Audio Visual Spectacular   
10 May 2016  

Members enjoyed seeing a variety of the award winning sequences from the WCPF Audio Visual competition 2015.

Guiding us through the evening and explaining the good and bad points of each sequence were Devizes CC members Clive Rathband FRPS FPSSA DPAGB EFIAP and Joan Ryder Rathband FRPS FPSSA DPAGB AFIAP who had been the judges for the competition.

rocksThere were 33 entries divided into 3 categories with a wide variety of subjects - some showed stunning landscapes and wildlife while others set out to tell a story in images, words and music. A sequence in the Photo Harmony category titled 'Jurassic Coast'  by  club member Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP showed stunning images of the Dorset heritage coast from Orcombe Point to Old Harry Rocks (left) and gained 2nd place. 'In the Footsteps of Darwin' was another excellent sequence by Robert and was placed 3rd in the long AV category (up to 12 minute). Images taken in the Galapogos Islands were cleverly timed to fit in with the spoken words written by Darwin about his observations of the unique species such as the Giant Tortoise (below) which he found on these islands. Well done Robert.

An Innovation award was given to 'Dreaming' and Joan commented that although the sequence had some faults it deserved an award for its creativity.

Joan explained what judges look for in a good AV - the images must all be of the very best quality, the music and any recorded voices must be appropriate for the subject and dissolves should be timed to fit in exactly with the audio.

'Forgotten Industry' showed the history of an area on Dartmoor where granite sets were quarried and showed the hardships endured by the workers.

Another sequence featured the story of the love between Edward and Wallis Simpson.

tortoiseIn first place in the long AV's was 'Svalborg Sojourn' with stunning images of arctic scenery and wildlife with wonderful polar bears and other wildlife. In third place was 'First Light-Last Light' with amazing sunrise and sunset photographs set to stirring music.

Sequences in the short category are limited to just 3 minutes 21 seconds. We enjoyed the very moving 'Lest we Forget' which opened with the poppies that surrounded the Tower of London and went on to show war graves and some of the inscriptions. In the same category was 'Legacy' which told some of the history of Brunel & Fox Talbot and 'Venetian Reflections' showed some very colourful images. 'Semana Santa' was 2nd in the long AV category and followed the colourful religeous processions of Holy Week and the various brotherhoods in their rather sinster costumes.

The evening finished with the best long sequence of 2015 which had an extremely moving and thought provoking commentary and harrowing images telling the story of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Joan explained what judges look for in a good AV - all the images must be of the best quality, the music and any recorded voices must be appropriate for the subject.

Many thanks to Clive & Joan for sharing their expertise. Any members interested in making AV's can join WAVES which is based in Trowbridge and can offer help and advice.PM

Landscape Group visit to Dorset          
Saturday 7 May 2016

beech treesThe latest Landscape Group trip saw seven members photographing at various sites in Dorset, each one not meriting a full visit in its own right, but still producing memorable images. Our thanks for organising the logistics as usual go to Robert Harvey, who strung the locations together to take best advantage of the light through the day.

orange tipFirst stop was the beech avenue at Kingston Lacy, clad in the first flush of fresh green leaves, where we had to be careful to avoid traffic speeding along the A3082.  From there, we continued to Swanage aiming to photograph the rotting supports of the old pier.  Unfortunately on this occasion a diving school pontoon surrounding the pier somewhat spoiled the composition.  Nevertheless, the group will know where to come sometime in the off season when the pontoon will have been removed.

Landscape then became Nature, as we headed for the Alners Gorse Butterfly reserve.  This had been highly recommended by Cate Barrow, one of the club's speakers in 2015-16, and the site did look highly promising though it was a little too early in the season for the sites noted rarities. We did however find Orange Tip, Brimstone, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral Butterflies, as well as a Common Lizard and a Grass Snake.

barnknowlton churchBack to the Landscape theme, the group headed to Sixpenny Handley to photograph an old Dutch Barn surrounded by the yellow flowers of oilseed rape.  Robert had anticipated that as part of a four year crop cycle, this would be the year that the field would be planted with oilseed rape, and indeed it was.   From there, it was just a short drive to Knowlton Church, our final venue for the day.  Knowlton Church is a curious blend of pagan and Christian, with the ruins of a medieval church sited within the banks of a Bronze Age henge.  The church provided our sunset shots for the day, with the sun performing well before eventually sinking into a thick bank of cloud. DG


Images:   Beech Trees, Kingston Lacy & Orange Tip, Alners Gorse by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP                Barn & Rape Seed, Sixpenny Handley & Knowlton Church are by Dave Gray

 

Print & Projected Image of the Year 3 May 2016         

Our Image of the Year competitions, in both Prints and Projected Images, are always keenly fought so it proved to be this year. 

flowerOur judge for the evening was Margaret Collis ARPS, DPAGB, APAGB and Hon EFIAP. Margaret was full of praise for the high standard of entries especially in the beginner’s section. She was particularly pleased to note that entrants in this group had been "imaginative, creative and technically very sound”

stonechatShe also suggested that the club standard in all sections was high particularly in respect of nature entries. It was clear she had enjoyed judging all the entries and that in the final analysis the difference between placed images and the rest was marginal.

Beginners:

Prints: In third place was Andy Vick with ‘On Middle and Off' depicting a cricket scene, in second place Michael Valentine with a portrait of a Red Kite. The winner however was Mair Bull, with a lovely soft image titled 'A Variety of Nigella' (top left) This was not only a very popular choice amongst members but also, as the judge remarked, richly deserved. Well done Mair.smokin

Projected Images:  In the PI section the judge chose three very contrasting images. In third place was Michael Valentine with a strong image of the interior of St Giles Church, Cheadle which not only captured the light beautifully but also exposed the churches architecture with absolute clarity. beeIn second place was Kyra Wilson with 'Seat with a View'. In first place was an extremely well taken picture by David Wilkinson of a Stonechat eating seed (top right). The judge remarked how well it had been placed in the frame and how well the background complimented the bird’s plumage. I think it was evident from her remarks that this image would have down very well even at the next level. Well done David

Intermediates:

Prints: There were less entries in the intermediate print section this year in which Michael Barnes enjoyed a clean sweep. In third place was 'Heron with a Catch' which the judge appreciated for its simplicity. In second place was a very different picture of a sunrise titled 'Misty Morn’, and in first place a candid mono shot of publican enjoying a cigarette titled 'Smoking Joe'  (left)

Projected images: Fourteen very contrasting images were keenly fought in this section. Indeed the judge found it impossible to choose an image for third place so awarded two with equal ranking one to Caroline Wright with 'East Dart Falls’,  and one to Jill Ford Pier with ''Coming into Land'. In second place was 'Seat with a View' by David Fraser. This was also a very strong image in that it somehow willed you to take of advantage of it, sit down, have a rest, and enjoy a stunning view. Michael Barnes secured first place with 'Bee Gathering Nectar'(right) which came as a great surprise because in her critique the Judge remarked that the image might have been improved if there was a little more colour in it.

HareAdvanced: Prints: Competition in the advanced section was also very keenly fought.  Although several strong landscape images were considered on this occasion all of those finally placed by the judge, bar one - and even that was in a natural setting -  were nature/wildlife images.  Again the judge scored two images in equal third place, an image of a fly titled ‘ Empid' by Richard Atkinson, and an image of a very English scene by Chris Wilkes Ciudad ARPS, showing Wells Cathedral in the distance. In second places was a rather humorous image 'Room for One More’ by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP of a zebra trying to force its way between three others, in order access a water hole. Robert also obtained first place with a stunning winter image of an upright Mountain Hare bearing it teeth in an aggressive pose. (left)

Projected Images:

In the PI section there was a rich variety of images to choose from. 2autumnIn third place was a picture of a lone, alert, waterbuck by Pam Mullings, beautifully reflected in water in which he was standing. In second place was a rather haunting image of Dead Vlei (a salt marsh)  taken at the Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia by Robert Harvey. In first place was an often photographed image 'Autumn in Stourhead' (right) taken by Chris Wilkes Ciudad.

Congratulations to everyone whose images were eligible for this competition. It not only showcased your talent but also the strength, depth and quality that exists within the club, and in particular the progress members have made in getting to the next level. Well done everyone.

We are also very grateful to Margaret for judging what, to many in the club, is considered as the 'competition to win’ and for her appreciative remarks, helpful comments and useful tips, including to think ‘square’!
Next year it will be interesting to see who has taken her advice and just how many square formats are considered. MB

'Wildlife Images from my Travels'                                26 April 2016  

JaguarRalph  Snook ARPS EFIAP DPAGB has visited the club as a judge but on this occasion members were able to see some of his many wildlife photographs and hear the many interesting stories behind them.
The evening began with Ralph's recollections of his visits to the Pantanel region of South America.
cheetahsThis large wetland is home to a large variety of interesting birds and mammals. Caymen alligators frequent the lagoons along with numerous wading birds, beautiful Hyacinth Macaws, Toucans and many other colourful birds can be found in the area.
 

Capybaras are common and can even be seen sunning themselves along the tracks. Waiting patiently in a boat on the main river, Ralph was rewarded with several views of the elusive Jaguar including a mother with 2 cubs and sightings of the Giant River Otters.

AnteaterRalph recalled some of his memorable moments - the Cheetah with six clubs playing in a tree, the Kiskadee trying to snatch a fish from an Anhinga and the rare Lesser Anteater (left) that brushed right past him.
As any wildlife photographer will know, these encounters do not always result in perfect Panicimages but the memories stay with you forever.

Ralph often uses a slow shutter speed to give a sense of movement in his photographs; the image of the wildebeest on migration (right) portays well the panic and turmoil as they cross the river.

Having travelled to Kenya many times Ralph knows the best areas and the best time of year to find the many photogenic wildlife subjects.

Ralph pointed out some of the many difficulties encountered when taking wildlife photographs, nothing stays still for long, the light is often poor, the grass is too long and the forests are dense.
However with patience and a bit of luck some wonderful moments are captured as members saw in this excellent presentation.

Thanks Ralph for sharing your images and some of your wildlife encounters with us. PM 
Images: © Ralph Snook

'A Few Of Our Favourite Things'  
19 April 2016   
Cheetah

A very warm welcome was given to club members Clive Rathband FRPS FPSSA DPAGB EFIAPHippos and Joan Ryder Rathband FRPS FPSSA DPAGB AFIAP who gave a presentation of the images that they are particularly fond of - and the stories behind them.

To set the scene they started the evening with an audio-visual sequence titled 'Call of the Kalahari' which showed images taken in the vast, very dry Kalahari National Park. Members enjoyed seeing the superb images of the birds and mammals found in the area together with a commentary and excellent sound effects.

Clive and Joan spend much of their time in South Africa and have a great deal of experience photographing the wildlife. Often with baking hot days and freezing cold nights they travel around observing the behaviour of the wildlife and capturing some very special moments. The excellent photographs showed the great variety of wildlife to be found in the SA National parks.

Clive and Joan spend many hours patiently watching the wildlife and endeavour to capture the birds and mammals in action.
FrostTernsWe were treated to superb images of birds in flight and catching insects, baboons leaping about in a pool, lions with cubs, hippos fighting and many other special moments. Having so much experience Clive and Joan know the best time of day to get the best light on the subjects and achieve some wonderful results.

When back in Britain Clive and Joan enjoy photographing the Wiltshire countryside and make frequent visits to the coast with the Lyme Regis area being a favourite. A series of images taken on Brownsea Island showed the dramatic fight between two Common Terns as they locked together and tried to drown each other.

Joan showed some of her artistic, creative images where she has used techniques such as adding Gaussian blur and various textures to create some very interesting images.

Members were given some useful tips and were able to handle some of the photographic equipment that Clive and Joan have found useful - some of which is improvised.
 
skiffsThe importance of always having your camera on a secure stable tripod, monopod or base in order to get really sharp images was emphasised.

Many thanks  to Clive and Joan for sharing their special moments and the interesting encounters behind them and for giving members a very informative evening. PM


Images: Left- 'Cheetah on a Tump' and Frosty Morning, River Avon' by Clive Rathband
Right: 'Hippos Fighting' and 'Common Terns Agression'  left: 'At the Harbour Wall' by Joan Ryder Rathband

 

 

 

Nature Group Excursion to Clattinger Farm 
Sunday 17 April 2016        ‏

frostedA small but enthusiastic group of club members met at 5.45am at Clattinger Farm to photograph one of Wiltshire’s wildflower spectacles, the snake’s head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris). These charming flowers are nationally rare and most of the British population is found in the Thames flood plain of north Wiltshire. Flowering in mid-April, fritillaries have to survive spring frosts. The excursion was scheduled to coincide with clear skies and the likelihood of a ground frost. We found a good number of fritillaries in flower at Bridge Field, one of the ancient wildflower meadows at Clattinger Farm managed by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
Each flower was encased in tiny ice crystals, making its survival through the night seem almost miraculous. Back lit


The even light reflected from the sky before sunrise enabled some good pictures using a telephoto lens to separate the flower from its surroundings and give a pleasingly diffuse background. As the sun cleared the horizon and began to illuminate the fritillaries, we experimented with front lit, back lit and side lit shots. Backlighting was particularly effective on the small proportion of plants that have white flowers, which are translucent to light. The frost quickly melted and when we left Bridge Field at 8.15am we were confident we had enjoyed the best conditions of the day for photography.
One further wildlife treat remained at a wildlife hide on the reserve – watching a pair of foxes frolicking on the narrow bank between Cottage Lake and Swallow Pool. RH

Images - Top left: Snake's Head Fritillary Frosted before Dawn by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP Right: Back Lit Snake's Head Fritillary by Kevin Ferris LRPS

 

'A Short History of Photography' 
12 April 2016   

The club welcomed Sid Jones, a member of Dorchester Camera club who gave members an interesting illustrated talk on the history of photography from the early attempts up to some 20th century icons who were pioneers of the photography we enjoy today.
Joseph Nicephore Niepce made the first photographic image with a camera obscura. Heliographs or sun prints as they were called were the prototype for the modern photograph, by letting light draw the picture.

In the mid 19th century Louis Daguerre, a French artist and photographer was recognized for his invention of the daguerreotype process of photography. He became known as one of the fathers of photography.

The metal-based daguerreotype process soon had some competition from Henry Fox Talbot who created permanent (negative) images using paper soaked in silver chloride and fixed with a salt solution. Talbot created positive images by contact printing onto another sheet of paper which meant he could duplicate the images and he patented his process under the name "calotype".

At first long exposures were needed but by 1845 exposures were down to 2 minutes allowing studio portraits to be created as long as the sitter did not move. Painters and artists thought they would be put out of business by the invention.

Although early photographers had to transport heavy cameras and tripods over often difficult terrain images of faraway places were seen for the first time 

Queen Victoria became interested in this new process and even had a go herself. Soon photography became popular with the gentry and in 1890 the invention of the Box Brownie brought photography to the masses.
Faster shutter speeds meant photographers could capture action.

Although even then photographs were not always what they seemed as several images could be stitched together.

After the break Sid showed images taken by his favourite 20th century photographers including Ansel Adams who in 1981 said 'I believe the electronic image will be the next major advance' and that turned out to be so right. Adams images had a superb quality of light and he experimented with early colour which very quickly improved to give stunning landscape images.

Members enjoyed seeing images by Henri Cartier-bresson, Edward Weston, Eliot Erwill and Denis Thorne and others. Many images have become famous classics still very much admired today.
Thank you Sid for giving such an informative talk.

'In Isolation' Set Subject Competition
5 April 2016   

SeatOur final open competition of the season on the theme of ‘In Isolation' proved to be a well-supported and fascinating competition on many different levels. Firstly, having narrowly being beaten by the gents in last week's Battles the ladies shone through and took most of the leading places in each competition category (Beginners, Intermediates and Advanced). Secondly, it was fascinating to observe how the advanced photographers interpreted isolation compared with the less experienced photographers. In the main the advanced photographers tended to view isolation in terms of photographing an object separated from its environment. On the other hand the less experienced photographers (with some exceptions) tended to interpret isolation as something 'within the person’.Despair 

As a result we saw a lot of lone trees contrasting with images of people or situations where there was a conscious attempt to convey feelings of abandonment and separation. The choice it seemed was whether to photograph something alone or something that was lonely.  Both approaches in their own way exemplified emotion and storytelling, and resulted in some excellent well thought images.

The competition was ably judged by Les Loosemore ARPS, AWPF, DPAGB, who travelled from South Wales to be with us. 
Although he was clearly impressed with the standard of imagery where necessary he offered suggestions for improvement in a helpful way. In particular he was impressed with the clever use of vertical letterbox type images, and the way some chose to use silhouettes to emphasis separation.
He did suggest however that some other images did not look their best because they were, perhaps unavoidably, photographed at the wrong time of the day when the light was harsh and unflattering. A consistent theme of the evening was the need to avoid distracting highlights particularly at the edges of the image, and not to be shy of cropping.

Alone

In the Beginners section there was a rich variety of very well taken pictures which augers well for next season. In third place was  'Stonechat' by David Wilkinson.  In second place was 'Pattens' by Kyra Wilson, and in first place a striking but simple image titled 'Seat with a View’ above left also by Kyra taken on a white ship down a passage way with contrasting blue sea and sky providing the perfect frame.   

In the Intermediate section third place went to Gill Ford Pier with an image of a lone tree in sunnier climes. Second place also went to Gill with an image of lone boat 'Long Way from Home’. In first place was ' Despair' right a mono image by Caroline Wright of a man drinking alone with head in his hands. All of us present I think could identify with his despair even though very little of his face was shown.

In the Advanced section 12 images were selected for commendation. First place was awarded to Pam Mullings with a rather sad picture of a dishevelled young boy ‘Left All Alone'. left Second place was awarded to Gill Cardy FRPS DPAGB AFIAP for 'Lone Tree in Snow' which perfectly captured the different textures in the snow. Third place went to Pam with picture of a lone Waterbuck standing in reflected water and looking straight at the camera.  

Congratulations to all those who took part.
We are grateful to Les for his considered approach, his constructive comments and consistent judging.    Diolch yn fawr!    MB (Our Welsh corrospondant)                               

                                   


Ladies V Gents - a win for the Gents

29 March 2016   

It’s been sometime since the club held a Ladies v Gents competitionripples but when Battle Secretary Jean Ingram challenged the men to a battle few of us could resist. Jean unfortunately had to resign from the position but Pam Mullings took over and organised the 'Battle'
To avoid any risk of gender bias the competition was ably judged by Eddy and Pam Lane (both ARPS DPAGB EFIAP) each of whom could award up to 10 marks which were combined to give marks out of 20.
It was a condition of the competition that at least 50% images had to be selected from the Beginners and Intermediate competition groups.
red foxThe ladies team captained by Pam had chosen a wide range of images including 3 architectural, 8 landscapes, 9 nature and 5 portraits. Amongst their 30 images there were also 5 monos.
Included were images from 6 ladies from the Beginners section who only joined the club this season - 2 of whom had never entered a competition before.

The Gents team captained by Michael Barnes chose 2 creative, 12 landscapes, 7 nature including 5 flowers/fungi, and 2 portraits.
They also included 2 monos. 

It was not clear whether this difference in approach was down to strategy or to gender bias. 0058

What was apparent however that was if you viewed each image on its own merits it would have been extremely difficult to determine whether it had been taken by a lady or by a gent. 

The competition itself proved to be very close with the lead changing hands at different times.

During the evening several images were awarded the maximum 10 points by one or other of the judges.
Five participants were awarded 10 points by both judges including Gill Cardy FRPS DPAGB AFIAP whose image of a red fox in snow (top left) was chosen a by Pam Lane as ‘image of the evening’,
Ripples Everywhere (top right) by Michael Barnes

which Eddy Lane selected as his 'image of the evening'. 
Also awarded 20 marks were Lynda Rugg (Golden Light)  right,
Richard Watson LRPS (Squirrels Leap) below
Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP (Three Galaxies) bottom right 3galaxies

leaping
Ultimately the Gents came out on top securing 509 points to the Ladies 496 


We are grateful to our joint judges Pam and Eddy and for ensuring that, above all else, the evening was fun. We are grateful to the team captains for collating their team’s images, and to all those who took part. We are also especially grateful to Jean for suggesting the idea and wish her a speedy and full recovery. 


All in all a very good club night. We must do it again sometime soon! MB          
            

Club News articles from 2014 to March 2016

September 2015 - March 2016 pdf.  September 2014 - May 2015 pdf. September 2013 - September 2014 to follow
September2012 - September 2013 - to follow


September 2011 - September 2013 - to follow

 

 

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