Wednesday 25th January 2012 – Clubnight


Mark kindly opened the evening by reviewing some photographs from memory sticks.  As well as some of my own, we had an excellent selection from Angus.

Last Wednesday eveningTrevor Reid asked me to show him how to cut mounts for his photos, so I set up the mount cutting table early in the evening.  Somehow the steel ruler which is hung on the side of the table was missing.  Noel kindly went home and brought in a tape rul and plastic school type ruler.  Bill Nesbitt also suggested that mounts can be ordered from a company pre-cut at reasonable prices.  I heard some debate in the background as to whether these prices quoted included postage.   From my observations of the company website, postage was extra.

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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.

Audio Visual Full Day Summer School


David and I have discussed arranging a full day Summer school for members interested in Audio Visuals.  We were thinking of running it on a Saturday, but Sunday may also be considered.  Our favourite software is Picture To Exe (PTE) and we will be using it to demonstrate the steps involved, on the big screen. However; if you have bought ProShow and don’t want to buy PTE , you are most welcome,  I know ProShow fairly well and will able to help you follow along. If you have a MacBook and feel left out, please talk to me and I can help you get Windows to work on your Mac.

To help you prepare, to participate you MUST have:

  • A laptop running Windows
  • PTE or ProShow installed
  • Faststone Image Resizer (free) installed
  • An image editing programme, that can crop to a ratio, e.g., Photoshop, PS Elements, Lightroom, Aperture, Gimp (free), Capture NX, etc.
  • A folder containing the full size jpgs that you want to use. You should have at least 50-60 photos, however the AV will probably only include around 30-40.
  • A music library with plenty of suitable music. Visit Asda or Tescos and buy a multi CD pack of type of music you would like to use.  Classical music works very well for most photo AV’s and these can be bought for as little as £5.
If you don’t own a laptop, ask around to see if you can borrow one, although the software mentioned above will have to be installed. David and I both have laptops that we may be persuaded to lend them out for the day.
We intend to cover:
  • Preparation of photos, resizing to ratios 16:9 or 16:10 and then saving them to a suitable file size for the AV
  • AV basics – adding images, music and creating a slideshow
  • AV intermediate – customising slides for titles, subtle pan and zoom effects
  • AV advanced – synchronising music to slides, photo harmony and flow
At the end of the course we show everyones work on the big screen, so we will be strongly suggesting that your AV should run for less than 5 minutes. (4 to 5 minutes long is, in my experience, just about right.)
Have I missed anything out?  All ideas and suggestions at this early stage are most welcome!
BUT before David and I progress this any further, we need to know how many members would be interested in attending such a course. This will not be a mickey mouse event!  I am sure you know, that if David and I are going to do this, we will spend a lot of time preparing a most professional course.

Friday 29th July 2011 – Clubnight


It was Velia’s turn tonight to be first in the line for assistance. She brought along her lovely shiny new Samsung laptop on which she has a folder of photos. Her initial hope was to transmit them by email to England to her son, however this was not possible as we don’t have access internet here in our clubroom. On examination of the folder of photos, it turned out that there was a total of 417mb of files, an impossible sized attachment for Hotmail.
I transferred the files via a memory stick to the main club computer and on Mark and John’s advice, used Freestone Image resizer to reduce the batch size to about 8mb.
A little bit of guidance from John on attaching the files to Hotmail and Velia was happy.

Standing on the sidelines patiently was Anthony, fresh from his recent graduation, with a zoom lens. His problem was that his lens didn’t autofocus on his camera. I tried it on my Canon 40D and confirmed that it wouldn’t autofocus, although I didn’t get an error message as he had. The conclusion was that the lens/camera contacts needed cleaning using a cotton bud and some Eclipse cleaning fluid. Most likely there was an electrical contact problem.

Mike once again treated us to cherry cake at tea break. Thanks Mike, and of course Julie and Shirley for tea and coffee.
Julie put forward her Pictures to Exe slideshow. We had a minor glitch with only the PTE project file being available. However we showed her, on he laptop, how to create the Exe file, and having done that, ran it. She had beautiful photos of a cello, interspersed with images of sheet music. Altogether it was an excellent effort. Well done. An interesting fact emerged that the replacement cost of a cello bow was £3000. The cello itself cost £6000. Wow. You could buy a couple of top of the range Canons and Lenses for that sum!

Julie said that she didn’t have enough photos to fill the music time thus the repeat of some of the sheet music images. We suggested that she could lengthen the slide interval as well as introduce dissolves from a partially desaturated image to a full colour version of the same image. Inserting a semi-opaque small image of the sheet music then dissolving back to the full cello image would add extra images and make it flow a bit smoother.

After tea, I demonstrated ,in Photoshop 7, how to create overlaid images using multiple layers and snap-to guides and by selectively switching layers on and off, you could save each for the web and create a sequence, always remembering to save the whole file as a Photoshop PSD file.

We critiqued members photos from memory sticks and I ran part of an AV showing the Alhambra Palace at Grenada, Spain. I explained that this was done several years ago before I cottoned on to producing short AVs.

Gerry Coe brought in hardback and soft back copies of his Blurb Photobook with photos taken on his iPhone. Finally, I had to admit that I had jumped ship from PC to iMac today, but for you Nikoners, I’m staying with Canon.

In conclusion, a great night was had by all.

Wednesday 29th June 2011 Clubnight


Wednesday night was a particularly well attended evening with the house nearly full.

Mark Allen showed us his Audio Visual of his recent trip to Alaska and the Rockies. As usual, the photos were of outstanding quality.
Nigel Snell was one of those attending last Saturdays outing to a Landrover gig and his Audio Visual slideshow showed amazing shots of 4 wheeled Landrovers either stuck in mud or extricating themselves and coming over the hill to hit the photographer.
New member, Angus Gardiner had borrowed Harry Watson’s 400D for the day and brought back some very good photos of the event.
The techniques involved in animation in Pictures to Exe presentations and resizing to 1920 x 1050 HD (16:9) were demonstrated by Mark Allen.

As usual a stack of memory sticks built up from those present with photos for critique.
At the beginning and end of the evening I helped a couple of people remove sensor dust from the camera sensors using both wet and dry methods.

Members were reminded of the next outing next Saturday 2nd July to Benburb with Sean Barten.