The Ward Avenue headquarters of the Bangor and North Down Camera Club was well populated for the second round competition of the season on Friday night. With the Club’s entries in the Northern Ireland Photographic Association competition depending on the results there was an air of keen anticipation among the members as the judge, Brian Hennessy ran his eyes over the displayed prints.
As Brian is a retired professional photographer himself it was an experienced appraisal he applied to the various categories and he expressed a degree of satisfaction at the generally high standard of the work . Beginning with the Foundation Colour section Brian, faced with an entry of over forty prints had time only for a cursory comment for each one before announcing the winners. Michael Rice’s study of fungi shot from ground level was a worthy shot to take the first place followed by Angela Shannon and Mark Bell. Continue reading
Wednesday 7th November. We will have a studio session for folk wanting to learn more about taking photos in a studio environment. The second half of the evening will include our Audio Visual/Slideshow talk. I will use the AV prepared for Shirley, on Amsterdam, to include adding titles and generally polishing off the show (that was created in just 35 minutes!)
Simulated Emergency Evacuation at Clubroom
A strange, uncharacteristic reticence descended on the Bangor and North Down Camera Club on Friday night. Normally the conversation flows, the questions rattle forth and the opinions are offered effortlessly but Chairman Harry Watson had to admit that when he tried to enlist a group of volunteers to stand up and give an account of their photographic influences he failed signally. A good psychologist could probably have come up with a diagnosis of the condition but sadly the club doesn’t appear to have one on the books at the moment!
A quick reshuffle was required and thankfully,such is the depth of experience and expertise amongst the senior members a last minute replacement was eased in for the evening – and the substitution was of a quality most Premiership football managers can only dream about. Hugh Rooney’s illustrated amble through some of the magical mysteries of Photsohop was pitched at exactly the correct level to offer instruction to the newcomers yet be entertaining and memory-jogging to the more experienced users.
The esoteric niceties of burning, dodging, selective sharpening et al were deftly introduced and demonstrated before Hugh moved on to lay bare some of the secrets the glossy magazines employ to make their models appear flawless. Minor blemishes disappeared under his deft touch, skin tones glowed with a seemingly peach-like texture and teeth were magically whitened to a toothpaste-ad sparkle.
Turning his attention to landscape photography Hugh demonstrated how a pleasing scene could be enhanced to competition standard by a few little “tweaks”. Increasing the saturation or contrast of a particular area could emphasise a feature of the picture while a decrease in brightness or softening of focus could point up and emphasise a chosen feature. The secret, as he pointed out, is not to overdo the tweaking.
Harry Watson, Paul Gallagher and Angela Shannon
Straight out of school and following his dream eighteen year old Paul Gallagher opened a professional photographic studio. The only problem was that he didn’t have the money to buy the expensive camera required for the job. He didn’t hesitate; he sold his most prized possession, a complete set of autographs of The Beatles, and bought the camera with the proceeds.
The gritty determination he displayed in his teens has been evident throughout the Liverpudlian’s career and he is now widely regarded as one of the foremost landscape photographers in the business. He shared some of his secrets and gave a brief resume of his career when he was the special guest of Bangor and North Down Camera Club on Friday night.
A rapt full house heard how he had developed his own individualistic style by learning the rules and then breaking them when he discovered he could make better pictures by disregarding them. Following the well trodden path of film camera and darkroom developing he progressed to digital technology although he explained that he places only minimal emphasis on computer enhancement of his images. Continue reading
Another excellent turnout tonight.
We welcomed a gentleman by the name of Glen whom I met a couple of Fridays ago at the Newtownards Traction Engine Club.
As promised, the early part of the evening was dedicated to instruction on mount cutting and practice for two of our new members, Geoff and Stevie. They both brought along a mount board and some A4 sized prints. By the end of the session both had become competent in cutting mounts.
Mark then took over the session and gave a great practical demonstration of Snapseed to do local adjustments to photographs, i.e. brightness, contrast, sharpness, local focussing and vignettes. This piece of software is available for iPad and iPhone for about £2.99 . There is an Apple Mac version for £13.99 and also a Windows version available. An android version will soon be available too. Continue reading
In a divergence from the published programme (due to unforeseen circumstances) the members of Bangor and North Down Camera Club had to provide their own amusement and entertainment on Friday evening and they proved more than equal to the task.
The club President Gerry Coe opened proceedings with a display of “antiques” he had rescued from the clubhouse loft. Some of the artefacts required explaining to the younger members who had never experienced the delights of a wet darkroom. Developing tanks,changing bags and the mysteries of noxious smelling chemicals brought knowing smiles and nostalgic nods from the pre-digital membership however.
Club Chairman Harry Watson then introduced a light hearted rolling debate on “The Lighter Side of Photography” inviting Gerry Coe to relate the story of his first camera. It turned out to be an Ilford Sportsman which took a roll of 12 pictures – five of which he shot on holiday that year and the remainder on next year’s holiday!
Julie Campbell then spoke about her favourite photographic publication which turned out to be mainly in the local library. John Miskelly’s topic required him to explain why he had taken up photography and it transpired that it all began for him when he was given a camera by his uncle. He still has the camera.
Henry Doggart explained why his favourite subject is photographing people, especially in city centres, a pastime not without its inherent problems – especially when people don’t want to be photographed. Mark Allen maintained he didn’t have a specific favourite for his lens but liked landscapes; David Roberts explained what he did with his cameras when he upgraded them while Jack Thompson considered modern photographic developments to contain both good and bad elements. Bill Nesbitt said he would miss both passing on and receiving advice and tips if he had to give up photography while John Bennett averred that his favourite model would be The Incredible Hulk!
Trevor Craig, even after all his travels is still looking for the perfect picture but never really expects to find it while Kevin Neupert maintained that a really good picture can sometimes e the result of an accident.
All a bit tongue in cheek perhaps but a good night’s fun nevertheless .
The judge for the first competition of the season gave the members of Bangor and North Down Camera Club some food for thought.
John Belshaw of Shorts Camera Club offered thoughtful and constructive comments on each print and image in the contest and made it clear that it was the finished product he was judging. He wasn’t really interested in the how and why of the shots; enhancement , in his opinion was perfectly permissible if it improved the photograph.
Size, he went on was not an issue either – a small picture could be every bit as valid and effective as a big enlargement. On the subject of landscapes John reiterated his belief that almost invariably a scene could be improved by the inclusion of a figure – human or otherwise.
His remarks certainly gave food for thought to the packed headquarters at Ward Avenue. It was encouraging to see new names on the winning list and the Foundation section certainly has received a boost from the healthy influx of new members this year. Curtis Irvine won the Monochrome competition with a mother and baby shot while Michael Rice got close up and meaningful with a macro examination of a spider and a fly in colour.