Thank you for visiting our website. Here you will find full details of our Programme, a large selection of images from our members, information on our competitions held throughout the season and reports from our recent meetings.
We have changed the format of our Programme this year. We will be holding meetings at Whitchurch-on-Thames Village Hall every other Wednesday evening at 8.00pm along with fortnightly Zoom Meetings on alternate Wednesday evenings.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE LATEST MEETING
1 November 2023
A Taste of Italy
Our presentation this evening was given by one of our own club members, David Belcher, who gave us a fascinating tour of the South West coast of Italy starting with the city of Naples. His images included many studies of the narrow streets along with the variety of shops and churches which adorn the city.
He then took us to Sorrento with its wonderful harbour area, churches and cathedrals and he pointed out the ancient burial chambers located high up the cliffs.
This was followed by an indepth study of two ancient Roman cities – Pompeii and Herculaneum - which were destroyed in the year 79 AD with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. David had researched the history of these two centres and his images showed the colossal amount of excavation work which is still ongoing to discover what can be seen of the buildings which stood there before they were engulfed by ash and molten lava.
Thank you, David, for a very interesting and absorbing evening.
25 October 2023
Our speaker tonight, on Zoom, was Veronica Congleton ARPS. She explained that, twenty years ago, she decided to photograph as many animals and other wildlife as she can in their natural environment as opposed to zoos and British wildlife parks. Her first venture took her North of homeland near Newcastle upon Tyne where she found badgers in Southern Scotland and otters in Unst in the Shetland Islands. She then journeyed to India to track down some tigers and, on the way to Tudoba Tiger Reserve, she took many images of the Indian children and their families who she found were all very friendly and welcoming. In the same area, she visited an Elephant Sanctuary to photograph the largest animals which exist in our world today.
She then journeyed across the Pacific to visit Alaska to find brown bears, her destination being Brooks Falls where hundreds of bears compete with each other to catch salmon leaping up the falls. She then visited Anan near Wrangell where she found black bears, the largest bear and very dangerous. Her journeys continued South to Africa where she went on safari in Botswana staying in tents overnight. She could often hear lions and hippos walking through the encampment at night which must have been very frightening. Veronica’s presentation finished with a visit to the Dwindi National Park in Uganda where she photographed gorillas, one of the gentle giants of the Natural World
An interesting and fascinating evening which finished far too early.
18 October 2023
Digital Competition Number 1
Tonight we held the first round in our series of ladder digital competitions with no set subject. Our judge was Amanda Wright who made the long journey from Ealing to view our images. There were 39 images submitted by members and these covered an enormous range of subjects which included many Natural History photographs, stunning landscapes, portraits and a number of creative images.
Amanda gave us some very constructive and helpful feedback on our images. She commented on composition and suggested ways in which our images could be improved and she shared her views on the use of key lines around the image to produce a better effect.
Being the first round of the competition, the overall standard was very high which resulted in a total of five images receiving the maximum score of 20 points, each photograph having been taken by five different authors. These were:
Busy Bee on Lavender by David Copas
Ripples on the Water by Tony Bates
Kings Cross Station by Tilly Jamieson
Abstract by David Massie
Winding it Up by David Robinson
The results of the competition were First Place – Tony Bates and David Copas with 39 points each followed by Tilly Jamieson, Nigel Glover-Wright and David Massie who each scored 38 points. The overall winning image was shared by Busy Bee on Lavender and Ripples on the Water.
11 October 2023
Tonight's talk on Zoom was given by Hugh Rooney. Hugh started in photography 40 years ago mainly working with black and white film with the occasional colour slides. Hugh’s love of black and white has continued to the present day, now using digital cameras of course. He focuses on architecture, landscapes and seascapes with the aim of creating fine-art black and white prints.
Hugh gained his FRPS last year with a panel of black and white architectural images. During the first half of the evening, Hugh showed us the images from his panel and explained the background to them and their creation. It quickly became apparent that Hugh has evolved a very personal, striking style for his architectural images. The images were from buildings located in many parts of the world, including Spain, New York, Germany, Scotland, Ireland, Japan, France, Holland and London. However, the same strong style formed the link between all the images.
Hugh concentrates on parts of buildings rather than the whole. They generally have strong lines which Hugh emphasises by creating strong contrast along the building lines. Hugh deals with messy skies by creating graduated grey brightness levels. The effect is to create something almost abstract. We were all duly impressed with the results.
Despite what the talk says on the tin, Hugh continued showing us more of his architectural images after the break, but quickly move on to show us his landscapes and seascapes. A similar style was evident but with a softer approach. He explained how he uses long exposures to get a smooth sea and superimposes a short exposure of a person or birds to keep them sharp.
This was a very enjoyable evening of exceptional images with Hugh’s explanations giving us insight into what the images were about and how he created them.
4 October 2023
The Art of Judging
Tonight we put ourselves in the judging seat to help us learn what judges are looking for in competitions. In so doing, we had a better understanding of how to improve our own images. Our chairman, Alan Copeland, led the session. He brought along the images from a competition he had judged at another camera club and we were invited to comment on each image with good points and aspects for improvement. In the first half, there was a set subject of ‘Faces’. In the second half, there was no set subject
Alan explained the process that judges follow when judging a competition, including the scoring. After we’d commented on each image, Alan revealed the score he’d given in the actual competition. Sometimes we agreed with Alan’s score, other times we didn’t; I guess that’s why judging is an art with no definitive answers.
This was an enjoyable, interactive evening that gave us food for thought when reviewing our own images and how to improve them.
27 Sept 2023
World of Winter Whiteness
Our speaker tonight, on Zoom, was George Steele. For a number of years he had been a winter walking leader, mainly in the Alps, so he had many images to show us of the beautiful snowy landscapes. In addition to his stunning images of snow-clad mountains, George showed us some interesting details. He showed us the tracks used by cross-country skiers which walkers had to avoid walking in. The tracks are made by a vehicle towing a large stone. Another interesting detail was a long line footprints made by a deer that had carefully placed all four hooves into the same footprint as it went along; that’s difficult to do with just two feet! George also showed us a number of buildings with with intricate paintings on them that told a story.
When we got to the break after an hour, it became obvious that George had finished his talk and didn’t have anything to show us after the break! Our chairman, Alan, skilfully persuaded George to share some the files we could see on George’s screen. We were treated to a video taken in New Zealand, not by George, of a snow-ploughing train clearing the line which was quite spectacular. George also shared some close-up shots of flowers taken on some early digital cameras. The images were lovely, despite the relatively low resolution of the cameras. George made the point that you don’t need a specialised macro lens to take close-ups. For example, a telephoto lens can work just as well.
So, it was a short but entertaining evening allowing time for an early bath, as Alan put it!
20 Sept 2023
This year, we are back in the Rosebowl Competition, so our task this evening was to select about 25 images as candidates for the competition entry. Each of us had been invited to submit up to 8 images for consideration and we had a strong panel of over 80 images that we had to whittle down to 25.
We were each given the list of entries with a column for our own notes and a column to indicate our own choices (up to 25) for entry into the Rosebowl. After a quick run-through of all the images, we went slowly through each one, with the opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification. Then a final run-through to hone our 25 choices.
Having handed in our tick-lists, the votes will be added up to determine the 25 images to go forward. A good job done on a very wet evening!
13 Sept 2023
Mountains, Music and Mirth
This evening’s talk on Zoom was given by Paul Bates. His parents used to take him on walks in the Lake District when he was a child and he developed a love of walking and started taking photos of the landscape. When he was given his first SLR, his love of photography really took off and he soon got into audio-visual presentations (using slides and tape recorders in those days). So Paul’s talk was a series of audio-visual shows mainly of mountains, some with mirth and all accompanied by an enjoyable and relevant selection of music.
The mountains included the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District, the Peak District, the Swiss Alps, the Italian Dolomites and Snowdon. On lower ground, Paul showed us bee sculptures in Manchester and Crosby Beach with its Anthony Gormley iron man sculptures (queue heavy metal music).
Mirth was provided by ‘Poisoning Pigeons in the Park’ and ‘The First Yorkshire Man in Space’. The Japanese poetic form called Haiku provided further amusement. Paul presented a sequence of computer blue screen error messages each with a 17-syllable Haiku poem taking the mickey out of our recalcitrant machines.
This was an entertaining and varied evening and I, for one, came away inspired with some ideas for our Christmas audio-visual competition.
6 Sept 2023
Street Photography My Way
We kicked off the new season in great style to welcome back Peter Crane to enthuse us about Street Photography. Peter spoke to us on this subject previously and it was very helpful to have him give us further insights into this style of photography; our competition in February is on this very subject. Peter likened Street Photography to fishing, since we are waiting in a likely spot to catch an interesting or amusing subject.
Before showing us examples of his images, Peter outlined the camera settings he finds works. They are:
• 16 – 80 mm lens
• Auto ISO
• Aperture F/8
• Shutter speed 1/250
• Spot focussing, centred metering
• High speed continuous shooting
Peter recommended back button focussing so that you can pre-focus where you expect the action to be and keep the focus set. He often shoots from the hip and recommends a wrist strap to secure the camera and to be less conspicuous.
By presenting a number of his images, Peter illustrated what to look for in Street Photography. These included:
• Matching colours (especially red)
• Characters dressed up for street events such as Gay Pride
• Shadows and reflections
• Mainly people, but dogs and other animals can make amusing images
• Other photographers
• Night scenes
Normally, Peter likes to blend into the background to avoid being noticed as a photographer. The only time he may ask permission to photograph a person is when taking a portrait.
Many of Peter’s images were taken in and around Brick Lane, London. The vibrant street activity and graffiti make for many and varied photo opportunities.
We came away inspired and with some practical tips so that we may feel more confident to wander the streets and make some great images for our upcoming competition.