|Chairman's Evening - an introduction to the club||4 September 2018|
Club Chairman Steve Hardman welcomed both returning club members and the large number of potential new members who had come along to the first meeting of the 2018-2019 season.
Steve was interested in the reasons why people became interested in photography as a hobby and suggested that to him it had meant seeing the world in a different way and noticing more details. He felt he now very much appreciated the efforts of others and strived to take up the challenge of creating better images.
Whatever the reason it should be fun and enjoyable.
Devizes is one of the leading clubs in the area and is always open to new ideas and suggestions are always welcome.
Steve introduced the committee members – some of which were new to their posts.
Gill Cardy FRPS DPAGB EFIAP was congratulated on her images 'Japanese Crane Dance' right being selected to represent Great Britain in the FIAP International Biennial Projected Nature competition held recently in Oman.
The club has organised landscape and nature group visits to many areas around the UK over the years. Recently day visits had been organised with renowned Nature photographer Nick Upton to photograph Swifts at Lacock, Beavers at a secret location and macro images of insects at Wadswick Common and Green Lane Woods.
Roly Barth gave a presentation about the clubs’ latest weekend visit in May to the island of Skomer off the Pembrokeshire coast.
Arrangements had been made for an overnight stay on the island so as to have the island to themselves after the day visitors departed and to observe the birds and mammals after dark.
The main attraction was the huge colony of Puffins which allow photographers to get up very close to the activities around their underground nests. Images by several members were shown depicting not only puffins but a variety of other seabirds that were abundant on the cliffs. Members were lucky enough to be able to photograph Manx Shearwaters as they flew in to their nest sites complete darkness. Another highlight was to manage to photograph a short eared owl as it flew over. Above: Puffin by Richard Atkinson AFIAP & right: Skomer Sunset by Roly Barth
Club member Kyra Wilson showed 10 of her prints with which she recently gained her LRPS. Kyra explained the process that she followed and the rather daunting judging process in which some of her images were turned down for minor imperfections but which a few months later she was able to correct and on re-submission were passed by the judges. To gain an LRPS the images had to show photographic competence and show a range of subjects and techniques. The next step is an ARPS which Kyra said she might consider in the future.
Left: Little Owl by Kyra Wilson LRPS
Next - some of the members showed some of their images taken during the summer break.
Martin Stokes said he had taken time to plan his images to get the best light with resulting in some excellent images.
Sue Wadman showed some delightful landscapes and Liz Bates a variety of interesting subjects that had caught her eye.
Dan Morrel had taken a 4-month tour of South America and showed just 3 of his well taken images but no doubt we will see more during the season.
After the break where everyone had a chance to chat and catch up a short sequence of images taken at Stourhead by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP was shown to demonstrate how a selection of landscape images and some music could be put together into an Audio-Video (A-V) presentation.
Later in the season there is an A-Vcompetition so members are encouraged learn the techniques and have a go and enter their A-V’s.
Club Battle secretary Frank Collins recently went on a photographic tour of Bhutan and brought a small selection of his many images to show. A wide range of photographs from colourfully dressed locals to amazing temples and monasteries, dramatic landscapes and nightscapes together with many red costumed monks. Frank said that until recently there were no internet stations in Bhutan but since their introduction almost everyone including the monks had mobile phones. The terrain was difficult at times and the high altitudes made climbing and moving about rather more difficult than usual. A very rewarding country to visit and enjoy taking images of the amazing scenery. 21st Century Monk by Frank Collins right
After rushing back from giving a presentation at another club - Programme Secretary Robert Harvey just had time to show what an interesting line up of speakers he had arranged for the coming season. See the Programme for full details.
Steve just had time to thank everyone for their contributions for the entertaining evening.
The feedback from newcomers was that they very much enjoyed the evening and were looking forward to future meetings. PM
|Challenge 2018 - August|
|There was a wide range of subjects entered on the subject of 'Movement'
The idea was to encourage members of our facebook group to try out various ways of giving an impression of something moving that could be shown in a still photograph. Nine people had a go with subjects ranging from wind-blown barley to splashing water - birds to flags - star trails to the international space station as it moved across the sky.
A lot of inspiration came from the Devizes Street festival with dancers, fireworks, street performers and the fairground being popular subjects.
Techniques used included double exposure, long shutter speeds and super-imposed images all managing to show movement in one way or another.
The images that got the most 'likes' was by Martin Stokes which showed cloud movement over Shearwater lake at sunset. - right
Thanks to all those who had a go at portraying 'Movement' in one way or another and hopefully had some fun with different ideas.
The subject chosen for the month of September is 'Reflections'
Reflections in water are a popular subject but interesting images can be taken using mirrors, windows or any shiny surface. A chance to try out different ideas and perhaps come up with something a bit out of the ordinary.
To take part join the DCC facebook group (join facebook if not already a member and then apply to join the DCC group)
|Challenge 2018 - July|
|The subject set for the July Photo Challenge was 'A Sign of the Times'
With so much happening in the world and our fondness to say that it wasn't like that in our day this was an interesting - if somewhat challenging subject for the month. What do you think that will be remembered of 2018 or the decade?
Members found this rather difficult to sum up in a photo. Mobile phones constantly in use, dead flowers, a sewage farm and homeless people were some of the rather depressing subjects portrayed.
The heat of the summer was another topic with this rather overcooked chap photographed by Pam Mullings gaining the most 'likes'.
The subject set for the month of August is 'Movement' A chance perhaps to try out different techniques to either capture moving subjects or to try ICM (intentional camera movement)
We had a couple of speakers last season who showed us some of their images - or there are a lot of examples on line. To join in the Challenge go to DCC facebook.
If you are not already a member then first join facebook and apply to join the DCC facebook closed group.
You will also be able to see what fellow members have been up to 'photographically' during the summer break. PM
|Nature Group Trips to Skomer|
|This summer two trips were organised to the island of Skomer, just off the Pembrokeshire coast.
In early May a group of eight, and in late June a group of three, each spent two nights in the self-catering accommodation belonging to the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, enjoying some excellent wildlife sightings. Short eared Owls were seen hunting in the area just next to the farmhouse and Choughs on the cliffs near the Garland Stone. Skomer is famed for its colonies of Puffins, Manx Shearwaters and huge numbers of rabbits and we were not disappointed.
The whole island is honeycombed with burrows and the wildlife trust do a good job in marshalling all the visitors on to paths whilst still allowing access to the birds.
On the earlier visit, the Puffins were busying themselves nesting and were quite comical in their attempts to get nesting material into their burrows. By late June, in blistering hot weather, the Pufflings had hatched and the adults were busy bringing sand eels allowing the classic shots of beaks full of fish and the clash with the waiting gulls, all too ready to rob them.
At night, the Manx Shearwaters come back to their burrows on the island and it really is an amazing spectacle. Tens of thousands of birds in the pitch black all trying to find their own home – the sound really is one of nature’s wonders and one that just has to be experienced – even if does mean getting up at 3am!
The cliffs are thronged with Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmars and Kittiwakes with Choughs and various species of Gull as well. Wheatears, Pipits, Reed Buntings, Warblers, Whitethroats, Swallows, Martins and Seals etc etc. gave plenty of opportunity to practise different skills.
Trying to photograph swallows flying directly towards the camera down the paths between the bracken was particularly challenging!
Prior our return journey after the first trip, we had been tipped off that an extremely rare visitor to Britain, the Green Heron, had been spotted in a local MP’s garden in Narberth in Pembrokeshire, only a very brief diversion from our route. We all “twitched`’ our way to the garden to be rewarded with a grandstand view of the bird sitting on a branch over the lake. Perfect finish to a great trip.
Many thanks to Robert and Kyra for organisation and to Sarah for her hard work on the catering side. It was agreed by all participants that the logistics of getting to the island were worthwhile and well worth repeating. SH
Images: Top left - Puffin Nesting & Manx Shearwater top right by Steve Hardman Green Heron - Right by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP
See more images taken on Skomer
|Nature Photography with Nick Upton|
|Three groups of club members enjoyed interesting and unusual nature photography field trips this summer with professional wildlife film maker and photographer Nick Upton. The first, on 21 June, was to photograph swifts in flight at Lacock. The most aerial of birds, flying at up to 69 miles per hour in level flight, these are very difficult subjects.
With guidance on the right settings, optimum location and plenty of practice, we were able to get a number of sharp images with the underwings illuminated by low evening sun. Swift by Robert Harvey - right
On Sunday 8 July, we tried our hand at macro photography. Visits to Wadswick Common and Green Lane Wood, both in Wiltshire, produced an array of spiders, shield bugs, butterflies, moths, bush crickets and other invertebrates. Nick’s enthusiasm for these creatures was infectious. It turned out to be the hottest day of the year (so far), which slightly curtailed both invertebrate and human activity!
Four-spotted Orb Web Spider on Ragwort by Steve Hardman - left
A memorable photographic highlight was our trip to photograph wild beavers at a west country location on Wednesday 11 July.
After an absence of 400 years, these native mammals are now becoming re-established in our countryside.
We spent the evening watching a pair feeding in a lovely tranquil setting. Nick also showed us the impressive dams they have built. These shy animals are nature's engineers and delightful to watch.
Beaver Dam - left and Beaver - right by Robert Harvey
Images © Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP and Steve Hardman
|Challenge 2018 - June|
|The subject chosen by Lynda Croft for the month of June was 'Sunlight'
A wide range of subjects were posted in the Album including sunlit buildings, mountains, poppy fields and flowers.
Also sunlight through a window, sunlight on a starlings feathers and sunlight on the paper doves in Salisbury Cathedral.
The favourite image was the delightful photograph by Roly Barth of sunlit poppies.
Roly has chosen the subject for the month of July which is 'A Sign of the Times'
Roly says that he feels that with so much happening in the world and our fondness to say that 'it wasn't like that in our day!' it makes an interesting topic.
The subject can be interpreted in any way so it will be interesting to see what ideas members come up with.
Give it some thought and when you are out and about - take some interesting photos and post them in the Album on DCC facebook.
To join in just request membership (you will need to be a member of facebook first)
|Social Event 2018|
|For a number of years the club has arranged a get together of members and partners
during the summer break. |
This year a BBQ was arranged for Sunday 17 June to be held by kind invitation of Robert and Sarah Harvey in their large interesting garden with its ponds, croquet lawn and beautiful borders.
Hoping for a warm sunny mid summer afternoon we were rather dissappointed when it was rather chilly with a grey overcast sky but non the less we still very much enjoyed looking around the very large garden. There was an array of wild flowers to admire with a few insects flying around the pond area and we could also take a look at Robert's hide and reflective pool set up where he can take photos of the visiting garden birds.
Soon the delicious smell of meat cooking wafted around with
|Challenge 2018 - May|
The subject set by Heather for the month of May was 'Leading Lines.
|Annual General Meeting and Presentation of Awards||15 May 2018|
|Club Chairman Richard Watson LRPS gave a warm welcome to about 26 members and guests to the AGM and
Members were asked to approve the 2017 AGM minutes which had been circulated to members beforehand and there were no matters arrising.
Richard began with a huge thank you to the committee for their hard work over the The highlight of the year for Richard was the Charlie Waite talk. "To meet and hear from one of my
Richard said he felt that the programme has been stronger than ever this year, with a range of interesting speakers I would like to thank Pam for continuing to act as Webmaster and for the website which is an important
As she comes to the end of her term as Competition Secretary, Richard wanted to pay particular thanks to
Lynda has been a very accurate and
Frank continues to steer our competitions with other clubs
Steve has been a
Lastly to two of the less visible roles. Dave is a great Secretary, sending out regular emails to members
Richard said he hoped he was leaving the club in a good place with a healthy bank balance, a strong membership
He would like
He wished Steve Hardman well in taking on the Chair’s role and
|Ladies v Gents Battle 2018||8 May 2018|
The final full Club meeting of the season was marked by the now-customary battle between the Lady members and the Gents of the Club.
The contest is intended to be fun – but inevitably brings with it some light-hearted rivalry between the two teams! Jean Ingram and Richard Atkinson acted as Captains of the respective teams.
The rules are designed to make the Battle as inclusive as possible – whilst also encouraging the teams to think a bit, and not just choose images which have been successful in the year’s competitions. So while each team had to select 30 Projected Images as its entry, the Gents were limited to a maximum of two images per photographer; the Ladies being allowed up to four per head to allow for an imbalance in the membership this year. Each team was required to include at least 10 images that had not previously been entered in Club competitions; and whilst the team Captains were otherwise free to choose entries from members in any competition Section of the Club, entries from the Beginners or Intermediates attracted 2 bonus marks. Selection therefore had to take care to meet the rules – and then tactical to try to maximise the points!
The final selection say the Ladies represented by 10 different photographers, with half of their work being previously unseen, and 11 images coming from Beginners or Intermediates. The Gents utilised images from 19 members, with 10 new images and half of the selection coming from Beginners and Intermediates.
That therefore gave the Gents a head-start of 8 points – however, our Judges were of course not only unaware of which image was representing each team, but also of the bonus points, so were judging every image purely on merit against all of the others. The gamble from the captains therefore was whether the judges marks, when combined with the bonus points, would give them the winning selection!
As in previous years, we had two judges – one lady, one gent, this time being Sue and Richard Winkworth from Bristol, who had previously visited the Club as speakers. Richard and Sue had each scored the images independently ahead of the evening – and to add to the drama, had not conferred with one another, or revealed their scores to each other ahead of the evening. Each gave their personal thoughts about each image, and as they explained, they each tend to look at images in very different ways from one another – which was reflected in the very different marks which they each gave to some of the images. Each scored each images out of 10 – so a basic maximum of 20, with the possibility of a maximum of 22 for those eligible for bonus points
Two images gained the top score from both judges - 'Otter with Crab' by David Wilkinson left and 'The Three Pug-a Leers' by Kev Ferris right, which meant that David’s image was the top scoring one of the evening since it was also eligible for bonus points. It was very much a night for the Beginners and Intermediates; with the addition of the bonus points a further five images scored 20 or more;-
Cold Canal Night – Craig Purvis – 21
Common Darter – Heather Collins – 21
Morning Glory – Sue Wadman – 20
Old Man of Storr at Sunrise – Sue Wadman – 20
The Old Man in Loch Fada – Steve Hardman – 20
The contest was very tight throughout and the final scoring also split the Judges, with Richard giving victory to the Ladies, and Sue to the Gents. But when the final scores were tallied, the Gents had 487 points and Ladies were just 14 points behind with a score of 473 – resulting in the first victory for the Gents for quite a few years!
Our thanks go to our Judges, Richard and Sue Winkworth, for their time, trouble and input, to the two Team Captains, Jean Ingram and Richard Atkinson, for organising the selections, but above all, to all of the Club members for supporting the event.
|Print and Projected Image of the Year competitions||1 May 2018|
|The final competition of the season included all the images that had gained a 1st 2nd or 3rd place in a club competition since September.
The judge Ralph Snook ARPS EFIAP/b DPAGB was welcomed back to the club by Chairman Richard Watson. Ralph had the very onerous task of choosing which, in his opinion, were the best of the best! The prints and PI’s were from a diverse range of competitions – nature, landscape, creative, monochrome, portraits, open competitions where anything goes and even images taken on a phone.
Prints and PI's were divided up into sections – Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced so there were 6 trophies to be awarded to the winners of each section.
Starting the evening with the Beginners Prints only 2 members entered their prints so Ralph jested that one of them was bound to be disappointed! After giving his comments on both prints Ralph gave first place to ‘Village Stream’ right by
Craig Purvis remarking on the clever capture of the stream of coloured light from the traffic as it wended its way through the village at dusk.
'Boaters Market' was a canal side scene by Richard Blackbourne and was placed second.
Next came the Intermediate prints with a deceptively simple image by Kyra Wilson titled ‘Feather and Grass’ left being the judges favourite. Close behind were two landscapes taken on Skye ‘Quiraing’ and ‘Sunset over Sgurr nan Gilean’ by Steve Hardman which were placed 2nd and 3rd.
There were 14 prints in the Advanced section for Ralph to ponder over with Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP gaining first and second places. ‘Kingfisher Surfacing’ right was the winner with the judge commenting on the way the bird had been perfectly photographed as it emerged from its dive with a fish in its beak surrounded by water droplets.
Robert’s stunning seascape ‘Wembury Point’ was in second place with a creative image titled ‘Cardoon Seed Heads’ by Pam Mullings in third place.
After a break Ralph continued with the Beginners Projected Images – this time rather more to choose from than the prints. A monochrome portrait by Craig Purvis was in first place – titled ‘Flawless 40’s’ left
Ralph commented that it perfectly captured the mood of the period.
A close up study of hoar frost on a teasel by Peter Eley titled ‘Winter Thistle’ was in second place and ‘Boogie Woogie Madeleine’ a coloured portrait by Martin Stokes placed third.
In the Intermediate section another portrait caught the judges eye - 'Holly' right by Sue Wadman gained first place. Ralph commented it was good to see a pretty girl posing for her photograph with her clothes on!
A nature image by David Wilkinson titled 'Stonechat with Insect' was in second place and in third place was another bird image but this time a creative image 'Pop up Little Owl by Kyra Wilson.
With 23 entries in the Advanced section Ralph said it had been very difficult for him to choose his three favourites as all were of a very high standard and many of them could have been worthy winners.
Finally, it was down to the judges personal preferences and a landscape by Robert was declared the winner. ‘Buttermere at Dawn’ left was an atmospheric misty image capturing the early morning reflection in the water. Third in the Advanced section was ‘Raindrops’ a creative image by Pam Mullings.
Ralph congratulated those that he awarded 1st place and presented each of the worthy winners with a trophy.
Many thanks to Ralph for his helpful comments and for his careful deliberations choosing his favourites from each of the six competitons.
Thanks to Caroline who as Competition Secretary has had the time consuming task of sorting all the entries for the 25 competitions held during the season. Also thanks to all the members who entered the competitions making it a very interesting and competitive year. PM
Full results All of the winning images can be seen in the Galleries
|Challenge 2018 - May|
|The challenge set for the month of April was 'On the Wing'
Members found this quite a difficult challenge but nine club members managed to take photos during the month that would fit the title. We had many flying birds, aircraft and insects as well as some rather more unexpected ideas.
The image that gained the most 'likes' was by Heather Collins who very cleverly, and with a great deal of patience, managed to capture an image of a tiny hoverfly 'on the wing' (shown left)
The Challenge is for members to take photographs that fit the chosen subject each month and add them to the Album on Devizes Camera Club facebook. See all the 'On the Wing' images in the facebook Album.
The photographer whose image has the most likes chooses the next subject so Heather has chosen 'Leading Lines' as the challenge for the month of May.
No points or prizes but just something that might inspire members to get out their cameras and look out for something a bit different to photograph.
Club members can take part in the Challenge by going to Devizes Camera Club facebook (not a member? then first join Facebook and then apply to join)
|'||24 April 2018|
There was a very good turnout at Devizes Camera Club to welcome back Andy Beel and to hear his latest presentation. Andy brought several boxes of, predominantly, monochrome prints and announced that we should not expect a smoothly scripted talk as he had no fixed plan for his presentation. However he said he would include prints made from slides that he took in the 1980’s when he started his photographic journey, and come up to date with some of his latest work using a range of digital cameras.
|Our Members Present ...|
Members of the club were asked to give a short presentation of their work, their thoughts and the way they approach their photography.
There are many different ways that photographers prefer to work – some are very methodical and pre-plan every detail before taking a photograph while others just get inspired by something they just happen to come across.
Starting off the evening David Fraser presented a selection of his excellent photographs taken on a four-day safari to a private reserve on the edge of the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Travelling in an open topped vehicle with a driver and a tracker David and his wife were delighted to see a pride of fifteen lions on their foray into the bush.
Using a 100 – 400 mm and at times a 28 – 125 mm lens David found that the image stabilisation worked very well and gave excellent results. At times when using the larger lens elephants came so close to the vehicle that he had difficulty fitting them into the frame! Close up mother and baby elephant right.
David and his wife manages to see all of the ‘big five’ during their visit including superb views of a stunning leopard left as it rested on a turmite mound.
They were able to follow a pack of the elusive wild dogs as they hunted, saw spotted hyenas and their cubs and once when rushing through the bush a group of rhinos were startled and looked for a moment as if they might charge.
On one of the days the guide was asked to look out for birds and David managed to photograph many of them including colourful Bee Eaters, Lilac Breasted Rollers and a Crested Barbet.
On safari often you have to be prepared to take your photographs very quickly or you may miss the action.
Thanks to David for giving an insight into his interesting safari and his animal encounters.
Next on a very different topic Pam Mullings spoke about her interest in photographing interesting characters that she came across in the street or at events. No image is pre – planned but taken just when the opportunity arises and someone or something interesting is seen. it is most often a ‘grab shot’ so tUsing a bridge camera with a 25-400 zoom lens subjects are usually unaware they are being photographed and so behave naturally rather than posing for the camera.
Showing the ‘before’ and then ‘after’ images Pam showed how she removes unwanted background distractions and then using editing software manipulates the images. With an idea in mind images are altered to give the desired effect and often combined with other photographs to give a composite image. Using layers and a lot of trial and error, new techniques are always being tried out. Textures and layer blends are often used to give interesting effects. An example of an image as taken and then the final edited image is shown right.
Club chairman Richard Watson LRPS rounded off the evening by showing images taken by photographers that inspire him.
The deceptively simple flower photographs by Sue Bishop are some of Richard’s favourites, usually with a shallow depth of field, subtle combinations of colour and a delightful creative style.
The atmospheric landscapes of Mark Littlejohn use various techniques such as split toning, radial filters and gradients to enhance the mood. The results make the landscapes look almost like paintings and yet still retain all the detail of the photograph.
Another landscape photographer is Finn Hopson whose images of the South Downs inspire Richard to take more photographs of the Wiltshire hills and downland with their interesting contours.
The almost abstract images by Valda Bailey often use double exposures – another technique that Richard would like to explore further.
See images by these photographers on their websites.
Richard explained that he has not had much time for photography recently but still manages to take anything that inspires him during his working day. He then went on to show a few of his own photographs – mostly taken and edited using his phone which gives excellent results.
An old overgrown farm trailer made an interesting subject and Richard said he would like to make a series of similar monochrome images in the future.
Close up of a magnolia flower by Richard shown left.
|Innovation Projected Image Competition: Smartphone Images|
|On her first visit to Devizes CC the judge Linda Meaton remarked that she had never judged a competition for phone images before – well we have never had one before!
Linda has many years’ experience in computer aided design and visualisation and gave very good advice on how some of the entries might have been improved. Enjoying architectural and street photography herself she explained how strong leading lines help the viewer into the image. Sometimes an image would have been improved if the photograph had been taken from a slightly different angle so as to avoid background clutter or avoided cutting off elements of the image.
Members were asked to send in images taken on a smartphone on which the technology has improved immensely but there are still limitations on the settings that can be changed on a phone. Usually the ISO and F stop is set and the focus is automatic and they cannot shoot in RAW - but never the less many have built in software to crop or add contrast etc. The images for this competition could be downloaded and Photoshop used to do enhance the images.
When Linda took her first look at the Beginners entries she was astonished at the high quality and said that it bodes well for the future of the club. There were some very interesting subjects in the 9 entries – street scenes, telephone boxes and a colourful sunset. Linda chose ‘Dandelion’ left by Roly Barth for first place. A very well taken and unusual close up image which showed great detail. Roly also was awarded an HC for his image ‘Poppies’
Second and Third places both went to Heather Collins – the judge commented that ‘Going Underground’ which was an image taken of an escalator showed good leading lines and ‘Cranes’ had many interesting angles and a good range of colours.
In the Intermediate section David Lock was awarded both first and third places –
‘The Holte End’ right was a monochrome image of the roof of a stadium with many interesting angles and ‘Balloon Fest’ captured the colour and atmosphere of the event.
In second place was Sue Wadman’s well seen close up image titled ‘Knot so Much Detail’
The Advanced section had a wide range of interesting images from beautiful highland landscapes to well caught street scenes. A monochrome by Richard Watson LRPS was placed first depicting raindrops on hosta leaves titled ‘After the Rain’ left. Linda said it was a perfect subject for monochrome and the angles of the leaves were well placed. Richard also was awarded an HC for ’Running Away’ another monochrome with a small child heading off on his own along a path.
‘Light and Shade in Edmondsbury’ by Frank Collins depicted a corner of a church interior with interesting patterns of light falling on the stonework and was awarded second place. In third place was another monochrome – this time of woodland trees in snow titled ‘Mist and Snow on Roundway’ by Caroline Wright. Caroline was also awarded an HC for a colourful image of an old boat.
Club chairman Richard Watson thanked the judge for coming from Portishead to judge our phone competition and giving her helpful comments on all the images.
After the break some of the winning entries from the WCPF 2017 Audio – Visual competition were shown including one from club member Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP titled ‘Canyon Country’ A range of stunning landscape images taken in Arizona and Utah were accompanied by appropriate music to make an enjoyable AV. Members also very much enjoyed viewing the winning long AV titled ‘The Fallen’ with its very moving images and the short AV about a rather unusual but interesting subject - the ‘Holsworthy Livestock Market’
Congratulations to all those who gained awards, to all those who submitted their phone images and to Competition Secretary Caroline wrright for organising the competition. PM
Full results All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries
|'Creating Audio-Visuals’||3 April 2018|
Tony Byram EFIAP ARPS AWPF DPAGB and his wife Jenny EFIAP/b DPAGB BPE1 made a welcome return visit to demonstrate how to make audio-visual sequences using Pictures to exe software.
The Challenge is for members to take photographs that fit the chosen subject each month and add them to the Album on Devizes Camera Club Facebook.
|Inter - Club Battle|
|Tuesday 27th March saw Devizes Camera Club welcome Swindon, Stratton and Royal Wootton Bassett Camera Clubs to Devizes Sports Club to compete in a 4-way Battle. Each Club had provided 15 projected images; the subject was ‘Open’ and the only restriction on selection was that there could be no more than two images from any one photographer. Judge for the evening was Eddy Lane ARPS DPAGB EFIAP, recently promoted to the PAGB judges list, and well known to all four clubs taking part.
The standard of images submitted by all four Clubs was very high; of the first 5 images shown, three scored the maximum of 20 points and the other two, 19 each, and after three rounds of images, Swindon were leading with 59 points (out of a possible 60) with Stratton just one point behind. It remained a tough and very tight context throughout; at the half time interval, Swindon and Devizes were tied for the lead with 144 points each, and were still tied with just two rounds to go. By the end, just the tiniest margin separated the top two places, and only 12 points separated the four clubs in all, the final scores being;-
· Devizes – 268
· Swindon – 266
· Stratton – 258
· Royal Wootton Bassett - 256
Judge Eddy Lane gave an excellent, constructive and helpful commentary, delivered with his usual good humour, whilst highlighting areas for potential improvement in his difficult quest to distinguish the images from one another. By the close of the evening, 8 out of the 60 images had been awarded the maximum of 20 points, with at least one of those going to each Club; those images can be viewed here.
Our grateful thanks go to Eddy Lane for his time and excellent judging, and to our friends at Swindon, Stratton and Royal Wootton Bassett Clubs for taking part in such a wonderful spirit and making such a great contest out of the evening. FC
Devizes CC results
|Competition 2 - Open Prints||20 March 2018|
|Not only was this the first visit to Devizes CC by Mike Hendon LRPS but his first time as a judge. He explained that he became a judge by accident after going on a WCPF Seminar as a competition secretary. The same seminar was for also new judges and Mike was astonished when he was congratulated for being on the list of approved judges! Anyway it was quite a gentle introduction for a judge as there were fewer than usual entries for the last open print competition of the season. Mike had looked through all the entries very carefully and gave his comments very professionally. Mike sometimes felt that some skies were over saturated for his taste and also some distracting white areas could have been toned down.
Only one member of the Beginners section entered this competition so it was no surprise that Richard Blackbourne had the winning print. ‘Boater’s Market’ top left portrayed a canal side scene with people selling a variety of wares alongside their colourful barges
There were a few more entries in the Intermediate section which gave Mike some deliberation as to which prints to give awards. Finally, he chose an excellent landscape by Steve Hardman for first place with a monochrome by David Lock in second place. The subtlety coloured image taken on the Isle of Skye titled ‘Quirang’ left appealed to the judge who remarked that the winding road led the eye through the landscape to the distant misty mountains.
There were seventeen entries for Mike to judge in the Advanced section and he remarked that he found it difficult to select just five images for awards as the standard was so high.
He remarked that there were many wonderful landscapes entered but finally gave first place to creative image by Pam Mullings. The print titled ‘Cardoon Seed Heads’ right was an unusual composite image using several images and blend modes resulting in a harmonious coloured combination.
Pam was also awarded third place with another composite image titled ‘Contemplation’ The judge thought the image was in the style of the Pre- Raphaelites and liked the way the foliage swept around the body of the model and the painterly background.
A landscape by Tim Pier titled ‘Sunset at Land’s End’ was awarded third place with the judge commenting on the way the setting sun highlighted the cliffs, and the amazing colours in the sea. Another sunset image by Tim was awarded a highly commended this time featuring the Cornish coastline and Godrevy Light House.
An HC was also awarded to Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP for an excellent floral image of the rare Monkey Orchid.
Hopefully his visit to the club did not put Mike off judging in the future!
Full results All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries
'Water Splash Photography'
As the competition did not take up the whole evening Mike gamely agreed to put together a presentation of his own images showing his expertise in capturing splashing liquid in a variety of ways. His interest in the subject began with an image of a swimmer throwing back her wet hair with an arc of spray – this led to other creative images taken in swimming pools often with lots of spray.
His interest in the way the camera could capture amazing water splash images led to him buying the special equipment needed to control the size and speed of the drops and to trigger the flash or flashes at precisely the right time. The camera is pre-focussed on the exact spot where the liquid will fall then in complete darkness the camera is set on a very slow shutter speed giving time to start the liqid drop and for the flash or flashes to fire at extremely high speed to give a sharp image. Colours can be added to the liquid and coloured gels used to give an infinite variety of effects. It takes a lot of patience and trial and error (and sometimes mess) to get just the right amount of splash but as Mike says it puts ‘fun’ into photography so why not have some fun. No two splashes are alike so seeing just what you have captured is the interesting part. There are numerous splash images on the internet and Mike recommended those by Corrie White if members would like to try their hand at something a bit different.
Many thanks to Mike for so ably judging the print completion and also for his very interesting introduction to Liquid Drop Art. PM
Water splash images © Mike Hendon LRPS
|‘Movement in Photography’||13 March 2018|
Derek Gale was welcomed back to Devizes Camera Club to deliver his presentation entitled Movement in Photography. He jokingly hoped his comments as a judge last season had been forgiven and forgotten!
|‘Now You See It, Now You Don’t’||6 March 2018|
Martin Cooper LRPS was welcomed on his first visit to the club by club chairman Richard Watson LRPS. Martin explained the intriguing title of his presentation – in the first half the images shown will be more traditional and in the second half rather more experimental – that is images that have been altered in the camera using a variety of techniques.
|In case you have not looked recently at the club Facebook there is a challenge to take a photo (or several) that fit the subject set at the beginning of every month.
Last month the subject was 'New Beginnings' so members posted images of newly emerging plants, a new puppy, a new morning, eggs and even a newly ploughed field!
The image with the most 'likes' was Caroline Wright's image of raindrops on snowdrops showing that spring might be on the way - not that its looking like this today!
A stunning close-up image taken by Caroline using her phone.
Caroline is away so cannot choose the new subject so I have started the ball rolling by choosing 'THREE' as the March subject.
So get going and think of anything that fits that title. That should give a wide range covering landscapes, nature, street photography, architecture etc. or perhaps get out of your comfort zone and try something really different - anything goes so maybe 3 snowmen with todays snow!
No prizes or points given but a good way to share ideas and to get out and take photos of something a bit different on your camera or phone.
If you have not already joined our facebook then click and apply to join. Then you to, can take up the challenge . PM
|Competition 4 Open Projected Images||27 February 2018|
|The evening turned out to be extremely cold and the roads icy so unfortunately fewer members than usual attended to hear Judge Sandie Cox give her comments and the results of the competition.
Sandie travelled all the way from Gloucestershire but did not encounter much snow until she neared Devizes. Sandie is well known for her stunning wildlife photography but is happy to give her opinion on any image - whatever the subject. She had looked very closely at all the entries and gave advice where needed on how some images might have been improved. Often there were dull areas which if cropped would have given more emphasis to the more interesting parts of the image
In the Beginners section there were 27 entries portraying a wide variety of subjects – from motor-sports to birds and from fireworks to landscapes. Peter Eley’s ‘Eider, Slimbridge’ right was the judge’s favourite image in this section. The judge liked the way the photographer had caught the moment as the duck splashed up the water shaking its wings.
In second place was ‘Adriatic at Dusk’ by Roly Barth with the judge commenting on the way the late evening light caught the edge of the jetty. Another striking image by Roly gained third place – this time of a group of Chelsea pensioners in their red coats and black tricorn hats titled ‘Farewell to Arms’. Martin Stokes was awarded two HC’s and Craig Purvis, Brian Appleby, Richard Blackbourne, Peter Eley and new member Jck Willis one HC each.
There were just 18 entries in the Intermediate section with a nature image titled ‘Otter Feeding on Crab’ left by David Wilkinson gaining first place. The judge liked the way the otter was portrayed as it sat amid the waves eating its meal. David was also awarded third place for ‘Misty Morning an atmospheric image of a cow as it drank.
In second place was’ Evening Light at Portland’ by Steve Burgess with the lighthouse set against a blue sky with the waves braking on the rocks below. 'Winter Walk' by Steve was a monochrome image of a local canal side pub and gained an HC.
Jean Ingram was awarded HC’s for two of her images.
The Advanced section had a larger entry with 39 images for Sandie to judge. She said that she had a difficult job deciding which images gained awards and so some excellent images had to be left out.
The delightful delicate colours and the pink tinged mountain tops of ‘Snow Moon, Oks Fjord’right made Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP the worthy winner of the Advanced section. Robert was also awarded an HC for his delightful floral image ‘Frosted Snakeshead Fritillary’
‘Raindrops’ by Pam Mullings with its rain splattered roses appealed to the judge and was in second place.
The stormy sky of Caroline Wright’s ‘Stormlight on Llanddwn Beach’ was remarked on by the judge and was given third place.
David Fraser did well with all three of his entries gaining an HC and Frank Collins and Richard Watson LRPS were each awarded two HC’s. Images by Tim Pier and Kyra Wilson LRPS were also awarded an HC.
Congratulations to all those whose images gained awards,
Many thanks to Sandie for giving her helpful comments on each image and giving her judgement, also to Caroline for organising the entries, members who sent in entries and also thanks to those members who braved the bad weather. PM
Full list of results All the awarded images can be seen in the Gallery Members can log in to see the points table.
|WCPF Digital Projected Image Competition||18 February 2018|
5 members from Devizes Camera Club attended what, as always, was an intense if very enjoyable day at the Corn Exchange, Exeter. 57 Clubs from the Western Counties took part this year include 5 who had not entered previously, so in total we saw 1026 images.
|The Landscape Group Presents ...||20 February 2018|
|Dave Gray began the evening with a look back over the last eight years of the DCC Landscape Group. It all began in 2010 when the committee decided that the club would benefit from a special interest group for members with a particular interest in landscape photography.
With his interest and knowledge, Dave was ‘volunteered’ to lead the group and eight years later he is still doing a great job organising visits to scenic places. Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP is very much involved with the group and is a tremendous asset with his great knowledge of exactly the best place and time of day to get the best light and superb sunrise and sunset views.
Many local field trips have been organised and in recent years, longer, more ambitious visits further afield have been a great success. When on a trip newer members can always ask for advice from the more experienced, thus building up their own skills.
The Group also have indoor meetings once a month where they can see presentations and demonstrations and also get advice on post processing. Everyone is welcome to show their latest landscape images for comment and advice from fellow members.
Dave went on to show some of his photographs taken on group trips which brought back happy memories to many. As landscape photography is always weather dependant it is difficult to plan visits in advance so sometimes photographers have to make the best of what they get on the day. The day was dull and foggy on a visit to Salisbury but nevertheless Dave got an atmospheric image of Salisbury Cathedral in the mist but on other trips the light has been perfect for capturing the scene.
Early morning visits have been made to Stourhead to photograph the autumn colour and many local historic sites such as Avebury, Devil’s Den and Silbury Hill have visited at different times of the year resulting in some amazing images. Robert arranged for an after-hours visit to Stonehenge and some members tried astrophotography.
Robert’s knowledge of the coastal tides has resulted in members being in the best places at the best time of day to get superb images. The Brecon Beacons area has been visited several times resulting in brilliant images of the waterfalls including one visit after heavy rainfall when the rivers turned into a torrent. Corfe Castle was another popular visit with members scrambling in darkness up the hill to capture a sunrise and a visit to Dartmoor resulted in dramatic photographs of the Tors.
The first longer stay trip was to the Gower peninsular followed by a trip to Sidmouth; both areas having very photogenic views. During a visit to Cornwall a raging storm resulted in some dramatic images of the crashing waves. The most popular Group trip was to the Lake District, attended by 29 club members and partners. That was followed in subsequent years by Dartmoor and the Peak District.
Getting more adventurous a group of 10 stayed on Skye for a week, and were really lucky to have wonderful weather with clear skies. The latest trip was a few weeks ago when 19 members visited the Snowdonia area for a long weekend.
After the break Steve Hardman showed some images taken on the groups visit to Skye in March 2017. Steve knows the area well and so the shared knowledge took members to many classic viewpoints around the region which is a very popular venue for photographers. Sometimes early starts and steep climbs were involved to capture some of the amazing classic views but there were also more easily accessible scenes to photograph. Robert searched for the actual rounded boulder on Elgol Beach that is featured in photographs by Joe Cornish so members could take photographs in exactly the same spot. A detailed account of the visit to Skye and many of the more recent visits can be seen on the Landscape Group website page.
Thanks to Dave for his review of the many interesting Landscape Group trips and to Steve for showing some of the members’ images taken on the memorable visit to Skye. PM
Images: top left - Ashness Bridge by Steve Hardman, top right- Stannage Stones by Dave Gray, bottom right - Brecon Waterfall by Sue Wadman, bottom left - Elgol Beach by Robert Harvey
|'Is Photography Art?'||13 February 2018|
Colin Tracy ARPS came to Devizes Camera Club to ask “Is Photography Art? - or is it imply technique.
Introducing himself, he said he envisaged his presentation as being participatory and started by asking the audience a series of questions: What is Art? Can photography be artistic? What makes it artistic? Does image manipulation make it more or less artistic?
Contributions from the audience suggested that, to be artistic, an exhibit should provoke a reaction, should tug at ones’ emotions and should be moving in some way. However, it was pointed out that some “art”, while provoking reaction, did not otherwise affect people emotionally. Examples included Damien Hurst’s work and an exhibit of carpet offcuts at the Guggenheim in Spain. Although, judging by these outburst, there did seem to have been some emotion was involved.
Colin explained that he has been a Buddhist for about 30 years and that the disciplines imposed through meditation and contemplation have influenced his photography. He tries to be clear-minded in what he sees, looking beyond the object of focus to see things as they really are, in terms of colour, texture, movement and light.
Colin follows a contemplative path to his photography, often capturing spontaneous images as a result of a “flash of inspiration”. Many of these are abstract images that confuse the viewer’s eye as they struggle to see what they are. Colin is often reluctant to tell the story behind the image to the point of refusing to give them titles. He prefers people to react to what they see rather than the mundane explanation of the objects involved.
He showed a number of images to illustrate this issue and asked the audience “How does this image make you feel?”. Reaction to this question showed a certain amount of confusion as different perspectives were expressed from different people. This was particularly true of a monochrome image of swan’s feathers floating on water.
Other images, which Colin did expand on, included close-ups of a gnat on the surface of water in a glass tumbler and a willow leaf embedded in a frozen compost bin (right). A reflection of a tree in a stream in the New Forest (above) was intriguing for the levels of nature it presented. There was light on the orange bed of the stream, objects floating on the surface, the tree in reflection, and beyond that, the blue of the sky.
To illustrate that good art, whatever the medium, should show some profundity, he had images of a Koi Carp feeding frenzy, raindrops on a pond with an orange streak (fish?), and a reflection of a tree with a floating leaf appearing to cling to a reflected branch (left).
Colin told us about his Art Exchange project in which he and some artist friends work together and swap ideas and inspiration. They paint from his photographic images and he takes images of their work, juxtaposing them with everyday objects. He, himself, had painted from images he had taken of ponies in a snowstorm (one of his best sellers) and of Carrick Castle.
He showed some creative images, asking if creative photography is more artistic. These included an image of the Earth juxtaposed against a dandelion seed-head, half a dandelion seed-head against a bright red background and close-ups of magnolia leaves presented in a triptych.
When asked about his favorite genre, he said “Whatever catches the eye”. And he certainly showed us a wide range of different subjects, from wonderful moody landscapes and monochrome seascapes through flowers and plants to insects and pictorial images. All of these images had a quality beyond mere technical excellence and illustrated that composition and light help the presentation of an artistic image.
A further series of abstract images leading to his final photo, that of a seated Buddha, brought this fascinating presentation to a close.
The Chairman thanked Colin for sharing his insights with us and suggested that many of the audience will have been inspired to think a little differently about their photography. DF
|Warminster Camera Club Annual Print Day|
Warminster Camera Club invited 5 clubs to join them in the Annual Print Battle held on the afternoon of Saturday 10 February.
|Landscape Group trip to Snowdonia||3 - 5 February 2018|
The latest Landscape Group weekend away saw 19 members and partners head for the mountains of Snowdonia, dressed in their winter finery, based at the Royal Victoria Hotel in Llanberis. Mountain weather is always fickle, but the group found sufficient sunshine over the weekend to bring some sparkle to the photography, even if we sometimes had to go to Anglesey to find it.
Many choose various detours on the drive up from Wiltshire, some going via the Elan Valley dams, others the Mawddach Estuary near Barmouth, while some of the early arrivals headed for the ‘lonely tree’ on Llyn Padarn near Llanberis. The weather was at this stage dry and cloudy, though with just occasional shafts of sunlight to add some drama to the scene.
Saturday was forecast to rain all day, but true to the saying that mountains make their own weather, it turned out sunny on Anglesey and there was just an occasional shower on the mainland. Those heading for Anglesey visited the Twr Mawr lighthouse on the tidal island of Llanddwyn, or alternatively the South Stack lighthouse near Holyhead. On the mainland, the dull conditions suited the party who walked around the disused slate quarry at Dinorwic, and marvelled at the ‘barracks’ where quarrymen from outside the area were quartered.
Sunday was altogether different. The forecast suggested clear skies, and so a large group walked up Snowdon’s Miner’s Track before daybreak as far as Llyn Llydaw. Clouds initially covering the summits began to clear as the first cold light of day appeared. There was then a magical 10 minutes or so of quite amazing light, as the first rays of sunshine illuminated first the summit of Snowdon, and then Crib Goch, turning the snow into a kaleidoscope of orange and pink, reflecting in Llyn Llydaw.
The rest of the day was good, with visits made to Llyn Llynnau Mymbyr for the classic view to Snowdon, Llyn Ogwen and Llyn Idwal for views of Tryfan and the Glyders, the Idwal Pinnacles, and then onto Anglesey for shots of Telford’s suspension bridge at sunset, with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Some even found time to go to Conwy Castle for a crossover light shot of the castle over the estuary.
Monday morning couldn’t possibly be as good, although a large group made the steep climb to Llyn Cwmffynnon for reflections of Crib Goch and the Glyders in the still water of the lake. It was then time to head back to the hotel for breakfast before driving home.
This being February, we also had a full itinerary for the long evenings.
Friday saw presentations from Robert Harvey and Richard Watson on the local area, and also from Josh Cooper who lives on the southern edge of the National Park.
Then on Saturday, we had another of Robert’s inimitable quizzes, including the feared but hilarious Just-A-Minute round.
All in all, this was another very successful trip which was enjoyed by all. Our thanks go especially to Robert and Richard for organising the whole trip, booking the hotel, managing payments and offering their guiding services for photographic vantage points. DG
Images © Dave Gray Top: Snowdon Group from Llyn Llynnau Mymbyr, Right: Dinorwic Quarry, Bottom: Golden Light on Snowdon and Crib Goch
|Competition 3 Projected Images - Portraits||6 February 2018|
Club Chairman Richard Watson welcomed Beryl Heaton ARPS EFIAP CPAGB who judged the competition and was visiting Devizes CC for the first time. This was the first time the club had a competition for portraits for many years so it was interesting to see what images members would enter. Although not a huge number of members entered - each competition section managed to have some excellent images.
|Light on the Wiltshire Landscape||30 January 2018|
This week we welcomed Stephen Davis to the Devizes Camera Club to hear his talk entitled Light on the Wiltshire Landscape. Stephen had travelled right across Devizes to share his photographic love affair with the Wiltshire countryside, especially that within easy reach of a curtain twitch on a day with enticing light.
He told us that he moved to this area about 20 years ago and joined Wiltshire Wildlife Trust about 6 years ago. He has always been a naturalist and enjoys exploring meadows and woodland in search of landscapes, wild flowers, trees and butterflies. He said he likes making prints and tries to envisage the finished output at the time of planning and taking his images. Stephen explained that his presentation would follow the year from January to December and that the majority of the images were taken in the Pewsey and Marlborough Downs area.
True to his word, his first images were of Avebury Stone Circle in the January frost with dramatic skies. (left)
He followed this up with some snow scenes taken in Savernake Forest in 2013. He stated that we don’t often get a good amount of snow these days and advised us to get out quickly when snow does settle as it is likely to have melted by lunchtime!
Martinsell is one of his favourite spots when there is mist in the Vale. He showed us several excellent images and explained that he often likes to take this sort of landscape image with his 70-300 lens because different zoom lengths can provide a completely different feel to the same scene. Other images from February and March included Starling murmurations at Lavington vedette and Silbury Hill with a fabulous dawn sky.
In April, Stephen was in the Pewsey Vale with an image of Woodborough Hill. He confided that the field around the clump of trees was a haven for Green Winged Orchids in the first two weeks of May. He showed us several images of Fritillaries taken at Clattinger Farm, explaining that he liked to have just one flower in sharp focus with the rest, in front and behind in soft focus. He also had images of Marsh Marigolds, taken at Drew’s Pond, Bluebells at Gophers Wood and West Wood, and Wild Garlic taken near Castle Coombe.
For June and July he had several images of wild flower meadows, especially extolling the virtues of Clattinger Farm meadows as some of the best in the country. In August, a time that he regards as the worst of the year for photography, he had a lovely image of stooks of corn (left) and returned to Martinsell to take some more misty images at 300mm. In September, he headed for Caen Locks shortly before the equinox, to capture golden light in the mist at the bottom of the flight.(right)
For October, he had a wonderful sunrise image taken through some trees across the road from Silbury Hill. Then there were a series of lovely compositions with autumn colours taken in Savernake Forest. He showed us a wonderful sunrise image taken at Langford Lakes and by December we were back in the Pewsey Vale with some original shots taken from the Pewsey Downs between Oare and Walkers Hill. Stephen ended his talk back where he started with some more stunning images with dramatic skies taken at Avebury.
During the break we had an opportunity to take a closer look at many of the images he had presented displayed as prints.
After the break, Stephen showed us samples from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s book, entitled Wild Wiltshire, on which he and 12 other photographers had collaborated. Some of the memorable shots, amongst a range of stunning images, included a Sparrowhawk, taken from the photographer’s kitchen window; Pewsey Vale in the snow, taken from Walker’s Hill; a fiery Firecrest; Waxwings taken in a car park in Wroughton; and swans, deer and otters taken at Lower Moor Farm.
A lively ‘question and answer’ session followed Stephen’s presentation during which it was clear that the audience had been inspired by Stephen’s images. When asked where is favourite location was, Stephen tactfully said that different places gave him different pleasures. His list of favourites WWT reserves included Clattinger and Lower Mill Farms, Jones Mill, Morgan’s Hill, Coombe Bisset Down, Ham Hill and Conigre Mead.
The Chairman thanked Stephen for an inspiring evening and the audience backed that up with a warm round of applause.DF
|GB Cup Results 2018|
Devizes CC entered the 2018 GB Cup Open and Nature Projected Image competitions. These competitions are held annually by the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain who organise photographic events for photographic Clubs in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.
|Landscape Print & Projected Image Competitions 2018||23 January 2018|
The judge for the 2018 Annual Landscape Competitions was John Tilsley ARPS DPAGB APAGB who travelled from Dorchester. John is a very experienced judge and is himself a very competent landscape photographer and when he saw the glorious sunrises and sunsets depicted in many of the entries he quipped that it usually rains whenever he goes to photograph landscapes!
|Photographic Competition that members might be interested in|
|Oxford Brookes University 'Think Human' Photography Competition.
Photographers of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels are invited to enter their best images for a chance to win, and entry to the competition is free.
The competition is now open for entries and runs until 31st March 2018.
The four themes are: , , or
|'The Secret Forest'||16 January 2018|
There was a very good turnout at the Camera Club to welcome Betty and Tony Rackham (both FRPS) for their presentation entitled The Secret Forest. During the club’s introduction it was mentioned that both Tony and Betty had been photographers most of their lives, starting out on a Box Brownie.
Betty started by saying that both she and Tony had been brought up in the New Forest, had been to school there and ended up lecturing at Brockenhurst College, where Tony became Head of Technology and Betty Head of Photography.
She gave us a potted history of the Forest’s existence, explaining the various influences that had made it what it is today. From Saxon times, when it was just common land; through William the Conqueror, who enclosed it as a hunting forest; its use as a resource for timber in the middle ages; and the re-establishment of common rights in the 19th century.
Betty explained that she and Tony would take it in turns to show various habitats in the New Forest and give us a close-up view of flora and fauna that most people would miss. She started with Ponds and said that, while you can see some unusual plants in these habitats, some are wild and others have been introduced and cultivated. We saw images of Royal Fern, which has clearly been planted on the edge of some ponds as ornamental features, but has also managed to establish itself in other areas as a wild plant. She said that white water-lilies are usually wild, but pink ones will have been introduced. She showed us close-up images of unusual and, in some cases, rare plants, including Burr Reed, Water Horsetail, Lesser Spearwort, Frog-bit, Bog Pimpernel and Pillwort.
Tony took over to talk about Streams and Rivers and Boggy Areas. He started with an image of baby Pond Skaters, followed by one of a forest of red Damsel Flies mating above a section of water weed. He then went on to say that many plants in these wet areas are insect eating because of the poor quality of the soil. He illustrated this with a series of images of various Sundews, including the English Sundew, which is larger than other sundews and, other than the New Forest, is more normally found in Scotland. Also Bladderwort, which catches organisms under water and Common Butterwort, which normally grows on mountains and whose leaves fold over insects that land on them.
There was a series of images of Gentians which, he said, flower in profusion some years and do not appear in others. Studies have suggested that the plants are there each year but do not always flower. Tony then presented an image showing that Brown Moth Caterpillars like to eat the buds and wondered whether this might be an explanation.
As the first half drew to a close, it had become clear that some plants that grow in the New Forest are not found anywhere else in England. This was again illustrated by Tony with an image of Club Moss which is rare and normally grows in mountains such as the Alps.
Betty began the second half talking about Plantations and Ancient Ornamental Woodland. She explained that, over many years conifers had been planted in stands amongst the ancient deciduous trees, but that this practice is being scaled back. She showed us some lovely images of woodland in autumn, together with pictures of coppiced Alder, Chestnuts, Crab Apples, ferns in the frost and flowering gorse covered in snow.
She also had shots of lichen in the autumn and a whole series of different fungi. Betty lamented the fact that many people come into the Forest and pick large numbers of fungi, perhaps to be used in the restaurant trade. She expressed her concern that this could prevent plants from reproducing and lead to a serious reduction in numbers and even extinction of some species.
Tony took over to talk about Heath and Lawns. He explains that some of the heathland had been cleared of undergrowth to provide Lawns of grass for the ponies and donkeys to graze on. In some areas the heather is beginning to re-establish itself. In these habitats we saw images, not only of pony and donkeys, but also various species of deer and reptiles. He was keen to tell us that 10% of adders in the New Forest are black adders.
Tony likes to take images of the Forest floor in close-up - what he calls “Fragments of Nature”. He shared some of these, including Nail Fungus, Heather florets and a lichen that presents tiny red fruiting bodies in winter.
During questions at the end, they were asked whether they have seen evidence of widely publicised plant diseases such as Ash dieback. Tony answered that, while some evidence can be seen from time to time, the plants usually recover well and the problem is not wide-spread anyway. Betty suggested that the biggest danger to the well-being of the Forest is the number of people that visit and their behaviour.
During the evening, it was clear that both Tony and Betty have a passion for the New Forest and their enthusiasm and knowledge made this a very entertaining evening. The audience showed their appreciation with a warm round of applause and, as they were leaving, could be heard discussing the excellent prints that had been displayed. DF
|'Oh Yeah!'||9 January 2018|
Club members who have seen Robin Gregory’s presentations before knew that they were in for a very entertaining evening. Like no other photographer both Robin’s images and his chat are really something different.
Robin uses miniature figures to great effect – posing them in various situations, taking photos from many angles often using a tilt lens effect and then adding backgrounds and effects. Another prop Robin often uses is a doll that he bought second-hand for £10 – she has ragged red hair and is posed clothed and sometimes unclothed in improbable situations – her face often altered using warping techniques to give odd expressions but the results are amazing.
Robin photographs all sorts of rather strange subjects with a view that they may be useful one day to include in an image. ‘The present Mrs. Gregory’ has a lot to put up with as she is often asked to pose in rather odd situations and to make her scream Robin deliberately put a Lego brick for her to tread on resulting in the agonised facial shot he wanted!
A photo of a models face or body can be digitally manipulated, objects and backgrounds added until he is happy with the result. Extreme digital noise is often added to give portraits a dreamy quality. Robin said always check the direction of the light and the colour tones when using multiple images together – the result should look seamless.
Robin demonstrated some of his tips and tricks and in some cases AV’s showed step by step the processes he went through to create some of his images.
Music is a great influence and whisky also helps a bit with the creative process! We were treated to music of various genres when Robin’s showed some of his clever AV’s – often a very simple idea such as his matchsticks but with amusing results.
Street photography is another interest and Robin has the knack of finding interesting subjects both human and architectural in all sorts of odd places that others would miss. Often building would appear in completely different surroundings such as the telephone box on top of a hill, a church taking off like a rocket and a rhino grazing in a Bath street
Robin has won many acceptances and awards in Salons for his unusual images. He says judges often do not understand or miss the point in his images but he just laughs to himself as he creates the images for his own pleasure so what others feel does not really matter.
Thanks once again Robin for giving us a thoroughly hilarious and thought provoking evening in your very own inimitable style. PM
Images © Robin Gregory Left: 'In and then Out' right: 'Eve'