News - 2014/15

Competition: Print Of The Year - Judged by Peter Prosser APAGB (Harrow CC) -18 June 2015

An impressive number of 64 prints were entered, a formidable task for any judge, and what an impressive display they made on our two display panels!

Peter relished the fact that there was no need for him to award individual marks but the prospect of eliminating so many good photos was not easy. Nevertheless he first reduced them to 23 and then 8 at which point he really did not want to lose any more, as good as they were. He described them as a real amalgam of images but in due course revealed his top 3. Third place went to Peter Winter's wildlife gem of a pair of kingfishers mating, emphasizing the current idea in this branch of photography that you need to capture more than just their portraits.

Runner- up was awarded to John Jennings' compelling portrait 'Faith in a Hat', an arresting piece of work which portrayed the shape of her lovely face really well, in Peter's estimation 'a cracking portrait'.

Connie Fitzgerald's 'Waiting Room' got the trophy, a 'fantastic piece of photography' which really tells a story; the atmosphere is great'. Congratulations Connie, not only for this trophy, but on a truly outstanding season.

As is his custom, Peter pulled out an impressive example of judging, which is exactly why he was invited to adjudicate one of our two top competitions.

Competition: Projected Image of the Year - Judge: Stan McCartin LRPS CPAGB APAGB (Harrow CC) - 11 June 2015

52 images were entered, the best that members have produced over the past year in a competition where creative image making is the essential key to success.

After an initial run-through, no fewer than 14 were held back, the judge knowing that some hard pruning was going to be necessary if he was to identify the eventual winner. The standard was high and some excellent images were discarded, reducing the initial 14 to 7. Stan already had his top 3 in mind but the remaining 4 were a problem. Eventually he settled for 4 Highly Commendeds, i.e Connie Fitzgerald's trio 'Milling' a Lowryesque streetscene, 'The Beach' a modern interpretation of a landscape and 'Blood Moon over City of Staples', a Connie one-off, and John Woodworth's 'Old Man of Storr'.

To cap what was a triumphant evening for him, John's 'Waiting for the Guests', an excellent still-life of a dining-table and chairs with 3 windows but no people, came third, 'Attitude', 3 juveniles displaying just that was second and 'Worker's Hands', a serious piece of photography depicting an elderly person's horny fingers with spade was judged the ultimate winner. What a result for both Connie and John but, equally, what a masterclass in judging from Stan!

Members Night at Park Street - 4th June 2015

With Maggie and Rod Fricker's backs turned for a moment, away as they were on holiday, it was down to Terry Day to amuse the club members on this beautifully warm Summer's night. Showing the entire entry from the comparatively recent Chilterns 100 day was a great idea. It proved educational and interesting. For this unique CACC event every member of every club in the CACC is allowed, even actively encouraged, to submit just one PDI. This was then judged by an august panel of three in exactly the same way and to a similar standard, as might have been the case in a top PAGB competition. That is to say each image was marked between 2 and 5 by three persons and it would have been done very quickly - between 5 and 15 seconds usually. Hence top mark was 15. It would be impossible to score less than 6.

It was most encouraging to see at least one score of 7 - thankfully not someone from Park Street. The CD that Terry had obtained contained all 184 images from the contest and the first half of the night was spent running through them with Jeremy controlling the show - lingering mostly over the shots either from Park Street members or others that had recorded high scores.

Your reporter was then surprised and most flattered to be asked to comment on as many as he could get through in the second half! There is an illusion that if someone is a CACC judge then that person is automatically considered an authority on image quality. This is something I would like to try and dispel right away. The only thing the CACC judges are taught as such is to compliment rather than criticise, tend towards the positive and enthusiastic and remember you have only got between 60 and 90 seconds per image to get your message across and turn up on time. This does not make them authorities as such - just relatively reliable impartial opinions. Not experts! On this night any member of Park Street could have done the same job equally well I am sure and on a future occasion it might be interesting if someone else might like a go at it even just for the experience.

However one thing that I was able to bring to the table on this occasion was knowledge of some of the images' history as many of them had come up before me during the year. Furthermore I knew a little about some of the authors themselves which I hope shed a little light on the thinking behind their pictures. I could have gone on all night, but if you were there you would have realised that and doubtless been mightily relieved when Jeremy called a halt dead on 10pm.

some of the club members
Prints on Permanent Display

In conjunction with St Stephen Parish Council, Camera Club members now have some of their work displayed in the Tennyson Room at the St Stephen Parish Community Centre and - very shortly - these will be joined by more prints in Orton Hall at Greenwood Park.

The displayed prints are also available for sale, and proceeds of any sale will be divided between the photographer, the club and a local charity, Emmaus St Albans, but of greater importance is the opportunity to see members' work on public display, bringing greater awareness of the club.

You can see which images are displayed on this website, by clicking on the "Print Sales" button on the navigation bar.

Mono Print and Projected Image Night ‐ 21 May 2015

The sensationally succinct and sartorially superb Southgate (Colin) attended to judge this night and what a great job he did. He made it look easy (it isn't) and all the time seeming to enjoy every image. His scoring although firm was never vindictive and he had plenty to say regarding possible areas of improvement. In a similar way to Kevin Day a few weeks before, Colin has a way of integrating himself into a club before he starts, thus attenuating any alarm that may occur from the actual scores. Magic if you can do it. Few can. Indeed his style was very reminiscent of the late great Peter Jackman at times and you can't have a higher accolade that that.

His range was perfect (14-20) and he was reassuringly particular about the image that would win in each of the two categories. The ladies again - Connie's mono version of her excellent estuary lighthouse shot was his favourite in the prints. The projected win went to Fiona (I never do well in the competitions) Gurr with a magestic railway station image that was simply a joy to behold and technically correct in every department! The second went to Chris Gilbert with another very clever arrangement of a heap of rubbish, a tin hut and a cloud! That is simply the magic of high quality photography - to be able to see the potential in such an arrangement. The cloud in question looking to all intents and purposes like a huge breaking wave or as Colin suggested an explosion.

However where I slightly disagreed with Colin was that Fiona's "Dandelion" - classic seed head with face of a lion superimposed into it - was possibly the image of the night. Both superb in concept and so sympathetically created. Furthermore it drew gasps and laughter for the audience when he came up. Always a good sign; after all this is entirely about communication. It only got an 18 - that was not enough! She should have been first and second.

It is sobering to think that some of you refer to yourselves as amateur photographers when many of the top images shown on this night could make you a comfortable living for life with the right marketing! Keep it up.

Mostly Landscapes by Linda Sharp

This talk took place at Orton Hall, Greenwood Park, to which we had been displaced by the Council's annual Open Meeting in our regular Tennyson Hall, but those who attended approved the change wholeheartedly. In another change to the advertised programme, Linda Sharp had become Linda Bembridge, but she delivered an excellent talk, accompanied by many inspiring images, which was clearly enjoyed by all.

It is a measure of both Linda's talent and her determination that, having first picked up a camera 10 years ago, she is now a Fellow of the RPS, an astonishing achievement. Not only that, but her FRPS submission was a panel of 20 tryptichs, for which she had to get special permission, being effectively 60 images rather than the required 20, the first time anyone had attempted to do this. And in another hint to those of us trying to improve our photography by buying the best equipment on the market, and carrying half a camera shop wherever we go, Linda had taken almost everything she showed us on an ageing Nikon D300 and 28-300mm lens.

What she showed us, above all, was her ability to extract and abstract unique and remarkable images from wide and messy scenes. A prime example was a series of images taken at Dungeness. Many photographers have visited this location and returned with more or less identical images of the wrecked fishing boats, the old shack and the rusting launching rails. I went there myself last year and noted an old shipping container but could see nothing of potential in it, but this is exactly what Linda chose to focus on. Someone had thrown some black paint at what had once been a white container, and Linda had homed in on the splashes and streaks of paint, and had seen that when inverted they took on the appearance of landscapes.

Other images she showed us were taken in Iceland, the Falklands and Blackpool, and these included a remarkable shot of a black-browed albatross that landed beside her, tucked its head under its wing and went to sleep and some of the most beautiful waterfall shots I have seen.

Descriptions cannot do justice to the images we were shown, and I strongly recommend that you take a look at Linda's website (opens in new window) and enjoy Linda's very personal approach to photography:

Print League Results

Here are the total points awarded in all five Open Print Rounds for this year, 2014-2015, for those members who entered three prints in all five rounds.

Connie Fitzgerald271   FIRST
Chris Gilbert 270SECOND
Dean Tyler266THIRD EQUAL
John Jennings 266THIRD EQUAL
Terry Day264
Fiona Gurr254
David Butler 249
Maggie Fricker248
Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell     247
Derek Dixon241

Congratulations to Connie for being placed first, followed closely by Chris, with Dean and John in joint third place.

(Please note that a table of the full results appears on the Members' section of the website)

Last Print Competition of the Year – 23 April 2015

A good club photographic competition night is much like a play. We, the contestants, supply the script with our images and invite a 'performer', the judge, to interpret them. The success of the evening then depends on just two things. The quality of the script and the ability of the actor (the judge). At our last print competition of the year the club fielded an astonishingly high general standard of script - images. Fortuitously this coincided with the attendance of a rather special judge - Kevin Day. He had been before. (Your reporter knew him well, had never seen him judge, but had heard exciting noises about him from other members and other clubs.)

So now came the performance part. Kevin seemed to drop effortlessly into a role that felt to all the world that he was actually a member of our very own club. Relaxed, friendly, animated, articulate and supremely observant and, although the concept is hard to visualise, almost never critical. To paraphrase his sentiments - they were all good (and they were) it was just that some were 'more good' than others.

As somewhat of a departure, although he scored over a range that extended down to 14, he held back a host of images – a dozen no less. This then formed a sort of second round which he had cleverly made time for. He then separated this large group into the customary 18 to 20s but even then surprised us and maintained the tension by picking the images off seemingly at random rather than opting for the more traditional bottom up system. Difficult for him – much more fun for us.

The four resulting 20s were the obvious choice but it is far easier to say that when the judging is done. Connie Fitzgerald's gentle and perfectly proportioned lighthouse image received a 20 but was only 4th. (Chris Gilbert's 'Three Glasses' scoring 19, below it, meant that Connie had now won the overall annual print league by a singe point to go with her projected image award from the week before!)

Top three for the evening. Terry Day's interesting double image of a suspension bridge making a real engineering point of the importance of the criss-crossing cables – that was third. The top two were very different. Jeremy Fraser Mitchell had seen the photographic potential in the difference in texture of tree bark and a witches broom and squeezed the two together. Very simple but quite wonderful. Top of the night was John Jennings' excellent portrait of the red headed Alexis. This was apposite as John had earlier invited the club to an evening of studio/model photography which he had set up for a few weeks time. Kevin Day was quick to pick up on this and point out that some one with John's ability might well be worth listening to. It's on the 14th May. In the mean time we will all look forward to Kevin coming to judge again.

Park Street's Fifth and Final PDI of the year – 16 April 2015

The judge we had booked dropped out at short notice and Terry was stuck for a last minute replacement. Dave suggested a couple of the qualifiers he had seen when addressing the last judging course a couple of years ago. The first one to respond was Allan Thomson from, and actually the Chairman of, Imagez. Although attendance on the night was slightly down on recent numbers the 48 pictures were of the usually consistently high standard however the judge's technique was somewhat unusual. It is generally regarded as a dangerous area to advise on specific computer techniques when critiquing a competition. The reason it worked so well on this occasion was entirely down to the skill and sensitivity of the previously untried Allan Thomson. Allan is an Australian but was right when he pointed out that his accent had mellowed since living in the UK for the past few years. He was very easy to listen too, even with little bits of Richie Benaud in there. Through his advanced technical knowledge he was able to make very specific suggestions as to the use of Photoshop, Lightroom, Nik filters and other sources without ever sounding like a software salesman. This went as far as at one point actually being able to remember where to find a particular tool for such-and-such an adjustment on the screen! He was also amusing, most observant and never unkind even when faced with a couple of glaring errors.

His top four favourites were clearly the best and he took his time putting them in order. Ladies Connie Fitzgerald and Fiona Gurr continued their recent good form. Robin in Flight from Connie not being the sort of material she has done much of but worked well because of the arrangement of the moving wings and Fiona's Crocus being absolutely made by the clever border. Actually more images were bordered than usual and without exception they were well done. The gentlemen made a bit of a late season comeback with Chris Gilbert's soft painterly treatment of a vintage kitchen taking first and a very striking shot inside a naturally lit and rather stark restaurant by John Woodworth being fourth. Allan spoke quite a lot about this image in particular. It was educational to hear him delve into psychological effects of certain dimensions and colour/shade combinations that instinctively draw us to a particular image.

Allan has been booked to return – try not to miss his next visit.

Projected Images League 2014 – 2015 total points

Connie Fitzgerald284   FIRST
John Woodworth 276SECOND
Chris Gilbert 266THIRD
Fiona Gurr262
Dave Hipperson260
Sue Hipperson258
Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell    257
Rosemary Wenzerul 255
David Butler 255
Terry Day248
Derek Dixon248

My congratulations to Connie, who scored at least one 20 in each round, to achieve first place, and to John Woodworth for achieving second place and Chris Gilbert for third place.

Competition: Audio Visual Presentations – 12 March 2015 – Judge: Les Spitz ARPS (Pinner CC)

In a small but high quality field, the top three places were hotly contested, with Rod Fricker's "Panama Canal" being narrowly squeezed out of the final three.

1stThe Glory of the GardenSue Anderson
2ndNew York WinterFiona Gurr
3rd Chelsea Hospital Terry Day

Congratualtions to Sue Anderson (and Chris for providing some of the photos).

Rosebowl Competition 2014 – 15

We finished 18th out of 29 clubs, with 6.5 out of a possible 15 points. No finals day for us this year! Results from the rounds are here

We can hope for better luck next time.

The results from the three rounds we took part in were reported (below) in more detail as and when they took place

Competition: Open Digital Images Round 4 – 12 February 2015
Judge Mark Buckley-Sharp ARPS CPAGB APAGB (Harrow CC)

Running in parallel with this month's RPS Journal which features the role of women in photography, a well supported entry of 52 images resulted in the ladies sweeping the board at the final reckoning.

Only four images were held back: Rod Fricker's 'Coming in to land', an unnamed yellow butterfly approaching a red hibiscus was highly commended. This was beaten by Sue Hipperson's 'Paved with Gold' which featured a high contrast contre-jour lighting on a wet pavement punctuated by black boots – a true photographer's shot. Even stronger, Fiona Gurr's 'Love Coffee' featured a topical Valentine white coffee cup beautifully lined, with coloured love hearts hovering over it. However, Mark favoured a Connie FitzGerald special – a simple shot of a red gerbera taken side on against a black background and subtly lit, which proved a worthy winner.

So, for the first time that I can remember, our lady members won the first three places on the podium. Congratulations to all of them; it reminded me of a memorable Ladies v Gents 'Match That' held some years ago when the men were soundly beaten. Mark's judging was, as usual, authoritative, intelligent and entirely competent, which made for a very entertaining evening.

Talk - Prints and the Paper
Chris Palmer FRPS AFIAP DPAGB APAGB (Amersham PS) – 29 January 2015

Like some of us who reach the age of retirement, Chris pondered the question 'What now?' He had served a long apprenticeship at Field End PS, CACC and latterly at Air Traffic Control Swanwick/Southampton PS, he had a log jam of slides and prints and perhaps just at the right time FOTOSPEED came up with an offer to sponsor him with their papers and inks. He didn't abandon the much tried and tested techniques like smearing the edges of lenses with Vaseline to throw the backgrounds out of focus but strove even harder to get the picture right in the camera. To that end he would try a 10 stop neutral density filter with 30 sec exposures, learn to speak to people when taking their portraits and to scan his vast stock of transparencies, avoiding sunny days when out with his camera. He is not alone in thinking that camera clubs hold too many competitions and would encourage us to share the images we make and then discuss them, printing to A4 size on decent sized mounts. Again, we should try to build up long term knowledge of particular places and keep returning to them. In this way Chris has run workshops with his friend Paul Keene, visiting many of the acknowledged prime sites for landscapes and adopting techniques used by such famous photographers as Joe Cornish and the locations that they use, eg Iceland.

Chris completed his lecture with several stunning images of Iceland's inspirational landscapes, culminating in one depicting two well lit chestnut horses on a background of black lava, printed on A2 paper, a picture which most of us would die for. This was indeed a masterclass and one of the most enjoyable evenings for a long time.

Rosebowl Competition Round 2 at Park Street – 4th December 2014 – Judge: Les Spitz

Results of the Rosebowl (R2) are below. Bah Humbug rather than Happy Christmas I'm afraid - I had expected us to do better. Oh well - better luck next year perhaps.

Hemel Hempstead PS    272
Whitchurch CC272
Field End PS270
Park Street CC262

The starred images were "Are You Talking About Me?" by Justin Grant (Field End) and "White Tailed Sea Eagle" by John Sexton (Whitchurch)

Park Street images scored as follows:
KATE (HIGH KEY)John Jennings 16
SWEET STRAWBERRY Connie Fitzgerald18
HUMMINGBIRD AT REST Miranda Steward18
CLARINET CONCERTO Fiona Gurr 17
JOKULSARLON JEWELS Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell      17
FOX Fiona Gurr 17
AUTUMN MIST by Chris Gilbert 16
AUTUMN CLOSE UP Sue Anderson16
THE MAN AT 29 John Jennings 17
FEMALE LEOPARD Peter Winter 19
ANNIE - GEISHA GIRL Chris Gilbert 19
WILTED TULIP Connie Fitzgerald 17
THE CONDUCTOR Ron Brown19
TOO MUDDY TO WALK Terry Day17
STOCKER LAKE REFLECTION     Rosemary Wenzerul 19

Creative Competition – 20 November 2014 – judged by Sarah Sands

44 projected images were entered and it was soon obvious that nearly all had been taken specially for this competition and also that their quality was very even. Sarah thought so too and held no fewer than nine back. They were all awarded 19 or better and indeed no fewer than five 20s were scored. Choosing the top 3 wasn't easy but her final placings were as follows: 3rd - ' Ice' by Rosemarie Wenzerul, a faithful rendering of a simple subject. Connie Fitzgerald confirmed that she has a unique ability to think outside the box and gained the top two places. Runner up was her highly original 'Blood Moon over City of Staples' which was just that, with a totally convincing skyline of well lit vertical stacks of staples and a realistic superimposed blood moon. In complete contrast but equally effective was her 'Beach', a simple beachscape softly lit and very evocative of a hot beach in a heat haze. This earned her the new trophy for this competition and we congratulate her.

Thirty prints were presented on Rod's new print stand whose quality of light earned the praise of Sarah and all of us in the audience too. Again, originality of thought shone through, six entries being held back and four of them presented the judge with a real problem for final placings. Eventually a Highly Commended was awarded to Dave Hipperson's 'Baskets and Bulbs', closely followed in third place by Connie's 'Strawberry Swirl'. Nevertheless, these were beaten by Sue Hipperson's 'Bottle with 2 Glasses' and, after deep consideration, first place was awarded to her highly original and amusing 'Relaxing Moment', an inspired shot of her own two feet in the bath - neatly reflected. The sheer audacity of conjuring up such an image sent her home with the new Print Competition trophy. All agreed that it had been a very good evening and that we now have a core of highly creative members.

Bedfordshire Invitational Inter-Club Competition

Here are the full results of the Bedfordshire Invitation which Chris and I went to, at St Albans on Tuesday evening.

Park Street didn't win, but I think we did very well nevertheless, since there were 17 clubs and Park Street came 6th.

Buckingham and Harpenden tied at the top with 111 points , but when their tie-breakers were shown, Buckingham took the lead and came 1st. We had 107 so weren't far behind them. Well done to those whose images represented our club!

Quick view of marks by Park Street members as follows:

Jeremy Fraser-MitchellRhapsody in Blue 19
Connie Fitzgerald Morning Has Broken 18
Chris GilbertAutumn Mist 18
Rosemary WenzerulStocker lake Reflection 16
Connie Fitzgerald Sweet Strawberry 19
Dave Hipperson Squared Daisy 17

XRR Visions 2014

At the 2014 Visions competition organised by XRR, 65 participants each entered 3 images for Marilyn Steward ARPS, DPAGB, BPE3*, EFIAP to judge. The first 2 sets of images were judged in advance and shown as slide shows with their authors and scores. Each entrant had nominated one of their three images as a tie-breaker (if needed) and these images were judged live in the usual way.

Park Street's team of Connie Fitzgerald, Chris Gilbert and Dave Hipperson came a respectable 4th= out of 9 clubs. Andy Sands (XRR) was the individual winner (John Draper of Harrow scored the same total of 58 with his 3 images, but his tie-break image scored 19 and Andy's scored 20). Connie came an excellent 6th= and her "Blue Pool" scored one of only thirteen 20s to be awarded out of 195 images.

Full details of the scores and thumbnails of the images are available here

Team Scores
Harrow 165
New City 161
Amersham 159
Buckingham 155
Park Street 155
XRR 154
Pinner 153
Leighton Buzzard    153
St Albans 150

Individual Scores
Andy Sands 1st58(tie break 20)
John Draper 2nd 58(tie break 19)
Connie Fitzgerald     6th=     55

Other Park Street members taking part were John Jennings, Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell, Sue Hipperson and Terry Day

NW London Federation Interclub Competition
Round 3 at Chesham – 18 November.

Hi, well I found the (very friendly and welcoming) Chesham Camera Club ok and got there in good time to hand the prints in ........ that's the good news!
Amersham, true to form, did exceptionally well this round, having 3 of their projected images held back and all 5 of their prints held back! We unfortunately had none held back in either. They also received all four starred images from the evening. I have to say, some of their images, particularly the prints were definitely worthy of the accolade.

FINAL SCORES after 3 Rounds
AMERSHAM 585
PARK STREET     557
CHESHAM 536

So for us we are now out of the semi final round. However, we have three projected images and one print image going forward for judging on the finals day. And we did, for a little while at least, give Amersham a good run.

Many thanks to Dean Tyler, who turned up half time and kindly took over the score sheet. Watch out next year Amersham!!!!

NW London Federation Interclub Competition
Round 2 at Park Street – 13 November – Judge Mary Ward.

In a game of two halves we did quite well overall, coming away with the two starred images in the Projected images section. Amersham had three out of their five images held back in the Print judging, Chesham and Park Street one a piece. A different story in the Projected section, with Park Street having three images held back, and Amersham two. A very confident judging by Mary Ward. We had two visitors from Amersham and one from Chesham.

FINAL SCORES:

Amersham 186
Park Street     182
Chesham 172

Prints    Projected
Images
Amersham   97   89
Park Street       89   93
Chesham   91   81

The starred images were:

For Prints :
Macaque MonkeyJohn W HardingChesham
Mist Over StokksnesGillian MorganAmersham
Projected Images:
Stocker Lake Reflection     Rosemary Wenzerul    Park Street
Leaf KnotConnie FitzgeraldPark Street

Other Park Street images held back, and ultimately scoring 19, were Running the Rapids, print, Connie Fitzgerald, and Clarinet Concerto, projected image, Fiona Gurr

The combined results of the first two of three rounds are as follows:

Amersham 400
Park Street     395
Chesham 375

Can we close the gap to Amersham in the final round? All are welcome to Chesham on Tuesday 18th November!

NW London Federation Interclub Competition
Round 1 at Amersham – 10 November – Judge Alan Taberer.

We did very well – scoring the highest in the Projected image section – and coming second overall by just one point to Amersham. Achieving both a Print Star and a Projected Image star.

FINAL SCORES:

Amersham 214
Park Street     213
Chesham 203

Prints    Projected
Images
Amersham   109   105
Park Street       105   108
Chesham   102   101

The starred images

For Prints :
Backhand FlickJohn W HardingChesham
Pre-dawn CalmDean TylerPark Street
Projected Images:
Faith Study Peter SpringAmersham
Sweet Strawberry    Connie Fitzgerald    Park Street

Many thanks to John Jennings for doing the driving and Dean Tyler for doing the score sheet and working out how to operate the coffee vending machine!

Results of the Interclub Landscape Competition, 23 October. Judge Barbara Lyddiatt (Chalfont and Gerards Cross CC)

Club Score      Place     
Harrow CC 1111st
Wycombe PS 1092nd
Park Street CC 1073rd
Hemel Hempstead PS 1054th=
St Albans & District CC       1054th=
Croxley CC 1046th=
Harpenden 1046th=
XRR CC 1046th=
Northfields CC 103 9th
Watford PS 10110th
Barnet & Finchley PS 9911th

Projected Images Round 2  ‐  Judge: Chris Sargeant ‐  9th October 2014

For our second projected image competition we were lucky to have the excellent Chris Sargent to judge. He brought an authoritative but friendly and enthusiastic slant to the correction process not to mention a sprinkling of humour. The club's average standard of photography is definitely on the increase so he had quite a job to split up the top half of the sixty or so entry. Rather a ladies night with first and third going to Sue Hipperson and Connie Fitzgerald, however the always consistent Chris Gilbert was 2nd with his colourful and perfect image of a Fuchsia bloom.

Connie explained afterwards that her shot of a strawberry falling into water had taken a bit of studio time and consumed an entire punnet of the fruit. A narrow trough of water was used to reduce the chances of the subject dropping away from the camera and going out of focus. Sue's on the other hand was a clear plastic beaker with sparkling water and a coloured base providing the interest. It had been photographed on a black background which proved to be anything but when projected! The final effect looking to all the world as if a great deal of time had been spent creating a subtle dark brown aged back cloth appearance. Actually it was just cloning of what she thought was black! One of the rare occasions when forgetting that the projection process always lightens images actually had a beneficial effect.

At the other end of the scale Chris gave four of our images 12s. A range which is correct and should be used more often but only when, as in Chris's case, the judge can be helpful and constructive to these lesser images. Chris managed this beautifully with no offence. An excellent evening for everyone."

Rosebowl Round 1

Hi, not long back from the above. A long wet drive, and a long 60 image judging! Luckily they had very good coffee and cake! Jeff Laurence was judge. There were 3 of us from Park Street, Fiona, Dean and myself (Connie)

Results:

Stoke Poges 267
Park Street 258
Windsor 258
Leighton Buzzard   254

Starred images for Leighton Buzzard and Stoke Poges.

For Park Street - JFM and Jokulsarlon Jewels scored 20
CG Autumn Mist and PW Female Leopard both got held back and both scored 19

The full results for us (in running order) were:

Author TitleScore
Connie FitzgeraldMORNING HAS BROKEN15
Sue HippersonGOOD FRIENDS 15
Miranda StewardHUMMINGBIRD AT REST 18
Fiona GurrCLARINET CONCERTO 17
Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell    JOKULSARLON JEWELS20
Connie FitzgeraldMR FRICKER 15
Chris GilbertAUTUMN MIST 19
Sue AndersonAUTUMN CLOSE UP 17
John JenningsTHE MAN AT 29 18
Peter WinterFEMALE LEOPARD19
Chris GilbertANNIE - GEISHA GIRL 18
Connie FitzgeraldSWEET STRAWBERRY 15
Ron BrownTHE CONDUCTOR 17
Terry DayTOO MUDDY TO WALK 18
Rosemary WenzerulSTOCKER LAKE REFLECTION      17

Round 2 is at Park Street (home advantage ?!?) on December 4th

MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY ‐ TECHNIQUES AND TIPS by ANDY SANDS. 2 October 2014

A packed Parish Centre hall was treated to a ground breaking talk by Andy, who this summer has experimented with 'stacking', a technique akin to the landscape photographer's use of HDR, where a series of shots are taken and then averaged out to create the final image.

First and foremost you need to get out of the house to find your subjects, difficult since you are down to insects measuring no more than two millimetres long. His first quest was to go to Windsor Great Park in search of a Royal Spider; it eats dead wood at the base of beech trees, on High Stacking Hill. Many such sites need a permit to visit. Richmond Park is a really good site where trees are often 6-800 years old and he used a flash gun on camera with a soft box. A one second exposure with a pop up reflector could do the trick, the lens set at f16 or f18 to get the details. It is vital to get the insect square on to achieve an even focus and using automatic extension tubes will assist with that. Andy fixes a focussing rail to his camera and always employs a cable release. The camera used is a NIKON D810 fitted with a NIKON 105 mm macro lens plus a 1.4x converter. The lens is set to Manual and the flash to TTL.

Violet ground beetles and sextant beetles make excellent subjects, as do shield bugs and dragon flies. Try to focus on the eyes and crop the image to 200%, using f16 to achieve a very shallow depth of field.

Your own garden can provide the perfect backdrop too and Andy's loft provided a home for a photogenic wasp. It hibernates for 5 months so it won't get away in a hurry.

Success doesn't just come with expensive camera gear - you must have the will to go to extremes yourself, such as catching the frost or dew on your subject at the best time of day - dawn! Find your spider, set your lens at f22 and take twelve shots using your focussing rail and then stack them, using ZERENE stacking software. Use a portable reflector the size of a dinner plate to catch a meadow ground butterfly in the Chess Valley at 3.20 am, arriving at the site at 3 am when it is dark even in high summer to catch the morning mist when 3 to 4 hours of photography are possible - such dedication!

Sarratt Park provided the site of a grasshopper covered in dew. Always using your lens hood can result in improved contrast and crispness. His final shot of a glow worm, enhanced by using the light produced on his key ring was a scorcher.

The tea break was followed by a useful question and answer session.

In other words, a large financial investment and an even larger amount of personal commitment if you aim to be one of the very best - like Andy.

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