12th July – COLIN WESTGATE – “The Expressive Landscape”

We look, with intrigue, at the speaker’s subject title and many of us, no doubt, wondered what it might mean. Colin had anticipated our concerns and immediately described it as the “stamp” of the photographer on the way his image is displayed and how the observer feels on viewing its interpretation and processing.
Colin Westgate (FRPS, MPAGB, FIAP) was our guest speaker Monday evening. On retiring from banking in 1993, Colin established a successful photographic holiday, tuition and guidance company (Quest). Many of the vast array of images presented during his talk came through his excursions with Quest.

The author’s journey into the world of photography had begun many years before and his work over more that 60 years was presented to us in sequential order and described in fine detail, often including the time of year (Winter is his favourite) the venue, the time of day (often early morning beginning in the blue hour before sunrise) and capturing, with close observation, the subtle changes in landscapes as the Sun rises in the sky. His parents had given him an Agfa manual camera, with few adjustable controls, and his 1959 image was taken on a road leading to his work place, it had very little detail, was underexposed with little contrast and yet it expressed a mood that inspired his creative skills for a lifetime.

The evening continued with the display of over 130 images and Colin’s enthusiasm, perceptive detail, compositional skills and memory for every shot was magnificent. He had experimented with techniques in his own darkroom, enjoyed the challenge of using filters, all of this following his visualisation of the photograph at the time it was taken. How interesting that the instruction that he was given to “keep the Sun behind you” was disobeyed to such good effect over the years. We particularly enjoyed a number of images, taken from the Sussex coast, of the Seven Sisters and the calm sky and smooth sea but the Sun falling on the white cliffs was magical and the secondary focal object being the groynes supported the image so well. The area around Seaford and Eastbourne in the early morning provided rich pickings for Colin for many years, and during many seasons.

From a technical standpoint the use of Jpg and Raw simultaneously has allowed the exploration and development of areas using Photoshop as well as extensively working, post camera, on the mood of monochrome work, of which we saw many superb examples. Clearly Colin’s appetite has found him travelling widely. We went to the North of England, to Northumberland and Dunstanburgh castle observing it so well at sunrise in November and local moorland. The Farne Islands and guillemots being used as a composite part of a landscape. Berwick on Tweed showing rock pools where the light meets the wind activated water, a view of Pollarded willows with 4 distinct layers which needed a skilled experienced artistic mind to create such a memorable image. How generous to admit that luck can occasionally be involved in achieving a special effect – particularly a reddish pink cloud on Hedgehope hill in the Cheviots.

Scotland also proved to be a happy hunting ground – Rannoch Moor Glencoe where a photographer’s favourite tree is now blown down. Mountains, snow, storms and rain all proved to be props for Colin in his search for another expression. Onward to the Commando Monument North of Spean Bridge, Fort William. North West Scotland, Wester Ross a remarkable view taken 10 minutes after a rain storm as an emerging sun hit the roof top of a small building and who could forget the setting Moon in Glencoe (which a judge implied was imported!) Over the sea to Skye, frequently a wet area but we saw Marscow just catching the light, an image that needed taking at a critical angle to catch 2 trees on an outcrop, a study in light. Few of us would photograph a wrecked refreshment van with a boat trailer and beaten campervan but the statement of such ugliness proved a winner. In contrast we moved on to Egg, Muk, Rum, Harris and Lewes to see the patterns inscribed in the water as the tide receded.
Concluding our tour of Great Britain, we were taken to Wales, Pembrokeshire and the exciting landscapes to be found there, particularly using hand held 1/8 second exposure to just keep the water moving, as well as some soft tones with up to 10 second exposure. Through to Northern Ireland and the inevitable Giant’s Causeway with no particular object of focus and much post processing to eliminate the host of tourists.
Visits abroad included USA and Yellowstone National Park – a much photographed venue also the frightening Death Valley where the terrain defies you to create something new.

It was apparent that Colin’s instructional tours had extensively visited Iceland and revealed this photographers’ paradise in detail. Europe’s highest waterfall, fabulous Icebergs, black lava beaches, isolated deserted agricultural buildings, churches and cemeteries, mountains, wild skies. We recall one particular mono image prepared using PS with particularly striking and detailed blacks. This was prepared by using Tonal Control through Dodging and Burning. A “non-destructive” process that Colin has perfected. Colin offered a copy of this process to all members of SYPC – that was gratefully received.
The wide and stunning variation of this section is best studied on Colin’s web site.
Finally, as this hugely successful and inspirational photographer draws his magnificent talk to an end, we enjoyed Mersea Island this an island in Essex, England, in the Blackwater and Colne estuaries to the south-east of Colchester. A black and white image of the restored sailing vessel Pioneer. Oyster dredging, frosty mornings amongst the bulrushes (retain that luminosity), beach huts after a snow storm – who would have thought of this? Frozen slushy sea ice and evidence of the prolific coastal erosion.
A most enjoyable evening with inspirational content delivered by a man of boundless energy and an enthusiasm for photography that is highly infectious – We recommend a visit to – http://www.questphoto.co.uk/about-quest

5th. July 2021 – Jane Lazenby – “Inspired by Art”

The breadth of skills exhibited by our speakers seems to know no limit and we were delighted to welcome Jane Lazenby last night and it is no exaggeration to say that all those who attended were entirely blown away.
As way of an introduction Jane has an impressive array of qualifications including – BA Hons, ASEA, SAAPA, QTFE2, UKCPS, LRPS, BPE3*, CPAGB, LMPA and EFIAP.
Jane is a graduate with a Fine Art degree and began her artistic path as a portrait painter. During her studies, unsurprisingly, she became acquainted with the work of, amongst many others, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Klimt, Mucha, Degas, Stubbs and the pre-Raphaelites. As our understanding of the creative skills grows then so does our vocabulary and the word Chiaroscuro became familiar to us (the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting) in particular Jane invited us walk with her to understand the use of chiaroscuro as defined by her chosen exponents.

We began with the rebellious, and often naughty, Caravaggio, often vilified for painting subjects with dirty feet when kneeling before Christ. Such boundaries were attractive to Jane and her stylised image of a model with dolls drew on the frail mental condition that, indeed has been the misfortune of many during the Covid 19 pandemic.

Our attention was drawn to the soft skin tones, hand gestures and implied signals as shown in the image of the Madonna and Child with an extraordinary overly bright background.
The was the start of our journey – Rembrandt was bound to feature and his well-known style with glorification of the ordinary and imperfections was used by Jane in photographing and making more “painterly” a beautiful girl with long auburn hair stroking a horse, she described her own studio film sets, prepared at much effort, to create certain desired effects. This led on to Klimt, the son of a goldsmith raised amongst wealth, brightness and society but with that latent rebel nature and here Jane’s translation of his work into the photographic arena, became apparent. Alphonso Mucha was probably somewhat different from Jane’s other painters in that he was an illustrator and graphic designer, of Czech origin, his extraordinary and often fairy tale, decorative art appeals as it gives Jane the opportunity to create props and bring together beads and long flowing hair which she deliberately flattened in Photoshop – a Grecian feel was realised with decorative green ivy.


The well-known Edgar Degas, who is best known for his dancers, also painted nudes and racehorses and Jane’s work with a dance class brought out some amazing studies of movement, form, shadow and clever lighting, she admitted to us here that use of the Photoshop add-on, Topaz, has brought out the best in this section of her portfolio. George Stubbs was her next choice, so famous for his accurate and exciting portraits of racehorses, so well observed due to his anatomical studies. It is not often noticed that his paintings were 1/3 landscape – how wonderful to see his famous picture of Gimcrack – a racehorse whose name has now entered the English language. She has reproduced in a photograph his study of Whistle Jacket. Jane’s horse photos with her own painted doves provides us with an unfinished story, again an aspect of her varied work. Who will forget a Stallion frightened by a lion? Jane photographed the lion’s head at the Doncaster Wildlife Park.

Finally we enter the world of fantasy, myth with legend and storytelling – entering Camelot with naturalism, colour and texture – empty bird cages showing symbolism, the transience of life and the world of dreams – here we meet the pre-Raphaelites which, clearly, provides Jane the opportunity to exhibit her skills observing beauty, a woman in red lying in water, the apple thief, the horse eating a trug of apples picked by the maiden, Wuthering Heights, a dray horse, Lady Godiva in the streets of Coventry, Medieval Knights and Ophelia.

Our speaker tells us of her style as a narrator, often around the family, using legends as symbols and stunning costumes and the recurring Chiaroscuro to elicit mood and stimulate the observer’s thoughts of the background story.


Without doubt the great ideas and creativity that we saw this evening combines both her own wonderful imagination, great skill and perception combined with a unique flare but, also the hours and hours that must have been put into her mastery of Photoshop. Like many of our friends in the world of photography she is supreme when passing on her hard-won talents and tips and the final segment of the meeting was enriched with three examples of live edits, using PS. It was emphasised during this demonstration the importance of customising brushes etc. in order to fulfil the demands of post camera processing. All of these were at Jane’s fingertips converting the mundane to the superb.


A thoroughly enjoyable evening which will stimulate much thought amongst our members. As usual we recommend a visit to her web sites:-
www.animalfineart.co.uk
www.ejlazenbyphotography.co.uk

And also, as pointed out by new member Tony, try INSTAGRAM

2021 – Round 4 – Bi Monthly Results – June 28th.

This was the 4th. SYPC 2021 Bi Monthly member Competition. This month was our usual ‘Open Competition’. Normally we encourage members to submit 2 prints and 2 digital images to our Bi Monthly Competitions. However due to the logistical issues of collecting and delivering prints during the continuing “Covid” period, our Bi Monthly Competitions are digital entries only. The external judge for this 4th. 2021 Bi Monthly competition was Ralph Snook (ARPS, EFIAP).

Ralph has been a frequent visitor to SYPC both as a Judge and Speaker and whatever role, always delivers an enjoyable and constructive evening. On Monday Ralph’s comments and critique was helpful and well received. Ralph reviewed and commented on 42 digital images at our Zoom meeting. Thirty eight members joined the video call to listen to Ralph’s feedback and selection of his preferred images. Ralph’s comments are always well received and Monday night was no exception.

Thank you Ralph a thoroughly enjoyable evening and we are already looking forward to your next visit to SYPC.

Below is a table of the Top 8 Digital Images and their author’s name.

Round 4 Digital TitleAuthorPlace
Loch Cill ChriosdRay Grace1st.
Into the blueEric D’costa2nd.
Love you MumAnnette Wakefield3rd.
White GeraniumStuart Lewis4th.
Wild Child HollyKevin James5th.
Falls in the poolJohn Portlock6th.
Burgos CathedralPeter Range7th.
Under the bridgeMark Seaman8th.

Below are the Top3 Digital Images.

First Place “Loch Cill Chriosd” by Ray Grace

2nd. Place “Into the blue” by Eric D’Costa

3rd. Place “Love you Mum” by Annette Wakefield

Additionally the Top8 Images can be found at –http://www.sypc.org.uk/gallery/index.php/2016-Competitions/2021-Competition-Results

14th. June 2021 – Polina Plotnikova (FRPS) – “Capturing the Mood”

Polina Plotnikova (FRPS) returned to SYPC with her second talk of 2021 “Capturing the Mood”. Whilst we saw another set of outstanding images most of these images made use of the Lensbaby range of optics for which Polina is an Ambassador. Polina made it known that Lensbaby was a “love at first sight”, and that she tries really hard to spread the joy of using these lenses. Something she achieved in spades last Monday evening.
We are hearing the word BOKEH in association with photography very regularly, indeed it was used on last Sunday’s Countryfile on BBC1 – what does it mean? It is a popular photographic technique which uses blur to focus the viewer’s attention on a specific area of an image. We are used to organising our backgrounds or working with appropriate depth of field to achieve this effect, bot Polina’s subject was the detailed explanation of how bokeh can enter our art through use of specialist lenses.
Lens based optics and their manipulation captures the mood and although there are vintage lenses available, which many people have experimented with, the Lensbaby range was brought to our attention. The different component model names to some extent describe the wonderful change that is brought about. The Composer Pro tilts like a ball and socket and adapted with lens called Sweet reveals a special effect, as shown to us with Bruge Church as the subject where the foreground flowers swirl and lead our eye to the distant spire. This lens can also bring out some remarkable changes when used with portraits. There are a range of Sweet models according to their focal length. Our speaker was keen to remind us that they are all manual focus lenses. We were shown the technique using H Optic where a slice of the image was in pin sharp focus and this method drew us to facial features or a horizon, a very creative bokeh. The lens used tiny silvery droplets from the background forming heart shaped droplets, used in Composer Pro.
The next choice in the Lensbaby range was called Twist (60) and forms part of a family with its own straight swirl effect, creating intensity to the background, it was shown to good effect with bluebells, giving a kind of down the rabbit hole effect. We were shown the entry level Lensbaby version called Sol 22 (& Sol 45). It is similar to Sweet and used with a wild cheetah image gave a startling result. This was followed with one of our speaker’s favourite models, known as Velvet (three models 85, 56, 28), it gave a soft focus with a unique organic quality, both bright and subtle. A particular shot of the shore on Harris and Lewes was a favourite of our speaker. Its use was, demonstrably, quite versatile often with flowers. We moved on to see the next type, known as Burnside 35 and comes in a range of prime focal lengths, it creates our well-known vignetting effect, similar to Twist with a wide angle and a swirly bokeh.
The following lens from the range was very exciting and is known as the Trio 28, it has three incorporated different effects, the sweet spot cannot be moved and always remains in the centre and is regularly in position on the author’s Canon M6 MK 11 camera, one image appeared to be a double exposure and would, undoubtedly, confused most judges. There is also an Omni creative filter system which can be used with this range to provide other wonderful styles, its magnetic attachment method gives it rapid, adaptable flexibility and can be used with Velvet, composer pro and H Optic.
The evening’s content now moved to suitable subjects for Lensbaby. It was clear that Polina was an exponent of flower photography and, using live view, she achieved wonders. The discovery of sparkly craft paper, as a background, brought “crazy bokeh” to her photographs. As eyes are the mirror of the soul these lenses could be very precise in manually focussed eyes. The many and varied effects that we were shown made us think of the artist’s magic wand and their range was only limited by your own imagination.
Many of us seek to demonstrate the seasons of the year in our work and here we have no exception as we started in Autumn, avoiding bright colours but very much seizing the mood, perhaps through use of snow (with Velvet) and never forgetting to point the camera upwards through the tree’s canopy. To catch the Winter chill, she used Burnside in the local cemetery and brought out a sinister air with careful vignetting. Spring gave the opportunity to revisit flowers, particularly using Sweet, then later on bluebells and magnolias with Twist, showing background swirls under an overcast sky and blossoms using Velvet. Summer is obviously Polina’s busy time attending Chelsea Flower Show, Kew and many venues to capture the splendour of the beauty of a wide range of flowers, even an old phone booth in a lavender field! Peonies, Irises, butterflies, using Sweet are all her targets, even some wildlife (which she claims not to favour). In an attempt to be absolutely unique, she is known to produce toy dinosaur models, cars to to cleverly introduce into her pictures often for surprise effect
It was particularly noteworthy that this very special artist always sought to do something different so that on her visit to the well-known, and much photographed, Dungeness she introduced Velvet or H in order to use the slice distortion effect to provide another very different view of that well known seascape. The same applied when using Trio on a bride to give a personal image that only she could create. Has she left anything out? We cannot think so as even the use of the Lensbaby series and a converted infra-red camera was pressed into service. Are there no limits to her imaginative talents?
Following this evening’s spectacular and thought-provoking talk many of us will be driven to further investigate both her web site and the Lensbaby optics range in order to add a number of strings to their bow – an unforgettable presentation.

https://www.polinaplotnikova.com

https://Lensbaby.com

7th June 2021 – JAMES KERWIN – “ABANDONED ARCHITECTURE”

Club members probably anticipated seeing images from some hidden corner of the UK showing a range of former dwellings, long since forgotten, being reclaimed by nature. Instead, we were introduced to James Kerwin, an exciting former event manager and very thoughtful photographer and inveterate traveller with a completely captivating talk that took us to places which we have only heard of through conditions of war-torn strife.
We started in his home City of Norwich and first got the flavour of a much-travelled man, having visited SE Asia, Australia, Japan and, importantly, former Eastern Bloc countries. There is something of the intrepid explorer in his character and clearly an ability to easily meet and interface with people and, importantly, to learn from them. During a visit to continental Europe, he described a journey with a group of photographers, and a model, and they adventurously paddled across a lake to access an underground smoking room, although the owner did not welcome any intrusions what he saw there whetted his appetite.

British Fine Art Architecture & Location Photographer – James Kerwin


The feel for photographing older properties, and a change in employment status, now saw a business-like approach to his world of the professional photographer. More journeys to Southern Belgium and a dilapidated girl’s school saw the opportunity to develop skill in this particular genre creating mood and carefully composed images from virtual chaos. James will not accept the banal HDR photograph but is always searching for that slightly different and more remarkable shot. On location later in Bulgaria at the Buzludzha monument, a snow covered former cultural centre, here he described his target image, the wider discovery of the site, the decline and eventual start of its restoration – so fascinating.


Interestingly, at this time, 2015, James sought to extend his knowledge and learnt with Mike Kelley to understand colour management to extend his skill in creating more unique photographs. Virtually anywhere in the world James has discovered declining beautiful mansions and other buildings which are in need of saving but can’t, usually through financial reasons. This makes him more determined to preserve their existence through our art. We were delighted to see many wonderful images and each were described in detail. Moving forward we see in 2017 James’s next project Domum Dei (House of God).
The decline of religion within so many societies natural leaves, in its wake, those outstanding buildings where the faithful attended but which are now abandoned to their fate. His research has found ideal locations in Poland, Germany, Italy and many more, even chapels attached to private dwellings and we were fascinated by a North and South view of such a place with wonderful stained-glass windows, our speaker admitted to being blown away by the spectacle.
A concise description of his equipment and why each item was chosen was included at the end of the first half of this talk.
We now enter the period 2017 – 2018 in this amazing story moving from Portugal to Romania and back to the amazing Fruit Auction rooms in Liverpool – who knew? We now see a significant move to the Black Sea region as James engages in a wonderful exploration and, indeed development, of these stunningly beautiful countries, whose reputation does not do them justice. He is now committed to being a full-time photographer, with a professional approach to ensure a range of different income streams. He is clearly blown away by Georgia and carried out detailed research and investigated off the beaten track. He describes the region as low crime rate, beautiful villages, wondrous cloud inversions, medieval architecture, welcoming people and a growing tourist industry.

Circle Of Trust by James Kerwin

The capital, Tbilisi and another major towns, in the Caucasus are modern, with German influences, old as well as renovated areas, wine growing regions, excellent walks, plenty of accommodation, free walking tours and much much more, James is seeking to work with the local authorities to improve this region and his principle is very inclined to giving back – this attitude is almost unique in the modern era where the predominant style is to take away as much as possible.
James entire presentation was exceptionally well prepared and presented. His professionalism was epitomised by supplying us all with a handout of “Links and Resources” containing notes and references that were mentioned in his talk. He also urged anyone on the call that had more questions to contact him on his Facebook group.
All of SYPC look forward to seeing James again with another of his outstanding well researched talks.
For more information about James and his photography his website can be found at – https://jameskerwinphotographic.com/

2021 – Round 3 – Bi Monthly Results – May 17th.

This was the 3rd. SYPC Bi Monthly member Competition. This month was our usual ‘Open Competition’. Normally we encourage members to submit 2 prints and 2 digital images to our Bi Monthly Competitions. However due to the logistical issues of collecting and delivering prints during the continuing “Covid” period, our Bi Monthly Competitions are digital entries only. The external judge for this 3rd 2021 Bi Monthly competition was Vincent Knauss from Tetbury Camera Club.

Vincent reviewed and commented on 40 digital images at our Zoom meeting. 36 members joined the video call to listen to Vincent’s constructive comments and critique. Vincent’s composition comments and suggestions were particularly well received where he was able to draw on his photographic experience to suggest both areas of each image that were a positive influence as well as pointing out other areas of potential improvement.

Thank you Vincent a thoroughly enjoyable evening and we are looking forward to your return to SYPC as a guest speaker in October.

Below is a table of the Top 8 Digital Images and their author’s name.

Round 3 Digital TitleAuthorPlace
Buchaille Etiv Mor AutumnRay Grace1st.
Rose Gertrude JekyellJenni Craft2nd.
Feng HuangAnette Wakefield3rd.
In the cold MistJohn Portlock4th.
Rotten BoatMark Seaman5th.
BalconiesDave Bruten6th.
Pink OrchidKevin James7th.
Happily retiredAlan Connor8th.

Below are copies of the Top 3 Digital Images

 

 

First Place “Buchaille Etiv Mor Autumn” by Ray Grace
2nd. Place “Rose Gertrude Jekyell” by Jenni Craft

3rd. Place “Feng Huang” by Annette Wakefield

Additionally the TOP 8 Digital Images can be found at – http://www.sypc.org.uk/gallery/index.php/2016-Competitions/2021-Competition-Results/2021-Bi-Monthly-Round-3-Top-8-Digital-Images

May 10th. 2021 – David Keep (ARPS DPAGB FBPE EFIAP) – “A Project Based Approach to Photography”

Our club’s meeting last night started with that most fundamental of questions “What does photography mean to you?” This alone set the scene for an evening with our speaker, David Keep (ARPS DPAGB FBPE EFIAP), to approach the entire subject from an alternative angle. Many of us will attempt to create images that can tell a story and in the case of David he drew on his Engineering background describing his work as a process of reverse engineering. The audience were both puzzled and intrigued, as to how he went about it. Like many top flight photographers their skills have been developed and refined and they are always delighted to share their knowledge.
We were taken through the why and the how of three projects, boxing, dance, and athletics.

Our speaker was entirely unashamed to tell us that his final image had started life by seeing something from other people’s work and, by use of research, care and expertise. Having been provoked by seeing something he himself had admired he then set about, in a most determined and professional way, to find out more about that particular topic in order to take the photograph that would be one of his base points and then, using Lightroom and Photoshop and attendant plug-ins he would work to modify that original shot to the standard of composition, colour, setting and atmosphere that he wanted. We were amazed at his development to shots in a boxing gym how the subject, and an adjacent wall poster, were brought together to provide us with a story – the detail and continuation of that story is left entirely with the viewer and David’s great success in competitions is testimony to his driven urge for success.

The sources of his work were most interesting, he creates pre-shoot storyboards, taking art, cartoon or drawn images from, for example, Pinterest, magazines, literary works, Flickr, he is always prepared and having gained access to a boxing competition, athletics meet, or dancing evening he is ready and armed to take, literally, thousands of pictures – he even shared his technique for analysing this huge amount to narrow it down to a workable number. The evening’s presentation was punctuated, most effectively, with short bursts of video to contextualise his working method and to re-enforce, if we needed it, the amount of thought and effort that goes into his end product – no wonder he achieves such success.
One of his most informative segments followed an evening at a high-level dance competition where he built up a relationship with a couple and invited them to be photographed in studio. We were able to see this sequence go forward when the author recognised the shape of a photograph that he had taken and saw that this could be developed into a dream like image with a grand chateau in the background, a lake providing reflections and, using white layers of decreasing opacity, a dreamy result called Waltz with me was revealed.
The overall message from this high quality speaker is:-
VISUALISE…….. PLAN…….. SHOOT…….. PROCESS

David’s presentation included a number of links to documents which are available to us in order to embrace and learn from his story and to take up your quality several notches. An exceptionally well-prepared and professional presentation.
We look forward to seeing David at SYPC again with another chapter of his work.
Make your first port of call David’s website at – https://www.davidkeepphotography.co.uk/

April 24th 2021 – ANDREA HARGREAVES – “Art of Metamorphosis (part 1)”

If we ever feel that we have reached the limit of innovation in photography then we should simply wait and along will come an exceptional person with ideas – this was our visitor on Monday evening, Andrea Hargreaves MPAGB EFIAP/b BPE3 an outstanding presentation.


Andrea is an ultra-creative, thoughtful and artistic producer of some of the most stunning composite images that many of us have ever seen. Like so many of our friends in this hobby she is more than happy to describe her pathway, share her methods and to take us with her on the journey.
Her fundamental method is to bring into print the mythical monsters creatures and legends whose origins are, often, in great literature. Our first adventure with her was into the world of mermaids. Following a photoshoot with a nude model, in a rundown building in Birmingham.

She herself admits that her ability to communicate with and direct models has grown in recent years and a number of images were demonstrated. Almost without direction she lets her imagination run riot and, using Photoshop, she follows her meandering path to modify the model, add her own skies and/ or water or backgrounds or textures and the metamorphosis takes place. The ultimate works of art revealed, Mermaid on Rock, Mermaid in Underwater Seascape and Mermaid Reclining on the Sea Surface.

In each case the elements which were brought together were of Andrea’s own making – she takes pictures here there and everywhere and catalogues them into what must be a vast collection. She is able to use her complete mastery of Photoshop in order to skilfully modify to the result desired (a black pearl started life as a silver ball on a water feature in a garden centre). A wonderful feel for composition, colour and atmosphere are the principal elements which come together to form the final image which, the observer will lose themselves within, there is always emotion underlying the work.
Following the wonderful mermaids we were treated to her “Ladies who Lounge” selection. The original image of two blonde haired models, taken on a mansion’s staircase, seated closely, was treated in similar spectacular style by modifying skin tones or introducing subtle shadows, or changing backgrounds or placing them in alternative environments. Through the author’s boundless imagination we saw a journey of their way through life – Ladies in waiting, Ladies lost in transit, Ladies go off the rails, Ladies take a breather, Ladies take a cruise, Ladies Summer break, Ladies by boat, Ladies down under, were just a few from this series – the extent of the detail and the attention to colour demonstrated the hours of work that is put into this stunning form of art.


We at SYPC look forward to seeing Part 2 and perhaps one day a face to face to see those digital images as mounted prints would be a night to remember.
If you are tempted then be aware that there is much much more to see at – https://www.andreahargreaves.art/about.html

April 12th. 2021 – ROGER GELDARD (DPAGB, BPE4*) – “Japan’s Winter Wildlife”

Our guest speaker, Roger Geldard (DPAGB BPE4*), had set himself the target of a two-week trip to photograph specific targets in Japan and was able to carry this through and return just before the first pandemic lockdown. His preparation followed the old maxim FAIL TO PREPARE – PREPARE TO FAIL and it was abundantly clear that he had researched the venues that he wanted to visit, the birds and animals that were his clearly defined objectives, his photographic equipment and his clothing in order to maximise the experience. The itinerary was described to us in fine detail.
The technical aspects of his camera equipment (and the reasons for their choice) was of much interest to our members. He has dispensed with the DSLR and entered the world of the Sony mirrorless camera with electronic shutter. His two principal cameras being the Sony A911 and the Sony A7R4 with lenses up to 600mm. These are full frame cameras with electronic view finders (EVF) capable of bursts of 20 fps, using manual settings, set up before going into the field, and both with lens and camera image stabilisation. Clearly, he is a firm believer in the best quality tripod with fully flexible head, and a lightweight monopod. Interestingly we were advised that there was no need to calibrate camera/lens combinations with the Sony setup. Back button focus was a favoured technique. A salutary lesson to us all to be fully clued up on your camera’s settings before you go! It’s pointless learning on the job while the object of your photographic ambitions is right in front of you.


The substance of the evening was a high-quality travelogue under demanding conditions with absolute determination to succeed in prepared objectives. This included studying birds’ habits at both take off and landing in order to be warned of impending flight speed slowing down or movements in advancing toward the prey. Understanding perspective, knowing the birds prefer to take off and land into the wind and preparing image composition during the shooting session gave the best opportunity for the perfect shot, using automatic focussing at shutter speeds from 1/800s to 1/4000s nothing can be left to chance. Naturally we expected to see something special!
The first shoot saw us at OTOWA Bridge rising at 4:00am to see the Red-Crowned Crane, a bird that was heading towards extinction. The objective was images of Cranes taking off, from a misty atmosphere, into the rising Sun. The author was disappointed at the less than perfect conditions.


The next session was at TSURUI where cereal grains had been scattered, to attract the birds, on a snowy carpet. There was a mass of birds and the opportunity to achieve a dancing pair was demanding on the serious photographer, but success was achieved, which included a young solo dancing Crane, on video – a real treat. The meeting of these birds to form life bonds, where they do everything, in wonderful synchronicity, was very much Roger’s objective – as we expected his persistence was rewarded. The journey gave the opportunity to see a pair of young URAL Owl perched on a tree trunk hollow gazing ruefully at any passing photographer. Onwards to a frozen caldera – LAKE KUSSHARO where the swans were gently swimming about but a member of the group spotted a long-tailed tit nibbling, intermittently from an icicle tip, and this set the challenge to capture this unusual activity in tack-sharp detail, a challenge which Roger met superbly a clear need for firing at 20fps was essential and the pre-setting incorporating a cable release to catch the tiny time frame that was needed.
The next stop was the NOTSUKE Peninsula. After driving for a while, the group came upon vehicles parked on the side of the road. What were they looking at? It was a red fox bathing in the warmth of the afternoon sun and a selection of grazing deer.

The next objective was the Sea Eagles at RAUSU. Taking the boat at 5:00am, If it is a bright morning it is a good time shooting to the light (up to 1 hour from sunrise). Rising sun offers great backlit photography opportunities with the White-Tailed Eagles and Steller Eagles. The on-board stock of fish and sympathetic ship’s captain facilitated great opportunities, again, the fruits of Roger’s preparations were there to be seen and a host of approx.60 birds provided ample targets and outstanding results. The final step of this trip was to Lake FUREN to shoot the Black Eared Kites and Eagles.

Regrettably on arrival a huge snowstorm had blown up and visibility became restricted. Attempts to draw the birds closer ended up in a free-for-all as the birds attempted to devour the food, an image of a snowy beaked eagle proved to be the unusual highlight of this section.
Finally, a long trip across this fascinating country took us back to Tokyo to see the amazing Snow Monkeys. They inhabit a hot spring fed pool some 20 X 10 metres. Activity was low on this day as the Matriarch was disinclined to take a swim and that, in turn, precluded others from entering the water. A selection of rather soggy infant monkeys provided us with some amusement.

To end the tour a Samurai Castle (Matsumoto) was visited, although amazing it operated with rules restricting photography. No trip to Japan would be complete without attempting to capture the splendour of Mount Fuji at sunrise, unfortunately by the time the cloud had cleared the “golden hour” for light was lost.

This was a special event as it gave us an insight into the mysterious country which is Japan, a precise look at the Winter wildlife of that country, all presented by a dedicated, technically skilled photographer with a breadth of knowledge in many aspects of our hobby who was keen to share both his experiences and his knowledge. We thank him for the time and effort in preparing this talk and his excellent presentation skills in bringing it to us. For those of you who find their appetite whetted we recommend a visit to Roger’s Facebook page at – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10158622451625039&set=gm.3113027122110905

2021 – Round 2 – Bi Monthly Results – March 29th

This was the second Bi-Monthly 2021 member competition. This month was our usual ‘Open Competition’. Normally members are encouraged to submit 2 prints and 2 digital images. However due to the logistical problems of collecting and delivering prints during this ‘Covid’ period, our bi-monthly competitions are digital entries only. The judge for this 2nd. 2021 Bi-Monthly competition was  Sally Sallett (ARPS, CPAGB, AFIAP BPE3). This was the first visit that Sally has made to SYPC as she is based in West Yorkshire, is a member of Wakefield Camera Club, is a very accomplished award winning photographer and also a judge for the Yorkshire Photographic Union.

Sally reviewed and commented on 48 digital images and 39 members joined the video call to listen to her feedback, constructive comments and critique.  An excellent Competition Results night – Thank you Sally. We hope to persuade you to join us again later this year or next with one of your intriguing talks.

Below is a table of the Top 8 Digital Images and their authors

Round 2 Digital Title Author Place
After Dark Mike Franks 1st.
Transfixed Tim Edwards 2nd.
Gathering Clouds Keith Barlow 3rd.
Ready to Play Dave Clarke 4th.
Sammy Joe Kevin James 5th.
Orchid Dave Bruten 6th.
Hi is that The Medical Centre Peter Range 7th.
Weston Pier Jenni Craft 8th.

Below copies of the Top 3 Digital Images

 

First Place “After Dark” by Mike Franks

2nd. Place “Transfixed” by Tim Edwards

3rd. Place “Gathering Clouds” by Keith Barlow

Additionally the TOP 8 Digital Images can be found at – – http://www.sypc.org.uk/gallery/index.php/2016-Competitions/2021-Competition-Results/2021-Bi-Monthly-Round-2-Top-8-Digital-Images