Wednesday 30th November 2011 – Clubnight


Tonight saw an overwhelming submission of memory sticks with photographs for critique.  There were more than we had time to show and discuss when we finished after 10:00pm.

Quite a number of members rose to the challenge of taking photographs within 200 yards (or metres for you younger ones).   Some didn’t even go outside their front door, preferring to shoot still life arrangements of forks etc. with excellent results.

Others probably had an elastic measuring tape but nevertheless produced some great images.

Ann Groves’ images taken at Mountstewart were excellent.  This was helped by a fixture produced by Noel to hold her camera steady to her walking aid.   Somehow, a number of her images were out of focus which we presumed was due to the AF/MF switch on the side of her lens being accidentally moved to manual focus.   This is always  useful to pre-check Auto Focus, along with ISO before any shooting session.

Others submitted photos of Mountstewart Gardens and the wonderful reflected colours in the lake.

Bobby showed us what could be done using extension tubes, extended exposure and a torch and some flowers. Continue reading

Wednesday 24th November 2011 – Clubnight


Great Wednesday night turnout.

Thanks again to Mark for taking the chair tonight.

The turnout tonight was tremendous.  I counted 32 members.

The evening started with Helen’s great photos taken at the recent outing to Mountstewart Gardens.   I must say that Helen’s photos have noticeably improved, no doubt due to her voracious appetite for knowledge (no, I didn’t mean picnic hampers!!)  There certainly were many opportunities to capture glorious reflections of the autumn colours.   Those present managed to capture a great sunset, even if they stood in smelly mud.

Other submitters were Bill Cardwell, most notably his image and reflection of a lone yacht.   Other contributors were Alli, Peter Gibson, Deborah Carvill and May Carvill and Kevin Neupert.

This took us to teabreak, after which Mark showed some of his shoot at Mountstewart.   He then moved onto the subject of cropping for printing and illustrated the concept of ratios.  This is ably covered in Mark’s previous post below.

The subject will be revisited next week.

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 http://www.WNSoft.com or ww.beckhamdigital.co.uk.  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 5th October 2011 – Clubnight


Gosh, it was a busy night tonight.

The plan was to teach Angus how to cut photo mounts.  The table was got out and set up ahead of everyone arriving.

A great word of thanks to Davy Cooper for installing two extra speakers at the back of the room.   If you can’t hear now, then its your hearing aid that needs testing!

Also a word of warning to users of the sound system.  Go easy on the volume settings.  Its much more sensitive and if let rip, its likely to disturb people in Carrickfergus and Whitehead.

Whilst awaiting on our trainee, we took the opportunity to show Shirley’s first Audio Visual show called My Movie, and what a stunning effort it was too.  There was a lovely variety of brightly coloured images including her winning entry in monochrome from last Friday night.  It really was good to see such a good standard on her first AV.

Jack arrived with an AV which he is working on, but not complete.  It was about a walk around the beautiful gardens of Mounstewart.   He did his own critique.

Not to be outdone, Julie submitted an AV based on shoreline photos taken recently on the North Coast.   What was eye- catching was the perfect registration of the shots which showed the big breakers hitting the rocks.  There was a sense of wave motion in the presentation.  Perhaps a shorter dissolve between the photo where the sea was breaking would really be realistic.  Nevertheless it was excellent.

Bill Cardwell show us a selection of his recent photos and gave us a great description of their locations.

Michael had a chat with me during the tea break, telling me that he had secured a large inkjet printer which should serve him well in his fine art work.  An opportunity was taken to take a couple of ID photos, and an apology to Stephen.  Sorry, I had printed Stanley on his ID card.  I’ll have  a new one for Friday.   I had Deborah and Angus’ ID cards but forgot to give them to them.

Angus brought along four prints and two sheets of mountboard.  As is the usual practice I talked hin through and actually measured and cut the first one.   One of the more difficult parts of mount cutting was to make best economical use of a single board.    Our aim was to get four mounts from one board which was bought from Easons in BAngor.

I reminded him of the adage, “Measure twice and cut once”    Indeed measure many times and cut once should be more like it.

Anyway after the first on, Angus competently cut the remaining three, which were of an odd ratio, resulting in prints from this camera phone.   Angus is now the proud owner of a new Canon DSLR.   I look forward to see what he can do with it.