“Dragonfly” by Richard Wells.
Apologies for the long delay since last update. There have been BT / Openreach problems, now (I hope) fixed.
For anyone interested in future development of optics, Federico Capasso’s group at SEAS Harvard is one to watch. Here is a link to the Harvard Gazette item.
We are nearing the end of the 16-17 season and the AGM is getting close. If you have comments, requests, suggestions for next year, pass them on now, to give people a chance to find the answers. Don’t wait till the AGM, because the response will likely be “I don’t know” and another summer will go by before anything gets done.
If you want to be more involved with running the club, please stand up and say so. We will need at least two new committee members, as both competition secretaries plan to step down – maybe existing committee members will take on those jobs, maybe not, but in either case more help will be required. Don’t worry about upsetting the old guard. We’ll be first against the wall when the revolution comes- that’s how it’s supposed to happen.
The club has been less active in external competitions this year than in the past. You might want that to change. If so, you may need to get involved- good quality images need to be produced , selected, delivered to judges or physically presented at competitions. It all takes time.
You might want to see more outdoor activity by sub-groups from the club. So, organise one.
An astrophotography group? Nature photography? Macro? A Blog?
Is the website any real use? The Facebook page? You want the old membership card / timetable back?
Maybe you want to know more about the SPF or the PAGB, or about anything.
We have a sizeable membership and there’s no shortage of skills (photographic and other), but for the club to flourish, we each need to do more than just turn up. Members need to get involved. It’s your club. Our club: But we can only do what you want if you let us know. Let’s hear from more people!
14th March. Frieda Christie of the Royal Botanic Gardens explained how the extreme macro world of scanning and Transmission electron microscopy works and showed us some truly wierd and wonderful images from the world of extreeeeemely small botany. Odd how very like asteroids pollen grains look!
Frieda’s husband, Tim, also impressed with his AV setup for Frieda’s tour of the nanoworld and I think we may try to get him back for some advice in that department. He would have swept the board in the A/V contest. My thanks to them too, for setting up and taking down their own gear. I wish everybody was so organised.
7th March. The Fiona Govan cup was won by a print this year – Puffin with sand eels- from Liz Wheelans , with Richard Wells’ Dragonfly in flight and Ann Jeffray’s Kingsfisher in motion second and third. Nice to see a print on top for once. It’s interesting that the popular vote tends to home in on the same images which would probably score highly from a formal judge, though a judge might put heavier emphasis on technical issues. One problem with the popular vote system is that we need a faster way to tally the scores for next year, as Robert and Jean almost had nervous breakdowns adding the numbers. Maybe if everyone gets to cast just one vote?
Reduced size versions (there are 32 images) of the DPI entries only can be found under the “Competitions” menu at the top of the page. or here Scanning the prints would defeat the point of printing them- but if the authors want to send me a jpg original I will add it.
21st February Was the Audio visual night. It’s ironic that digital tech has largely killed the old art of A/V presentation, while making it far simpler to do. This competition was started by Jack Tully-Jackson, one of the club’s founder members and local historian. With Jack’s retirement from photography, the entry had dwindled to a single item or two in recent years, so it was good to see almost a dozen entries, featuring slideshows and straight video.
7th February. Neil Scott returned to judge the Monochrome competition. As usual, Neil had interesting observations to make. It had not occurred to me, for instance, that anyone actually takes digital photos in monochrome. I know I never have. I assumed everyone converted coloured images- but Neil pointed out that what makes a good colour image , once you remove the colour, may be a poor monochrome one if it lacks shape, form, contrast, strong line or texture. It’s like learning to sing, in braille. Printing in B&W seems to be like singing in braille while juggling on a wire above Niagara Falls, so I’m looking forward to having Neil give us some tips on that next session. Our thanks to him for his insights.
31st January. Due to a last minute speaker cancellation caused by ill health. tonight featured a couple of hastily prepared home made presentations:- Sue on how to take scanning electron micrographs of boy scouts stuck in horses’ hooves and abuse of turpentine and Elsan Fluid – and Alastair (me) on how optical diffraction affects back garden fences as well as suicidal spiders, motorcyclists with faces (hoorah!) and parallel lines that converge in photographs no matter what Euclid or competition judges think. More to follow on the jpg v raw issue.
Anyone else with short technical issues / test demos they want to raise on how to / how not to use digital imaging, please let the committee know. Having a few small talks on hand is always welcome.
We wish Simone Meddle a rapid recovery. Maybe we can see her avian photographs next year?
21st January. After the traditional fight with the Laptop-that-hates-Powerpoint, Richard Bingham gave us some indication of how wide ranging his photographic repertoire is:- from photos inspired by paintings to landscape, wildlife and nude studies in studio and outdoor settings. Richard has some brave models- posing elegantly in the nude in places I would’nt go without work boots and a hard hat. It’s a tough game, photography, but someone has to do it and Richard is a past and present master of the art.
14th January. We put in some practice for the Tully Jackson AV competition. (Note that videos are also acceptable for this competition). In brief, an AV is a slideshow set to music or to any soundtrack. It might include video clips as well as static shots. The technique dates from the days when one or two slide projectors would be used, synchronised (manually) with a reel-to-reel tape recorder. That took skill and timing.
Digital technology has made it far easier, but skill and thought can still be applied- as in Colin Legg’s “Postcard from Haddington”, which involved the researching and retaking of historic photos and some clever image editing in GIMP to blend them together.
By contrast, a basic slide show with sound can be put together in a few minutes, using Windows Movie Maker (or Adobe Lightroom), or the version of Proshow Gold on the club laptop, which any member can arrange to come in to the darkroom and use. (JAsk a committee member and arrange a time). So give it a whirl.
Roger Hegarty showed some of his recent work. The Botanic Garden sequence was particulary good, I think. Let’s see other members’ photos- even if only a handful. Often we only see competition entries, which tend to be the pick of anyone’s photos, which maybe gives a distorted idea of “how good you have to be”. We don’t have to be anything.
7th January 2017. We got the new year off to a start with the comic evening. Some very disturbing images were presented and legal action is pending…
13th December. The club Theme Competition was judged by George Neilson ARPS, who had some pertinent comments for us all regarding competition photography. He made the point that an image worth 20 in a small club competition might score far lower in an inter club or national competition, because the overall standard of the broader field is far higher. If you want to do well in competition, it therefore pays to actually go and see what that standard is. Also, if the club as a whole wishes to score well in such competition, it would help if a significant part of the membership attended them- either as contestants or even just as spectators.
To what extent such competition improves your general photography is something we can have different opinions about, but there’s no question that seeing the work of more photographers is generally informative and challenging.
Thanks again to George for his insightful criticism – especially of the prints, which he seemed to remember in astonishing detail, even though he forgot to put them in his car. That’s twice this year we have had inspired descriptions of invisible images; Lindsay Robertson’s invisible slides were also a high point. It must be something to do with having a photographic memory.
Our best wishes also go to George on his retirement from the SPF judging scene and our thanks for all he has done for photography in Scotland.
06 December. Back in September, we had a talk from Lindsay Robertson, who described his career as a professional photographer. This week we had a superficially similar, but substantially different talk from David Scott, describing his career to date which is following a different creative course. No super detailed prints of racehorses in studios this time. An art student with a strong musical interest, David combined his multiple creative interests into photography and videography initially through his interest in the contemporary music scene, building a contact network as he learned his business. What he shared with Lindsay Robertson is the insistence on doing your own thing as well as possible, pushing your limits all the time, being the best you can be.
David’s photos are not taken to please club judges. Instead, they have to meet the criteria of clients with tight publication schedules and limited budgets who prefer to hire a photographer who delivered the goods last time, on time.
It’s possible to get exciting, punchy pictures of dramatic events, using minimal lighting gear and good second hand (or rented) equipment , if you also have an ability to think on your feet and a determination to deliver under less than ideal conditions. And don’t do wedding photos in front of a mirror.
Camera club photography is not the only game in town. We need to be reminded of this. Photography is far from dead and video may be even better. A shame we are mainly oldies and amateurs. This is a talk that young aspiring photographers need to hear.
Links below to David’s site and that of his equally creative wife, Pamela.
29 November. Colin Legg gave a talk on the subject of exposure, which can kill you if you don’t wear your woolies. The whole story is here- photographic-exposure-for-pdf-150dpi
Colin’s task list is included at the end of the PDF file, but here’s a larger version-
Haddington Camera Club – Photographic Exposure
Task 1: Know how to find the Exif data – Take a photo on Auto:
What shutter speed, f-stop and ISO did the camera use?
Task 2: Know how to find, and how to read, the histogram
Set camera to Program (P) mode and ISO to 6400. Turn flash off.
Task 3: Take photos of: dark objects on dark background and
light objects on light background
How well does the camera compensate?
Task 4: Take photos of: dark objects on light background and
light objects on dark background
Compare average, centre-weighted and spot metering
Task 5: Know how to change the exposure compensation
Task 6: How high an ISO can you use before noise is noticeable /
Task 7: Does your camera have DRO or equivalent?
Does it help on a high contrast subject?
Task 8: Does your camera do HDR?
If not, can you bracket exposure and do it on the computer?
Task 9: Remember to reset your camera to your usual settings!
Colin Legg 29/11/2016
22 November. The poetry and picture contest revealed, as if we didn’t know, that we are better photographers than poets. Well done Elaine , Jean and Colin.
Roger Hegarty’s old family photos made me (and probably many of us) think of the shoeboxes full of images and negatives that sit in cupboards in most of our homes, unlabelled and increasingly unidentifiable with each passing generation;- the ones we’re really going to get around to sorting one of these years… Interesting to see the post-war appearance of synthetic fibre materials, colour film, the disappearance of hats as cars came in etc. It would be interesting to get a lineal time sequence of a single place , right from 1900 to today and do a timelapse movie. Wish I’d thought of it forty years ago. Bit late to begin now.
Thanks to those who brought gifts of biscuits and coffee- and especially the cherry liqueurs! (Those are addictive- but would you die of alcohol poisoning or cholesterol overdose first?).
13th November:-Updated score sheet after the SPF event is on the Members’ page, in both Excel 97 and PDF format.. We did not fare well in this competition. In fact, we were last.
10th November:- Haddington beat North Berwick by a scant 8 points, largely thanks to images from Andy Bennetts and Ann Jeffray. Full updated scoresheet at bottom of Members’ Page. NB had some crackers. Good biscuits, too. Thanks for a good evening. The frostbite is getting better.
8th November was the First Exposure competition. Our thanks again to Neil Scott for his informative judging. If competitions are to have value as a tool for improving our photography, we must get feedback from a judge, not simply scores. Neil stressed that we should learn not just from a judge’s comments about our own images, but about all the images.
His description of images as “Record shots” doesn’t mean don’t take record shots- but once you have those saved, look for something different in addition. His point is that Camera Club Competition Photography (CCCP) is about a different genre of picture. What’s wanted in competitions is a degree of originality as well as the sort of technical quality required for a calendar, postcard or magazine picture.
CCCP is not the only kind of photography there is, or even the one you as a photographer may want to focus on most of the time. Do your thing. It pays to learn how to do it better and how to have more fun in doing so and feedback from competitions may help you do that.
Horses for courses. If your aim is to win competitions, give ’em what they want. If your aim is to learn, give ’em what you want and see what they think. Competitions are not the goal. They’re a tool.
Here’s a CCCP Red Squirrel. Subject sharp, a bit off centre, catchlight in the eye, bit of tree for context, background uncluttered and a bit out of focus (Gaussian Blur!). There’s just one problem. It’s a grey squirrel and I’d happily settle for a decent record shot of a proper red one . I’ll keep trying.
So- did everyone else get lost in the woods too? Thursday 4th saw a mob of photographers wandering in the Botanics, trying to photograph lights that changed every couple of seconds. My favourite (and one of the few recognisable images) was the projection of plant hunter George Forrest.
2 November already. Malkit returned, bearing lights and umbrellas. His main message was to give the camera lots of artificial light so you can forget about shutter speed and ISO and just use aperture to control exposure and depth of field. The problems start when you can’t find the sub-sub menu of the sub menu of the flash menu that stops your camera trying to expose using the 2-candlepower trigger flash you never used before.
As so often, “Read The Friendly Manual” is good advice.
To judge by the results though, most folk got it right. This was a lot of ground to cover with a big group and a few folk had to leave before the hands-on work got started. Maybe next time we should start with the practical bits and do the theory at the end?
25th October was a “putting the boot in on the other foot” evening, when Andy Bennetts explained how to become a judge and then gave us a shot at it. Unsurprisingly, we all did incredibly well, because, as we all suspected, it’s dead easy. So that’s that then. Next week, we learn how to be concert violinists.
On October 11th, Sandy Cleland gave us a show of masterly wildlife images, mostly from Scotland and the wider UK, with some from abroad. Sandy makes it sound so easy. He just happens to be wandering along a road and a beast of some sort just stops what it was doing and poses alongside him.
The clear, but modestly unspoken message of proper natural history photographers like Sandy Cleland or Laurie Campbell, is that you actually need to know a great deal about the creatures you are observing, their habitat and ethology – and you have to wander along a great many roads, for many years, with infinite patience, respect for nature and a very precise vision of what you hope to find there – to capture images like these – not just of a bird on a twig in the distance, but of an animal actively doing what it does best in its own environment.
The only problem with a demonstration of mastery like this is that I don’t know whether to be inspired, or to sell the camera in despair. Lovely stuff.
So – 4th October was our first try at a problems and answers night. More problems than answers, maybe, but part of the idea was to find out what basic knowledge levels are like and to get folk talking to each other. To judge by the noise levels, we managed that at least.
Next time we do this, we want to be able to focus on what folk want to do, want to know. To that end, please give us feedback. What was right, what wrong, helpful, confusing etc. – what would you do if you organised it, what do you want to find out about? Let us know. Don’t be shy. It’s YOUR club. Send comments to HCCWebmail@Gmail.com . The more the better. We can sort them and look for common factors to use as a preparation for next time.
Last Tuesday, 27th September we had our first encounter with Malkit Benning, (He’ll be back!), who gave us tips and practical experience of studio portrait photography. No White Rhinos or racehorses, but thanks to Louise for her patience as model.
A page of Malkit’s notes is available below as a 1997 DOC file or as plain text.
Downloadable Doc 97 file
On Tuesday 20th September, we had a talk from Lindsay Robertson, which illustrated how uniquely personal photography can be, both as a recording medium and as an art form. Lindsay is an advocate of film over digital, quality over quantity, and of doing things the way your heart tells you is right for you. Not many speakers show up with a van load of large , framed prints which sell (when they sell!) for four figures – or with such illustrative invisible slides. The fact he forgot the digital part of his presentation may be more than chance. The prints are unforgettable.
His point about a life in photography was that while it sometimes pays, it’s always worth doing, if you do the best you can.
His challenge to us as photographers- to take one, single image and get it right, is very much at odds with current notions of taking 10 frames per second and hoping one comes out right- to say nothing of shooting 4k video and extracting still frames, a technology eagerly anticipated by many.
Not everyone can maintain this sort of personal discipline, nor should they. Photography is a hobby, too. There are many facets to photography and Lindsay’s way is personal and distinctive to himself- a timely reminder at the start of the season that camera club competition photography is far from the only game in town and doing what you choose to do is rather the point.
We kicked off the 16_17 season on Tuesday 13th September with a talk from new president Susan Kempson outlining her plan for the Autumn and Winter syllabus. It was good to see a number of new faces and we hope to see you all back next week.
PLEASE REMEMBER YOUR MEMBERSHIP BADGE ______________________________________________________________________________
The president’s Summer newsletter is here:- Summer Newsletter 2016