Friday 19th October 2012 – Photoshop Techniques – Hugh Rooney

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.


John Bennett

Wednesday 16th May 2012 – Clubnight

We had a great turnout at the clubroom tonight, 23+ members.    Darren brought along a video demonstrating the technique of “painting with light”   In this video a guy described in detail how he set up the shot and in particular, the BULB setting used in conjunction with a remote cable release to allow exposures greater than 30 seconds.

He was also equipped with one of these huge squillion-candle torches capable of attracting moths from Stranraer, to paint rocks in the foreground and the face of a small building.  All this was done at dusk against a deep blue sky.  The result was very pleasing.  Discussion on the technique followed where ordinary speedlights could be used in the same way.    The results are obviously better when there is little or no ambient light.

By this time quite an array of memory sticks appeared at the computer desk and we worked our way through them all.  The one exception was that I overlooked Darren’s set.  We’ll see his first on Friday.   William has had some difficulty over the weeks transferring photos from his Mac to memory stick, but he succeeded this time.  He brought along his selection of shots of Kayleigh and Kirsty, our models from a number of weeks ago.  the group assessed his results and we showed a little judicious cropping to enhance the photos.  Maybe his efforts to soften the complexions of the girls were slightly overdone, nevertheless, it was an excellent effort.

Noel showed us an AV of his collection of Gate photos followed by several very interesting shots of the Strangford experimental turbine which had its blades raised for maintenance. Continue reading

Wednesday 18th April 2012 – Clubnight

Before most of the members arrived I took a couple of our foundation members outside the clubroom with their cameras and we did a short practical exercise in shooting manual and setting our meter to an average tone and also how to recognise average tones and other zones on the zone system.   The chilling breeze directly from the sea kept the session short as my hands nearly stopped working.  We continued later in discussion during and after the tea break.

This evening we had invited Kirsty and Kayleigh, our young models from last week’s studio night to view the photographs taken.

A number of those who took part last week, didn’t turn up this week therefore we had only a relatively few images for the girls.

Contributors were Angus Gardiner, Bill Cardwell, Edward McCavana.   As normal, we viewed the images with a critical eye, and in so doing identified issued relating to the poses which the participating photographers asked our models to adopt.  One of the issues was the short time spent by each person taking the photographs and all felt that we need to slow up the pace so that more thought can be put into the posing and lighting. Continue reading

Wednesday 21st September 2011 – Clubnight

Well, here we are well into September and the Autumn already.  There’s already quite a nip in the air.

Once again we had a really good turnout tonight.  Several of our visitors from last week came along and as far as I’m aware have formally joined.  A big welcome to you all.  There seemed to be a crowd around Peter Gibson of people renewing their membership and paying their subs.

It was my turn this week to be at the front and after a wee bit of adjustment after Noel’s replacement mountings for our projector, we set off with John Bennett’s Audio Visual featuring photos taken on his recent visit to Yorkshire.  One of the many great photos took my fancy   It was of a very long viaduct stretching across the countryside.  I’m sure I’ve seen it before on television.  I would love to have been there to capture it at different times of the day.   Another was of the tall span bridge over a river. (Forgotten the name of the town).

Michael once again treated us to some creepy closeups of garden spiders.  Small male and huge female with nipper type jaws and spines on her legs.  Poor little fellow didn’t stand a chance once she got her claws into him!   (Sounds familiar, eh, fellows!)

Anne showed us some of her photos taken on our recent very damp outing to Argory plus some nice macro shots of the point of her finger.

Harry has had a play with the trial version of Pictures to Exe and used his photos of the Red Arrows display team.   I commented that it was extremely well synchronised to the music plus some appropriate transitions.   When I complemented Harry and suggested to him that he should no go ahead and buy the full version of PTE,  I think I heard a lone voice mutter something about Proshow Gold from the gloom near the back of the room.

Mandy, a long time member came along to the Wednesday Club for the first time with a memory stick with Canon Raw CR2 files and a query on how to process them.    Amongst the advice given was the purchase of Adobe Photoshop Elements which with the correct Camera Raw Plugin, could solve her problem.  Harry rightly pointed out that the DPP software supplied with her camera was very able to do all the necessary post processing she might need.

I loaded her selection of photos into Lightroom and illustrated the basic principles of post processing which she can follow in Camera Raw, if she goes that way.   Indeed, Mandy’s photos straight out of the camera where excellent and needed minimal, if any, correction.

I ended the evening showing a small selection of photos taken in the Hermitage Museum and various Cathedrals in St. Petersburg, Russia.   In the coming  weeks, I’ll put together some PTE AVs on these.

I suggested that next week, members bring their cameras and some props and we can try our hand at Studio Flash.

David Roberts