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.

 

Message from Mölnlycke Fotoclub

The club has received the following message from Martin Lunden of Mölnlycke Fotoclub.

19 March 2020 (Swedish Inter-club Competition)

Thank you for all the interesting and encouraging comments on the images. We have just looked at them all. Thank you for adding the comments to a PowerPoint presentation as it will make it a lot easier to present it to club members. We don’t know, however, when we will meet next time because of covid-19. If this will take a long time we can share this with the members. It is obvious you have spent quite a lot of time discussing images, so thanks again.

I hope you are all well and that we can stay in touch and be able to visit you in Scotland when this is over.

All the best,
Helen and Martin

Reliving Previous Club Meetings

I hope all our members are staying safe and well. While our club meetings may have been prematurely brought to an end, you can relive our previous meetings by looking up the Chairman’s Comments section of the website. One resource you may find useful is to look up the judge’s comments from previous competitions. Here, for example, are the comments from all the digital projected image competitions over the past 5 years (click on each link to bring up the page):

08 October 2015: Digital Images Competition

29 September 2016 (Digital Images Competition)

12 October 2017 (Digital Projected Images Competition)

11 October 2018 (Digital Projected Images Competition)

03 October 2019 (Digital Projected Images Competition)

The black and white prints sequence is also quite enlightening:

04 February 2016 (Black and White Print Competition)

12 January 2017 (Black and White Print Competition)

08 February 2018 (Black and White Print Competition)

13 December 2018 (Black and White Print Competition)

07 December 2019 (Black and White Print Competition)

Try looking through some of the other past competitions. Comments about distractions in the background and cropping come up again and again, but each judge also provides their own individual expertise and advice.

If you are a newcomer to the club I hope these meeting reports will help you catch up a little with what more established members have learned over the years.

MUSSELBURGH CAMERA CLUB MEETINGS CANCELLED

Dear member,

It is with great regret I have to inform you that Musselburgh Camera Club meetings have been cancelled for the rest of the season. I have been in touch with tomorrow evening’s speaker, Derek Clark, and he fully understands. We hope to rebook him next season so we don’t miss learning about documentary and street photography.

The final set subject competition and the club AGM will be postponed until the summer. I will let you know the dates.

In the meantime, I hope you all stay safe and well and continue to enjoy photography. Even if our meetings have stopped, the club carries on. We can stay in touch.

All the best,

Steven

Photographers needed for school prom on 5th June 2020

The club has been contacted by an S6 pupil from Preston Lodge High School in Prestonpans to find out if any club members would be willing to take some souvenir portraits of the class at their final year school prom at 7:30pm at the Strawberry Barn in Dunbar (near the Thistly Cross roundabout) on 5th June 2020. The pupils would like to be photographed on arrival. I think we will need more than one photographer to photograph them all in a short space of time while they are arriving (luckily it’s June so there should be daylight). The pupils are happy to reimburse expenses, although they can’t afford professional prices. To save time and costs they would be happy to accept digital copies of the photos and make and frame the prints themselves.

If you can help out on 5th June please let Joe or Steven know.

 

Borders Digital Challenge 2020

The Borders Digital Challenge competition takes place on Sunday, 15th March 2020 from 2pm to 5pm at the Tower Mill Cinema, 2 Kirkstile, Hawick, TD9 0AE. The event is being hosted by Hawick Camera Club. Come and see our images projected onto a large screen. The Tower Mill Cinema is part of the Heart of Hawick, and there is a cafe on site. Can we win this competition a 3rd time in a row, and if we do will they let us come back next year?

Click here for information on the venue.

Click here for a map and directions.

The Final Set Subject Competition – Old Faces

Our third and final set subject competition of the season is open for entries. Please send your 3 JPEG images (sized up to 1600 pixels on the longest side and up to 1200 pixels on the shortest side) on the theme of “Old Faces” to George Todd by this Thursday, 5th March 2020. The competition will be judged on 26th March 2020.

Note that this Thursday’s meeting will be in the same large room at Fisherrow where we had the 3-way competition. We will be having a joint evening with Musselburgh Art Club.

27 February 2020 (3-Way Inter-club Competition)

This week Musselburgh Camera Club hosted the first of a new series of 3-way competitions with Beeslack Penicuik Camera Club and Haddington Camera Club. I was disappointed to miss this competition myself, due to a late night at work. I would like to (belatedly) welcome Beeslack and Haddington to Musselburgh and hope they enjoyed the homemade cakes that we usually lay on for such occasions.

The competition was judged by Doug Bernt from Edinburgh Photographic Society. I heard that Doug picked up on every detail that he thought would improve the images submitted. Each club submitted 5 prints and 10 digital images each, and the competition was split into 3 stages: 15 prints followed by the first 15 digital images, then the remaining 15 digital images. Musselburgh Camera Club submitted the best print (Taj Mahal “Before The Crowds”), but Haddington Camera Club submitted the best digital image (The Green Dress).  The final scores were as follows:

The top Musselburgh images were:

  • Taj Mahal “Before The Crowds” (print) – 20 points
  • Tanahun Priest (print) – 19 points
  • Loch Ard Boat (DPI) – 19 points
  • Pelican Reflection (DPI) – 19 points
  • Razorbill (DPI)
  • Magnificent Hummingbird (DPI) – 18 points

Thank you to Doub Bernt and well done to Musselburgh Camera Club for another decisive win!

20 February 2020 (Photographing Scotland)

This week we had the pleasure of welcoming Scottish landscape photographer Dougie Cunningham, author of the popular guidebook “Photographing Scotland“. Dougie began by telling us how he started in photography, which grew out of his love for the outdoors and the satisfaction of capturing those defining moments in life. He shot wedding photographs for friends and worked on photo-shoots for outdoor clothing manufacturers. His full biography can be found on his website, “leading lines”:

https://www.leadinglines.net/bio

Dougie then described how his love for landscape photography turned into a contract to write a guidebook for photographers wanting to capture the best Scotland had to offer.  The book was divided into chapters covering different parts of Scotland. Compiling each chapter became an adventure in itself. Some chapters were completed quickly and some chapters needed many repeated visits to the same location until the weather finally allowed Dougie to capture the shots he wanted. Dougie toured Scotland in a small camper van, which allowed him to sleep in remote locations and wait for the sunrise.  A typical pattern was to capture sunrise and sunset, then drive to the next location and wait for the next sunrise. He would often climb to the top of a mountain and sleep in a tent at the top, hoping to capture a striking sunrise shot from the summit, only to wake in the morning after an uncomfortable night to the sound of horizontal rain lashing against the side of his tent. But Dougie learned during the project to make use of every opportunity; not to let tiredness put you off when the light is right, and not to let waking up to bad weather put you off. On some occasions the weather had cleared enough by the time Dougie set up his equipment to capture an atmospheric post-storm mountain sunrise. He found the project itself gave him the inspiration to keep going. In landscape photography it helps to give yourself a goal.  Members were transfixed for an hour and a half, when Dougie showed one spectacular Scottish landscape image after another.  Some of these images can be seen in Dougie’s flickr collection:

https://www.flickr.com/people/oldnotbold/

Dougie described some of his photography techniques. He tries to capture scenery as you would find it, so his photographs are not digitally manipulated (apart from graduated filters and tone corrections). If a lamp post happens to be in an inconvenient place, so be it. But this rule helps Dougie think about the composition of his images, capturing iconic landmarks from unusual angles to avoid the distractions. Dougie encouraged photographers to find new ways of capturing popular scenes. It is understandable for a someone visiting a place for their one and only time to play safe and capture the usual postcard shot, but if you have a chance to visit more than once it pays to experiment and find a new view unique to yourself.  Dougie’s book can be found in most bookshops, such as those below:

Amazon;  W H Smith; Waterstones;  Blackwells

Now we just need to save up and buy that camper van…

 

 

13 February 2020 (Set Subject Competition – Wildlife)

This week we had the second of our 3 set subject competitions; this one on the theme of “Wildlife”.  Jim Todd had won last year’s “Abstract” competition but, as he was already judging the “Travel” competition, the judging passed to me in second place. Wildlife photography is one of the most strictly-defined categories. A commonly accepted definition is

Wildlife photography is a genre of photography concerned with documenting various forms of wildlife in their natural habitat.

Competitions such as the International Wildlife Photographer of the Year or Scottish Nature Photography Awards define strict rules along the lines of:

  • The photograph must include a wild creature and not a pet, a tame or farm animal. The creature must also be alive.
  • The photograph must be taken in the wild and not in a zoo, farmyard or any place where animals are in captivity.  N.B. A local park or garden is regarded as a wild place.
  • You must not manipulate the photograph in any way which changes the environment or animal but you are allowed to correct what the camera has done to the image. Cropping, colour correction, brightness and contrast correction, dodging, burning and removal of dust spots is allowed but cloning out distractions or composing composite images is not. Organisers will want to see the original RAW file from your camera as proof. So, if you capture a fantastic wildlife shot and are considering entering it for one of these competitions, keep your RAW file.

The club competition was not judged as strictly as these competitions. All images were accepted. Judging what was wild lead to a few controversial decisions: Is that curled up animal a domesticated cow or a wild deer? Did the photographer stalk that tiger, take a close-up photograph and survive, or was the image taken in a zoo? There were 45 images entered by 15 members. It was a hard competition to judge because all the images were good in some way. The strongest images were the ones which captured a wild animal showing natural behaviour, and where the background showed the environment but wasn’t too distracting from the subject. Photographs taken at eye level gave more engagement with the viewer than ones pointing downwards or upwards (although Mike Clark showed that rule could be broken with a shot of a Sparrowhawk looking directly down from a tree at the photographer). Cropping too tightly was a common fault. Some images were also take in harsh lighting. Correcting the exposure, dodging and burning can help some of these images, but choosing a cloudy day rather than bright sunshine would help capture a better image in camera.

The top-scoring images were

  • Red Squirrel (Jennifer Davidson) – 20 points
  • Where’s Dinner? (Joe Fowler) – 19 points
  • Female Green-Breasted Mango (Anne Yeomans) – 19 points
  • Robin Redbreast (Jennifer Davidson) – 18 points
  • Queens Of The Road (George Todd) – 18 points
  • Sparrowhawk Eyes Locked On (Mike Clark) – 18 points

The highest scorers were:

  • 5th place (47 points)
    • George Todd
  • 4th place (48 points)
    • Malcolm Roberts
  • 3rd place (50 points)
    • Mike Clark
  • 2nd = place (52 points)
    • Joe Fowler
    • Anne Yeomans
  • 1st place (55 points)
    • Jennifer Davidson

Well done to Jennifer Davidson, who wins the privilege of judging next year’s competition. The league table after two competitions has narrowed and now looks like this:

George Todd (55 + 47 = 102)
Joe Fowler (49 + 52 = 101)
Mike Clark (51 + 50 = 101)
Anne Yeomans (47 + 52 = 99)
Malcolm Roberts (50 + 48 = 98)
Lorraine Roberts (49 + 45 = 94)
Gordon Davidson (49 + 45 = 94)

Only 4 points separate the top 4 places, so there is everything to play for.  Entries for the final set-subject competition (on the theme of “Old Faces”) are due on 5th March 2020. Best of luck everyone!