Our guest speaker last night turned out to be an enthusiastic, adventurous, skilful and intuitive photographer.
Quite clearly from his early life in Wiltshire he loves the open air and the brilliance of the countryside and its landscapes. His enthusiasm has led him from serious BMX bike riding, skateboarding, skiing, mountain biking and adventure in order to find the picture he has dreamt about. Through his natural ability his images, capturing his early pastimes, caused him to be talent spotted by Panasonic and his love of smaller, but technically sound, cameras have seen his career leap forward. We were able to share his all-action bike “gymnastics” shots through to lonely waterfalls, calm reflective water, mountain ponies always remembering the early and late golden hours.
Jim does not restrict his great gifts to any one area and he revealed stunning images of astrophotography especially the Milky Way from Nash Point, the Northern Lights from the Lofoten archipelago using the Lumax S1R and a new range of filters from the up and coming manufacturer Case. Driven to be in the isolated places he has undergone adventures visiting Scottish Bothies as well as taking his own accommodation either on foot or mountain bike, and particularly relishing his first freshly ground coffee every morning – as he says “…..freeing the mind…..”. Bringing himself through to all media forms his group have now created a Podcast Library – Talking Shot Podcasts – we particularly recommend “I wish I had taken that” For more of this exponent of the open air, visit – https://www.jimcosseyphotography.co.uk
Many of us have concerns that our photographic efforts become “locked” in our computers and are never largely enjoyed by friends and family.
Our visit last night by Peter Rose showed how this might be overcome by the skilful use of three elements – photography, factual research and commentary, both supported by appropriate music.
We were able to enjoy a marvellous variety of AVs ranging through tulip fields, historic gardens, hot air at the balloon fiesta (very rain affected this year), a study of artistic graffiti, a day at the cricket, Isle of Harris, a clever use of a limited number of images entitle opposites, the poem Adlestrop and much more, occasionally including segments of video to enhance the experience.
Peter is a thoughtful photographer and devotes time and effort in order to create the story through his AV presentation that we are able to enjoy and, in many cases, bring back our own memories. The very specific first and last images were always blended to ensure that we felt part of the journey from start to finish.
A unique night presented as an opportunity for everyone to embrace and feel part of, understanding the effort that had been put into each piece.
This was our 5th. of the 6 bi-monthly member competitions. For this competition we welcomed back Ralph Snook (ARPS EFIAP/b DPAGB). Over the years Ralph has been a good friend to SYPC and a regular visitor both as a judge and an excellent presenter. Ralph reviewed and commented on 72 images (24 prints and 48 digital images). All of Ralph’s comments were constructive often giving pointers for improvement. All of these were well received. We look forward to seeing Ralph again at SYPC in 2020.
Below is a Table of the TOP 8 images and their Authors for each Section.
Victoria Hillman (BSC in zoology and an MSC wildlife Biology), is a young well qualified zoologist who has adapted her scientific knowledge to create images of the living world with a real focus on the well-being of all creatures at every level. Her skills have seen her become a judge on British Wildlife Photographic Awards and The Bird Photographer of the year award.
She is very keen to share her methods and techniques and equipment in order to raise the standard at the boundaries of technical photography. She lectures at major photographic events, takes parties of would-be wildlife photographers on trips and is a published author.
The first half of this evening’s presentation saw a range of projected images from a butterfly, spider, bush cricket, praying mantis, damsel fly, dragon fly, a number of frogs, salamander, lizard, gecko, snakes and some wonderful puffins, at the break of day. Each image included details of the lens that was used, the f setting, ISO value and the shutter speed – clearly her habit of photographing at the same level as her subjects requires precise set ups, very narrow depth of field, and patience to gain the reward of the desired image. Her knowledge of her tools of the trade lead to an excellent discussion on changing the contrast setting “in-camera”.
The second half of her talk took us to the rarely discussed area of “images that haven’t worked – and why”. Her method of sorting, by avoiding emotional connection, giving yourself time, eliminating failures has taught her the discipline that is essential for a high-quality professional photographer.
We were shown modifications of composition of bluebells, lady’s slipper orchids, a praying mantis a superb dragonfly roost, frogs that were technically improved by focusing on the eye and a yellow belly toad receiving post processing in Lightroom. Caution was advised when sharpening as noise too often creeps in and spoils the shot.
Victoria’s final tips were: –
• Give yourself time (one or two species at a time).
• Understand your subject and be prepared
• Research best times and locations
• Never be afraid to go to the same location several times
This was a technically demanding night, well presented and prepared and demonstrates the advances that the next generations will bring to photography.
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.