Member’s Night October 25th 2017

A photographic competition devoted to the subject of ‘Water’ formed the basis of the meeting on Wednesday 25th October. The judge was Alan Walker, MPAGB, ARPS, MPSA, EFIAP, a member of the Society. Alan regularly judges competitions for other photographic clubs and is a certified Northern Counties Photographic Federation judge so members were assured of having an expert giving the critique of their images. The real purpose of the evening was a chance for members to submit pictures in a more relaxed way since the marks awarded did not go towards the season’s photographic league. It also gave members the opportunity to see how they could ‘improve’ their photography. Since not all members of the Society produce prints, the competition was confined to projected digital images (PDIs) and members could enter up to three images each.

Alan had received the thirty-six anonymous PDI entries from twelve members a few days prior to the meeting. On the evening, Alan gave his critique commenting on each image, giving constructive criticism where necessary and awarding a mark. Alan gave helpful advice on composition, choice of viewpoint, depth of field, exposure, shutter speed, cropping and relevance to the subject. Alan pointed out the difficulty of getting exposure correct with areas of white water and he emphasised that when entering a ‘set subject’ competition it is important to keep to the chosen set subject and to make sure that it is the most important element in the picture. The images submitted all featured water in some form or another, including waterfalls, water droplets, calm sea, crashing waves, rivers, lakes and frozen water and these sometimes combined with other elements such as reflections, people, animals, plants or man-made structures.

Four images received a top score of twenty and three of these were by Tony Marsh. Tony’s images were ‘Water Fight’, depicting three gannets tussling over a fish in swirling water, ‘Water and Grass’, a lovely image of part of a waterfall taken with a slow shutter speed and ‘Dew on Swollen-thighed Beetle’ a superb close-up image of a strikingly coloured beetle resting on a hairy leaf, both beetle and leaf being covered by a myriad of tiny water droplets. 

The fourth image to achieve a top score was ‘The Last Drop’ by Ken Rennie and it was chosen as the overall winning image by the judge. This atmospheric image taken with a slow shutter speed featured water cascading down over delicately lit rocks into a pool at the bottom of a waterfall.

Four images achieved a score of nineteen: ‘Reflected Solway Sunset’ and ‘Breaking Wave’ both by Keith Snell, ‘Slavonian Grebe Drying Off’ by Carol Minks and ‘Ullswater Boat House’ by Tom Stenhouse. Scores of eighteen were awarded to six images: ‘Ice and Water’ by Carol Minks, ‘At Nichol End’ by Aline Hopkins, ‘Surging Water’ and ‘Evening Light’ both by Ken Rennie, ‘Wet Feet’ by Stephen Harris and ‘Aira Force’ by Michael Rowlinson

Keith Snell, the Society’s chairman thanked Alan for his hard work judging the images and for his constructive comments.

The full gallery of submitted images can be viewed here

Shooting Stars

Keswick Photography Society welcomed Stephen Cheatley this week, an astronomer and astro-photographer from Blackpool.
Stephen spoke about his start in astronomy and how he has progressed through the years. Astronomy includes the sun, the moon, the stars and deep space and Stephen spoke about capturing images in all areas.
His work has taken him all over the world and he proved very knowledgeable about the night sky and the constellations.
During his talk, Stephen explained to us the techniques he used to capture images, from star trails, where he would shoot the night sky for a couple of hours, to photo stacking, which ensures he gets the best quality images.   He spoke about his use of a telescope to create images from deep space, with some very impressive images of far off constellations showing amazing colour and detail.

Stephen demonstrated the use of a star tracking device for his tripod which allows a much longer exposure to be taken of the night sky, the device matches the movement of the stars so you don’t get any blur in the long exposures, just very sharp and detailed images. He shared with us details of how to create a star trail image, where you take a number of 30 second pictures, it could be hundreds, and use special software to stack all the images to create one image which shows the movement of the stars int he night sky.  The same technique was used to create a superb image of the International Spacing Station passing through the night sky.
It was an excellent and very informative talk, the time flew by.

KPS 1st Open Competition

Keswick Photographic Society’s First Open Competition of the new season was held on 4th October. During the 2017-18 season, there will be another three Open Competitions with each competition being divided into two sections: prints and projected images. Members are allowed to enter up to three prints and three projected images for each competition. The points accrued in the competitions all go towards the Society’s league. In April, a trophy will be awarded to the member achieving the most points in the print section of the league and, similarly, there will be a trophy awarded for the top position in the projected images section. In addition, there will be a trophy for the photographer achieving the top mark when the scores for the prints and projected images are combined. Importantly, the competitions also provide an opportunity for members to show their images and also to gain advice on how to improve their work and develop their photography.

The judge for the First Open Competition was David Stout, DPAGB, EFIAP, PPSA, a Northern Counties Photographic Federation judge. David had travelled all the way from Ryton near Newcastle to judge the competition entries which had been delivered to him ten days prior to the meeting. There were forty-five prints and fifty-nine projected images. David stated that he was really pleased to be judging a competition at Keswick since the Society has been doing extremely well in high-profile external competitions and is currently regarded very highly by the Northern Counties Photographic Federation. He commented that he was not disappointed when he saw the images which were of a very high standard and that this was reflected in the large number of images awarded high marks.

The images were given a score out of twenty and David discussed each image, commenting on the good points and, in some cases, suggesting where improvements could be made. The first half of the evening was devoted to the print entries and after a break for tea and biscuits the projected digital images were considered. In the print section almost one-quarter of the prints comprised nature photographs and the proportion increased to just over a third for the projected images. However most other genres of photography were represented including landscape, portraiture, travel, photojournalism, creative and still life. The majority of the images were in colour but mono photography (black and white) also featured.

The overall winning print with a score of twenty was ‘Bonelli’s Eagle Plucking Pigeon’ by Ronnie Gilbert. This superb pin-sharp print showing ‘nature in the raw’ was chosen by the judge as his top print. Four other prints achieved top scores of twenty and these were: ‘Little Egret with Stickleback’ by Carol Minks, ‘Reeds in Snow, Okunikko’ by Tom Stenhouse, ‘A Different Approach’ by David Woodthorpe and ‘Give us a Kiss Mum’ by Alan Walker. A number of prints received scores of nineteen and these were: ‘The Sunset’ by Carmen Norman, ‘Drinking Bison’ and ‘Red Throated Diver Landing’ both by Carol Minks, ‘Old Chapel Lucignano’ by Alan Walker and ‘At the Water’s Edge’ by Ken Rennie. Following on closely with scores of eighteen were images by Julie Walker, Ken Rennie, Ronnie Gilbert, Marilyn Woodthorpe, Tom Stenhouse and Marcus Mackay.

The overall winner of the projected images section was ‘Eye on Tewet Tarn’ by Ken Rennie. This was a beautiful dawn image looking across Tewet Tarn. One other projected image also achieved a top score of twenty and this was ‘Wren and Lichen’ by Tony Marsh. This featured a delightful jaunty-looking wren perched on a lichen-covered fence post. As with the prints, a number of projected images received scores of nineteen and these were: ‘Alaskan Brown Bear’ and ‘Buzkashi Horseman Mongolia’ both by Ronnie Gilbert, ‘Leopard Stalking in the Shadows’ by Alan Walker, ‘Three in a Row’ by Ken Rennie, ‘Bison Bull Resting’ and ‘Calling Snipe’ both by Carol Minks, ‘Singing Robin’ by Tricia Rayment and ‘Fatherly Love’ by Julie Walker. Images with scores of eighteen were awarded to Julie Walker, Marcus Mackay, Ronnie Gilbert, David Woodthorpe, Tony Marsh, David Rayment and Alan Walker.

David Woodthorpe thanked the judge for all his hard work judging the images. The next meeting of the Society on Wednesday October 18th is entitled ‘A Square Mile’ and will be a presentation by Phil Buckle. Our meetings take place at The Friends Meeting House, Elliott Park, Keswick, CA12 5NZ on Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm. You will be most welcome to join us.

(Tricia Rayment)

Celebrate the seasons & Time Frames

“Celebrate the Seasons and Time Frames” by Tim Fuller from Twynholm, Dumfries and Galloway.

Tim Fuller is a professional photographer based in Twynholm in Dumfries and Galloway. During the first part of his talk Tim described the influences that have shaped his photography. As a student in Newcastle in the 1980’s he found inspiration in the urban and industrial scenery around him. He was also a frequent visitor to the Side Gallery where he found Don McCullin’s work of particular interest. Tim’s fascination with the natural world developed when he moved to Kielder in Northumberland where he was inspired by the scenery on his journey to work and the wildlife around his home.

Tim described how in developing his photographic business, “Wild-scapes”, it had been important to take a unique approach. His photographs are largely as taken without the computer manipulation that is so popular now. This can make life difficult as he does not believe in removing unwanted elements from his images so he has to work hard to ensure that the originals taken in camera are as near perfect as possible. None of his images are set up or taken in a studio. Humour also plays an important role in his images. He also advised that images which appeal to children tend to sell well.

Tim showed us a wide variety of images including wildlife, landscapes, manmade structures and seascapes. While many of these had been taken in the UK he also showed images from further afield including New Zealand and Australia. In the second half of his presentation Tim showed us images from his current exhibition.

Our next meeting will be on 11th October when Stephen Cheatley from Blackpool will give a talk on his astronomical photography using a telescope. His work can be viewed at http://stephencheatleyphotography.co.uk.

Julie Walker

Members night – Three Members’ Experience and Enlightenment

This was our first members’ evening of the season and didn’t disappoint. Three members Tony Marsh, Alan and Julie Walker presented “Macro Nature Photography’, “What A Judge is Looking For” and “Creative Photography”.

Alan Walker opened with tips on why a judge might criticise an image or as Alan named it “Judge Bait”! Believe it or not these are often simple mistakes that the photographer cannot see because the overall image is very good. However, in a competition with an abundance of good images, a fault has to be found in order to justify the judges’ selection for first, second or third position.

Essentially one must get the basics right in camera; good exposure, use of the histogram to provide information on over or under exposure, avoid backgrounds which divert attention and if a distraction exists, remove it in post processing especially sensor dust spots. With landscapes make sure the horizon is level and use the “rule of thirds”. Finally, correct the white balance to avoid colour casts.

For portraits and people light up the eyes and place the eyes on one of the thirds, certainly don’t crop parts of people and do give the subject sufficient space within the image.  Portrait images in colour can be enhanced by changing the image to black and white. Refrain from over processing the image with plug-ins or sharpening. Story telling in an image is important but not without the technical quality.

Standards continue to rise in photography; for example, historically a kingfisher on its perch would have been a winner 10 years ago, then it had to be holding a fish in its mouth, next it needed to be  emerging from the water with a fish and water splashing, now underwater images are essential to produce the “WOW” factor.

Exploding out of the Water by Alan Walker

It is paramount that one enjoys photography as every image has its own value whether it wins a competition or not.

Julie Walker gave an excellent succinct presentation on creative photography. It was the best I have seen being understandable and simple to follow. This is not always the case as the “expert” frequently leads one down the road of complex methods and techniques which are impossible to remember.

Waiting by Julie Walker

She explained the use of post processing with Photoshop, a computer based “Darkroom” and the application of layers to create a composite image when two separate images are blended together to make a unique visual creation. Subsequently, she showed how texturing  adds atmosphere to an image and how to create textures by taking pictures of household wall tiles or wallpaper and applying them in layers.  The addition of a layer mask offers the flexibility to view one layer through another permitting the freedom of artistic creation.

After the interval Tony Marsh gave a description of the lenses and flash accessories he uses for macro photography in nature. He described how his image quality had improved with much  practice and by making mistakes!  His field craft knowledge has also been enhanced.

Lace fly by Tony Marsh

The images ranged from 1:1 ratio to 5:1, with this amount of magnification the detail obtained was spellbinding.  The sequence was of butterflies, moths, damsel flies, beetles, bugs, mushrooms and ferns – all of which can be found in most back gardens.

One of the major problems with macro photography is a narrow depth of field which means that the amount of subject in focus can be just a millimetre.  To improve this, flash can be employed which also permits hand holding as insects don’t stay still for long and a photographer needs to be mobile and unhindered by a tripod.  Tony reinforced the same rules from “Judge Bait” which become more critical with magnification.

Photography my way – A talk by Margaret Elliot 

This week at Keswick Photography Society we were treated to a wonderful talk by Margaret Elliott entitled “Photography My Way.”

Margaret is from Dumfries Camera club and has been a photographer for over a decade with DPAGB, EFIAP qualifications. 

Her stunning set of images included Panel of Flower details, which demonstrated her skill with the camera. It showed the amazing colours of a variety of flowers including Orchids. Using a very shallow depth of field to capture the details gave a beautifully artistic and visually stunning panel.

A second panel included B&W portraits.

Margaret spoke about how you can crop an image to improve composition, tips on processing to improve the image and how important it is to look at the detail.

She spoke about how her photography has progressed over the years from darkroom development, digital,  composite pics, textures, to the creation of digital art. She demonstrated the importance of different types of paper and how they can give a different feel to the final image, reminding us to always check the edges of images to make sure you have not cropped too tight.

Showing the same image in both B&W and colour, she asked us to choose which image we preferred  but we found that it was rarely a unanimous answer. It’s very subjective.

In the second half of the evening Margaret showed some wildlife images and again discussed how her photography style had progressed over the years. She gave us some information on how wildlife subjects were captured – eg. using peanuts to attract birds and other small animals.

Margaret reminded us that it is important to enjoy your photography and take your images, your way, for you.  Even if a picture has been done before. she said “But I don’t care They are mine!”

Our first meeting of the season

Alan Walker

Our first meeting of the season was on Wednesday 6th September and was very well attended in our new home in the Quaker Meeting House in Keswick. Members enjoyed a presentation by the Chairman on African wildlife and a number of members showed their winning images from last season’s competitions and explained how they took the shots. A report will appear in the Keswick Reminder on Thursday 14th September.

Carmen Norman

We were extremely pleased to hear the outcomes of the Photographic Society of America international interclub competitions which came out during our summer break. The Society came top of their league in the Nature section and second in the open projected image section. But much more notable was that Carmen Norman’s photo titled The Curtsy was judged as the best image overall from all 130 clubs participating in the open projected image section and Alan Walker’s Kingfisher image was judged the best image overall from the 40 clubs that participated in the Nature section. Congratulations to both of them for their outstanding achievement.

KPS Visit to Drumburgh Moss

On a sunny but windy day a number of KPS members, 12 to be precise, gathered at a nature reserve, Drumburgh Moss.

Drumburgh Moss National Nature Reserve is a site of international importance, dominated by an expanse of lowland raised mire, one of Western Europe’s most threatened habitats. Sphagnum moss, sundew and other bog-loving plants thrive in the wetlands that make up much of the terrain. Curlew and red grouse breed and adders and roe deer are seen.

However, we were there to photograph insects a mixture of Damsel and Dragonflies, Butterflies, Beetles, Grasshoppers, Spiders and Bees.

After days of quite heavy rain, the Reserve lived up to its reputation of being boggy.

Our organiser, Tony Marsh, led us onto the site and then we split up into small groups to find some suitable specimens. Finding such flighty insects and then photographing them in the wind and intermittent bright sunshine was quite difficult and involved quite a lot of fiddling with camera settings and positioning to get an ideal background that complimented the insect. A mixture of camera equipment, telephoto lenses, macro lenses and flash were used. Tripods on the whole were abandoned.

Attire involved a variation of footwear from sandals to wellies, over trousers and waterproofs.

Lunch for some involved a glass of wine and salmon sandwiches, others were happy with a thermos flask filled with coffee or tea and some fairly ordinary sandwiches followed by some fruit.

A good day was had by all and I am sure we will see some of the images on one of our members evenings in the forthcoming season.

It’s a good way of socialising whilst still having photography at the heart of the occasion.

PAGB Inter-Club PDI Championship

The KPS contingent (Keith Snell, Tony Marsh, Alan & Julie Walker) at the PAGB Inter-Club PDI Championship held at Warwick University on Saturday 15th July.

Sad to say we didn’t make the final eight after the first two rounds (missed out by 3 marks out of 200+) – Smethwick PS were eventual winners. In the Plate competition between the remaining 30 clubs, we were placed 4th with 107 (Dumfries CC were the winners with 112). For this, our first outing in the competition (representing the Northern Counties Federation), we were proud of our showing.