Friday 4th November 2011 – Clubnight – Mark Allen’s Travel Photography


From Normandy to Norway and from New Zealand to Alaska – during the course of a couple of hours Mark Allen indulged in a spectacular spell of globetrotting to entertain the members and guests of Bangor and North Down Camera Club last weekend. And although the subject of his presentation was travel photography, Mark nevertheless indulged himself and delighted his audience by nipping off on quite a few interesting little tangents along the way. He began by recalling his early experiences behind the lens – including the time his father bought him his first camera. Mark promptly took it to Tollymore Forest Park for a picnic – and left it there!

Recovering from minor hiccups like this, as a teenager he went on to secure some close-up images of the Queen- at the same time securing a terse comment from Prince Philip about his uninvited proximity to the royal personages. The Belfast Telegraph filled a page with the pictures Mark took that day.

Later the exigencies of being a husband and a father meant that his hobby took a back seat for a time- for quite a few years in fact until he joined Bangor Camera Club five years ago. Since then he has won the coveted Photographer of the Year competition on two occasions and has served a spell as Chairman of the club.

Angela Shannon enjoying one of Catherine Allen’s Cupcakes

Always a lover of travelling Mark has been able to combine this with his interest in photography and most of his trips have provided some memorable images. In fact so impressed has he been with some of the venues that his wife and he have returned to the same locations on more than one occasion to add even more dramatic captures to his bulging portfolio. A few years ago he became interested in producing audio-visual displays of his work and he approached the new medium with enthusiasm and insight. In fact one of his first efforts, a record of a cruise into the Arctic Circle won first prize in the Northern Ireland Audio-Visual Festival. He has since gone on to offer advice and comments on audio-visual presentation to interested members of the club. In fact,given his knowledge and expertise with computers mark is generally in demand for all sorts of digitally based help and assistance.

Visual records of some of his holidays then brightened the gloom of the encroaching winter evening as he took us, through his lens to the snow-bound majesty of Yellowstone National Park in the grip of winter and then to the stunning fissures of the Antelope Slot Canyon where the walls of the gorges had been blasted clean and smooth by a natural sandstorm. A trip across northern Canada by train was followed by a cruise through the Alaskan glaciers and from there, via digital projection a high speed flight to Normandy before forsaking the Northern Hemisphere for the mountains of New Zealand in an invigorating Google Earth odyssey viewed through the polished glass of one man’s camera lens.

John Bennett

Wednesday 27th July 2011 – Clubnight


Today was a really warm day, just as summer days should be.
Julie and Cooperman were at the clubroom ahead of me tonight. Julie was excited that she had successfully completed two Pictures to Exe AVs and placed her memory stick first in the lineup for showing.
We had a new visitor tonight, Alli. I spent some time with her, as we do, to explain what the club is and what we do.
Julie has set herself the task of taking a photo of her son indoors using pop-up flash and trying to achieve a black background. She was inspired by a video we viewed several weeks ago.

I couldn’t turn up the video for her again, but will do so for Friday night.
Mark kindly started the session tonight displaying members photographs for critique.

Bill showed us his Audio Visual of a military motorcycle display team in action. There followed lots of other photos from Helen, Michael, Mark, Henry. When it came to Julie’s turn, it seems that whilst she saved the PTE project, she didn’t create the complete Exe file. This resulted in an error message stating that the music and picture files couldn’t be found. Mark demonstrated the method of creating the Exe file and also the need to create the Zip file to allow transport of the whole project and files to another computer. I asked Mark to replay his Alaska Av again. Later he showed his AV which comprised of Landscape coloured photos with square cropped black and white.

After the tea break, I loaded up PTE again and showed how I synchronised manually, the beat or crescendos in the music with a slide change. This is achieved by firstly, thoroughly listening to your music beforehand and then in PTE, clear the time line and as the music is played, clicking on the New Transition button. No doubt this requires a number of attempts to perfect and maybe a bit of tweaking afterwards. David Best suggested that this can often be easier if the song has words.

Some people wanted to know how to create the multi-layered approach to slide blending. Maybe we will try this in Photoshop Elementas on Friday evening.