Cutting layers to help us

Meeting Report

Our great friend Leslie Cutting visited us again tonight to give us some more Adobe Photoshop tuition. Leslie uses Elements 12 which is usually considered the best editing programme for photographers. Photoshop CC is a more comprehensive alternative. but it now requires a monthly subscription of nearly £9, and is not available unless you have had CS 6 or maybe some earlier versions of CS. I do not believe that it gives photographers very much more than Elements anyway.

Enough of my drivel. Leslie spent the evening explaining Layers, starting off with a very simple set up to show everyone how they worked. Peter P sat about a metre away from Leslie and showered her with questions the whole evening, and as I reminded him, I first met Peter at Rydon School about 20 years ago where Leslie was teaching us both photoshop. Never mind Peter, I suffer from the same  problem remembering stuff due to extreme old age!!

Having shown us the basics, Leslie moved on to show us adjustment layers, layer masking, blending, blurring images, all using layers, and some of the new tools such as "refine edges". I am not going to repeat all she said, even if I could, because if you were interested, you would have been there!

Finally, Leslie showed us Picasa, which she rates highly as a place to store your images and get to them quickly.

Influential dust spots

Meeting Report

Thursday saw the last PI competition, and it was a hard fought one. Marks varied from 12 to 20, with seventeen being held back. The judge John Bradshaw showed us a few of his wonderful images first: he likes to try and replicate 19th century darkroom techniques digitally, also working on projects such as following the Greenwich meridian across the UK.

John started by saying that he would be looking for an image that was technically well done, but also what was it trying to say. He was certainly very hot on the technical aspects, commenting several times on sharpness, chromatic aberration, distracting backgrounds and halos created by unwise “fiddling and diddling”. Regarding dust spots, at one image he commented that “you’re not going to get your fellowship with that”. Several images had cropping suggested, with the remark that cropping is one of the most important things you can do to a photograph, especially portrait format, which he felt is often too tall for the width.

Some thought provoking stuff!

Meeting Report

Tonight's meeting was an 'extra' one and the idea for the content came from a conversation that chairman Anne had with a member of Bognor C.C. They had obtained a DVD from the RPS and shown it one evening.

Chris obtained the necessary DVD, but the evening started with him telling us what was scheduled for next season's programme. He told us that Daisy would be handing out a questionaire at the break, asking club members what they liked and disliked about what we do as a club. I urge people who were not present tonight to get hold of one and return it to Daisy, so that the committee can set future events to suit what the majority would like to do in future seasons.

So, on with the main event. The DVD contained the chosen entries for the "RPS's International Images for Screen Exhibition" (which is posh talk for PIs!).

There were three categories, each judged by three judges, starting with 'In Camera', which was for conventional pictures of many subjects. These were watched in absolute silence and I suspect 'Awe'. There were a very large number of images in this batch from China.

The Lows and Highs of Competition

Meeting Report

Five of us gathered yesterday for the Sussex Federation Photographic Competition. We met at a new venue, The Kings Centre Burgess Hill, and also on a new day a Saturday. I am not sure if the change of day had an effect on the attendance generally or not, but I felt there were fewer people than last year when it was clear we had out grown Wivelsfield Village Hall. The Kings Centre can hold 500 people.

The doors opened at 1.30 so there was plenty of time to view the prints prior to competition, buy raffle tickets, and get refreshments. The number of competition entries I have also seen at other competitions struck me. Now at Print Competitions the images are also projected as PI’s so that everyone can see the image if they are not able to view the print so well. This made me think how one almost needs to Print an image and also have a PI to compare it with to see which medium suits the image best, as certainly some viewed better as PI’s than Prints. I don’t know about you but by this stage of the season I am usually scrabbling around for Competition entries and put in whatever comes to hand rather than thinking which medium suits the image.

Passionate Photography

Meeting Report

This evening we were treated to a show of superb artistic talent by Diana Goss MSc UKCP ARPS who specialises and thoroughly enjoys Night Photography. She was going to be accompanied by a gentleman who partners on her night adventures, but unfortunately he was unable to attend. Diana emphasised that for personal safety it is unwise to venture out alone at night and in any case her partner works with her (and sometimes with more assistants as well) to enable her to get the results she is seeking. She, like Rosie Armes who also came to us from Chichester CC, never sets out with her camera to take random pictures (as I do, and I suspect most other SCC people do!?); all her images are thought up in advance and the appropriate props taken along with her.

When Diana arrived with us, she set out all the kit she takes with her on her night photography on a table for us to examine. She told us that none of it was costly. It included, apart from her camera, a fisheye lens; flash gun; wire wool; electro-luminescent wire; stencils; coloured gels, to name but a few of the items, several of which were purchased on e-bay.

In the middle

Meeting Report

Red Hot Chilli Pepper - Liz BarberWe arrived at Lancing Parish Hall for the Crouch Shield PI competition which was hosted by Worthing CC. We paid, bought raffle tickets, as you do, and had a large 'goody bag' thrust upon us containing Olympus catalogues, a very useful lens polishing cloth and very luckily a pen, since I immediately found out that my own pen had expired. We then met up with fellow SCC supporters, I counted eleven, and sat down.

Then proceedings began and we were introduced to the Judge, Marcus Scott-Taggart from Surrey, who is very experienced. He trains judges and checks them out 'in the field'. He started by telling us that all the images entered were very good, but that it was his job to judge harshly in order to separate them from one another to pick the winners.

There were eleven clubs entered, so Six rounds of eleven images. Our first image was 'Red Hot Chilli Pepper' taken by Liz Barber and Marcus remarked on what a very good job had been done setting up and taking the image and gave it 18, which gave us 2nd equal position.

Timeless Feel

Meeting Report

There was a good number of entries to this set subject, and a very high standard of varied images. Most were black and whites, but there were a few sepias, although one of mine was a “false orangey colour” in our judge’s words, so take care out there next time round! The main advice was to think whether the toning added or subtracted from the image. With just a couple of the entries, he would have liked to see the colour version, as he felt that converting to black and white doesn’t always work.

The judge was David Eastley, and I would highly recommend him for future competitions. He marked between 13 and 20, and there were not too many hitting the top scores. It certainly felt like a fair reflection of the images. As our chair, Anne said in her summing up at the end, we had heard some interesting comments and critique, and we all had things to go away and work on to improve our understanding of monochrome.

It's a knockout

Meeting Report

Meeting: 
Members' Evening

This evening we had our second 'Knockout' competition devised and run by John Gauvin, ably assisted by Alex. Last season we had our first similar competition using prints from everyone entering. This time it was three PIs and 69 were entered. Two images were projected side by side on the screen and we voted with a show of hands with our choice of the best image. Alex counted the votes and if there were an equal number of votes for each image, Alex settled the result with the toss of a coin,(a £1 before the break and a 5p after_ the tea must have cost a lot!)

As there was no age limit on the images, we were treated to a selection of very good and interesting pictures. As the competition progressed it became more and more difficult to choose between the images as they were all very good. Someone remarked that we had all had a taste of the hard job that our judges have! I remember a few off the top of my head, two Ice Berg pictures; a Polar Bear taking a dip; the running gear of a steam locomotive, all stick in my mind, but the eventual very worthy winning image was of an Iceburg with lots of atmosphere taken by Roscoe Turner, (he should have been a radio DJ with a name like that?) who won the winner’s bottle of wine presented by Anne.

We done good!

Meeting Report

Razorbill Pair (Anne Nagle)I always look forward to having these SCPF P.I. competition rounds held at our venue, because one can get nice and close to the images and hear exactly what the judge is saying, where as if similar comps are held in their usual necessary big halls you can miss quite a lot sometimes.

Flickr and Nepal.

Meeting Report

Meeting: 
Travellers' Tales

Martin gave us a talk on last year’s 'One a Week’ project which a number of us took part in during 2013. The idea is that you are given a new topic each week and you must take at least one image of the subject during that week, which you then upload to the Flickr site. Once there, your fellow members of the group can tell you what they think of your efforts. If you get no comments, as happened with most of my shots, you can take it that nobody thinks them worthy of comment! Not good, but in my case predictable.

Martin explained the whole 2013 challenge to everyone and then randomly showed us an example of each topic as taken by those partaking from each week. He had produced little prints of all 52 of his images from last year, and Liz brought the prints that had been on show at the Storrington library for our Christmas exhibition, some of which were also from the project.

After the break, Chris West, Vice Chairman and generally OK chap, gave us a show illustrating two trips that he had made to Napal in 2007 and 2008. Paul Hayward had been going to give us a show of one of his trips, but sadly was taken ill and had to step down. Chris’s show was very well presented and it was hard to believe that he had got it all together at very short notice.

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