Wednesday 19th October 2011 – Clubnight

Winter has come early.

I thought most members had opted out of the cold conditions judging by the turnout by 8.00pm, however  gradually folks started drifting in.

Paul was there first and quickly followed by Darren, both new to the club.    I spent a little bit of time explaining the virtues of RAW shooting and how he can use Faststone Image Viewer to preview and do basic adjustments.   I also explained the principles of JPG compression and demonstrated on Photoshop Elements, the effect that adjustments on JPGs had on an image.  This was shown using the Levels histogram and seeing the gaps developing as additional adjustments were made.

Darren brought his portable Hard Disk with images which we as a group carried out our usual critique.   Meanwhile Julie and the other ladies gathered in a huddle plotting what they were to do on their show on Friday Evening.   Rumour has it that its a rerun of Calendar Girls.  Vivid imaginations needed!!

Jack, whom we had missed out last Wednesday night, brought his AV, Walk in Mountstewart.   Jack slipped back into ProShow to do this with the excuse that he found the layer effects and animation  easier than in Pictures to Exe.   We were treated to a very clever exhibitions of animation with monkey statues, towers sinking into the lake and falling trees.   It was warmly appreciated by those present as he gave us a detailed explanation of how he achieved the effects.  Well done Jack,  well worth waiting for.

I took the opportunity to run my recently completed AV entitles, Cathedrals of St Petersburg.   Seeing it on the big screen, I spotted several things that I wanted to change in it.

Angus arrived with his laptop and crouched away at the back exporting his first AV onto a memory stick.  However when I attempted to run it, we found that he would have needed to include his images in the same folder with it.   It was run on Windows media player.

I advised him to download the trial version of Pictures to Exe from or  Although it is a trial version it no longer had a 10 slide limit.  The only drawback is that it has a banner across the bottom of the display screen.  We can certainly live with that.   In that software he will really gain experience and create stand-alone exe files for PC.

By the end of the evening, none of the ladies had divulged the content of Friday night.   I’ll get some photos of it anyway and send some to the Spectator together with John’s blog.

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