Friday, 12 February 2016

Photocraft By Night :-)

This week a group of intrepid Photocraft-ers took to the streets of Carshalton to try out our night photography skills. 

Cameras and tripods in hand, we not only braved the cold February conditions, but were also brave enough to put our cameras into manual (yes! manual!) to experiment with ISO, aperture and shutter speed in our search for that elusive combination which would give the best results.

The good news is that nobody fell into the ponds, which (thanks to the still weather conditions) provided us with some great reflections .. I'm sure we will be seeing a few examples of those in upcoming club competitions!

To stave-off the risk of frost-bite, a number of us then retired to the Greyhound pub for a well deserved warming drink!  All in all, a fun night out and a great opportunity to try our hand at something new: I for one am very tempted to pop back one night to have another go (remedying all the obvious mistakes that I can now see clearly in my downloaded images!).

For more tips on night photography, check out:

See you on Wednesday!


Sunday, 7 February 2016

PDI Competition No. 3

What a great evening and congratulations to all the winners. And there were some weren't there? Five tens in Level 1 must be some kind of record, and special congratulations to Christine A, and Chris H (awarded 10 for two photos), both new members. Some of us are going to have to watch our backs in future competitions, aren't we?
In Level 1, the 10+ went to Jeff Harmer for his superb shot of a racing dog called Low flying friend.

The other 10 was a very clever picture from Martin, Autumn reflections. It was the reflection of a tree, the image turned upside down so that its branches seemed bedecked by the leaves that were floating in the water.

Christine A was awarded 10 for a beautifully backlit leaf mosaic called Green Canopy.

Finally in this Level, Chris H received top marks for two candid and unselfconscious pictures of two children playing in his garden. Don criticised the title of one of them saying he couldn't see the boy was running, although to me, the little chap had Running  written into his facial expression. Concentration, his other portrait was an equally captivating image of a young lady in profile.

Don Morley awarded only three 10s at Level 2.
Dave S won two of them, the 10+ being awarded to a beautiful landscape Snowdonia. All about tonality and shapes with hardly any fine details, painterly in concept.

His other 10, equally atmospheric in its way, was of steam engines Simmering in the Sun.

Last but not least, Mandy was awarded 10 for Juvenile Starlings - Gotcha, the birds locked beak-to-beak apparently in mortal combat, one kicking the other in the chest.

David P was seen clutching a cushion and sobbing in the corner after his Selfie bombed with a score of just 5. Howard, bless him, put a hand on his shoulder and reminded him that having scored less than 7 1/2, he is entitled to put the picture in again. His little face brightened.
Remember, next week's meeting on 10th February is NOT at St Elpheges. We are meeting at the Cenotaph, Carshalton for an evening of night photography.

Friday, 5 February 2016

IGPTOY 9 results announced

She's done it again! Mandy's picture of an iridescent starling has been selected as a Finalist in the 'Wildlife in the Garden' section of the latest International Garden Photographer of the Year competition.

So congratulations Mandy (AKA Hazel). A Finalist in last year's competition and with Commended and Highly Commended entries in three previous IGPOTY competitions, my contention that she's just been lucky doesn't hold water anymore. Sour grapes then.

You can see the winners on the IGPOTY site, and Howard has just found a press release that includes Mandy's picture on the BBC News Magazine Do take a look.
Well done Mandy!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Digital Workflow

Had to give myself a good talking-to recently after reading recent issues of Amateur Photographer. They were all making me feel a bit inadequate. Apparently my 'gear' doesn't 'sport' the latest 'high-end kit'. I had to remind myself that you can take great pictures on absolutely any camera provided you know how to work it properly and understand its limitations. I don't need any more kit.

Having settled this one, I was expecting another assault on my sense of self worth listening to the talk by our invited speaker Wayne Grundy ARPS on the subject of Digital Workflow. Did I need a 'workflow' instead of my usual haphazard try-this and try-that approach to image editing?

If I happened to be a professional, where of course time is money, fair enough. But I take pictures for my own enjoyment and I have plenty of time. The only person I have to please is myself, so do I really need workflow? 

Wayne is a seasoned professional with decades of experience to draw on and it felt as if most of this knowledge had been extracted and condensed into an hour and a half presentation. The talk was packed details of the evolution of cameras from the days of film photography through to the latest digital equipment, with his advice on the kind of equipment to invest in. He followed on with a recommended workflow sequence, from taking the photo through to filing, storing and editing the images in Lightroom, Photoshop and other software. 

If you are a newcomer to photography, you would be forgiven if much of this went over your head. This was no step-by-step guide. More an indication of the route to take if efficiency is your watchword. For me, it was most useful as a glimpse of what it is possible to do if you have the time and patience to figure out how to do it. 

To find out more, visit Waynes website at 

The club programme will be reshuffled a bit towards the end of February and Mark will keep you posted once it has been settled. On 24 February, David P will be giving a talk on his own idea of workflow - but very basic, with plenty of time for interruptions, questions, answers and heckling. More a practical workshop really with step-by-step guides on how to go about it.