03 December 2020 (International Dutch Members Evening)

This week we were joined by my good friends Hans van der Boom and Denise Gielen from the Netherlands. Denise began the evening by showing us some of her macro, wildlife and drone photography, including some stunningly beautiful kingfisher images and cleverly framed drone shots of colourful tulip fields.  Some of Denise’s wildlife shots were taken in Oostvaardersplassen, a park in Flevoland made from reclaimed land, and Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, a national park and nature reserve on the west coast. Hans enjoys travel photography and showed us a selection of photographs he had taken on travels throughout the world.  Hans finished his introduction with some cleverly-constructed indoor studio shots.

The Hans and Denise took us on a photographic tour of the Netherlands, showing us less visited places where we can experience Dutch scenery without being swamped by tourists.  Amsterdam is crowded with visitors each year, but Hans showed us the following less crowded towns which are similar to Amsterdam.  Click the links for more information:

When tourists visit the Netherlands they also want to see windmills, and Hans and Denise showed us some of the more photogenic windmill sites. For example:

But the Netherlands has more impressive structures than just windmills. Hans showed us the impressive architecture within the city of Rotterdam, and Denise showed us beautiful long exposure shots of the Ketelbrug in Flevoland and Hans his dramatic image of the Zeeland Bridge, the longest bridge in the Netherlands. You can also see some of the most iconic structures in the world in miniature in the Madurodam model village.

Of course, a visit to the Netherlands would not be complete without a visit to the impressively colourful tulip fields. The most famous of the tulip displays can be seen between March and May every year at the Keukenhof Gardens near Lisse.  An even bigger and rarer event is the Floriade exhibition, which is coming to Amsterdam in 2022.

After Hans and Denise had finished, Mike Clark showed them some of his impressive underwater shots. Denise’s husband Niels photographs farming machinery for Agrifoto, an agricultural photography site, so Steven Beard finished with a selection of photographs from the Royal Highland Show.

Thank you very much to Hans and Denise for entertaining us, showing that with Zoom we can reach out to other clubs and photographers around the world.

 

Socially Distanced Photoshoot – Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh

This is to let you know I have booked a time slot to visit the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh at 15:00-17:00 on Saturday, 19th September 2020. I am planning to enter by the West gate at Arboretum Place, as there is more parking there.

The current rules will not let us all meet up at the gardens, but I suggest members make their own arrangements to visit the gardens and take photos. You don’t have to choose the same time slot as me (especially if the weather forecast changes between now and when you book!). If you arrange to visit the gardens between now and 24th September we can meet by Zoom, share our experience and offer each other advice. After that there’s nothing to stop anyone going back to the gardens a second time to take that advice into account. I hope everyone will eventually get the same out of it as a normal photoshoot, even if it takes longer.

As a reminder, the “nature and wildlife” images are due on 3rd December 2020 and the “flowers and horticulture” images on 4th March 2021, so there’s still plenty of time.

See you at the virtual trophy presentation this Thursday.

Steven

 

Some news stories you might have missed

Here are some recent BBC news stories, with some great images, you might like to catch up on while at home. Click on the links to read each story.

Wildlife photos: Squabbling mice top ‘people’s poll’ award

Doctor wins landscape photography top award

Antarctic seal photo wins top prize

In other news, the closing date of the 2020 Landscape Photographer of the Year has been extended to 10th May 2020. Now could be a good time to look through your back catalogue of images from the last 5 years. Click on the link below for information.

Landscape Photographer of the Year 2020

I hope you are all staying safe and well.

 

Astrophotography: How do you find out what’s up there?

I was asked if there are resources that will tell you what is coming up in the sky, so you can make plans for astrophotography. The answer is sufficiently useful that I thought I would post it to everyone. I think the very best web site for planning astrophotography is this one:

https://www.heavens-above.com/

Click on the link and you have a large number of options. I have programmed the above link to select “Musselburgh” as the default location. Click on “location” in the top right corner to see what the sky is doing where you live. The site is used by amateur astronomers, satellite and space enthusiasts, but the pages I think would be most useful for astrophotography are:

  • Interactive Sky Chart: This tells you what the sky looks like on any date. The zenith (looking straight up) is in the middle of the graph and the horizon is around the edge. Change the date to see how the sky will change in the future. You can, for example, see where the Milky Way crosses the horizon on each date. You can follow the planets and see if there are dates when they clump together and make a show at sunset or sunrise.
  • The Moon: This page lets you follow what happens to the Moon on future dates. You can check its phase and check when it might pass close to a planet and make a good show. For example, dial up 28th January 2020 and press “update” and you’ll see the crescent Moon passes close to Venus. If the sky is clear this would  be a good time to photograph the Moon as it sets.

Another very useful site is this one:

https://www.timeanddate.com/

The first thing you’ll need to do is click the “set home location” link under “Set time” and set your home location to Edinburgh, Scotland (it doesn’t know about Musselburgh). This site doesn’t have as many features as heavens-above, but it is is best site for predicting eclipses. Click here to bring up the eclipse planning page. The site is not as good at remembering your location, so make sure you type “Edinburgh, Scotland” in the “Place or country” box to get the correct information. You’ll find the next eclipse visible from here is a rather boring penumbral lunar eclipse on 5th June 2020. Keep tracking forwards and you’ll see there is a good solar eclipse on 10th June 2021. Put that date in your diary.

Finally, another site I find useful is this one:

https://spaceweather.com/

The site is dedicated to monitoring solar activity, so it is a good place to get sunspot and aurora predictions. The site doesn’t plan ahead but tells you what’s in the sky right now. It’s a good place to see alerts about aurorae or unusual clouds that could make interesting landscape images. Best of luck!

I hope all this will be useful to some members.

 

Laurie Campbell Nature Workshops

The following has been received from Laurie Campbell regarding workshops he will be running if members are interested they are advised to make their own arrangements….

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP DAYS WITH LAURIE CAMPBELL IN
ASSOCIATION WITH THE SCOTTISH ORNITHOLOGISTS’ CLUB
WEEKENDS OF 1st / 2nd APRIL and the 6th / 7th May 2017.

Overview:

This one day nature photography workshop is designed to show participants how to get the most from whatever photographic equipment they happen to own. Throughout the day, emphasis will be given on the basics of exposure and composition together with help in seeing potential for creative photography in the wide range of natural history and landscapes subjects we may encounter. With a maximum of six places available, Laurie will be able to spend time on a one to one basis with each group member, identifying specific areas where help is needed in order to offer a bespoke service.

The Tutor:

With over thirty years experience, Laurie was Scotland’s first freelance professional nature photographer. He first taught photography in 1978 while undertaking a four-year degree course in the subject at Napier University in Edinburgh. As the winner of many awards, author of several books, his imagery is published worldwide so we are confident of offering quality tuition, whatever your level of expertise. Being local to, and familiar with the area, Laurie is also well placed to find and identify a range of natural history subjects that we will have access to photograph on the day.

Directions:

The workshop days will be run at beautiful Waterston House which is the headquarters of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club in the East Lothian village of Aberlady. For Sat Nav users, the post code is EH32 OPY otherwise if you are travelling east from Edinburgh on the A198 coast road, the building is clearly signposted and set back a little way from the road on the first turning to the left just as you enter the village.

Timing:

The workshop will commence at 10.00 am where tea and coffee will be served whilst Laurie gives a brief introduction to the day and shows examples of the type of subject we may expect to photograph. This will also be the perfect opportunity to learn how to set up camera menus and discuss any other technical points.

Although the workshop will end at 5.00pm, if the weather is fine and the sunset is good there will be the option to stay a little longer!

Location and Content:

The layout of the programme will be decided two days in advance and according to weather conditions. After the indoor briefing, the day will start with a visit to the wildlife garden at Waterston House where there will be the opportunity to practice photographing close-up subjects and birds and to run through camera settings before heading further afield.

After lunch indoors, and weather permitting, we will drive the short distance to Aberlady Bay Local Nature Reserve to look for birds, mammals, close-ups of plants and landscape subjects. If the weather is unsettled then we shall walk the short distance to Gosford Park woods to look for birds, mammals and close-up details in nature. There is also a large ornamental lake in the park containing waterfowl, a heronry and occasionally kingfishers and good evidence of otters and badgers.

Throughout the day, guidance will be given on recognising the field signs of birds and particularly mammals, together with the fieldcraft skills required to approach them without causing any disturbance. Where appropriate, a demonstration will be given to show how to site and introduce an improvised hide using any available natural materials and camouflage. For those who want to learn more, then a full demonstration on a wider variety of propriety hides and materials that Laurie uses will be given back at the car park and towards the close of the workshop day.

What to bring:

There is no need for masses of equipment and we suggest that you only bring what you feel comfortable carrying for the whole day. We won’t be covering great distances and the pace throughout the day will be deliberately slow to ensure that we have time to pause, observe and assess the photographic potential of each interesting subject we encounter.

Apart from a Mirror-less, Bridge or Digital SLR (or film SLR) the following items would be useful (although not essential) are as follows:

Camera Instruction Manual.

Tripod and any means of triggering your camera remotely, such as a cable release.

Any close-up equipment, such as a macro lens, extension tubes or close-up filters.

A single long lens in the 300mm range or longer for photographing birds and any mammals.

Wide angle lens.

A polarising filter and any graduated neutral density graduated filters for landscapes.

Laurie will have a spare tripod, filters, close-up lenses, reflectors available should the need arise.

Do please dress according to the weather forecast and come prepared with waterproof footwear as we may occasionally encounter muddy conditions.

Please also bring a packed lunch. Hot drinks will be provided at the Centre.

Cost & Payment Details:

The price of the workshop is £60.00 and £20.00 deposit is required two weeks in advance to secure a booking. A discount of £5.00 will be given for SOC members.

Cheques made payable to ‘Laurie Campbell Photography’ and sent to the following address please:

Hestia
Paxton
Near Berwick-upon-Tweed
TD15 1TE

Tel:01289 386 736

Mobile: 07825 655 202

Alternatively, we accept PayPal and our email address for this is: laurie@lauriecampbell.com

The balance of the fee will be collected on the day of the workshop. Do please feel free to use any of the above contact details should you have any queries about the workshop and before making a decision to book.

 

Laurie Campbell Workshop now £40

Dear camera club member,

I am writing with news of a photography workshop at the Scottish Deer Centre with Laurie Campbell on the 2nd & 3rd of July from 9am – 4.30pm.

Tickets cost £50 now £40. (There is a coffee shop on site to purchase refreshments in your lunch time).

Ten places are available per day workshop. This is to guarantee one -to-one tuition with Laurie Campbell. Also you will get special close encounters with the animals during this workshop. This includes going in to the animal enclosures to get great close up shots of the wildlife.

There are 14 species of deer, wolves, wild cat, fox and birds of prey housed at the Scottish Deer Centre.

I enclose a poster advertising the event. I would be most obliged if you could circulate it to your members.

If you would like more details or to purchase a ticket please call myself on 01337 810391.

Yours sincerely,

Yvonne Dallas
Senior Ranger