Musselburgh Camera Club

11 October 2018 (Digital Projected Images Competition)

This week we had our first competition of the season, the very popular Digital Projected Images competition. The competition was judged by James Dyas of Motherwell Photographic Society. James had the tricky task of judging 69 images, all of which he liked in some way. There were landscape images, action shots, portraits, reenactments, holiday scenes, nature and flowers and a lot of macro shots of insects. James had positive things to say about each image, and even shots that were not properly focused were beautifully coloured. Some images inspired James to tell a story of similar scenes he had encountered. The backgrounds featured a lot in the feedback, and some images lost out because of a distracting background. One exception was the shot, “Foundry Workers, Blists Hill Iron Bridge”, where the cluttered background actually improved the shot because it enhanced the story told by the image and gave the viewer a chance to see new things with each viewing.

James reserved the highest marks for the very best images. The scoring was tight, but in the end there was a clear winner. The top scorers were (in reverse order):

  • 5th place (47 points)
    • Joe Fowler
    • George Todd
    • Gordon Davidson
  • 4th place (48 points)
    • Mike Clark
  • 3rd place (49 points)
    • Jim Todd
  • 2nd place (50 points)
    • Jennifer Davidson
  • 1st place (54 points)
    • Steve Barber

The top images were

  • Harvest Mice on Bluebells [left] (Steve Barber) – 20 points
  • Determination [middle] (Jennifer Davidson) – 19 points
  • Foundry Workers, Blist Hill Ironbridge [right] (Steve Barber) – 18 points
  • Down Hill Biker (Lorraine Roberts) – 17 points
  • Crowned Crane (Jim Tod) – 17 points
  • Ornate Horned Frog (Jim Tod) – 17 points.
  • Osprey With Catch (George Todd) – 17 points
  • Brown Hare Meadow (Mike Clark) – 17 points

Congratulations to newcomer Steve Barber for a fantastic achievement in his first competition with the club.

Next week we have a members’ evening. Steven Beard will present images from a recent trip to Orkney and Lorraine and Malcolm Roberts will show their shots from Vietnam.

 

4 October 2018 (Photo Advice Evening)

4th October was our annual photo advice evening, where members bring in prints and chat about them around a table. We were a little short of prints to discuss, so the pool was supplemented by the club’s existing folder of black and white and portrait prints. The most useful discussion tool around our table turned out to be a set of envelopes we used to crop the images. I hope everyone who brought prints got some good feedback from the evening. It is very useful to show a print to someone else before using it, because they notice things you have missed. (How did I miss the blue blob in the eye of the portrait I brought in???)

  • Next week James Dyas will be visiting us to judge the Digital Projected Images competition.
  • The following week, on 18th October 2018 there will be a members evening. Have you been away on holiday? Are you working on a photographic project? Please look into your archives and see if there are images you would like to bring in and show members.
  • The RSPB Inpiring Nature Calendar Competition is now open. The RSPB are looking for 12 nature-inspired images to show on their 2019 calendar, and there are pairs of binoculars to be won. The competition closes on 15th November 2018.

27 September 2018 (Introduction to Photography)

This week Joe and I gave an introduction to photography for club members. Rather than present the same set of slides for 2 years running, this year I decided to try something different. I set up a make-shift tiny studio consisting of:

  • A large cardboard box with the top and one side missing.
  • A subject (vase of fake flowers) on top of a pedestal (looking suspiciously like a biscuit tin).
  • A sheet of black paper fastened to the back of the box as a plain background.
  • The subject was lit with a pair of adjustable LED lights fixed to the side of the box. I used two DIALL 220LM PLASTIC LED BLUE TORCHes, which you can find at a hardware store such as B&Q. Portable LED torches and work lights can make a good budget alternative to studio lights or flash.

This setup was designed to be as compact as possible so it could be set up at Fisherrow. If you are going to try something like this at home I recommend using a larger space and moving the background further from the subject to avoid shadows being cast onto the background.

Here is one of the shots which resulted from the demonstration. This shot is taken with a 0.5 second exposure at f/16 and ISO 400. The camera was set to spot metering mode (because of the black background) and focused on the left-hand white flower near the front. A +1/3 stop of exposure compensation was added because the “spot” was sampling a white flower. The f/16 keeps all the flowers in focus, and I don’t need to be exact with the depth of field because of the plain background. The shot ended up with an ugly dark grey background, which I selected in Photoshop and darkened to black.

I have made up a PDF handout from my slides, which you can download by clicking below:

MCCIntroductionToPhotographyNotes

After the demonstration, Joe showed us how he creates and improves his images. A much better shot can often be made by combining components from several images together. A shot of a motorcyclist is much stronger if you include the eyes. A shot of a rider with a clear visor in a boring situation can merged with a dramatic shot of a rider with a black visor to make an even better shot. The human brain likes images with 3 subjects, and a shot containing two riders can be improved by cutting and pasting a rider from another image. An image can also be improved by cutting and pasting the subject onto a different background, as Joe showed by taking a shot of a surfer riding on a flat lake and pasting them onto a rough sea. Nature shots can be made more interesting by adding a focal point (such as an individual bird) into the foreground (although Joe pointed out that a shot changed in this way will not be eligible for a wildlife photography competition).

Joe also showed that the easiest way to improve an image is by cropping it. Try zooming in to the interesting part of your image and see if you prefer the result. You can also clone out distracting objects, although whether they are considered distracting or not is subjective and depends how the viewer perceives the image. For example, does the white post show the skill of the motorcyclists in avoiding it, or is it a distracting white post? Do the support cars distract from the racing cyclists or tell the story of the event? The important thing is to create the image which tells the story you want to show.

  • Please send your 3 JPEG images for the “Seascape” set subject competition to George Todd (email address on the front of the syllabus) by Thursday, 4th October 2018.
  • Also please note that the entry date for the coloured print competition will be on 25th October 2018. The club needs as many prints as possible for the first 4-way competition on 1st November 2018. If you can submit any of your black and white or human portrait prints at the same time, that would be help us a great deal.
  • Our next meeting (Thursday, 4th October 2018) is Photo Advice Night. Please bring 1, 2 or 3 unmounted prints to share with club members. These can be images for which you would like advice or feedback or anything that other members would find interesting.

 

20 September 2018 (Photography in Ireland)

This week we welcomed our first speaker of the season, Libby Smith of Carluke Camera Club. Libby entertained us with photographs taken during a recent holiday to the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland (click here for a map). She took us on a fascinating journey around this beautiful area, explaining how she planned and executed her photography and produced some stunning shots, including several seascapes (giving us ideas for the forthcoming “seascapes” competition) and some thought-provoking shots of the interior of abandoned cottages. Libby had good advice for beginners and experienced members alike:

  • When planning a photographic trip, allow plenty of time to get there.
  • Spend some time checking out the best spots. Ask the locals which places look good at different times of the day and plan to be in each place at the optimum time.
  • Try to stay the night close to your first location, so you can take your shots at sunrise and return to your lodging for breakfast.
  • Don’t be disappointed if the weather is bad. Wind, rain and fog can create some dramatic shots by the sea. Be prepared to get your feet wet.
  • Try to include some interesting foreground objects, such as rocks or driftwood, in your seascape shots. A low angle will increase the drama.
  • A long exposure will make any movement in the sea more dramatic. The best shots can be taken in the dim but colourful light around sunrise or sunset.
  • A graduated ND filter can help balance seascape shots by darkening a bright sky against a dark foreground.

Libby showed us a series of “before” and “after” images and explained how to give them more punch using Photoshop. The key thing is to start with a good, well-exposed image in the first place, as Photoshop will emphasis any faults.

  • Always adjust the brightness and contrast before making any colour adjustments, as increasing the contrast will also change the colour saturation.
  • An image has “depth” when the foreground and background objects appear separated. You can separate the foreground and background by increasing the contrast of the foreground and decreasing the contrast of the background.
  • Photoshop CC has a “camera raw filter” which can be used to make more adjustments to an image after processing in Photoshop. The “clarity” adjustment is particularly useful. Those without Photoshop CC can save the image as a TIFF and reopen it in Camera Raw.
  • The “luminosity mask” feature in Photoshop is a hidden gem, Look for the “load channels as selection” button within the “channels” tab (which looks like a little circle of dots.) Pressing this button will instantly select all the highlights in your image, allowing them to be adjusted separately (using a “levels” layer). Following the adjustment with a “select/inverse” allows you to adjust the shadows as well.

Some announcements:

  • Joe Fowler is holding a “Photography for Beginners” class at the Fisherrow Centre at 7pm on Wednesday 26th September 2018.
  • The closing date for the “seascapes” set subject competition is 4th October 2018. Please send up to 3 JPEG images to the George Todd using the email address shown on the front of the syllabus. Images must be sized to a maximum size of 1600 pixels and renamed to show your member number and the image title, for example “56_ThisIsMyTitle.jpg”.
  • This Thursday I will be attempting to present a live technical demonstration to club members and Joe will be giving his usual good advice on capturing good images. The evening will be a good opportunity to discuss photographic techniques. I hope to see you there.

 

 

13 September 2018 (Recorded Lecture)

On our second club night of the season we watched a CD of images accepted into the 2017 Dingwall National Projected Image Competition. We use these images as a source of ideas and inspiration for the coming year.

I brought some printed copies of the new syllabus. If you didn’t manage to pick up a copy, or you would rather print yourself a copy on better paper, a PDF is still available on the web site at the following link. The correct version of the syllabus will have a 4-way competition on 1st November 2018.

MCC_Syllabus2018-19

There were a lot of announcements to make this week. Here they are again in case you missed any.

  • Please remember to add your name to the tea list. There are still a lot of blank slots. Thank you to Phil Petrie for volunteering for next week.
  • Joe Fowler is arranging a photography class for beginners and new members at Fisherrow on 26th September 2018. If you missed this week’s meeting and would like to join the class, please see Joe next week. Alternatively, if you reply to this post I’ll forward your message to Joe.
  • Next week (20th September) is the last submission date for the Digital Projected Images competition. Please send up to 3 JPEG images to George (our competition secretary) using the email address shown on the front of the syllabus. Images must be sized to a maximum size of 1600 pixels and renamed to show your member number and the image title, for example “56_ThisIsMyTitle.jpg”. For details see the competition guide at the following link:  MCCCompetitionInformation.
  • Next week we will be welcoming our first speaker, Libby Smith of Carluke Camera Club. Libby has been a regular visitor to the club and has always impressed us with her stunning images and knowledge of the subject.

Some events and photographic opportunities coming up:

  • The Battle of Prestonpans takes place this weekend, 15-16th September 2018. The event begins at 10am on Saturday with a commemorative parade from Meadowmill Sports Centre. The parade proceeds to Greenhills (where Cockenzie Power Station used to be). On Saturday and Sunday there are regular events and demonstrations planned on the Greenhills site between 11am and 5pm, and the battle itself takes place both days at 3pm.
  • If the weekend isn’t exciting enough, the Edinburgh Riding of the Marches also takes place on Sunday, 16th September 2018.
  • The Scottish Half Marathon starts from Musselburgh on Sunday, 23rd September 2018.
  • The Edinburgh Doors Open Days take place on the weekend of 29-30th September 2018. The Royal Observatory, where I work, will be open both days, but there will be many more buildings open.

See you next Thursday.

 

Nature Photography Workshop, Scottish Borders 23rd Sept

The club has received the following advertisement from wildlife photographer Laurie Campbell. If you are interested in the workshop, please contact the Harestanes Countryside Centre directly using the telephone number provided, or contact Laurie using the email address he provides below.

I am pleased to announce that on Sunday 23rd September I will be staging a one-day nature workshop in the beautiful surroundings of Harestanes Countryside Centre by Ancrum, close to Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders TD8 6UQ. The venue has conference facilities, an art gallery, wildlife garden and extensive mature woodland that provides easy access to a rich variety of subjects.

The aim of the workshop will be to demonstrate a range of techniques used to photograph nature as creatively as possible with the emphasis being on covering close-up details and landscapes.

With a maximum group size of six, the workshop is open to all, we are confident of offering bespoke tuition to all, whatever their abilities, on a one-to-one basis throughout the day that begins at 9.30am and closes at 5.00pm.

The cost of the workshop, including tuition, all refreshments and lunch is £115.00 and bookings are being taken by the Centre who may be contacted by telephone on 01835 830 306

If you would like more information before making a decision to book, then do please contact us via this email address laurie@lauriecampbell.com

With best wishes,

Laurie Campbell

Andy Rouse Nature/Wildlife Photographer Lecture – 8th November

A reminder that this weekend is the last opportunity to sign up as a club member for the lecture by well-known wildlife photographer Andy Rouse taking place in Penicuik on 8th November 2018. If you are interested please email Steve Williams at sgpwilliams@outlook.com.

If you haven’t decided yet, you can still buy a ticket when they go on sale to the public, but the tickets may sell out.

 

Welcome to the 2018-2019 season!

I would like to welcome everyone to another season with Musselburgh Camera Club. Thank you to all who came along to this week’s opening night, especially to the potential new members who I hope we can make feel at home. If you signed up to follow the club on the web site and received this post as an email message, congratulations. It worked!

The season didn’t start without its teething troubles, and unfortunately the wrong version of the syllabus was printed. If you are wondering what the actual 2018-2019 syllabus looks like, click here for a copy.

MCC_Syllabus2018-19

You can print this out for yourself, and I’ll also bring some copies along next week. You will notice our first 4-way competition takes place on 1st November. This is happening early in the season, just like last year, so I would urge everyone to find your best images and email them to George to help the club. You don’t need to wait until the competition submission date. In fact, the submission date for the digital images competition is just 2 weeks away, so you’ll need to start looking for good images anyway.

Talking of competitions, here is a copy of the guide to club competitions I handed out to new members during the opening night.

MCCCompetitionInformation

Some announcements of photographic opportunities coming up soon (click for more details):

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the club’s privacy policy, which explains how we use the contact information you provided when you signed up. It should be fairly straightforward, since we don’t pass on your information or use your details for any other reason than running club activities.

MCCDataPrivacyPolicy

I look forward to seeing you next week, when we will be inspired by a CD of high quality competition images. Can you guess which one will win…?

 

Opening Night and Musselburgh Communities Day Event

The summer has gone by so quickly! I look forward to seeing you all at our opening night at 7:30pm at the Fisherrow Centre on Thursday, 6th September 2018. There is a draft syllabus on the web site (being finalized by Jack as I write this).

In the meantime, the club has a stand at the Musselburgh Communities Day Event, taking place from 11am to 3pm next Saturday, 1st September 2018 at the Brunton Hall. Please come along for a chat. There will be many other clubs and organisations there. Stephen and I would also be grateful for  volunteers willing to help look after the stand for short periods.

 

Computer Speakers Available

Martin and Helen Lunden have a set of external computer speakers they no longer need and are offering to club members. They also have some unwanted copies of “Outdoor Photography”. If you are interested please contact Martin at maluvtd@gmail.com.

 

Open Global Charity Photographic Competition – Invite to Photographers

The club has been made aware of the 2018 “Zero Footprints” charity competition, which is looking for entries on the theme of the environment, the climate and our impact on it. There is an entry fee of £5 to enter one image or £15 to enter up to 4 images in each of 3 categories. Click the following link for details:

https://www.zerofootprints.org/Competition/2018

The closing date is 15th August 2018, so there is hardly time to book a holiday to an exotic location to capture the kind of images they are looking for, but perhaps you already have something in your collection, or you can find something closer to home?

P.S. We successfully transferred the library exhibition from Prestonpans to Craigmillar this weekend. It’s looking good. Click here for the dates and locations if you would like to see it for yourself.

 

Newhaven Heritage Calendar Photo Competition

The club has received the following information about a photographic competition organised by Newhaven Heritage.

Hello

I am writing to you on behalf of Newhaven Heritage, a Scottish Registered Charity which is seeking to acquire the iconic Victoria School on Main Street, Newhaven, the oldest working school in Edinburgh, to become a Heritage Centre and community hub when it becomes vacant in 2020 once a new larger school is built on Western Harbour.

In order to publicise our campaign, we are holding a photographic competition which will also result in our producing a calendar to be sold for funds to swell our war chest to help cover the cost of essential professional fees – legal, architect, surveyor, etc.

Newhaven is a photogenic opportunity for the keen photographer and we are looking for the thirteen best landscape pictures to be included in the calendar that shows off the village in all its diversity to fullest advantage.  We are contacting local camera clubs such as yours to draw attention to this free competition. At the end of the competition, we will be having a public display of the thirteen finalists, i.e. one image for each month plus a cover shot voted by public acclaim to be the best of show which will earn the talented photographer a voucher valued at £100 from WEX Photo Video.

Click here to see the competition rules and terms and conditions.

Up to five LANDSCAPE format entries per person can be emailed to photos@newhavenheritagecentre.org.uk before August 19, 2018.

I hope this may be of interest to you.

Good luck!

Gordon Young
Public Engagement officer
Newhaven Heritage

Volunteers Needed for ArtsFest18

We have just received the following message from Vibrant Musselburgh, who are looking for photographers to cover their arts festival at the Fisherrow Centre this weekend (18th and 19th May 2018). It’s very short notice, but if you are interested the contact details are in the following image:

Three photography competitions

Members may be interested in two photography competitions which are open for entries at the moment. Click on the links below for more information:

Go Wild Scotland photo competition : Send in photographs captured on the “Sustrans” national cycle network. Closing date Monday, 18th June 2018.

Scottish Portrait Awards : The Scottish Portrait Awards are open to anyone born, living or studying in Scotland, and 16 years old by 1 October 2018. Entries close on 30 June 2018.

The following competition is not yet open, but watch this space:

Scottish Photography Awards : Scotland Photography Competition and Regional Photo Awards. To qualify for entry in this regional competition, any photos you wish to enter, must have been taken in Scotland.

 

 

SPF Insurance & Club Outings

At the AGM we referred to the post made a year ago which clarified the club’s insurance coverage under SPF policy. To save members having to delve back through the archives, here is a link to that original message:

https://musselburghcc.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/4568/

If you are arranging a group trip on behalf of the club (i.e. a trip where all club members are invited), please contact the SPF General Secretary or the SPF Treasurer, as described in the original message.

 

Musselburgh Camera Club AGM – 26th April at 7:30pm

The Musselburgh Camera Club Annual General Meeting and presentation of prizes will take place in the Fisherrow Centre room G3 at 7:30pm on Thursday, 26th April 2018.

All members should have received a copy of the papers for the meeting. If you were missed and would like a copy of the papers, please email Steven Beard at StevenMBeard@aol.com.

Please come along, have your say in the running of the club and share some end-of-season refreshments with fellow members. There will be a collection box for ideas for next year’s set subject competitions, and there will be some surprises!

 

Two more volunteers needed to help with the MCC library exhibition

Thank you to everybody who has volunteered to help transfer our library exhibition during the summer. Most of the slots are now covered, but we need two more volunteers:

  • Somebody to help Clive Davies with the move from Gullane to Port Seton on 16th June 2018.
  • Somebody to help Steven Beard with the move from Prestonpans to Craigmillar on 14th July 2018.

It doesn’t matter if you have never transferred the exhibition before. Clive and I will show you what needs to be done, and you’ll get a special preview of the exhibition. It takes about 2 hours on a Saturday morning. If you are able to help, please contact John Knox (85newhailes@supanet.com) who is finalizing the rota sheet.

 

Photoshoot at Musselburgh Lagoons – 19th April

This Thursday, 19th April we will be meeting at Musselburgh Lagoons for our end of season photoshoot. We will meet at 7pm at the car park beside the boating lake, as shown the map below. You can reach the car park from the B1348 at the far side of the race course. Turn left after the race course onto the coast road and look for the sign post to Levenhall Links just after the end of the 30mph zone. Keep going to the end of the road, as shown in red. The final part of the road is often full of pot-holes. If the pot-holes are a problem, you can park at the side of the road and walk across Levenhall Links. There is also some parking at the side of the B1348 beside the houses (you can walk to the lagoons through the gate at the side of the road).

George Todd will be picking up members who would like a lift from in front of the Brunton Theatre at 6:45pm. Please contact George (georgetodd1957@me.com) if you would like a lift. Please note we will not be meeting at the Fisherrow Centre.

Click here for a Google map

Musselburgh Lagoons contains a bird reserve, where birds can be seen coming home to roost around sunset. There are also ducks and swans on the lake. Bring a long lens and a tripod for the wildlife photography. There will also be trees, wild flowers, old masonry and landscapes to photograph.

The current weather forecast for Thursday evening is “sunny intervals with an 8% chance of rain”. So far so good.

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