Ladies versus the Gents or 'Annual Battle of the Sexes!' 10 May 2022   

The penultimate meeting of the season was the annual battle between the Ladies and Gents of the club but of course it was not competitive at all was it?

To make it fair, the club organises that a Lady and a Gent both do the judging and this year it was long –standing friends of the club Adrian Herring ARPS DPAGB and Vanessa Herring LRPS who took on the challenge. The judges did not know who had taken any of the 60 images so there was no bias and they did not confer so it was not until the actual competition that they knew what the other had scored. Vanessa said that she was looking for harmony, mood and something different.

Being very experienced judges they mostly made similar comments and scores with each of them awarding points out of 10. The team captains were Caroline Wright for the Ladies and Gerald Clarke for the Gents and each selected 30 images. There were limits on the number of entries from each member and some images had to be new to club competitions. Images taken by members in the Beginners and intermediate sections had 2 bonus points added to their score.

Adrian and Vanessa gave their comments on each image and then awarded the points. Frank Collins then did the maths and read out the combined scores together with any bonuses.  After the first 30 images the Gents were well ahead having gained 3 perfect 20’s and a total of 270 points against the Ladies 224 points.
After the break both sides continued with some high scores but the Ladies also had a perfect 20 resulting in both teams tying with 250 points to add to the half time scores. The final result was Ladies 474 and Gents 520 points, so well done to the Gents! Since these battles started up in 2017 the Ladies have won 3 and now the Gents are equal with 3 wins as well so all to play for in 2023!!

Nature subjects seemed to be the high scorers with 3 out of the top 4 being birds or mammals. ‘Chaffinch Dispute’ by David Wilkinson LRPS, ‘Jewel in the Winter’ by Dave Gray and ‘Red Squirrel’ by Hilary Tapley all gained a 10 from both judges.
An astro-photography image ‘Milky Way, Lulworth Ranges’ by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP also gained a total score of 20. Another 8 images also scored a 10 from one of the judges, so very well done to all of those. Thanks to all those whose images were entered.

Frank thanked Adrian and Vanessa for giving such constructive feedback and Adrian concluded that they had both enjoyed looking at such superb range of images. Thanks also go to Battle secretary Dave Gray for organising the competition, captains Caroline and Gerald, Frank for the scoring and Dave Eagle for all the technical knowhow with the projection and setting up Zoom for those who could not attend in person. PM

Print & PI of the Year Competition 3 May 2022   

For the last competition of the 2021-22 season all the images that have gained a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place are judged and the winners in each section are awarded the Print or PI of the year trophies.
The difficult job of judging the club's ‘best of the best’ this time was Eddy Lane ARPS DPAGB EFIAP APAGB.
The prints were judged first starting with the Beginners section. An astrophotography image titled ‘Old Church and Milky Way’ by Peter Evans was placed first.
Eddy liked the way the building and foreground were lit and the colour of the sky. Peter also gained second place.
In the Intermediate section it was a monochrome woodland scene by Dave Eagle titled ‘Distant Light’ that was awarded the trophy. In second place was ‘Take Flight’ by Richard Blackbourne.
In the Advanced section it was Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP that was awarded the trophy. Robert’s print ‘Kimmeridge Ledge’ gained first and all the other awards in this section also went to Robert.

   PE church  DE Light          RH Kimmeridge
After the break came the Projected Images starting with the Beginners section. Eddy liked the way the fungi was lit in the image ‘Common Puffball in Savernake Forest’ by Peter Evans.
An image of a familiar bird was in second place ‘Solitary Rook’ was by Richard Jones.
In the Intermediate section Richard Blackbourne won the trophy for an image of a White-faced Scops owl titled ‘Owl in the Grass’.
Second place went to an unusual cityscape ‘Office Block at Sunset’ by David Evans.
Lastly came the judge’s choice in the Advanced section. Another landscape by Robert Harvey was the winner – this time ‘Roman Fort, Hardknott Pass’.
In second place was ‘Blackbird in a Sunbeam’ by Tim Pier.
PE PuffballRB OwlRH For
Congratulations to all those who won this seasons trophies which will be presented at the AGM.
Well done to all members whose excellent images were in this competition making it difficult for the judge to pick his winners.
Eddy was thanked for giving his judging and his detailed comments on all the entries. PM
Full results            See the award winning images in the Galleries

How to present your images as an Audio-Visual Sequence 26 April 2022   

Club members were given an inspiring insight into the making of AV’s by Ian Bateman FRPS MPAGB AV-AFIAP APAGB. AV’s can be as simple as a series of still images set to music or can be much more complicated withanimated  images, music and recorded dialogue that combine to tell a story.
Ian demonstrated the use of Pictures to Exe (PTE) AV Studio which is excellent software that cleverly combines your own still images, video, music and voice overs to play on a computer, TV or show on ‘You Tube’.
With a bit of artistic skill and practice you can create remarkable AV’s which Ian very ably demonstrated by showing us some of his own award winning sequences. Ian Bateman is Vice-Chairman of the RPS AV Group and presented examples of the many AV sequences in his portfolio. An AV titled ‘Cathedral’ showed a range of beautiful interiors skilfully put together so that they flowed seamlessly with well-chosen music. ‘Two Circles’ cleverly combined images of Stonehenge with a replica Stonehenge built at Maryhill, Washington USA to honour the dead of World War 1. In contrast ‘Dismaland’ showed artist Banksy’s take on a Disney theme park in a rather run-down area of Weston-Super-Mare.
Ian said that first you need an idea which he says is the difficult bit! You need a number of suitable still images that fit the theme and complimentary music.
After you have selected the images for your sequence they should all be resized to the same aspect ratio and saved in a folder together with recorded music and any other sound effects. Open the PTE software and then drag your images onto the timeline. Transitions used between images should mostly be simple fades but you can choose from the wide range available when appropriate. Music, sound effects and voice overs can be added and the timings all easily adjusted.
Ian finished this entertaining evening by showing some more of his very creative sequences. ‘Going Underground’ comprised cleverly manipulated images taken on the London Underground. ‘The Gathering’ showed some excellent animated effects as Antony Gormley’s ‘Angel of the North appeared to fly from an exhibition site in London to a hilltop in Gateshead.
Members were moved by the sequence titled ‘The Fallen’ which skilfully combined images of poppy fields, the ceramic poppies in the Tower of London moat and the thousands of shrouded model figures laid in rows commemorating the dead of WW1.
Ian was thanked for giving such an inspiring demonstration about the making of an AV and for sharing his own well-crafted sequences.
Maybe members will be inspired to have a go at creating their own AV’s after this fascinating presentation. PM
See some of Ian's AV' on his website

Shooting Commercially off the Beaten Track. 19 April   

The presentation was given on Zoom by James McCormick who is one of the professional photographers from Mc2 Photography. James explained the pressure of being on an assignment as a commercial photographer as he is obliged to aquire the images the client has requested.
James first learned his photographic skills using film which gave him a good grounding in camera settings. He now uses a mirrorless camera system but always shoots manually. He always had an ambition to be a journalist and now takes on challenging photographic projects following the clients brief. For this presentation James took us through the planning and thoughts about his commission to photograph the production of coffee in Ethiopia.
Although most club members will probably not be paid to shoot such a sequence of photographs, the planning and preparation is similar to setting out to photograph a local event or some local scenery. James plans in advance the photographs his client needs. He knows his camera settings for all situations so well that he can just get on with getting the images. Lighting can vary enormously but he can quickly change exposure settings when required. He says ‘think simple’ and takes just a small bag with his camera and a few lenses, cards and spare batteries on a photographic assignment. His camera uses two memory cards which he backs up as soon as he can.
Before he presses the shutter he looks objectively at the image in the viewfinder. He thinks ‘why am I taking this image – does it convey the emotion I need?’ Every image must be part of the story he needs to convey. After getting an initial image or two ‘in the can’ then he can get more creative and try out different depths or field or different angles.
James showed how he looks out for interesting characters that make good commercial images and showed some delightful Ethiopian ladies as they went about their work harvesting and drying the coffee beans. Everyone from the ‘big boss’ to the local schoolchildren became part of the story he needed to record.
James was thanked for taking us his interesting journey and giving an insight into the world of commercial imagery.PM
See Mc2 Photography  for a range of travel holidays and other photography related information Website

Devizes CC v Frome Wessex Photographic – Inter-club Battle  
DE TidalWe had a close run battle with Frome Wessex on Friday 7 April, which unfortunately did not go our way. 
Final scores were Devizes CC 505 points v Frome Wessex Photographic 529 points.
The competion was held on Zoom and the judge was John Tilsley ARPS APAGB DPAGB
Well done to Dave Eagle, whose monochrome image titled ‘Tidal’ was our only 20 pointer of the night - Battle Secretary Dave Gray

Other Devizes entries that scored highly were -
Golden Rays on the River Kennet by Bridget Codrington - 19 points
Kingfisher with a Catch by David Wilkinson LRPS - 19 points
Llyn Dau at Sunrise by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP - 18 points
Feeding Time by Robin Gregory - 18 points
Sunrise at Turf  Fen by Sue Wadman - 18 Points
Limbo by Pam Mullings - 18 points
Moor Crichel Avenue by Caroline Wright - 18 points
Common Blue in Morning Dew by Tim Tapley - 18 points
Many Congratulations to Frome Wessex for their winning score.

Open Projected Image Competition 3  

PE bristolThe seventy-six entries in the third Open PI competition of the 2021-22 season were judged by Peter Crane ARPS. Peter commented before he started giving his critique that judging is always subjective and an image that one judge gives a top award, might only be given a low score by different judge. He said that the range and standard of the entries was high which made it difficult for him as there are only a set number of awards allowed for each section.

Starting with the 28 entries in the Beginners section Peter commented on each one, pointing out the good aspects as well as any minor faults. Placed first was ‘Bristol Harbour, Waterside Reflections’ by Peter Evans. This delightful image showed the colourful reflection of a child as she played inside the water installation. A nature image was in second place ‘Solitary Rook’ by Richard Jones was a well captured, sharp image of a wild bird. In third place was as image by Adam Woodhouse of a dog waiting for its ball to be thrown, aptly titled ‘Eyes on the Prize’. The judge awarded Highly Commended to 6 more of the images in the section including Scottish landscapes, a biker and an African waterhole.
RB nuthatch
Next Peter gave his critique on the 18 images in the Intermediate section. A nature image again took the judges eye, this time a well caught sharp image of a ‘Nuthatch’ by Richard Blackbourne. The bird was well placed on a mossy branch against a muted background. In second place was another dog image titled ‘Anticipation’ by David Evans. In third place was something very different ‘Office Block at Sunset’ also by David showed a city- scape with windows reflecting many colours. Three more images were awarded Highly Commended including an impressive portrait of a snow leopard.

After a short break Peter gave his comments on the 30 images entered in the Advanced section.
CW glacierWith an amazing range of landscapes many of which were taken by members on a recent visit to Iceland and some impressive nature images it must have been difficult for the judge to pick a winner. The image chosen was ‘Through the Glacier’ by Caroline Wright which was an unusual shot from inside an Icelandic ice cave showing the interesting patterns in the ice. Second place went to something entirely different with a creative image of butterflies flying out of a book. ‘Flight to Freedom’ was by Pam Mullings. Third place went to another of the Icelandic images ‘Ice on Diamond Beach’ by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP showing the colours in the floating ice. Six more images were picked out for HC’s including several snowy scenes, an Icelandic aurora, a macro insect and a leaping dog.

Thanks to Peter for his excellent critique and to competition secretary Dave Eagle for compiling and projecting the entries. Thanks to all the members who entered such an interesting range of images and many congratulations to the winners.

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


Capture the Moment 5 April 2022   

The presentation tonight was on Zoom and Mike Bennett LRPS, DPAGB, EFIAP, BPE3 gave his thoughts on his approach to photography. Mike likes to challenge himself and he says he ‘will have a go’ at any photographic genre. We saw some of his interesting sport images where he got shots of the action on the field and track. One of the challenges he set himself was to get nature images of birds and butterflies in flight and he showed some well caught images. He likes to set himself projects and has photographed the smoked fish industry near Grimsby where he lives, the casting of iron, an old railway and many more local industries.
shipMike has an interest in Street photography and showed a range of images taken of people as they went about their life unaware that they were being photographed. Many images were in monochrome which suited the lone people, old buildings and cobbled streets. Mike looks for light and shadow and many images had the subject caught in a shaft of light. Particularly moving was a sequence of mono images taken in Hull which were put together in an AV titled ‘Northern City and set to ‘Sound of Silence’ by Disturbed.

Mike showed some portraits of interesting faces with the models often in period dress and he showed how he sometimes changes the background to suit the characters. A range of creative images was shown wherehe had used software to add textures and overlays.

Finally Mike showed how he had created the image of a trawler which looked as if it had been taken in a raging storm at sea. Mike showed how he cleverly put together the composite image. When photographed the ship was moored in calm water but using layers, a stormy sky was added as a background and then turbulent waves to complete the effect in the foreground. The secret is to make all the layers blend seamlessly, add texture and give an overall colour hue to create a realistic looking scene.
Mike was thanked for showing the club his wide range of images. PM
See Mike's Website

Animals on the Edge: Reporting from the Frontline of Extinction 29 March 2022   

It was great to have a ‘live’ speaker once again and wildlife photo-journalist Chris Weston said it was good to see am audience once more. Chris is passionate about turning the tide in the battle against the extinction of critically endangered animals. His book ‘Animals on the Edge’ was published 10 years ago but sadly in many cases little has changed to bring red listed animals back from the brink.
Chris has travelled extensively over the last 20 years photographing the conflicts faced both by humans and animals. Land where once animals roamed freely is now farmed and animals often trample crops and kill livestock which leaves the farmers with little income. In other areas endangered species are hunted for bush-meat, skins or even trophies. Chris related many sad stories of the conflicts but also a more upbeat story about the Highland Gorillas of Rwanda where eco-tourism has encouraged the local population to regard the Gorillas as an asset to the country.
Chris showed us some of his amazing wildlife photographs and explained that he prefers to not use large telephoto lenses. He likes to get close up images by spending time and getting close to his subjects by gaining their trust. If that is not possible, then he uses hides or remote cameras. Chris likes to plan beforehand exactly what he wants to portray in his images and goes to great lengths to get his images. Sometimes its months or even years before he gets the ideal conditions to get the image he has in his mind. Chris likes to experiment with his images and he showed how he managed to photograph lions hunting at night with a background of star trails. ICM and panning resulted in some interesting images that gave an impression of animals on the move.
A range of AV’s were shown featuring images of the lives of Big Cats, Elephants and Great Apes.
Chris was thanked for giving such a thought provoking and interesting presentation. PM
See Chris's website for images and information on conservation, workshops and safaris.

Open Print Competition No 2 22 March 2022   

DJ ApacheThe second Open Print competition of the season was judged via Zoom by Mike Dales ARPS CPAGB. Mike had judged the actual prints but sadly members could only see the digital versions on the night. As we have seen on previous occasions the printed version can look rather different. The entry numbers from all 3 sections were rather low but the judge remarked that they were of a high quality and he was pleased to be able to judge actual prints once again.
Mike commented that many of the images in the Beginners section were so good that they could easily be in one of the other section. In first place was a very striking monochrome image by Dave Johnson titled ‘Apache Gunship’. This grim instrument of war looked particularly foreboding against the dark, cloudy sky.
In second place was another monochrome image – this time a row of boulders leading the eye out to the sea. ‘Boulders on the Shoreline’ was by Heidi Massey. Third place went to a portrait titled ‘Katie’ by Pete Evans. The model was standing in front of a red door and the judge remarked on the textures and the well placed hands.

RB flightThe entries in the Intermediate section were shown with a range of interesting subjects. A nature subject by Richard Blackbourne was awarded first place. ‘Take Flight’ showed a long-tailed tit taking off from a tree set against a blue sky.
A delightful image of a flower against a white background by Bridget Codrington was in second place. ‘Pink Lily’ was described as a lovely, simple image by the judge. In third place was a well taken monochrome image of a waterfall, aptly titled ‘Tumbling Down’ by Dave Eagle. The image was well printed with good contrast between the blacks and whites. An unusual image of an ear of barley intrigued the judge who said he had never seen quite like it. ‘An Outpouring of Barley’ by Dave Eagle was awarded an HC.
RH KimmeridgeNext came the 9 entries in the Advanced section. A seascape titled ‘Kimmeridge Ledge’ by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP was placed first with the judge saying it was a delightful simple image. Second place went to a well caught nature shot of a great tit in flight. ‘About to Land’ was by David Wilkinson. David also gained third place with a misty image ‘First Light on the Canal’ with the judge commenting on the peaceful still water. An HC was awarded to Robert for his image of a local landmark ‘Frosty Sunrise, The Cove, Avebury’.

After the break, Mark went on to show how his photography had progressed from his early film days to experimenting with digital manipulation. He likes his images to ‘tell a story’ and looks for something a bit different. Many images showed a quirky sense of humour. He gained his ARPS with images taken of travellers on the London Underground.
Mark was thanked for his excellent, detailed critique of the print entries. Thanks to all who entered and many congratulations to those who gained awards.PM
Full results       All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries.

Two in the Bush 15 March 2022   

AS Toon LionSteve and Ann Toon have been photographing the wildlife of Southern Africa for over 20 years and they spoke very enthusiastically via Zoom about their experiences. This husband and wife team are award winning professional photographers with a passion for wildlife. As former journalists they write and illustrate books and articles on photography, travel and wildlife conservation.
AS Toon zebraAfter the travel restrictions were lifted recently, they were delighted to return to one of their favourite African destinations and spent 5 weeks in the arid south of the Kalahari. They showed us some of their recent excellent images of the big cats as well as many of the birds and mammals found in the area.
They explained the techniques and creative approaches they use to make their pictures stand-out from the crowd. So many excellent photos are taken nowadays that they try to look for something different. Animal behaviour is studied so that they can capture the interaction between them and they also like to photograph the more unusual subjects that are often overlooked. They like to experiment with different creative techniques such as using a slow shutter speed or Intentional Camera Movement. Back and rim lighting can give interesting effects.
Local knowledge of an area is important, whether that is home in the UK or abroad as it is by studying animal behaviour that can portray the character of the creature. Getting down low and eye to eye with your subject is good advice.
Steve and Ann went on to show the locations where they lead photographic safaris. Photographing from hides or from a boat you can get really close without disturbing the subject. Taking photographs at night with just a small amount of illumination can give insight into a hidden world.
Steve and Ann were thanked for giving an insight into their exciting life and for showing us a range of their delightful wildlife images.PM
A range of their excellent images can be seen on their website

Creative and Close-up/Macro Competitions 8 March 2022   

There were 2 very different competitions for Colin Harrison FRPS FIPF FBPE MFIAP MPAGB EFIAP/d3 MPSA GPSA AWPF APAGB to give his comments and judgement on this evening. Colin is a very experienced judge with a string of distinctions to his name and has judged many club, national and international competitions on a variety of subjects.
PM LadyThe Creative Competition rules say that the image should ‘seek to stimulate the imagination and arouse the emotions of the viewer’. The Close up and Macro competition rules state that image should show ‘the subject closer and in greater detail than would be seen with the naked eye'.’Entries for both competitions had a wide range of interesting subjects which impressed the judge who said they were of a high standard.
In the Creative section many entries were created ‘in camera’ using techniques such as Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) and light painting with some very interesting results. There were several creative ‘still life’ arrangements and other images were created using some of the many software tools available. The judge had looked carefully at all the entries and commented on the good points and where he felt they could have been improved. He looked for interesting images that were well presented and had good colour combinations.
CW HoverflyColin held back a number of images that he liked and then went on to pick out the HC’s and the awards. In first place was ‘Lady in Red’ by Pam Mullings which was a striking image, created using a variety of software tools to transform an ordinary portrait into something rather more unusual. In second place was a carefully set up still life with clever use of reflections. The image by Janet Rutter LRPS was titled ‘National Celebration’ and featured the Union Flag as the background. In third place was an ICM image ‘Beside the Seaside’ by Lynda Croft which featured a row of beach huts. Seven other images that the judge picked out received Highly Commended.

After the break the entries in the Close up/Macro competition were projected with some amazing images of insects, flowers and objects that showed details not usually seen. After seeing some extreme magnification shots, Colin said that depth of field becomes a problem so it is sometimes better to not get too close or use focus stacking to get such images correctly in focus. Colin looked for the overall colour effect as well as backgrounds that complimented the subject.
The image that most impressed the judge was ‘Hoverfly on St. John’s Wort’ by Caroline Wright with its lovely subtle colours and it was awarded first place. In second came an extreme close up by Tim Tapley - a master of insect photography. The image titled ‘Bloody-nosed Beetle’ showed in detail the insects unusual defence strategy of exuding bright red fluid from its mouth when threatened. In third place was another insect image – the Scottish grasshopper is camouflaged against the flower it sits on. ‘Bog Bush-cricket’ by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP was in third place.
Highly commended’s were awarded to eight more images in this competition.
Congratulations to all those who gained awards.
Very well done to all those who entered these competitions and made it such an interesting evening.
Colin was thanked for his helpful comments and expertise in judging both of the competitions. Colin has asked for his fee to be donated to Macmillan Cancer Care.
Many thanks to Competition Secretary Dave Eagle for juggling with the competition software as well as operating Zoom for the judge and those members watching from their homes. PM

Full results           All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries.

'Britain's Best Landscapes and How to Photograph Them’ 1 March 2022   

RH valeHaving been a club member for many years Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP was welcomed once again to share his photographic expertise. Members were pleased to be able to meet face to face once more and it was extra special as they were able to view the books and prints on display.
Robert has built up a considerable reputation as a professional landscape photographer and has several books published, illustrated with his superb images to his credit. Robert also runs 'Natural World Photography' which organises photography tours and courses, talks and has a prints and books on sale.
After ‘Photographing Wiltshire’ and ‘Photographing the Heavens’ Robert set about the task of writing ‘Britain’s Best Landscapes’. This lavishly illustrated book gives very helpful photographic information for photographers so that they can learn how to get the best from the variety of landscapes in Britain. From coasts to woodland, mountains to farmland in all seasons and in all weather and lighting conditions. This comprehensive book has maps, directions and all the information needed to photograph landscapes at their best.
RH stormRobert explained that photographers should develop their own individual style and he said that his science and environmental interests and knowledge are what he uses to create his own style. Meticulous planning is what is behind all his images, maps are studied, sun and moon phases noted, weather forecasts watched. Sometimes for just a day or two in a year all the conditions are co-ordinated to get the perfect conditions for one location. The tide might be just right, the sun rising in just the right place but still the weather plays a big part and all the best laid plans may have to be set aside until the right conditions are all aligned once again.
Robert is often asked ‘how long do you spend taking a photograph? – well to press the shutter is seconds but to plan, get to the destination and then get the image you have in mind might take days, weeks or even years!
Another topic raised was 'is the image down to planning or luck’ and Robert explained that it is mostly down to planning but sometimes ‘luck’ plays a part. This was illustrated by an image with a rainbow which was planned by being in the right place, right weather conditions with the sun in just the right place and then waiting for a rainbow to appear but on another occasion a rainbow made an unexpected appearance just by luck!
Even when a good location is found a lot of consideration must be taken on how best to take the photograph. The lens used maybe a telephoto which compresses the image, a wide angle or even a fish-eye. The season, the time of day, the weather, the direction of the light all play a part. Mist, snow, frost or even rain can be used to enhance the landscape in front of you. Even on very dull days there are photographs to be taken if you find the right location.
A good place to start improving your landscape photography would be to follow Robert’s helpful, comprehensive advice in his books.
Robert was thanked for giving such a well-illustrated and informative presentation. PM
Have a look at Roberts website for more information.

Digital Projected Image Competition  

DPIC is the Western Counties annual ‘Digital Projected Image Competition’, and in this year’s competition, Devizes came 24th= out of 51 clubs entering. The scoring is by 3 judges, who give each image a mark out of 5, giving a maximum mark for any image of 15 points. This year, we managed a total of 191 points from our entry of 18 images. For comparison, the winners, Bristol Photographic Society scored 223 points, and the bottom club scored 169 points. Hence we came firmly in the middle of the pack.
We did have some notable highlights, so well done to Pam Mullings who scored 14 for her Limbo dancer, and also to Tim Tapley for his image of Misumena Vatia, which scored 13 points. Each of these must have impressed at least one judge enough to be awarded the full 5 marks. Unfortunately, neither made the Highly Commended list, which reflects the judges’ favourites rather than highest marks, and this year the list was unusually short. Dave Gray - Battle Secretary
See our full scores.

Street and Architecture Photography 22 February 2022   

Club members enjoyed a very interesting presentation by Ian Howard using Zoom from his home in Kent. Ian’s advice to photographers was ‘develop your own style’ and ‘look for something different’.
Ian went through a selection of his before and after shots and showed how he had improved them in post-production. There is a wide range of software tools that are particularly useful for architecture images. No matter how carefully the image is set up in camera there is often a distracting notice, piece of litter or highlight to clone out. Images can be straightened, perspectives corrected and unwanted areas cropped. Images can be compressed, extended or flipped to give a more dynamic image. Often images can be improved by converting to monochrome which takes away distracting colours.
Ian showed a range of his superb, award winning images of both iconic modern buildings as well as interesting old ones. He seeks out the pictures that other photographers miss, sometimes the whole building, sometimes just a small part or an abstract section. Look out for reflective surfaces and on a bright day you might see interesting shadows. Look for leading lines and angles. Using a wide angle lens check exactly what will be framed in the image. A symmetrical image needs to be exactly symmetrical, check that shapes are not overlapping where they shouldn’t. Look up or down to find unusual angles and take photos that are different from the more usual views.
Some architectural images can be devoid of any people, some have people in the background to show scale and others have people as an important part of the image.
Architecture often leads on to the genre of street photography. Using buildings as the background the emphasis is on capturing a moment in time of people’s lives. Either individuals or groups who are usually unaware that they are being photographed. Ian’s advice is ‘find a background and wait for a person to walk into it’. Look for street art, posters or interesting stairs or walkways. Using a long lens take some test shots for focus, speed and exposure and be ready for the moment when someone appropriate turns up to complete your image!
Thanks to Ian for showing his superb images, explaining so well his hints and tips and inspiring members to give his methods a try. A very well thought out presentation which members clearly enjoyed.PM
See Ian’s website to see a wide range of his images.

Annual Landscape Print & Projected Image Competitions 15 February 2022   

The judge for the Annual Landscape Competition was the very experienced and well-travelled John Tilsley ARPS DPAGB APAGB who has visited the club on many occasions as a judge and a speaker. John explained that when judging images, he likes to get an emotional response and then secondly he looks at the technical quality. John went into detail about what he liked about each image and then in some cases pointed out some of the flaws such as sensor spots and the white lines around objects from over sharpening which might help others avoid the same issues.
TL PewseyJohn began the evening with the Landscape Print competition but as the meeting was held using zoom we could only see the digital versions of the print entries. He said it was good for him to see some prints as for the last 2 years not many print competitions had been able to take place. John explained that he had looked closely at the actual prints and that was what he judged. Depending on the paper used and the quality of the print the digital version can look rather different. John remarked on the number of sunrises, sunsets entered and misty landscapes entered. It was a misty Wiltshire landscape by Tony Leach that was awarded first place. Titled ‘Mist over Pewsey Vale’ above the judge said it was a delightful image with a glorious feeling of recession. Tony receives the Derek Turner Memorial Trophy for his excellent Print.
In second place was ‘Watching Sunrise, Parkhouse Hill’ by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP. The judge remarked on the uniquely shaped hill surrounded by mist. Third place went to ‘Dawn Rising, Buachaille Etive Mor’ by Tony Leach.
BC KennetNext came the Projected images with many local scenes as well as stormy coasts, picturesque mountains and lakes. It was an iconic Wiltshire landscape that caught the judges eye and ‘Golden Rays on the River Kennet’ left by Bridget Codrington won the Silver Birches Trophy for the best landscape PI. John loved the tranquil look as the river meandered through the meadow towards the winter treeline.
An image by Robert Harvey was in second place this time with ‘Llyn Cau at Sunrise’ an atmospheric mountain view reflected in the glacial lake. Third place went to a another sunrise, this time ‘Sunrise at Turf Fen’ by Sue Wadman with a windmill reflected in the still water.

Many congratulations to all those who gained awards and thanks to all those who entered such a high quality selection of landscape images.
Special mention must to go to some club members who managed to ‘Zoom-in’ from their trip to Iceland!
John was thanked by Frank Collins for his excellent critique and for taking on the tough assignment of judging and giving his helpful comments on such an excellent range of entries.
Full results        All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries

Underwater Photography - from swimming pools to sharks 8 February 2022   

We were delighted to welcome David Keep ARPS MPAGB FBPE EFIAP who gave a presentation on his underwater photography. David had been an experienced diver as well as a photographer for many years when he was persuaded to try underwater photography. He was rather disappointed with his first efforts but after taking a course with an expert, he persevered and overcame the many difficulties found taking photographs when diving in deep water. 
DKThe waterproof equipment needed has an array of manual controls that take time to master and artificial lighting is needed to bring out the colours. After several trips he found that he could control the flash lighting to give a natural effect. Colours can be further corrected in post processing.
The coastal areas of Indonesia have many bizarre sea creatures and David showed us some of his incredible close up photographs. He tried taking split shots which showed both underwater and above and found swimming through mangroves gave some interesting images.
On several trips to the Florida coast David has been able to get really close to sharks which are lured to the area. We were shown a selection of amazing shots as the large sharks swam close by.
Another way to make use of the underwater equipment is to use a swimming pool. Having found someone willing to act as a model he had to overcome many difficulties but eventually took some interesting images as the model dived. Another idea was to get the model to wear a long floaty dress but it took a lot of patience to finally get the images he had in mind
Top class equipment costs thousands but David suggested that anyone wanting to try underwater photography could probably pick up some waterproof housing and lights second-hand. Many try it but give up or do not have time to use it very much.
David was thanked for showing his stunning images and giving a brilliant presentation. PM
See some aming images on David's Website

The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain GB Cup Competitions 

The PAGB GB Cup competitions were judged last weekend, and we now have our scores.  As you might guess from the title, these competitions are open to clubs throughout the country.  There are two separate competitions, Open and Nature, and for each one, we were allowed to enter 24 images, with the best 12 counting towards the club’s overall score.  Overall, there were fewer clubs entering than in previous years, presumably a reflection of the toll Covid has taken. 

In the GB Cup Open, Devizes gained 124 points from our 12 best images, which put us in the lower middle of the final table, finishing 55th= out of 87 clubs competing.  However, in the Nature competition, we gained 133 points, and came a creditable 23rd out of 77 clubs competing.
The 3 judges can each award up to 5 points making a maximum of 15. Noteably in the Open section Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP was awarded 12 points and in the Nature section Tim Tapley was awarded 12 points for 2 of his images, David Wilkinson 12 points and Robert Harvey 12 points. 

Visual Storytelling 1 February 2022   

T FebOur speaker was professional multi-media artist Tracey McEachran who has her own, very different ideas about photography. Tracey uses her art to tell stories and explore her relationship with the world and all things in it.
Tracey's photography is mainly studio based using large format film cameras. Working with film transparencies she sets up still-life’s in the manner of the 17 century Dutch baroque master painters. Often featuring antique objects, fruit and flowers with often the addition of dead or stuffed birds and mammals. The objects are carefully arranged in front of a black background and are effectively lit with a single lamp. The resulting images are printed and exhibited in black mounts and frames to great effect. Often the complex meaning of the images is lost until Tracey explains her thinking behind each of the images. The prints are often displayed as panels together with a poem that illustrates her feelings. She photographs things she likes combined with things she hates which include sugary cakes, plastic ‘stuff’ and consumerism.
A chance meeting with a model railway enthusiast led to her putting together a sequence of photos, some old cine footage and a child’s voice talking about his love of railways.
Tracey has many projects that interest her including portraits that capture a moment in time. Among many other projects that inspire her are hand crafted harpsichords, breast feeding mothers and adolescent children.
During the lockdown Tracey explored the idea of Polaroid lifts where a layer of emulsion from the small square photograph is separated and laid on a piece of watercolour paper. Each image is unique as the delicate images are torn which makes each one unique such as the example shown.
Tracey was thanked for her thought provoking ideas and giving us a very different view of photography. PM
Website

Monochrome PI Competition 25 January 2022   

DE SealIt was time again for our Annual Monochrome Competitions but once again it was Projected Images only and also a Zoom meeting.
There was a large entry of 68 images for our judge Tony Byram ARPS DPAGB EFIAP AWPF to peruse over. Tony said that the standard was very high which made it difficult to choose the winners for as usual, the number of awards to be given is limited. Tony gave very good detailed descriptions of each image pointing out the merits and in some cases what he felt might have improved the image.

All sections of the club can enter this competition so the results were interesting as 13 out of the 20 awards went to members in the Beginners and Intermediate sections including the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places! All this up and coming talent bodes well for the future of the club.
PE SilhouetteIn first place was ‘Weaned Grey Seal Pup’ by David Evans which the judge particularly liked because the seal was looking directly at the camera which created a connection with the viewer. The image stood out from the rest as an excellent natural history picture showing great detail. David will receive the Constance Mundy Trophy and was also awarded HC’s for ‘Harley’ and ‘Passing the Time’ which were both excellent images so very well done to him.

PE SteampunkAnother member who did really well was Peter Evans winning both second and third places. Peter’s image ‘Silhouette in the Fog’ showed a nicely posed, retro looking lady was awarded second and the judge said that ‘Steampunk Man’ was a well-lit striking figure and gave it third place.
Among the 17 highly commended’s given were several excellent coastal images as well wildlife and landscape subjects.

Steve Hardman thanked Tony and said that he much appreciated his comments and his work judging the competition. Thanks also go to Dave Eagle who had to juggle with Zoom as well as displaying all the images and giving out the authors so well done to him.

Thanks to all who entered and made it very enjoyable evening with an excellent range of images. PM


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

Themed Lightbox evening - 'Winter Light' 18 January 2022   

Members met up via Zoom to discuss their images on the theme of Winter Light. Those that sent in images were invited to talk as each image was shown, about how and why they took the photographs. Other members could then discuss the good points and perhaps gently suggest what could be done to improve the image.
Several members following the theme, sent in images of local towns showing the festive Christmas lights. Some had experimented using slow shutter speeds to show light trails to great effect and there was discussion on how best to get good night shots.
Many photographs were taken showing the beauty of bare winter trees which showed up well against the soft early morning skies. Savernake Forest was a popular destination for many and there were many interesting images of frosty paths and trees showing the coloured bracken and the detail on ancient mossy tree trunks. Many had been out early on cold misty mornings to capture the beauty of the forest in winter.
Members discussed whether some images would look better in monochrome or colour or whether a crop was needed.
It was a good chance to try out something different and see what other members thought of the image. A slow shutter speed image which gave an impressionistic look to figures on a skating rink and a multiple exposure image met with general approval.
Amongst the variety of recently taken images on the theme of Winter Light were some coastal images as well as local landmarks and close ups of foliage. Thanks to all those who sent in their photographs for discussion.
It was a very interesting evening and a great way for members to discuss the merits of their images and learn from fellow club members. PM

The Use of Natural Light in Landscape Photography 11 January 2022   

The club was treated to a very interesting presentation by Nigel Forster via Zoom. Nigel was a landscape architect and environmentalist with a love for climbing mountains and photography but during a ‘mid-life crisis’ decided to become a full time photographer. Not so easy as it seemed but after an initial steep learning curve has developed a successful commercial business as well as his photography workshops.
NF 1Each of his topics on using natural light was well-illustrated using his own superb images. Starting with the image shown, Nigel explained how he waited for the light to illuminate his selected area leaving the rest of the image dark in contrast.
Light changes according to the weather, the time of day, the time of year and the season. The weather can be predicted to a certain extent but often unusual shots can be captured just by chance so always have a camera to hand. Stormy skies with the ever changing light are often the most desired by landscape photographers. Good landscape images can be obtained in any conditions from bright sunlight to a hail storm by looking for the right subject and getting in the right position. Even ‘grey days’ are good for monochrome images. In difficult contrast conditions HDR can be useful or you could bracket the images or a graduated filter can be used.
Backlighting can create mood and drama, side lighting reveals detail and texture and front lighting can look flat so is best avoided.
Nigel explained how best to capture images in the ‘blue hour’ by planning and getting to the area early. Timing is important so be prepared as the light can change in seconds.
Nigel’s tips were – explore the local area, look for elevated viewpoints, experiment and keep an open mind.
In answer to member’s questions Nigel said that he now uses a mirrorless camera and most of his images are handheld. He was thanked for his superb presentation by club chairman Steve Hardman. PM
See more of Nigel's images and workshops - Website

Projected Image League 4 January 2022   

The first meeting of 2022 and once again Zoom technology came into good use for the club’s Annual Projected Image Competition as members could see all the entered sets and score each set from their own home and even see the final result!
There was a good entry of 44 sets – each set was of 5 images on a chosen theme. Members had to show their opinion of how well the images displayed together, photographic and artistic qualities and how well the images illustrate the chosen title. After the images from each set were shown then members could award points between 1 and 10. The scores from each set were averaged and then the scores from the 3 sets entered were added to give a winner.
As might be expected there was a wide range of subjects including magnificent landscapes and wildlife studies but some were completely different such as images of a cheese grater from all angles, gargoyles and Steam Punk!
Top marks mainly went to landscape and wildlife sets but aircraft and super bikes did well. The range of points awarded was interesting as one image had points ranging from 1 at the bottom up to 10 at the top so a wide range of opinions!
Cleverly juggling with the controls of Zoom and also displaying the sets was Dave Eagle and entering and checking the results on the spreadsheet were Frank Collins and Gerald Clarke so many thanks to them all.
DW sets
Finally the clever software worked out all the averages and added the 3 scores and at the end of the evening the results were given.
In first place were the superb wildlife sets by David Wilkinson LRPS which featured Otters, Tawny Owls and Cuckoos. David wins the Hewitt Cup and an image from each of David’s sets are shown above.
In second place was Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP with sets titled The Colours of Summer, Ancients of Savernake and Gannets. Roberts set of Gannet images was the set that scored the highest out of all the sets entered in the competition.
RH set
Third came Dave Evans whose sets featured a range of photographs of Spitfires, Birds on Bempton Cliffs and Grey Seals.
DE sets
Highly Commended’s were awarded the next 3 members with the highest scores. These were Frank Collins, Richard Blackbourne and Peter Evans so very well done to them. Thanks to all who entered as it takes a lot of time and skill to put together the 3 sets of 5 images needed.
Thanks to Dave Eagle for collecting all the entries and making up the competition and to all who helped make the evening run so successfully. PM
See the top 30 set results

Christmas Knock Out Competition 21 December 2021   

TT beetle The last meeting before Christmas is always the time for the Knock-out competition where members choose which one of a pair of images they prefer and the winning image goes on to the next round. Meant to be competition just for fun and not to be taken seriously but probably members all hope that one of their images will be the favourite this year.
Once again the competition had to be held using Zoom with members viewing from their own homes and suppling their own seasonal food and drink!
The Master of Ceremonies was Santa himself who was there to check there was fair play.
SW mill
There were 125 member’s images entered and Dave Gray was in charge of the software which displayed the images in random pairs. Images could be of any subject and could have been entered in a competition before.
During the course of the evening many excellent images were voted out - but that’s how it works with sometimes rough justice along the way! There were many close calls with just a vote or two deciding which image stays in the competition. There were also a few times when the votes were equal and then Santa had to make the final decision.

Round by round images fell by the wayside until just eight remained and then down to the final four.
Finally, the image that most members voted for was an close up of a large black flightless beetle with long legs!! The ‘Bloody-nosed Beetle’ was by Tim Tapley so many congratulations to him.
TT warblerIn second place was a very different image, this time a tranquil scene taken in by Sue Wadman. ‘Sunrise at Turf Fen’ showed the 19th-century drainage mill which is one of the Norfolk Broad's most iconic sights.

In third place was a striking bird image by Tim Tapley titled ‘Sedge Warbler’
MB swansAnd again a very different image, this time a monochrome, slow shutter speed photo of flying swans by Megan Boardman titled ‘Morning Flying School’.

Very well done to the winners who will receive their prizes when Santa is not too busy.
Many thanks to all those who helped during the evening especially Santa (alias Frank Collins) Dave Gray for running the competition, Dave Eagle for sorting out the Zoom meeting and of course all those members who sent in images and voted for their favourites.

The end of another year with all its ups and downs and if anyone bothers to look through the Club News for the last few years they will see the wide variety of interesting topics the members have enjoyed. If anyone would like to help by writing a few words for the website News then please let me know. PM

 

Making the Most of Focal Lengths and Ratios 14 December 2021   

NH 1Our presentation was by Nick Hanson who is a multi-award winning photographer from Scotland. Nick leads landscape workshops and tours and gave his presentation on Zoom from North Wales. Nick has been a photographer for 30 years and went professional in 2016.
Nick explained why it is important to compose your image in camera so that you do not crop off any of the image in post-production. Cropping loses pixels as shown in the illustration on the right which shows the cropped area is just 25 megapixels compared to 45 for the whole image. If you want high quality images that retain all the detail or large format prints then you need to compose the image in camera. The focal length and ratio of the image can be altered to give the desired image so then no cropping is needed.

Nh 3Using his landscape images Nick demonstrated how the choice of different lenses can change the appearance of what appears in the image and how the relationship between background and foreground can alter. A wide angle lens makes can give the appearance that makes the foreground appear more prominent. This works well for river and waterfall shots but beware of making rocks or other foreground objects appear overpowering. Use a larger focal length to zoom into the image to just include the area you want in your image without the need to crop afterwards. Check in the viewfinder before pressing the shutter.

NH 2Use the appropriate focal length to get the composition you have in your mind. The photographer needs to experiment as using a 15mm lens gives a very different image to a 200mm or larger.
Areas of ‘empty space’ that would need to be cropped should be avoided by choosing the correct lens or by changing the aspect ratio of the image. This can be done in camera by choosing vertical or horizontal, widescreen, panorama or even square images rather than stick to the usual 3x2 ratio. Panoramas can be taken with multiple images which are stitched together in post-production. Taking a series of vertical images avoids cropping empty sky and foreground.
Nick was thanked for showing a range of his superb landscape images and giving such a comprehensive presentation which covered a lot of ground.PM
Images © Nick Hanson    See Nick's website

Open Print Competition 01 7 December 2021   

PE Sea EagleClub members welcomed Peter Woodhouse to judge the first Open Print competition that the club has been able to run since early 2020. Last season all print competitions had to be cancelled because of the pandemic.
This was now the print workers chance to show their images and there were entries in each of the 3 sections. As usual a diverse range of subjects which makes it difficult for a judge to choose between a landscape or a portrait,  a nature subject against a still life as they are all so different. Peter had looked carefully at the composition, focus, contrast and colour on each print and gave his views.
Starting with the Beginners the judge commented on each of the nine entries. First place was awarded to Peter Evans for his impressive image titled ‘Sea Eagle’. The judge said it was a very striking action image of the bird in flight. Peter also impressed with his image ‘Old Church and Milky Way’ and it was awarded second place. The image was a long exposure of the night sky with an interesting building in the foreground. Third place went to a quality colour print by Dave Johnson titled ‘Derwent Sunset’. Tony Leach gained an HC for the subtly coloured ‘Dawn over the River Frome’.

BC Light SupperNext came the Intermediate section entries with an impressive still life gaining first place. ‘Light Supper’ by Bridget Codrington was well composed with an excellent composition and lighting.
Second place went to a monochrome woodland scene by Dave Eagle. The judge said that the image titled ‘Distant Light’ managed to pick a small tree as the focal point as it was different to all the other woodland trees in the image. Dave also received an HC for another woodland scene ‘Chrystal Frost in Savernake’
‘Woody’ a great-spotted woodpecker photographed by Richard Blackbourne was in third place.
DW Time to Preen
Finally, the nine Advanced prints were judged with David Wilkinson LRPS gaining first and third places with his nature studies. The judge was impressed by the two gannets caught in the moment of preening each other and ‘Time to Preen’ gained first place. Another well caught moment was the image ‘Apprehensive Fox Cub’ as the cub peered out from the vegetation.
Second place in the section went to ‘Milky Way’ Portland Bill’ by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP which the judge described as a very striking image. The night sky was portrayed well with good light on the foreground interest. A mono image titled ‘Skeletal Beauty of Holly’ by Janet Rutter was awarded an HC.
After the break Peter Woodhouse showed some of his own images taken on a cruise around the coast of South America. Starting in the city of Rio in Brazil with its beaches and the famous statue of Christ on the Rock, there were visits to many scenic areas including sailing around Cape Horn. The cities with their impressive high rise grand buildings contrasted with the run-down areas with the tangles of power lines overhead. Some areas were decorated with brightly coloured murals to cover the rather dilapidated and faded grandeur. Along the western coast were sights of glaciers and volcanos and impressive snow-capped mountain ranges. Photographs were taken of seabirds, sea-lions, seals and penguin colonies as the cruise took him along the coasts of Argentina and Chile to finish in the city of Santiago.
Peter was thanked for giving his comments and judging the print entries and also for showing his own interesting images.
Thanks to the Competition Secretaries for organising the competition. PM

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

'Nobody' 30 November 2021   

The presentation by Bristol photographer Mike Martin AWPF AFIAP has an intriguing title. On his last visit to the club Mike showed his impressive portraits but this time he showed images without any people at all - or if any did appear they were anonymous ‘nobodies’!
Mike has had an interest in photography from a young age and likes to experiment with different subjects and techniques. Images are often taken when he is travelling to work and he finds inspiration from city streets, railway stations, art galleries and any quirky details that he notices.
Always looking for something different he says ‘be prepared’ as often ideas comes to him in unexpected places. A poster or graffiti on a wall, people on an escalator or an interesting pattern on a building can result in an interesting image.
Many of the images Mark showed were in monochrome others showed the effective use of a camera converted to infra-red. Intentional camera movement and differential focus were among the interesting techniques used. Most were ‘straight’ photographs with little post-processing but on others he uses some creativity to change colours or posterise.
Mark likes looking for what he describes as ‘tatty stuff’ such as rusty chains or pebbles. Many images were minimalistic with a great deal of trouble taken with the composition and positioning the curves and angles in just the right place in the frame. Simple images of water on a park bench or the curves on a staircase were very effective. Sometimes you can just get lucky he says, and be at the right place at the right time so always have a camera handy.
As well a showing a wide range of his projected images Mark brought along a selection of his impressive prints including the panel of portraits that gained him his Associate of the Welsh Photographic Federation.
Many thanks to Mark for giving the club members many thoughts and ideas and for an inspirational evening.PM
See a range of Mark's images on his Website

Out of the Dark 23 November 2021   

The club welcomed Simon Caplan LRPS back to the club to (in his words) 'throw a little light on the art of still life photography’. The recent lockdown restrictions meant that Simon has spent more time in his garage ‘studio’ and was able to further develop his still life techniques.
Simon began by showing some of the still life paintings done by great masters who understood the importance of light and composition. Later this tradition transferred to photography and Simon showed some work by photographers that he admires before introducing his own striking ‘renaissance style’ light painted still life images. By using a single light source such as a torch Simon has control over the way the light plays over the surfaces of the objects he has arranged.
Still life set ups can be simple or complicated but each must have a point of focus and the arrangement must lead the viewers eye through the arrangement. All the objects must complement each other in colour and size and be relevant to each other. Thought must go into the arrangement so that each object sits harmoniously with all the others. Look out for angles and the height to get the pleasing triangle shape. Keep to a simple and complimentary colour palette with no over bright colours. Backgrounds are usually plain so as not to distract and the base must be chosen with care to fit in with the style of the objects.
Simon collects interesting objects and keeps props such as pieces of fabric in a range of colours. Objects made of pewter or copper photograph well with just a subtle sheen but beware of very shiny objects and glass because you get unwanted reflections and highlights. Everyday objects from the kitchen or workshop can be used to great effect. Flowers, fruit or vegetables can be added so long as they fit in with the image the photographer wants to create. Simon says set it up and see if the colours and composition work well together – if not, then rearrange and try again.
Simon showed us a range of his superb images with their strong light and dark ‘chiaroscuro’ effect. Working in the dark and using a hand held torch or single light source Simon can ‘light paint’ the objects in the arrangement to get the best effects. With the camera steady on a tripod the camera is set to ‘bulb’ with the shutter open for between 20 to 90 seconds. Simon shines his light source directionally on the objects with just a little on the background just to lighten in places. With practice photographers can develop their own style and dark winter days are an ideal time to try out some indoor ideas.
Frank Collins thanked Simon for his fascinating presentation and for showing his passion for still life photography. PM
See Simon's interesting still life images Website

Competition 2 - Open Projected Images 16 November 2021   

PE PuffballThe second Open PI competition of the season was judged by Laura Pearce LRPS. There was a total entry of 81 images in the three sections for Laura to give her constructive comments and tell us why she chose the award winners. Many very well taken images did not receive an award from Laura as she explained that she always looks for that extra ‘something’ that makes an image more interesting. As well as the image being well composed, sharp and well exposed the image should have something of interest that draws the eye.
Starting with the Beginners section Laura awarded first place to ‘Common Puffball in Savernake’ by Pete Evans and second place to another fungi image titled ‘Newly Emerged Fly Agaric’ by Gerald Clarke. Both images had great light and composition together with complimentary backgrounds. Third place went to something very different – this time a monochrome seascape by Adam Woodhouse. Laura said that the large amount of negative space in the image gave it a contemporary feel. Six images were awarded Highly Commended.

RB OwlNext the entries in the Intermediate section were projected and Laura gave her comments and judgement.
‘Owl in the Grass’ was a stunning image of a White-faced Scops Owl by Richard Blackbourne. The judge said that it was a great capture and awarded it first place. Another bird image gained second place – this time a Kestrel in flight. Titled ‘Windhover’ the image was by Dave Evans and Laura said that it was well caught, sharp with a good background of blue sky. In third place was a very different image by Richard Blackbourne ‘Close Contest’ showed the action of a bike race. Three other members gained HC’s.

RG PebbleAfter a short break the 30 images in the Advanced section were shown with a wide variety of subjects and techniques. Again the judge was looking for something that stood out and was something different.
Laura commented that she felt that the monochrome image ‘Walking the Pebble’ by Robin Gregory was above Camera Club standard and could be in a gallery of contemporary art! High praise indeed for this unusual creative image that was awarded first place.
Laura said that ‘Movement in the Waves’ by Sue Wadman came a very close second with its simplicity and beautiful colours. In third place was a landscape by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP titled ‘Roman Fort, Hardknott Pass’. Laura said the photographer had been in the right place at the right time to capture the beautiful light as it hit the ruins. Five other images gained HC’s.

David Wilkinson thanked Laura for travelling such a long distance to the club and for taking the time and trouble to look through all the entries and for giving her opinion.

Also many thanks to Competition secretary Dave Eagle for sorting out all the technical issues to enable some members to view the evening from their homes using Zoom.
Congratulations to all those who gained awards and thanks to all members who entered such an interesting range of images.PM

Full results        All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries.

Studio Evening 9 November 2021   

studio1The club was pleased to be able to run a practical studio session for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Steve Burgess was asked to organise the session of practical table top and portraiture and he set up 3 areas with lighting and a suitable backdrop.
As no models were available, club members present took turns sitting while other members adjusted their camera settings and practiced taking portraits.
studio2
One area used studio flashes where the camera triggers the flashes and another area had constant light. Steve showed how the lamps could be adjusted to give light and shadow on the face and explained about hard and soft lighting effects. Reflectors were used to lighten areas when required.

Each member could have a go at taking 5 images with different lighting effects and comparing the results.
A still life with a candle, books and flowers was also arranged so that members could practice setting up their cameras and trying different angles to achieve the best image.

Members enjoyed trying out something that was new to most and gave them the chance to compare notes and learn from others. Hopefully members will get good results when they process their images and will have learnt a lot from the session.
Thanks to Steve and those that helped set up all the lighting and taking it down afterwards. PM
Images by Jennifer Skjoldbro

Members Success  
Many congratulations to club member David Wilkinson who has just gained his LRPS or Licentiate of The Royal Photographic Society. This is an internationally recognised  qualification for which David had to submit 10 images which reflected his ability as a photographer. 
David has achieved a very high standard of wildlife photography and since he joined the club has progressed from Beginner to Advanced level.
Below are some of David's recent winning images.
DW hareDW Brown HareDW EagleDW cuckoo
 
Landscape Group Trip to Martinsell Hill 7 November 2021   

The first Landscape Group outing of the 2021-22 year saw six members assemble at 6.30am on Martinsell Hill, Pewsey, to see the sun rise over its eastern ramparts. Despite a not particularly good weather forecast, the sky did produce some fine sunrise colours, and later, some good low angled sun to light the hillside.

A strategically placed car park is available half way up the hill, from where the group had a short walk to the first vantage point to photograph the pre-sunrise colour.  Then, when the sun was too strong to include in the frame, the group climbed to a second vantage point overlooking the great east facing coombe on the hill.

Finally, a steep climb led to a line of ancient beech trees near the top of the hill.  These trees are known locally as ‘The Seven Sisters’, which should really be the Seven ‘Ugly’ Sisters, whose gnarled trunks have been scoured by centuries of wind at the top of one of Wiltshire’s highest hills.

The trip was enjoyed by all who took part, who were pleased to have made the effort of an early start and to have ignored the poor weather forecast. DG
Images below © Dave Gray    'Pre-sunrise Light'  'Ancient Beech Trees' and 'Eastern Coombe'

DG Pre sunriseDG beech treesDG Eastern coombe
Whatever Next 2 November 2021   

The presentation by Frome photographer Richard Price tracked his journey exploring a variety of techniques from macro to astro!
His interest in developing more photographic skills began in 2008 when he acquired a macro lens and was astonished at the detail shown in the resulting images. Nature was another interest and he showed us some of the bird images in his portfolio. Robert said that joining a camera club helped him progress and also meet fellow photographers with similar interests.
Richard has taken studio portraits and even weddings which he enjoyed, but now his main interest is landscapes. He likes to travel and photography gives him a purpose to explore new areas. Iceland is a place that he finds inspirational and he showed images of interesting rock formations, glaciers and the aurora borealis.
He began an illustrated discussion on how far members thought that processing should be taken – should you replace a sky or move an object to make a better composition? He showed some ‘before and after’ images for members to discuss.
Following a difficult time in his life Richard found photography very therapeutic and it got him out walking. To see the fog lift when at the top of a mountain and see the remarkable landscape appear below helped him appreciate the amazing scenery and geology.
Richard enjoys experimenting with light painting and lens balls to give a different look to landscape images. He finds that night photography can show interesting colours and effects that the naked eye does not normally observe. Astrophotography is another interest and he showed us some interesting shots of the milky way taken in a variety of places. He says planning is key and uses apps and the ephemeris to work out beforehand where a good place to go to catch the sun or moon in just the position he wants for the best photograph.
During the break members could admire a range of Richards prints on display.
Richard says create what you are happy with and have fun trying! PM

Nature Print & Projected Image Competition 26 October 2021   

RH lemurMaking a welcome return visit to judge the Annual Nature competition was Victoria Hillman BSc MSc who with her extensive knowledge of flora and fauna and degrees in wildlife, conservation & zoology was very well qualified to take on the task. Victoria has travelled extensively and has a deep knowledge of all wildlife. Victoria is a self-taught photographer herself and has visited the club previously to present her own excellent wildlife images.
Starting with the print entries Victoria commented that it was good to see such a wide range of subjects. When commenting on each entry she tries to give pointers that could help the photographer get better results. She suggests not cropping too heavily and to be careful not to over-sharpen.
DJ ThornyIn first place was a close up of a critically endangered lemur taken in Madagascar by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP. Titled ‘Red Tailed Sportive Lemur’ Victoria commented that it was a well composed, detailed portrait.
Probably most photographers have never bothered to take a really close look at the common bramble but new member Dave Johnson managed to show how interesting a close up of the thorny stem could look. His image ‘rubus thorny’ was awarded second place as well as ‘rubus three’ which gained an HC.
Robert Harvey was awarded third place with ‘Buzzards Fighting’ which showed the birds in action when attracted by the food put out for them. Robert also gained an HC for ‘Shag,’ an extreme close up of the colours of the eye and feather detail.
Next came the digital entries and again a range of interesting subjects.
First place went to an extreme macro shot ‘Common Darter’ by Richard Jones. Richard said he was quite shocked at winning as it was one of the first shots he took when trying out a new macro lens!
A well caught image titled ‘Blackbird in a Sunbeam’ by Tim Pier caught the judges eye and gained second place. Tim was awarded third place for another well-lit, atmospheric shot ‘Fungi on a Decaying Log’ also an HC for ‘Collared Dove’. Several excellent macro images gained HC’s including three by Sue Wadman.
Very well done to the award winners and to all members that entered such an excellent range of images.

RJ darterAfter the break Victoria began an interesting discussion on the ethics of wildlife photography.
TP BlackbirdVictoria said that ‘no photo is more important than the welfare of the subject’.
When judging photographic competitions she has found that many images exploit wildlife and this can often lead to changes in natural behaviour.
Live baiting is not permitted and baiting of any sort is a contentious issue. Photographers can pay to photograph from hides where the subjects are encouraged to the area by food which changes their natural behaviour and can have detrimental effects on their welfare. Insects and invertebrates are sometimes artificially ‘chilled’ to slow them down for photography. The use of drones can stress animals and inadvertently lead to their death.
Please read the rules carefully when entering any nature competition, captive and zoo animals are not allowed. Birds on nests and nestlings should not be used and licences are needed to photograph many species so be very careful to not break the law. Any set-ups should be natural so Victoria is asking all photographers to set a good example and behave responsibly and not exploit the wildlife.
Victoria said that she had enjoyed looking at the entries which were from all club sections – Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced.
Club Chairman thanked Victoria for her comments and judgement on the entries and for leading the interesting discussion on the ethics of wildlife photography. PM
   Full Results            See all the awarded images in the Galleries

The Sea and Me 19 October 2021   

RC 2The club was delighted to welcome Roger Crowcombe back to the club in person rather than on Zoom. Roger has a passion for the sea with all its moods from tranquil and calm to stormy to the full force nature. With a special affinity for the sea, in 2012 Roger was awarded his Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society with a panel of images based on the shoreline. He also lectures in a range of photographic topics
Roger has taken numerous images of the coast just before the sun appears over the horizon. Depending on the weather conditions the sky vary, sometimes a glorious red other times dark and foreboding. Roger showed us a selection of outstanding images taken from the beach just a few yards from his home on the South Coast. Using various photography techniques, he explores this ever-changing environment and how the same scene can change so dramatically in sympathy with the wind, tide and sky.
RC 1Along the south coast are many breakwaters and groynes and by observing the movements of the tide and the direction of the wind the flow of the sea can give many interesting images. From a gentle flow to a huge wave as the water hits any obstacle in its way.
Dusk is another good time to get interesting colours in the reflected in the water.
Roger often uses ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) which with practice can give interesting effects. The shapes and colours blur together giving an almost impressionistic appearance.
RCApart from the water itself Roger gets inspiration from the patterns left in the sand as the tide goes out leaving reflective pools. Also the water worn rocks and wooden piers can give interesting colours and shapes
On a more creative side Roger has taken close up images of the weathered hulls of boats after the have been lifted out of the water for cleaning. The shapes and colours can give the effect of imaginative landscapes. Also Roger has experimented with Photoshop filters which can displace the pixels when one image is laid over another giving some very fascinating effects.
During the break members were able to enjoy viewing a selection of Roger’s expertly printed and presented prints.

Frank Collins thanked Roger for visiting the club in person and showing such a variety of fantastic images.
Thanks to Gerald Clarke for sorting the technology so that some members could see the presentation on Zoom from there own homes. PM
Website

 

 

Travels Towards the Edge 12 October 2021   

Intrepid travellers, Sue O’Connell (ARPS, EFIAP/p, DPAGB, BPE 5*) and Peter Brisley (ARPS, DPAGB, BPE1*) enjoy visiting unusual, far flung destinations. Using Zoom for the presentation, Sue said that such visits can be challenging but also very rewarding as you can get to see life in places that very few get to view. Usually travelling with just a driver and guide they often stay in very basic accommodation with the local people.
SC mongoliaSue began the evening by showing her photos taken on visits to the hot, barren country of Mongolia situated between Russia and China. The high rise flats and public buildings of Ulaanbaatar the capital city were found to be very different the rest of the country. The elaborate Buddhist monasteries were well worth a visit with their red clad monks going about their daily routine. Many Mongolian residents wear colourful traditional clothes and the many festivals provide many photographic opportunities.
On leaving the city travelling becomes difficult with many rough tracks through the mountains to negotiate. The people are mostly nomadic and tend their herds of yak and goats, erecting their portable, circular dwellings which they call ‘gers’ to house their families. Sue recalled the basic facilities that they stayed in and in one place the men had to sleep surrounded by the newly slaughtered goat meat! One advantage of living with the locals is that you can get to know them really well and observe their very different way of life. Winter is extremely cold and summer baking hot but the wonderful open landscapes make the visit memorable.
For centuries horses have been used as transport although now motor bikes are popular.
The highlight of any visit to the far west of the country is the Eagle Festival held every October. Visitors come from far and wide to show off their horsemanship and fly their magnificent golden eagles. Eagles are taken from the nest and then skilfully trained to hunt or fly to a lure then after seven years they are returned to the wild to breed naturally.
The award winning image by Sue shows her host as he gallops holding the eagle aloft.
After a short break Peter showed images taken on a visit to the Pantanal region of Brazil. This time they stayed on a floating hotel and travelled around the flooded river systems in small boats. Although new to wildlife photography both Sue and Peter enjoyed the wide variety of birds, reptiles and mammals encountered. The usually elusive Jaguar was seen on most of their trips and appeared to be quite relaxed, making them excellent subjects.
Lastly Peter presented images taken in the remote area of Rajasthan, India where again they stayed with local tribal families. Wonderful portraits of the old men with their colourful costumes, women wearing wonderful embroidered clothes and elaborate jewellery. Many interesting street scenes with crowds of people with their sacred cattle.
Thanks to Sue and Peter for sharing some of their experiences in unusual travel locations and for showing their amazing images. PM
Image © Sue O'Connell   Website     Peter Brisley - Website

Competition 1 - Open Projected Images 5 October 2021   

The club’s first competition of the season was a bit of a technical challenge as some members were ‘live’ in the clubroom, some were watching from home on zoom and the judge was in Skye! The computer, projector and sound equipment all had to be tied up together but luckily, thanks to the tech guys who set it up, it all worked well with only a few minor glitches.
The judge was the very experienced Rob Ryan FRPS FPSA who had cast his very astute eye over all the entries. Rob started by saying how uses 10 key issues to assess each image – exposure, focus, composition, light, depth of field, colour, technique, narrative, creativity and the ephemeral overall impact. The first seven are usually fairly straight forward for photographers to check but the last three are where images have to try to convey those properties in their images for the judge. The result is subjective and judges each have their own ideas on the worthiness of each image for an award.
BJ GallopsThe evening started with the Beginners section which includes members new to club competitions. Many of these members have probably had a lot of photographic experience but having someone looking closely at their images and pointing out the good and sometimes not so good points is often a new experience!
After giving his comments on all the entries the judge went on to give the awards. In first place was a creative image by Barbara Jones titled ‘The Gallops’. The image of a horse and rider had been given a toned monochrome appearance which the judge said was atmospheric and gave a sense of movement. In second place was ‘Through the Essess’ by Dave Johnson which again showed a good sense of movement but this time a racing motor bike. It had a strong composition and the angle of gave a sense of the speed. In third place was another image by new member Dave – this time a well-executed still life. The focus and colour was excellent and the objects formed a triangle which gave a good strong composition.
BC ShadesFour members were awarded Highly Commended – Adam Woodhouse for a mono image and Gina Gordon for a simple flower image also Gerald Clarke for two butterfly images
The judge commented that the background spoilt many otherwise good images by being too intrusive or not complimenting the subject so he advised ‘think background as much as foreground’
Members who had previously gained enough points in the Beginners section are promoted to Intermediate and it was those entries that were projected next.
The judge had to make a difficult final choice as his favourite images were all very different.
The first place was given to a really superb still life titled ‘Shades of Red’ by Bridget Codrington. An excellent well lit arrangement of interesting objects with great colours. In second place came a creative image ‘Zebras’ by Penny Clarke which the judge said that was an intriguing manipulation which gave the impression of how a predator might get confused by the mammal’s stripes. In third place was a well taken interior shot showing a solitary statue titled ‘Contemplation’ by Wendy Weller. 
Highly Commended’s went to Liz Bates and Bridget Codrington, Richard Blackbourne gained two HC's with very different images .
PM BonnetsFinally, after a short break the Advanced section was projected with a wide range of interesting, well photographed subjects.
The judges eye was taken by a creative image ‘Granny’s Bonnets’ by Pam Mullings and gave it first place. The judge liked the way the delicate blue aquilegia flowers were arranged against a textured, colour toned background. Second place went to a completely different type of image – this time ‘Winter Woodland’, a delightful woodland scene by Martin Stokes with its atmospheric depiction of the snow gently descending on some ancient forest trees. Third place went to an extreme nature close-up by Tim Tapley. The judge commented that ‘Misumena vatia’ showed this tiny crab spider ready to pounce as it hid in a flower was a remarkable image.
Tim Tapley and Martin Stokes also were awarded HC’s. An amusing, creative image by Robin Gregory, a simple seascape by Sue Wadman and an evocative woodland scene by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP were also awarded HC’s.
Thanks to all those that entered and gave us such an interesting evening.
Thanks to Rob for looking at all the entries and for giving such helpful comments. All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries and it will show the wide range of images that Rob thought worthy of awards.
Summing up David Wilkinson said he hoped all members will have learned something from the excellent critique. PM

Full list of results           See all the Awarded Images            Members can log in to see the 2021-2022 Points Table