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.

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.

Wildlife Presentation – November 14th 2023

Wiltshire wildlife photographer Alan Benson shared a collection of his stunning wildlife images with us and explained how the images were captured. His talk included a wide range of British birds and mammals from locations all around the country with some of his favourite haunts being the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales.and Salisbury Plain.

Alan’s passion for wildlife and the effort he invests in searching out and capturing images with a different approach in their natural settings was evident in every image we saw. His understanding of wildlife behaviour gained through extensive practical experience allowd him to capture the images he envisaged, although he is still waiting to capture a puffin with a sand eel filled beak.

During the interval we were able to view a selection of prints that have featured in publications, calendars etc and Alan is keen to share his images on social media despite some plagiarism that has taken place.

Alan finished his talk with an amusing story about imprint type behaviour of some bustards on Salisbury Plain and their attempt to enter the hide which he was using. In the Q & A session after his talk, Alan made a surprising revelation about his particular approach to photography.

Competition #1 – October 3rd 2023

Our first competition of the new season had set subjects of “Open” and “Abstract” with the latter provided opportunities for a range of interpretations by both entrants and the judge.

Martin Cooper from Yate judged the prints first and the projected images followed after a short interval. He provided comprehensive critiques with several suggestions regarding how the image might have been captured from a different perspective and presented in an alternative way to further enhance its impact and appeal.

The winning Abstract print was “Gridballsmoke” by Jim Bullock and Dave Garmont won the Open prints with “Jay in the woods”. Bob Philpott won the Open section with a butterfly image “Small copper” and Peter Hodgson won the Abstract section with “Mickey Mouse bubbles”

Our next meeting is a Members Evening where images, ideas and photographic issues can be shared and discussed in an informal environment.

WCPF Travelling Exhibition – September 12th 2023

The annual Western Counties Photographic Federation regional competition attracted over 2400 images from 57 clubs in the region, from which 556 were accepted. The travelling exhibition comprised a selection of 74 images which covered Nature, Open Mononchrome and Open Colour categories.

We set up two groups and each table examined half the entries in each category and selected their top two images before swapping their images with the other table. As might be expected, we did not always align with the judging panel decisions on the winning prints, as judging is a subjective process. A good exchange of comments took place with some novel ways to unearth the top two images in each category.

After the break we completed the self-judging of the Series Competion which featured 5 images of roses taken during the summer months. The voting process identified a clear winner with most series atrracting at least some votes.

Season Opener – September 5th 2023

Our first meeting of the new season reunited member after their summer break and the opportunity was taken to bring several notices to the attention of those present. These included; subscriptions; the Club Handbook; prints exhibition feedback; general updates and diary dates.

The main discussion then focused on the programme for 2023/24 which included a mixture of presentations, with a balance being struck between face to face talks and those conducted on Zoom. One presentation will be jointly hosted with Swindon Photographic Society featuring Andy Skillen which should be a night to remember as he shares his images and anecdotes in “Tales from the Bush”.

Competition themes for the year were detailed along with some ideas for member evenings to encourage participation across the wider membership. In summary we have an interesting and varied programme for the year ahead which existing members will hopefully enjoy and may also serve to attract new members to the Club.

After the tea break we looked at some of the entries into the Series Competition on Roses and this will be concluded at a later meeting.

Prints Exhibition – August 12th – 26th 2023

Our display of the prints entered into the Annual Competition can be viewed in the RWB library during their opening hours. In addition to the 31 prints being exhibited, the digital entries for the Annual Competition are being shown as a slideshow on a wide screen tv.

Visitors are encouraged to sign the Visitors Book and add their comments on the display. There is also the opportunity for visitors to vote for the two images that most appeal to them and post their completed slips into the collection box.

Details of the Club’s programme for the forthcoming season are also available and Club members will be on hand during Saturdays and Wednesdays to answer any questions and provide further information as required