Wednesday 4th April 2012 – Clubnight

Tonight was Darren’s turn to take us a trip around Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 which we recently purchased.

He loaded up a small diverse selection of his photographs and demonstrated to us the basic steps from importing RAW files into the Library catalogue, through the various Library view modes and then on to the export stage which essentially converts your RAW file into JPG, Tiff or PSD formats.    When in the Develop module, Darren used a recent photo of little Eva taken in the studio where there were some shadows below her eyes and eyebrows, to show how the Adjustment Brush can be used for local lightening or darkening of the skin.  The colours of the pupils of the eyes were adjusted also using this tool.  Adobe recently substantially reduced the price of Lightroom 3 and subsequently Lightroom 4.  The upgrade is now available for around £60.  Available in both PC and Mac versions, it is highly recommended for those who shoot in RAW. Continue reading

Wednesday 14th September 2011 – Clubnight

I was really amazed at the turnout tonight.   We had 5 new first time guests tonight.  Welcome to Stephen, Michael, Alan, Bill and Paul.

It seems to prove that our exhibition at the Flagship Center in Bangor continues to be a major source of recruitment.  Indeed, if we continue to get new recruits at this rate, we will begin to exceed our specified limit.   Thanks to diversity though, not everyone turns up at the clubroom on the same night.  I don’t recall having seen as full a house as last night.

As always we spend some time welcoming new guests and making them feel at home.   Indeed one gentleman said that he had contemplated joining a nearby club but had heard of the reputation of our club and came here instead.

Whilst I was engaged, as were other members, with the guests, Mark took centre stage and the evening was devoted to viewing the large number of memory sticks placed at the computer. One of our guests, Stephen, who has an interest in Honda motorcycles, brought his photos for viewing.  Mark selected a small number out of a very large selection and we preformed our usual critique.  Stephen had a privileged viewpoint at the Ulster Grand Prix and took some excellent shots of bikes and riders.

Using the freeware software Faststone Image Viewer, Mark indicated how simple levels adjustments could be made to increase contrast particularly in black leathers and dark backgrounds.   Essentially a camera on automatic mode will attempt to turn blacks to 18% grey and whites likewise.

Next up was Michael Rice’s super photo set about the birds and the bees!  Using his 105mm macro lens and without a pin in sight, we were treated to a series of  stunning close-up shots of bees and wasps on thistles and in the air.   Great material for the Audrey Argue Wildlife Competition later in the year.

New member, Angela, treated us to great photos of Vietnam, where very few, if any of us have visited.  From water buffalo in paddy fields to motorbikes laden like a local grocery store to a beautiful shot of a little girl in a hat.  Well done Angela.

Anthony has dipped his toes into the world of digital audio visual and showed us 2 AVs, albeit made with the limited trial version of Pictures to Exe.   We were treated to a visit to Utah and the Canyonlands and the Rocky Mountains.   Anthony, no problems here.  Go ahead with the full version and show us more of your stunning worldwide photos.

Shirley has been to the local Grey Point Gun Fortress at Helens Bay with her camera.   I can spot that a bit of imagination has been applied to her composition.   We had a little bit of hilarity and controversy at what looked like her bath plughole, until Mark brought us back to order and explained that it really was a guard plate to prevent wee boys like himself climbing down a winding tunnel to the armoury. Obviously the Wednesday evening chats are paying off.

Same goes to Julie.  Great photos of Ballintoy taken using a tripod.   The one thing explained to Julie was that whilst using a tripod, she could use a very small aperture to enhance depth of field and further improve her great shots.   She let slip that she was using the full manual settings on her camera.  I’m really proud of how she has advanced and absorbed and applied the advice given here at the club.

Kevin’s fireworks shots at Groomsport were well worth a look.  Mark played with the levels to darken some backgrounds.

Finally Harry brought along a draft of the new 2012 Guide Dogs Calendar for comment.  Apart from a few typos, it was welcomed.

Feedback on topics for Wednesday evenings would be welcome.

By the way, Annual Subscriptions are now due.   See Peter Gibson, Treasurer.

David Roberts


Wednesday 13th July 2011 – Clubnight

Tonight as promised, the subject for discussion and help was Spot Metering and applying the Zone System concept to getting improved exposures, particularly under extreme lighting conditions.

Before the main body of members assembled, I had a chat with Harry Watson and agreed that re-showing the 45 minute video was too heavy on a night such as this.  When we had enough gathered I took the group outside the clubroom to the other pavement of Ward avenue and looked back at our clubroom.   Here were all the tonal elements I needed to give a practical demonstration.

With the group assembled, all were asked to set their camera on to manual mode and spot metering, if not available, then centre weighted metering.

An explanation was given about the five zones from Zone 3 to  Zone 7 and Zone 5 representing average tone.  In the view was a red car, green grass to the side if the clubhouse, near white walls of the building and light blue of a cloudless sky.   The car and grass represented the zone 5 elements, sky as zone 6 and walls, zone 7.  A dark blue car represented zone 4.

The group was asked to zoom right in to the panel of the red car and adjust either the shutter speed or aperture until the needle was positioned on the zero point of the scale.   Then zooming to the white part of the wall, confirmed that the needle was sitting STEADY on +2 position.   Zero was confirmed again by pointing at the green grass and finally, +1 while pointing at the lower level of the sky.   Only then did they take the shot.    I examined the histograms of each and none had spikes at either the white of black end.   They all looked as good exposures.

Back inside I briefly showed the zone colour chart on a pdf (see link below).  Without reading through the 32 page document I pointed out how skin colour was evaluated under the system.   Mark Allen ably assisted in the explanations, especially their relevance to exposure compensation.

After tea, we viewed the contents of several memory sticks and replayed Kevin’s fireworks photos especially for Shirley.

We let our session extend on until 10.30.

Understanding & Using Ansel Adam’s Zone System