Friday 28th October 2011 – Club/NIPA Competition Round 2 Open


It was click and display time again at the Bangor and North Down Camera club and the Ward Avenue clubhouse was full for the second Open competition of the season last Friday evening.

The large entry, expertly managed and arranged by Alan Hartley and Alan McMorris fell under the expert scrutiny of the guest judge John Belshaw, the Chairman of Shorts Camera Club, Bangor’s Belfast neighbours and friendly rivals.

After explaining what he looked for in a picture (good composition, tonal range  and freshness of subject or treatment ) he went on to offer a short comment on each of the numerous entries beginning with the Foundation prints.

Trevor Reid won the monochrome section with a portrayal of an old fashioned sweet shop; Angus Gardiner and Julie Campbell finishing second and third. In the colour competition Bill Nesbitt’s shot of a young bird was victorious- followed by Alex Boyd and Angus Gardiner.

When it came to the Advanced competition Mr Belshaw explained that he would be looking more critically at the composition and print quality. Alan McMorris clearly satisfied his criteria; his monochrome close-up of a guitar took the honours ahead of Nigel Snell and Anthony Crosbie.

Alan Hartley’s atmospheric landscape won the colour section with another of his prints in runner–up spot ahead of Alan McMorris.

There was a very healthy entry in the Projected Digital Image competition where the colour and black and white images are judged together. Julie Campbell braved the darkness to provide the Foundation winner with a vivid shot of Donaghadee from the pier. Julie also took third spot behind Shirley Graham. Nigel Snell opted for a close-up depiction of a dew spattered poppy to finish first in the advanced line up – he was also  third with Jack Thompson second.

John Bennett

Wednesday 26th October 2011 – Clubnight


Good turnout tonight again.

To open the evening I ran a couple of tutorial videos by Gavin Hoey on the technique of capturing smoke trails from incense sticks.   Maybe this will encourage those of us keeping out of the rain, to set up something like it and try some fancy and creative stuff in the garage.  Remember what I said about burning these things in the house!  It takes a gale blowing in the front door and out the back door to disperse the smell afterwards!

Davy has been hard at work over the weekend installing additional PA speakers to the ceiling so that those sitting at the back can hear presenters.    He has also done excellent maintenance on the club PC and aligned the monitor resolution with the projector resolution.  No more oval circles.   I would ask members not to adjust display settings on the machine considering Davy’s considerable efforts.  For the technically minded we now display via HDMI.

Right at the front we had two young ladies and their mother (of one, or both) who have just recently come along to the club.  I’m not so good at remembering names but I thing the young ladies were called Lois and Leanne (my apologies if I got this wrong).  They both brought along memory sticks with samples of their photography.  I think that I can speak for almost all present that the shots were amazing.  Leanne has been experimenting with a fisheye add-on to the lens on her camera.  The first photo featured an Eddie Stobart lorry passing by at a dangerously close distance.  Other example of this lenswork were equally good.  Just shows what a young imagination can do.

We had yet another new guest tonight, Sam from Groomsport who found us via the website.  Welcome Sam.

Alan and Paul both supplied photos on memory sticks for critique.

Tonight was the final deadline for entry of prints and PDI’s for Friday’s Round 2 Club/NIPA Competition.

Apologies to Julie.  She had a memory stick of photos which I overlooked.  Promise yours are first next Wednesday.

Late Breaking News:   Adobe Lightroom 3 is available for TODAY ONLY 27th October at 50% of normal price.  Its now £118.80 TODAY ONLY.  Mac or PC.   Check your email.

TOO Late!! You missed it.   I know a number of people who took advantage of this great offer.  Is it a sign that Lightroom 4 is about to appear?

 

Our Wee Club


Our Wee Club

There’s a little building in Bangor

A toilet block all coloured yellow

Where the camera club meet twice a week

And the people are happy and mellow

Its members travel from near and far

Across Millisle through to Cockle Row

I’ve heard them talk of The Jamaica Inn

And even mentioned Jericho!

They’ll talk about jpegs and pixels and raw

And fight over Canon and Nikon

But when the big hand on the clock strikes 9

They’ll be running to get the tea on

Then after break, it’s back to the screen

And the memory sticks pile up in lots

As everyone fights to get in before Angus

With his 2 million record shots

Then the critics start whingeing and saying

Our images are too light and too large

Well enjoy our pics and no comments boys

Cos tonight the girls are in charge!

 By Christine Pearson

“Ladies Night”   21st October ‘11

Friday 21st October 2011 – Girls in Charge


It wasn’t merely the mini-banquet replacing the usual tea and biccies that signalled something special on Friday night at the Bangor and North Down Camera Club – the fact that the front three rows of the clubhouse were occupied by female members announced what could become a significant evening in the history of the club.

Like most camera clubs Bangor has traditionally been a predominantly male institution and while the reasons for this imbalance are unclear it is a fact that many potential female photographers have been somewhat apprehensive about joining such a gathering.

Whilst the girls, even in a minority have traditionally competed successfully in the monthly competitions their numbers remained small until the past two years when a surge of feminine candidates has redressed the numerical discrepancy significantly. Even more importantly the new intake has introduced a fresh, vibrant atmosphere to the Wednesday and Friday evening get-togethers.

Many of the newcomers were complete beginners in photography when they arrived but having benefited from the midweek tutorials led by David Roberts new names are already beginning to feature in the winning lists of the various competitions.

A willingness to learn the theory and put it into practice (particularly in the club summer outings) has resulted in a marked improvement in the level of skills of the newcomers and this can only augur well for the future of the club in N.I.P.A. competitions.

Friday night’s meeting celebrated this welcome development ; the ladies provided not only the edible goodies but mounted an exhibition of their work in the form of a series of audio-visual presentations.

Anne Groves, Alli Martin, Angela Shannon, Christine Pearson, Deborah and May Carvill, Deborah Gardiner, Helen Fettus, Julie Campbell , Mandy Milliken and Shirley Graham showed some of their favourite images and afterwards Shirley made presentations to Julie Campbell, the organiser of the evening and Davy Cooper who helped with the audio-visual compilation.

Christine Pearson captured the mood of the meeting admirably with her poem entitled “our wee club” in which she recalled her joining experience as like “ putting on a warm coat!”

John Bennett

Editor’s note:  Some additional photos taken on the night:


Wednesday 19th October 2011 – Clubnight


Winter has come early.

I thought most members had opted out of the cold conditions judging by the turnout by 8.00pm, however  gradually folks started drifting in.

Paul was there first and quickly followed by Darren, both new to the club.    I spent a little bit of time explaining the virtues of RAW shooting and how he can use Faststone Image Viewer to preview and do basic adjustments.   I also explained the principles of JPG compression and demonstrated on Photoshop Elements, the effect that adjustments on JPGs had on an image.  This was shown using the Levels histogram and seeing the gaps developing as additional adjustments were made.

Darren brought his portable Hard Disk with images which we as a group carried out our usual critique.   Meanwhile Julie and the other ladies gathered in a huddle plotting what they were to do on their show on Friday Evening.   Rumour has it that its a rerun of Calendar Girls.  Vivid imaginations needed!!

Jack, whom we had missed out last Wednesday night, brought his AV, Walk in Mountstewart.   Jack slipped back into ProShow to do this with the excuse that he found the layer effects and animation  easier than in Pictures to Exe.   We were treated to a very clever exhibitions of animation with monkey statues, towers sinking into the lake and falling trees.   It was warmly appreciated by those present as he gave us a detailed explanation of how he achieved the effects.  Well done Jack,  well worth waiting for.

I took the opportunity to run my recently completed AV entitles, Cathedrals of St Petersburg.   Seeing it on the big screen, I spotted several things that I wanted to change in it.

Angus arrived with his laptop and crouched away at the back exporting his first AV onto a memory stick.  However when I attempted to run it, we found that he would have needed to include his images in the same folder with it.   It was run on Windows media player.

I advised him to download the trial version of Pictures to Exe from http://www.WNSoft.com or ww.beckhamdigital.co.uk.  Although it is a trial version it no longer had a 10 slide limit.  The only drawback is that it has a banner across the bottom of the display screen.  We can certainly live with that.   In that software he will really gain experience and create stand-alone exe files for PC.

By the end of the evening, none of the ladies had divulged the content of Friday night.   I’ll get some photos of it anyway and send some to the Spectator together with John’s blog.

Friday 14th October 2011 – Clubnight – Selection for BANDCC/Marina Alta Competition


Inter club competitions are nothing new among camera clubs. Traditionally it involves a visit from another club complete with a selection of prints representing a series of themes agreed in advance. A neutral judge would then typically award marks and a winner  would be announced. Things have moved on however and the club has taken advantage of the technology available to engage in another virtual competition with a club over a thousand miles away.

In the past two seasons Bangor and North Down Camera Club have won the inter-club competition conducted via the Internet. Once again we are competing with Marina Alta Club in Spain.

Marina Alta is situated high in the hills overlooking Benidorm and a small band of photographers, mainly British ex-pats formed a thriving club there some years ago. The Club President , Gerry Coe had made friends with members of the Marina Alta club a few years ago and once again we compete in the County Down v Costa Blanca “battle” . This will take the form of a Projected Digital Image competition.

The Judge has proposed the categories of the images as Portrait, Landscape, Fine Art, Still Life, Sport, Travel, Glamour & Fashion, Open and Nature. A considerable number of high quality images was submitted and the selection carried out by a panel of experienced advanced members through a process of elimination and reducing down to 3 submissions per theme. Unlike other club competitions, there was no differentiation between Foundation (Novice) and Advanced levels. The objective was to simply select the best three in each category.

All this took place with the members present  and there were a few personal choices voiced from the back of the room.

On 2nd December our Friday evening will be devoted to the results declaration and presentation of the judges detailed comments on each entry.

As for next Friday evening, we have what is being called “Girls in Charge”. This comes about as a result of a number of ladies having joined the club in the last year and a half, and this is where they think they will demonstrate their dominance. We’ll see.

David Roberts

Wednesday 12th October 2011 – Clubnight


As usual, the agenda for the evening was open-ended.  It was good to see a lot of our newly joined members come along to our informal Wednesday evening get-together.

For the early attenders and those not here last week, I replayed one of my Digital AVs of the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.    I had intended to show the next one about the Cathedrals of St. Petersburg, but I forgot to create a PC Exe version (I’m now moved over to Mac, but still running Pictures to Exe in virtual Windows.  I’ll have it next week.

New member, Michael was first in with his memory stick on which he had a selection of photos taken last week in sunny (really hot) Jersey in the Channel Islands.  These were taken on his Canon G12 camera and were mainly scenic landscapes of the beautiful island.   I hope he was’t offended when I suggested that his first beach scene was a ‘record shot’, one of those terms expressed regularly by competition judges.   With all his photos, there was active participation in cropping and compositional suggestions.   All of his shots were of a good standard.

Angus and Deborah arrived and brought his (her?) new Canon 1100D DSLR.   He let us see his first card-full of shots and we offered some sound advice that, as he was concentrating on some lovely subjects in Bangor’s Walled Garden, he could have achieved greater control of his depth of field by trying shooting in AV (Aperture Priority) mode and increasing the value of the F-stop, whilst keeping an eye on shutter speed.  His results look promising.

Peter treated us to a visit to Malta with  his Malta AV.   Excellent photography, although Mark suggested that he review the music.  He felt that Peter’s selection was a bit rousing for the tranquil scenes.   Whilst with Peter’s subject, the question arose on how to match music and overall show duration.  The ability to create a cutoff and fade out using Audacity was demonstrated.   Nigel queried the availability od Audacity for the Mac.  It is available and I run it.

Noel has been at the Seaplane Festival last week in Fermanagh and brought back some good photos of some of the various seaplanes in action including the Catalina which was slightly damaged in a collision with a yacht.

Tonight some people, including myself submitted PDI photos for selection on Friday for the SpanishClub/BANDCC on-line competition.   The subjects are:   Portrait, Landscape, Fine Art, Still Life, Sport, Travel, Glamour & Fashion, Open, Nature.

Jack mentioned that he had done some more work on his AV but somehow we either overlooked it or ran out of time  Sorry Jack.

During the tea-break, I demonstrated the technique of using the Clone Stamp tool in Photoshop Elements for new member, Angie.

It seems that we now need another 1/2 hour every Wednesday simply to get through everything.  Its very encouraging to me and others that we get such a turnout which easily rivals the turnout on Friday nights.   Just think, when this started only 2 or 3 of us huddled together round one small PC screen at the top of the room..

As I don’t make notes as I talk on Wednesday I apologise if I have forgotten to mention anyone who submitted photos for critique.