8th. January 2018 – Robert Harvey – Winter Photography (Landscapes)

This year’s programme got off to a fantastic start with another stunning evening in the company of professional photographer Robert Harvey BA ARPS EFIAP. Robert is a Chartered Natural Scientist and Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, Robert leads photography tours throughout Britain.

Although Robert has photographed wildlife and landscapes in many of the world’s most renowned wildlife destinations such as Yellowstone, Serengeti, Pantanal, Galapagos and Falklands, he also displayed some of the spectacular images that he had captured at the World Heritage Site of Avebury, which is close to his home on the Marlborough Downs in Wiltshire
His astrophotography regularly includes stars, planets, galaxies, aurorae and eclipses. We were fortunate enough to be able to enjoy a wide range of these images that he had selected from his incredible portfolio.
A sample of the images can be found at his website by clicking on this link –

SYPC – Annual Presentations and American Supper – Dec 18th. 2017

The evening of Monday December 18th was the last SYPC club meeting of 2017. As usual the last meeting of the year is reserved for Presentations, an American Supper and of course our Photographic quiz.

This is always a fun evening and this year it was no exception. The evening followed the usual format of Presentations, our Buffet Supper,  a Raffle and finally our Macro Photographic quiz put together by our own Brian Pountney.

Brian has a knack of finding everyday objects and turning them into obscure images by photographing them from an unusual angle and highly magnified. The 20 strange images that we puzzled over were studied, with varying degrees of success. Our winner  this year, with a healthy score of 19, was Eric D’Costs. The score of 19 was even more impressive when you consider that some of us didn’t even make double figures !

The main purpose of the evening was to present all our 2017 Competition winners  with their certificates and trophies. We hold 6 Bi-monthly print and digital Image Competitions throughout the year as well as 8 annual Competitions.

Below are the winners and runners up for all these competitions –

Competition Position



The 6 Bi Monthly Prints 1 Ray Grace Overall winner
The 6 Bi Monthly Prints 2 Mark Seaman Second
The 6 Bi Monthly Prints 3 Stuart Lewis Third
The 6 Bi Monthly Projected Images 1 Cathy Fordham Overall winner
The 6 Bi Monthly Projected Images 2 Ray Grace Second
The 6 Bi Monthly Projected Images 3 Rob Webb Third
Clive Andrew (AV) 1 Eric D’Costa Costa Rica
Clive Andrew (AV) 2 John Scantlebury Ragged Victorians
Clive Andrew (AV) 3 Cathy Fordham Mr. Strange
Presidents Choice 1 Cathy Fordham Mr. Strange
Presidents Trophy 1 Mark Seaman Portishead Marina
Presidents Trophy 2 Carole Brown Images of Iceland
Presidents Trophy 3 John Scantlebury Ragged Victorian Portraits
Brian Barnett 1 Hugh Jones SS Nornen
Brian Barnett 2 Pete Atkins Girl in Red
Brian Barnett 3 Carole Brown West Iceland Waterfalls
Hilda Barnett 1 Cathy Fordham Overall winner
Hilda Barnett 2 Carole Brown Second
Hilda Barnett 3 Eileen Scantlebury Third
Enprints 1 Peter Veale Lyme Regis in September
Enprints 2 Peter Range Doors in Old Town Madeira
Enprints 3 Dennis May Boating for Leisure and Pleasure
Poetry 1 Dave Bruten George and the Dragon

2017 Round 6 Bi-Monthly Results – November 6 2017

Throughout the year SYPC have a schedule of 6 bi-monthly competitions where members can optionally submit 2 prints and/or 2 digital images. All the bi-monthly competitions provide an excellent opportunity for members to hear an experienced judge assess their prowess, both technically and artistically.

Hilary Britland was the external judge for the 6th. of our 6 Bi-Monthly Competitions. It was obvious that Hilary had put a lot of work into reviewing and preparing for the evening – this resulted in an excellent narrative describing the best bits of the image and offering constructive feedback for improvement, all of which was much appreciated by our membership. Hilary critiqued and constructively commented on 78 images (28 prints and 48 digital images). Hilary opened the meeting by explaining to the membership how much she had enjoyed  reviewing all our work and that we had some excellent images submitted, many of which could do well in External Competitions.

Below is a Table of the TOP 8 images and the Authors in each Section.

Round 6 Digital Images Author Place
O.J. Eileen Scantlebury 1st.
Small Cut Flowers Study Kevin James 2nd.
Dapper Cathy Fordham 3rd.
BlueBell Wood Alan Grynyer 4th.
Pussy Willow Pete Alford 5th.
Bass Rock Open Boat Keith Barlow 6th.
Beezy at Work Steve Purkis 7th.
Sunburnt Ray Grace 8th.
Round 6 Prints Author Place
Feed Me Ray Grace 1st.
Michael Jackson Tribute Act Pete Atkins 2nd.
Up and Over Dave Bruten 3d.
Paddling Carole Brown 4th.
Artist In The Field Adrian Smithson 5th.
Cornish Granite Peter Veale 6th.
A Girl Named Alison Margaret Snee 7th.
Storm Over Tynemouth Mark Seaman 8th.

Below is a copy of the 1st. Place Digital Image


“O.J.” by Eileen Scantlebury





Below is a copy of the 1st. Place Print


“Feed Me” by Ray Grace



Additionally the Top 8 Digital Images and the Top 3 Prints can be found in the Competition Tab of this WebSite

9th October 2017 – Ian McGuire – ‘Gardening for Wildlife’

At very short notice Ian McGuire, a local South Gloucestershire freelance wildlife educator, stepped into the breach (due to the planned speaker having to cancel), with an extremely thought provoking talk on how to convert your average domestic garden into a haven to attract all manner of wildlife (mammals, birds and insects) to name just a few.

For over 20 years Ian has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the conservation of wild owls and other birds. More recently he has added Gardening for Wildlife into his range of talks. We were treated to his talk “Gardening for Wildlife – Part 1”, we wait in anticipation to see if we can persuade Ian to come back to SYPC with his Part 2 talk on the next stage of this intriguing, interesting and thought provoking project .

Ian treated us to a journey of images narrated as to how to convert a normal garden to become a haven and attraction for all manner of wildlife. Ian walked us through and demonstrated with images how he has encouraged a massive list of visitors to his garden including kingfishers, badgers, tawny owls, common newts, slow worms, all sorts of insects, moths and butterflies and over 50 species of bird.
It is true to say that Ian’s passion for Wildlife and conservation shone through during the whole of his presentation, his enthusiasm was quite infectious and yes we would all love to see that Kingfisher, Badger or even a slow worm appearing  in our own gardens and foraging for the odd peanut.
We all look forward to Ian joining us again with his next installment.

Ian’s website can be found at http://wildowl.co.uk

2nd October – Martin Horton – An evening with Martin

The evening began with Martin’s Burma travelogue. Martin takes pictures that he feels have something of merit. He will then work to create a salon-style end product. His presentation comprised of a digital presentation with some example prints to view during the break.

The second part of the evening allowed us to look at some recent salon-style end products from many and varied locations. We were privy to a breakdown as to how he worked his magic, often involving numerous 20-plus layers in Photoshop.

Martin has traveled to much of Indo-China. He enjoys traveling light. He carries just a Nikon and one lens.

We enjoyed the sights of Rangoon, Mount Popa, and Mandalay. Martin’s quote of the evening was “There were pictures to be had everywhere you looked, including scores of temples, but after all it’s about the people”. This phrase had a big impact on Martin’s audience and drew our eyes to the overpowering character etched on the faces of the people in his images that seem to say so much about the locations of his subjects.

This was a jaw-dropping evening. Members left feeling inspired and in awe, describing the evening as “Another wonderful evening of travel and technology.”

Martin is a very modest yet extremely accomplished photographer, one who’ll take a lot of time perfecting his images. You can see more of Martin’s work via Facebook, flickr and pinterest.

25th September 2017 – Ray Grace – “A hands on Macro Evening”.

Another extremely active and successful President’s evening on September 25. Our President, Ray Grace (LRPS), led the membership through a ‘hands on’ interactive Macro session. As usual Ray’s willingness to share his knowledge and to demonstrate the ‘how’ and ‘why’, lived up to his usual high standard.


“Ray – explaining his kit and technique”




Ray commenced the evening by setting up the first Macro group and walked us through his preferred equipment for close work. Ray uses a Canon (a very wise choice), full frame camera and a Prime Macro lens. He then moved on to describe his tripod and the adjustable Macro Slide. He explained that with such a wide aperture and hence narrow depth of field, a single shot may not be sharp through the image. Hence his preferred method is to take a series of images at different focus points by moving the Macro slide and then blend the stack of images (say 5 or more) in Photoshop. The objective, after post processing, is to have 1 sharp image throughout the whole depth of the subject.



“A more detailed discussion”



Having completed that discussion, we were then walked through the various LED lights Ray prefers, the back drop frame and the various back drops were displayed as were the clamps for holding the specimens in place. Finally we were shown a simple plant sprayer (filled with water), to give the specimen plants tiny water droplets to add to the quality of the composition.

Ray then proceeded to take a series of shots of his specimen Rose, moving the adjustable Macro slide, until he had enough images to blend together to produce a single sharp shot. Ray promised to Post Process the Photo Stack in his own time. We look forward to seeing the finished product at our next members evening in November.

For the rest of the evening the members had the opportunity to practice their Macro techniques using various objects, flowers, poker dice and a moving pocket watch to name just a few.


“Something not right here”




Additionally Ray was seen to be walking round the various tables with his usual enthusiasm to answer any queries on Camera and Photographic techniques.
Another excellent ‘hands on’ learning evening at SYPC – with special thanks to Ray for taking us so clearly through the Macro topic.

18th September 2017 – Brian Wetton – “The Way I see it”

Brian opened the evening by describing himself as a “Holiday Snapper – somebody who enjoys taking record shots.” He told us that he doesn’t go out “On a Mission”, but that he admires people who do – from the warmth of his bed !
We heard that Brian had realised some years ago, that practising photographers who get out with their cameras at every opportunity, and who enjoy entering or viewing competition images, naturally develop a ‘Photographers Eye,’ something that no amount of money can buy. Brian’s current equipment bag contains 1 camera body and a single lens, a Nikon D5500 and a Nikkon 18-200mm VR Lens. This allows him to travel light. He shoots hand held, doesn’t use a tripod, because he feels that the combination of such a superb, class-leading brand of camera, coupled with a 18-200mm vibration reduction lens, gives him, in his words – ‘About 4 extra stops.’



by Brian Wetton




This equipment combination, coupled with his down-to-earth philosophy of “Take pictures of what you like and be happy with your photography” proved to be the gateway to an evening of spectacular prints, digital images and two mesmerising audio-visual presentations.

Brian’s images were breath-taking. They were Jaw-droopingly sharp, and superbly composed.


By Brian Wetton



Every image had something special, either in vivid colours, beauty or location. Our virtual journey took us to many exotic locations that included Nepal, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Egypt and Essex!

This was another wonderful evening of superb photography and entertaining presentation style that was thoroughly enjoyed by members.

11th September 2017 – Cate Barrow – Butterflies and Wildlife.

Cate Barrow treated the club to a captivating evening of the images that she has captured of every type of butterfly in the United Kingdom, and also of her wonderful, candid images of the wildlife that she has encountered during her photographic expeditions to Finland.

Cate’s images can only be described as stunning and inspirational.

Cate takes a very down-to-earth approach to her photography. In order to give herself the best chance of capturing her subjects in their natural habitat she researches her subjects, their environments and behaviours.

Cate told us about the equipment and techniques that she uses. She amazed us with an account of one of her photographic trips to Finland and the low temperature that she has endured for days at a time. She has spent many days sheltering in hide there during periods when temperatures have dropped as low as minus 27 degree Celsius, with no other company orther than the sound of wild wolves wailing outside.

Dedication, skill and passion are some of the words that our club would use to describe Cates approach to photography. Cate would simply say ‘You just need a bit of luck!’
This was a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining evening. We look forward to welcoming Cate back to Chipping Sodbury in the very near future.
Pease use the link below to reach Cate’s website where you can read more about Cate Barrow and also view a selection of her images.


2017 Bi-Monthly Round 5 Competition Results – September 4th 2017

Throughout the year SYPC have a schedule of 6 bi-monthly competitions where members can optionally submit 2 prints and/or 2 digital images. All the bi-monthly competitions provide an excellent opportunity for members to hear an experienced judge assess their prowess, both technically and artistically.

Simon Caplan (LRPS) was the external judge for the 5th. round of our 6 Bi-Monthly competitions. Simon critiqued and constructively commented on 78 images submitted (30 prints and 48 digital images). Simon opened the meeting by taking the membership through a brief summary of his photography ‘career’ and his personal tastes in photography. He explained how he had assessed the images presented, which included composition, impact and interest. He also stressed the need to work with the best light and although not always possible, to avoid the hard and harsh light of the mid day sun.

It was obvious that Simon had put a lot of work into reviewing and preparing for the evening – this resulted in excellent constructive feedback, all of which was much appreciated by our membership.

Below is a Table of the TOP 8 images and the Authors in each Section.

Round 5 Prints Author Place
Bantham Beach Ray Grace 1st.
Wave Explosion Carole Brown 2nd.
Climbing in the Garden of the Gods John Scantlebury 3rd.
Eyes Right Peter Range 4th.
Training For Crufts Stuart Lewis 5th.
Museum (Edinburgh) Mark Seaman 6th.
Peace Dave Dyer 7th.
Chatterbox Margaret Snee 8th.
Round 5 Digital Images Author Placed
Trainee Buddhist perhaps ? Alan Grynyer 1st.
Pure and Simple Cathy Fordham 2nd.
Jacob’s Ladder, Castlerigg Ray Grace 3rd.
Contemplation Alan Connor 4th.
Citrus Steve Purkiss 5th.
Rainforest Damsel Fly Eric D’Costa 6th.
I can see clearly now Bob Sage 7th.
Just wanted a shower Stuart Lewis 8th.

Below is a copy of the 1st. place Print



“Bantham Beach” by Ray Grace




Below is a copy of the 1st. place Digital Image




“Trainee Buddhist perhaps ?” by Alan Grynyer




Additionally the Top 8 Digital Images and a copy of the Top 3 Prints can be seen in the Competition Tab of this website.



21st August 2017 – The WCPF 2017 Members Exhibition

This event was an opportunity for members to view a portfolio of the Western Counties Photographic Federation (WCPF) Members Exhibition. The Exhibition was in 2 categories, Prints and Projected Images. In total there were over 680 projected images all set to music. Whilst sitting through such a vast number of images was thought to be daunting, the quality of the display was absolutely outstanding. It was a real privilege to view these in one sitting.
Members were thrilled and inspired by the sheer breath and quality of so many artistic and real-life stunning images that we were able to view during this busy club evening.
WCPF Images Selected can be viewed by selecting and clicking on this link:

Background information about the WCPF
The Western Counties Photographic Federation (WCPF) was formed in 1932 and is one of fifteen Federations that are affiliated to the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) and ultimately to the FIAP – “Fédération International de l’Art Photographique”.

Currently over 100 clubs are in the Federation from across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset and South Gloucester.as far East as Weymouth, as far North as Stroud and across into Swindon in Wiltshire.


The prime purpose of the WCPF is to encourage the art and practice of photography directly to members and clubs throughout its catchment area, supporting/liaising with other Federations and the PAGB, ensuring local views and interests feature in national debate.
The WCPF is run by an Executive Committee of volunteers (nominated and elected by club delegates), together with co-opted members.