A Skillen Presentation – January 4th 2024

Those who were able to attend the talk by Andy Skillen entitled “Tales from the Bush”, which was hosted and jointly sponsored by Swindon Photographic Society, had an evening to remember. Andy is an intrepid wildlife photographer with over 25 years experience of photographing and recording wildlife in remote locations. His talk whisked us around the globe and across five of the seven continents. Much of Andy’s work is focused on commissions and he supplies stills, articles and video clips to well known institutions and publishing houses.

He started by sharing his experiences in Africa photographing lowland gorillas and forest elephants with the latter having provided many heart stopping moments when their behaviour became unpredictable and resulted in him being charged on several occasions. Hyenas, buffalo, musk oxen, wild dogs, many species of bears, wolves, cheetahs and the elusive show leopard featured in the wide collection of images and videos during the evening.

Andy explained what is was like to work on specialist commissions, and how this shaped the style of images that he pusued. His ability to understand the behavioral traits of certain animals enabled him to build a relationship with an individual animal and this in turn allowed him to work at distances most of us would never contemplate, nor consider sane. Wildlife conservation features prominently throughout Andy’s work and he finished the evening with an emotive video showing the beauty of the animal kingdom and the plight it faces.

Competition #2 – November 28th 2023

Our second competition of the season featured “Flight” and “Open” subjects and was judged by Doug Lodge from Crossbow Camera Club. Print entries were slightly down on previous competitions but the projected images section attracted a health collection of images, with several creative interpretations for “Flight” in particular.

The judges critiques were fair, comprehensive and included a lot of ideas and suggestions for folks to experiment with to enhance their images. Offering some anecdotes and his own experiences added to the evening, as did his easy and engaging communication style. Doug also brought some of his images on a memory stick to show at the end of the evening which stimulated discussions, both collective and individually.

Flight: the winning print was “Little Egret” by Nigel Walkley and the winning dpi was “The Saudi Hawks” by Rob Slade.

Open: the winning print was “Redneck Ron” by Dave Garmont and the winning dpi was “Eye on the prize” by Nigel Walkley

WCPF DPIC Viewing – October 31st 2023

On a wet and spooky Halloween evening, we sat down and viewed the digital projected images which had been submitted to the Western Counties Photgtraphic Federation Inter-Club Championship held earler in the year. 48 clubs had participated, and with each club submitting 18 images, it meant that we could feast our eyes on a slideshow containing over 800 images and hear their individual scores from the judging panel.

As expected there was a huge range of subjects covering the main photographic genres and including colour, monochrome and infra-red images and a range of creative post-processing techniques.

After a break mid-way, to rest our senses as well as taking refreshments, we viewed the remaining images and then finished the evening by watching the much shorter slide show detailing the winning entries and individual awards. No-one could fail to be impressed with both the quality and quantity of images viewed and hopefully it will have sparked some new ideas and approaches for our club members to pursue.

Competition Evening – October 3rd 2023

Our first competition of the season that contributes points towards the Mayor’s Cups for prints and projected images takes place this Tuesday at The Angel Hotel function room at 7.30 pm..

The competition themes are “Open” and “Abstract” which provide ample scope for innovative interpretations and creative inputs.

The judge is Martin Cooper LRPS from Yate, an experienced circuit judge, who has been to the Club several years ago for judging.

Visitors are warmly welcomed.

Awards Presentation Evening – June 20th 2023

Our 2022/23 season concluded with the presentation of awards for our Annual Competition winners in the three categories of Action; Portrait and Open subjects. Trophies were also presented to the winners of the four competition rounds that had been held throughout the season.

The Mayor of Royal Wootton Bassett, Councillor Eve Silvester presented the awards and enjoyed viewing the entries submitted along with the images taken locally during a practical evening of outdoor photography. around the town.

Over refreshments there was plenty of dialogue about how images had been taken and some of the main trends being seen in the photographic world. By her own admission, the Mayor indicated that her pictures didn’t always turn out as expected, which is something we have all experienced at one time or another. One obvious solution was muted for when she has more spare time to practise photography.

Annual Competition – June 13th 2023

Our Annual Competition for prints and projected images comprised three categories viz; Action; Open and Portrait and was well subscribed, especially the projected images section. The competition was judged by Beryl Heaton from Bristol Photographic Society, who was ably assisted and supported by husband Danny.

The prints section was judged first and all the entries will be displayed at our annual exhibition in the local library during the last two weeks of August. Our small but enthuastic core of printers submitted some excellent images and the winners of the sections were as follows

Action – Fast turn by Dave Garmont

Open: Sprocket and Spud by Jim Bullock (which was also judged as the best overall print)

Portrait: Having a laugh by Nigel Walkley

The projected image sections were well populated which tasked the judge with a large workload so her comments were succint but thoughtful. The winning entries were:

Action: Red Arrows by Rob Slade

Open: Common Blue damselfly by Alan Pryor

Portrait: Bashful look by Peter Hodgson (which was also judged as the best overall projected image).

Attendees enjoyed viewing a diverse range of images throughout the evening and in one week’s time, on June 20th, we will have our Awards Presentation evening with the RWB Mayor in attendance.

Members Evening – May 30th 2023

Following a couple of successful indoor practical photography evenings, we decided to venture outdoors and challenge members to take some images of Royal Wootton Bassett. To encourage members to spend more time and thought in preparing and visualising the images they wished to take, some boundary conditions were set. Only 10 images in total could be taken in jpg format and had to be sequentially numbered and no in-camera post-processing was allowed. In essence we were trying to replicate the restrictions that naturally arose in the past when shooting with 35mm slide film which meant you had to strive to get everything right at the time of shooting.

Although the light was flat, and despite a chilly evening breeze, members generally enjoyed the experience of exploring the nooks and crannies of Royal Wootton Bassett and spent around 90 minutes searching for some different images.

Needless to say some discrepancies arose and one member, whose camera was set for continuous high speed shooting, took their 10 images far quicker than they had imagined with only one subject.  After the exercise, we convened for some well earned refreshments at The Angel and images were loaded onto the Club laptop and will be viewed after the Awards Presentation evening on June 20th.

Audio-Visual Evening – May 2nd 2023

Members were treated to a full evening of audio-visual presentations which had been entered into last year’s Western Counties Photographic Federation Competition. In total 30 AVs had been entered across 3 main categories: Short; Long and Photo-harmony.  Short related to presentations that were less than 4 minutes in length; Long included presentations exceeding 4 minutes and a Photo-harmony section enabled participants to demonstrate their skills in marrying images through appropriate transitions and strong harmonisation with the sound track. 

We progressed our way through the designated menu and referred to the judge’s comments after each AV to compare our perceptions and conclusions. It soon became obvious that we would not have sufficient time to view all the entries and towards the end of the evening we focused our attention on the winning entries in each category.

As always the subject matter was diverse ranging from documentary type AVs giving an insight into interesting historical scenarios exploring places both in the south west and far further afield to more abstract type productions. The common theme was that each told a story in its own particular way and the skill, patience and creativity that had been used to achieve the final results was evident for all to see. We will look forward to viewing the remaining AVs at a subsequent meeting.

Competition Evening – April 18th 2023

Our fourth and final round of competitions that scored towards the Mayor’s Cup trophies featured Open and Glass set subjects and was judged by Peter Crane from Swindon. The print entries were judged first and the interpretation of the set subject resulted in several entries based on the same idea of still life images of glass items. In some cases the old adage of “less is more” applied with simpler arrangements giving a more balanced composition and greater focus of the viewers attention.

The winning prints were “Angles” by Nigel Walkley in the Glass section and “Saxophonist” in the Open section.

A healthy number of projected images were received and the winning Glass entry was “Bottles and vase” by Jim Bullock and “Double Take” by Dave Garmont winning the Open competition.

Bottles and vase
Double Take

With our Annual Competition around 6 weeks away, members still have plenty of time to compile their strongest entries in pursuit of the various silverware trophies that will be awarded.