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Tuesday 13th November 2018 
L&CPU Mixed Folio “A”

As normal, attendance levels were lower for the folio evening, which is rather a pity because in my view, some excellent images, included in the folio, illustrated the great range of talents which is present amongst the clubs of the north-west.  In particular the natural history contributions were to a very high standard and some were quite outstanding.  In general, the work appeared to be more, true photographic content, as distinct from the sometimes, bizarre graphic art creative trends, which have been a recent feature in folios.  Perhaps, (hopefully) the excess has worked through the system and that this is a movement which will continue.

After the tea-break, the previous week’s competition print entries were arrayed centrally in the hall to enable a close-up informal scrutiny by members, whilst David Hoyle projected a corresponding PI entry slide show, a first-time event, which as a precedent may well be repeated.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to proceedings.


Tuesday 6th November 2018
2nd Club Competition 2018-19 Season
Judge:- Roger Evans, MPAGB, FBPE, EFIAP

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 30th October 2018
Interclub Competition Whitchurch v Nantwich
&
Chester Photographic Society Inter Club Competition

To read a full report on both of these competitions, please see the "Competitions" pages


16th October 2018
Moments in Mono, Neil Hulme

Neil opened by providing details of his camera bag contents and editing software, namely a Nikon D7100, with Nikon 10-24 lens and Sigma 17-50 lenses.  Most of his editing was done using Lightroom CC and Photoshop, with Silver Efex plug-in filter from the Nik Collection, a constant application. Similarly, for his occasional colour work he uses Colour Efex.  The producers of the Nik Collection were acquired by Google to enhance other capabilities within their operations and the Nik Collection became a welcome free download.  Unfortunately, it was not perpetuated by support in the Google world.  It became inoperable when Adobe products moved to the Cloud.   A company called DxO in 2017 bought the Nik Collection software from Google, provided the required support by re-writing the source code and have now made it available as a download at the cost of £49.99, still very worthwhile.
For printing he uses an Epson 3880 inkjet printer loaded with Permajet Portrait White paper.
Neil explained that for his work he saw no merit in full-frame equipment, but never-the-less was contemplating a £4000 up-grade, but the buy button would not be pressed until he was fortified by a couple of bottles of wine.
His characteristic work had attracted the attention of Lee Filters, such that they now sponsor him and have provided him with a range of their lens filters for free.  This initiative prompted a trial of there use and the big and super stoppers now found a place in his kit bag.
For his trademark minimalist images, he does advocate taking time to set up and think about the possibilities of the location, firmly rooting a tripod.  The super stoppers however can entail five to six minutes exposure times and if incorrect, repeating can soon run into half an hour for one image.
Neil abhors sunny photographic conditions, so much of his work takes place in autumn/ winter conditions.  Overcast rainy, misty, foggy and snow weather conditions are welcomed with glee.  Initial exposures usually start with taking in the wide view, followed by zooming in on more detailed possibilities.  Having captured the image Neil commended flipping the image left to right and top to bottom as a means to revealing different perspectives.
The minimalist images are essentially simplified to a small number of elements, meticulously placed within the frame. The afterwork in Lightroom usually starts with using the ‘auto’ button, which often performs 80% of the work.  He makes extensive use of the graduated filter tool to create identical density of dark tones at the top and bottom with the eye being directed to the light areas in mid-frame, thus dictating what he wishes you to see.  Action in the winter skies is sought and often augmented using a soft brush tool.  Horizons are often eliminated or masked by carefully arranged horizontal elements. Having worked up an image to his liking, he advocates saving the actions as a time saving pre-set, for future use on similar images.  Typically, strong lead in image elements are made to fade into obscurity to provide mystery. 
Neil invariably knows what he wishes to achieve at the taking stage and states that in his philosophy he does not believe in or trust to luck, insisting it is hard work which provides the results. He acknowledges being inspired by other workers and emulates their work with his own interpretation. A powerful influence has been provided by Widnes photographer Michael Kenna.
The north-west provides many favoured locations for his photography as well as areas local to his Warrington home.   The coast from North Wales, right round to Fleetwood in the north, taking in the Wirral and Merseyside have provided prime areas for photographic exploration.  He found the beauty of the lake district too busy for his brand of work. The best place in the world however was proclaimed as Venice for which his photographic zeal has risked marital strife by making solitary visits where the need for normal holiday activities are eliminated.  Again, much prior research is carried out to isolate the prime target locations.
A special recognition of tress in the landscape also provided a fascination, prompting numerous visits to places like the Macclesfield Forest to secure the right conditions for one particular target tree.
Neil now enjoys wide acclaim and clearly this was recognised by our members, who turned out in unprecedented numbers, resulting in a search for extra chairs.
His judging of our set subject ‘Minimalist’ competition should be very interesting!


Tuesday 9th October 2018
Club Night

As a result of our booked speaker being forced to cancel due to her husband being admitted for emergency hospital treatment and despite numerous attempts without success to secure an alternative speaker, it became necessary to arrange an improvised evening, drawing upon internal resources within the club.
Jean Kay valiantly opened with an illustrated talk related to the John Rylands library in Deansgate Manchester, which was founded by Enriqueta in memory of her husband, a rich magnate from the cotton industry and is now a part of Manchester University library.  Enriqueta was very hands on in dealing with her appointed architect and insisted on the inclusion of the most exquisite materials, artistry and craft work throughout the entire structure.  The superb panelling, vaulted ceilings and décor is surely worth a visit for any aspiring photographer, especially as it is readily accessible and virtually on our doorstep.
This was followed by the showing of one of the L&CPU folios of 2016, which had not previously seen by the club.  This was projected in auto mode and it progressed so quickly that it was almost necessary to decide whether to read the authors caption or look at the image, but scarcely time for both.
The pre-break session was completed by re-visiting our print exhibition of 2002, copied to PIs for showing.  Many images appeared to have suffered in the copying process, but it was nostalgic to see the early work of many members still active in the club, but also that from those who are no longer with us and were once stalwarts and key to our activities.
Our thanks to David Luker for kindly operating the projector.
The second session was given to viewing the previous week’s entries in our first competition of the season, which would not have been possible if the programmed event had occurred.
Though improvised the evening was quite successful and my thanks go all who made it so.


Tuesday 2nd October 2018
1st Club Competition 2018-19 Season
Judge:- Andy Polakowski, DPAGB EFIAP/b BPE4* AWPF 

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 25th September 2018
The Original Dabblings, Graham Dean, AFIAP CPAGB BPE2

Graham traced his trials and tribulations in the evolution from initially mainly a black and white a dark room worker in the bathroom at his parent’s home, then when leaving the nest a concentration on slide material work, through to the digital revolution.
He divided the journey into five sections, starting with the period 1994 to 99, where he paid for colour slides to be scanned and returned on CDs, so that he could perform digital edits, using early software on an equally early PC, an Acorn Atom.  Using laborious selection techniques, he was able to perform creative manipulations and produce digital prints.  Unfortunately, only two A4 printers were available which made provision for operation by an Acorn and he used cheap dye inks which had poor archival qualities; prints rapidly turning blue after exposure to light.  Never-the- less sufficient success was achieved to provide encouragement
The second stage in the digital evolution from 1999 to 2002, involved the purchase of a Minolta slide scanner, together with the move to a Windows PC for use with an Epsom Printer, loaded with Epsom own brand inks and papers. This era was rewarded with competition success, both at his Lancashire Digital club and externally.  He extolled the virtue of entering competitions that few others entered, evidenced by Ordnance Survey seeking entries for map cover images, for which he was successful in having a caving shot selected and eventually he received a small reward and a copy of the map.
The construction industry offered a Barcelona holiday for winning their competition and feeling confident assured his wife that he would win.   In fact, none of his images were selected, but he then had to fulfil the promise to his wife of a Barcelona holiday, making it the most expensive competition he ever entered.
Stage three started with access to an early digital camera at his place of work, leading to a personal acquisition of a digital compact camera.  In recognition of the resolution limitations, the approach adopted was to combine small images into larger composite images, together with a friend’s introduction to him of the use of the Poster Edge Photoshop filter.  Images showing the old-world charm of Dent contrasting with the modernity of the evolving Canary Wharf and Docklands Light Railway were shown
Stage four took in the purchase of a Canon DSLR, which was carried when performing taxi duties for his daughters to Leeds and the Edinburgh festival.  The production of joined images to form composites and to emphasises features in dimensions divorced from reality still provided fields of originality for his work.  An admiration for circular pattern images produced by John Nicholson, lead to an emulation of that type of work, simplified by using a rotating jig arrangement.
The fifth stage was fully digital with numerous examples of current work, which still often featured the use of the Poster Edge filter. Scenes included, a gathering of sheep, Lincoln cathedral, Manchester Piccadilly station, Scenes around Pisa, Thames embankment and a play on brief encounters at Carnforth. The evening concluded with a video inspired by the renaissance of Morecombe as a resort, exemplified by the non-stop homage to the Eric Morecombe statue by ‘selfie’ types and other photographers, in accelerated time.
Graham provided a very entertaining evening, made a lot of good photographic points with humour, revealing himself as an excellent speaker.


Tuesday 18th September 2018 
The Northern Lights - Nigel Ball FRAS  

Nigel explained that he arranged a mission to photograph the Northern Lights at the end of February 20014, preferring to arrange a do-it-yourself event rather than an organised tour, for various reasons including the consequent freedom of movement and significant economy. Essentially this entailed economy flight booking to Iceland, hire of a 4 X 4 vehicle to cope with the snowy conditions, a good map, (no satnav operable in Iceland) and a hotel booked in a remote location, where light pollution would not be a problem (reference to a dark sky map), close to a glacier for foreground interest.
Basic planning can improve the chances of success.  Timing to avoid a full moon is essential.  Since the phenomena occurs between sixty and three hundred miles above the earth’s surface, though difficult to avoid in winter, cloudy conditions ensure failure.  He explained that the Northern Lights are caused by high energy emissions from the sun’s surface called, coronal mass ejection, which interact with the earth’s magnetic field, causing molecules to release quantum energy, in the form of light.  The chances of success are therefore governed by periods of intense sun spot activity, the energy of which takes two days to travel to the earth’s atmosphere.  The different colours are a product of the ionisation of different gas compounds in our atmosphere, nitrogen at high level producing red/blue/violet and oxygen nearer the earth green/yellows.
Nikon equipment was used with a zoom lens set at 14mm focal length, ideally with live view facility helping use in the dark.  Pre-focussing during daylight and securing with sticky tape around the lens, removes one variable.  Knowing your camera controls intimately is  a pre-requisite  to successful operation in the dark.  Low temperature is a serious problem to the photographer and the camera.  Battery technology is such that in intense cold conditions as in polar regions results in rapid exhaustion.  Similarly, humans can be unaware of the onset of hypothermia until its effect has reduced rational thought, mitigated against by the provision of suitable clothing, food and drink.   Recce expeditions during daylight are recommended as a rehearsal prior to the night-time events, with a compass and map.
Apps and websites can provide good support and the Aurora Watch app from Lancaster University provides useful advice of likely Northern lights activity.
Nigel was fortunate in capturing some stunning images, ably demonstrated for our delight.  He also listed many locations which provided special photographic opportunities for the daylight hours, including the blue lagoon, glacier walking, cave exploring, snow mobile facilities, which being independent avoided the over-priced normal tourist fare.
The presentation took us to areas not previously visited by the club and hopefully will persuade some members to include the amazing Aurora Borealis on their bucket list.  Certainly much discussion was provoked at the closing question and answer session.


NCC Member to give a talk at Reaseheath College

University Centre Reaseheath has just announced its first Public Lecture Series and camera club member Pete Allcock will be presenting the first lecture in the series on Thursday 4th October, 7.30 – 9.00pm. These events are free and open to everyone.

 

Capturing Wildlife on Camera

pete

Pete Allcock, Wildlife Photographer

 

Pete’s journey in wildlife photography, from absolute beginner to where he is today. Pete will give guidance on photographing different species in a variety of habitats, using different types of camera equipment and lenses and how to compose your photos. Pete will be exhibiting a slide show of his best photographs to illustrate how he gets beautiful wildlife shots, and you can also see his work on Flickr by searching for Pete 600D.

University Centre Reaseheath will be hosting ten lectureson a variety of subjects between this October and next June. The University Centre looksforward to welcoming you.Follow this link for more details
https://ucreaseheath.ac.uk/public-lectures/

 

29th July 2018
New Programme

Details of the new 2018-2019 programme can now be viewed and downlaoded from the "Programme" page.


L & CPU Annual Individual Competition 2018

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 10th April 2018
L&CPU “B” Mixed Folio

                                                                             
The evening opened with a reminder that the AGM is imminent and emphasis was further given to the fact that without someone taking up the lead role of competition secretary, the future activities of the club will be severely jeopardised. It is believed that several members are willing to provide assistance as previously.
Rather a low attendance greeted the presentation of the L&CPU folio, which on this occasion were displayed as prints.  There seems to be a developing antipathy in our club towards the creative/composite constructs which are now tending to follow the same gimmicky path into the land of the bizarre.  Similar trends occurred in the early days of Photoshop with splashes of red on otherwise mono prints.   It was easy to do. but is now generally seen as old hat.  Perhaps our club has the age profile that likes our images to look like something that came out of a camera!  There were precious few landscapes included and a few ‘big stopper’ jobs.  My perception was that the best images generally came from the natural history workers, with memorable shots of woodpeckers, swallowtail butterfly and larvae, jackdaws, fox, fungi, broad bodied chaser, little grebe, common blue mating butterflies and sparrowhawk.
As usual the session after tea provided the opportunity to informally view and discus the prints entered in last week’s competition in close-up.


Tuesday 3rd April 2018
6th Club Competition. Judge:- Steve Lewis ARPS

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 27h March  2018
Special lecture - Another Day at the Office. John Gardner

Unable to attend through getting on the wrong end of a static cough cold bug, which I am told are doing the rounds currently, I was jolted into the present by a phone message of alarm, because with all assembled in the hall and start time imminent; there was no sign of the speaker.  Knowing John and having had email contact within the previous few days, I felt certain that he would not fail to show.  It transpired that with time to spare, he had visited Morrisons to grab some food prior to the talk and when he emerged, roadworks had been introduced forcing him to find a back-street route through unfamiliar Nantwich top get back to Regents Park.
I’m told that proceedings were not unduly delayed and an excellent photographic evening was delivered to our members and guests.  Comments included surprise at the range of activities which John excelled at and the quality of the images.  Apparently, John was generous in sharing technical information in explaining techniques used.
I’m sorry to have missed an enjoyable evening! (Trevor Clowes)


Tuesday 20th March 2018
Interclub Competition – Nantwich v Alsager
Judge:-Linda Bell LRPS CPAGB AWPF BPE3*

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


 

Nantwich Camera Club Special Event.

Once more Nantwich Camera Club will host a 'special' photographic lecture on Tuesday the 27th March, 19.30 hrs at their usual Regents Park, London Road, Nantwich, meeting room.
This year, John Gardner, a professional photographer, from Wakefield, Yorkshire will present his talk "Another Day at the Office", His projects take in a diverse range of both studio and location photography, including industrial work, architectural, commercial, products, weddings, fashion, portraits, proms/events, pets and corporate images.
Ever since his childhood days he has been passionate about wildlife, particularly birds, and he travels far and wide to capture natural history and landscape images. He regularly lectures to photographic and natural history societies. On the night he will draw upon his wide range of photographic activities to provide an insight into his wildlife work and the commercial ventures which sustain his business.  His website for commercial work is johngardnerphotography.com and for natural history wildscenes.com.
Members of the public in general and other local societies with photographic interests are very welcome to attend, for which there is an entrance fee of £5, pay at the door.  It would be helpful, though not essential, for those wishing to attend to pre-advise using the club email address, nantwichcameraclub@hotmail.co.uk

 
John Gardiner
 

Tuesday 13th March  2018
2017 PAGB Inter-federation Print Competition and Exhibition.

The annual inclusion of this folio of prints in our programme, though delivered to us as projected images for convenience, is an opportunity to see the current best work submitted from all of the federations of Great Britain, in the view of the selection panel.  On this occasion the only viewing option for the four categories of entry, colour prints, mono prints, open prints and natural history prints, was in the form of four separate video presentations with background music in the MP4 format.  In the past, in addition to automated slide shows of jpegs, it was possible to view each image separately in order to appreciate the content and pass comment.  Generally, the changed presentation was considered to be a retrograde step, because the video format did not allow sufficient time to view the image and to read the caption beneath the image.  If you read the caption/credits, the image had moved on before it was possible to view it.  Additionally, for those located at the back of the room, the captions were obscured to them and, even if one could see them, they were rather small, making them difficult to read.  The captions would have been better located above the image.
In addition to being required on return, to sign confirmation of not abusing the issue of copywrite of the images by retaining a copy of the presentation on our computer, opportunity is provided for the inclusion of feedback, so I have made the above observations to the PAGB.
Beyond the above, there were some highly impressive images mixed in with some weird and wonderful and all stations in between.

Following the tea break an informal review of the prints from the previous week’s competition was held, which was somewhat marred by the non-availability of wall lights, because apparently the bulbs had all been stolen!


Thursday 8th March 2018
Interclub Competition Crewe v Nantwich, Judge:- Sheila Giles DPAGB

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 6th March 2018
5th Club Competition (Mono), Judge:- Cy Newton

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 27th  February  2018
Mechanical landscapes, Andy Marland, ARPS.

Introducing his talk Andy billed himself as an industrial tourist, exploring the industrial north from his home in Chorley.  He explained that he had been inspired by a succession of photographers whose work he had researched   Among those mentioned were Bernd and Hella Becher who recorded industrial scenes around the Ruhr valley around Dusseldorf in Germany.  High contrast stylised black and white images interpreted the industrial landscape with disregard for detail in shadow areas.  They produced repetitive images in which six or nine similar industrial subjects were grouped to one print in grid pattern, typically nine similar mineshaft head wheels.  There work is now sought after.
David Lynch, the American film director also inspired and delved into similar industrial photography and is noted as seeing old factories as cathedrals. Another American Bruce Davidson was influential, though more in the area of black and white street photography, He recorded the no-go areas of America like The Bronx ghettos working for the magnum agency.  Don McCullen, more famous for his recording of the scenes of war, also produced work recording the decay of industry in the north-east of England.   The legendary Bill Brandt was mentioned. Quoted as highly influential, Michael Kenna, originally a native of Runcorn, but now domiciled in the US, is regaled to the extent that his small mono prints trade at unbelievably high prices.
Moving on to his own work, Andy revealed that he had been mentored by Margaret Salisbury and encouraged to use the power of cropping to improve his prints.  She advocated covering areas of images to decide if they actually contributed and to remove where not the case.  This had lead to many of Andy’s prints being in the letterbox format.  During extensive travels for his day job, he developed an instinct for sites of industrial decay, the mine shaft head gear, the satanic mills, the abandoned power stations, industrial rail lines, the slate quarries of north Wales, the Greenfield ship ‘wreck’ and drift mines were typically depicted as high contrast mono studies.  Picking up from journalistic instruction his sessions told a story with planned sequences of images being the project, not individual prints. A web site named Geograph was a useful aid to research, which was the product of a mission to match each kilometre square of the UKs ordnance survey maps with representative images of each square’s content.  In his work, his aim is not to produce a record print, but his own interpretation of reality.
Recognition of his work resulted in an approach by Samsung to sponsor him to produce images with a new mobile phone, which incorporated an unusually high resolution camera.  Images from a mill near Manchester Piccadilly railway station were followed by a trip to one of London’s Victorian sewerage pumping stations from the days of Joseph Basalgette, now in the process of loving restoration.  He captured the extraordinarily ornate cast iron work which typified Victorian civil engineering creativity.  Amongst the remains he found his own elephant!
Andy served up a unique photographic evening in which many of us could share the intrigue and emotion of industrial archaeology on a night for which dire weather warnings were in place to discourage unnecessary travel.  We are immensely grateful that he made the journey and then took us on a journey.
Thanks also to Alison who discovered his work and whose suggestion made it possible.


Tuesday 20th February  2018
Photographic Tapas, David foster

Each year we wonder if our membership will rise to the occasion and actively support the format by preparing and delivering short presentations on any photographic subject of their choice.   Once more the membership rose to the occasion with six presentations overseen and co-ordinated as usual by the concept originator, David Foster.

David himself opened proceedings inspired by the “Great Gathering” when York National Railway Museum assembled the six remaining Gresley A4 Pacific art-nouveau streamlined steam locomotives of the 1930s, in 2013, for a never to be repeated event which re-created scenes, which were once every day occurrences in the post-war years at London Kings Cross shed. Two of the locos, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Dominion of Canada, had been shipped in from North American museums, to appear beside British example, record breaker Mallard, all cosmetically restored together with active members Bittern, Sir Nigel Gresley and Union of South Africa.
The event drew unprecedented crowds from around the world to York, which made photography a very trying experience.  To compensate David showed some of the active members in use on some of the heritage railways, particularly on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.  The active members will soon be reduced to two when Union of South Africa retires, together with it’s owner to a purpose-built Scottish farmyard museum/prison later this year, having blazed a trail around heritage and mainline railways since being purchased direct from BR in the late 1960s.
Of local interest the responsible design engineer Nigel Gresley was a product of Crewe Locomotive Works Premium Apprentice scheme.

2. Andrew Charlesworth was next in the frame with a photographic account of a trip which he and Ros took to Patagonia in April 2017.  The arrangements were put in place by the same company which he used for his Yellowstone trip previously and was tailored for photographic opportunities, using an American professional photographer and a local mountaineering girl guide to organise being in the right place at the right time. This often involved being on location before five for daybreak lighting conditions, then back for breakfast.  The local Andean peaks provided stunning qualities with unbelievably red clouds and autumnal colours, such that most of us have never witnessed.  A fourteen-hour flight to Buenos Aires tested the constitution, followed by an onward flight which restricted hold luggage to 15Kg demanding economy in the quantity of equipment carried, with a tripod a non-arbitery essential to combat mountain winds. The area was dominated by glaciers, lakes and snowy Mount Fitzroy, which presented many facets with continually changing conditions of the light.  The images spoke for themselves and will grace our future competitions.

3. David Luker advised of a new method of entry for digital images to club competitions, which it is hoped, will significantly reduce the heavy workload which is incumbent upon setting up competitions.  For our final competition number six this season, members will enter their images on memory-sticks in the usual way, but additionally will be asked to use a Dropbox entry invitation which will be emailed to them, to allow a simple drag and drop process to enter their images on-line.  This will allow a trial entry process to be evaluated and allow any unforeseen problems to be eliminated prior to making it the normal entry mode for next season’s competitions.  Full instructions will be made available for download imminently.  The present system with memory sticks requires David to laboriously plug each one into his desk top PC in order to copy the competition entries into a folder and then load them into the DiCentra competition software, which after the previous night’s hand-in, can take all or most of his Wednesday morning with, perhaps some time for breakfast. An even longer commitment can result if the pedantic rules for DiCentra entry are not carefully and consistently followed in formatting entry file titles.  The Dropbox route has the potential to considerably reduce this burden by bringing everything together as a batch of image files already assembled to a folder ready for loading into DiCentra.  Please co-operate in this venture and take care to follow the simple instructions provided in due course.

4. Alison Wood provided an insight to the doorstep photographic opportunities from her second home in the heart of the erstwhile North Wales slate industry.  An area she acknowledged as rich in slate, rain and sheep, which she went on to illustrate in all its glory.  Historically the slate industry shaped the landscape, where the mountains were exploited to become hollow shells, littered with the waste material, now further exploited as leisure facilities for theme parks, zip wires and climbing faces.  Out of the slate industry industrial archaeology came poignant landscapes of the debris and ruined on site worker’s housing at Cwmorthin, Dinorwic and Llyn Padarn, which in turn spawned the narrow gauge railways of Talyllyn, Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland, constructed to get the dressed slates to sea ports. All of this coupled to the natural beauty of Snowdonia was captured together with the sheep and rain, which created gushing rivers and crashing waterfalls. Salt marsh complexities fascinated and was home to more sheep, whose meat is sold at a premium as salt marsh lamb.  The rich wildlife was also portrayed – red kite, egret and osprey featured. Superb panoramic landscape scenes were included with Barmouth  rail bridge/viaduct particularly memorable.

5. Nick Hutt provided something completely different with his How to Print on Anything light hearted talk.  To gain a full understanding of the techniques used, a word with Nick would be appropriate, but in general he showed how to print on wood, stone and glass by transferring images produced on a laser printer onto the afore mentioned materials.  The prints were glued to the different surfaces and when dry and secure the backing paper soaked to allow removal and thus leave only the image.  Examples were circulated to allow appreciation of what could be achieved.

6. Becky Evans showed images which are dear to her of her family in woodlands in Newborough Anglsey. She went on to show architectural shots of the Natural History Museum in London where she had undertaken a course of study.  From her interest in textiles a series of ornate hats were shown, which I think were exhibits from the Saatchi Gallery.  Views of the horse guards parade on The Mall were also shown.

Once more our members presented a very interesting series of subjects and I understand that thoughts for a similar presentation next year are already being formulated, so inclusion in the next programme is a given.
Many thanks to everyone who contributed and special thanks once more to David for facilitating the event.


Tuesday 6th February  2018
Panel of Prints    Alison Wood and Wendy Williams

Our annual panel of prints evening received the usual high level of support, with thirty-two entries from twenty-one members.  Once more the panels were judged by the membership, with each attendant required to select their one favourite panel.  The panels, of course, were extremely diverse in nature, ranging from landscape, cityscapes, natural history, sport, trains and items that defied categorising.  In total fourteen panels received at least one vote, but the rampant out and out weather was “Stormy Weather” from Brian Sankey with eleven votes, Alison and John Dodd were joint second, each with three votes for “When Petrol was 3/8 a Gallon” and “Creepy Crawlies” respectively.  In joint third place each with two votes were David Hoyle with “4Up”, Alma Sankey with “Parrot Profiles”, Wray Douglas with “Icons of New York” and Bryan Averill with ”Tough Mudders”.
This continues to be a very popular evening and a fitting tribute to the late Nick Edwards whose original concept it was.  Our thanks to Wendy and Alison for organising this light-hearted event once more and hopefully they will make the same contribution to the next programme.
The second part of the evening, after drinks and biscuits had been consumed, provided an opportunity for the members to have a close-up look at the previous week’s competition print entries, which included some excellent work, some of which I’m sure will be seen representing the club in inter-club competitions.

 
 

Tuesday, 30 January 2018
4th Club Competition - Open, Judge Graham Curry

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 23rd January  2018
Composition Bob Dennis, APAGB, CPAGB, AFIAP, BPE4

Bob pointed out that composition had been studied and theorised with records going back to at least the twelfth century, when mathematical formulas were devised and further analysed over subsequent centuries. Ultimately this morphed into the rule of thirds.  The ‘law’ recognises that there are power points within an image, where significant elements could be placed to enhance the image. Generally placing elements in the centre detracts, though all rules can be broken with due consideration.  A similar path to the power points is derived from linking two opposite corners with a diagonal and projecting perpendiculars to the two other corners, with the intersection points being key. Visiting national galleries provides recognition that we are not doing something new and copying the methods of the old masters is quite legitimate.
Diagonal and triangular relationships of elements are strong.  Horizons in the middle are weak as are images sitting on an empty water base.  Lead-inns and converging lines are powerful, provided that they lead the viewer to an element of interest, if they just lead out of the frame they simply detract.
Ideally composition should be practised from the viewfinder at the taking stage. Waist level viewfinders, found on twin lens reflex cameras in the days of film, honed this ability, but eye level SLRs for some reason prove to be less helpful.  After-work cropping in the computer may provide the opportunity to restore or improve the composition
Attention was brought to the distracting impact of light patches at the edge of frames, which often inexplicably go unnoticed until picked upon by judges.  It was advocated that viewing the image upside down makes the problem more readily discernible.
Bob expanded on the pictorial impact of backgrounds, perspective, density, balance, symmetry, focus, impact in sport, lighting, the illusion of 3D in a 2D image and framing.
Presentation was recognised as very important. Apart from providing mechanical support for a print, the mount board should provide a surround for viewing the image, such that it projects the image.  If done incorrectly the mount is prominent and the image is in recession. Mount board is available in a myriad of hues, but in his Bebbington club, where board is bought in bulk and supplied to members with a price advantage, only two colours are available and advocated - black and double sided white, with a cream backing.  It was once fashionable to pick-up colour themes in colour prints and reflect them in the board mount, but nowadays this would probably secure a deduction to the points awarded in competition by most judges.  Similarly, only a one pixel wide white or grey border was recommended, its purpose simply being to indicate where the print ends and the mount begins.  The use of multi-coloured surround lines to the image were strongly condemned as detracting and worthy of more lost marks.
Illustrations of the points made were provided in projected images, where further issues were recognised, like the importance of providing moving objects, like race cars and horse eventing, space in which to travel.   Many scenic locations within reasonable travelling distance were advocated and shown for obtaining interesting images throughout the seasons.  Composition was also considered in the context of special areas of photography, like natural history and macro work.
Closing with some examples of winning images from the Bebbington salon exhibition, for which Bob has been a driving force for decades, it was apparent that Bob could write a book from his wide experience both on the national scene and internationally.
I felt that the talk could equally well have been entitled “What the Judges are Looking For”.


Tuesday 16th January  2018
Birding in Catalonia and Aragon, Mike Roberts

Mike’s presentation took us initially to the Ebro delta area of Spain, just a few hours drive south from Barcelona airport.  This area was created by silt run-off from the mountains into the Ebro river over centuries, to form a large area of flat land protruding into the Mediterranean sea.   It has been used for growing rice in flooded scrape areas and also for producing salt by flooding shallow lagoons with sea water, allowing the sun to evaporate the water to leave salt deposits to be scraped up.  The saline pools are now disused and together with irrigation channels and dykes, inadvertently ideal habitat has been created for various families of waders, gulls, herons and flamingos.  American crayfish introduced to the detriment of the native smaller species abound as rich succulent pickings for bird species in profusion, many of which are prized rarities in Britain.
Moving inland using the Ebro river valley lead to scrub country which was enriched with a wide variety of exotic orchids and the odd green lizard well illustrated. The sought after black woodpecker was located beside the parked car after a two search elsewhere.  Moving through the Steppes country, towards the foothills of the Pyrenees brought sightings of the large raptors, including eagles and vultures and the higher crags rewarded with an extensive photo session with marmots well captured.  Impressive photos of griffon vultures on the wing which zoomed overhead effortlessly with a three-metre wingspan, seeking bones which they uniquely are able to devour as their staple diet.  Even the elusive lammergeier eventually obliged visiting a feeding station high in the hills.  The cliff faces of the Pyrenees provided the last prize in the form of the spectacularly coloured wall creeper to conclude the show.
Mike expertly tailored the talk on the fly to make it inclusive for those not from the bird world, with shots included of the magnificent mountain scenery.  The photography was a profound testament to the patience and perseverance necessary to come home with the goods.  Without recourse to notes the dialogue was expertly delivered with an easy charm.
Mike will be welcomed back I’m sure with more of his exploits.


Tuesday 9th January  2018 
Member's AV Evening hosted by David Hoyle

The evening was well supported with fourteen presentations provided by nine members, all precisely assembled and co-ordinated by David.   Most of the sequences were produced using the excellent Pictures to Exe software from Wnsoft, which is used by most leading exponents of the AV art-form throughout Europe and America.  The latest version 9 is available with limited capability for trial purposes as a free download, fully activated by the purchase of a licence at £51 for the very capable basic version and £103 for the deluxe more capable version. Reasonable fees apply to upgrades from basic and older versions.  Unusually constant development is very responsive to request dialogues with users.
The fourteen sequences were as follows.

  1. Ski Fun day by Byan Averill portrayed images from his many visits to Argentiere in the French alps, in which he has captured the exploits of the snow set on skis, snowboards and crampons accompanied by the Ski Sunday music.

  2. Norfolk Broads Air by Brian Sankey captured life on a hire boat holiday with Paul and Denise which provided camera fodder in the guise of pirates, wildlife, windmills and other water craft, supported by music and the sounds of water and nature.

  3. Ethelberts Cathedral by Graham Dodd. When in Hereford Graham was mindful of an AV by Bryan Averill featuring the cathedral, which prompted him to do his own take on the subject.  Some of the more advanced capabilities of P to Exe were displayed backed by choral music.

  4. The Trip to Mull by Paul Compton captured many of the classic scenes which attract photographers, made possible by the special light on the island, together with stop-offs during the journey.  The abandoned fishing boats close to Elgol village are an intriguing time warp.  The Celts influenced the backing music.

  5. Light by Alison Wood was assembled from a raid on her hard drive to bring together ethereal lighting of the landscape from many locations, notably Iceland, Wales, The Lakes and elsewhere.  Very arty with excellent music support for which I was too slow to capture the credits and can't identify from memory.

  6. Monochrome Photo Album by Bryan Averill was a clever assembly of monchrome images , many used in past competitions over the years, into a digital photo album, using the power of P to Exe page turning transitions and other clever stuff to take us through the story.

  7. Red Rocks by Trevor Clowes was a very simple sequence using images from the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks of America.  Lots of sandstone obelisks eroded into weird and wonderful shapes.  This brought proceedings to the tea break.

  8. Tough guys by Alison Wood included the exploits of road race motorcyclists, rock climbers, white water kayaking and canopy pulled surfboarding in a tight presentation of quality.

  9. South Africa by Brian Sankey was a re-run of a holiday of a lifetime, included because it was feared that there would be a short fall in contributions.  Included was  a hot-air balloon sequence  and superb treatment of wildlife in the game parks - too many creatures to .mention.

  10. Flower Dance by Graham Dodd was a clever technical exercise using animated flowers floating in and out of the screen, all to the tune of the Floral Dance from the Brighouse and Rastrick brass band.

  11. Trike by David Hoyle told the story of the build of a radio controlled tricycle with his grand children, using thousands of images to portray ant like animation through the construction process, concluding with triumphal operation around the garden with support from the F1 grand prix racing TV signature tune, which I think originated with Fleetwood Mac.

  12. Caledonia by Trevor Clowes featured recent images from the Inner and Outer Hebrides, with a few pulled from Glencoe.  The music from Dolores Keane was actually Irish, but there is a strong Celtish connection.

  13. Thirty Day Photo Challenge by Nick Hutt illustrated a process of thirty different photo themes to be illustrated with one day allocated to each topic.  The first part recorded multiple possible interpretations from which a single selection could be made.  Part two showed the final selection, but it was all very carefully assembled to illustrate many of the capabilities of P to Exe with images and animated messages flying around the screen in mesmerising fashion.  Mark Knopfler ex Dire Straits was noticed among the musical credits, which guarantees quality.

  14. A Cathedral Tour by David Luker was the first product of a pre-Christmas purchase of P to Exe, which astounded with the use of clever effects exploring the software to the full, coupled with superb images matched to choral music.  Quite unbelievable, but a little help from his friends was acknowledged in producing a truly memorable sequence to conclude the evening.

The evening scaled new heights of achievement in many of the presentations such that one member with a well developed keen interest in AV expressed the view that consideration should be given to some entry into external competitions, such was the quality.

Once more thanks is extended to all those who supported an excellent club evening by their efforts and particularly to David who once more orchestrated the event to perfection.  I reiterate his expressed view that members ideally should immediately start planning and producing for a repeat event one year hence.  It would be nice to see new participants entering such that we have to ration everyone to a maximum of one entry per member next time and even have to restrict all to a five minute slot!
Here's hoping.


Tuesday 12th December 2017
3rd Club Competition - Set Subject  "Street Photography"
Judge:- Brian Law ARPS, CPAGB

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Wednesday 6th December 2017
Interclub Competition Sandbach v Nantwich
Judge:- Brian Law ARPS, CPAGB

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


30th November 2017
The Five Towns Monochrome Print Competition 2017
for the Alan Challinor Trophy

Hosted by Crewe PS
Judge: Jane Lines MPAGB LRPS BPE5*

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 21st November  2017
Then and Now, Patrick Hickey

Patrick revealed that his photographic interest was nurtured from the age of twelve, through a family business connection.  Marriage and the resultant impact on disposable income caused a break, corrected by the purchase of a Rolleicord in the early sixties. Work transplanted him from his origins in Oldham and Morecombe to a permanent home in Walsall in the West Midlands., which prompted joining Brownhills Photo Society and the purchase of a Pentax SLR.
His prime photographic interest at that time was portraiture, girls rather than fellows and he moved on to join Aston and Erdington and the mighty Smethwick club, where with their own premises, a one time primary school bought in trust, he was able to enjoy portrait evenings every other Tuesdays.
Equipment acquired followed a familiar pattern including medium format, leading to digital, initially scanning slides and negatives en-route to full digital with an Olympus Camedia with a sensor of 2 megapixels in 1998.
Photographic interest had now diversified into all areas, including landscape, panels, figure studies and floral coverage to complement his wife's interest.
Participation in countless competitions brought much success and many awards.  The quest for photographic material prompted much travel to locations in Oxford, Glasgow, Derbyshire, Leek, Staffordshire, The Wirral, Lancashire coast, Llandudno and Anglesey.  A disused barracks area near to Whitchurch (presumably Prees Heath) was used as a setting for incongruous figure study work.  Birmingham's new City Library was recommended for sweeping lines in modern architecture.  The Black Country Museum at Dudley was a rich location source, together with the industrial museums clustered around Coalbrookdale.
Time was found to pursue studies leading to City and guild qualifications in photography, which morphed into a pseudo photo club experience.
The ceaseless trajectory of camera development ultimately lead to high end Canon equipment with large aperture lenses.  However the corresponding weight demands conflicted with advancing years and reversion to Panasonic Lumix four thirds format is currently the favoured choice,.  This is supported rather astoundingly by an Iphone with supplementary lens attachments to vary the focal length.
Patrick now prepares most of his prints using Adobe Lightroom rather than Photoshop.  He has recently hired  a studio and models, but also has fitted out his home garage as a small studio..  Blessed with a friend who has a carpet retail business, other options are presented by its use out of hours as a further studio option.
Frequent quotes revealed a bitter-sweet relationship with judges which we have all experienced at times, but he insisted that the emphasis must always be to satisfy your own likings regardless.
Seldom do we have a photographic lifetime in photography potted into a couple of hours, but that is exactly what Patrick did, drawing from four large print boxes to signal the way leading to an impeccable closure at 21.50.


Tuesday 7 November 2017
2nd Club Competition, Judge:- Darell Oakden DPAGB BPE3*

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 31 October 2017
Inter-Club Competition Nantwich v Whitchurch
Judge:- Terry Hewitt

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 31st October 2017
Chester Photographic Society Inter Club Competition

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 24th October  2017
Digital AV for Beginners John Smith APAGB, CPAGB.

To prove the system operational, John opened with a short AV sequence, "Sheer Luxury" featuring a small number of images of multi coloured sheep.  He went on to explain that most British exponents of audio visual presentations utilise the program Pictures to Exe (P to E),
which has been developed over the last few decades by a Russian named Igor and the latest version is version 9.  Unlike many software houses Igor remains accessible to his clients and the evolution of versions have generally been in response to requests for additional capabilities.  Currently it only operates on a Windows platform, but it is believed that code is being written for eventual Mac platform use.
John demonstrated many features, starting with a few random images, showing how the timeline may be manipulated to increase and reduce the time that a each image is displayed, how to overlay text onto an image and then show how the text may have animated movement, quite simply.  The animation used for text may also be used to achieve the same effect with single or multiple image objects which may be 'floated' across the background image.  A sequence produced for the Wilmslow Guild AV Group demonstrated this technique to perfection inspired by the scrabble game.
Within P to E there are many built in features for manipulating the images without recourse to Photoshop, such as blur, sharpen and rotations about the X and Y axes.  Similarly transitions between images may be achieved by many built-in animated fade techniques, like turning pages or dissolve from the middle or from the perimeter.
The addition of a sound track was also shown, together with how the digital representation track may be cut, copied and volume controlled.
For more complex soundtracks recourse to a free download program called 'Audacity' was advised and demonstrated.  John mentioned that it is possible to obtain copyright free music and sound effects under the Creative Commons license, free to the public - search on Google. An assembly of sound tracks including thunder, rain, motor car noises, footsteps and spooky screams was created and similar  to what had previously been featured in an AV "Justin Thyme" using masks to portray a ghostly figure in ghoulish terrain.
The final AV "Once upon a Time" was a humorous rendition of Handel's Messiah featuring local veteran Yorkies, exercising many of the techniques illustrated by the lecture.
Whilst P to E as mentioned does not run on the MAC platform, the executable file created can be saved as MAC compatible, as well of course as Windows with options to burn directly to a CD. The executable file runs on any compatible computer without the need for P to E installation, so may be passed freely to friends and family.
Pictures to Exe is available as a download from wnsoft.com, with a free thirty day trial option with limited capabilities.  The full feature deluxe version currently costs about £105. Audacity may be downloaded for free from the audacityteam.org website.
John laboured manfully for the first session, suffering from laptop computer gremlins sufficient for a lesser soul to give up and go home.  The rescue path for the second session was achieved by using the clubs laptop running a backup P to E resource on a flash drive.
John revealed himself to be a master of the AV genre and delivered an evening with content to both satisfy the experienced, but yet still provide the encouragement for the beginner - not easy.  We look forward to the next visit!


10th October 2017
Inter-Club Competition Nantwich v Long Eaton
Judge:- John Royle

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


3rd October 2017
1st Club Competition, Judge:- Daryl Giles CPAGB

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 27th September  2017
The Bolivian Andes   Boyd Harris.

The flight to La Paz was staged via Florida. Using graphics to illustrate the journey Bolivia was revealed to be truly the other side of the world to Britain and although covering an area six times larger than the UK has a population of only six million people. The country is dominated by the high Andes and arid conditions with sparse vegetation. Following a dispute over mineral rights with Chile, it lost its access to the sea when national boundaries were re-defined after a bitter confrontation. Depletion of mining deposits resulted in the railway system, once used to take minerals to Chilean ports, being abandoned.  Wildlife recorded was restricted to Andean condors, wild Llamas and small wild pigs-like creatures called peccaries, which steal the natives sun-dried food stores.  The minimal vegetation included bromeliads and a cactus with spines capable of inflicting painful wounds.
The intended trek through the Andes was preceded by a visit to a sight of antiquity which had been crudely explored and even restored at Pumapunka on the Altiplano, close to Lake Titicaca.  Archaeologists have identified the intricate stone works, enormous arches and engraving to a race which pre-dated the Inca.  The local villagers are generally reluctant to pose for photos so portrait opportunities were sparse, though the children are more obliging.  Street markets provided a large range of fruit and vegetables.  A boat crossing of lake Titicaca further preceded the start to the trek through the Andes with a visit to Sun Island en-route, where the inhabitants produced beautiful woven products with illustrative and geometric patterns.  Road vehicles were then joined to reach a small hotel at the actual start of the trek, which involved a following dirt tracks leading to a col on the Andes ridge, which then allowed a crossing of the ridge and descent on the other side.  The party was supported by a team of porter guides, using llamas as pack animals.  The porters only operated within designated territory and at certain points a new team was engaged.  Three separate teams were involve in all and each had to be rewarded with gratuities on departure. The prelude over rising altitude allowed gradual acclimatisation to mitigate against the inherent dangers of altitude sickness, prior to eventually reaching an altitude in excess of five thousand metres. During the trek the porters arranged camps and prepared meals.  Overnight temperatures dropped as low as minus fourteen, causing drinking water to freeze solid if not invited to share ones sleeping bag.  Daytime temperatures however soon rose to allow pleasant walking conditions, which normally covered six to eight hours of the day.  Mountains, glaciers and lakes provided stunning landscape photographic opportunities, with morning and evening light the preferred choice.  Boyd always carries a tripod, often using time exposures for evening light and difficult light conditions encountered in a cave visit, totally shunning the use of flash.  A 210mm lens was used for portraits of the locals always focussing on the eyes, usually at an aperture of f5.6 in order to render distracting background features out of focus.
After the final strenuous summit climb, involving roping up for a near vertical face, excellent views of the surrounding landscape were captured amongst the many six thousand metre peaks.  An arduous descent lead to a dust road, from which 4x4 transport provided the return to La Paz, culminating in the flight back to Heath Row.
Boyd has more travel sequences from remote parts of the planet which I am sure will be enjoyed on a future programme.


NANTWICH CAMERA CLUB ANNUAL EXHIBITION OPENS

The camera club’s annual exhibition at Nantwich Museum opened on Wednesday 13th September, with over 70 large prints on display in the Museum’s Millennium Gallery; a selection of projected images from the club’s 2016-17 competitions are also being shown on a wall mounted monitor.

We were very pleased to welcome the Mayor of Nantwich Town Council, Penny Butterill, and her husband Doug, to the official opening event; which was attended by many members and friends of the camera club.

A number of the prints will be available for sale and visitors will be invited to choose their favourite photograph. Nantwich Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday 10.30 am to 4.30 pm and the exhibition continues until Saturday 11th November

 
Poster
 

Tuesday 13h September  2017
An Introduction to Creative Photography Tony Winfield

Tony opened with some definitions of art and photography and concluded that photography is definitely a modern visual art form, with numerous quoted references in justification   Confessing to an enduring love of infra-red, nurtured through the days of Kodak film and now in digital, Tony revealed that he had just produced his first book , "A Guide to Infra-red" and indicated that infra-red images would feature strongly in what was to follow.
Creative photography was defined as a record of reality with added artistic expression or impression.  In the art world the later works of Turner were shown to illustrate from where some inspiration had evolved.  A short AV was shown using only seven images, six of which were on the faces of a rotating cube against a background of stars, slowly receding to infinity, to show that creativity translates into AV as well as to still work.
Creativity images may be produced in camera or by computer after-work and both options were discussed and illustrated.
The  camera was shown to provide various tools for creativity, including slow shutter speeds, lens filters often from the vast Cokin range, vaseline smears on a clear filter, cheap fish-eye lenses, panorama images from compact cameras, zooming during exposure, deliberate distortion by camera movement ,subject movement or both, traditional panning techniques, minimalism, patterns  reflections and just seeking the unusual   Infra-red was shown to have profound effects, some predictable some not, but surprisingly capable of enhancing detail.. The simple act of breathing on the lens can provide misty soft focus images.
A willingness to break the rules was also shown to have creative possibilities; instead of the rule of thirds put subject matter at the edge of the frame or even bisected if it works. Heavily diffused images moving towards a dream world were illustrated by a short "Dream Wood" AV sequence.
The computer was shown to provide a vast tool box for creative image after-work. Photoshop has a great array of filters, some of which were shown. Toning and duo-toning effects were shown, together with impressive, but laborious, hand painting in Photoshop.
Multi-exposure combinations were an in camera technique in the days of film, but now more easily produced and controlled in computer.
Numerous filters from alternative manufacturers to the Adobe provision, most operating as Photoshop plug-ins, were shown together with their effects. Included were, Professor Franklins, Topaz Simplify and HDR filters, NIK Collection (free from Google), Corel Painter software, Redfield Fractalius (makes things 'pointy') and Flaming Pear Flood filters to provide a water based foreground.
A very comprehensive presentation was closed by a final AV entitled "Dare to be Different".
A masterly creativity treatise was delivered in style by Tony, who indicated that he has numerous other talks for a future visit to Nantwich.  A great prospect!


Tuesday 13h September  2017
My Journey with Digital Tony Thomas, EFIAP

Tony, a dedicated print worker from Telford opened our new season of talks.  He told us that he had graduated late to digital from prior darkroom work.  A link with Pinnacle papers was revealed and examples of their surface offerings and mount board was provided, together with a testament that their products were his exclusive choice and the price lists confirmed the products to be financially competitive.
Four boxes of prints provided the subject matter for the evening and it quickly became evident that Tony was a passionate, industrious and perceptive worker. He confessed that he was not built for mountains and so conspired to use his car to reach remote places and was frequently on the road in search of pictures, often with a mission, but keenly attentive to that which might be presented along the way.  His work was largely portrait, landscape and, architectural, predominately captured in colour and then converted to black and white often using Nik filters or shot as infra-red.  His aim was to capture the picture in the camera and though he is not averse to cloning out unwanted elements, he insisted that he would never add anything to an image.  For infra-red he had had a camera suitably converted.  The fleeting nature of lighting conditions in the landscape requires that images be captured quickly, which requires one to be pre-prepared and often precluded the use of a tripod.  The inclusion of in-lens stabilisation was acknowledged to be of immense value.  He confessed to not using camera back information or histograms during his shooting, preferring to operate from a position of experience,  Successful images were still being produced using a six mega-pixel DSLR  proving that using the latest and greatest is not necessary for this type of work.
Much use was made of his home Shropshire county, with forays into portrait work using the co-operative members of Blists Hill heritage Museum, who willingly pose in period costume.  A love of the production of panels was amply illustrated.
The Long Mynd, Stiperstones, Wenlock Edge and the Wrekin are all in close home proximity and much used.  Further afield  adventures included the Barmouth coast for gale force conditions, Yorkshire Dales, Trawsfynydd, Colwyn Bay Pier, New Brighton shelters and lighthouse, Lake Vyrnwy, Bedgelert, Crosby for the Gormley figures and locally for us, the Roaches.
A love of the people and olive trees of Crete have provided an irresistible draw over the years requiring many photographic visits.
Tony's work provided an excellent example of the beauty of keeping things simple and the blessing of a perceptive eye, backed up by shear dedication and effort.  As he said, you have to get out if you want photographs.  An outing was measured as a great success if it resulted in a couple of prints.
Tony has a wealth of experience which was readily shared with new workers at his Telford club, a superb mentor!
I hope that we are able to welcome Tony back in the future.


Swift Gallery Exhibition

The Swift Gallery in Fenton, Stoke on Trent (http://www.swiftgallery.co.uk/) is home to hundreds of photos and painting of motorsport pictures. Last year they decided to hold an Open Competition from which they would select images to be displayed in a section of their gallery.
Club member Wendy Williams was delighted to hear that one of her images had been included in this selection.

wendy

The Exhibition opened on 25th May 2017 and runs until the end of October. The gallery is open on Thursday afternoons from 2pm until 6pm, and some weekends (Check the website for details.) It is well worth a visit by anyone who likes motorsport.


6th & 7th May 2017
L & CPU Annual Individuals Competition

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 25th April  2017
Bulkeley Hill Walk, Hotpot , Beer and Skittles

In committee, it was found difficult to suggest an alternative to the arrangement of recent years and so the Bickerton Poacher experience was repeated.  Four intrepid walkers braved a hale storm journeying to Bickerton to start the evening with a short walk over Bulkeley Hill from the copper mine road.   The start of which prompted an improvement in weather conditions to leave just threatening skies threaded by the odd shaft  of sunlight.
Twenty-one members and guests assembled to enjoy the hotpot supper, which proved to be well worth the wait.
Paul Topham and David Hoyle organised three rounds on the old English skittle alley and recorded the cumulative individual scores.  Some of the bowls probably dated to medieval times, judging by the shape, but it is possible that they may have started life as round objects, but none of this detracted from the fun factor.
Once more David Luker proved to be the invincible Cristiano Ronaldo of the skittle alley, with Nick Howes in a distant second place.  Alma Sankey's special brand of bouncing delivery proved very effective to gain third place and leave our chairman languishing in fourth.
I think the evening was enjoyed by all.


Tuesday 18th April  2017
The Bebington Salon Portfolio Bob Dennis , APAGB, CPAGB, AFIAP, BPE4,

Unfortunately our speaker was not able to deliver the booked lecture because a throat infection left him virtually speechless. Never-the-less, beyond that which could be expected, Bob insisted that he wished to make the journey to Nantwich from the Wirral  with a substitute programme of projected images from Bebington Salon Exhibitions of recent years, which Bob has played a major role in organising for many years.  The exhibitions entries come from far and wide and for each year from 2008 to 2016 a selection of images from the categories of landscape, people and nature have been assembled in to audio/visual presentations with musical background  The evening's presentation were all loaded on a memory stick and following a written introduction read by our chairman, Bob sat at the laptop and proceeded to astound us with some fifteen sequences of astonishingly good photography, supported by inspirational music.  No-one was seen to be sleeping, it was riveting!  The quantity and quality of images surpassed anything which many could recollect seeing at Nantwich, particularly in the natural history, where workers are clearly spending a lot of time and money to capture their images.  Whilst  it is always disappointing when we are not able to deliver the published programme item to members, the substitution was truly inspirational, sufficient for some of us from The Old Grey Whistle Test generation to consider consigning our photo gear to the recycle bin!
An excellent photographic evening was facilitated to advantage by David Hoyle providing and setting up the sound system in response to a last minute request.
We will be sure to invite Bob back on a future programme 


Tuesday 11th April  2017
L&CPU Mixed Folio "B"

The L&CPU Folios are selected by a panel of three judges from prints submitted by members of all of the clubs within the federation. Each judge award marks out of five for each print and the highest scoring are included in the folio, which was contained within two large print boxes.   Accompanying the prints was a listing revealing author, club and points awarded, but no further information like identifying the judges.
On previous recent occasions, we have shown projected images of the prints, which allows an easier viewing size but loses the subtle detail only visible in the actual prints. This time the actual prints were displayed, acknowledging that a lower attendance level made it a more practical proposition.
In the recent past folios were dedicated as natural history or record etc. but the practice now is to include all genres of photography, which makes comparisons more difficult.  The folio therefore contained a mix of creative, landscape, natural history, portrait, figure studies, travel, sport and some not readily categorised.  The lowest score awarded was eleven, with the majority populating the twelve/thirteen area and Terry Donnelly, who it be recalled entertained us in October last year, recorded top marks of fifteen for two of his prints.
Following the tea break, print entries from the previous week's competition were arranged for members to enjoy a close-up view, with informal comment.


Tuesday 4th April 2017
6th  Club Competition Judge:- Rob Hockney ( CPAGB, BPE3*)

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 28th March  2017
The Created Image "Special Lecture" Andrew Brooks

Andrew explained that as a commercial photographer, the demands of making a living requires that many areas of photography of necessity are pursued. Example images were shown of bridge demolition, development projects, cricket club publicity,  an Iceland cement works and an Aberdeen festival of light.  For all of his works he seeks to bring a level of artistry derived from combining images to create that which is beyond the reach of single mages.  Collaboration within projects with artists provides new challenges and stretches his ingenuity still further to create artificial situations typified by installing large numbers of light emitting diodes within Loggerheads Country Park near Mold, for a spectacular nocturnal display for exhibition photographs and multi-exposures for combination of an illuminated ball moved around the parkland at night.
His heart however lies in landscape photography and inspiration is drawn from many sources, with Mam Tor providing a compelling draw throughout the seasons.  Kinder downfall, High Cup Nick, the colourful mineral deposits of Parys Mountain on Anglesey, Bolton Abbey all provided further motivation.
Originally from Essex, photographic studies followed in Stockport, where Photoshop studio skills were learnt, he produced his multi image creations initially as jpegs, describing his work as akin to a manual form of HDR.  Nowadays all work is formatted as RAW to allow total control and manipulation.  His creations outside of contract work have now progressed to the point where he uses multiple images almost as we use pixels, to build landscapes which are a pure figment of his imagination.  Assembly and blending can extend over several days and the growing image size makes it necessary to perform incremental image flattening to allow the processor to continue functioning and remain operational.  The end products can combine images from around the globe, plucked from his vast archive of images, which fill some forty odd hard drives.
Contracts with the BBC Philharmonic provided full opportunity to exercise his creativity in producing publicity images for Wagner and Elgar concerts.  The Wagner image was plucked from a mystical Snowdonia mountain with an armoured horse rider of minimal proportions in the frame included for scaling purposes, with subtle light nuances  inspired by a painting in the Manchester art gallery. This single element was painstakingly pieced together from miniscule sections of items photographed in a museum, but the horse was for real.
Iceland was advocated for its amazing landscape qualities and the northern lights.  Images were taken in profusion such that sequential  playing resembled video to show the pulsing of the northern lights, the thermo dynamic activity and highway travel.
Great care was taken to ensure combined images enjoyed a constant light direction.
Andrew is fascinated by the secret underworld of our cities, seeking permission to photograph disused tunnels and labyrinths. On the odd occasion he has joined with the Urban Explorer movement for more clandestine sessions.
Deconstruction exercises were performed on some of his images to demonstrate how layers and masks were used in the creation.
Andrew, when not engaged in conventional contract photography is able to inhabit a world where imagination and creativity are supreme.  He confessed to finding inspiration from the cinematic industry and sci-fi.  An aspiration to produce more video works was indicated. Even that which appears conventional may not be, if a view under the bonnet is allowed   A visit to the Eden Centre was transformed into a scene from Jurassic Park!
This "special " lecture was very special indeed, taking our members and visitors to places where most have not previously ventured   Our thanks are extended to Andrew for a very interesting evening and for the support of our visitors.
David Foster once more found words to assemble a polished vote of thanks to close the evening.


Tuesday 21st March 2017
Inter Club Competition Nantwich v Crewe
Judge:- Colin Douglas (ARPS, AFIAP, DPAGB, BPE4*)

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Thursday 16th March 2017
Inter-Club Competition Alsager v Nantwich
Judge:- Roger Evans (FBPE, EFIPA, MPAGB)

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 14th March  2017
Table-top Photography.

The evening was thrown open to the combined initiative of our members, who were simply asked to bring lighting sets and items to photograph of their choice.  It was rather difficult to anticipate how well such a loose format would be supported and maybe one or two of us were a little worried that it might result in disappointment.  John had done a little arm twisting prior to the event however and to our relief, what transpired was a well supported evening.  The impression was gained that including a programme opportunity for collective improvisation with the camera was welcome and worthy of repeating in the future.
A number of reliable stalwarts fully committed as follows.
Paul Topham provided a set with a range of crystals, figurines and other glassware with varied illumination sources including under-lighting through a piece of glass supported on high-tec plastic coffee cups, against a black velvet backdrop.
David Luker provided a photo-stacking set-up in which the camera and macro lens were mounted on a slide rail, which in turn was mounted on a tripod to allow incremental exposures at multi points of focus through the object.   The multi images were then down-loaded into a laptop computer and software was used to stitch the sharpest parts of each image into one image with a depth of field not attainable with conventional macro photography.
Malcolm Prophett provided a studio lighting set-up with a supported table back-drop, which was used by members to photograph elegant vintage film cameras and a Weston meter.  The flashes were fired by a radio transmitter fitted to the standard flash gun camera socket.
David Foster provided a set which featured attractive spirit bottles and glasses, though I'm sure that they only contained cold tea.  A highly reflective foil back cloth was also made available.
Jo Humphreys provided a very professional looking tent structure which allowed various external diffuse lighting arrangements, including LED and coiled fluorescent tube lamps.
She also had mini-men climbing logs and cup-cakes.  A floral display also found its way into the tent.
Many thanks to all for making a successful evening out of nothing.


Nantwich Camera Club Special Event

Continuing our initiatives of recent years, we are once more  hosting a 'special' photographic lecture on Tuesday the 28th March, 19.30 hrs at our usual Regents Park, London Road, Nantwich, meeting room.
This year, Andrew Brooks, an artist, photographer and film maker from Manchester  will present his talk entitled the "The Constructed Image", which occupies a space within the currently popular 'Street Photography' genre.
To quote Andrew "Through the act of building images, I aim to capture the forms and rhythms of nature and the city. Often as imagined or re-imagined scenes, I aim to create a heightened sense of place and the audience's interaction with it. In my practice I use photography, film and digital technology as a prism for seeing and experiencing the world, particularly the natural and urban landscape. I then process and build on what I’ve recorded, presenting this to an audience through immersive experiences.".  More information and examples of his work may be obtained from his web site andrewbrooksphotography.com or from his Twitter and Instagram accounts @Andrewbrooks for both.
Members of the public in general and other local societies with photographic interests are very welcome to attend, for which there is an entrance fee of £5, pay at the door.  It would be helpful, though not essential, for those wishing to attend to pre-advise using the club email address, nantwichcameraclub@hotmail.co.uk

 
A Brooks Poster

 

Tuesday 7th March  2017
2016 PAGB Inter-Federation Print Competitions and Exhibition

The CD contains PIs of the print and PI competition entries, each available  for manual progression, which allows interaction from members or as an automated showing with background music.  The former option was selected and a complete showing of the print           entries was projected and a portion of the PIs until the end of allocated time was reached.
The presentations for both covered the complete range of photography including some stunning natural history, big game safari, studio and outdoor figure studies, landscapes, seascapes, exotic travel and natives, extreme weather conditions some with human elements, even desert dust storms, team sport, motor sport, ocean racing, athletics, re-enactments, iron men and women, macro and creative.  All in all the range was so wide that one wonders how the judges make comparisons to reach a conclusion for the awards, but then trying to understand judges is futile!
After the tea break the prints entries for the previous week's competition were set up for members to take the opportunity of an up-close inspection.
Our thanks to David for performing the projection duties and to all who contribute to our meetings.


Tuesday 28th February 2017
5th Club Competition (Mono) Judge:- Roger Evans  FBPE, EFIAP, MPAGB

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 21st February  2017
" Another Time Another Place" by Wayne Brittle.

Wayne explained that planning played important part in his landscape photography, but acknowledged that luck can make a welcome major contribution also. A recommended useful planning tool is the Photographers Ephemeris, available as a Google or Apple download app at a small cost, which provides information of sunrise and sunset times for any location, together with the direction of the light  and a selection of map views.  Tide times are available from another app "My Tide Times" as a free download.
Also mentioned was the Photographers Sun Compass, which is an adaptation of a normal compass and consequently does not rely on battery power.  Once aligned with North, the sunset and sunrise directions may be read, related to month of the year information printed on the base plate.  An included table relates to the highest angle reached by the sun at noon for each month.
Wayne advised that during the image projections, various aspects of photography would be addressed, including location, equipment, technique, composition, filters, panoramas, HDR and black and white conversions, but questions at any time are welcome to make things more interactive. Many camera systems are capable of producing excellent quality, but it is the photographer, not the equipment,  that is the key element for success. An example of a magasine cover taken with an early 2.1 mega-pixel camera illustrated a case in point.
Extensive depth of field was an important consideration for landscape, which can be maximised by short to mid-range lenses used at small apertures, normally with an ISO setting of 100 to minimise noise and enhance quality.  Striving to get it right in the camera, rather than after-work in Photoshop is the aim.  The camera is often used initially in aperture priority mode, for which the allocated shutter speed is noted and then switched to full manual mode to tweak settings with reference to the histogram.  In-camera metering is so very capable that he considered separate meters to be virtually redundant.  Specialising in sunrise and sunset shots necessitated long exposures, making the use of a tripod and cable release essential.  The explained frequent use of hard and graduated neutral density filters, often to enhance sky detail, multiplied exposure times, thus further demanding tripod use.  Polarising filters were also often present to reduce reflective highlights.
A very high level of commitment, enthusiasm and high energy approach was evident in order to be in place at remote locations, so as to be set up ready to greet the dawn, generated a feeling that the images were hard earned and a suitable reward.  Persistence in returning on another day, when conditions did not develop as required, was evidenced, matched with alternative objectives to salvage the day.
There followed a whole series of beautiful images, sourced from locations near and far, for which the story and technicalities behind the picture were revealed. Locations randomly included, Iceland, the Peak District, the Lake District, Northumberland, hadrian's Wall, Harris and Lewis, Skye, Anglesey, Dartmoor, Yorkshire peaks and dales, Co Antrim. Pienza Tuscany, Santorini Isle Greece, New Orleans, San Francisco, Venice, Glen Coe, Gormley's Crosby, Fort Augustus and Sterling.
Examples of stitching images into panoramas were shown, together with the pitfalls requiring to be avoided.  Moderate high dynamic range imagery (HDR) was illustrated, in which exposures at different camera settings are combined using software to provide increased definition.  Excess use was disparagingly considered to be "heavily doctored reality".  Shown were examples in which black and white conversion follow up work surprised in superiority to the original colour image
Members were highly impressed with both the extent and sheer quality of the landscapes shown and some told me that it was the best lecture ever.  At present Wayne is not currently planning to develop any further lectures, but who knows in another five years?


Tuesday 14th February  2017
Photo Tapas with David Foster.

Once more David organised an evening to a now established formula, in which several club members provided short photographic related talks of their choice.

The first speaker was Ruth Holden, well supported by Howard, who illustrated her path to achieving a CPAGB distinction in 2008.  She explained the process in which it is necessary to submit ten images for assessment by six judges, each who provide a spontaneous score out of five, with the potential for each print to receive thirty points.  The judging session is undertaken simultaneously on behalf of multiple applicants with images presented in random order from all applicants, rather than as each individual's panel.  To secure the distinction, it is necessary to average twenty points average across the ten print entry.  At the time home was in Cumbria and the Northern Counties Photo Federation of the PAGB provided the judging panel. Prior to entry it is a requirement that the work is approved by a senior Federation figure and a degree of mentoring is provided.  Being a keen gardener, Ruth majored on images of flowers from her garden, some of which were relatively straight prints and others received heavy Photoshop exposure.  Into the mix were thrown a Tour of Britain bike race shot and one of a pack of trail hounds  Each print was displayed and Ruth commented on technical details and how she had produced the image.  Howard supported by providing the score awarded for each print.  Ruth was very aware of the tension experienced and elated to score 211 in total, thus easily achieving the requisite average mark, though others were not successful.

Next came Andrew Charlesworth with projected images from his Yellowstone Winter 2015 trip.  In the interest of protecting the wildlife during the harsh winter conditions, out of season access to Yellowstone is strictly controlled.  It is only possible if accompanied by an approved leader, so only by joining an approved tour do things become possible.  Not wishing to spend inordinate lengths of time staking out wildlife in the hope that they show, an operator called Joseph Van Os, Photo Safaris was selected because they promised available time within the six days would be allocated as seventy percent landscape photography and thirty per cent wildlife.  The company provided hotel accommodation, including meals and transport from  West Yellowstone, a small town close to an entrance to the park, which covers 3,500 square miles, located in mainly in Wyoming state, minimally crossing over the border into Idaho and Montana.  To cope with the deep snow, two specially modified mini-buses or mini-vans as the Americans would have it, were provided for the extensive travel involved within the park.  Thoughtfully plenty of room in the vehicles allowed window access to all and more than adequate stowage capacity and typically of America the whole experience was of a high order, being lead by a local experienced photographer, Jeff Vanuga.
Pristine snow scenes were prevalent in Andrews projected images, together with the weird influence of the geothermal output providing multi-colour algae, crowned by freezing mist and emissions.  Yes there was wildlife too lead by the big boy bison who set the tone for Yellowstone, together with bald eagle coyote, bobcat, big horn sheep and hints of wolves.
Temperatures endured were -15 to 20° and one day at -25°.  At these temperatures camera battery charge had a short life and it was necessary to always have a spare one in a warm pocket.  Surprisingly batteries from the after market performed better than those branded by the camera manufacturer (and they are far cheaper).

The third spot was provided by Wray Douglas, who's subject was Stoppers!  Stoppers of course are the extreme end of the neutral density filter accessory, often sourced from Lee Filters which require anything up to ten times normal exposure or more, hence labelled 10 stop or know as "big stoppers". They have given vogue to the current cult of rendering stormy seas as a flat milky medium.  Prior to expanding on ND filters however, reference was made to the need to make a polarising filter an essential item of available kit for reducing highlights and increasing detail on water, foliage and skies.  Comparative images were shown to illustrate the benefits of using a polarising filter.
Neutral density filters were now similarly tackled with before and after shots of river scenes to show how the detail, contrast and colour of the water is affected by various strengths of filter.  When using the big stoppers, the extended exposure makes it necessary to use a robust tripod and cable release.  Prior to fitting the filter, composing and focussing the image is carried out at the required aperture and ISO setting.  A note is made of the normal exposure time without the filter.  Changing to manual mode a ten times greater exposure time is calculated and set on the camera.  A useful app for a mobile phone is available for down loading to perform this calculation  Experience taught that fitting the filter to the lens created the potential hazard of inadvertently moving the point of focus on the lens, but application of a piece of sticky tape to lock the focus ring avoids this problem.
It is necessary to be wary of changing light conditions during the extended exposure and to make judicious exposure adjustments.  Stray light entering through the view finder can erode the correct exposure, so fitting a blanking plate to the viewfinder is a good option.

A presentation of "Portuguese Pairs" from Graham Dodd now followed.  Images captured using a Panasonic Lumix compact camera during a Portuguese holiday with an AV sequence in mind were projected.  A pairing of elements was sought for each image which ranged widely from oranges and corks, suspension bridges, typical Portuguese mosaic wavy paving, graceful colonial buildings, stained glass windows, nautical legacy, tenement and university staircases, pollarded trees, vineyard dynasties of the Douro valley and unlikely acrobat ladies in hula hoops. A feast of images of residual images.

The fifth contribution came from David Luker entitled "Auto Focus Micro Adjustment" (AFMA).   One of David's lens was discovered to focus at a point other than where intended and this prompted seeking corrective measures.  For most general purpose photography the focussing error would be largely insignificant, but in situations where depth of field is critical, such as macro photography and close focus with a telescopic lens used at a large aperture setting, then the problem becomes highly relevant.  In these circumstances depth of field, that is the extent of the image acceptably sharp in front of and behind the point of focus may only amount to 2 or 3 millimetres, so if the auto focus does not perform as intended, it results in an consistent un-sharp image capture.
It was explained that there are two types of auto-focus systems used in cameras. For mirror-less cameras the focussing works by contrast detection and for DSLR with mirrors a portion of the light is diverted from the viewfinder to a phase detection module which activates the focussing.  Phase detection is considered to be faster in operation and thus better able to track and focus on moving objects.  The problem occurs where a particular camera body / lens combination results in an out of tolerance situation.  A different lens camera combination may work perfectly to specification, so adjustment to the camera body alone is not an option.  Many of the latest cameras have a menu item which allows a lens correction to be stored and actuated whenever the particular lens is connected to the camera body.  It is believed that even two identical lenses can be identified by the serial number for each and different settings brought into play.  Detecting the required degree of correction may be performed in a number of different ways and there are full explanations on the internet, all of which involve taking a series of exposures of some form of target, invoking a process of trial and error until an optimum condition can be identified.  Some are no cost do-it-yourself target methods, some involve photographing an on screen Moire fringe pattern on a monitor and others involve the purchase of a target.  David received a Datacolour SpyderLensCal target system as a birthday present, which was available for viewing.  Whichever method used there are precise set-up procedures which must be followed with the camera lens combination tripod mounted and some form of cable release.

The sixth and final presentation came from Peter Barnard, which related to the first photos he took as a 15 year old using a borrowed Box Brownie.  He had two sporting heroes, one was Joe Davis who won an unsurpassed fifteen World Champion Snooker titles and the other was England cricket captain Len Hutton and he determined by hook or by crook to get a photo of both.  Now searching his archives drew a blank for Joe, but not so for Len.  Cucumber sandwiches packed by mother, he and friend Percy left home by early morning train from hometown Goole for Leeds in 1948, with tickets for the test match in the ashes series at Headingly.  England was captained by Len Hutton against an Australian team lead by the formidable run machine, Don Bradman.  On the day there were crowds converging on Headingly and inside the ground was packed to overflowing, such that photographic opportunities were nil and the box brownie didn't come out of his bag.
Soon after a similar excursion was repeated for an MCC eleven against the Aussies, with England again captained by hero Len.  At the beginning of play Len took to the field and an opportunist Peter neatly evaded the stewards and sprinted to the centre of the pitch with stewards in pursuit.  Len graciously posed for the photo and even signed his autograph book, before Peter was unceremoniously bundled off the pitch by the stewards, no doubt with a clip round the ear, to the cheers of the crowd.   Proof was in the pudding with a Len Hutton image projected.

Thanks once more to David who orchestrated a diverse, full and entertaining evening and also to all of the members who combined so successfully in the delivery.  The event is included in the next programme in anticipation that there is still far more to come from our excellent membership.  Please give some thought to making the possible happen.


Tuesday 7th February 2017
Some More Monosaurusm by Tony Broom CPAGB.

Tony is becoming an enigma, preferring to stick to medium format 21/4 square and 6 x7 cm film cameras for the bulk of his photography, although he did confess that he now owns a digital camera, which he regards as the equivalent to his erstwhile use of slide film. For his predominant black and white print work however he still procures a range of roll film material from traditional sources like Ilford, Rollei, Adox and others in both conventional and infra-red breeds. In the darkroom Tony generally uses resin coated paper, mostly glossy, but also on occasions, fibre based, with a variety of surfaces, including warm toned for effect.  A hand held spot meter was used to determine exposure values, though for the extended time required for infra-red exposures, experience enabled judgment to be exercised dependent upon lighting conditions.  Medium format cameras are not conducive to hand held work, so a tripod is generally the order of the day, the use of which usefully on occasions provides a sense of gravitas, generating a more  considerate interaction with the general public. In fact extended exposure times for infra-red work makes a tripod essential.  Responding to David Fosters introductory question, Tony insisted that a good Black and white image should have detail in the shadow and highlight content and a good range mid-tones throughout.  Keep it simple, avoid clutter was advised.
Limited to eight or fifteen of frames per film enforces a more considerate approach to pressing the shutter button, than for the virtually unlimited expense free provision allowed by digital.
He proceeded to display a large folio of his prints and for each provided full details of location, exposure and particular considerations applied.  Landscape work is his favourite area of work and many locations were identified as being capable of rewarding the journey.
Places illustrated included Newborough Warren Anglesey, Devils Kitchen on the Glyders Snowdonia, Morten Corbet Castle ruin Shropshire, Tewkesbury Abbey, St. Albans Cathedral Chapel, Banburgh Castle and Dunstanburgh Castle ruin in Northumberland, Lindisfarne Causeway, Newbiggin by the Sea,  Cressage on Severn for The Wrekin,  Clee Hills radio beacon, Ennerdale in the Lake District, Woodseaves for the Shropshire Union Canal, Symonds Yat, Skipton Castle, Wylfa Power Station and Puffin Island Anglesey.
Outside of landscape occasional sojourns were made to include portraiture, still life, re-enactment scenes, point to point events, classic cars, industrial archeology and candid street scenes.
Tony emphasised that your photography should be aimed at your own pleasure rather than futile attempts to please judges.
A number of questions were fielded by members, prior to David providing the vote of thanks.
My apologies for the malfunction of the radio microphones, which necessitated replacing the batteries at the tea break.


Tuesday 31st January 2017
A Panel of Prints
 (Inspired by the late Nick Edwards)

The annual “Panel of Prints” evening is held in memory of the late Nick Edwards. Nick, as a Committee Member, suggested the Panel of Prints evening as he was passionate about printing. He saw this as a way of encouraging more members to print, especially those who do not enter the Competitions. It is also a way of enabling members to display their work which may not otherwise be seen and encourages members to socialise more as on many Club nights there is not much spare time.
There was a very good entry and attendance. The 40 panels were set out on the chairs (pity the lighting is not very good for this but we cannot think of any other way!) and members spent the first half of the evening browsing and choosing their favourite. Whilst the members enjoyed tea and biscuits, the votes were collated and announced in reverse order!
In joint 3rd place were “The English Civil War” by Alan Chapman and “Odonata” by Rex Kingsley. 2nd place went to “Icelandic Churches” by Ray Duckworth and in 1st place was “Reflections of Yosemite” by Alison Wood.
Alison was presented with a bottle of wine by Chairman John Kay.

 
 

After the break the prints from last week’s Competition were put out to enable members to have a closer look and discuss them with fellow members, and the authors of the 4 top scoring images were invited to give a brief talk about their prints.


Tuesday 24th January 2017
4th Club Competition.
Judge :- Geoff Reader DPAGB, BPE 2*

To read a full report about this competition, please see the "Competitions" pages


Tuesday 17th January  2017
"The Lighting Behind the Image" Justin Garner.

Once more high attendance numbers escaped the gloom of a typical January grey drizzly evening to seek enlightenment and be rewarded by what it is no exaggeration to say, was a highly authentic presentation from Justin.  Justin is a member of Sale Photographic Society and has wide photographic interests, including portraiture, wildlife, and landscape and probably everything in between, though his interest originated from being a bird watcher.  He is an excellent example of personal development, with no formal training, his philosophy is essentially get hold of equipment, then play with it to explore its capabilities in providing a pre-conceived result   His talk centred on studio type portrait work, initially using a single photoflood light source augmented by a silver reflector to bounce light to soften the shadows. Eventually this was replaced by a single Elinchrome soft-box flash unit, with modelling light, borrowed from his society. Using his flat as his studio, he found that setting up his camera aperture to f8, shutter at 1/160 synch speed and ISO 100 allowed the degree of exposure control he required to produce low key mono images using friends as models.  A non zoom 50mm lens was mainly used, with occasional recourse to a 70-200mm zoom.  The camera was always on a tripod and light source and stand-supported reflector,  were constantly moved until the image in the back-of-camera screen view looked right:, no external metering was used. Using the camera on a mono setting aided judgement of the lighting set-up.  He confessed that his images were produced 50% in camera and 50% in Photoshop, with layers freely applied to change background colour and texture. At the taking stage he visualised the Photoshop treatment, which was to be applied.
Initial success lead to acquiring other studio flash units, for which the effects were illustrated.  These included a beauty dish, in which the flash unit discharges onto a central reflector element, which is then bounced into a large concave dish to provide non-directional, soft diffused lighting and was often fitted with a honeycomb grid front screen.
The square soft box was supplemented with an elongated, rectangular slot box for a wider or taller light source.  Further development lead to the introduction of a background light concealed behind the subject.  The use of a background from a smoke machine with vertical illumination was shown.  Various inexpensive LED units also came into play in the quest for variety and experiment.  The power of daylight from a window, coupled with the reflector application was not omitted.  The message was keep it simple, just suck it and see.
Image examples were selected to illustrate the application of the various set-ups were projected and explained by reference to an endless supply of images.  Evidence of profound endless imagination, boundless energy and creativity punctuated the evening, with a willingness to go where others don't.  A two headed, four armed torso, joined at the hip, self portrait must be as original as it gets!
His model work extended to children and dogs, for whom the owner and frequent treats were essential attributes, but found cats to be in a different league of difficulty.  Children were encouraged to pull faces and have fun, though the faces could not match those of Justin's self portraits.  A hairdresser girl friend provided salon opportunities for events. Back lit smoke from a hot dog street vendor was used by the owner for publicity.
Fascinated by acquisitions, they all were made into a photo opportunity, binoculars, watches, toy cars, film cameras, whatever., all featured.
For macro work a camera base-rail on a tripod was used, which allows multiple images to be taken at a fixed focus, whilst incrementing the camera position through the subject. The images are then loaded into stacking software, in Justin's case from  Zerene Systems, which combines the areas of sharp image from each exposure into one image. The  results provide an overall depth of field, which is not physically possible from any single exposure from any lens.
Using this technique Justin had just received news that he had won a major award for an image of an anemone.
It is rather special for someone, so young, to evolve purely through self motivation over a period of six or seven years to achieve his current confidence and status.  A complete breath of fresh air and the good news is that he has a landscape talk and a natural history talk on offer for the future.
Finally David Foster provided one of his characteristic votes of thanks to round off an evening of education and enjoyment.  Our thanks to Graham Currey for providing the recommendation and contact details.


Tuesday 10th January  2017
"Return to Hong Kong" Tony Redford.

An excellent level of support from our membership welcomed Tony back to provide an evening of polished audio visual entertainment, based predominantly on multiple Hong Kong photographic visits.  Tony fully captured the overwhelmingly vibrant scene which is presented to a photographer at the end of the gruelling twelve hour flight.  Captured was a feel for the intense population of the high rise city including the colour and almost the smells.  Travelling far and wide among the surrounding islands and countryside, we were transported by ferries, railways, metros, taxis and trams to share views of the south China seas, markets supplying all worldly wants, fish, fruit, vegetables, caged birds, terrapins, goldfish, rabbit and electronics in profusion.  Al-fresco dining ability and bars abound.
Hordes of people had mobiles pressed to ear or camera to eye.  Photography is obsessive, with the locals happy to pose and wedding parties fair game.  Horse racing was seen to be a serious business, supported by at-site statistical support as an aid to losing ones money more scientifically.  Macao served by a two hour jet ferry from Hong Kong, once a Portuguese colony, with a legacy evident in the architecture, was now presented as the Chinese version of Las Vegas, boasting an array of opulent casinos, with big stakes, supported by loan sharks and heavies as persuasion for those in default.  Commercial boating large and small brought the obligatory boatyard maintenance support facilities in the harbour areas, again all well captured.  Escape from the general turmoil was shown still to be a possibility, in that tranquillity can be sought in well maintained parks like Kowloon City Park.
Strident music tracks reflected the essential vitality of these bustling islands, reproduced superbly well by the audio equipment which Tony brought along as a part of the package.
After the tea break we were presented with a complete contrast.  Firstly a wry look at railways, which initially took in the intricacy of the model railway scene and moved swiftly to the preservation movement, including the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Pickering to Whiby, The National Railway Museum at York, The East Lancs Railway from Bury and The Tanfield Railway at Gateshead.  A glimpse of the Jacobite Fort William to Mallaig steam working over Network Rail metals crept in also.  The Tanfield Railway, reputed to be the world's oldest railway, provided many examples of dereliction rather than preservation, much loved by photographers, though recent tidy up work has now reduced the possibility.
Music track  "I'm a Train" by Albert Hammond (I think)
The next sequence was captured during a North Cheshire Photographic Society annual week-end club outing; to Paris on this occasion. Carefully selected music tracks readily identifiable with the French capital, featuring Edith Piaf in the mix, accompanied a careful trawl through the sights of Paris, all beautifully composed in harmony.  (Perhaps NCC aught to push the boat out and do something similar?)
The sequences were all assembled using the still, very affordable Pictures to Exe software, which now provides endless capability and subtlety for the AV worker.  Tony insists that he only uses a small percentage of that capability, which is rather difficult to believe, judging by the sheer professionalism of his delivery.  Tony has a seemingly effortless charm and presentation ability, which never fails to impress those who are fortunate enough to share the experience and his presence always the enhances the NCC program with a relaxed entertainment dimension.  Long may it continue!


Tuesday 3rd January  2017
Member's AV Evening hosted by David Hoyle.

Once more our first meeting of the New Year was very well supported  both in terms of attendance and the number of members who entertained with their AV presentations.  Thirteen AV sequences, as below, were projected ensuring a very full evening's content, which with impeccable timing took us right to the ten pm finish.
A humorous animated elf season's greetings opened for which I think I detected that the faces of two of our senior states folk had been "Photoshopped" in!

  1. David Foster opened with his "Fourteen Years in the Making", which traced a family member from cradle to early adulthood accompanied by John Lennon's Happy Christmas.

  2. Bryan Averill based  an "Autumn in Scotland" sequence on a Killin holiday, taking in the the Loch Tay surroundings, the Falls of Dochart, before venturing into Glen Coe with the  support of "Braveheart" music.

  3. David Hoyle then included a short sequence of his own featuring seals and plunge diving pelicans captured in Australia.

  4. Paul Compton provided "From out of the Darkness" an annotated sequence of people plucked from his computer providing one line guidance and photographic advice, underwritten with have fun. Music and sound effects very varied.

  5. Nick Hutt followed with "Llandudno - In Camera", which explored the area within walking distance of the town, including the Great Orme and Conway, topped out by the seascape sunsets. Backing support came from The Byrds, Enya and Fleetwood Mac.

  6. Brian Sankey, saddened by the tourist despoilment of the Cornwall of his youth, found Pembrokeshire had largely avoided such a fate and a recent holiday in the St. Brides Bay area provided the base material for his sequence starring puffins on Skomer. Musical support was from the Gaelic hymn "Bunessan" now more readily recognised as "Morning has Broken".

  7. Paul Topham chipped in with a graphic representation of Chris de Burgh's "Lady in Red", in which he exercised the latitudes of his fertile mind to the full!

  8. Paul Compton returned with "My Monochrome Moments", featuring a wide variety of images from his hard disk, illustrating characteristic versatility and creativity without bounds.  Once more sound effects and music exceeded my descriptive abilities, but I'm sure no-one nodded off!

  9. David Foster contributed further with a sequence based on a visit to the Black Country Museum at Dudley, accompanied by Wray and Rex.  The backing track was a folksy rendition of "When You and I were Young Maggie".

  10. In her absence, Brian introduced Alma Sankey's "Caernarvon Castle-Poppies" which traced a day trip through Snowdonia to photograph the Caernarvon verson of the Tower of London display.

  11. Graham Dodd presented "The Beacons", which detailed an exhausting walk to top out the Brecon Beacons with friends and a Lumix camera with familiar classic music accompaniment.

  12. David Hoyle with his second set turned on the pan pipes for "101 Images of Peru", taking in the colour of the natives, the markets and Machu Piccu.

  13. Bryan Averill brought the evening to a close with "Tough Mudders at Cholmondeley Castle", backed by Billy Ocean's "When the Going gets Tough".  Whilst being mad is not generally an asset, this sequence proved that in some situation it helps.

Thanks are extended to all who contributed to what has now become a traditional new year opener and in particular to David for providing the audio equipment and orchestrating the entire event.



NEW HONORARY ASSOCIATE MEMBER FOR NANTWICH CAMERA CLUB

We are delighted to announce that Margaret Salisbury FRPS, MFIAP, FIPF, APAGB, AWPF has accepted our offer of an Honorary Associate Membership of Nantwich Camera Club.

Margaret has had a close connection to the Club for many years and has visited as either Speaker or Judge 14 times. She is always unstinting in her help and advice as a judge and the high standard of her lectures and accompanying images always draw a high attendance. ‘The Dragon’ never disappoints.

Margaret is associated as a photographer with Fotospeed and she is always to be found manning the stand at the annual Photography Exhibition (formerly Focus on Imaging) at the NEC, where we all seek her out for information on the latest products.

We look forward to our association and seeing her in the not-to-distant future.

 

Margaret Salisbury

Margaret Salisbury FRPS, MFIAP, FIPF, APAGB, AWPF

 


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