This week Joe and I gave an introduction to photography for club members. Rather than present the same set of slides for 2 years running, this year I decided to try something different. I set up a make-shift tiny studio consisting of:
- A large cardboard box with the top and one side missing.
- A subject (vase of fake flowers) on top of a pedestal (looking suspiciously like a biscuit tin).
- A sheet of black paper fastened to the back of the box as a plain background.
- The subject was lit with a pair of adjustable LED lights fixed to the side of the box. I used two DIALL 220LM PLASTIC LED BLUE TORCHes, which you can find at a hardware store such as B&Q. Portable LED torches and work lights can make a good budget alternative to studio lights or flash.
This setup was designed to be as compact as possible so it could be set up at Fisherrow. If you are going to try something like this at home I recommend using a larger space and moving the background further from the subject to avoid shadows being cast onto the background.
Here is one of the shots which resulted from the demonstration. This shot is taken with a 0.5 second exposure at f/16 and ISO 400. The camera was set to spot metering mode (because of the black background) and focused on the left-hand white flower near the front. A +1/3 stop of exposure compensation was added because the “spot” was sampling a white flower. The f/16 keeps all the flowers in focus, and I don’t need to be exact with the depth of field because of the plain background. The shot ended up with an ugly dark grey background, which I selected in Photoshop and darkened to black.
I have made up a PDF handout from my slides, which you can download by clicking below:
After the demonstration, Joe showed us how he creates and improves his images. A much better shot can often be made by combining components from several images together. A shot of a motorcyclist is much stronger if you include the eyes. A shot of a rider with a clear visor in a boring situation can merged with a dramatic shot of a rider with a black visor to make an even better shot. The human brain likes images with 3 subjects, and a shot containing two riders can be improved by cutting and pasting a rider from another image. An image can also be improved by cutting and pasting the subject onto a different background, as Joe showed by taking a shot of a surfer riding on a flat lake and pasting them onto a rough sea. Nature shots can be made more interesting by adding a focal point (such as an individual bird) into the foreground (although Joe pointed out that a shot changed in this way will not be eligible for a wildlife photography competition).
Joe also showed that the easiest way to improve an image is by cropping it. Try zooming in to the interesting part of your image and see if you prefer the result. You can also clone out distracting objects, although whether they are considered distracting or not is subjective and depends how the viewer perceives the image. For example, does the white post show the skill of the motorcyclists in avoiding it, or is it a distracting white post? Do the support cars distract from the racing cyclists or tell the story of the event? The important thing is to create the image which tells the story you want to show.
- Please send your 3 JPEG images for the “Seascape” set subject competition to George Todd (email address on the front of the syllabus) by Thursday, 4th October 2018.
- Also please note that the entry date for the coloured print competition will be on 25th October 2018. The club needs as many prints as possible for the first 4-way competition on 1st November 2018. If you can submit any of your black and white or human portrait prints at the same time, that would be help us a great deal.
- Our next meeting (Thursday, 4th October 2018) is Photo Advice Night. Please bring 1, 2 or 3 unmounted prints to share with club members. These can be images for which you would like advice or feedback or anything that other members would find interesting.
The club has received the following advertisement from wildlife photographer Laurie Campbell. If you are interested in the workshop, please contact the Harestanes Countryside Centre directly using the telephone number provided, or contact Laurie using the email address he provides below.
I am pleased to announce that on Sunday 23rd September I will be staging a one-day nature workshop in the beautiful surroundings of Harestanes Countryside Centre by Ancrum, close to Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders TD8 6UQ. The venue has conference facilities, an art gallery, wildlife garden and extensive mature woodland that provides easy access to a rich variety of subjects.
The aim of the workshop will be to demonstrate a range of techniques used to photograph nature as creatively as possible with the emphasis being on covering close-up details and landscapes.
With a maximum group size of six, the workshop is open to all, we are confident of offering bespoke tuition to all, whatever their abilities, on a one-to-one basis throughout the day that begins at 9.30am and closes at 5.00pm.
The cost of the workshop, including tuition, all refreshments and lunch is £115.00 and bookings are being taken by the Centre who may be contacted by telephone on 01835 830 306
If you would like more information before making a decision to book, then do please contact us via this email address email@example.com
With best wishes,
A reminder that this weekend is the last opportunity to sign up as a club member for the lecture by well-known wildlife photographer Andy Rouse taking place in Penicuik on 8th November 2018. If you are interested please email Steve Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you haven’t decided yet, you can still buy a ticket when they go on sale to the public, but the tickets may sell out.
The summer has gone by so quickly! I look forward to seeing you all at our opening night at 7:30pm at the Fisherrow Centre on Thursday, 6th September 2018. There is a draft syllabus on the web site (being finalized by Jack as I write this).
In the meantime, the club has a stand at the Musselburgh Communities Day Event, taking place from 11am to 3pm next Saturday, 1st September 2018 at the Brunton Hall. Please come along for a chat. There will be many other clubs and organisations there. Stephen and I would also be grateful for volunteers willing to help look after the stand for short periods.
Martin and Helen Lunden have a set of external computer speakers they no longer need and are offering to club members. They also have some unwanted copies of “Outdoor Photography”. If you are interested please contact Martin at email@example.com.
The club has been made aware of the 2018 “Zero Footprints” charity competition, which is looking for entries on the theme of the environment, the climate and our impact on it. There is an entry fee of £5 to enter one image or £15 to enter up to 4 images in each of 3 categories. Click the following link for details:
The closing date is 15th August 2018, so there is hardly time to book a holiday to an exotic location to capture the kind of images they are looking for, but perhaps you already have something in your collection, or you can find something closer to home?
P.S. We successfully transferred the library exhibition from Prestonpans to Craigmillar this weekend. It’s looking good. Click here for the dates and locations if you would like to see it for yourself.
The club has received the following information about a photographic competition organised by Newhaven Heritage.
I am writing to you on behalf of Newhaven Heritage, a Scottish Registered Charity which is seeking to acquire the iconic Victoria School on Main Street, Newhaven, the oldest working school in Edinburgh, to become a Heritage Centre and community hub when it becomes vacant in 2020 once a new larger school is built on Western Harbour.
In order to publicise our campaign, we are holding a photographic competition which will also result in our producing a calendar to be sold for funds to swell our war chest to help cover the cost of essential professional fees – legal, architect, surveyor, etc.
Newhaven is a photogenic opportunity for the keen photographer and we are looking for the thirteen best landscape pictures to be included in the calendar that shows off the village in all its diversity to fullest advantage. We are contacting local camera clubs such as yours to draw attention to this free competition. At the end of the competition, we will be having a public display of the thirteen finalists, i.e. one image for each month plus a cover shot voted by public acclaim to be the best of show which will earn the talented photographer a voucher valued at £100 from WEX Photo Video.
Click here to see the competition rules and terms and conditions.
Up to five LANDSCAPE format entries per person can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org before August 19, 2018.
I hope this may be of interest to you.
Public Engagement officer
We have just received the following message from Vibrant Musselburgh, who are looking for photographers to cover their arts festival at the Fisherrow Centre this weekend (18th and 19th May 2018). It’s very short notice, but if you are interested the contact details are in the following image:
The Musselburgh Camera Club Annual General Meeting and presentation of prizes will take place in the Fisherrow Centre room G3 at 7:30pm on Thursday, 26th April 2018.
All members should have received a copy of the papers for the meeting. If you were missed and would like a copy of the papers, please email Steven Beard at StevenMBeard@aol.com.
Please come along, have your say in the running of the club and share some end-of-season refreshments with fellow members. There will be a collection box for ideas for next year’s set subject competitions, and there will be some surprises!
Musselburgh Art Club have had to cancel their joint evening with us this Thursday, 8th March. Instead, we will take the opportunity to reschedule the “Movement” set subject competition, which we missed this week because of the bad weather. We had booked the large room (G6) at Fisherrow for the art club meeting but will try to move back to our normal room (G3). If you don’t find us in the usual place, try the other room.
We have received some information about the 8-way interclub competition taking place next Sunday, 8th March. (This is one we referred to as the 12-way, but there are only 8 clubs taking part this year.) The competition takes place at 10.30am to 1pm on Sunday 11th March at the Roslin Masonic Hall, 21 Main Street, Roslin EH25 9LU. Doors open at 10am. There is no parking at the hall itself, but there is on-street parking nearby. Since this is a shorter than usual competition there is no catering planned, but you can bring along your own drinks. The judge is Graeme Webb from Hawick Camera Club.
Click here for a map.