Meeting & Competition Reports (2018-19 Season)
Down to: September
9 October 2018 – Talk by Melanie Chalk: Starting out with audio visual
Melanie Chalk came to speak to members about creating AV (audio visual). She made it very clear at the outset that it is a very time-consuming hobby. Melanie described the basic steps of building an AV piece.
The software she uses is PicturesToExe 9, with Audacity for the sound. There’s plenty of help and forums to ask questions, and Melanie said she was happy for people to contact her with issues, or even comment on what they had created.
Melanie said it was important to be organised, maintaining the paths to each element involved. Images should be reduced in size to just 1920px by 1080px as they would be viewed on a screen. This meant the final piece would not take up too much storage space. The format should be set to wide screen, as this is useful for showing on a TV. She always started and finished with a blank, black slide.
One thing that Melanie was particular about was the use of music, explaining that she downloaded pieces from YouTube or iTunes. Whilst this is okay if AVs are just for personal use, she cautioned that a licence would be required to show pieces in public, particularly if charging.
There was clearly an art to what Melanie did; choosing the right music to suit the images, the time each image was on the screen, and how one image moved to the other. And Melanie was obviously very skilled at it – after the break, members were treated to several of her AVs, including the one she will be submitting to a forthcoming KCPA competition.
Tips for creating an AV:
1. Collate your images first then bring into the software you are using
2. Create blank slides either end of the piece
3. Choose your music carefully to suit the mood you want to create
4. Listen carefully to the music to choose where to start each image
5. Ensure different timings between images to keep people alert
6. Use different transitions between images to keep the piece interesting
7. Reduce the level of music for a voice over
8. Ensure the music doesn’t finish the middle of a piece when you reach the end of the AV
9. Wear headphones so you don’t annoy the neighbours or long-suffering loved ones!
Links to software:
2 October 2018 – Competition/Critique: Chiaroscuro and Open
The format for Club competitions has changed: we no longer have scoring; thus no more leagues. Instead, judges have more time to critique images and to maintain a little bit of competition, there is still the placing of first, second and third.
Our first of these new-look competitions was for digital images. The subject was “Chiaroscuro” – an art form that uses strong contrasts between light and dark, and our judge for the evening was June Sharpe ARPS.
June provided a very informed and entertaining evening, including interesting asides that complemented her critique. Whilst she was quick to praise good images, she was quite firm about sticking to the subject.
In first place was “Squash” by Bernard Neal. “Brief Break in the Cloud” by Steve Roberts was second and Denise Smith was third with “War and Peace”.
After the break, was had an Open section, where any subject could be entered. Once again, June provided an in-depth critique of the images. She gave first place to “Focus Point” by Eileen Wilkinson ARPS, CPAGB, AFIAP. Second place went to Denise Smith with “Footsteps in the Sand”, and Sean Knight was third with “My Little Poolside Friend”.
25 September 2018 – Talk by Malcolm Hardie: “Drawn to the Land”
Members were treated to a talk by Malcolm Hardie, titled “Drawn to the Land”. Malcolm started taking photos at a very young age, encouraged by his parents; he even had the innovation of a dark room at his school. Once he had started work, a love of motor racing drew him to buy a better camera.
However, as a young man, he quickly got drawn into the wider field of photography, and particularly landscapes, spurred on by such greats as Ansel Adams. In fact, Malcolm made a “pilgrimage” to Yosemite National Park, and that’s where the prints he displayed to members began – wide visas, breath-taking waterfalls; mono images all in the style of Mr Adams. These gave way to dramatic images of Scotland.
Malcolm enjoys using a film camera, and had processed the majority of the prints he showed. He illustrated some of the different mounting styles he’d used over the years, including some unusual colours, which he admitted he wouldn’t use now.
After the break, Malcolm explained how he’d been through a “trees and fences” phase, showing a range of prints, mostly mono, but with some in colour. He mentioned a number of photographers he’d been influenced by, including, and encouraged members to look at their work.
Malcolm suggested looking up the work of the following photographers:
• Edward Weston
• Margaret Mather
• Paul Hill
• John Blakemore
• Raymond Moore
• Edgar Martin
18 September 2018 – Competition: The Summer Trophy
We enjoyed our first competition – The Summer Trophy. The subject this year was “Book Title” and all images had to be taken during the summer break. Our judge for the evening was Tony Bentley ARPS CPAGB.
During the first part of the evening, Tony was presented with a wide selection of prints. He was very quick to say that he felt they were all of a high standard, and that he had to “nit-pick” in order to separate and score them.
The Summer Trophy for prints went to Steve Roberts LRPS with “Clockwork Orange”. In second place was “All I See Are Stripes” by Eileen Wilkinson ARPS, CPAGB, AFIAP; and third was “The Heart of Nature” by Eileen Wilkinson ARPS, CPAGB, AFIAP.
After the break Tony offered his critique to a range of digitally projected images. The club purchased a new projector during the summer and it was interesting to see the new hardware in action.
The Summer Trophy for digital images went to Eileen Wilkinson ARPS, CPAGB, AFIAP with “Sister Golden Hair”. In second place was “To the Lighthouse” by Bernard Neal; and third was “Restless Warrior” by Colin Winch.
11 September 2018 – Instruction evening: High Key and Distinctions
The first event of the evening was a short instructional talk about High Key Photography from Eileen Wilkinson ARPS, CPAGB, AFIAP, one of our more experienced members. Eileen described what High Key means and displayed some examples of her own photos using the technique. She went on to explain how the effect is achieved using manual, in-camera settings. All agreed it would be useful to have an organised workshop later in the season to try the technique out.
After the break, Eileen and chair Steve Roberts LRPS spoke out the distinctions available to photographers from the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) and the Photographic Association of Great Britain (PAGB). They both displayed the panels of photos they had used to gain their own distinctions, and explained why they worked. The last part of the evening saw Steve display a selection of prints from which he intends choosing his CPAGB panel. Members were asked to score each of his photos, to contribute to his final choice.
Notes on High Key:
• High key: photography where there is a large amount of light tones and fewer mid-tones or shadows
• Know your camera
• Understand the ISO/Aperture/Speed triangle
• Know how to use the manual settings on your camera
• Always use a tripod
• There are no definitive settings – each image will be different depending on the amount of light available
• Use white card as a background
• Lighting should be LED white light
• Expose for the subject, not the light
• Sometimes shadows are important to ground the subject you are taking
• High key may not work on a phone camera
Equipment Eileen suggested:
• Light pad: £30-£35 on Amazon
• White card fold-out display stand: £8 in Hobbycraft, Westwood Cross
4 September 2018 – Members’ Evening
The new season has begun, and we had a great turn out of members for our first meeting. Chair Steve Roberts kicked the evening off by welcoming four visitors, and for their benefit, and to remind existing members, explained how the club runs, how the programme is made up, and where further information can be found.
Steve then put a major competition change to members; to drop the print and digital leagues and to do away with scoring for those competitions, which would allow more time for critique – the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placings would remain. There was some discussion about this, and when put to a vote, the membership unanimously approved the change. The Summer Trophy, Panel Competition, Scavenger Hunt and Portfolios will remain unchanged.
The first event of the evening was to show images taken in May when members had a trip down to Herne Bay. The idea was to walk from the pier to the end of Neptune’s Arm and create one digital image for each of the categories in the Portfolios: Landscape, Nature, Pictorial, Portrait, Record and Street.
Watching these images showed just how different people’s view of a place can be of some things, and how similar it is with others. Just for fun, a certificate was awarded to Teresa Russell for being the “Most Photographed Member” across the selection of images! We then had a break for refreshments, including some scrumptious cakes made by our Treasurer Peter Riley’s daughter,
Before the start of the second half, Steve presented certificates connected with the successful exhibition the club had in August: the “People’s Favourite Print” went to Denise Smith with “First Light”, and Clare Edmonds accumulated the most votes across her images, becoming the “People’s Favourite Photographer”. The rest of the evening was given over to members, who were invited to show images they had taken during the summer break.