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

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


“Ray – explaining his kit and technique”




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



“A more detailed discussion”



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

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

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


“Something not right here”




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

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

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



by Brian Wetton




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

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


By Brian Wetton



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Below is a copy of the 1st. place Print



“Bantham Beach” by Ray Grace




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




“Trainee Buddhist perhaps ?” by Alan Grynyer




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



21st August 2017 – The WCPF 2017 Members Exhibition

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

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

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


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

7th August 2017 – Martin Evans – The Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC)

This was a different type of presentation from our normal Monday evening guest speaker. This was about a feat of Engineering and determination populated by both video and many images all of which were well received. Our Members were delighted to be able to welcome Bloodhound SSC Ambassador – Martin Evans


Bloodhound SSC 



Martin covered the whole range of topics that make up the exciting history of the World Land Speed Record.  We learnt that the land speed record (LSR) is the speed over a course of a measured mile, averaged over two runs. Two runs are required in opposite directions within one hour, and a new record must exceed the previous one by at least one percent to be validated

Martin explained that the journey began December 18th 1898, when Frenchman Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat reached an astonishing 39.24 mph driving a Jeantaud Duc electric powered car.


1898 Electric car 39mph


Martin took us through many of the interesting record attempts, including the controversy that arose in 1963, when the ‘Spirit of America’ was not recognised due to it being a three-wheeler!

We were treated to photographs of drivers and their cars, including Major Sir Malcolm Campbell MBE and his 22.3 litre V12 Bluebird.

The main thrust of Martin’s presentation was of course the current attempt to reach 1000 mph in Bloodhound. We enjoyed learning about the engineering challenges that face the team, the interaction with Schools and Universities which clearly enthuses and encourages our next generation of Engineers.

Martin referred to the tremendous commitment and hard work of Richard Nobel OBE. Richard was himself the driver and holder of the land speed record (633 mph) between 1983 and 1997 in Thrust 2 (a rocket propelled car).


Thrust 2 – Rocket Propelled 633mph




Richard Noble was also the Project Director for Thrust SSC the vehicle that holds the current record of 763mph. He is now the ‘driving’ force behind the Bloodhound SSC project.


Thrust SSC – 763 mph



We had a cockpit view of practice runs in Bloodhound’s predecessor – Thrust SSC, driven by Wing Commander Andy Green in 1997 at Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Andy Green will also be the driver for the attempt on the record in the Bloodhound SSC at 1000 mph

You can learn more or support the project by visiting the Bloodhound SSC website at:


31st. July 2017- An Evening with Lynne & Adrian Smithson

We were treated to another special evening at SYPC on Monday July 31st. This time it was a members evening where Lynne (LRPS) and Adrian (LRPS) Smithson presented an evening of over 150 outstanding prints.

Lynne and Adrian made the evening even more special by offering a narrative about each print explaining the ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ each was created and what post processing was necessary to create the effect and impact. We also saw prints that dated back to the film days of the 1980’s. A far different world to the Digital age we have now.

Below are 2 prints from Adrian.


We saw their journey of photography with landscapes from all corners of the UK and Europe for example –

Slimbridge WWT, Weston Super Mare, Bristol Harbourside, Bath, Cornwall, Snowdonia, Kent and Brighton which was one of their favorite locations. Then we were introduced to some of their trips to Europe including Prague, Saltzburg, Bruge and Paris – again just to name  a few.

These 2 prints are from Lynne

The whole evening was exceptionally well received by all at SYPC and it demonstrated what skills Lynne and Adrian have – clearly they are an asset to our club.


24th July 2017 – Being Digital by Matt Revell

Another stunning evening at SYPC on Monday night. Matt Revell took us through his ‘Being Digital’ presentation and it was outstanding. Matt started his photographic journey in 2011, and what a portfolio he has developed in those 6 years. The presentation was even more impressive when you realise that Matt also holds down a full time job as an Engineer.

Matt broke the evening up into 3 sections –

For the first section he took us through his logic and thought processes when preparing for and actually taking the shot. Here he also talks about his kit (stressing that his kit is a tool) and it is the image that is paramount.

The next sections were the body of the presentation where we saw over 150 excellent digital images on Landscapes, Portraiture and Glamour.

Each image Matt was able to describe the how and why he took the shot and the level of post processing required to create the desired effect and impact.


This was an excellent and enjoyable evening of Digital Images.





Much of Matt’s work is very local to our area and it really brought home just what is available if you ‘look’ and ‘plan’.



We look forward to seeing Matt Revell at SYPC in the near future

2017 Bi-Monthly Round 4 Competition Results – July 17th 2017

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.

Professor Bob Ryan (ARPS, FRPS) was the external judge for our 2017 Bi Monthly Round 4 competition. Bob critiqued and constructively commented on 78 images (26 prints and 52 Digital Images) submitted by our members. After selecting his favorite image from each pair of images and explaining why he preferred that image, Bob then selected his Top 8 Digital and Top 8 Prints announcing the results in reverse order.

Bob’s relaxed, yet professional style, of constructively commenting on all our images was extremely well received as was the humor he brought to the evening.

Below is a Table of the Top 8 images and their authors in each section.

Round 4 Prints Author Place
Autumn Reflections Lynne Smithson 1st.
Rob And Pete The Engineers Stuart Lewis 2nd.
Marina Night Mark Seaman 3rd.
Evening Glow Eileen Scantlebury 4th.
Westcombe Bay Ray Grace 5th.
Helleborus Margaret Snee 6th.
Princesshay Centre Exeter Carole Brown 7th.
Running Repairs John Scantlebury 8th.
Round 4 Digital Images Author Placed
Sunburnt Ray Grace 1st.
Between the Lines Robert Sage 2nd.
Trees in the mist Hugh Jones 3rd.
Steampunk Hat Cathy Fordham 4th.
Goth by Moonlight 2 Alan Grynyer 5th.
Waterwheel Eileen Scantlebury 6th.
Accordion Man Stuart Lewis 7th.
Pultney Bridge Pete Alford 8th.

Below is a copy of the 1st.place Print. 

“Autumn Reflections” by Lynne Smithson




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


“Sunburnt” by Ray Grace





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

19th. June 2017 – An American evening with Tony Gervis (FRPS)

Tony Gervis (FRPS) is a passionate traveler who took us through his photographic experiences whilst visiting America on more than 40 occasions over 25 years ! This is a  country that Tony clearly loves and that he will never tire from visiting.

What an evening of  entertainment we had, it was enthralling, outstanding images from various locations and complimented by an exceptional speaker.



Tony talked us through his adventures backed up by classic images and described in detail just how to get those special shots.

Tony claims to have an ‘idyllic’ life and from his images, his adventures and the sheer passion for what he enjoys, that is truly the case.

We had a whistle stop tour of the American National Parks, the Slot Canyons, the Waterfalls and Rivers, Wildlife, some near death experiences capturing lightening, Las Vegas and of course Tony’s passion the excitement of the American Rodeo.

I really hope that Tony will return to our club a second time with more stories and images from his travels.


A remarkable photographer and presenter – Thank you