages within the area all abandoned. It is now considered reasonably safe to visit areas over 20 kms from the reactor GH2site but precautions still have to be taken – no touching anything and avoid getting any mud on you and checks to make sure you are not contaminated.
A notice scrawled on a wall as you enter the area ‘Welcome to Hell’ gives a good idea of what you are about to see. Many poignant images showing what the residents at the time had to leave behind, clothes, books and even pianos now covered in debris in the litter strewn rooms.
HD4
Little touches sometimes show that the area was not as grim as the Soviet Union is often conceived to be, some elegant sculptures and painted walls in places and surprisingly a fairground although that had not yet been used before the area was inhabitable.

At the time of Grahams visit there was a covering of snow on the ground which enhanced the outdoor images, the many derelict vehicles, trains and even boats in the docks with its towering cranes made interesting photographic subjects.
Graham had put together a remarkable presentation with excellent images so thanks for giving the club such an interesting insight into such a grim tragedy. PM

Images © Graham Harries. Top left Abandoned Bus, top right: Radar Jamming & Danger Zone. 
Bottom left: Mural of a Cosmanaut, bottom right: Abandoned Fairground Ride.


The Landscape Group Presents...... 10 September 2019   
In the second week of our new season, and much earlier in the year’s programme than usual, we had our “Landscape Group Presents…” evening.
Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP got the session under way with a presentation entitled Landscape Photography in Autumn. He started by saying that it it is many photographers’ favourite time of the year for photography as the light is softer and the emerging colour in trees make for more interesting compositions. Splitting his talk into four parts, he started with images taken in Mist. The Vale of Pewsey is often shrouded in mist on early mornings in Autumn which can provide an extra dimension to the landscape. He illustrated this with a sunrise photograph taken from Milk Hill, where the subtle pink dawn light suffused the mist.
RH Caen HillCaen Locks (left) in Devizes is, said Robert, one of the most popular photography sights in Wiltshire, especially when there is mist, and he urged us to consider heading there to take sunrise shots one week before the autumn equinox. This is when the sun rises directly in line with the top of the locks as seen from the bottom of the flight. The best time this autumn, he said, would be at 07:01 on Monday 16th September.
He also recommended using a longer lens to foreshorten perspective, as demonstrated in misty images taken at Martinsell and Corfe Castle.
RH YstradfellteWaterfalls constituted Robert’s second section saying that they looked their best on bright overcast days in autumn when colours become well saturated. Fallen leaves on rocks or swirling in the water added extra dimensions to the images. He pointed out that there is constant debate about the best shutter speed for waterfall photography. Using a series of images taken at Tavy Cleave on the River Tavy in Devon, Robert took a straw poll of the audience preferences. Photos taken at 1/80th (crisp water) and 1/2 a second (Milky water) received a reasonable number of votes, but that taken at 10 second (very blurred) was not popular. The favourite for this group, however, was the image taken at 1/6th second in which there was some blurring that showed the movement of the water.
A top tip from Robert was to collect loads of fallen leaves in a bag. These can then be used to tip into swirling water before shooting at a slow shutter speed to capture the swirl in the stream. They can also be placed artistically on convenient foreground rocks to add interest and colour. These techniques were demonstrated in further waterfall images taken at Venford Falls on Dartmoor and a series of waterfalls at Ystradfellte (right) in the Brecon Beacons.
RH Tarr StepsRobert’s third section turned to the pastel colours that become evident in the early morning in Autumn, particularly on frosty days. Showing images of millstone grit rocks in the Peak District and granite stones on Dartmoor, he showed how the early morning glow can infuse the rocks with pastel tones along with the muted shades of bracken brown and grass green. He said that the best light often occurs before dawn, as shown in images taken in the Lake District of Derwent Water and Buttermere, where he was able to capture the pastel tones of the sky reflected in the waters of the lakes. He also showed shots of the muted colours on a cloudy day at Castlerigg Stone Circle and the gleaming wood of a jetty on a rainy afternoon at Ullswater.
For his fourth section, Robert talked about the golden leaves that are characteristic of Autumn. Several further photographs taken in the Lake District showed the splendour of trees in the landscape as the leaves change colour. He also showed how the use of a 10-stop neutral density filter can smooth out the waters in a lake to obtain crisp reflections. Images taken on Exmoor at Robber’s Bridge and Tar Steps (left) also showed the beauty of yellow and orange-leaved trees at the river’s edge.
'What Makes a Good Photograph?' 3 September 2019   
Standing in for the club Chairman, David Wilkinson welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the 2019-2020 season and said it was good to see so many potential new members.
AM RichardAvedonDavid said the season had already started with a bang as the members print exhibition had been opened a few days previously. The exhibition showed the high standard of photography by club members and he urged any that had not seen the exhibition to go along to the Devizes Museum. Due to Caroline Wright organising workshops and encouraging members who had never seen their images printed. David said that 25% of the print entries were from those in the club’s Beginners Group and some had also been awarded Highly Commended’s.

David then introduced tonight’s speaker Andrew Mills ARPS. Andrew has been a professional photographer for all his working life with a wide range of experience in advertising and commercial photography as well as studio work. AM ManRayHe has travelled widely and held many exhibitions of his photographs and now lectures in photography at degree level so is well qualified to give his opinion on what makes a good photograph.

Andrew explained that he was going to take us on a journey through some famous photographer’s work. Although the photographs he is about to show he regards as good or interesting they would probably not be marked highly in camera club competitions.
Many of the images were experimental in their time and were taken with the limited equipment available.
Early photography was regarded as an art and was mainly the prerogative of the wealthy aristocrats. The photographer had to have a good knowledge of chemistry, how a camera works  and how to take an image with the equipment of the time which was bulky and heavy. Setting up a plate camera took a long time and exposure could take several hours but nevertheless superb images were produced which have stood the test of time and are highly regarded today.
Great care was taken over posing and lighting studio images and photographers of the day managed to set up their equipment outdoors to record events and street scenes of the time.
Images showing the fashions, living conditions and events of the time are of great historic value. War scenes, industrial landscapes and street scenes were among the many images shown in the presentation also beautifully posed portraits that rival any taken today.
Romania
AM TianenmenLighting is very important as well as good composition but equally photographs need to catch a moment in time that can never be repeated.
Most images shown were in monochrome but coming more up to date there were some superb colour shots, many taken before the convenience of digital photography and modern equipment. Faster speeds now allow more scope to catch the action but the old photographers were very inventive and managed to photograph some amazing events.
Shown above is a stunning image 'Glass Tears' by Man-Ray taken in 1932 and above right is an early image of 'Marilyn Monroe by Richard Avedon.
Images were also shown by many living photographers such as Tim Flach & Richard Cook but images are still under copyright.

Andrew himself takes many candid shots portaying life and events in many countries and also superb wildlife images.
Shown left is a poignant moment taken in Tienenman Square, Beijing and shown right is one of Andrews many images of Romanian peasant folk going about their daily lives.
See Andrews website for many more images.

Many thanks to Andrew for sharing his knowledge and giving such an interesting and inspiring presentation. PM


Biennial Print Exhibition is now Open  
exhibitionOn Sunday 1st September in the Gallery of the Wiltshire Heritage Museum Craig Purvis welcomed the Mayor of Devizes Cllr Judy Rose and thanked her for giving up her Sunday to open the event, Craig introduced the Judge Ralph Snook ARPS, EFIAP/b, DPAGB and welcomed members and visitors to the opening of the 2019 Members Print Exhibition.
mayor Craig thanked the museum for their hospitality and the help during the set-up, Caroline Wright for all the work organizing the entries and all those who helped set up this exhibition. The judge was thanked for judging the very large number of prints entered and for coming along to today to award the photographers with the winning images, finally thanking the Mayor councilor Judy Rose for giving up her Sunday to open this event.
 The Mayor said that she enjoys photography herself and thought the images were ‘absolutely amazing’. Craig handed over to the judge who said, he thought the images looked very impressive on the walls of the gallery and commented on the impressive layout due to the fact all the frames were of a similar size and colour. Ralph made point the standard was very high, which made his job very difficult and on several occasions had moved HC’s into 1,2, or 3rd placings and visa versa and then moved back again. He thought the idea of one part of the competition being photographs taken in Wiltshire was very good and the club may benefit from a greater interest from local photographers because of it. He made use of as many HCs as he could because the standard was so high.
With everyone waiting to see who had won the Trophies and gained awards the judge read out the titles of the prints and the photographers who had gained awards.
gill Altogether there were 105 prints from 30 members entered in the competition of which 29 were entered in the ‘Photographed in Wiltshire’ section. Space was limited in the museum but 85 prints were framed and on show in the Gallery. Some new members were showing their prints for the first time and were very pleased when they saw how impressive their prints looked when framed and hung on a gallery wall!
In the best overall print competition, the judge Ralph Snook placed ‘Golden Eagle in the Snow by Gill Cardy FRPS DPAGB EFIAP (right) in first place and presented Gill with the Leaze Cottage Trophy. This Trophy was donated by Gill in 2009 so it was very appropriate that she won the competition and the trophy!  Eighteen of the prints were also awarded Highly Commended
robertIn second place was a creative image by Tim Pier titled ‘The Princess’ and in third place was ‘Male Kingfisher and Two Fish by Kyra Wilson.
In the competition for images taken in Wiltshire first place went to ‘Rainbow over Salisbury Plain’ by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP (left) and he was presented with the Derek Parker Plaque. ‘Golden Sunset, Cherhill Down’ by Dave Gray was placed second and David Wilkinson’s ‘Barn Owl Feeding’ was in third place. In addition, Highly Commended’s were awarded to six more of the prints.
Many congratulations to all those with awards and thanks to all those who entered and helped make this such an interesting and inspiring exhibition.
Particular thanks to Caroline for all her hard work and all those who had the difficult task of hanging all the prints and making the gallery look so special. Many thanks to all those who helped with the difficult job of hanging all the framed prints on the walls of the gallery and those that helped in many different ways.
The exhibition is open during Museum opening times until 28 September so if you haven’t seen it yet then go along and see the wide range of subjects shown and the very high standard of prints by club members. Also would members tell friends and neighbours that the exhibition is well worth a visit. The judge has given his opinion and picked his favourites but anyone can go along and vote for the print that they would have put first by posting a voting slip in the box. Also please leave your comments in the visitors book as its interesting to read how the general public feel about the club’s efforts. PM             Images by Caroline Wright & David Wilkinson

                                                                                  See the full list of awarded images                 Top placed Prints