Friday 17th February 2012 – Tuscany Travellers


Gerry, Peter, Trevor, Hugh and John

For a few hours on Friday night stormy rain-soaked County Down was transformed into the rolling hills and cypress-clad valleys of Tuscany as four members of the Bangor and North Down Camera Club relived their photographic odyssey to their favourite region of Italy. And whilst they travelled as part of a larger group and visited the same locations they each brought back a different recollection of the beauty of the countryside .

Hugh Rooney, who enjoys architectural challenges displayed some dramatic monochrome prints of the historic cities of Pisa, Sienna and Florence; his finely executed tonal variations complementing the angular beauty of centuries old cathedrals and towers. The hillside town of Montepulciano, set amid the encircling vineyards featured strongly in Hugh’s lens as did isolated Tuscan farmhouses nestling in halos of sunflowers and hay bales.

Gerry Coe adopted a completely different approach to his picture gathering; leaving aside his professional quality gear he opted instead for the comparatively simple hardware of the camera in his Iphone. Using various applications downloaded for the purpose he enhanced and manipulated the images of country lanes and lone trees and so successful was the enterprise he exhibited the end product in the recent Royal Ulster Academy of Art Exhibition – to much acclaim! Continue reading

Friday 2nd September 2011 – Clubnight


As befits the start of any new term there was a distinct air of anticipation around the shoreside premises of Bangor and North Down Camera Club for the first meeting of the new season. Greetings and gossip gave way to discussions about new equipment purchased or new software investigated and soon the members had slipped effortlessly back into photo-mode for the business of the evening.

The Chairman, Nigel Snell welcomed everyone ,especially some new members (some of whom had been drawn by the images on display in the annual exhibition at The Flagship Centre. Others had been attending the informal gatherings on Wednesdays and Fridays during the “off-season”.)  As has become traditional over the past few years the first night was reserved for a showing of the Audio-visual displays of the members’ holidays. Hardly surprisingly the images on show covered a very wide spectrum of interests and geographical areas – from Switzerland to Newtownards and from Vancouver to Ballyholme. The local interest was provided by Jack Thompson’s natural history slides taken between Bangor and Groomsport ; David McVeigh focused on some derelict buildings in Newtownards while Alan Hartley and Davy Cooper produced thoughtful records of club summer visits to Benburb and The Argory.

On the theme of transport Drew McAvoy’s presentation was a fast moving depiction of motor-sport while Noel Maitland opted for the slightly less hectic but perhaps more graceful environs of the River Shannon for a boat rally. The railway journey to the summit of Snowdon captured the imagination of Lawrence Henderson ; Jane Richardson brought back memories of a trip to the Swiss Alps and Gerry Coe invoked the sound and sights of flamenco and Spanish sunshine with his Iberian adventure.  France was the magnet for Nigel Snell ; his long lens captured some fine flora and fauna. For others it was carnival time. Peter Gibson followed the music and fun in Tenerife (he doubled up with a look at the joys of summer in Tuscany) while Hugh Rooney investigated the esoteric masks favoured by the partygoers in Venice. Bill Cardwell enjoyed the delights of Vancouver and shared them with an appreciative audience.

The club continues to meet every Friday evening with informal gathering each Wednesday at eight o’clock. Anyone interested in photography will find a warm welcome at the clubroom which is situated at the junction of Ward Avenue and Seacliff Road.

John Bennett

Friday 22nd July 2011 – Clubnight


Slightly smaller turnout tonight.

Mike was early as usual and I took the opportunity to go outside with him and explain the use if his 70-300mm Zoom lens, particularly the fact that when fully zoomed, it becomes difficult to handhold if the shutter speed is too low. I explained that it is recommended that the minimum shutter speed needs to be in the range of the inverse of the max zoom, in his case 1/450 (i.e. 300mm x 1.5 crop factor of the Nikon). He took a shot of a distant wind turbine rig out in Belfast Lough at a relatively slow shutter speed, then we set up on Aperture Priority mode at F9 and shutter speed of 1/500. The resultant photo was much sharper. I also explained the sometimes he may have to compromise on his ISO setting if the light was poor. In the present scene there was plenty of bright light.

Back inside, the usual hubbub of folks chatting, could be heard. Helen and Julie closed in on the computer and I attempted to solve Julies problem with attaching music files to Pictures to Exe slideshows. Hopefully she now understands. (Breaking News. She’s just notified me that she’s solved it.) Helen has still the limited trial version.

Peter has produced an excellent Audio Visual of his recent travels in Tuscany, Italy. It contained stunning shots and all were captivated by his photos of poppy fields. Following the showing, we gave good feedback on some minor points picked up by more experienced PTE’rs. Detailed discussion took place on the issue of correct registration of portrait formatted photos to ensure that there is no slide to slide mis-alignments.
Mark suggested that they should all be in one multi-layered psd, using lowered opacity to re-position and by switching on the appropriate layers and “Saving for Web”, good registration could be achieved.
On the other hand, one could take the scattered photo approach by adding a photo and fading the underlying photos.
I had a re-run of an AV made several years ago. It was of a trip to Barcelona. This AV showed the scatter effect for portrait format and also the synchronisation of the beginning of each bar in the music, particularly with music which has a strong beat pattern.

Mark and others offered complete PTE projects for new users to examine and pick up the tricks and techniques.

As a roundup, Cooperman had us wringing out our hankies at his AV showing tears. Can’t remember the title, but I’m sure someone will comment and remind me.

I spoke to Mark at the end and suggested that he could become a contributor to my (our) Blog. Depending on how it works out, I may well open it to others.

Next Wednesday, we’ll have a full session on PTE as so many have now purchased the program.