Ed Cloutman (EFIAP,Hon FWPF), was our guest speaker this evening.
Ed’s presentation was divided into two discrete parts, firstly photographing deep space and secondly a travelogue based on an invitation to repair ancient clocks in Bermuda.
The evening began with a sensational AV showing superb colour images of many of the galaxies close to Earth beginning with the Milky Way. The support music was Mozart’s Ave Verum corpus and it sent a shiver up everyone’s spine.
It came as no surprise to us when Ed described how he had built his own garden observatory, on a foundation of at least a cubic metre of concrete and had installed a weather proof housing complete with specialised cameras and associated computer controlled telescope in order to accurately follow the heavens and avoid star paths that are caused with our fixed cameras. The results were astounding and his technical explanation and thoughtful descriptions caused us all to realise that, as enthusiastic amateurs, we can never master all aspects of the fantastic Art/Science that is encompassed by modern photography.
Clearly Ed could only be described as a Polymath as he had taken a course in Horology and has become well known in the field of ancient clock repair and maintenance. He had been invited to Bermuda to advise and perhaps carry out repairs on the Dockyard Clock which had been constructed in 1856 by John Moore of Clerkenwell. The aggressive salty damp atmosphere had punished the clock over this span of time but it was obvious that Ed’s painstaking skills had allowed the movement to be disassembled and reworked to be installed in the island’s museum, displaying its 14 feet long pendulum giving a 1.25 second beat. A conservancy schedule was completed for long-term maintenance of this classic historic clock.
Due to the excellent outcome of this project Ed was asked to look at several other time pieces and we were taken around Bermuda to Commonwealth House, The Capital – Hamilton, the Botanical Gardens, the old railway trail and a number of exquisite private houses, schools and the tennis club. A fascinating and unique evening giving an insight to number of unusual aspects on an evocative Caribbean Island.
Ed has a book : on the Night Sky and can be found here – –
This meeting was chaired by Peter Range and comprised two parts. PART 1
In an attempt to create a more satisfactory evening for viewing prints from all sections of the Watkins Room it has been suggested that a local camera/projector set up might provide an answer.
Phil Arnold set up a possible system and, using a trial print, demonstrated what is possible to members who attended. The demonstration was well received and gave those present a taste of what can be achieved. More on this topic will follow and will be taken up by the SYPC committee to determine next steps. PART 2 a) Carole Brown presented 7 prints following her visits to Iceland. Each one was expertly annotated and comment was forthcoming from the author on the prevailing conditions, often very harsh, and difficulties that were overcome during each “shoot”. Printing expertise and paper (PF Lustre) were brought into this excellent section. b) Kevin James showed us a number of, mainly, studio portraits. All were shown in borderless prints and included abstract images, Andy Warhol style and a number of superb quality model photographs. As usual a very high standard was again demonstrated by this experienced author. c) Adrian Smithson described a couple of open air/street photography sessions that he had recently been involved with, as a visitor. This was 1940’s day at Heavor Castle with both British and US enacted subjects carrying a wide range of hardware and uniforms from the period. His second showing was a from the Gloucester/Warwickshire railway this not only included uniformed models but also civvies suitably dressed from the second WW. Very interesting and well observed range of photographs. d) Phil Arnold – this presentation/lecture showed Phil and “accomplice” canoeing 800 miles across Northern Alaska in conditions ranging from 38 to 4 degrees Celsius with severe winds and very dangerous terrain. The privations endured included wild animals, Musk ox, black bears, brown bears, Arctic fox, Otter, Moose and a range of birds, including a fine explanation of why the Osprey is so successful in extreme conditions. Scientific observations were also included from old recently observed wood that had recently emerged from the perma frost, an amazing description, with photographs of a “persistent” gold mine and superb shots of the trans-Alaskan oil pipeline, in its day the most advanced engineering project on Earth. The audience were amazed at what Phil had enjoyed on this trip which few would have contemplated. Brilliant knowledge and well presented to the spell bound audience.
A wonderful thought-provoking evening was enjoyed by all those present and our sincere thanks are sent to those who helped to show so much of what is the very best of SYPC.
This major event on the SYPC calendar saw the most exciting and unique set of images created by a Professional and industrious thoughtful photographer – Gary Groucutt.
The title of this superior presentation was VISUALISATION and it was evident that Gary undertook both commissions and challenges to achieve really top-class landscapes. The talk was segmented into those elements that he felt came together to realise the most spectacular pictures, these were Light, Composition, Weather, Equipment and Seasons. It was emphasised that the most difficult top flight image was very often achieved through PATIENCE and it was evident that he followed this principle to the nth degree.
Images that were presented demonstrated Gary’s philosophy and included travels to Scotland, including the Isles, Lake District, England, with emphasis on his home around Shropshire, and Iceland.
His equipment did not focus on the most recent innovations but included Leica, film cameras, Hassleblad, an old wooden constructed bellows type plate camera and 1960’s hand ground lenses which produced exotic effects.
This is a man who is passionate, technically advanced and ultimately prepared to seek out the photograph he wants in any conditions, at any time and is fulfilled by his chosen career. His motto was shown as:-
EYES >> HAND >> HEART >> CAMERA
This was our 4th. of the 6 bi-monthly member competitions. For this competition we welcomed back Eddy Lane (ARPS DPAGB EFIAP). Eddy has been a regular visitor to SYPC both as a judge and excellent presenter. Eddy reviewed and commented on 74 images (26 prints and 48 digital images). All of Eddy’s comments were constructive often giving pointers for improvement. All of these were well received. We look forward to seeing Eddy again at SYPC in 2020.
At the end of the evening Eddy treated us all to a very quick presentation of some of his own prints and yet again these were well received.
Below is a Table of the TOP 8 images and their Authors for each Section.
The club was royally entertained by Jane Rees (ARPS), clearly a thoughtful and knowledgeable photographer with a keen eye for the flora and fauna of North America.
Jane is basically a Nature Photographer but has travelled extensively in North America and has been visiting America since the 1960’s and lived in Jamestown, a venue of one of the first settlements from England back in the 16th Century.
We saw magnificent, pin sharp images of insects, birds, trees, flowers, succulents, animals (including whales) and landscapes each accompanied by a specific and factual description showing her depth and breadth of knowledge as well as her wide-ranging camera skills. It was particularly refreshing that she was always addressing us, the audience, rather than, as is too often the case when speakers talk, almost exclusively to their images.
During our coffee break we had the added advantage of seeing Jane’s ARPS Natural History Panel and clearly a stunning collection it was, very much appreciated by our members.
We all felt that we had been on a trip to the extreme corners covering all of North America. A quality presentation and we all hope that she will visit us again in the none too distant future.
Throughout the year SYPC have a schedule of 6 bi-monthly member competitions.
Martin Cooper (LRPS) – was our Round 2 external judge for the second of our Bi-Monthly 2019 Competitions. Martin’s constructive review of the prints and digital images was well received drawing on many years of Photographic experience, with words of encouragement and constructive comments for improvement.
Martin reviewed and commented on 86 images (30 prints and 56 digital images). All of Martin’s comments and suggestions were well received we look forward to Martin’s return to SYPC in 2020 as either a speaker or judge.
Below is a Table of the TOP 8 images and their Authors for each Section.
Bob Bishp (EFIAP/g, BPE3, LRPS) this evening’s speaker’s title certainly lived up to its name. we travelled amongst others from Essex, Dorset, Margate, Scotland, Burma (Myanmar), the South West, Dingle Peninsular, Whitby, South Devon and our perennial favourites Clevedon and Weston Super Mare.
It became clear that Bob’s dedication to his art and skill showed a huge commitment, both to realising his target, when he visited his destination, and to tackling the weather and terrain problems once he was there.
We saw an array of sunrises and sunsets and many seascapes taking note of changing tides and intricate detail to create a well composed and thoughtful photograph.
The most common feature showed detailed foregrounds, where shooting in RAW enabled stunning detail to be brought out and this, coupled with converting to black and white followed some creative dodging and burning to provide the mood that the author was searching for.
Members will have gained a great deal from this presentation as there was always the opportunity to see the “before” and “after” image and to travel the intervening journey. The range of what we saw was a magnificent spread from portrait through abstract, creative dark mood vignettes with threatening skies, secret street photography, humorous graffiti with the help of passers by and the skilful use of both professional and amateur models.
There was something for everyone.
This was the second visit that Rob Auckland has made to SYPC. A year ago Rob had us in the courtyard taking portraits of each other. This time Rob continued his theme of good photography is both fun and a learning experience with a twist. The first part of the evening was a lesson in portraiture lighting and the difference between 4 lights each with individual elements and how best to use these lights to get their favored “mug” shot of each other.
We had to place the subject in three set positions to see which light and which position gave the best results. It was a bit chaotic as we had quite a number of members participating in the study, but it was enjoyed by us all, and one particular studio light, and position one (half an arm’s length from the light) gave the best results. On investigation the winning studio light was a soft box but with a baffle to soften the light before it hit the subject.
In the second half we had a demonstration of how to achieve a ‘first class’ head shot, in particular how to optimise the lighting and how to prepare your subject to present themselves in the best way – basically extend the neck (like a turtle) which reduces all those chins – not that any of us are old enough to have multiple chins !
A very active and informative evening was had by all.
Martin Fry (FRPS EFIAP/g AV-EFIAP ABPE APAGB) has been to Sodbury & Yate Photography club on several occasions and always gives us a wonderful evening of Audio-Visual presentations, he is a real friend to SYPC. On Monday evening Martin transported us through many emotions, drama, sadness, and pure delight, he is outstanding in his knowledge of photography and his ability to adapt them into superb pictorial “stories”.
The Belgium Field War memorial sequence was really moving, about a 14-year-old boy going to war, with scenes of destruction but also poignant and thought provoking.
Another sequence told a story of Ivor Gurney a poet and a musician during his war years and after suffering “shell shock” he wrote his best music and poetry. Martin goes to great lengths to find all the facts about the subject’s life.
The Irish and the Cornish presentation were full of wonderful scenery and drama especially the storms out at sea. Clearly significant planning was needed but with that planning he was in the right place at the right time!
The musicality, poems, singing, and most of all, the images Martin produces to “tell a story” are outstanding, something perhaps we should all aspire to.
Martin also took us through the process to gain FIAP distinctions for Photographic Merit encouraging us to start on that process. The level of satisfaction achieved knowing that others appreciate your work is very gratifying.
A superb evening once again. We are already looking forward to Martin’s next visit !