Musselburgh Camera Club

MCC members will recall an excellent

MCC members will recall an excellent talk by Neil Scott earlier in the season. Now he’s
advertising the annual Members’ Exhibition of Edinburgh Photographic Society.

“This year we have a bumper exhibition of 191 prints and 189 projected images which will be on display to the public for one day only Sunday March 23 between 11am and 5pm. This year’s exhibition is being judged by Hunter Kennedy, MPAGB ARPS EFIAP from Carluke.  Please come along and see what our members have been up to over the last year!  The prints will be on display in the Main Hall and there will be a loop presentation of the projected images upstairs.”

Neil Scott
Exhibition Secretary.

Entry £1 for catalogue

Photoshop Tutorials

If anyonoe has time to spare over the next week and want some hardcore Photoshop tutorials, then get yourself in front of an internet connected device and watch some of the worlds best photoshop experts who will be showing on from Monday 25th February.

There will be different experts (known as Photoshop Evangelists!) showing live every day and once the live show is done for the day they start showing re-runs and continue to do so until the next days filming begins.

This will continue for the week so more or less any time of the day you can click in and see some great tips and tutorials.

I don’t have a list of the line-up to hand but you can garuntee they will be top notch instructors. This is a free set of workshops while the airing is live or during the reruns, at the end of the week you can purchase any of that weeks offerings as an any time download if you wish.

There’s no registration required, just click on the link and go to the Watch Live tab. There’s also Q&A’s invited via Twitter or through the shows online forum (for the forum you need to put in a username) so you could have your question answered and a demonstration shown by one of the very people that make PHotoshop!

It’s an American creation so bear in mind that the advertised show times will be local to the US and you’ll need to adjust for UK

Creative Live is fab, it’s touted as an online classroom and the classes are mainly photography based, last week had a week of wedding shoots which are filmed as it happened using models and top photographers on location who explained pretty much the full camera to album process, how to get good light, how to pose the subjects and via the forum you could ask questions of the ‘togs as they were posing and shooting, invaluable tips being passed out for free. Tonight there’s a rerun of a course thats been going for the past three days titled fundamentals of photography and learning your way around DSLR’s. If you’d just taken a DSLR out of the box or wanted to knwo how your particular camera worked then an expert was demonstrating and answering questions

It’s a great free resource and if you particularly want a download of one of the courses thats when you pay.


Club Meeting 21.02.13

A very interesting AV evening last, Out of this World by Steven Beard and Around the World in 20 minutes by Malcolm Roberts. Steve took us to Chile to see the landscape getting there and much of it actually looked like the Moon. He was the IT part of a commissioning team that was setting up a massive radio telescope, which we saw being assembled and then had some amazing photos of nebulae and stars – Patrick Moore would certainly liked to have seen his AV.

With Malcolm we were able to see most of the American canyons, India, Sri Lanka, Brazil and even Prestonpans among many other places. The selection of music on both AV’s were appropriate and tied in with the images.

Well done to both of you, it will be a good start to the new set up AV group.

From last week it seemed to be confirmed that there are real benefits in having a comprehensive ‘Data Base’ of images that represent the work of club members.

I unfortunately  have a ‘hang up’ that when I have an idea that I think really works that I am like a dog with a bone – once my teeth are in it I don’t let go. The ‘Data Base’ is my current ‘bone’, so I would like all members to get involved in this scheme and let me have new images and updated images, when improvements are made so that the data can be updated and improved upon. Just put them on the ‘Club CD’ and I will do the rest.

However any member that does not wish to be involved, like all good web sites ‘can unsubscribe’ – just let me know and give back the CD and then I will not ‘hound’ them.

With the two workshops under way in respect of AV and Photoshop these should help and encourage members to make the most of their images and presentations.

If anyone else have any ‘bone’ ideas, let me know and we can investigate them.

Next week we have Duncan Forbes from the National Portrait Gallery, which holds Scotland’s Photographic Collection.

The following week, 7th March(note we will be in room 32) we have an evening with Musselburgh Art Club where we will be comparing the two arts. Please also bring in your ‘Set Subject’ prints (abstract or some thing quirky).

Worth Visiting – award-winning photographer Laurie Campbell’s exhibition at SOC Waterston House, Aberlady. Closes on 27th  April.



Club Meeting 14.02.13

The Twelve Way Competition last Sunday did not prove to be too successful for the MCC, what made it worse was  that Haddington CC came out on top and took the trophy. Congratulations to them, we aim to get the trophy back next year.

One of the main reasons we did not do too well is that we had a very small image pool to choose from. This situation is slowly improving as we have now had digital images from 20 members, but I still urge other members to commit their images to the supplied CD and let us add them to the data base.

However the most important aspect of our club is not necessary winning competitions, but that members enjoy the club with the prospect of picking up ideas and skills in order to get more satisfaction from the ever developing hobby of photography.

I hope that the benefit of having members work on the ‘Data Base ‘, was demonstrated last night by seeing how images could possibly be improved. To evaluate camera settings and see the benefits of shooting in RAW as opposed to jpeg and relying on the camera settings.

Even if the settings on a camera are reasonable, most images will still need attention of some sought, if you want help with this come along to the first meeting of the ‘Photoshop Workshop’ which will be held in our usual room next Tuesday (19th Feb,)7.30pm. If you cannot make next Tuesday and want to be involved, then let me know and I will see if you can be fitted in.

Jim and George Todd will be there and decisions will be made as to what members are looking for and how many workshops will be required in order to cater for their needs.

Next week we have Steven Beard and Malcolm Roberts who will show us their work and approach to get enjoyment from photography.

The following week we have a talk by Duncan Forbes from the Portrait Gallery, if you have not yet done so, perhaps you can find the time to ‘pop’ into the Portrait Gallery and have a look at their current exhibitions (as I described in an earlier post ‘Club Meeting 17.01.13′).

March 7th is the date to bring in your ‘Set Subject’ print images ( Abstract or ‘something quirky’). Hopefully most members have some good ideas that will make a good showing on 21st March.



Club Meeting 07.02.13

Charlie Briggs and Jim Todd last night let us see what they have been up to and how they have developed their photographic skills. Charlie started out at the age of 12, through film and then buying one of the earliest digital SLR. and now onto an AV production. Charlie proved that you have to work at it, to experiment and to take the wife’s advise to join the best photographic club in Scotland.

Jim started off with a new camera on his Canadian holiday, then moved on gaining experience and has produced a number of skilfully worked out abstract images. He wants to develop further his skills and to share these with other members by heading up the Photoshop workshop.

We can all learn from other peoples work and adapt their ideas. To this end it is worth visiting the large photographic display in St Andrews Square, Edinburgh, which is part of the Edinburgh Science Festival, it is called ‘Patterns in Nature’. They are mounted on fixed boards, each 2 x1 metres, and are well worth seeing, it is on until April. Afterwards pop into the Portrait Gallery and see their photographic displays as I detailed in an earlier note.

Thanks to the co operation of members we are now managing to set up self help/funding workshops. Jim Todd has the first one on Photoshop under way, but there are more members who want to be involved. So George Todd has agreed to set up a second group, so we will be able to reduce the number on Jim’s to about 6/7 and  have a similar number on George’s group.

There is to be an inaugural meeting on Tuesday 19th Feb. in room 4, starting 7.30pm. If you want to join in come along and then it can be sorted out which group to be involved in and what members have to offer and what they want to work on. Or speak  to Jim or George about it.

In addition John Scott is to head up an AV group. Here we should limit it to 5 members and if there are many more members who would like to have a go, then we could think about having a second group.

If there are any other members who think that they wished to run or lead a group on other subjects let me know and we can consider it.

I would still like to receive the DVD’s and images from those members who have not yet got around to it.

Next week for the ‘un romantic’ (Feb. 14th) – I will be doing a presentation based on our data base and hope to give some ideas as to how we can improve our work. This should be interactive and could be a starter for the Photoshop workshops.

Remember that this Sunday (12th Feb) we are at the Lady Victoria Mining Museum for the 12 way inter-club competition. See my last week’s note for details.


Club Meeting 31.01.13

We welcomed Beeslack Camera Club to a joint meeting last night at out Audio Visual evening. Many thanks to them for their AV group sharing with us three excellent projects consisting of a fascinating one relating to bridges, an out of space experience and a very interesting portrait of the Pentlands, seeing it in various seasons and some historic myths being illustrated.

John Napier took us on a rugged tour of  mountains in Spain. he said that this was his first attempt at AV, his excellent result must be an inspiration to us all to have a go to this different aspect of photography. Liverpool and the Beatles, was our destination, with the usual high standard of ‘our master’ John Knox.

I think this evening proved that we can  do solo AV or work as a team. If there are upwards of six members who would like to work together on a project, please let me know. Hopefully we can produce some new material which we can take to Beeslack next year.

Thanks to those that brought in their prints and DVDs last night. We still need more images for consideration for competitions, if you cannot remember what score you had and think that your work could be considered for inter club competition, please bring in the print, even if it has not been in a club competition. The more we have to choose from the better, also all other prints will be selected for the forth coming exhibition that tours the libraries later on in the year.

I am still missing a number of DVD’s of your work, please get this together and let me have it asap. Remember my tip of using software that makes copying CD/DVDs very easy, go to the free download Ashampoo Burning Studio 6 free:-

Next week we have Jim Todd and Charlie Briggs who will take us on a tour of their work and efforts, well worth coming along to. You can also bring along those prints and DVDs!!

On Sunday 10th Feb, there is the 12 way inter-club competition which will be held again at the Lady Victoria Mining Museum, Newtongrange. It is held in the ‘Turbine Hall’ which I suggest that you wear some warm clothing as it can be on the ‘cool side’. It starts a 10am and goes on into the afternoon, there is a canteen for lunch etc.

If you have not come along before, give it a try, for directions visit their web site:-


Club Meeting 24.01.13

Neil Scott really illustrated how by using one’s imagination you can create some stunning photos, all you need is black velvet, kitchen table and a life time of getting out there and taking photos.

His task is by no means simple, taking advantage of lighting, plus a certain amount additional lights, he said afterwards that he fits a toilet roll tube (black inside) and fits it over hid flash gun to  get a spot light.

Have a look at his web site ‘’  and you will be able to see even more of his art and his humour.

A challenge to us to take more notice of what is around us and stretch the imagination. We have our set subject competition next with entries to be in by 7th March. the subject is ‘Abstract or something Qwerky’ So will everyone start thinking about it and coming up with some good ideas.

Jim Todd has got his Tuesday’s workshops organised for the eleven members involved. We have now three members who are interested in an AV (Audio/Visual) workshop, we need three more to make it viable, so let me know if you are interested.

Next week we have a AV evening in conjunction with Beeslack Camera Club, this might give some incentive for more members to have a go.

As I have said before there are a number of benefits for  having a data base, apart from selecting competition images, it gives material for training and advice. The greater the range of ability the better.

As advised last week I am planning a Power Point presentation for the meeting on 14th Feb, but still require co operation from some members to bring in their images on the supplied DVD – please put on what you have – they do not need to be ‘perfect’. Just bring them along next week.

I would also be grateful if members who got a mark of 16 and over to bring their prints along next week so that we can make a selection of prints for the forth coming inter club competitions.



Adobe are giving away Photoshop CS2 free & legal ! I know it’s an older version but would be great for any beginners.Just click on this link,choose Mac or Windows version, copy down serial no.and download.easy peasy.

Club Meeting 17-01-13

Last night Brenda Thomson gave us her judgement and opinion on our efforts in the club’s Monochrome Competition and I have put details of the winners on the web site.

Brenda commented on the fact that mono photography is more demanding than colour, where a good contrast (black to white) is essential to make the image stand out, interest in the sky is also important and to get the best quality images, the mind must see an opportunity as a mono, as opposed to having a colour image that ‘might also work as a mono’.

A number of members brought in their dvds last night and I can now start loading these on the data base, will everyone else please let me have their disc asap, but if you do not have many images in each category, don’t worry, just give me what you have.

Apart from selecting for display, we have now decided to select a good number of images and make some ‘quick’ amendments via Photoshop and then have an evening on 14th February, projecting ‘before and after’ and then discuss what was done and then open it up for comments.

So please lets have the material!

Last Saturday I visited the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and there were three exhibitions relating to photography.

Just inside the door on the left there was a display of large portrait prints by KK Dundas a threatre and portrait photographer from Glasgow. He had a commission to photograph students and past students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

In the Photography Gallery on the first floor was a display of images by a Czechoslovakia woman Jitka Hanzlova, it consists of a great range of her work, many of which would certainly be criticised by club judges, but worth looking at.

However on the second floor (gallery 8) here is an exhibition by  Fred Bremner who was born in 1863. He spent many years in India with a dry collodion glass plate camera.

The quality and detail of these monochrome  images and the way he has framed each of them are outstanding.

I am sure that none of our club judges could find fault, certainly worth a visit.

On the 28th of February we are to have a talk by Duncan Forbes from the NPG, who will tell us about the Scottish Collection of Photography, so it would be a good idea if you are in town to go along and spend half an hour or so, as photographers we can then have a better idea of what’s on offer.

Next week we have a talk by Judge Neil Scott, so lets see what his personal angle on photography is.

I have come across an interesting web site  – – that have some interesting articles. If you come across such sites, let me know and I can circulate.


MCC Tuesday Workshops

Dear All I raised the issue of perhaps having some extra nights to try to deal with taking the images from the camera and then post processing them. I've only been at this around 15 months and it's clear to me that whilst you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear if the picture in camera is dreadful, the difference between a good photo and a great image comes from post processing. On that basis I thought that perhaps other relative newcomers to the club ( and more established members) might be interested in getting together with me to help each other improve how we deal with post processing. There appear to be loads of different ways of achieving similar things, some quick and easy, some complicated and some requiring a PhD in software engineering to understand but rather than muddle through individually we couold help each other. There isn't a grand plan for it- it depends what we need but I had thought that we might cover Adobe Camera Raw Levels, cropping Layers &blend modes Layer masks Sharpening choices Dodging & Burning Transformations etc, etc Some weeks might be a useful tutorial from some of the photo/ photoshop magazine discs with a trial. Others might be a walk through from camera to finished image from someone and others working on the technique. We might ask one of the club winners to talk through an image in detail sometimes as well. There was talk about off camera flash whichmight be another type of area to cover. My plan was for a Tuesday night at Musselburgh for 1.5-2 hrs once a month. I understand that it might cost about £2-3 per month if ther are 4/5 of us to cover room hire. Can you let me know if you're interested in this type of workshop and the sort of things that you would like to get from it now. Email me at can you put real names as well as your email address in any response. Regards Jim Tod

Club Meeting 10.01.13

Happy New Year to everyone.

John Knox gave us an inspiring look at how to make an ‘Audio Visual’ presentation last night.

By using software it seemed to be a realistic idea to put a series of still images into a very viewable experience, that can be used via a projector or on a DVD player, through a TV.   In my opinion it has much greater impact than a straight video show.

We also had the benefit to see a high quality AV relating to Holy Island a group of members had worked on. They have made many others over the past few years and regularly take them around other clubs and care homes etc.

If there are up to five members who would like to set up a further (self funding) group in order to learn more of this subject and perhaps work on a AV project, then please let me know.

There are a number of software packages available, I ‘Googled’ and came up with the following which offers a free trial:-

$69 -  about £43

I started to issue the recordable DVD’s, members who could not make it hopefully will come along next week and pick up their copy.

As a reminder of what this is about I copy below details that I put in my report dated 06.12.12.

” The idea is that I would ask you all to copy images onto these and when I have put them on the ‘data base’ I will return them to members for using the next time they are required.

Meantime it would be helpful if you would set up folders on your PC based on the subjects of the club’s competitions – Digital, Colour Print, Portrait, Monochrome and set subject.

Then copy your images into these categories (jpegs only) – they do not need to be the ones that were in the competitions, they can be anything that you think worth considering, but if they are then you might have amended them based on the judge’s comments. They can be ones that you have taken over the last eighteen months or earlier if they are special.

Please re name the file names as follows:-  club number and short title

e.g.      00 Short Title.jpeg

For those that have already supplied me with images, I would be grateful if you would also re do them on the above basis so that we have uniformity and make it easier to load down the files onto a new data base.

If you wish to ‘op out’ of this exercise, please let me know and I will withdraw your CD and use it for new members who join us in the new year.

Then when you get your CD’s copy these folders onto it. I use a free programme for this – Ashampoo Burning Studio 6 -  Google it if you want to use it. It is a more efficient way that ‘cut & paste !’.”

Next week – We have Judge Brenda Thomson, who give us her views on our submitted Monochrome efforts.

Also please bring in your copy of the DVD so that I can start on the data base.


Adobe Giveaway

If there’s anyone been considering buying Adobe Photoshop but didn’t know if it was for you or not Adobe are giving away some of their older versions of some of their products and they are available for download here – remember to copy the serial numbers as well because they will still need activated on install.

The fact they are giving them away means they are probably no longer going to recieve any updates etc but will give a novice a good feel for the product before deciding if it’s something they could use.

The big download is CS2, it’s got three files so i’m not entirely sure if it’s the extended version or not. For those not familiar the current version is 6.0

There’s also Photoshop Elements 4/5 (current version 10 or 11?) so that gives you an idea that they are older versions but hopefully of some use to some of the members.

There’s also some other products going free on that link as well.

Having downloaded one or two of the versions for another PC I’d advise that they are more suited to non Windows 7 pc/laptops, if you do use Windows 7 be aware when you open one of the older programmes they change your coulour settings while the programme is open but change it back once you close it.

Canon Flash triggers

I’m not sure how many people use external camera flash, it’s something i’m getting more into but still very much just learning and experimenting with but thought i’d do this post

If you do use this type of lighting you will almost certainly want to get the flash off camera and there’s various ways of doing this. You can use hot shoe sync cables which are pretty much idiot proof, you can use Infra-red triggers which utilise the flash inbuilt infra red and and there’s also radio triggers;

Hot-shoe sync cable

The hot-shoe sync cables are are pretty much idiot proof but most of them have a coiled cable which is only a meter long. You can buy longer but they are expensive and if you do get these you obviously benefit if you stay brand specific. I bougt a cheap “universal” type form Jessops and it was such a snug fit that when i tried to remove it from my flash i thought i’d damage the hot shoe. I only used it the once before going back for a refund. (did i say idiot proof….) The drawback to this type of attachment is you’re restricted to talking photos with one hand on camera and the other holding the flash unless you have an assistant or carry a lightstand! Price of the universal cable was about £40 I think, damage that could have been caused was about £500 so won’t be going Universal again anytime soon.


The next best way for off-camera flash control is using triggers. There’s lots of them about, you get a transmitter and a reciever as a minimum and can usually buy additional recievers if you have more flashes. Most but not all recievers can be plugged into a sync cable on lighting setups as well so if you have a studio lighting kit you could also use your triggers to fire them.

I’ve tried a few and in my opinion you can’t go wrong if you buy radio rather than infra red.

Infra Red

These type are fairly reliable but get them on a flash in a sunny day and the infra red signal can be overpowered by the sun so you get frequent misfires. Using a fill flash in a sunny day scenario makes a heck of a difference, you can get nice sun filled backdrops and have your subject turn their back to the sun and still have them proper lit up using a fill flash. apart from misfires due to the sun he infra red is also line of sight which means if you had a flash on the floor behind a subject and your intention for that flash was to light up a portion of your background, because the subjects in the way and the flash is pointing to a background rather than at the camera then again, theres plenty scope for misfres.I had Canons St-E2 infra red trigger which was great indoors and while within line of sight but not the best outside. I bought my ST-E2 second hand, it appeared to be fully functioning so I don’t think that had any bearing on how it was performing, the second hand price was £110 and I sold it on for £90. Like most of the branded Canon gear there was someone looking for just what I was selling so it didn’t cost me too much to experiment. It was a transmitter only trigger, it used the infra red built into my flash to fire it so there was a constant blinking red light to put up with.


What I should mention is ETTL, if your flash supports it then try and get triggers that support it also.

If you haven’t a clue what ETTL is, in short it’s an Auto mode on your Speedlight (ETTL = Evaluate Through The Lens…..your flash will use your cameras ISO, Aperture and distance from subject settings to calculate the settings needed for the output strength of the flash, to properly exposing your image)

Most flash will have a choice of manual or ETTL.There’s various connotations of this, ITTL, TTL and i’m sure theres an ETTL2 but they basically do the same.You can either set the output power and zoom manually on your flash or use ETTL and it will gauge your lens focal length and match the zoom and it also calculates the distance of the camera from the subject to correctly expose your image. There are limitations in that the zoom is set to be between 14-105mm so if you’re using a wider or longer focal length then your not getting the light into all of your image. My newest speedlight is now doing 14-220mm but most will have the first zoom range mentioned. It’s a powerfull auto mode and it works well in most scenarios.

The reason for mentioning ETTL is that not all triggers support it. The own brand Canon trigger did and it’s a decent feature to have, for my cameras it meant i could have a flash on a lightstand in a softbox or behind an umberella and be able to adjust the flash output from my Camera trigger.

Not all speedlights have the ETTL or it’s equivalent, there are some that are manual only so check yours before buying any triggers. No point paying extra for something that your flash doesn’t support.

Radio Triggers

I’m now using a radio trigger set which does everything i want it to do. I’ve got myseflf a set of Pixl King flash triggers, I did have Pixl Pawns but moved up to the king set because they support both hi-speed sync and ETTL The type I have are Canon specific, they also do them for Nikon and some other branded ones and are sold by a company called UK Highland photographic (i think)

A lot of the triggers max out at the cameras flash sync speed which is usually around the 1/200th per sec shutter speed. (if you’re not sure of yours either attach a flash or use the pop up flash if your camera has one and change your shutter speed to as fast as it will go while in manual) most flash will not have high speed sync enabled as a default and usually it’ll need activated in your flash’s custom menus) If you’ve not enabled hi-speed sync you’ll end up with serious banding as your shutter speeds increase. When the flash is on camera it won’t allow you to pass the sync speed if hi speed syncs not enabled but off camera when your using a trigger it almost certainly will go to whatever shutter speed you want and thats when you’ll get banding issues.

The Pixl Pawns didn’t support ETTL but were a very good and reliable trigger and I still have them as my back ups, if i remember correct they were about £40 and i’ve never had a misfire (that i’m aware of!)

The Pixl Kings were much more expensive, for a transmitter and 2 recievers they were nearer £180 (Santa was due when i added them to my list) but they do everything very well. They can be utilesd in hi-speed sync up to my cameras max 1/8000 per second. At F22 and with that shutter speed i can make a bright sunny day almost pitch black in camera, Why do that and not just wait till night-time? If you want to take a picture of a flower fully open and maybe with a bee hovering about you need to do that during the day and with a fast shutter speed and high F-number you can isolate your image to whatever you capture using your flash and everything else is faded into darkness.

Might need to wait a while for a Bee to come along though!

Hopefully this was informative to some and a bedtime story to others. These ramblings are a direct result of me working over christmas and new year and now i’m on a weeks hols and everyone else is back working. There may be more in the next few days!

Club Meeting 03.0.13 Monochrome Competition closing date

Monochrome Competition

Clive is still away. We had a rather quiet meeting on 3rd January with a low ( but very select ! ) turnout of members. A lot of people are under the weather with horrible germs caught over the festive period. Others may have been still recovering from Hogmanay. Joe introduced a CD of images from the Dingwall Camera Club Open Competition in which some Musselburgh members did very well. It was good to see the range and style of the selected images.  In view of the low member turnout and the low number of entries for the Club Monochrome Competition,  Committee members decided to contact the judge and arrange an extension of the closing date for monochrome entries until next Thursday 10th January. So get your mono images  printed, mounted and entered next week !!


Camera Poll

Take Our Poll

This has probably been done before in this website or in other forms at the club, but interested to see what we’re all shooting with. It may be that us Canon users could swap ideas/knowledge about our particular camera types as could those who share the same camera types from other sections.