14th May 2018 – “My Journey so far” – by Heidi Stewart

On Monday 14th May we were privileged to receive a visit from Heidi &
Alex Stewart. This evening it was Heidi’s turn to give the talk and what a talk it was.
Heidi has a very engaging personality and is very open and honest about her photography. Having started her ‘serious’ photography within the last ten years, she found it a great help in her development to join her local camera club (Gwynver CC) and hasn’t looked back since.

Heidi will be either extremely thorough in her preparation for a photographic sortie (checking weather/tide reports and forecasts) or completely instinctive and just get up and go. In the latter case that will involve a location she had previously reconnoitered, mostly coastal locations but she is not averse to going further afield whenever possible (Lake District, Cornwall & North Devon for example).

Heidi stressed the importance of having a go and not to be tied down by convention and rules for “rules are there to be bent”!

30th April 2018 – ‘It takes Two’ – by Elizabeth Restall and Joanne Searle

A wonderful evening from 2 stunning photographers.  Elizabeth Restall (ARPS) and Joanne Searle (ARPS, AWPF) left members applauding in delight at a dazzling display of amazing Prints and enchanting dialog.

Joanne Searle opened the proceedings by explaining that she enjoys dark, grungy atmospheric images, and that she felt that her monochrome prints were even better when framed using black mounts. It soon became clear that Joanne is a photographer who knows what she likes and someone who is not influenced by the views of judges.

What followed was an incredible presentation of monochrome prints that took us on a journey around Great Britain and other wonderful parts of the world.

The images clearly show that Joanne stays true to her unique point of view. How to sum up the first part of the evening? Well, one of her images ‘Trapped’ has won 10 awards!

Joanne enjoys all aspects of photography but always tries to find that something different.
Over the years she has entered many local, national and international exhibitions with much success.


However, she never fails to be delighted with any success, however small, as it means that someone has enjoyed her photography.

During the coffee break Joanne displayed her panel of 12 prints that gained  her the (AWPF) distinction – quite stunning.

Elizabeth Restall, from Tyndale photography Club, stepped up to the front after the break, opening the session with a set of images that included the wonderful image – ‘Tree with Attitude’.

Elizabeth uses the image editing plugin ‘Fractalius’ to great effect. Many of her images have been captured during her participation in workshops organised and led by Andy Beale.


We were treated to a wide range of inspiring images that left members gasping at the detail and creativity showcased during this segment of the evening. Many of the images featured locations in places as far away as India.



Elizabeth has been a camera club member for over 30 years. She was delighted to gain her ARPS in 2012.

This was an excellent evening; a presentation of MANY MANY prints, just carrying all those boxes was a challenge ! However SYPC thoroughly enjoyed all the prints displayed – Thank you.

23rd. April – Nature Images from my Travels – by Ralph Snook

Monday night SYPC had the pleasure of the company of another first class speaker. Ralph Snook (ARPS EFIAP/b DPAGB), walked us through a fantastic set of Digital Nature images, taken on his recent travels to Bulgaria, Alaska, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Peru and Kenya
Ralphs relaxed, informative and humorous style was an excellent foil to his  Nature images all set in their natural habitat. From Alaska we saw really close pictures of Brown Bears, fishing for Salmon. These bears were  completely ignoring the photographer just a few metres away – quite awesome.

By no means a complete set but we were treated to numerous birds, whales, lizards, insects, big cats from Kenya, the odd Wolf, some Sea Otters, Eagles and not forgetting Landscapes.

This was an enthralling evening of outstanding digital images taken up close and almost personal of animals most of us only see in books, magazines or a zoo.
A fantastic professionally presented evening, please come again Ralph.

16th. April – Opening of SYPC Annual Print Exhibition – at Yate Library

An annual event in the SYPC calendar  is our  Exhibition of Photographic Prints produced by our membership. This year and for the third time, we returned to Yate Library for our exhibition. Our members selected, mounted and framed  42 prints. These high quality prints  can be viewed by the general public, free of charge for the next 4 weeks. The exhibition will remain in the library until the morning of May 12th.

On Monday evening our members convened at the library for the official opening of  the exhibition and of course the usual buffet laid on by our own Pat and Tony Jefferies.

This year we decided to invite the staff of Yate Library to select their favorite 3 prints. The winning print, will form the basis of the cover on our 2019 annual handbook. Additionally the winner will have their prints displayed in ‘pride of place’ at our next annual exhibition in the Spring of 2019.

Please come along and view the prints and leave any comments in the visitor’s handbook, the book will be in a prominent position. The exhibition will remain on display for 4 weeks until May 12th.

2018 – Round 2 Bi-Monthly Results April 9th.

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 and photographer assess their prowess, both technically and artistically

Peter Weaver (APAGB, CPAGB and LRPS) – was our Round 2  external judge for the 2nd. of our 6 Bi-Monthly 2018 Competitions. Peter has been a great friend to SYPC. Over many years Peter has visited us either as a judge or presenter of his own work . He is always welcome and clearly an excellent photographer. Peter opened the meeting by explaining to the membership his recent exploits and places visited for his own photography. His relaxed and often humorous manner was pleasant but at the same time it was obvious that Peter had put a lot of work into reviewing and preparing for the evening.

The result was an excellent  and constructive  narrative describing each image and  always offering constructive feedback for improvement.  Peter  critiqued and commented on 82 images (32 prints and 50 digital images).

Thank you Peter – hopefully we will see you again very soon.

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

Round 2 Digital Images Author Place
Unconventional Cathy Fordham 1st.
Kirkjufell Falls Carole Brown 2nd.
Wait for me! Mike Hopes 3rd.
Tenisha Kevin James 4th.
Taking time out Alan Grynyer 5th.
All Black Alan Connor 6th.
Three Arabs Mark Seaman 7th.
I Spy a Boat Mary Williams 8th.
Round 2 Prints Author Place
Porth Naven Ray Grace 1st.
Blowing Ripples John Scantlebury 2nd.
A Mother Bear and Cub Peter Range 3rd.
On the Slopes of Cader Idris Mary Williams 4th.
The Tortworth Tree Mark Seaman 5th.
John Eileen Scantlebury 6th.
Triassic Cliffs – Sidmouth Stuart Lewis 7th.
Across the Marshes Carole Brown 8th.

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


“Unconventional”  by Cathy Fordham”



Below is a copy of the 1st. Place Print


“Porth Naven” by Ray Grace



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

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.


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.