Friday 25th November 2011 – Ernie Patterson – Harry Ferguson and the Century of Flight

The little engine was not much bigger than those used to power lawnmowers but when Ernie Patterson saw it he knew it was exactly what he had been looking for .Around it he constructed a flying machine of light aluminium tubing and material that was to faithfully replicate a significant page of aviation history .

In August 1910 when Harry Ferguson took off from the Dundrum end of the sandy beach and flew three miles to Newcastle he won a prize of £100 and his place in the story of flight. Just a few short months before he had become the first man in Ireland to build and fly his own aeroplane over the grassy hills beside his home at Growell, near Hillsborough.  In 1980, to celebrate the Ferguson Festival in Newcastle, Ernie Patterson retraced his airborne footsteps at the controls of a home built craft with a thirty foot wing span, weighing just 112 lbs and powered by that tiny little engine. Continue reading

Wednesday 24th November 2011 – Clubnight

Great Wednesday night turnout.

Thanks again to Mark for taking the chair tonight.

The turnout tonight was tremendous.  I counted 32 members.

The evening started with Helen’s great photos taken at the recent outing to Mountstewart Gardens.   I must say that Helen’s photos have noticeably improved, no doubt due to her voracious appetite for knowledge (no, I didn’t mean picnic hampers!!)  There certainly were many opportunities to capture glorious reflections of the autumn colours.   Those present managed to capture a great sunset, even if they stood in smelly mud.

Other submitters were Bill Cardwell, most notably his image and reflection of a lone yacht.   Other contributors were Alli, Peter Gibson, Deborah Carvill and May Carvill and Kevin Neupert.

This took us to teabreak, after which Mark showed some of his shoot at Mountstewart.   He then moved onto the subject of cropping for printing and illustrated the concept of ratios.  This is ably covered in Mark’s previous post below.

The subject will be revisited next week.

Wednesday 1st December.

Photography Session: The theme is for photos ‘200m from your house’. The aim is to get folk out with their cameras and then share the photos at the club. This is not obligatory, just a theme. As always bring your photos on a usb memory stick, just 10-15 please! (A recent card with 857 photos, made our whizz bang computer slow down to a snails pace!)

Include photos that you think worked and are proud of. Be prepared to accept feedback 😉 Also include ones that didn’t turn out as you expected, perhaps the club members will be able to offer advice.

Software Session: Ratios and resizing. I will show how to resize for various outputs. The first will be for our competition projected images (1440×1050) which is a 4:3 ratio. Most amateur and semi pro DSLR’s capture images at 3:2 ratio, the old 35mm film ratio. Modern compacts use 4:3, while the Pro DSLR allow for ratio of 5:4 and 7:6, confused already? The purpose of this session is to explain all this and show you how to make your photos comply with the club rules for ‘the projected image’, no matter what ratio your phone/compact/DSLR uses.

Once new members understand ratios, we can move on the resizing for print, which is completely different!

Friday 18th November 2011, Audrey Argue Wildlife Competition

It was Buy One Get One Free night at the club competition on Friday as in all but one of the six categories the winner also took the runner-up spot as well. The event was the Audrey Argue Wildlife Competition, held annually in honour of the former Vice-Principal of Glenlola Collegiate School, a past chairman of the club and a lover of conservation.

The guest judge for the evening was Paul Hanley of the Belfast Photo Imaging Club (BPIC) and before selecting his preferences he offered an insight into his method of separating the winners from the rest of the field. While technical details, such as focus and print quality were important so too was the overall impact a print could make on the eye when viewed for the first  time. He was enthusiastic in his praise for the overall quality of the entries.

Trevor Reid took first and second place in the Foundation Monochrome section with images of an ostrich and a fluffy chick. Helen Fettus was third. Trevor then followed his success with another double in the colour competition. A gull in flight and a portrait of a turkey gained him another one-two with Helen again third with a shot of a robin. In the Advanced contest it was the turn of Ray Magill to do the double –his depiction of a pair of pelicans caught the judge’s eye for first place while a couple of zebras won second.

Nigel Snell’s tern was third. Nigel then reversed the order by booking the first two spots in Advanced Colour – puffins and pheasants his subjects . Anthony Crosbie was third. In the Digital Projected Image competition it was macro photography which took the honours and the first two places in the Foundation section for Michael Rice.

His lens got up close and personal with insects and thistles while Michael Graham really got down to it with a snail’s eye view …of a snail. In the Advanced showing Drew McAvoy was successful with an image entitled cold feet; Jack Thompson and Nigel Snell took the placings.

John Bennett



Wednesday 16th November 2011 – Clubnight – Hugh Rooney does Black and White

As a departure from our usually unstructured Wednesday evening get-togethers, we had one of our advanced club members, Hugh Rooney, volunteer to give us a talk and practical demonstration on producing high quality black and white prints.

Hugh has produced many great monochrome photographs which have done very well in competitions in the past, both in the club and in NIPA.   For the purposes of demonstration, Hugh used Adobe Lightroom as the software tool for the reason that it allowed him to show the process based on one screen.   He also made the point that users had plenty of choice in the software chosen to create the black and white images, however one thing which was common to all, was that to do the work successfully it is essential to use RAW file format instead of JPG.  As he explained, the adjustments to brightness, contrast, exposure and sharpness on a JPG image quickly leads to a deterioration of image quality.  JPG is already a lossy process where the compression process discards a lot of data.

In his demonstration on an image depicting Venice’s waterfront, conversion from RAW allowed him to manipulate the very bright and very dark areas and indeed recover detail from what looked like overexposed white areas.

This conversion process in Lightroom uses the same underlying software engine found in Adobe Elements and Adobe Camera Raw.  Hugh emphasised the point that good black and white images are normally considered to contain a full range of tones from full black to full white, however he demonstrated some typical examples where this did not necessarily hold true.  Examples were of a pelican and a masked lady in Venice.

Discussion then turned to subject of printing which covered the necessity to calibrate printers and monitors.  Printer calibration has to be carried out for each combination of paper and inks used.  In the club we have a piece of equipment specifically for doing this for windows based computers.  Unfortunately, it does no longer work with the Lion Operating System on Macs.  An upgrade to the software for this is a hefty £500, beyond the club’s reach.

Hugh brought along an extensive range of sample prints where he has experimented with various papers, some of which can be quite expensive.

Unfortunately we didn’t have time  to see any of the photos taken by the group who visited Mountstewart Gardens last Saturday.  See Mark’s post below regarding looking at them next week.  Meanwhile I urge you to take up Mark’s suggestion and take some local photos and bring them in.

David Roberts

Wednesday 23rd November 2011

You may have heard that we have been having some chat about the format of Wednesday evenings. As the numbers increase it is hard to please everyone but we will aim to provide a balance between ‘photography software’ and ‘photography critique’. The consensus is that we spilt the evening into two parts – before and after the break. One of the sessions will be devoted to viewing members photos and offering feedback and the other will be about photography software.

We also like the idea of setting a ‘theme’ to encourage members to get out and take some photos! The theme for Wednesday 30th November is ‘within 200ft of your house’. Please bring a few of your photos on a usb memory stick, 10-15 is ideal, as this allows us the time to discuss each image.

Wednesday 23rd November 2011
Some members have asked me to cover the subject of composition. If members are interested I could cover one element of composition every week for 5 – 10 minutes. Starting with the basics and working up…
I suspect the members that went on our recent camera club day out will want to show their results. (Again 10-15 please).
All members are encourage to bring along a usb memory stick with some of their recent work. Beginners may want to include not only the photos that they think worked out well, but also those that for some reason didn’t.

On the software side there have been a number of requests to explain resizing for competitions, both prints and projected image. If you have something you want us to cover please let us know.

Friday 11th November 2011 – Patricia Pyne

Patricia Pyne ARPS

Islandhill, nestling on the shores of Strangford Lough between Newtownards and Comber, was a picture of calm serenity when suddenly the skies shimmered and sparkled in the reflection of an amazing spectacle. A flock of knots had chosen that moment to rehearse their intuitive miracle of intricate,in-flight swooping and soaring and even though, individually, knots are rather nondescript little birds when they gather in their hundreds and mount their synchronised skydance they command attention.

Watching their mesmeric movements was Patricia Pyne, a former teacher and recent graduate in Medieval and Modern Languages at Queen’s University. During her studies she had developed a love of photography and was looking for an outlet and a direction for her enthusiasm and growing expertise. As she watched the amazing aerial ballet that afternoon Patricia realised that Strangford had just become her Swan Lake.

The Lough was to be her “patch”; both the violent stormy days and the calm soft peaceful ones were to be the backdrops for her pictures. She captured images of lapwing, plover, whooper swan and the myriad other indigenous and visiting species which frequent the fertile feeding grounds . All the time she was working on creating and developing her own style – putting her personal stamp on every image . Through time this evolved into a pictorial philosophy of soft-toned monochrome images set against subtle uncluttered backgrounds. The essence of the pictures was movement – egret, wimbrel and tern in flight, mute swans wending their majestic way through the reeds and Brent Geese on the wing as they arrived and departed their holiday home in the sheltered waters.

In time Patricia added another dimension to her photography by contrasting the constant movement of the birds with the statuesque immovable nature of megaliths. Standing stones and dolmens, some over 5000 years old, abound in Northern Ireland and Patricia’s studies have taken her to most of the major sites in recent years. The pictures she has captured form a large part of her very impressive catalogue.

She is now very much in demand as a guest speaker and earlier this year mounted major exhibitions in the Linenhall Library in Belfast and the Graffan Gallery at Castle Espie. Her work has also recently earned her an Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society.The members of the Bangor and North Down Camera Club were delighted to welcome her as their special guest on Friday.

John Bennett