Penny Piddock – Completely In The Dark

Penny Piddock provided a most entertaining practical night showing everyone what can be done with low light photography … and a few lights. After a brief introduction Penny and Spike introduced us to various lights and props, including tips on the effects that can be achieved with them.
There were a few minutes taken whilst people found their way around their cameras menu systems, turning off focus lights, setting to manual focus and bulb mode etc. and the wise had brought their camera user guides with them.
We all started off indoors with a wheel to which a number of LED lights were attached. After getting our cameras focused this was spun to create a dome effect. Then we continued with other effects and some hardy souls headed outside with pike to try out various techniques. We all experimented with different lights and exposures, with varying results.
Meanwhile, the softies who had stayed indoors with Penny were trying out techniques involving a shimmering gold satin cape, illuminated by moving lights to and fro behind it, in front of it, above and below it at various times to experiment with effects achieved.
Penny started off wearing the cloak but, although being lightweight, holding her arms out for a while was tiring so both Mil and Denise were good sports in being mannequins.
The “glowing moon” prop was also employed, and we could see the potential for some really fun shots using that (moon in the hands etc.)
The coffee break saw the outdoor group return inside and, after warming up with a hot drink, they too experimented with the angel wings/cape. Later masks were donned by various members and lights used to paint the subject. The wolf appearing to be engulfed in flames was a particularly good effect.
At the end of the evening it was considered we’d had a very enlightening and enjoyable time and many thanks are extended to Penny and Spike. Also thanks to Pietro for his invaluable assistance during the evening.

Images: Geoff Sims & Mil Chimley LRPS
Report: Paul Duckworth


Fotospeed on Colour Management

Vince from Fotospeed gave a very informative talk on colour management, workflow and printing.
The first half of the evening started with a brief overview of Fotospeed’s 35 year history and how they started off supplying darkroom chemistry but adapted and changed to meet the demands of digital photography. He then when on to explain about colour, colour space (and the different types), followed by the monitor set up and working environment. Answering a host of questions throughout, he discussed how, if the monitor was not calibrated correctly, it would not give the expected results when it came to printing them out. Types of monitors were talked about and how the working environment can affect the appearance on the screen. It was noted that this is all relevant to all printing, not just for those that print at home. Towards the end of the first half Vince talked about the different types of printers and the types of ink.
The second half saw the members gathered around a display of the different types of paper. Vince explained the range of papers and gave some ideas for getting the vast array of over 30 different paper types down to four or five key papers for most printing. He delved deeper into the different types of ink and the ink flow systems in printers and what printer problems could occur (and how to prevent them).
All in all a good evening that provided a great chance to get questions on printing and colour management answered and explained why what we see on the monitor does not always look like what comes out of the printer!


Images: Geoff Sims
Report: Paul Duckworth


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.
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.
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