Question Time 9th Jan 2018

A regular event now, our panellists this year were Paul, Mil, Ray and Mike. We started with brief introductions:
Mike – tackles various subjects, landscapes prominent (as he can get out of bed early). He’s off soon to the Lake District to add to his collection and visit a past member – Ron Kelly.
Ray – started his photography with a darkroom course at Trowbridge College, and has been in and out of photography ever since, including a stint as his works photographer. His cameras have ranged from a Practika, through Mamiya 2¼”, a Nikon D200 (which he doesn’t want to carry anymore) to a Sony A7. He plans to get back into Photoshop which he hasn’t used for a while. He joined the club about 15 years ago.
Mil – as with Ray, started with film, probably at about 12 years of age, with a 126 film cassette in the camera. She’s been through a film SLR (Olympus OM2 & OM4Ti) and through early digital Olympus (couldn’t get a really good photo out of them), Nikon DSLR, Fujifilm and back to Olympus – the Pen-F is one of Olympus’ successes. She’s been a member of various camera clubs near to where she has lived, joining Warminster in March 2009. At the AGM in April 2009 she became Treasurer and held that post and has been Chairman of the club too
Paul – only picked up a camera in 2014 and joined the club soon after. He mainly does gig photography (loves live music) and some motorsport but is planning on branching out into landscapes this year. Has two Nikon 7200, and has invested in good lenses.
Questions:
Do you ever use auto mode?
Paul would never use this as he prefers full manual – to allow him to make the mistakes and not the camera. The camera can be easily fooled by the lighting changes in gig photography. He likes to use ‘back-button focussing’ (auto focus and lock) – he suggests people try it.
Mike also would never use auto. It depends on the subject. He also likes the back-button focussing and uses Live View to manually focus using magnify mode.
Ray, however, has the opposite view, being firmly convinced that the technology now in the camera allows total automatic to be the best for most images. He remembers a judge asking the question ‘why do you think you are better than the camera’ (maybe because most of us have brains and can make judgements the camera can’t). Also mentioned that throwing a background out of focus can now be done in Photoshop.
Mil hasn’t used fully automatic for many years. She started by reading and learning how to control the camera and depth of field by selecting the appropriate apeture, although accepts that fully automatic is a good place to start if you are learning. Then you learn how to get what you actually want. The same view with manual focus, has recently tried focus stacking which needs manual focussing, and is very useful with macro which has small depth of field.
Sports mode (many frames per second) can be useful in certain circumstances.
Sharp landscapes and hyperfocal distance
Mike responded by discussing hyperfocal distance; he doesn’t always use it but finds it very useful. Rule of thumb – focus about 1/3 into the area you want in focus. You have to be good at estimating distances. You also have to consider the circle of confusion and diffraction and take those into account. It’s not a simple subject to fully understand. He stated again that he prefers to use Live View.
Two Apps mentioned – DOF Calculator (Android, free) and DOF Master (Apple, payable).
Does the club meet the needs of its members and how to we attract new?
Discussions and suggestions around these two topics:

  • we have an Xmas social in the Organ – we could invite potential members to come along an meet us
  • BBC Wilsthire – what’s on
  • LifeIn Warminster – keep them up to date
  • Journal – articles
  • Heart of Warminster – happy to post items for us
  • Facebook page – has to be fed
  • New programme – make sure we have a good speaker in week 2 or 3
  • Make an effort again at Christmas as people get presents
  • Publicity for exhibition
  • Enrolment evening – not to be just a social, but have tables set up with different members talking about different topics, have a good display of images.

Lighting – indoor, how do you learn how to use
The studio lighting we have (kindly donated) is not suitable for the smaller items that need lighting. Suggestion that we have an evening that can be semi-practical. Paul mentioned when he set something up he moved the lighting and the object and then remembered that the photographer can move as well. It was agreed that Anjalika will ask Derek Gale to include lighting when he delivers he talk later in programme about macro photography.
Filters
Everyone generally agreed that Lee filters may be the best, but they are comparatively expensive. More affordable are COKIN, they are reasonable price and quality. It is possible to buy filters for the largest lens (filter size largest) and then buy stepping rings so they can be used on the smaller lens. However, people have to realise that they are adding glass onto the front of their lens which mean more surfaces that need to be totally clean.
The old adage of using a UV/Skylight filter on every lens to protect was not considered by everyone to be a good idea. Although always use if sand or dust in the air. Using a lens hood even indoors can protect lens.
A good evening and thanks to everyone who participated.

Images: Geoff Sims
Report: Marny Thompson LRPS

 

2017-12-05 Competition No 2

On Tuesday Rob Heslop joined us to give his assessment of our Competition No 2 images. Rob works in Bristol and lives in the Forest of Dean, so we were grateful to him for travelling so far. He’d looked at all the images at home in advance of the competition so we received his carefully considered opinion.
Rob was complimentary about the range of subjects covered by club members and enthusiastic about all the things that appealed to him in our images, but was apologetic about “being a judge” and pointing out those things that could be improved. No apology necessary Rob as we’d asked for your opinion and applaud your honesty.
The range of marks was fairly wide but to be expected in a competition where the member’s experience ranges novice photographers to those that are “old hands”, and gave a realistic picture of how one image rated against the others.
Best scores of the night among the 41 DPIs entered were Debra Williams for Clevedon Pier (19), Andrew Folker for Melon Girl (19) and Child Monk (20) and Carole Zimmerman for Southern Ground Hornbill (fly past) (20).
From the 16 prints best marks were awarded to Peter Clarke for The Landlord (19), Mil Chimley for Fungi (19) and Anjalika Baier for Getting Stuck In (20).
Congratulations to the high scorers and all the members that entered images as we’d have no competition without you.
Details of all scores and the current Pool positions can be found in the Members’ Only area of the web site.
Only the Competition Secretary and the Chairman knew that this was Rob’s first booking as a judge but we’re confident that it won’t be his last as his honesty and the delivery of his assessment are all any club could hope for.


Images: Geoff Sims & Members
Report: Mil Chimley LRPS

2017-11-18 Audio-Visual

Audio Visuals – How to Get Started & How to Improve

We had an interesting evening learning from each other.

Denise showed us how her son had created music for his degree to accompany a tourism film, Mil gave us many helpful hints and tips about creating AVs, Marny showed how easy to create a quick P2E file and Paul showed us how he had improved his use of PicturesToExe (P2E) over the last year. Denise – film music

Software used ‘Sibelius’. Some rules of music composition:

  • Silence can work as well as music
  • Vary between loud and soft, especially if something dramatic happens
  • Listen back a lot to what is created – have another listen
  • Mix it properly
  • Best way to learn is to watch films and see how composer makes the music fit the film

Mil – Audio Visuals

Mil started creating in the 1980s, when slides controlled by a cassette tape were all the rage (the only way to do it) and became hooked on the creation, where visuals and sound matched

  • Important to PLAN – subject, audience, what are you telling them, how long and beginning, middle and END

Visual

  • Be selective with images, edit them, choose the best and not too many
  • Time consuming but worth it
  • Think about transitions (P2E has options) and vary speed to create interest
  • Leave image long enough for people to see
  • TITLE – tell your audience what it is about
  • FINISH – a tidy end, acknowledge music and any copyright, licences

Audio

  • Pick music to suit images, don’t use familiar music (eg TV adverts)
  • Vary to suit pace or drama; vary styles
  • Sound effects may add
  • Stay legal – it is illegal to copy any copyrighted music, but there is plenty available copyright free (jamendo) or get a licence (also music freely available – www.theiac.org.uk)

Marny – quick P2E

Make simple P2E with some images. Add some different transitions and styles. If you then ‘Publish’, you can send the images to friends and family to share (they don’t need the programme). If it is a large file, use WeTransfer to send. Or of course a memory stick.
Paul – The Duck
Paul’s experience of using P2E has shown him another way to present images to friends and CC members.
P2E is now at Version 9, from www.wnsoft.com and costs $69 for the essentials version (useful for most presentations). To upgrade from P2E Version 8 costs $30. You can download a trial version for 30 days free play. Have a look at the demo on the website and see the kind of things you can create. Video as well as stills.
Paul showed 3 versions of his gig talks:

  1. Original, black and white, created when he was learning
  2. Changed as he has learnt more and he set the music more to the images, changed slide timings and transitions, including colour
  3. Had some fun with this version, which he thought was probably OTT. Using colour it was longer and definitely louder!

He showed how to add the music, marking where the music changed and fitting the image transitions to this. Longer P2E transitions may be better when music is quieter for example. A fast paced track means the images should change quicker and transition quickly.
Thanks to all for sharing their knowledge and for their preparation for the evening.


Images: Geoff Sims
Report: Marny Thompson LRPS

 

 

 

Knockout Competition 2017

Tuesday night was Knockout Competition night where members entered up to 3 images. Two images were displayed at a time and the audience voted on their preferred of the two. The image with the most votes went through to the next round while the other image was eliminated. The images must not have been in any club competition in the past and the author of each image was a closely guarded secret to avoid tactical voting.
With only 45 images entered the first round was with only about half of the images while the remained were given a bye into the second round, but by the second round all the images were, or had been, in the mix.
Ray was the official counter of raised arms and did a fine job. Marny and Mil were at the laptops and projectors to display the images and extract the winners from each round.
The images were gradually whittled down to a semi-final, fought between Debs and Richard, and Debs and Mike. As it happens the two images by Debra Williams were both voted through and her image of Rhossili Bay was voted the winner, so congratulations to her.
It was, as intended, a fun evening where club members picked out the images they liked, irrespective of what a judge might think and, again, a traditional landscape won the day.
As Debs wasn’t at the meeting her prize will be presented on another occasion.
Thanks to all who participated with projection, counting or voting.


Images: Geoff Sims & Debra Williams, Mike Williams & Richard Payne
Report: Mil Chimley LRPS