Summary of club activities during the 2017-18 season

22 February 2018      We ended the month with the fourth colour print competition on the set subject of Solitude.  The judge, Steve Kingswell ARPS AFIAP, gave a fairly lengthy critique of all the colour prints and brought out many points as he saw them.  It soon became clear that he was very unforgiving of any images containing any hint of digital noise! Solitude was not an easy subject to photograph and many of the competition entries on the night received fairly low to middling marks concerning the ability of the image to demonstrate compliance with the set subject.

17 February 2018     This month we also held an outdoor event involving a further trip to Denbies vineyard and, lucky to be blessed with good weather, we had the opportunity to walk around the grounds and grab a few more photographs.

 

The main purpose of the visit to Denbies was to see an exhibition of landscapes and still life in the photo gallery and it was interesting to compare both the different styles of photography and how club members felt about the images on view.  Whilst several of the table top images had been produced using textures in the background, many of the landscapes demonstrated the advantages of getting up and out early to capture misty conditions.  Afterwards we discussed all this and more over a welcome coffee.

15 February 2018     Seven members (Pete Baldrey, Miles Thompson, Bev Pegram, Elizabeth Bulley, Bill Thornton, Chris Flood and Ann Smith) each gave us a presentation of their set of themed images and provided us with an enjoyable, sometimes humorous  and varied programme.

8 February 2018      This week members had a chance to view their work under competitive conditions and receive suggestions and ideas for improvement from fellow members. Using an image editing programme we were able to demonstrate how cropping, brightness and contrast control could make a difference to PDIs and provide a valuable opportunity to fine tune the images prior to competition.

1 February 2018      The month commenced with David Eastley LRPS judging our third round Mono print and PDI competitions. He was very observant and gave good reasons for his comments with a spread of scores between 6 and 10.  Inevitably his scores pleased several members and disappointed others but it is important to always have faith in what you produce and to keep on trying. We all have different tastes and it would be a dull world if we all agreed with everyone else.

25 January 2018    There was an excellent turnout for our guest speaker Astrid McGechen, a landscape photographer based in Surrey who has, since 2010, regularly exhibited her work both in the UK and Germany.  In her lecture Feel the Land: Photography and Emotion, she gave a light-hearted journey through the creative process, including how to capture the emotion and mood of a scene and the techniques she used.  Astrid was willing to experiment and always asked herself the question “why am I taking this photograph?”.  Whilst many images were serene and evinced a degree of solitude, she sometimes introduced texture to change the mood.  Unafraid of defocusing or using intentional camera movement, especially at longer focal lengths, simplification of an image was her aim.  Astrid left us with her comment “photograph what you feel, not just what you see”.

Photos copyright of Astrid McGechen and reproduced with kind permission.

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18 January 2018    Rachael Talibart, 2018 Black and White Photographer of the Year, judged our third colour print competition and her observations and comments were well received. She complimented the membership on the wide range of subject matter submitted on the night.

11 January 2018    Our New Year programme started with a critique session providing a useful opportunity to see how members’ images, prior to possible use in a competition, perform during digital projection and how prints, especially mono images, appear on the illuminated easel.  Printing problems such as metamerism and colour casts were identified and members also put forward suggestions on how some of the images might be improved.

14 December 2017  We ended the year with our annual Christmas dinner - lovingly prepared, cooked and presented by Mike and Christine Harrison. A small presentation was made to thank them during the evening and there was a general knowledge quiz which got everyone thinking. All had a great time and thanks are due to all those involved in making the evening a fun event. The Chairman’s Challenge was announced so that Sporting images can fill an evening on 10 May 2018.

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13 December 2017 – Outside visit – While it was not strictly an official club outside visit, some members took the opportunity to visit RHS Wisley again for a follow-up workshop with Nigel Chapman. The inclement weather led to a wide variety of images taken in the warmth of the glass house. Nigel is very keen on shape and form and there is plenty of scope amongst all the plants on display.

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7 December 2017 – Our Ladies versus Gents Match-a-Print competition produced a lot of new images, laughter and heckling!  Everyone was encouraged to bring along a few prints for their team panel and each side submitted a panel of approx. 40 prints. The idea was that teams took it in turns to put up a print which the other team had to try to match in some way.  Scores were awarded for a match and then the two images judged to decide the better of the two and points awarded. Miles agreed to judge and he put up with the heckling with very good humour. Although the final result was possibly justified, the ladies did manage more points in the second half and only missed out by four points overall. The fact that on this night there were almost twice as many gentlemen present than ladies might just have had something to do with it!

30 November 2017 – Swales Parry gave club members an insight into the effort required to gain a Distinction with one of the recognised photographic bodies and which direction he had chosen to go in and why. He illustrated his talk with many of his own fine images, some of which have won him medals in a wide variety of National and International Exhibitions. He has developed a certain style for many of his Open images, particularly a liking for narrow letter box shapes and very dark backgrounds. He also showed an RPS ARPS panel and explained how it was constructed and balanced around a theme.

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25 November 2017 – Outside visit - Club members had a very pleasant visit to Winkworth Arboretum. Whilst a gale in the week had denuded many trees of their splendid colours, it was a beautifully crisp morning with plenty of photographic opportunities and even a daffodil or two was spotted!

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18 November 2017 – At the SPA Interclub Print competition there were fewer clubs than usual taking part. Our prints averaged 1.4 points higher than usual and this is a welcome improvement. Chris Flood was our highest scorer and Mike Harrison achieved a very good score for his Sedge Warbler.

16 November 2017 – Club members were treated to a superb lecture by our guest speaker Geoffrey Lee, a professional aerial photographer who has worked in the industry for over 30 years. He outlined his workflow, whether he is working with the military or commercial outfits, from the time he gets a call, how he prepares briefing material and equipment, cockpit constraints and liaison with the pilots on the mission and ending with a debriefing. His presentation included how he takes the required photographs and videos of the aircraft in action and the firing of missiles.

9 November 2017 – Roy Williamson critiqued our first colour print and set subject competition, providing detailed reasoning behind his marking.  With the set subject “A Sense of Movement”  he first gave his mark on each print, and then gave a lot more thought to how many marks he would award to the way in which a sense of movement had been interpreted awarding an extra 2 – 5 marks. This will no doubt have a greater effect on the results table than just adding an extra 5 points as we did in the past. As with all photographic judging the number of marks awarded is always somewhat subjective.

2 November 2017 – Marilyn Taylor from Guildford gave a presentation on Street Photography and we were treated to umpteen images of colourful wall art. These have grown in popularity over recent years since local councils can no longer afford to finance graffiti removal. While graffiti may indeed brighten up some run down areas there is a time and place for everything.  Marilyn must have made numerous trips to London and other locations to find all these interesting images.

29th October 2017 – Outside visit – We had another outing to Denbies to visit the Mirage Exhibition and take photographs of the vineyard. The Mirage group are another set of talented photographers, and their work was well worth viewing. Discussion of the images on display gave us much food for thought and may lead us on to we know not where!

26 October 2017 – Our mono print and PDI competitions were judged by Paul Graber, LRPS, on his first visit to the club. While none of us would necessarily agree with all he said, he was pretty sound in his judgement and the Club would welcome him back. He gave several 10’s to our images which was encouraging. He had a strong interest in monochrome work and often queried why some images had been chosen for monochrome reproduction as he felt the technique had not added any enhancement to the image.

12 October 2017 – Club members had the opportunity to enjoy taking some table top photographs at the meeting.  There was an impression that the room was quiet with concentration! A big thank you to those members who brought along numerous objects to photograph – and who also managed to take some images of the other items on display as well.

5 October 2017 – Mike Dales judged our Colour Prints, the first night of competition this season. He was thoughtful, kindly and perceptive, and gave reasoned comments. The marks were perhaps a little bunched:  members seemed happy with the new style of only one class for all images instead of Club and Advanced classes. Nevertheless, some of the previous Club class members must have been pleased with their results.

Outside visit - In the beginning of October six members went to Dorset for a long photography weekend based in and around Charmouth and Lyme Regis. The B&B accommodated was excellent, only five minutes walk from the beach in Charmouth. The hardy few took pre-breakfast walks and evening meals were had at local hostelries. Blue skies can be boring and the weather was certainly a challenge at times. However, photographers are a hardy lot when out looking for images and a stiff breeze can make for interesting seas and skies. We tended to keep together as a group covering a lot of ground with some interesting results. When the weather was really against us we spent the afternoon on a local tram tour.

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