Meeting & Competition Reports (2020-21 Season)
Tuesday 02 March: Film Lecture Evening
Wildlife and nature photography
For our session this week Peter chose a selection of videos on the theme of ‘wildlife and nature photography’.
We kicked off with Ross Hoddinott‘s “How to photograph trees, mushrooms and rivers”, subtitled “How to take great photos in woodland” – a good option for drab weather days! Ross advised that polarising filters are useful for intensifying colours in these conditions and ND filters are great for capturing silky water effects. ICM is a good option if the scenery includes strong shapes, and macro images of fungi can be particularly rewarding in this sort of environment. Low camera angles work well for these subjects and a handheld LED and/or reflector is always handy in low-light woodland surroundings.
The second video was by Pangolin Photo Hosts and featured an amazing “Safari into the Okavango Delta” in Botswana. There wasn’t much in the way of commentary but there was a wealth of stunning images of elephants, lions, hippos, zebra, impala etc. In one dramatic sequence we saw a pack of wild dogs attempting to attack a beautiful leopard resting on an elevated dead tree trunk – thankfully they were not successful. There were adorable images of lion cubs playing with their parents and finally of an incredible zebra migration on one of the fingers of the delta.
The third presentation – by Liesl Huddleston – looked at how to “Improve your nature photography experience” by learning to identify plants and wildlife. Liesl advocates forming a connection with nature so that you can tell a story through your photographs. She recommended the free “iNaturalist” app for identifying anything that is unfamiliar, and the “Merlin Bird ID” app – for which you can download a database pertinent to your part of the world. Liesl showed viewers many wonderful macro images – some even taken on her iPhone!
Our fourth video was entitled “How I took this photo: birds in flight” by Andrew Goodall. Andrew took viewers through an explanation of how he created a stunning image of an osprey flying with a fish clutched in its claws. Andrew’s two top tips were to: a) choose large birds as they have more predictable flight patterns, and b) choose a location with a plain background (as your camera’s autofocus will be more reliable). In terms of camera settings, a fast shatter speed is obviously required and a reasonably wide aperture. Andrew recommended setting your autofocus mode to continuous, selecting multi-point area mode and choosing “continuous shooting”. After the presentation Gareth commented that he finds pre-focussing then waiting for the bird to enter the right area to be another successful method for capturing avian action shots.
The final video of the night featured Tim Boyer‘s “10 rules of bird photography”, which included tips such as pointing your shadow at the bird you want to capture (so that the subject is evenly lit), focussing on the bird’s eye (and making sure you get a highlight in it), taking the image when the bird’s head is slightly angled towards the camera, shooting in the morning light (for a warm glow rather than the harsh light of midday), aiming for a soft background (wide aperture), getting down to eye level with the bird (if possible!) and, for birds in flight, making sure you get good separation if there is more than one.
This was a good and varied choice of videos, with lots of good advice provided.
Tuesday 23 February: Home Battle
With Deal & District Camera Club
With the lockdown still upon us, the club took part in another friendly inter-club battle via Zoom, this time with Deal & District Camera Club. The competition was DPIs only and our judge for the evening was Kirsty Ralfs ARPS QGP.
As we have come to expect, Kirsty was very generous with her critique. Herne Bay scored one 20 – “York Minster, Central Tower” by Denise Smith, against Deal’s three. The Club also managed one 19, “Peace and Tranquility” by Denise Smith, and one 18, “Fading Away” by Chris Frankland.
Herne Bay couldn’t compete with an excellent set of images from Deal, losing 330 points to their 347. It was a fine win for Deal, and we look forward to meeting them again next season.
Tuesday 16 February: Film Lecture Evening
Glenys Garnett: “Developing a Creative Approach”
Our Zoom meeting this week featured a talk from Glenys Garnett – a photographer who describes herself as having a love of nature and being in awe of its complexity. This inspires her to create images which she hopes will let people see the world through her eyes.
In her presentation Glenys talked about how photographers can take a more creative approach in their work. She discussed how to help yourself develop a more creative mindset, how to overcome barriers to creativity and how to make use of personal projects to further enhance creative development.
After watching Glenys present her thoughts we had an exchange of ideas about the points raised, and then watched the rest of the video. Part 2 consisted of a question and answer session (from the original live presentation) and part 3 took a look at some of Glenys’s own projects, demonstrating how she uses the methodologies she discussed earlier.
It was a fascinating and thought-provoking evening.
Tuesday 09 February: Film Lecture Evening
For our Zoom club night this week Peter Riley found five video talks for us, all on the theme of “Night Photography”. This was a great selection with each video being very different from the last.
We kicked off with a talk from Marc Newton entitled “Night Photography – Settings and Tips to get Perfect Exposures”. Marc was taking London night-time images by the river Thames and demonstrating how to get beautiful silky water shots and capture the city lights.
Next up was Craig Roberts‘s Night Photography talk which focussed on “Street Lamps and Alleyways”. Also in London, Craig was exploring Waterloo where he found wonderful locations for his very atmospheric black & white images, which were taken handheld using high ISO, a wide aperture and a good prime lens.
“Moon Photography” was the topic for the third talk – by Gordon Laing. He had gone to Brighton beach to photograph the moon as it rose above the town’s iconic pier. Gordon showed how great results can be achieved with an affordable 200mm zoom and recommended setting up your tripod in advance and using an app such as “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” to track the moon – as it rises surprisingly quickly.
Evan Ranft was up next with a talk entitled “Chaotic Street Photography”. Evan was in New York capturing handheld images of the chaos of the city – billboards, lights, taxis, people etc. Evan likes to capture what he calls “layers of interest” in his striking images – for example lights reflecting off a car bonnet in front of more cars in front of brightly lit neon signs.
The final video, “How to Photograph Star Trails” was by Gabriel Biderman. Also in the US, he chose the Maine coast as his location and gave plenty of tips for coping with dark conditions – for instance looking through the optical viewfinder before the camera is turned on to avoid light from the display making the scene harder to see and using a powerful flashlight to illuminate the object you want to focus on. Gabriel concluded his talk with a tutorial on image stacking in Photoshop and showed how to create a fabulous18-layer image blended using the “lighten” mode.
This was an extremely interesting evening and it was great to see such a wide range of styles of photography being showcased – despite all the videos being based around a single theme.
Tuesday 02 February: Live lecture
Daniel Bridge: “Macro and Close-up”
Tonight’s club session was a Zoom talk from Essex-based photographer Daniel Bridge. Daniel is a professional photography tutor with 17 years experience. He delivered a fascinating and enlightening talk about how to create and get the best out of macro and close-up images.
The evening began with a comprehensive look techniques for successful close-up photography and the equipment that is required – not all of it expensive! He discussed lenses and accessories (such as macro extension tubes), talked about lighting and gave an introduction to focus stacking.
We were treated to a huge array of stunning images ranging from the more traditional subjects one associates with macro photography, such as flowers and insects, to animal images and even abstracts. It was a highly enjoyable evening and will hopefully have inspired us all to take some interesting images for our upcoming “Macro and Close-Up” critique evening.
26 January 2021: Home Battle
With Isle of Thanet Photographic Society
Once again in lockdown, the club was pleased to continue its friendly inter-club battles, this time hosting Isle of Thanet Photographic Society. The competition was once again DPIs only and the judge for the evening was David Kissman BPE2*, from Keyworth Camera Club (nr Nottingham).
Herne Bay scored two 20s – “Face the Music” by Peter Riley and “Peddling the Rules” by Clare Edmonds, compared with just one for Thanet.
The Club also managed two 18s: “Paddle Boarding at the West Pier, Brighton” by Clare Edmonds and “Wild Coast” by Denise Smith.
However, Herne Bay couldn’t match Faversham’s overall scoring, losing 316 points to their 331. A fine win for Thanet, and we look forward to meeting them again next season.
19 January 2021: Live Film Lecture
Zoe Archer: “Kenya via Snowdon and Everest”
Tonight’s club session was a live lecture (via Zoom) from Zoe Garnham-Archer of the Invicta Photographic Club. Zoe treated us to a highly entertaining evening as she talked about her intended trip to Everest base camp (to raise money for the Kent Search & Rescue charity) and what her trip actually became due to circumstances beyond her control.
Zoe began her talk with a description of the expedition group’s formidable training on Mount Snowdon – accompanied by dramatic images of the snow-ridden, icy conditions they were hiking and climbing in. While the group were in Wales news came in of the Nepal earthquake which devastated the area they were to have been going to and had put so much effort into preparing for.
Rather than abandon the idea of a trip the group decided to switch their destination to Mount Kenya. Zoe talked about the wonderful and eye-opening time they spent in Nairobi before they began their trek, about issues with altitude sickness, and what it was like to get their first glimpse of Mount Kenya’s three imposing peaks. We enjoyed the scenery vicariously through her images and her description of the hardships and the special moments of the trip were fascinating to hear.
It sounded like an incredible experience and Zoe assured us that she did make it to Everest Base Camp a couple of years later!
12 January 2021: Film Lecture Evening
Our first meeting of the new year was extremely well attended. We all seem to be getting better at Zooming! Steve Roberts found four very interesting and entertaining videos for us to watch this time.
The first of these was an in-depth RPS interview with photographer and environmental campaigner Mandy Barker FRPS. Mandy is well known for her work with marine plastic debris and talked about her global travels to observe, collect and photograph plastic waste. Her collages are striking and really serve to highlight the gravity of the problem the world is facing.
This was followed by three shorter videos. We heard Danish photographer Mads Peter Iversen talking about his “5 steps to incredible minimalist photography”. Next up was Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography talking about “10 street photographers every photographer must know”. In actual fact some of those on his list were photography groups (Kamoinge, La Strada) so considerably more than ten influential photographers were showcased. The final video, different again, was a Photoshop tutorial from Aaron Mace of Phlern demonstrating “How to make colours come to life”.
It was a very enlightening evening – definitely with something for everyone!
15 December 2020: Film Lecture Evening
We squeezed in an extra Zoom film evening before the Christmas break and had a very interesting, entertaining and educational evening. Thank you to Steve Roberts and Eileen Wilkinson for sourcing the videos.
The first item was an RPS recording of a conversation with Dartmoor-based photographer Nicholas J R White, in which he discussed long-term personal projects looking at people’s interaction with the landscape. Particularly enjoyable was his “Black Dots” project – an exploration of the unmanned bothies that are scattered across the moors and wild countryside of the United Kingdom.
This was followed by a couple of shorter activity videos from “LiveSnapLove”. These were highly appropriate to the festive season; one detailing three different ways to photograph Christmas lights and the other explaining how to make shaped bokeh filters (with just some black paper, scissors and sellotape) to work with the lights.
24 November 2020: Critique evening
Once again, through the power of Zoom, we held a critique evening. The subject this time was “Perspective”, plus an “Open” section, and our judge for the evening was Andy Smith LRPS.
As always, Andy was generous with his praise and offered thoughtful critique, which was both helpful and encouraging.
The first part of the evening was “Perspective”, and Andy gave first place to “Road to Nowhere” by Steve Roberts LRPS. “Boardwalk” was second and “Underpass” was third, both by Chris Frankland – well done Chris.
Highly commended (images held back) in the “Perspective” section were “Long way up” by Kevan Ford and “Fountains Abbey” by Denise Smith.
After a short break we watched the “Open” section. First place went to “Wild Coast” by Denise Smith. Steve Roberts LRPS was second with “What’s Down There”, and third was “Sweet Child O’Mine” by Gareth White.
Highly commended (images held back) in this section were “Paddleboarding at West Pier, Brighton” by Clare Edmonds, “Nectar Bar” by Vicky Glaiser and “Reflections” by Chris Frankland.
10 November 2020: Film lecture evening
Two video lectures from Judy Hancock Holland
This was our third film lecture via Zoom. Two lectures were chosen, both from the same speaker, photographer Judy Hancock Holland. Judy lives on the east coast of Vancouver Island so we would never have been able to invite her to speak in person!
The first lecture was part I of a talk entitled “Building Blocks of Composition”, in which Judy discusses the use of Lines, Shapes & Forms, Subject Placement, Patterns & Repetition, Contrast, and finally Texture in the composing of a successful image. It was full of wonderful photographs and great tips. We hope to show part II of the talk in the new year.
After a ten minute break we saw the second talk – “Minimalism in Photography” – in which Judy demonstrates how to create striking minimalist images that communicate both the essence of a subject and the feelings that the photographer had when taking the shot.
It was a very interesting and well-attended evening.
04 November 2020: Battle with Faversham Camera Club
Despite the virus and the looming lockdown, the club was pleased to take part in a friendly inter-club battle with Faversham Camera Club. The competition was changed to DPIs only and Faversham club hosted the evening via Zoom. Judge for the evening was Carol McNiven Young FRPS EFIAP BPE4* CPAGB, from her home in Nottingham.
There was a very varied selection of images for Carol to critique, and she was very generous with her praise. Herne Bay scored one 20 – “Central Tower, York Minster” by Denise Smith, matching Faversham’s one 20. The Club also managed four 18s: “Beefly Sunbathing” by Duarte Figueira; “Dying in Isolation” by Steve Roberts; and “Sunrise from the Platform” and “The Palace Pier” both by Colin Winch.
Sadly, Herne Bay couldn’t quite match Faversham in the scoring, losing 334 points to their 343. The club did, however, take the final accolade, winning the judge’s favourite image, which was “Central Tower, York Minster” by Denise Smith.
A fine win for Faversham, and we look forward to meeting them again next season.
01 November 2020: Folkestone Meet Up
The weather for this meet up was grey and rather windy (so much so that the harbour arm was closed off), but with the second lockdown due to start in four days’ time a number of members braved the conditions to get together and were rewarded with plenty of photo opportunities – from massed surfers to public art to graffiti. And it didn’t rain!
27 October 2020: Film lecture evening
Irene Froy: Pictures on Permajet
Our second film lecture by Zoom was given by Irene Froy with a presentation titled: “Pictures on Permajet”. Irene showed a wide range of images taken on her many trips around Europe with husband Jerry.
There were landscapes and flowers, as well as buildings inside and out. There were some touches of frost, some mist and some more colourful shots too. Irene’s gentle manner and her references to how Jerry’s help was frequently enlisted made her talk very listenable and entertaining.
17 October 2020: Deal Meet Up
Our regular fortnightly club outing this weekend was to Deal. Given the time of year the weather was kind to us – not much sunshine but a bright day, and there was plenty to photograph from the pier to the beach huts to the plentiful small boats. It was a very well attended meet-up and we even managed a socially distanced half-hour tea break sitting outside without freezing!
13 October 2020: Film lecture evening
In a new step for the club, we tried our first film lecture via Zoom. The first was an RPS interview with Joe Cornish, who explained his approach to landscape photography. It was an interesting film; Joe has a great affinity with trees, and some of his images were very interesting. We also had the opportunity to see some of his excellent landscapes.
After a quick chat about what we’d seen, and a short break to get a cuppa, we watched “How to make a composite” by Ross McKelvey. McKelvey is one of the top Irish photographers and in his video, he took members through the full process of creating a composite image with lots of tips on the way that will be useful whether you are doing creative composites or just processing a straight image.
4 October 2020: Rochester Meet Up
This afternoon’s meet was at Rochester and in the run up to the weekend it was clear that the weather wasn’t promising. We met up at the cathedral and then went on to the castle before finishing off along the high street. The sun threatened to break through a couple of times before giving way to increasingly persistent drizzle. Despite that, those who attended had a very enjoyable time.
29 September 2020: Critique evening
Having successfully run our Summer Trophy using Zoom, we tried our hand at a critique evening. The subject was “Celebration” and there was also an “Open” section. Our judge for the evening was Cherry Larcombe EFIAP ARPS DPAGB BPE5*.
We ran the “Celebration” section first, with a assortment of celebratory images for Cherry to appraise. She gave first place to “Head of the Parade” by Aliy Fowler. In second place was “Birthday Cake” by Peter Riley and “The Winner” by Eileen Wilkinson ARPS, CPAGB, AFIAP was third.
We launched straight on into our “Open” section. Once again, there was a great variety of images for Cherry to talk us through. First place went to “Reculver View” by Eileen Wilkinson ARPS, CPAGB, AFIAP. In second place was “Tracks through the Harvest” by Steve Roberts LRPS and Gareth White was third with “Sneaking Past the Hydra”.
19 September 2020: Conyer Quay Meet Up
For our second weekend meet of the new club season we went to Conyer Quay, a location that many of us were previously unaware of. It proved to be well worth the visit and the estuary landscape gave a wide variety of subjects to catch our attention, all of which were enhanced by the glorious afternoon sunlight. The meet was well attended with several club members being present, all of whom had an enjoyable time.
15 September 2020: Summer Trophy
This seems to be a month of firsts: this time, our first Zoom meeting. Unfortunately, due to the new Covid-19 rules, our meeting place, the Beacon Centre, is once more closed. Undeterred, we decided to embrace the virtual.
The Summer Trophy itself had to change to accommodate the virus – we could not have a print section this year so opted for two DPI subjects instead: “Through the Window” and “Abstract”. Our judge for the evening was Kirsty Ralfs ARPS QGP, who was fully conversant with Zoom.
Starting with “Through the Window”, Kirsty was presented with many different interpretations of this. First place was “Contemplating” by Volker Jottkandt, second was “Welcome to the bar” by Aliy Fowler, and “Life goes on out there” by Steve Roberts LRPS was third.
Images held back should be considered as highly commended. In this section, these were: “Are you sure lockdown applies to me” by Kevan Ford and “Welcoming lights” by Peter Riley
We didn’t stop for a break, so went straight on with the “Abstract” section. Kirsty was pleased to find that some of the images had an explanation via the title, whilst others left her guessing. She gave first place to “Apparitions in the limescale” by Steve Roberts LRPS, second was “Fireball” by Eileen Wilkinson ARPS, CPAGB, AFIAP, and “Silent pool” by Aliy Fowler was third.
Highly commended images were: “Explosions” by Eileen Wilkinson ARPS, CPAGB, AFIAP, “Say cheese” by Teresa Russell, “Tartan plaid in scallop mirror” by Steve Roberts LRPS, and “Wood and Steel” by Aliy Fowler.
Running the Zoom meeting was a steep learning curve, but was a very enjoyable evening.
6 September 2020: Dungeness Meet Up
Our club had its first weekend meeting under our Covid-19-restricted programme, during which our meetings will take place alternately between the Beacon Centre and at an outside location. This Sunday we decided to travel to Dungeness, just over an hour’s drive from Herne Bay.
The meeting point chosen was the Pilot Pub, however some of us ended up at another pub, and it was difficult to make contact with each party to join up. (We need to get a little smarter with communications contact numbers, etc.). Unfortunately one member couldn’t find any parking spaces and had to return home.
Those that remained had a very enjoyable afternoon. Dungeness beach is littered with old boats, sheds, fishing paraphernalia, and rusty old abandoned machinery. The sky was, at times, very dramatic, and often threatened rain, but thankfully it kept dry. The place was a lot busier than anticipated, but where we focussed our attention, on the beach, it was easy to keep a proper social distance.
The two groups eventually met up and the two locations’ photographic merits were discussed. We left for home at around 5pm with cards full of images and thoughts that despite some initial hiccups, from which we shall learn, we all had a great afternoon.
1 September 2020: AGM and Members’ Evening
We had a good turn out of members for our first socially distanced meeting of the new season, with an additional member joining us by Zoom.
Our Chair, Peter Riley, began the evening by leading a shortened AGM, which passed last season’s accounts, agreed a temporary new membership fee, and elected the new committee. With the formal business out of the way, the rest of the evening was spent looking at images members had taken over the summer.
It was a strange experience, following strict Covid-19 rules, but it was a success. Hopefully, now we know exactly how things will work, more members will feel they can join us in the hall and by Zoom.