Musselburgh Camera Club

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.

Photograph pine martens and badgers

I have Pine Martens and Badgers that I have been feeding for two years now and they come every evening for the food and have built a purpose made hide that can take three people. It is all set up with photographers in mind and I supply all the lighting needed to take some beautiful images of these animals.
I am writing to ask if you could pass this information on to your members again as this time of year is by far the best time to see them as they come in the early part of the evening and I get more visits as food is scarce for them in the wild. I now also have Buzzards that are coming every day and you can see them and photograph them from approx 20 feet from the comfort of the hide.

Thank you
Dave Beatson

Club Meeting 13.12.12

The night photographic outing on 20th Dec. major update

Last night it was discussed and some members are going to go into Edinburgh by train, so Joe Fowler who will guide us around Edinburgh has decided that members going by car meet outside Fisherrow Centre gates by 6.30pm, for car sharing – leave cars outside Fisherrow Centre or they could get locked in.

The idea is then for everyone to meet up at the top of the Waverly Station steps ( by Balmoral Hotel) at 7pm.

There was an enjoyable evening last night when 28 members had the club’s annual Christmas Dinner at the Ravelston Hotel, where not only the restaurant had been modernised, but the food has much improved.

Further to my comments of last week regarding building a digital image of members work, I have tried to work out a way of making it easier for both the members and myself.

To this end I have ordered a supply of CD-RW ( rewritable) discs and utilised a recycled set of ‘plastic jewel boxes, one for each member.  I will set these up and bring them along to the club meeting on the 10th Jan. ( I am away on the 3rd.) 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 or you have updated or added to your images.

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 and those you might have amended 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   -  Please select up to 5 images per subject.

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.

There are at least five benefits to obtained by doing the above.

  1. Enabling the selection of images for external competitions and giving advise on how to improve them.
  2. Provide a good selection of images that can be used on ‘Critique Evenings’
  3. New images that can be used for a regular update of our club room gallery, the Library exhibition and open days.
  4. Images for use on the web site.
  5. Give one to one advice to members on how to improve their work.

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.

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’ !

Please remember to bring your two monochrome prints to the meeting on the 3rd or 10th Jan.

If I didn’t see you last night, then Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Photoshop education

Several club members  want to improve  their Photoshop skills. The Adobe TV Channel has very helpful short tutorial videos at  ”” .  Select “Photo Editing” then look carefully through the  list of Adobe photo – editing products to  find the one you  use e.g.  Elements 7, CS4, CS5. There are lots of different options for doing the same thing so don’t get stuck trying identify the right way to do it – have fun !

Club Meeting 06.12.12

The last meeting at Fisherrow for 2012 was a good fun evening with a quiz set up by Anita  and Ross, which we thank them for the effort they put in. Everyone was a winner – with the ‘Christmas Cracker’ answers  we now know that the first viable photo was taken in 1827 and the first long exposure was 8 hours and that Sam Fox has had the most ‘boob’ exposure!

The ‘Four Way’ competition hosted by Stirling C.C. on Wednesday 5th Dec. proved to be a bit of a disaster for us as we came third, at least we were ahead of Haddington CC, Edinburgh just piped Stirling to the post by a single point.

Our problem was that we did not have enough images to choose from, so it is  essential that we now re examine our procedures and way of operation.

Firstly we must build a full data base of members images, as I have been requesting, we want everyone to join in and co operate and let me have any images that you feel would be worth looking at. This can go back to last year, so will everyone again look through their images and let me have digital images in jpeg format. Either via a CD or e-mail.

Please ensure that the file name is set out as follows – club number and short title

e.g. 00 sunset delight.jpeg

We are now going to set up a small panel, consisting of two committee members and another -  they will appraise the data base and select possible images, we will then make contact with the selected members and if thought advisable, to suggest some improvements. With respect to Print entries we will then request for the selected print to be brought in and again discuss any changes and re print. To start with Joe, myself and Jennifer will tackle this task.

All work that is submitted to external competitions must be the total work of the submitting member although help and suggestions will be given and hopefully taken on board.

Our next external competition is the ’12 Way’ on Sunday 10th Feb. Therefore we will need to send in our entries by the end of Jan. so there is not much time if we are to make a better impact  and get us back up where we ought to be.

Jim Tod has come up with a proposition about holding some workshops outwith our normal meetings, I have done this for Portrait Workshops, which I hope to resume early next year.

So long as they are self funding (room hire in the region of £5.60 per hour) and it is lead by one person in charge and I am fully informed, then it will then go under the ‘banner’ of the club and be covered by the club’s insurance.

The club laptop/projector can be used, so long as they are cared for and locked away after the session.

So if a group want to get together let me know and we will take it from there.

Next Thursday (13th Dec.)we have our Christmas Dinner at the Ravelston Hotel, Musselburgh – 7 for 7.30pm.

The night photographic outing on 20th Dec. will be lead by Joe Fowler who will guide us around Edinburgh. Meet outside Fisherrow Centre gates 7pm, for car sharing – leave cars outside Fisherrow Centre or they could get locked in.



Permajet – Colour printing course in Dumfries 8th December – special offer






The day will cover everything you want to know about digital colour and monochrome printing based on the popular Epson printer range. File size and quality, 8bit vs 16 bit images, getting the best from your digital files.

Digital contact printing.  Adjustment layers.  Sharpening. Interpolation. Importing and saving files, using and converting RAW files, monitor and printer colour management. Printer problems and solutions. 

Installing and using profiles for consistent colour and quality. Test printing. Advanced black and white features for specialist monochrome printing and the use of PermaJet papers.


Course Tutors will be Rod Wheelans FIPF,MPAGB,FRPS,MFIAP and Libby Smith MPAGB, FIAP


The cost of the course is £60.00 per person, per course and would include the following:-


The Training Course

Tea/Coffee on arrival

A Light Lunch

Afternoon Tea/Coffee


All the courses start at 10.30am on the Saturday morning with Tea /Coffee on arrival followed by the introduction by the course tutor.


We will break for a light lunch at around 12.30 and restart the course from 13.15 until 16.30 pm where you will have the chance to ask any questions and take the opportunity to buy some paper at a special discounted price just for the courses.

There are extensive course notes provided for you to take away in order for you to refer back as required.

 If you wish to reserve a place, then please let me have your contact details so that I may call you to secure your place.




Louise Hill – Sales & Customer Support
Direct : 01789 739207
Fax    :  01789 731569





Club Meeting 29-11-12

I think that we had a very successful evening last night, everyone brought in a print, all of which would require extra work, which was exactly what was needed. All members were able to discuss the various issues and make comments as to how they could be improved.

We therefore had everyone on a group basis discussing photos and hopefully picking up ideas and guidance which they can utilise in their own ‘learning curve’.

We will build this exercise into next year’s syllabus.

Next week we have another ‘relaxed’ meeting, which we will again have on a group basis, a quiz, based on photography. This is the last Fisherrow meeting for 2012, the following week we will be having our Christmas Dinner at the Ravelston Hotel.

On Thursday 20th December we can meet up at the gates of Fisherrow and Joe will lead a trip into Edinburgh ‘he knows the hot spots’, where we can capture some of the night life!

Remember that we will be taking in submissions for the ‘Monochrome’ comp. at our first meeting in 2013, on Thursday 3rd Jan. If you cannot make this meeting we will also take in ‘late entries’ the following week 10th Jan.

Thinking Caps on – You have until 7th March to come up with ‘an abstract’ print image, which can also include an image which may not be true abstract but is somewhat ‘way out’. Look around you and rise to this challenge. The competition will be judged by Jennifer who was the winner last year, when we had a good number of some very inspirational entries.

It looks like we will be getting some ‘frosty’ opportunities this week, so rap up warm and get out there.


Club Meeting 22.11.12

The twenty members who visited the Beeslack Camera club last night had an excellent evening listening to an illustrated talk by Charlie Waite, the well known landscape photographer. He gave a lot of informative advice, the main one being to see in your mind what the image that you want to end up with and then take time and care to get it right, especially with the light. Try not to compromise, take time for as long as it takes or go back another day. If things are not right, don’t waste time in taking the image.

His mono images were  superb, although some of our judges would not think so! His main point was that if you want to take mono select the subject for that purpose, don’t take colour image and then just try it in mono.

Much food for thought.

Remember that our first competition in the New Year is for Monochrome Prints, so start thinking about this and get two prints ready for submission.

Next week we are back at Fisherrow where we have our ‘experimental’ evening when everyone needs to bring along a print and to repeat myself from last week:-

” It does not need to be mounted and in this case ‘size does not matter’. Neither does it need to be of competition quality, just one that you like or would like to have advice on.

We will then be setting up seven table and the idea is to have a group at each table (headed by a member of the committee) hopefully all will discuss each of the images on the table and after about twenty minutes to move to another table”.


See you all next week – picture in hand!



I own a couple of Canon speedlights, a 600RT & 430EX11 and a couple of flash triggers Pixl King.

I’m trying to get my head round the possibilities for groups ETTL etc. anyone familiar and know how these can all be paired? In particular, can i have one set at ETTL and the second as Manual? …..I could read the 180 page manual of course lol

Club Meeting 22.11.12

Please remember that there will not be a meeting at Fisherrow next week, 20 members will be visiting Beeslack Camera Club at Penicuik to hear a talk by the Landscape photographer Charlie Waite.

For those members who do not want to go directly to Penicuik, meet at Fisherrow Centre to leave at the 6.45pm the latest. Those sharing cars, leave cars outside the Centre car park or they will ‘get locked in’.

The following Thursday 29th November we will be running with a new idea and want everyone to take part.

The plan is that everyone will need to bring in a single printed image, it does not need to be mounted and in this case ‘size does not matter’. Neither does it need to be of competition quality, just one that you like or would like to have advice on.

We will then be setting up seven table and the idea is to have a group at each table (headed by a member of the committee) hopefully all will discuss each of the images on the table and after about twenty minutes to move to another table.

I hope that this will prove to be a friendly and entertaining exercise, so please sort out an image and join in.

We are still interested to hear from members with comments and ideas that will help us devise next year’s syllabus, so please give it some serious thoughts and send me an e mail.

Last night we had Michael Thomson, President of Haddington CC back again, this time judging our ‘Human Portrait Competition’. He gave us his views and pointed out areas that would have improved the image, getting the right background was one of the main areas, where they distracted from the main subject.

‘Depth of Field’ is what needs to be considered – this depends on the focal point, the ‘F’ setting and the distant from the subject. In general a ‘wide aperture’ (low number)i.e. F7.1,F5.6, F4.5 will usually ‘blur’ the background, depending upon the distance, but it is essential that the focus point is the persons eyes.

If you try to ‘blur’ the background via Photoshop, a lot of care needs to be made when selecting the area to be adjusted.

I have put the details of the top six entries on the web site under ‘Competitions’, so have a look. If I had had CD’s I could have put the images on!

Hope to see you all back at Fisherrow on the 22nd November – please remember to bring along your print image.


Club Meeting 08.11.12

Welcome to everyone, especially to our new members.

Please note that in two weeks (22nd Nov) there will not be a meeting at Fisherrow as the 20 members who purchased tickets will be visiting Beeslack CC to hear a talk by Charlie Waite.

Christmas dinner -  we now have 25 members, but there is still room for other, we have to pay for the meal in advanced, so please let David Howie have your £21 asap.

We are invited to a joint 4 way competition by Stirling & District Camera Club on Wednesday 5th Dec – there is a notice on the board – please put your name down if you want to support MCC – we can then sort out transport.

However, this is causing Del a problem, as we have not had sufficient CD’s with images from which he can choose, for those that have not yet done so please put your recent comp entries on a CD and bring it along next week – this is really important as Del has to send off our entries by the 24th Nov, so please make a real effort.

Next Tuesday we are having a committee meeting where the main subject will be next year’s syllabus.

This is your club so please give this some thought and send me an e mail with any ideas that you might have regarding subject matter, thing that you like and even those which you do not think much of. Contributions and ideas from members is what will keep this club viable and interesting for the year ahead

Last night we had Sandy Cleland from Edinburgh Photographic Society who was  back again following his judging of our Digital Image Comp on 4th October.

Sandy is a highly qualified photographer and for those that missed last night, look at his superb images on the EPS site and you will see what I mean. His photos  of dragon flies among other wild life images are something really to strive for. (

What a fantastic insight into his skills as a photographer, the range and quality of his images were outstanding, he learnt his skills with film cameras, where you really had to be in control of the camera to get such results, now he has converted to digital, he still uses the camera mainly in manual mode, which reflects the stunning results.

First thoughts are that it ‘puts one of bothering to take pictures’  - but it is really an inspiration to take control of the camera, rather than ‘point & shoot’. Lets’ all take on board some of his advice and improve our output.

Next week we have Michael Thomson President of the Haddington CC who will be judging our ‘Human Portrait Comp.


Club Meeting 01.11.12

I think that the ‘Critique Night’ went well with many of the images ‘straight out of the camera’, which was what was wanted. So that it could be seen how many could have been improved by using the ‘crop tool’ where the main subject could be identified, the ‘clone tool’ where problem areas could be corrected and ‘levels’ where parts of the image could be darkened, lightened or the ‘contrast levels increased to get a more dramatic look to the image. Using the ‘magic wand’ to select an area will also make it easier to make adjustments.

John Napier has come up with a web site offering a video on Photoshop Elements (good early Christmas present) –  go to:-

Allan Cameron gave us an introduction to how a large posters can be created with an A4 printer by using a free software ‘PosteRazor’ and a ‘Pritt Stick’ or other stick glue. Go to:-

If anyone else have such ideas, please let me know and we can then share them with all members.

The benefits of joining the MCC web site can be seen by  a recent ‘Post’ relating to filters -  a stream of comments and surplus equipment offered for sale. So if you have not yet signed up please do so.

I really want the club to get a lot more from the web site – we have a gallery, which was last year contributed to by a number of members – if those members want to update their images, please let me have a CD with new jpeg images and I will arrange for them to loaded onto the site. It is also open to all members, so if you want to be included, please let me have your pics via a CD.

I had mentioned earlier that we can hold ‘help sessions’ prior to a meeting (7-7.30pm) and we will try to get someone to help.

Mike Clarke has some knowledge of lens filters, so if you want some advise come early next week and he will give some assistance. Lets make the most of this type of help, let me know of any other areas that can be dealt with in this time frame.

To those that are going to join in the club’s Christmas merriment, please bring along £21 next week or asap, (to David Howie)  which will cover the cost of the meal and the tip, not the ‘booze’ thought!

Next week Sandy Cleland (who judged our recent Digital Image comp.) is returning to talk on Nature and General Photography.

See you all next week

Filters for sale

I have some filters for sale mainly due to duplication. I thought i would give the club first choice.

for sale-






Club Meeting 25.10.12

Last night Dougie Allen, from Beeslack CC gave us his considered opinion of the 46 images in the  Coloured Print Competition from 23 members. The marking was very close and I have put details on the web site under  ’Competitions’.

If you like your image the way it is that is OK, but if you make a digital copy of it and take up some of the points made by Dougie and then see what you think of it – if it does not then look right to you, then ‘delete it’.

He did point out some ideas:-

Take a number of images of what you are photographing, as a slight angle change or s few seconds later could provide a better result.

Try to get something that immediately catches the eye ( main subject) and have this in sharp focus.

If you are taking a ‘total person’ don’t cut off feet! – the same goes for item ‘sticking up’ i.e boat masts – if there is a cut off item, you can always try to ‘clone’ in a substitute. I have done this with closed eyes, by taking more photos, but this one is what is wanted, clone from ‘an open eye’ one.

Dougie did comment on ‘Art paper’ – I do not necessary agree with this, this medium can be effective. It does need to have a correct ‘paper profile’ so that the colours are correctly reproduced. Jennifer’s ‘Through the Gate’ was a good example of this.

Dougie did recommend using Grad and ND filters for enhancing skies, this is an area we need to talk about at the club. Any volunteers who uses them?

Next week we are having a ‘Critique’ night, where we would like everyone to bring in up to four digital images on a stick or CD, we want to have a general but brief helpful comments on them, there will be no actual judging or marking, hopefully much can be learnt.

Also please bring in your two prints for the Human Portrait Comp. (check on web site if you are not sure of the rules). I would like to get a larger entry that with last night’s images, so please make a real effort.

See you all next week