Friday 27th January 2012 – Ralph Bennett – My Photography

Although Ralph Bennett is a regular attender at the weekly meetings of the Bangor and North Down Camera club it has been quite a while since he has exhibited any of his pictures. In fact the last time was in 1997 when the club met at the premises of the Royal Naval Club. That was also the year when Ralph was awarded a Distinction by the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain, one of the most prestigious  bodies in amateur photography.

Quite a few members, especially those who have joined in recent years, have never seen his work but they were treated to an eye-opening presentation of Ralph’s talent on Friday evening. Dividing the night into two halves he displayed both colour and monochrome prints, most of which had won or been placed in club competitions and many of which had gone on to achieve commendations in the Northern Ireland Photographic Association contests. His black and white prints, in particular drew admiring comments as they demonstrated Ralph’s prowess with the infra-red technique  – a process very rarely seen these days due to the digital advent and the expensive nature of the film.

His subjects ranged from a Donegal farmhouse to the Palm House at Botanic Gardens but it was the depiction of everyday objects seen in a different light which attracted the highest interest. A twisted metal fence, a lone tree in a meadow or the menace of approaching storm clouds – given the Bennett touch with a polarising filter they each told their story in emotive shades and hues. He also explained the painstaking procedures involved in  the infra-red process, demonstrating how the film required to be loaded in complete darkness inside the confines of a black coverall body bag. He admitted that this was one manoeuvre he didn’t miss! Continue reading

Wednesday 25th January 2012 – Clubnight

Mark kindly opened the evening by reviewing some photographs from memory sticks.  As well as some of my own, we had an excellent selection from Angus.

Last Wednesday eveningTrevor Reid asked me to show him how to cut mounts for his photos, so I set up the mount cutting table early in the evening.  Somehow the steel ruler which is hung on the side of the table was missing.  Noel kindly went home and brought in a tape rul and plastic school type ruler.  Bill Nesbitt also suggested that mounts can be ordered from a company pre-cut at reasonable prices.  I heard some debate in the background as to whether these prices quoted included postage.   From my observations of the company website, postage was extra.

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All about NIPA

If you are a new member to your club and have heard the phrase “Nipah” being mentioned, but haven’t a clue what it means – you are not alone!

Many club members, especially beginners, have asked me to explain more about “NIPA” and their competitions. So; here is a brief summary of what it is all about.

* ‘NIPA’ stands for the ‘Northern Ireland Photographic Association’. All camera clubs in Northern Ireland are members of NIPA.
* ‘NIPA’ is a member of the UK wide organisation called ‘PAGB’ (Photo Alliance of Great Britain),
* ‘PAGB’ is a member of a ‘FIAP’ a European wide organisation called ‘La Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique’,
* ‘FIAP’ is a world wide organisation to which over forty countries belong.

Therefore our wee club, is part of a world wide network. But it all starts with NIPA. In the past we had club competitions and NIPA competitions. But this was very confusing, so we now have club competitions and images are selected to go forward to NIPA.

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Friday 20th January 2012 – Jim Maginn – My Photography

Jim Maginn

When the Bangor and North Down Camera Club invited Jim Maginn to be their guest speaker they anticipated a thought provoking evening and they certainly weren’t disappointed!

In the second part of the evening Jim instigated a lively debate by stating that he strongly disagreed with the regular competitions which are a large part of any club’s programme. In particular he criticised the method of judging a photographer’s ability on just one image, insisting instead that a much wider body of work should be considered. In his opinion each photographer should be striving to find and develop his or her own style and then using it as a voice to express their ideas. This, he concluded could not be done by looking at a single image. Continue reading

Friday 13th January 2012 – Basic photo judging & interaction with members

I'll be the judge of that!

I’ll be the Judge of That

The set aim of Bangor and North Down Camera Club is “Promoting and developing all aspects of photography through example, discussion and competition.

The golden thread of competition is stitched into the fabric of our yearly programme, with one being held on almost a monthly basis.  Club members are encouraged to assess and compare their knowledge, skills and experience, through the mediums of print and the projected digital images, in club competitions.  The essence of competition means that there will be winners, who will always applaud the judge for their outstanding verdict. But what about the folk who didn’t win, what do they get from competition?

The evening was hosted by Ray Magill, a long-standing member of the club and Vice President of NIPA (Northern Ireland Photographic Association.) He recruited nine volunteers, split into three teams, to perform the role of trainee judges. The brave volunteers, and a few conscripts, were Alan McMorris, Alan Hartley, Julie Campbell, Bobby Peacock, Drew McAvoy, Harry Watson, Christine Pearson, Helen Fettus, and Deborah Carvill. They, and the audience, listened carefully to his presentation about the different aspects of competition; the contestant’s expectations, and the judges responsibilities.
Ray was at pains to point out that his approach was a personal one and was, as he described it, a work in progress.  However, his years of experience as a NIPA judge was clearly evident.  Ray mentioned that he was impressed with Eddie Sethna’s approach to judging photography and recommended members to check out his web site. Continue reading

Wednesday 11th January 2012 – Clubnight

Tonight was the first of what we will call “Studio Nights” which we agreed to hold on the second Wednesday of the month.

I arrived early and set up the background and lights ready for the session.   Our “surprise” model, Freya arrived early as well with Mum and Dad and brother and sister.

I encountered s problem with the big softbox modelling bulb.  It appeared to have failed and after some rummaging around in the store area I retrieved a couple of Edison Screw type bulbs.  I fitted a new one, tried it.  It briefly lit and went out.   Tried the next one and the same thing happened.  This time the whole set of lights failed.  The trip switch had failed, so I took out the old bulb and reset the trip.   By this time the room had started to fill up at an alarming rate.

It was only 7.55pm and the room was nearly full.   What did these people think I had meant when I said the we would have a surprise model?  Miss Northern Ireland?.  Fraid not!

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