The Annual General Meeting was held during the first part of the evening with the election of Club Officers resulting in a Committee that looks suspiciously like the last one!
Before the tea break, Dave Garmont shared his journey in becoming a light-weight photographer by switching to an Olympus E-M5 Mk3 camera and a range of four third micro lenses. These latest technology, faster lenses not only reduced the weight of his camera bag but obviated use of a tripod and were far more sympathetic to his arthritic neck. After demonstrating the equipment he showed an impressive collection of bird images that had been achieved with his new kit.
After the break, Jim Bullock treated us to a wide ranging presentation of his eclectic images, charting his photographic progression. His genuine love of photography and willingness to experiment and try new ideas to arrive at different results were evident. Using various computer programmes, Jim was able to demonstrate his creativity and originality in his images across several genres.
Sandy Watson judged our third competition and in breaking with our normal practice, he judged the images without having previously viewed them. This added an air of anticipation and gave some valuable insight into how the images were assessed.
From the outset he set the scene by declaring that he was more of a mentor than a judge and clearly directed his attention and comments to the picture rather than the mount in which it was presented. In a number of cases he suggested where he felt that monochrome would have illustrated the detail and texture more clearly in the image. He also encouraged the photographer to try something different and be prepared to make your own mark on an existing image through the use of simple props.
The winning print entitled “Mother and child” featured a hi light image of a pen and its cygnet submitted by Jim Bullock. The projected image section was won by Chris Hayward with his silhouetted image of “Fishing at Dusk”
Tonight’s meeting welcomed back to the club Peter Weaver, one of our regular judges who now also presents collections of his images. This talk was entitled ‘My Digital View’ and consisted of a travelogue of images taken in all parts of the British Isles. All genres were covered from Street to Landscape, Portrait to Crowds, Seascapes to Skyscapes. In keeping with the growing movement to curb unnecessary travel, Peter’s images showed that one really does not need a passport to visit some incredibly photogenic sites and events.
In the first meeting of the new year, the floor was opened to the members to show their work and discuss different aspects of photography. Adam started the process and shared images from the Club’s summer outing to the Black Country Museum followed by several images of Christmas lights in his village. He concluded with the first few images of his 365 photo-a-day challenge and encouraged others to try the experience.
Tony presented some aspects of his photographic journey including his early work with film and 120 format images taken with a Zeiss Ikon Ikonta camera which was highly regarded in its day.
After the tea break, Steve showed some of his impressive prints and the evening concluded with a couple of short videos on portrait photography and a selection of National Geographic images.
Our second Open Competition was judged by Steve Hallam who had journeyed to us from Bristol and was a member of the Hanham Camera Club.
Steve gave encouraging and detailed feedback on each print and projected image. His measured and pleasantly delivered comments contained a number of suggestions that could potentially enhance the quality and impact of the images viewed. He liked to be made to think by an image and his scoring and placements reflected this approach.
Our projector needs to be recalibrated as it displayed some images quite differently from how the judge had viewed them.
The winning print was “Tram Driver” by Roger Woodward and the winning projected image was “Bluebell Wood” by Chris Hayward.
As Einstein quoted “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere” and Robin Gregory treated us to an entertaining and highly enjoyable journey through his imaginative images. Starting with simple everyday objects like matchsticks, dolls, feathers and miniature models, Robin’s creative thought processes went into overdrive. Combining a number of photographic images along with extensive post- processing and image manipulation skills, Robin’s photographic artistry came to the fore.
He uses a Fuji camera with a fixed lens and demonstrated that imagination creates the final image with the camera really only recording the inputs with which he can work. Unashamedly admitting to learning by copying good ideas and developing them further through experimentation provided the stimulus to create futuristic, escapist and in many cases very humorous images.
The use of audio-visuals, street photography and an insight into some of the tips and techniques used all combined to create an inspiring evening
Despite competing with firework displays on Guy Fawkes night, a good attendance was recorded for Keith Hart from Stroud Camera Club, who made his first visit to our club to judge the first Open competition of the new season. Having recently qualified as a judge meant that Keith brought an uncluttered approach to the judging process and his comments were both detailed and constructive. His analysis of each image not only covered technical matters including overall presentation but also explored the impact, creativity and the narrative conveyed by the image.
Accordingly his feedback offered several ideas to experiment with ranging from repeating the shoot with a different compositional approach to trying out various post-processing techniques.
The winning print was “Howling wolf” by Jim Bullock who also won the projected category with his image entitled “Revenge”. In summary the evening went with a bang.
Some Club members along with guests from other local Camera Clubs met up in Swindon town centre with Damien Demolder for a practical workshop. The day started with a coffee and the chance for attendees to share their expectations from the workshop and to outline their general photographic activities. A range of Panasonic cameras were available to choose from along with a brief introduction. The first location chosen was an underpass which offered varying intensity and direction of light and was used to show the wide ranging effect this had on the image. Exposure compensation was explored to ensure correct exposure of the subject against various backgrounds.
After lunch we practised photographing people in a discrete way which made both the subject and the photographer feel comfortable with the approach. Seemingly ordinary locations provided exciting photo-opportunities combining leading lines, patterns, interesting shadows and reflections. We concluded the day with a review session and shared our learnings. In summary, an excellent workshop that was informative, confidence building and great fun. Thanks to Damien for sharing his expertise and Panasonic for providing the camera equipment.
The Club was treated to a very special evening with Damien Demolder who shared his extensive experience, ideas and insights into the world of street photography – which can be loosely defined as achieving extraordinary images of ordinary situations. He emphasised the importance of working with the light, carefully composing the image and looking for contrast on many different levels. This all helped to capture the moment that lended impact and drama to the image. Damien was assisted by Andre from Park Cameras who displayed a range of Panasonic camera equipment which members had the opportunity to get their hands on both before the talk and during the tea break.
Damien’s talk was great preparation for the workshop session on the following day in Swindon town centre. This gave attendees the chance to use the Panasonic cameras and put into practice the ideas conveyed by the presentation.
As usual the audio-visual entries for the 2019 Western Counties Photographic Federation competition provided an entertaining evening’s viewing with a wide range of styles and subject matter. Each AV was preceded by a look at the judges comments before viewing the AV.
Every year the presentations become more sophisticated and incorporate new effects which add to their messaging and impact, whether it be a humorous composition or a deeper and more emotionally intense presentation.
The evening finished with the winning AVs that were selected across 5 different categories and in each case the attendees concurred with the judge’s selections. Hopefully this evening will have enthused our members to experiment with their own AV presentations in readiness for an AV members evening that has been arranged in 2020