Wednesday 12th October 2011 – Clubnight


As usual, the agenda for the evening was open-ended.  It was good to see a lot of our newly joined members come along to our informal Wednesday evening get-together.

For the early attenders and those not here last week, I replayed one of my Digital AVs of the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.    I had intended to show the next one about the Cathedrals of St. Petersburg, but I forgot to create a PC Exe version (I’m now moved over to Mac, but still running Pictures to Exe in virtual Windows.  I’ll have it next week.

New member, Michael was first in with his memory stick on which he had a selection of photos taken last week in sunny (really hot) Jersey in the Channel Islands.  These were taken on his Canon G12 camera and were mainly scenic landscapes of the beautiful island.   I hope he was’t offended when I suggested that his first beach scene was a ‘record shot’, one of those terms expressed regularly by competition judges.   With all his photos, there was active participation in cropping and compositional suggestions.   All of his shots were of a good standard.

Angus and Deborah arrived and brought his (her?) new Canon 1100D DSLR.   He let us see his first card-full of shots and we offered some sound advice that, as he was concentrating on some lovely subjects in Bangor’s Walled Garden, he could have achieved greater control of his depth of field by trying shooting in AV (Aperture Priority) mode and increasing the value of the F-stop, whilst keeping an eye on shutter speed.  His results look promising.

Peter treated us to a visit to Malta with  his Malta AV.   Excellent photography, although Mark suggested that he review the music.  He felt that Peter’s selection was a bit rousing for the tranquil scenes.   Whilst with Peter’s subject, the question arose on how to match music and overall show duration.  The ability to create a cutoff and fade out using Audacity was demonstrated.   Nigel queried the availability od Audacity for the Mac.  It is available and I run it.

Noel has been at the Seaplane Festival last week in Fermanagh and brought back some good photos of some of the various seaplanes in action including the Catalina which was slightly damaged in a collision with a yacht.

Tonight some people, including myself submitted PDI photos for selection on Friday for the SpanishClub/BANDCC on-line competition.   The subjects are:   Portrait, Landscape, Fine Art, Still Life, Sport, Travel, Glamour & Fashion, Open, Nature.

Jack mentioned that he had done some more work on his AV but somehow we either overlooked it or ran out of time  Sorry Jack.

During the tea-break, I demonstrated the technique of using the Clone Stamp tool in Photoshop Elements for new member, Angie.

It seems that we now need another 1/2 hour every Wednesday simply to get through everything.  Its very encouraging to me and others that we get such a turnout which easily rivals the turnout on Friday nights.   Just think, when this started only 2 or 3 of us huddled together round one small PC screen at the top of the room..

As I don’t make notes as I talk on Wednesday I apologise if I have forgotten to mention anyone who submitted photos for critique.

Friday 22nd July 2011 – Clubnight


Slightly smaller turnout tonight.

Mike was early as usual and I took the opportunity to go outside with him and explain the use if his 70-300mm Zoom lens, particularly the fact that when fully zoomed, it becomes difficult to handhold if the shutter speed is too low. I explained that it is recommended that the minimum shutter speed needs to be in the range of the inverse of the max zoom, in his case 1/450 (i.e. 300mm x 1.5 crop factor of the Nikon). He took a shot of a distant wind turbine rig out in Belfast Lough at a relatively slow shutter speed, then we set up on Aperture Priority mode at F9 and shutter speed of 1/500. The resultant photo was much sharper. I also explained the sometimes he may have to compromise on his ISO setting if the light was poor. In the present scene there was plenty of bright light.

Back inside, the usual hubbub of folks chatting, could be heard. Helen and Julie closed in on the computer and I attempted to solve Julies problem with attaching music files to Pictures to Exe slideshows. Hopefully she now understands. (Breaking News. She’s just notified me that she’s solved it.) Helen has still the limited trial version.

Peter has produced an excellent Audio Visual of his recent travels in Tuscany, Italy. It contained stunning shots and all were captivated by his photos of poppy fields. Following the showing, we gave good feedback on some minor points picked up by more experienced PTE’rs. Detailed discussion took place on the issue of correct registration of portrait formatted photos to ensure that there is no slide to slide mis-alignments.
Mark suggested that they should all be in one multi-layered psd, using lowered opacity to re-position and by switching on the appropriate layers and “Saving for Web”, good registration could be achieved.
On the other hand, one could take the scattered photo approach by adding a photo and fading the underlying photos.
I had a re-run of an AV made several years ago. It was of a trip to Barcelona. This AV showed the scatter effect for portrait format and also the synchronisation of the beginning of each bar in the music, particularly with music which has a strong beat pattern.

Mark and others offered complete PTE projects for new users to examine and pick up the tricks and techniques.

As a roundup, Cooperman had us wringing out our hankies at his AV showing tears. Can’t remember the title, but I’m sure someone will comment and remind me.

I spoke to Mark at the end and suggested that he could become a contributor to my (our) Blog. Depending on how it works out, I may well open it to others.

Next Wednesday, we’ll have a full session on PTE as so many have now purchased the program.

Friday 15th July 2011 – Clubnight


There was no particular subject planned for tonight, but as usual, we were not stuck for something to demonstrate, talk about or physically carry out.

First off was Mike who asked for further explanation of ISO and when to change it.  I took him outside into the gloomy evening light with his camera and had him set his ISO to its lowest ISO value and while in Aperture priority mode, selected F8.   He took a photograph of some cars in front of the clubroom.   At theses settings his shutter speed dropped to 1/15th of a second, too slow to hand hold.  As expected camera shake resulted in a blurred image.

Next he increased the ISO to 200, i.e. one stop, and took the exactly same shot.  I pointed out as he was taking the shots that an audible indication of a slow shutter speed was the relatively long interval between the mirror rising and falling with that distinctive slap.  He continued to increase ISO to 400 and then to 800 and each time the shutter speed doubled until the image was sharp.   I helped him to set the Auto ISO to ON for the time being and suggested he leave it there for a while until he got in some more practice.

Waiting and chilled, were Christine and Trevor and I repeated the same exercise with them.

Inside, out of the chill air memory sticks appeared and as is customary we reviewed people’s photos.  Jack Thompson submitted a new Audio Visual built in ProShow Gold.  We carried out a gentle critique with him.

At a point while I was showing photos, some giggling occurred at the back of the room, then I heard some whistling.  Upon enquiring if anyone else heard it, amongst great laughter, I was told that it was coming from the Committee Room.   No sooner had I asked than a member came through the door to a round of applause and more raucous laughter.  No names, no pack drill.   They know who they are!!

The remaining time was utilised in a short 25 minute demonstration of building an AV in Pictures to Exe utilising some existing photos on the computer.

A number of members have now either bought or downloaded a trial version of PTE.    Hopefully we will see some of their results next week.

Pictures to Exe is not yet available for Mac, so I suggested to Mike that he could create an AV using iPhoto.

Every one appeared to have had a great evening.

Friday 8th July 2011 – Clubnight


Davy Cooper and Mike  Knott were the first arrivals.   I got an opportunity to explain ISO to Mike and demonstrated its effect using my Sony Nex 5.

I must say that navigation through the Nikon menus is difficult and I had to seek some help from Alan and Gerry.  We left Mikes D90 setup with centre focus point active and suggested that he try shooting with Aperture Priority mode and change the f-stop and observe the results.

Mark Allen kindly conducted the critique on members photos tonight.   Judging by the buzz during the tea break, a wide range of topics was discussed.   Thanks to Christine and Helen for tea tonight.

Outside, there was a nice sunset and I demonstrated spot metering in manual mode to Helen.  This gave nice saturated sunset colours and dark silhouettes.   Maybe next meeting we will revisit this topic.

Apologies to Christine for not getting a chance to do some tutorials on Pictures to Exe, however I lent her a copy of Barry Beckham’s Tutorial. to work through.