Landscapes and Flowers

This week we had two more talks from club members.

Colin McInnes took us through some of his own takes on making good landscapes images, with sections on filters, preparation, choosing your viewpoint and the repeated refrain of “use a tripod”. He then closed out with a selection of images based around some favourite locations and discussed “when is a landscape not a landscape?”.

Helen Cullens “gardener first, photographer second” shared some lovely images of flowers, and let us in on some of here own secret techniques. Ever modest, Helen made it all sound very easy, although she did admit to the number of hours it can take to cut around an outline of a flower.

Print Leagues Round 2

The second round of the Colour and Mono print leagues was held this week and judged by Mark Buckley-Sharp.

In the colour section the weeks winner was another new member Gareth Edmeades with a mganificient cityscape "Over the Thames to St. Paul's". Brian Doble took second with "Homing in on Herb Robert" and third was Geoff Clinton with "Red Hot Tuba Player".

Chris Bennett picked up another win in the Mono section with "Chileshe", the places going to Derek Nash with "Misty Morn" and Helen Cullens with "Remembrance".

Patagonia & Steam trains

Thanks to Chris Bennett for this weeks update.

Tuesday 21st was like so many games of football: a game of two very contrasting halves.

In the first, we were transported to southern Patagonia and Chile. Richard Craddock talked about the benefit(?) of doing an eight hour trek to get a good view of the Fitzroy mountain range, and showed us some superb landscape images of the mountains and glaciers.

In the second half, we returned firmly to the UK but with many puffs of smoke as Ian Duffield and Peter Duncan talked about their lifelong interest in steam trains. They showed us images from across the whole of the UK of trains, workshops and re-enactors. Moody skies and lovely low evening light featured heavily as well as the trains.

Projected Images – Round 2

This week's judge Cat Humphries was making her debut at St Albans. The marking was on the generous side, with in a lot of images awarded 20 points, but when the dust had settled, this week's winner was Chris Bennett with her slightly disturbing image “Horror on the undergound”. Chris also secured second place with “Gannet squadron flypast”, and in 3rd place was also a Chris, but this time Chris Dundon-Smith with “Heartbreak”. Congratulations to the 2 Chrises, and also a mention to other 20 point scores for Geoff Clinton, Helen Cullens, Letty Huckerby, Peter Tatton and Chris Williams.

Check out these Results and Images.

Unsurprisingly, Chris Bennett now leads the league after 2 rounds.

How can I improve on this image?

This week’s session was set up as a “Group critique” (with the emphasis on positive feedback) and discussion about what improvements could be made to some example images and why certain changes would or could improve the images scores in potential competitions.

A number of brave souls offered up a few images for the critique, among them some of our new members for whom this was a bit nerve-wracking but also hopefully a good learning experience.

Taking portraits with minimum equipment with Chris Drury.

Thanks to Letty for this weeks update..

Chris had brought along a range of backdrops and reflectors. We all took turns “being guinea pig” and posing for each other in small groups. Chris was on hand to help with hints and tips for the best lighting angles for reflectors and flashes.

It was a fun evening with a lot of laughter.

The biggest difficulty seemed to be learning how the complicated flash guns worked!

I found it particularly interesting to discover that gold reflectors don’t flatter older skin and should only be used for young people whereas silver and white reflectors are suitable for all.

Mix & Match

A regular feature on the calendar, the (fun) competition was judged by Derek Nash, and scored by Chris Williams.

Derek’s judging was called into question in a variety of less than polite terms, the highlight (for me) being his decision that a butterfly was a better match to a bird, than another bird. At least my team scored on that one. The winners were led (at least vocally) by Steve Else, but from where I sat I could not see who else was on his team.

Thanks to Derek and Chris, and congrats to the winners.

Print leagues – Round 1

Many thanks to Martin Patten for judging our first round of prints. There were relatively fewer entries than normal, probably due to this being half-term holidays. Martin was an excellent judge, giving plenty of useful information about why he was marking up or down, and advice on how to bring some of those unsuccessful images up a notch or two.

In the colour league there were 20 entries, and the winner was Richard Craddock with Icelandic Dawn, with 20’s also going to Kieron Keller and Laura Barfoot. Check out the Results and Placed Images pages.

In the monochrome section, from the 14 entries, the winner was Chris Dundon-Smith in his first competition! Runner up was Richard Craddock, and 3rd place went to Juliet Morton. Check out these Results and Images.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who entered.

Table top photography

This week saw a practical session with 4 or 5 different set ups for close up “table top” photography. A range of techniques and equipment were generously set up by experienced members to allow the rest of us to play and learn.

Great enthusiasm was shown by all participants, and I expect to see some entries in the upcoming competitions.

Projected Images – Round 1

The first competition of the year was judged by Pat Begley.

At the end of the day, Colin McInnes was winner with “Water Ballet”, new member Kieron Keller took second place with “Brighton Beach” and Chris Bennett was third with “Surprised Red Grouse”. Check out these great images here.