Sunday, 27 May 2018

Back to the Village!! - Field Trip and Social, Wednesday 23rd May 2018


We are always being told about the light...Photography is Painting with Light...We are either waiting for or chasing the light...depending on whose books you've read! The message is clear.

Well, it is fair to say that whoever controls this light was being very mean with it last Wednesday as a select band of members made their way to Carshalton Village area and sought to take some fresh and different images. As many will know, we have made frequent visits to this spot over the past few years and hoped that the familiarity would give us the confidence to know just where to go. We soon found ourselves scattered widely around the Ponds and The Grove as we attempted to find the right place to capture good light. 

David P and Mandy were early starters and along with Joy, were hunting the nest of the local herons. When found, there was not much visible activity but, as ever, the sheer unpredictability of the birds, in general, made for many failed shots to get them in flight or taking off and landing on the water. Joy took to offering bribes in the way of food to try and entice some of the birds to play along but they toyed with us by choosing the exact moments we looked away to commence their take offs. It seemed to me they were enjoying the game far more than us human participants!

Your blogger and Chris R made our way to the bridge to see what the waterfall was like. Chris found the ducks were in a camera-shy mode but remained calm and patient, only occasionally resorting to asking the ducks to turn around. 

I recalled Mark's excellent shots from 2017 and so tried my hand at using a filter to allow a suitably long exposure to show the now traditional blurred water shot:

The route over the bridge was proving very popular as Chris and I found ourselves having to wait for the bridge to stop vibrating each time someone crossed it. After a short time, we also agreed that the light was simply not there and we decided to head back to the War Memorial. I took a couple of shots with a view to monochrome:

We found most of the group was of like mind, gathering at the memorial. At that stage, there was an outbreak of experimentation that seemed to sweep through us like a rage! With tripods at the ready and lenses pointing in all directions, it was as if all the little tips and ideas we have heard about during the past months, finally came out to play.

We had members trying their hand at long exposures, light trails, intentional camera movement, panning and looking for the less obvious shot. There was lots of advice on hand and it was rewarding to see many of try and do something different. Some examples here, with thanks to Aodan:

In keeping with precedent and as the light decided it had done its part and was fading away, so we chose to congregate at the bar of the Greyhound. We held court there for a good hour or so and discussed many things such as ideas for 2018/19, the choice of ales and many craft beers now on offer and the general way of the world

All in all, I reflect on a good evening but with a sense of disappointment at the conditions we had. I am sure there will be some excellent images from those who came along and these will appear in due course. In the meantime, thinking caps on for alternative places in 2019!

Friday, 18 May 2018

Tides and Tempests, a talk by Rachael Talibart 16th May 2018

Being ready to ‘suffer for our art' may be a bit of a cliché but this evening’s speaker, Rachael Talibart, made me feel decidedly sheepish when she described what she put herself through to capture the shots she wanted. How many of us would spend all day lying on a beach in a raging storm waiting for that special wave or that special moment?

Rachael was brought up on the South Coast of England. Her father was a keen yachtsman and many sea trips and visits to the coast gave her a love for this environment and its infinite moods, colours and shapes. But for one problem - chronic seasickness. She started on a career in the city, but the pull of the marine and a growing interest in photography led her to abandon this and devote all her attention to what she loved most. She now concentrates exclusively on coastal photography and has published two books ('Sirens' and 'The Coast'), had many exhibitions of her work, and feature articles written about her. She won the Classical View section of Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017, and Black & White Photographer of the Year 2018. She also runs photography courses under the name f11 Workshops.

It is impossible to do justice in words to the many breathtaking images we were treated to, so I'm not going to try. If you were unlucky enough to have missed the meeting you can get an idea of what I mean by exploring Rachael's website:

As well as giving detailed commentary on each picture she showed - how and why she took it and what excited her about the scene - there were many tips and tricks, and comments about the way she works. Here are just a few:

She is prepared to wait all day at a particular spot for that magic moment.

Try returning again and again to the same location to savour all its moods as you are much more likely to get a feel for the photographic possibilities than from one-off visits to unfamiliar places.

If you visit a tourist spot, get the stock shots taken quickly and out of your system before looking for your own take on the location. Try to avoid the cliché pictures that everyone goes away with.

If considering a photo for conversion to black and white, it helps to have strong colour depth. This gives more flexibility for adjusting tonal balance using the colour sliders. Get used to adjusting contrast using Curves as they give the best control over tonal balance in the image.

Once you have finished your adjustments, view your image as a 'thumbnail' as this obscures all the fine detail and allows an overall impression of how the composition will look, whether the vignetting works etc.

Because of the dynamic range of most modern sensors allowing readjustments to be made after taking, graduated filters are not necessary in most situations. However, a good reason for using them is to give a better idea through the viewfinder of what the scene will look like in the final version. Use a hard grad for seascapes with a visible horizon and a soft grad for woodland scenes.

Tips for using ICM (intentional camera movement). Use shutter-priority exposures set at 1 to 2 seconds. Start moving the camera before releasing the shutter. Move horizontally for a seascape and vertically for woodland. To get a painterly look, hand hold - don't use a tripod. Don't move the camera too far if you wish to retain some image details.

Rachael uses Lightroom and Photoshop for image editing. She doesn't use SilverEfex Pro saying that all the adjustments in this add-in can be produced in the other packages.

She uses two Canon 5D bodies (one the 50 Megapixel model).
Her lenses were Canon L series: 16-28 f2.8, 24-70 f4, 70-200 f2.8 and a 2x converter. She also uses a tripod and cable release and Lee filters - a 6.6 hard grad, 9 soft grad, polariser and 6 and 10 stopper filters.

But it's not all about equipment, is it!?

She thought that camera clubs were great for people. They encourage you to do more photography in a friendly social environment and learn from comments by impartial judges. However, she encouraged us to look outside the confines of the club for inspiration. Go to as many exhibitions of photographs that you can. Look at what the masters do and consider how they might have achieved international reputations with photos that would simply dive if put in front of many camera club judges. And go to art galleries. Looking at paintings too can get your brains rattling with ideas.

She concluded by drawing our attention to a number of other contemporary photographers' work and has kindly provided the following links to help you find them:


Maggi Hambling

Isabel Diez

Susan Burnstine

Jonathan Chritchley

The Togcast

This was a brilliant evening and one we will not forget. Thanks a million Rachael!

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

9 May 2018 | Monochrome Print Competition 2

This week saw the last of the monochrome print competitions for the year, judged by Rob Bonfield.

The quality of the prints were, as ever, outstanding, but there can only be one winner (in each class).

These were:

Group 1:  Canal Reflections by Terry Hodges:

Group 2: Spiral Staircase by David Pelling:

A recurring theme of the evening was the depth of field - and the need to bear this in mind when you're taking your shot. A quick internet search brought back a number of sites that will do the heavy lifting when calculating the amount of your subject you'll have in focus when you use the settings you use - I've included but one of the sites below. Happy calculating!

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Celebrating Croydon - Fun Competition

This week one of our group had an idea to hold a competition based on photos taken in an around Croydon. The intent of the competition was to celebrate the various sides of Croydon whether it is the people that make up the bustling area, the parks or the variety of architectural styles to be found there.

A member of the Croydon Camera Club kindly volunteered to judge the photos to give an insiders view and also, as it turns out, the view of an architect who has worked in Croydon at various times over the last 40 years. Thanks to Nina for giving us your time and sharing your opinions on the photos and thanks to Martin for having the original idea and then organising this evening.

There were some great photos to be seen and below are the photos that gained 10 points. (Another new departure for this evening was the final winner is each category was chosen by volume of cheering method!).

Level 1
Merritt, David - Columns and Light (winner)

Randall, Chris - Legalised Graffiti

Randall, Chris - Tram

Level 2

Faiers, Martin - St George's Bride

Harford, David - It's Croydon In'It (winner)

Harford, David - Morning Walk Addington Hills Croydon