Denis Mace

Our sharpest member at 'spotting things', (Jean MacWhirter), rang me at the end of last week with the very sad news that our oldest member Denis Mace had passed away.

Denis had been one of our Honorary Members for a number of years along with Eric Keevy (now sadly also no longer with us) and Wing Commander Hal Randell (who moved South from Storrington some time ago). These three gentlemen were very much at the forefront of keeping SCC going at a time when camera clubs were not very popular, something that changed with the advent of digital photography. Martin Tomes, Diana Newnes and John Goodfellow all remember him well from the old days at the club, and some other members knew him from his career as a local Dentist. His Son still practices dentistry locally.

Denis was Secretary when I joined SCC, a post he had held for some time before, and continued to hold for some years after. He was a real Gentleman who everyone loved, He used to welcome us to his house for committee meetings, even after his Wife had passed away. As he got older (he was in his 98th year when he died) we saw less of him, especially after Eric died.

Denis leaves a Son, two Daughters and eight Grandchildren, together with fourteen Great Grandchildren! They will all miss him dearly and our thoughts and condolences go to them all.

Something Different

Meeting Report

Unicorn - winning imageOur final print competition was judged by Lindsey Green from Littlehampton Camera Club. She described herself as coming to photography from an art background, and certainly enjoyed the artistic endeavours she was shown.

Starting with a 17 for Norman Kirby’s warm vibrant ‘Slow grey morning at Southsea’ then a held back image ‘Osprey – Just up’ from Derek Grieve, we might have been lulled into a false sense of security. However, her marking was from 14 to 20, with only twelve images (25%) getting 18 or more.

For someone who I understand is fairly new to judging, Lindsey did not fall into the trap of only making the standard comments about sharpness etc. Instead she responded to the images in a very natural, emotional way. Some were described as “exciting”, while others were perhaps lacking some atmosphere, but she did say that she had seen “so many lovely pictures here tonight”. I think she wondered if we had a thing about horses at Storrington, because there were no fewer than five equine images on offer. Typically, there were some lovely wildlife pictures in the mix as well.

Natural History Images to remember

Meeting Report

OwlRobert Canis gave us a truly memorable presentation of some of his work at our show of the year held at Washington Community Centre once again. When we host an event like this, it is impossible to know ahead of the evening how many folk are going to attend. So the worry is firstly will we cover our costs and secondly make a profit. This year the attendance was a little disappointing, possibly because the subject matter did not attract the public?; or maybe because it was held on a Friday instead of Saturday. We shall never know.

However, all those who did attend were treated to an amazing show of Robert’s work and given in a very relaxed way with not a note in sight!, and we more than covered our costs, and thanks to the raffle, very ably run by Glenn and Paul, we have ended up with good money in the bank.

What was also quite amazing, was Robert’s memory of what Aperture or ISO used, with what lens and exposure time. At the same time, he was telling us what to do to improve our own nature photography. Things like using 'Auto ISO', focussing in Manual using ‘Live View’ and when to use these, and how to cut down ‘Noise’. Quite a lot to take in frankly.

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.

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