13th. August 2021 – Chris Bigg – “Image Icons (3)”

This evening’s speaker was reflective in talking about having taken photographs for over 60 years and then, achieving considerable success in his own right. This is a study of exponents of our art over a period in excess of 100 years and revealing his findings.
A most interesting evening the preparation for achieving it must have taken hours. Naturally his background in the aircraft industry permeated through in rather unexpected ways.
Yannis Behrakis – An interesting photographer having worked for the news agency, Reuters, reporting visually on wars which, of its very nature, must reveal some harrowing images, of death and destruction, displaced people and the detritus of war.
Martin Parr – A very tongue in cheek professional (SYPC keynote speaker some years ago). Very ordinary, yet extraordinary shots by the seaside, unusual angles involving street photography and no small dash of humour.
Charles Dodgson – specialised in photographing young children and some family groups, falling foul of dodgy accusations. A polymath and exceptional writer as Lewis Carroll.
Chris Jackson – a young up and coming specialist with access to the Royal family and hence has become enormously popular, particularly with Prince William and his young family. A distinctive style in bringing out the very best in his important subjects.
Michael Orton – achieved great fame for the “Orton Effect” as he was an early exponent of overlapping images involving railways, trees, car wrecks and the modern trend for long exposures with moving water.
Sally Mann – A controversial photographer taking very informal images of her own children, some landscapes and occasional scenes of misery. A publisher of several books on photography. Mainly using large format camera giving striking prints.
George Crewdson – Large format (10 X 8) photographer who often went to enormous lengths to set up a single scene to photograph it. Images often of dull, mundane ordinary life, might lead us to wonder what was really going on in his head.
Tom Heaton – A meteoric rise to fame, Blackpool born professional with an eye for landscapes, areas like Hadrian’s wall, mountainous regions with striking foregrounds. Images involving water, volcanoes and, occasionally isolated trees.
William Eggleston – Similar to Martin Parr for taking mundane images, partial segments hinting at bigger pictures – went to three universities but never gained a degree, made colour photography popular in the 1960’s, became friendly with Andy Warhol but did not seek to emulate his style.
Carolyn Cole – engaged with images of conflict and encouraged disharmony in order to photograph it, hence occasionally in trouble with the law! Shot illegal immigrants on Mexican border, African faces etched with anguish seeking food handouts, American soldiers in Afghanistan, frightened children, gun action in Sierra Leone, atmospheric pictures in Mosques of the faithful at prayer, generally controversial.
John Rankin Waddell – popularly known as RANKIN, much seen on television, access to celebrities. Some extreme images e.g., nude in supermarket trolley – his photos are never ordinary.
Andre Kertesz – well known for images containing geometric elements often triangular, roof tops, stairways, shadows silhouettes, wavy mirror distorted images a clever observer of architecture.
Terry O’Neil – stumbled into photography but has built up an enormous reputation. Wonderful pictures of Jean Shrimpton, a rare jolly picture of HM, The Queen and the D Of E with corgi dog, The Rolling Stones, Elton when young, Cindy Crawford, Roger Moore and Bond girls. Regrettably now suffering from macular degeneration.
Howard Hollem – A medium format photographer (7 X 5), contracted to create a series of images to encourage women to work, during the war, in factories. The result showed this kind of work as clean and clinical, rather different that the real world.
Ernst Hass – images of tension and movement to inspire action, well known work was the bullfight, anything involving galloping horses, often rich in intense colour Ernst spent some time in in a labour camp but grew in stature to work for TIME magazine and became a Magnum photographer. Often viewed things from very different points, particularly engineering items.
David Bailey – probably the most famous name in photography and a personality who represented the Swingin’ Sixties. A distinctive style often chopping off the top of his subjects’ heads. Associated with all of the celebrities of that era, including the less reputable like the Krays.
Albert Khan – a wealthy individual who, in 1909, decided to take colour pictures of the entire world (a catalogue comprising some 72000 shots) all film (Autochrome). An amazing outcome which includes WW1.
Bernice Abbott – Most renowned as a street photographer creating large format images. Enjoyed high buildings and often captured people during travel.
Bence Mate – A fabulous wildlife photographer with all of the equipment and the skills to capture the extraordinary in its native habitat – often took from unusual angles to see creatures in another way, still very much in demand – known as the invisible photographer.
Helene Binet – a Swiss-French architectural photographer based in London, who is also one of the leading architectural photographers in the world. She is most known for her work with architects Daniel Libeskind, Peter Zumthor and Zaha Hadid, and has published books on works of several architects.
Darren Heath – motorsport photographer specialising in Formula One motor racing known for his creative and artistic coverage of the sport. Covering every Grand Prix, Heath, works with both editorial and commercial clients worldwide.
Joel Hermeyerwitz – American street, portrait and landscape photographer. He began photographing in colour in 1962 and was an early advocate of the use of colour during a time when there was significant resistance to the idea of colour photography as serious art.
Eugene Smith – American photojournalist. He has been described as “perhaps the single most important American photographer in the development of the editorial photo essay.” As a war photographer he went Island hopping in the Pacific became wounded and was removed from war zones. He had a lifetime love of jazz and his work involved this musical genre, he too became a Magnum photographer and hence was much in demand. The “family of Man” exhibition retained one of his images as its last piece, overwork caused him to die young.

Chris’s presentation finished with this saying. A very inspiring evening which might well provide food for thought in many directions.

Chris Bigg is always a welcome and entertaining presenter at SYPC, thank you for another excellent evening Chris. We are already looking forward to arranging your next visit.

2021 – Round 5 Bi-Monthly Results – September 6

This was the 5th. of our 6 Bi-Monthly Competitions for 2021. All our members are encouraged to submit entries to our Bi-Monthly Competitions as we gain valuable constructive critique from the experienced judges we invite to judge these competitions. Normally our Bi-Monthly competitions have 2 categories, Prints and Projected Digital Images and our members can submit 2 pictures in each category. Unfortunately during this time of continued Video Conferencing and the difficulty of safely handling Prints, when we aren’t meeting Face to Face, our Bi-Monthly Competitions are only Projected Digital Images.

For this months Bi-Monthly competition the theme of “Close Up” was selected and Victoria Hillman our Judge. Victoria is no stranger to our club having visited us twice as a guest speaker (on Macro type photography) and as a judge at the beginning of the first lockdown in 2020. Victoria was carefully chosen to judge our Themed Round 5 Competition – “Close up”, as “Macro” and “Close Up” photography is Victoria’s passion.

Victoria is a wildlife researcher and photographer, she has been on the judging panels for both Bird Photographer Of The Year (BPOTY) and the British Wildlife Photography Awards (BWPA) and has contributed stills, video and articles to magazines, books and TV series including National Geographic and the BBC.

Victoria commented and constructively critiqued 50 digital images from 25 members.

Thank You Victoria we look forward to seeing you in person as soon as is practicable.

Below is a table of the Top 8 Images and their Authors

Round 6 Digital Image TitleAuthor Place
FeathersLinda Parker1st.
Floral DisplayPete Alford2nd.
Delivery for Mr D MonDavid Clarke3rd.
Chain Links DetailChris Townson4th.
Self PortraitRichard Parker5th.
Macaroni PenguinEric D’Costa6th.
Snakes Head FritillaryRay Grace7th.
Natures Little PainterEve Aylott8th.

Below are copies of the Top 3 Digital Images.

1st. Place – “Feathers” by Linda Parker

2nd. Place “Floral Display” by Pete Alford

3rd. Place “Delivery for Mr D Mon” by Dave Clarke

Additionally the Top 8 digital Images selected by Victoria can be found here – http://www.sypc.org.uk/gallery/index.php/2016-Competitions/2021-Competition-Results

At the moment SYPC hasn’t returned to Face to Face meetings. We continue to use Zoom for all our club meetings. However we monitor the situation regularly and hope to return to Face to Face meetings in the near future.

9th August – John Illingworth – “A Scandinavian AdVANture”

On Monday August 9th. SYPC were pleased to host John Illingworth (LRPS) with his talk “A Scandinavian AdVANture”. With a title clearly a play on words we were intrigued as to how the talk would evolve and we were not disappointed. John is an accomplished professional photographer with a passion and interest in landscape, seascape and woodland. John retired around 20 years ago and since then has been indulging himself in his passion of photography.
Ever since John’s retirement, and before that, he had dreamt of one day driving and photographing the furthest point North on the European mainland and it was this dream that inspired him to plan his trip to Knivskjelodden, Lying about 3km west of Nordkapp.

Not only did John want to visit Nordkapp but also to include Sweden, Denmark Finland and the rest of Norway as he had always enjoyed the Scandinavian landscape. This interest started after business short trips and family holidays to Scandinavia. As John was approaching his late 60’s he realised that if he was ever to achieve his dream then now was the time to “do it”. In 2018 he started to plan his dream 4 month trip to explore Scandinavia. John had number of objectives but his main driver was to Photograph the Autumn colours of the Artic.

To John’s credit he also wanted to raise some monies in memory of his mother who had sadly suffered with Alzheimer’s disease for over 10 years. Another piece of research and he found that on the Russian Finland border there was an organisation that specialised in photographing Brown Bears, an opportunity not to be missed.

John’s trip was planned to begin in July 2019 but first he needed a vehicle and somewhere to live. He chose to purchase a panel van and have it professionally converted it into a Camper Van. The Camper Van would be more economical than relying on more formal accommodation and at the same time offer the freedom to explore and even wild camp. Once the van was finished John had a successful “shake down” trip to Scotland to try out the viability of both driving and living in the Camper Van.
John planned his initial route and in order to visit all his locations planned to drive over 7,000 miles.
• In fact, John actually drove 14,222 miles
• With over 503 hours of driving
• £1, 195 was raised for the Alzheimer’s Society
• And he visited Holland, Germany, Denmark Sweden Finland and Norway.
John had spent months planning his “TRIP OF A LIFETIME” and commended us to consider taking on such a project. John stressed that you can wait your entire lifetime “wishing” for such a trip but if the will is there and you have the finances you can plan your project don’t wait …do it.

John is now planning a return to Scandinavia but this time his intention is to photograph the Spring of 2022. We wish John every success and look forward to seeing a further presentation of his Scandinavian Spring trip.
Thank you John
For more information please see John’s website – https://www.johnillingworth.com/

And finally if any Photographic Club or organisation is  keen to see the stunning photography and listen to John’s talk please contact him via. the contact page on his website

2nd. August – CHRIS UPTON – “The Way I See It”

The style of both our guest speakers and their content gives us a rich variety. Our speaker this week has made over 150 Zoom presentations and his confident incisive and wonderfully articulated talk was well received by our members. Chris Upton is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and is proud to be a brand ambassador for Fujifilm.
Here is a synopsis of our meeting.
Like most photographers the willingness, at every opportunity, to share their knowledge with tips and hints is very welcome and Chris has crystallised all of his skills into seven general headings, as described below:

1. Know the fundamentals of photography – these can be either creative or technical, having a knowledge of depth of field, the ability to compose an image in order to direct the observer, realise the use of interesting foregrounds, capture different effects by modifying exposure times and the intelligent use of filters. Naturally the variation on ISO settings needs to be understood for some conditions to catch a shot under challenging odds.
2. Know your equipment – purchasing a new camera, for example, can cause our excitement to press it into service without properly and seriously knowing the functionality that is available and being able to draw on it when the conditions demand it. Can we all enter bracketing mode instantly? Likewise, switch from auto focus to manual, access stacking mode and to use the many and varied art modes now an integral part of many cameras. Remember to consider portrait or landscape aspect, walk around and think about the image you want to present to the onlooker, observe changing conditions and know how to react to them.
3. Get out there – Workshops can advance your skills apace, chat to fellow club members in order to draw on their experiences, there are many and varied available and you must ensure you get value for money when under the guidance of an expert. Clearly the best pictures are taken at the start or end of a day so be prepared to join in with any chance. The most inclement of weather can often bring about great opportunities when many others are sitting, at home, in front of the fire!

4. Plan your shots – Good pictures are achieved by luck, great ones by planning. To help this process we now learn of many available web sites and apps (Photo pills, Photographer’s ephemeris, Google earth, Street view and also, interestingly, we learnt of Weather pro, Dark Sky, Clear outside). Using some of these sophisticated programmes might well give us a clear advantage in achieving a photograph that only existed in our mind
5. Hone your composition – There can be nothing more important, including and excluding content will make a huge difference. There are, of course endless rules (thirds, odd numbers of subjects or position of horizon) these are only guidelines – before you press the shutter button ask yourself WHY? And WHAT? Am I trying to achieve here? Build it up, have a stroll round, use your smart phone to assess some early ideas. Think about Light, Subject, Composition, Emotion. Consider the square crop, notice the action of people with the background, can you make a connection? Consider symmetry, would this rooftop scene be better taken in the blue hour? Do I need to see the canopy and sky in this woodland shot?
6. Learn to process – The wide debate regarding the extent of post camera processing will continue. Those of us immersed in this fascinating hobby will need to work on our technical skill to a greater or lesser extent and to be left too far behind in this aspect will put us at a disadvantage. Photoshop, Affinity or Lightroom cannot be learnt in five minutes but why not undertake to master say 5 or 6 techniques and build up your armoury slowly – you will become fascinated.
7. Review, Refine, Re-shoot – Remember this, trial and improvement. Shoot in live mode and criticise your pictures, don’t forget one man’s meat etc. Look back at some of your earlier efforts note your progress and enter competitions and listen to the Judge’s comments, take them on board. At the end of the day shoot for yourself and enjoy your time with your camera in your hand.

The notes shown above were the substance of Chris Upton’s talk. He was able to develop these basic ideas and to show us examples of how and why they have worked for him, as a successful professional photographer. Why not visit his web site, receive his newsletter and feel his enthusiasm? You might be tempted to attend one of his workshops – you will not be disappointed! – http://WWW.Chrisuptonphotography.com

26th July – ASHLEY FRANKLIN – “Under A Tuscan Sky”

It is a quite remarkable fact that Ashley FRANKLIN (ARPS, ABPPA, APAGB) took his family to Tuscany in 2003 to a venue that was neither familiar or known to them, with little grasp of the Italian language, and yet through his extraordinary photographic talents, and willingness to rise early, he was able to capture and describe to us the Val D’orcia region of Tuscany. Without doubt his love of this area has led to many more visits, including workshops to bring to us the fascination of Italy, through the Zoom platform, at the end of a very testing time in our lives.

Having absorbed Charlie Waite’s book on Italian Landscapes, clearly the scene was set for an exciting presentation – we were not to be disappointed – coupling his talk with selected poetic segments this “lumpy bumpy” landscape with its Cypress trees, Poppy fields, isolated churches all available from roadside vantage points, was brought to life with a genuine artistic passion, with considered composition and thorough understanding of light.
As many of us know our photo trips can occasionally bring us face to face with a local event, a festival or a parade and on this occasion the famous Mille Miglia (thousand miles) passed through affording the opportunity to record many wonderful cars who were taking part in this unique rally. It was originally a race on public roads and was won, in 1955, by Stirling Moss driving, a Mercedes 300SLR, at an average speed of 99mph.

Nearby is the Palio de Sienna, the various Sienese “contrade”, or areas in which the city is divided, where they challenge each other in a passionate horse race in the heart of the city in the Piazza del Campo.
We were introduced to the work of Sandra Santioli, landscapes of green giving way to browns to be seen from the Belvedere Hotel every morning showing the carved contours of the land making an artistic statement. These views were regularly photographed from 4:40am before sunrise, so as not to miss their captivating splendour. The villages and hill top towns of this entire area have provided our author with a host of awards and exhibitions. And indeed, will continue to as he has planned to lead photographic tours through until 2023. Another fabulous series of images were taken in the Bagno Vignoni, it is one of those places in Tuscany that is quite popular despite its very small size. Because it is enchanting and charming… and has hot springs! Add a stop here to also enjoy the wonderful views of the Val d’Orcia all around the small town, including the Rocca di Tentennano in Castiglione d’Orcia in the distance, whose enchanting waters with the Sun’s rays dancing on them provided great joy for us all. Naturally a visit to a local market could not be missed with vividly coloured stalls selling clothing, the colours and textures of the fruit and vegetables and naturally the opportunity to taste the ice cream and wonderful food that we associate with Italy.

The verdant countryside in May is described, by Ashley, as the gift that keeps on giving and olive trees, bright Tuscan skies, more poppies, all were pictured amongst the green rolling hills as a soft baby’s blanket with paths of light amongst dark. Cloud formations fill the expansive skies and, of course, bright blue was a regular upward delight. The valley also provides a montage of flowers, butterflies, mustard plants encouraging the drone photographer to capture the hugeness of the panorama.
Finally, we see the Gladiator, Russell Crowe, as his journey brings him along a cypress tree lined avenue, so typical of Tuscany. It is only then, however, that Maximus realises that his little slice of paradise has been corrupted by the outside world and that he has arrived too late to save his family. In the second scene filmed in the valley, Maximus stands alone in a field of wheat, allowing the wind to brush it against his palms. Eerie light filters around him as he stands in what is, in this case in the film, quite literally paradise. This scene was filmed just at the walls of Pienza in the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Val d’Orcia.
For more information we commend Ashley’s website at – https://www.ashleyfranklin.co.uk/

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:-

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.




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/