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

Wednesday 10th August 2011 – Clubnight

Tonight we seemed to launch straight into the critique of members photos.  I showed some of the photos taken kast Saturday at the Argory.  Mark kindly acted as MC for this evening.

Angus and his mum, Deborah returned from their holiday in Turkey with a great tan and some great photos, some of which Deborah quickly claimed were hers.   Amongst the shots were memorable photos of Ephasus and the ruins of that once great city.  Brought back memories for me of my visit there last year.

Alli, submitted a selection of her photos and was well complemented on them.

Mark took the opportunity to show us his reworked audio visual of the Arctic trip and described how he had reduced the file size from 70+ Mb down to 15Mb.    As well as this he changed the aspect ratio of his photos from 16:9 to 16:10.

This naturally gave rise to the question, Why 16:10?    He loaded up photoshop and used a landscape format photograph.  He then set the crop tool to 16:9 ratio and it them became clear that cropping like this left 2 largish areas above and below the photo cut off.  He then reset the crop tool to 16:10 and showed a similar crop. This time there was much less picture loss at the top and bottom.

Julie showed us her Argory photos where she had wandered off in the rain.  Alan’s shots were excellent and I particularly liked the ones taken down at the river showing two boats.

Previous member Ray McCurry has kindly donated a bundle of CD/DVDs gathered up from issues of photo magazines to the club’s resources.   There was a good uptake of folk borrowing these.   Shirley claimed the free clapper board also donated by Ray.

Once again the clock beat us.   We never seem to be able to finish at 10pm.    Mark finally reminded the members of the proposed Pictures to Exe (and ProShow also) workshops held either on a Saturday or Sunday.   We would need a minimum number of people to attend these free workshop sessions, so if you are interested, please let either Mark or me know.


Saturday 6th August 2011 – Summer Outing to Argory

The title of this is Summer Outing to Argory.  Excuse me.  Exactly where was Summer!!  Total washout.

Twelve forlorn souls and a baby braved the downpours and thunder and lightning in the name of photography.    Were we downhearted.  Heck, No.  After all photography is only part of it.  Its mainly about the coffee, tea, 4 varieties of scones (plain, fruit, cherry and date, for those who want to know) topped off with 3 types of home made jam, made of course by our own Mrs Hartley no less.

Some got transported like queens in a luxury Porche 4×4 including the special wave, whilst others followed.   Argory was easily found and no one went missing this time.

We really should have known what we were in for as the skies became heavier and blacker with telltale very wet portions of the road.   On we went.

After our picnic, we set off around the outside of the house and before we had gone 100 metres, the heavens opened.  By some good fortune, a marquee had been erected in the garden beside the house and we sheltered there, playing with macro lenses et al.  Someone commented that we could now get photos for our own version of Droppy, with the amount of rain washing over the side of the shelter.

This was a good opportunity to show our less experienced members some camera settings and their resultant exposures.

Cooperman heard the thunder and thought that it was a good idea to bounce his flash off the marquee roof, causing certain people to think we had lightning.   A few minutes later we had real lightning.  Julie braved the rain on her own during this so we await eagerly her photos next week.

During a short break in the rain, we got photos of the entrance and seats and foliage thereabouts.   I returned to the car with the intention of taking my wife, who was waiting in the car, for a tour of the house.  As it turned out only conducted tours without cameras was allowed and these took about an hour,  It also involved stair climbing and long periods of standing so we agreed to give it a miss.  Maybe we’ll return some day.

After our lunch, some of the others appeared and eagerly awaited to see what size of lunch Julie, Christine, Helen and Velia had brought.   I spotted the Sainsbury’s basket poorly disguised in the boot of a car.

The photos below again feature the handsome lunches enjoyed by some.  As I said, photography was only a side issue on this outing.

We decided to abandon the onward trip to Ardress and head home.  Amazingly, the weather in Bangor was bright with some actual sunshine!!

Below are two photos, one of the picnics some enjoyed, the other of the entire group.  Photo taken by Alan’s wife, Helen.

Roll on Wednesday till we see some of the photos.

Our Lunches

The brave ones

The Brave Ones

Friday 5th August 2011 – Clubnight

John had requested me by email if I would help clean his “mucky sensor” this evening.   He arrived with a Nikon and although I had forgotten to bring my magnifying loupe, we started on the task.  Firstly, the mirror showed a slight layer of dust buildup so I opted to use the Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly brush which generates static in the bristles by periodic spinning.  A couple of gentle swipes outwards, and it looked clear.

Cleaning of the mirror or the underside of the prism (to remove dust which is visible in the viewfinder) is a very delicate operation and is fraught with the danger of scratching the coating, to be seen forever.  John operated the command to raise the mirror to expose the sensor and first line of attack was using the Rocket blower with the camera inverted.  I asked him to reattach the lens, set to f22 and manual focus and go outside and take a photo of cloud or blue sky to help show up the location of dust spots.  By magnifying the resulting photo and/or viewing on the computer any spots will be revealed.  There were still some spots so we tried the Butterfly brush then finally the Pec-Pad with a spot of Eclipse cleaning fluid.  One careful light wipe should normally be enough.   Another photo and mission accomplished.

Meanwhile Jack arrived with a memory stick with his AV for the national competition called “All that Glisters”.   His final version was warmly commended and was really refined especially with Jack’s refined voice-over.  Well done Jack.   We couldn’t let him away without seeing again his famous work, “Droppy”.

Alli, Harry, Trevor also submitted photos on a stick for appraisal.

By request I showed a couple of my old AVs, A Taste of Venice and especially for Christine, Barcelona 2007.

I mentioned that the new season programme was almost ready for publication, meanwhile I will publish in this blog, the finalised dates for Competitions and NIPA Rounds.

Tomorrow was the last scheduled summer outing to Argory and Ardress House, both National Trust properties.   Hope the weather holds.

Feedback and comments in this blog would be appreciated.