Musselburgh Camera Club

Observing Comet 46P/Wirtanen

As I mentioned at yesterday’s club meeting, there is a comet moving across the sky this weekend. It is called “46P/Wirtanen” and is currently moving North through the constellation of Taurus, which is just to the right of the constellation of Orion. You should be able to see the comet by looking south around 10pm. The comet is supposed to be visible to the naked eye, but you need to look very carefully. It is larger than the size of the full Moon, and if you see it it will look like a faint, fuzzy blob. Any nearby street lights or thin cloud in the sky will spoil the view, so you will need to find somewhere dark. There are some dark spots along the coast at Longniddry Bents, or up Birsley Brae.

If it’s too faint for your eyes, a pair of binoculars will help (the larger the better). Better still, you could try photographing the comet! A long exposure on the digital camera will bring up more detail than you can see with your eyes. On a photograph you’ll notice the comet is green. There is a photograph of the comet displayed at http://www.spaceweather.com/, where they say:

This comet is an easy target for digital cameras with exposures as short as 10 to 30 seconds. Astrophotographer Juan Carlos Casado offers some advice to novices: “Use Raw file format, a fast lens (at least f/2.8) and ISO settings between 1600 and 3200. The exposure will depend on the focal length. I normally use the 500 rule–that is, exposure = 500 / focal length (mm). It also helps in areas with light pollution to use an antipollution filter. I am now using Optolong L-Pro clip filter which gives excellent color balance.

What the photographer doesn’t say is that you will need to set your camera to manual mode. Manually set the focus on infinity, mount the camera on a tripod, turn off vibration reduction (if your lens has it), set the camera to “M” mode and set the aperture and shutter speed manually. You can use a standard lens, rather than a telephoto, because the comet is quite large. Check out the Christmas tree photo at spaceweather.com.

You can find sky charts of the comet at http://www.cometwatch.co.uk/comet-46p-wirtanen/ and there is a live image of the sky showing where the comet is right now at https://theskylive.com/46p-tracker.

Best of luck!

Steven.

13 December 2018 (Black and White Print Competition)

This week we had the privilege of entertaining Doug Berndt, president of the Edinburgh Photographic Society, who judged our black and white print competition. Doug said he judges photographs by considering their impact, story, quality, creativity and composition, and the best images need to score well in all 5 categories.

There were 45 prints entered altogether. This gave Doug time to appraise each image in detail, point out good features or mistakes and try out different crops. Some good quality images lost out because they didn’t have an impact, so it pays to think about the story you are telling at the time an image is captured. Would a different angle or different location help? Are there distracting things in the background? There were also some highly creative and promising images which lost out on quality, primarily because they had blown highlights or lost detail in the shadows. Some prints had colour casts, and Doug suggested members with Epson printers could try using “advanced black and white mode” to remove the casts. A special mention goes to Colin Dempster, whose image entitled “The Moment Of Truth – Italian Explorers Selection” had everyone, including Doug, guessing what it meant.

The top scorers in the black and white print competition were (in reverse order):

  • 5th place (48 points)
    • Malcolm Roberts
  • 4th place (49 points)
    • Sean Connor
  • 3rd place (51 points)
    • Joe Fowler
  • 2nd place (55 points)
    • Jim Tod
  • 1st place (57 points)
    • George Todd

Well done to George Todd, who retains his black and white title. George’s image “Swayambunath Temple Lady” was the top image of the competition.

The top images were:

  • Swayambunath Temple Lady (George Todd) – 20 points
  • Sunflower Mono (Jim Tod) – 20 points
  • Dirt and Dust  (Joe Fowler) – 19 points
  • Moscow Metro (George Todd) – 19 points
  • Low Tide (Joe Fowler) – 18 points
  • The Lost Pay Packet (Jim Tod) – 18 points
  • Chitwan Girl (George Todd) – 18 points
  • My Brother (Sean Connor) – 18 points

Photographers Wanted for MAMA Revue Dress Rehearsal

The club has received the following message from Jane Renton, president of the Musselburgh Amateur Musical Association.

It is nearing that time of year again when MAMA stage their annual Revue in the Brunton theatre. Over the past few years we have been delighted to welcome members of Musselburgh Camera Club to take photos of our dress rehearsals and we would like to offer this opportunity again. We would hope this would provide members with an opportunity to practice their skills in a theatre setting where changing light levels may prove an interesting challenge. In return, we would be grateful if you could provide us with some images which we could use for publicity and to put on our website ,which is currently being developed. We would also acknowledge the camera club in our programme.

This years Revue dress rehearsal is on Wednesday, 16th of January 2019 usually starting around 7 -7:30pm.

If anyone is interested could they please drop me an email at  jane.renton@btinternet.com  and I can confirm details nearer the time.

Kind Regards

Jane Renton

Dean Bricknell talk at Beeslack Penicuik Camera Club

This coming Thursday, 6th December 2018, there will no meeting at Fisherrow. Instead we will be travelling to Beeslack Penuick Camera club to see a presentation by wildlife photographer Dean Bricknell. This is a shared meeting between Beeslack and Musselburgh. No tickets are needed, and all members are invited to attend. The presentation starts at 7:30pm.

Those who travelled to the 4-way competition on 1st November will remember the directions, but here they are again. Beeslack Penicuik Camera Club meets at

Beeslack Community High School
Edinburgh Road
Penicuik
EH26 0QF

Click the above address for a map and directions to the school. The image below shows where we are meeting. If you are approaching from the Edinburgh direction on the A701, turn left when you see the small sign to Beeslack High School on the right hand side of the road. Follow the yellow route shown to the car park around the back of the school, then follow the dotted path to the school entrance. The meeting will be taking place somewhere within the building marked with the “X”.

As before, George Todd is willing to pick up members who would like a lift from Western Musselburgh. Please email George (address on the front of the syllabus) and give him your contact phone number if you would like a lift. I will be glad to give a lift to anyone who lives on the Eastern side of Musselburgh, near Wallyford. Please email me (Steven Beard, address also on the front of the syllabus) if you would like a lift. We both have limited space, so it will be first come first served.

I look forward to seeing you all in Penicuik again.

29 November 2018 (Digital Knockout Competition – Transparency)

The club’s annual digital knockout competition took place this week. Members had spent the summer collecting images on the challenging theme of “transparency” and had interpreted the theme in creative ways. Many of the subjects were still life arrangements of transparent glasses and bottles, although there was one ghost! Some images were taken through a rainy window, through water and even through wet rice paper, and some images used a veil or curtain to give a feeling of transparency.  About 36 images were entered altogether, and after 3 knockout rounds there were 5 images remaining in the final round. Members voted for their favourites, and the final result was:

  • In 5th place, “Liquid Gold”, a still life of a golden drink being poured into a glass, by Jennifer Davidson.
  • In 4th place, “Through The Window”, an intriguing image of a room viewed through a window, by Simon Wilkinson.
  • In 3rd place, “Bubbles In A Glass”, a still life of a glass with large bubbles at the top, by Jennifer Davidson.
  • In 2nd place, “Through The Curtain”, a portrait of a model looking through a net curtain, by Jennifer Davidson.
  • In 1st place, “Face At The Window”, a portrait of a monk looking through a rainy window, by Joe Fowler.

Well done to Jennifer Davidson, who got all 3 of her images into the top 5, and congratulations to the winner, Joe Fowler, who won a box of transparent fake diamonds!

22 November 2018 (Introduction to Audio-Visual Presentations)

On Thursday, 22nd November I gave club members an introduction to making audio-visual presentations. Audio-Visual presentations are another way to show your work, in addition to prints and digital projected images. Click on the following link to download the notes from my presentation.

MCCIntroductionToAudioVisualsNotes

You can create a slide show with captions, animation and basic sound effects using PowerPoint. Clive Davies showed us how PowerPoint can be used to present a large number of images within a surprisingly small file size. The image compression is sufficiently good that the image quality on screen looks just as good as the original.

To make a full audio-visual presentation you will need extra software. The club recommends Photodex ProShow for Windows PC users. You can download a trial copy from http://www.photodex.com/proshow. Mac users can try Boniten Photo Theatre Pro, which is a similar product.

The evening finished with some example audio-visual presentations. Gus Langlands showed us one of the first presentations he and John Knox had put together, taking the viewer on a tour of the sites around East Lothian. The images for that presentation were scanned from slides. Gus and John create their sound track using Magix Sound Forge audio editing software, which can edit a sound track in the same way that Photoshop can edit an image. Unwanted clicks and pops can be “healed” out.

This coming Thursday, 29th November we have a knockout competition on the theme of “transparency” (i.e. subjects which are transparent or evoke the theme of transparency, not slides). Please bring along 1, 2 or 3 JPEG images on the night. If you can’t be present please email your images to George Todd. Members will vote for their favourite images on the night, and the best image will win a prize!

 

19 November 2018 (4-Way Inter-club Competition at Kirkcaldy)

On Monday, 19th November 2018, half a dozen of us travelled to Kirkcaldy to see the second 4-way interclub competition of the season. The competition was host by Kirkcaldy Photographic Society and included  Edinburgh Photographic Society and Stirling and District Camera Club.  It was Kirkcaldy’s 120th anniversary. They entertained us with a spread of sandwiches, cakes and savouries, and had thoughtfully included some alcohol-free wine for those who needed to drive back across the Forth Bridge.

Clubs entered 15 digital projected images each, making a total of 60 images on the night. There was a mixture of wildlife images, landscapes, portraits and several images from kayaking events. The images were judged by Libby Smith of Carluke Camera Club.  Libby commented on the fact that several of the images looked like they had been prepared for print: the contrast was too high, and some were too light. This is something to remember the next time we prepare digital versions of print images: the lightening and contrast enhancements added to make a good print need to be removed before saving the images as DPIs.

By the halfway stage of the competition, things were not looking good for Musselburgh. We were trailing in last place, with Edinburgh and Kirkcaldy leading the field. Then the competition finished with an astonishing turn of events. Our last 3 images received 19, 19 and 20 points, jumping us into second place. Those images were:

  • Sunset over Newborough – 19 points
  • Licking My Wounds – 19 points
  • Hare Raiding Barley Field – 20 points

The final result was:

  • Kirkcaldy Photographic Society – 242 points
  • Musselburgh Camera Club – 238 points
  • Edinburgh Photographic Society – 236 points
  • Stirling and District Camera Club – 234 points

Congratulations to Kirkcaldy for winning on their 120th anniversary. In the end, it was the middle-ranking images that made the difference. Kirkcaldy had many more images scoring 17 and 16, whereas we had more images scoring 14 or 15.

Thank you to everyone who submitted images for the competition.

Venue info for Big Picture Scotland at Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Here is some information for MCC members intending to visit the Big Picture Scotland Event at the Royal College of Physicians on Saturday 24th November 2018. For information of those attending I have added a link below to the Big Picture website and the RCPE website showing the layout of the venue which is at EH2 1JQ in Queen Street. It’s between Hanover Street and North St David’s Street.

The lecture theatre is very steep but, if you’re late, access can be had to the top row by stairs outside the doors of the lecture theatre, as well as stairs inside. There are a few tickets left at £12 contact gemma@bigpicturescotland.com See you Thursday Liz Sowler

https://www.scotlandbigpicture.com/Presentations

https://venue.rcpe.co.uk/conferences-meetings/conference-centre

15 November 2018 (Colour Print Competition)

This week we had the pleasure of entertaining Dougie Allen from Beeslack Penicuik Camera Club, who judged our colour print competition. There were 56 prints altogether covering a wide variety of subjects, including photographs of wildlife, portraits of people, and landscapes. The general quality was high, and a lot of the images submitted scored 17-points or more, although none of the images received 20 points. The most frequent comment about an image was the need to crop out a distraction. Dougie commented on the bland-looking sky in some of the prints and recommended the use of a polarizing filter to enhance the contrast in the sky.

The top scorers were (in reverse order):

  • 5th place (49 points)
    • Malcolm Roberts
    • Lorraine Roberts
    • Simon Wilkinson
    • Steven Beard
    • George Davidson
  • 4th place (51 points)
    • Mike Clark
    • Steve Barbour
  • 3rd place (52 points)
    • Charlie Briggs
    • Joe Fowler
    • George Todd
  • 2nd place (50 points)
    • Jennifer Davidson
  • 1st place (54 points)
    • Jim Tod

The top images were

  • Jay (Charlie Briggs) – 19 points
  • Low Tide (Joe Fowler) – 19 points
  • Lubber Hopper (Jim Tod) – 19 points
  • Hare Raiding Barley Field (Jennifer Davidson) – 18 points
  • Osprey Carrying Catch (Jennifer Davidson) – 18 points
  • Jacobite (Jim Tod) – 18 points.
  • Rapid Teamwork (George Todd) – 18 points
  • Licking My Wounds (Mike Clark) – 18 points
  • Concentration (Steve Barbour)– 18 points

Congratulations to Jim Tod, winning with a great set of prints.

  • This Thursday, 22nd November, I will give an introduction to audio visual presentations – a different way to present your work.
  • Don’t forget to bring along your Black and White prints this Thursday.

4-way, Christmas Dinner and Black and White Prints

There were so many announcements to make this evening that I forgot two important ones.

  • Steve WIlliams has booked a table at the Ravelston House Hotel in Musselburgh for our Christmas Social Evening on Thursday, 20th December 2018. We can add a few more places to the table. If you would like to come, and can pay a £10 deposit, please contact Steve at the email address shown on the front of the syllabus.
  • Next Thursday, 22nd November is the submission date for the Black and White print competition. It’s time to mount your prints and bring them along next week. Don’t forget to email 3 JPEG copies of your prints to George Todd as well.

The next 4-way competition takes place on Monday, 19th November 2018 at Kirkcaldy Photographic Society. The competition will take place at

Hayfield Community Centre,
Hayfield Road,
Kirkcaldy,
KY2 5DG

Click the address for a map. The centre can be reached by taking the A92 to Kirkcaldy and taking the A910 exit, following Chapel Level, turning right at Hendry Road and then left at Hayfield Road. The community centre can be hard to spot from this direction (the sign post is on the far side), so watch out for Poplar Crescent on your right hand side. You can park on Poplar Crescent. Best of luck to Musselburgh!

 

Andy Rouse Evening – Directions to Penicuik North Church

Due to illness, I missed last Thursday’s 4-way competition At Beeslack Penicuik Camera Club. I wish I could have been there, as I have heard through the grapevine that we achieved first place, with Beeslack a close second and Midlothian and Galashiels in joint 3rd place! Well done everybody! I’ll post the scores when I know them.

There will not be a meeting in Fisherrow this week. On 8th November, club members will be travelling to Penicuik North Church for An Evening with Andy Rouse, starting at 7:30pm. I hope those who needed tickets managed to obtain them from Dougie Allen last week. However, we have been informed that there are some tickets still available. If we are lucky, some tickets might still be available at the door. The full address of the venue is:

Penicuik North Church, 93 John Street, Penicuik. EH26 8AG

Click on the address for more information and directions (see the “Find Us” map at the bottom of the page). Penicuik North Church is a little further along the A701 than Beeslack High School. There isn’t a car park at the church, so you will need to allow a little more time to find on-street parking. I hope the same people who gave members lifts to Penicuik last week will be able to do so again this week.

This week I hope I really will see you there.

Steven

Scotland The Big Picture – presentation in Edinburgh on 24 November 2018

Members might be interested in a Scotland The Big Picture lecture called “Scotland: A Rewilding Journey”, which is coming to the Royal College of Physicians, Queen Street, Edinburgh at 7:30pm on Saturday, 24th November. Tickets cost £12.

Click here for details and to book tickets.

I am told the STBP photographers give good workshops, so the website is worth monitoring. Click here to see their image gallery.

 

Directions to Beeslack Penicuik Camera Club

This coming Thursday, 1st November 2018, there will no meeting at Fisherrow. The club will instead be visiting Beeslack Penuick Camera club and competing with them, Midlothian Camera Club and Galashiels Camera Club in the first 4-way inter-club competition of the season. Come along a cheer on your club.

Beeslack Penicuik Camera Club meets at

Beeslack Community High School
Edinburgh Road
Penicuik
EH26 0QF

Click the above address for a map and directions to the school. The image below shows where we are meeting. If you are approaching from the Edinburgh direction on the A701, turn left when you see the small sign to Beeslack High School on the right hand side of the road. Follow the yellow route shown to the car park around the back of the school, then follow the dotted path to the school entrance. The competition will be taking place somewhere within the building marked with the “X”.

George Todd is willing to pick up members who would like a lift from Musselburgh. Please email George (address on the front of the syllabus) and give him your contact phone number if you would like a lift. George has limited space, so it will be first come first served.

I look forward to seeing you all in Penicuik. Best of luck to Musselburgh!

  • On 8th November, those of us with tickets will be travelling to Penicuik North Church for An Evening with Andy Rouse. The tickets have been on sale to the public for a while now, but if you don’t have a ticket and are interested in joining us contact Dougie Allen at the address shown in this poster. Click here for the poster. There might still be tickets available if you are lucky. Failing that, you could talk to Dougie in person at the 4-way competition this week.

25 October 2018 (Set Subject Competition – Seascapes)

Last year, on 26th October 2017, Helen and Martin Lunden jointly won the “Circles and Squares” set subject competition and earned themselves the right to judge this year’s competition. Since then, Helen and Martin have moved to Sweden, but this didn’t stop them from judging. Here is the message they sent to club members from across the North Sea:

Dear all,

Here are the results from the Swedish jury! Thanks for giving us the responsibility of judging the seascape competition! We really enjoyed it and hope you won’t hate us after you have heard the results. We would have liked to be there on Thursday obviously but we’re sadly stuck here with work and what not. Enjoy the evening. There are some really amazing photos here and we loved looking at them. Would like to hang some of these on a wall. (We haven’t made our own prints, we promise!)

All the best to all of you,
Martin and Helen

Helen and Martin had compiled a comprehensive set of comments and scores to present on the night. The seascape images included a lot of familiar coastal places, such as North Berwick, Bass Rock, Seacliff Beach and Dunbar Harbour, plus some more distant views from Mull, Harris, the Isle of Skye, the Farne Islands and Orkney. There were also some exotic seascapes from Tenerife, Vietnam, South Africa and Australia. There were a wide variety of imaginative shots focusing on different aspects of the sea: sunsets, rocks and sand, seaweed, the coastal architecture, fishing boats, people on the beach and coastal wildfife. The most common fault found in some of the images was a sloping horizon, which is very important to get right in a seascape. Some images could also have been improved by getting closer to the foreground subject or cropping out unwanted distractions. There were positive comments about the beautiful colours and textures captured in some of the images, and the dedication of the photographer who took the image entitled “5am Wake Up Call”. The full list of comments can be found on the club noticeboard.

The top scoring images were

  • Heavy Rain (Joe Fowler) [left] – 20 points
  • Abandoned Pier (Jim Tod) [right] – 20 points
  • Bass Rock Sunset (Jim Tod) – 19 points
  • The Last Of The Pier (Steve Barber) – 19 points
  • Bow Fiddle Sunrise (Jim Tod) – 18 points
  • Bridge To Nowhere (Neil Valentine) – 18 points

There were also a lot of images scoring 17 points, which made a different to the final rankings. The highest scorers were:

  • 5th = place (49 points)
    • Simon Wilkinson
    • Mike Clark
  • 4th place (50 points)
    • Steve Barber
  • 3rd place (51 points)
    • Steven Beard
    • Gordon Davidson
  • 2nd place (54 points)
    • Joe Fowler
  • 1st place (57 points)
    • Jim Tod

Thank you very much Helen and Martin for spending their time judging our images and giving us such detailed and helpful comments. Well done to all who took part. This is the first of 3 linked competitions, so there is still everything to play for.  he next competitions in the series are “Abstract” on 28th February 2019 and “Street Photography” on 21st March 2019. Congratulations to Jim Tod, who wins the right to judge next year’s competition!

  • Please can everyone who handed in prints for the colour print competition this week also email JPEG copies of the same images to George Todd (email address on the front of the syllabus). The images should be resized to 1600 pixels on the longest side. These new images will help us in the second 4-way competition in Kirkcaldy on 19th November 2018.
  • Please note there will be no more meetings at Fisherrow until 15th November 2018. On 1st November we will be travelling to Beeslack Peniuick Camera Club to take part in the 4-way inter-club competition, and on 8th November those with tickets will be travelling to Pencuik North Church Hall for an evening with Andy Rouse. I will email directions separately.
  • It is also time to arrange the Christmas Social Evening on 20th December 2018. We usually have a Christmas dinner at the Ravelston House Hotel in Musselburgh. Click here to see their Christmas menu. There is a sign-up sheet on the notice board at Fisherrow. If you would like to join us, and are willing to pay a £10 deposit, please contact the club secretary Steve Williams, whose email address you will find on the front of the syllabus.

 

18 October 2018 (Members Evening)

This week we had a members evening where 3 members showed an overview of their work. It’s a chance to show a selection of images to other members without needing to make them competition standard.

I began the evening with an overview of the “luminosity mask” technique in Photoshop, which Libby Smith had showed us earlier in the year. Those people who asked me for a step by step guide can download it by clicking the following link:

MCCAdjustingHighlights

I then showed some of the photographs taken on a short visit to Orkney during the summer. The images included the Ring of Brodgar, the Ness of Brodgar archaeological dig and Skara Brae neolithic village. I was lucky enough to sign up for an out of hours guided tour with Historic Scotland around the inside of some of the houses. This unique view allowed me to take close-ups of some of the stone furniture and photograph the inside of some of the tunnels linking the houses. The tours usually happen around the end of July each year. The tours are usually advertised on the Historic Scotland web site a few weeks in advance.

Malcolm and Lorraine Roberts showed us images taken on their recent trip to Vietnam. There were colourful portraits of the locals cycling, cooking or managing market stalls, including a shot of the crowd watching the Vietnamese football team competing in the under 23 World Cup. There were also some impressive shots of the local landscape, flowers and wildlife, and the cities at night.

Clive Davies showed us a Photoshop presentation on the ‘Gardens of Japan’, with images of incredibly well-manicured gardens. There were zen gardens made of raked pebbles without a single leaf of piece of debris in the shot. There were landscapes in which every rock and stone had been carefully chosen and placed and every tree had been carefully pruned into the right shape. There were also some portraits, showing the discipline of the local school children and the endless hard work of the gardeners (who were difficult to photograph because they never kept still!).

If you have been inspired to bring along some of your own images, there is another members evening planned on 14th March 2019.

Some announcements:

  • Next week (25th October 2018) George will be receiving entries for the coloured print competition. Please bring up to 3 mounted coloured prints and give then to George. Please can you also email digital JPEG copies of your images to George.
  • Next week we will be announcing the results of the “seascapes” competition, the first of our 3 set subject competitions.
  • Note that next week will be our last planned meeting at Fisherrow until 15th November 2018. On 1st November we will be travelling to Beeslack Peniuick Camera Club to take part in the 4-way inter-club competition, and on 8th November those with tickets will be travelling to Pencuik North Church Hall for an evening with Andy Rouse.

 

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.

 

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