As daylight hours were reducing, our final summer photoshoot activity was to go to Uffington white horse for some astro-photography and two nights were nominated to provide a contingency against unfavourable weather conditions. Unfortunately cloud cover rolled in on both evenings so it remains to be seen what images were obtained, if any.
Our new season starts on September 10th with the Awards Presentation evening followed by a viewing of the WCPF Travelling Print Exhibition, which always features some splendid images to admire and puzzle how they were obtained.
In what has become a long established event, we will hold our annual exhibition of prints in the Royal Wootton Bassett library during the last two weeks of August . Over 30 prints will be on display showcasing the variety of images that Club members produce.
Admission is free and there is an opportunity to vote for your favourite print and also record any comments in the Visitors Book.
The exhibition will be open during library hours and members will be on hand to provide further information on the display and the activities of the Club during weekend opening.
Conflicting arrangements for many Club members, coupled with the poor weather forecast for the evening, led to the photoshoot being cancelled. So, we will have the delights of Castle Combe to look forward to on another occasion.
Our third summer photoshoot featured a revisit to the Lotmead Farm Machinery collection in Wanborough. Unlike last year, the exhibits and workshops were on open display with the friendly owners keen to demonstrate the salient features. A fully fired up miniature steam tractor chugged its way around the site provided interesting photographic material but the star attractions clearly were the Scimitar tank and Saracen armoured troop carrier, both driven up and down the farm track for some action shots.
Thanks to Barry Davies for arranging this shoot. He turned up in his 1954 restored split screen Morris Minor which arguably could have provided material for a photoshoot in its own right!
A healthy turn out of members made it to the Church of St John the Baptist, at Inglesham for our second photoshoot. The church is located out in the countryside above the surrounding water meadows next to the confluence of the River Thames, River Coln and the Thames and Severn canal.
Although disused, the church portrays a rich historic past with carvings on one wall, medieval paintings on another and passages from the bible etched elsewhere. So there were several interesting images to capture both inside and outside, although once again we were treated to a very dull grey sky and no hope whatsoever of a sunset……but at least it remained dry.
Tripods were the order of the day and especially inside where the light levels were very subdued. Care had to be taken wandering around the graveyard as some plots had fallen into disrepair with grave coverings broken but we lost no-one during the evening.
Afterwards we adjourned to The Trout Inn for some riverside refreshments.
This year’s annual Summer Outing was to the Black Country Living Museum at Dudley. Armed with cameras, suntan lotion and a phrase book ” How to speak Black Country” the intrepid travellers reached their destination on time despite a delayed start. The first stop for many of the group was a tour of a mine, which graphically conveyed the miserable conditions and extreme dangers that men and children endured underground to extract the black stuff. Dudley had the thickest coal seam in the country which reached 10 metres in places.
With a multitude of rebuilt historic buildings to visit along with shops and plenty of refreshment opportunities, there was lots to interest the visitor and get the shutter finger working overtime. In the afternoon, the group took a 45 minute canal boat trip into the network of abandoned limestone mines and tunnels. Sound and light shows along the way helped bring the environment to life and there was even a chance for a couple of people to have a go at “legging” the boat through a tunnel. Needless to say, they won’t be giving up their day jobs or seeking a new career.
After the canal tour there was time to visit any previously missed attractions and hop onto the trolley bus or old double decker bus back to the main entrance. Thev weather gods were once again kind to us and folks had an enjoyable and informative day.
A hardy quartet of Club members made the trip to Wilton windmill, near Marlborough, for our first shoot of the summer season. Since our last visit a couple of years ago, a Granary had been transferred from Lacock College Museum and erected on site.
The gray and featureless sky provided an uninspiring backdrop but, undeterred, the attendees took the opportunity to experiment with camera settings and summon their collective imagination in an attempt to create different and attractive images of the static windmill.
With no prospect whatsoever of a sunset to photograph, refreshments were taken at The Swan public house nearby and we were left to rue nature’s cruel fate in providing such flat and insipid light, when the previous evening a stunning sunset had been delivered.
Judging of the Annual Competition for prints and projected images marks the end of the season of formal activities and Martin Cooper, from Gloucester Camera Club, was tasked with the duty.
Despite a heavy cold, Martin provided detailed and constructive feedback, firstly on the print images, followed by the larger collection of projected images. In both cases, the images were categorised into Action: Open and Portrait classes, with the latter class attracting a range of submissions beyond classical portraiture compositions.
The winning entries for each category will receive trophies at the first meeting of next season in September, as will the print and projected image that was considered to be the best across the three subjects. All those prints submitted will be displayed at an exhibition in the local library during the last two weeks of August, as has been the practice for many years.
The Chairman wished members a pleasant summer break and reminded attendees of the fortnightly summer photo-shoots that have been arranged and also the summer outing.
Graham Light from Abbey Studios made his second appearance at the Club and ran a workshop demonstrating lighting techniques for studio portraiture. With a plain white backdrop and a couple of powerful and versatile studio lights, Graham was able to show the effect of various lighting conditions using direct and reflected flash.
By tethering his camera to Lightroom, Graham was able to project the recorded images thus giving immediate feedback on the impact of the lighting changes that were made. Members were given the opportunity to set their cameras to the metered light conditions and take their own images of the models Grace and Ben, who kindly agreed to sit for us.
The clear and uncomplicated approach to lighting adopted by Graham was effective in communicating the factors to consider and the range of effects that could be achieved by relatively minor changes to the lighting set up. An enjoyable practical evening that gave us all a much better appreciation of lighting processes and the versatility that a simple lighting arrangement could achieve.
A small but hardy group of members attended the meeting, neglecting the opportunity to bathe in summer sunshine in their garden or watch the Championship play off semi-finals. Some technical challenges were faced with different software versions and file formats being used but Brian Holden was able to show a couple of his AVs. The first featured Norfolk Island and combined background music and narration to convey the tranquillity of the location and its pristine and varied coastlines. His second AV on New Zealand linked some enchanting music tracks with haka video footage showing the ceremonial dance routine of the Maori culture. The vigorous movements, stamping of feet and extreme facial gestures invoked both feelings of unease and also some amusement.
After the break, some AVs from the WCPF 2016 competition were viewed. These encompassed some strong messages and a couple of examples of the musical track being the starting point and then images being deliberately chosen to reinforce the audio component.