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


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