Presentation Evening – May 14th 2024

With our scheduled presenter unfortunately feeling unwell and unable to give his talk, we had to rapidly improvise our plans for the evening. After some general discussion of club matters, we then explored some YouTube materials on photography basics; how to use histograms and ‘exposing to the right’ in order to obtain as much detail in the shadows as possible, without any of the highlights losing information along the way.

We followed this with materials on portrait photography tips and portrait composition ideas, which provide plenty of food for thought. To conclude the evening, we watched some WCPF audio visuals from previous years submissions.

We will try to reschedule the planned talk at a later date which will be in our 2024/25 programme as the current season is drawing to a close.

Audio- Visual Evening – April 30th 2024

A large selection of the audio-visuals submitted to the WCPF annual AV competition were viewed and once again included a diverse range of subjects and special effects, including girl band animations and avatars.

The AVs were classed into three categories i) Short – around 2-3 minutes ii) Long – up to 10 minutes and iii) Photo-harmony which emphasised the transitions between images and the sound accompaniment.

Having viewed many of the contenders in each category, we concluded what proved to be a long but enjoyable evening by watching some of the winning entries and we were generally in agreement with the judges decisions. We will keep any unwatched AVs in the locker for a rainy day or until some available time exists during a members evening.

Competition #4 – April 16th 2024

Our final competition round that contributed to the award of the Mayor’s Cups at the end of the season featured “Open” and “Portrait/Self Portrait” subjects for prints and digital projected images. With several contenders still able to top the points table, the competition was keenly contested and Steve Field from Bristol Photographic Society had the challenging task of selecting the winning entries.

“In an alley” by Dave Garmont won the “Portrait/Self Portrait” print category and a delightful flower print ” Daf, Hellibore and May Blossom” by Jim Bullock won the “Open” category.

Both the projcted image categories were won by Peter Hodgson with a “Moroccan jewellery salesman” portrait and a candid shot “No damn wifi here” winning the Open category.

Trophies to the overall winners will be presented at our Awards Evening on June 18th along with trophies for the forthcomong Annual Competition which features three categories.

Zoom Presentation – April 2nd 2024

Colin Harrison stimulated our imagination as we enjoyed his presentation on Creative Flower Photography. With a simple “studio” set up in his garden and a variety of flowers nearby to select from, Colin showed us how he prepared, photographed and processed his flower images.

Simplicity was the key to many of the approaches and techniques used by Colin who fashioned his own flashgun arrangment, lighting options and a camera support which avoided using a tripod. He had also experimented with a wide range of software programmes for processing his images and thereby gained the relevant experience to comment on the pros and cons of each.

The end results were truly magical as he took us into the world of fine art using a plethora of creative techniques and his boundless imagination. Having provided comprehensive support documentation on many of the techniques he uses, it’s fair to say that Colin has encouraged us all to be more adventurous in our flower photography.

Zoom Presentation – March 19th 2024

This rearranged activity was a Zoom presentation entitled “Sliding into Digital” by Leo Rich. Leo has been an active, amatuer photographer for over 50 years and therefore seen many changes in the way photography has evolved over that period, with the advent of digital photograohy being one of the major changes.

Leo started his talk with a series of slide images that had been digitised before crossing the rubicon and showing the first images he took with a digital camera of Salisbury Cathedral. It’s fair to say he was less than impressed with the results but gradually became more accustomed to the new technology and the way it worked.

Thereafter he shared a wide range of images including wildlife and portraits of people he had met on his travels. Having fallen in love with India after a holiday there, he subsequently organised five trips with a bunch of like-minded photographers to share his love of the culture and people. His images each had a story behind them and he seemed to develop an instant rapport with everyone he met and photographed. His final selection of images featured some magnificent Bengal tigers in all their glory from sleeping, hunting and the occasional charging the jeep from which he operated.

Whilst he is no longer able to travel long haul, Leo remains a great ambassador for India and the Water Aid charity that he supports.

Cricklade Battle – March 5th 2024

Our annual Battle with Cricklade Camera Club was hosted this year by Cricklade and judged by Pam and Eddy Lane. Each Club entered 30 open subject images, with the display orfer having been randomised. Half the images were critiqued before a brief interval, after which the judges re-engaged with their challenging task. The quality and diversity of images was impressive and one quarter of all the entries received the maximum points score from the generous judges.

At the end of the evening the clubs were separated by only 8 points and Cricklade CC ran out winners. An invitation was extended to Cricklade to lock horns again next year on our home ground.

AGM – February 20th 2024

Our Annual General Meeting was well attended and elected the Club officers for the forthcoming year. The roles of Chairman and Secretary, which had previously been amalgamated into one role, were separately appointed and will enable smoother running of the Club. The broad shape of the programme for the nexrt season was discussed with foucus on how to make Our Members Evenings applicable across a broad range of interests.

After the AGM, Roger Smith took us back in time with an impressive assembly of images that charted the development of Wootton Bassett since the 1800s and featured some of the display materials that are housed in the iconic Town Hall building on the High Street.

Competition Evening – February 6th 2024

Our third round of competitions contributing points towards the Mayor’s Cups featured Open and Still Life images as both prints and digital projected images and was judged by Lee Spencer-Fleet from Bristol.

A smaller than usual number of prints were submitted and the winning Open print was “Blue tits in flight” by Dave Garmont and the winning Still Life print was “Cameras” by Nigel Walkley.

The projected image competitions attracted many more entries and Rob Slade won the Open section with “Brothers and Sisters” whilst the Still Life section was won by Melanie Dartnall-Smith with “Macabre side of the glass”.

Several Still Life images featured fruit items which had been photographed at a previous practical evening. The judge gave several ideas and suggestions on how to make such images more impactful through incorporating other elements into the image and creating more depth in the displays.

Zoom Presentation – January 23rd 2024

Our second presentation of the new year was made by Steve Myall who actively participates in the Flickr “100 Strangers” project. This involves taking pictures of complete strangers and finding out some of their background information, in essence it is street photography but with permission.

Steve started by giving many examples of locations where people who were willing to be photographed could be found including comic con events, carnivals, costumed tour guides etc. The project requires a short write up of each encounter and the techniques used. Having identified suitable backgrounds and people Steve makes his approach, explains the project and in most cases obtains consent to take photographs. He often moves the subject to a background of his choosing and his eye for colour matching or seeking contrasting colour environments was evident in his work.

There is scope within the project for sub-projects such as men with beards, hat wearers and his favourite group of all – people with colourful hair styles. Having grown in confidence and refining his camera techniques, Steve is now into his fourth set of centenary images and relishes the challenges and surprises that he encounters.

Members Evening – January 9th 2024

The main activity of the evening was “Still Life” photography and members brought in a diverse range of items to photograph ranging from coins, perfume bottles, fruit, geological specimens, holly, figurines and even a home-made three dimensional chess board. At times the room looked more like a craft fair than a camera club meeting but with a number of display tables set up, members were able to experiment with various lighting equipment and show their creative flair through improvising with backdrops and compositional arrangements.

In addition to potentially producing some entries for an upcoming still life competition later in the season, it also allowed some of us to reacquaint ourselves with our camera equipment and find new features on the camera menus to try out. Despite the wind chilling weather, a good attendance was in evidence and the combination of practical photography and social interaction added to the enjoyment of the evening.