26th March 2018 – Nigel Forster – ‘A Passion for Landscapes’

Nigel opened the evening by telling us that he would be spending the first part of the evening on the subject of ‘Developing your own style of outdoor photography.’

Nigel explained that whilst he has always had a passion for the outdoors, and in particular, mountains, travel and for landscape photography, he had spent the early part of his working life as a Landscape Architect before moving to the post of Director of a community regeneration charity in South Wales. When Nigel reached his 50th birthday he decided that it might be time for another career change (He describes it as a mid-life crisis!). This was the moment when he decided to attempt to make a living out of climbing mountains and taking his stunning photographs. It took a year before Nigel realised that digital photography is more than just a new version of taking photographs on film, so in August 2009 he created his learning company ‘Creative Photography Wales’ with a plan to combine his passion for photography with some aspects of his professional background, although he never intended to become a teacher!

Creative Photograph Wales is based at Nigel’s home in Talybont on Usk, which is a village in the Heart of the Brecon Beacons in mid-Wales. It is here that he runs his workshops and creates and manages his on-line training programme.

Although Nigel’s photography comes mainly from Wales, a cross section of other areas in the UK and the rest of the world, where and how they were taken is secondary to the visual results of his work. Nigel’s speciality is clearly his amazing ability to take pictures of familiar places and people in imaginative ways, using natural light and the power of a camera to best effect.

We were treated to an evening of these inspiring images from Wales and beyond. Nigel advised us that the key to his amazing images and what makes them unique, is a technique he described as ‘Looking for an individual approach’ and that it is not always the location that is important if we can find interesting shapes and form in a subject and that the output of a photo shoot should be the result of a visual exploration.
We learnt that the first question that we should ask ourselves is ‘Why am I taking this picture? The answer to that question should guide the final composition. We aren’t just taking a picture. We are creating an image.
The answer to Nigel’s question -What’s the key to effective composition? Simplicity and impact!

Nigel reminded us of the importance of curves in a landscape image. Curves can take us from the beginning to the end of an image.

Nigel offers a huge range of training opportunities for one-on-one tuition, up to group workshops in Wales and beyond. He is a Master Photographer with the Photographer Academy. He also holds a Trip Adviser Certificate of Excellence. You can view the full range and opportunities offered by Nigel and also purchase copies of his images by visiting his website.

http://www.creativephotographywales.com/

19th March 2018 – Jenny Hibbert – Tales of the River Bank

Jenny Hibbert (MPAGB) treated SYPC to a most stunning and outstanding set of Nature Images on Monday evening. As the title suggests these images were captured in and around various waterways, most of them on a small river close to her own home near Bridgend. It just showed us what can be achieved with patience, preparation and clearly skill. How many of us would be prepared to sit on a rock in running water long enough to become part of the scenery in order to get that ‘special shot’ – Jenny does !

Jenny is clearly a first class Nature Photographer sticking strictly to the rules of that branch of photography. Despite, what some might call a  restriction, Jenny produces just amazing photography. We saw over 400 images of birds in flight, in water and feeding, as well as other wildlife, Ducks, Butterflies, Dragonflies, Salmon, Otters and Water Voles to name some more. The whole presentation was just enthralling.

Not only we were treated to this fantastic set of Nature “in and around the Water Bank”  but during our coffee break we had the opportunity to view Jenny’s MPAGB acceptance panel of twenty pictures of international exhibition standard. Perfection…

Please visit us again Jenny.

March 12th 2018. Stephen Spraggon. ‘Welcome to My Outdoor Office’

Stephen’s interest in photography began in the days when he was a student. He explained that during those early days he would often take up to 300 shots of his subject, but would then then delete 299.

Nowadays he feels that he takes 5, of which 1 will be to his liking. Those two short statements sum up Stephen’s approach to his art. He has spent many years striving to develop his skills. He plans his shots carefully, he analyses his images searching for the things that went well, and the things that went wrong. Stephen explained that he will often return to the same spot a year after his first visit with a clear plan of exactly what he is hoping to achieve in a repeat photograph, and importantly, how he is going to meet his aims of the shot.

This approach really works. Club members were astounded by the beauty and detail in the images that he presented.

It became clear during this wonderful evening that the secret to Stephen’s success is due in part to his disciplined approach to planning, research, composition and environment. He decides exactly what he is hoping to achieve before embarking on a photo shoot.

What started as a hobby has developed into serious photography. After holding some successful exhibitions of his work, Stephen’s reputation has grown and grown. He now takes on commissions, runs workshops, maintains his website and also offers the opportunity to purchase copies of his prints whilst still managing to continue with his personal projects.
Outdoor Photography magazine often features landscapes by Stephen and many images appear in other publications and advertisements.

To get such high quality landscape images takes planning, timing and persistence. Using maps and a Photographers Ephemeris to find the exact position of the sun at the location, a tide table for coastal shots and the local weather forecast together with his experience Stephen hopes all this comes together for the ideal shot.

Stephen also brought along some of his key items of equipment. Members were particularly interested in the tripod with extra-long legs, very useful on sloping ground and on rocks over water and the use of an ‘L’ frame making the camera very stable on the tripod even in portrait mode. A spirit level on the hot shoe together with one on the tripod and the electronic inbuilt level in the camera combine to make sure the camera is perfectly level. Stephen also explained the uses of a tilt/shift lens which can give front to back sharpness in difficult situations.

Stephen prefers to keep post production work to the minimum. Adjustment layers are used in Photoshop to balance levels, white balance adjusted, annoying dust spots removed and cropping if needed. Sometimes several images are blended together to give just the result needed.

You can see more of Stephen’s work, purchase images or sign-up for his workshops by visiting his webpage at: www.spraggonphotography.co.uk

19th February 2018 – Patagonia with Chris Erlebach – (A slideshow).

A spectacular evening of memories and images from Veteran club member Chris Erlebach.

Chris began the evening with his personal recollections of the memories that he holds, when as a child, he was allowed to assist his Aunt with her large black box, black cover and glass plate negatives and the experiences that he shared then, that led to his love of photography.
Chris’ presentation comprised of an explanation of the political and geographical landscape of Patagonia. Chris also supplemented his slide show with a comprehensive collection of maps and travel guides.

We learnt that Patagonia is a region encompassing the vast southernmost tip of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile, with the Andes Mountains as its dividing line. The Argentine side features arid steppes, grasslands and deserts, while the Chilean has glacial fjords and temperate rainforest. Argentina’s famed RN-40 highway passes the pinnacles of Monte Fitz Roy and Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park.

Chris’ images all came from an 18 day tour of the region that Chris undertook as part of a small group of 9 like-minded travellers back in 2003. The tour took 6 flights and a 3 day extension to complete. Many of the images that Chris shared with the club were well-deserved competition winners that he is quite rightly very proud of.

Members were visibly stunned by the astounding  images of huge, dynamic waterfalls – The Devils Throat and the 3 Musketeers to name just a few. We were also treated to a series of amazing images of the Perito Moreno Glacier as well as images of that unique phenomenon – Spindrift, a mist of snow being blow from mountain crests during gales and also mesmerising images of lens-shaped, lenticular cloud developing on the downwind side of a the mountains.

Another wonderfully interesting evening prepared and presented by one of our long serving members that reminded us all of the modern transformation from film and slide medium to the digital world that we enjoy today.

2018 Round 1 Bi-Monthly Results February 12 2018

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.

Adrian Herring (ARPS DPAGB) was the external judge for the 1st of our 6 Bi-Monthly 2018 Competitions. It was obvious that Adrian 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. Adrian critiqued and constructively commented on 74 images (28 prints and 46 digital images). Adrian opened the meeting by explaining to the membership how much he had enjoyed  reviewing all our work and that we had some excellent images submitted and his job was really difficult making choices

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

Round 1 Digital Images Author Place
Having a Shower Pete Alford 1st.
Great Grey Owl Kevin James 2nd.
Male Broad Bodied Chaser on Agrimony Eric D’Costa 3rd.
Ohh Steve Purkis 4th.
Get out of the Rain – FOOL Stuart Lewis 5th.
John S Alan Grynyer 6th.
Bridge to Wales Mark Seaman 7th.
Beaver on a Pond Phil Arnold 8th.

 

Round 1 Prints Author Place
Feeding the Pigeon John Scantlebury 1st.
Knitters Hands Eileen Scantlebury 2nd.
Winter Trees Ray Grace 3rd.
Autumn at Stourhead Dave Bruten 4th.
Autumn Leaves Mark Seaman 5th.
Launch Time Peter Range 6th.
A Girl called Patricia Margaret Snee 7th.
St Michael’s Mount Stuart Lewis 8th.

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

 

“Taking a Shower” by Pete Alford

 

 

 

 

Below is a copy of the 1st. Place Print

 

“Feeding the Pigeon” by John Scantlebury

 

 

 

 

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

5th. February 2018 – A Member’s Evening

As well as Speakers, Competitions, Photo Shoots and Events at SYPC, our Annual program also schedules a number of Member’s Evenings. These evenings give us the opportunity to discuss any issues or concerns we have and seek support and help from the wider Membership. Last night our Member’s evening was slightly different as we had –

A look at our own and the WCPF websites
A review of the results following the recent member’s questionnaire
A short presentation on creation of calendars
A quick look at Photoshop and Sky Replacement
3 Audio Visuals from one of our members
Some innovative digital Images from a member
An AV from the WCPF Digital Members Exhibition

We started the evening by looking at our own Website at –

http://www.sypc.org.uk/.

In particular the SYPC Meetings tab, which  documents our published programme.

Next we explored the WCPF website at –

http://www.wcpf.org.uk

The Kingswood Salver is a WCPF competition SYPC enter every year, looking at the website allowed us to view and comment on the quality of the 5 Print panels that were submitted for the 2017 Kingswood Salver.

Peter Range then presented the results of the recent survey commissioned to elicit the views of the members of the types of speakers, events and outings we should entertain at SYPC. These results will guide us to provide a well-balanced program of events to suit all members’ photographic interests and genres. Over 60% of the membership returned the detailed questionnaire so now we can tailor our 2019 and 2020 programmes to suit the needs of everyone.

Ray Grace (Our President) then took centre stage and walked us through a live demonstration of a Sky Replacement technique using Photoshop CC and the “Blend IF“ function.

This was followed by Laura Cadbry taking us through the benefits of producing Annual Calendars, either for an end of year Competition or simply as a learning exercise for personal use. The consensus from the meeting was that this would be of benefit to our members and as such we should consider this for the end of year Annual Competitions.

John Scantlebury was next in the limelight. John demonstrated his prowess in the production of excellent AV’s. We saw a trip around the Grand Canyon, Churches and Castles and a superb recent visit to London.

The penultimate presentation was by Rob Webb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob brought along some  ‘different’ digital images of innovative projects he has worked on over the recent years

These included water filled balloons popped by darts, hoar frost and mirror reflections. These images demonstrated what can be achieved with a little lateral thinking,patience and an innovative mind.

Finally we were treated to an AV of the WCPF 2017 Members Exhibition, where we all agreed the standard was exceptionally high and gave us all food for thought.

An enjoyable first Member’s Evening of  2018.

29th January 2018 – Peter Haworth – Landscapes and Seascapes.

A truly wonderful evening filled with breath-taking images, interesting facts, tips and the demystification of ND filters!Peter Haworth is an extremely talented photographer with a down to earth and engaging style of presentation. Peter’s dedication to his art means being in the right place at the right time. We learnt that those right times are often an hour before sunrise or 2 hours before sunset. The right places?

Well, they range from the Second Severn Crossing to the Persian Gulf!
We learnt about the many variations and benefits of ND and graduated filters and how to turn a misty background to our advantage by using it to take the viewers’ eye away from distracting backgrounds.

Members particularly enjoyed Peter’s take on when to shoot in B&W as opposed to colour, which Peter demonstrated to great effect by displaying relevant imaged first in colour, then in B&W.

We also benefited greatly from Peter’s interesting section about the use of contrasting colours.

Another wonderful evening, interesting and educational. Come back soon Peter!You can view a huge selection of Peter’s images at his Flickr page by clicking on this link –

https://www.flickr.com/photos/37151423@N05/

22nd January 2018 – Nigel Hicks – I Photograph therefore I am (Landscapes).

Dr. Nigel Hicks (FBIPP) is a highly experienced professional photographer, specialising in commercial photography, travel photography, landscape photography, nature photography, and architectural and interiors photography.
The evening opened with Nigel telling us that he “Sees the world in pictures” and that as a child he captured the world around him in drawings before moving onto photography following the gift of a Brownie box camera. How pleased we are that little box camera enabled Nigel to move onto greater things.

Scorhill Down, nr Chagford, Dartmoor National Park, Devon, Great Britain.

Nigel gave us a fascinating overview of his huge range photographic interests before moving onto his wonderful portfolio of stunning landscapes, subjects and locations. We learnt that Nigel’s advice that concentrating on simple composition is a critical key to grabbing attention and to drawing a viewer’s eye to the main subject in the image is the key to producing interesting and thought provoking images.

Red Campion, on Dodman Point, near Gorran Haven, Cornwall, Great Britain.

Nigel Hicks is based at Teignmouth, in South Devon, conveniently close to Exeter, Torbay and Plymouth. He works not just throughout southwest England, but all over the UK, and also internationally. Many of his photography projects and commissions have taken him all over the world, from the Himalayas to the Philippines, to Iceland to Patagonia, while others have seen him photographing closer to home.

Carr woodland along the shore of Canada Lake, Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve, near Glastonbury, Somerset, Great Britain

Nigel runs a programme of one-day and overseas photography workshops and tours, the former mainly in southwest England, and especially in Devon. He also publishes his own photography as books, prints and greetings cards.
You can view a selection of Nigel’s images and much more about his services and publications by visiting his website:

http://www.nigelhicks.com/

15th January 2018 – Tim Knifton – The Art of Urban Exploration.

Tim Knifton attended SYPC to deliver his talk on the Art of Urban Exploration. This talk comprised of a set of over 150 photos taken from many of the countries that he has visited since photographing abandoned buildings. The work included different viewpoints of scenes of dereliction both home and abroad and included places such as churches, car graveyards, castles, homes, hospitals and old historic buildings. These scenes were shot in places many do not visit and are almost always away from the public eye.

 

(I’ll sleep when I’m dead)

by Tim Knifton

 

 

Nowadays, the terms of street and urban photography are often used interchangeably, both referring to the art of capturing cityscapes and people within them.
Yet, urban photography is still a relatively new word or expression, coined within the last decade. Its place and role in the history of photography might be a bit perplexing and undefined.
Tim Knifton (LRPS, CPAGB, AFIAP, AWPF PSA*6), changed all of that with his stunning presentation of abandoned and decayed buildings that are largely unseen places that are away from the public eye. We were treated to stunning images from European, pre-soviet and Scandinavian locations that are locked in the past, but are being digitally preserved by Tim and other like-minded photographers that Tim often joins forces with.
Tim has been photographing for many years. His passions are urban exploration, travel and landscape photography. He particularly likes using High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography, with the majority of his work being captured in this way.
He is a fan of capturing more than the camera can capture in one exposure. The science behind revealing as much of the scene as possible is by capturing as much in 3, 5 or 7 brackets appeals to him and is a technique he uses to great advantage.
Tim is a regular on the photography exhibition circuits and is accredited under several photographic bodies including the Royal Photographic Society, Welsh Photographic Federation and Federation International de I’art photographique (FIAP).
You can view a huge range of Tim’s images at the locations below.

Tim’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/TimKniftonPhotography

Tim’s Flickr profile –  www.flickr.com/photos/timster1973

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 –
http://www.naturalworldphotography.net