Prints needed for display at the Fisherrow Centre

Joe Fowler has obtained some picture frames we can use to restore our display of photographs on the wall of room G3 at the Fisherrow Centre. We now need a selection of interesting recent photographs from members to show off the work of the club.

If you have any photographs you would like displayed, please bring a print to the next club meeting and give it to Joe Fowler. The frames can take up to A3-sized prints. You can either bring in an A3 print to fit the frame without a mount, or bring in an A4 print and Joe will cut a mount to suit the frame. We are looking for about 6-10 images from as many members as possible.

20 January 2022 (Underwater Photography)

This week member Mike Clark gave us a talk on his experiences with underwater photography. Mike had given us a taster of his underwater work more than a year ago at our “International Dutch Members Evening”, which we enjoyed so much we asked him to give this full presentation. We were joined by Mike’s new fans from the Netherlands: Hans van der Boom and Denise Gielen.

Just like our previous underwater speaker, David Keep, Mike had also been inspired by watching “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau”. Mike began the evening by showing us his equipment. Mike fits his camera into a waterproof housing which lets him operate his Nikon DSLR camera underwater. The housing has a spherical transparent outer shell which gives even wide-angle lenses a panoramic view. Cleverly placed levers and mechanisms allow Mike to operate the controls of his camera from outside the housing. The housing is fitted with two strobe lights and flotation tanks, which can be manoeuvred on flexible arms. Mike usually operates the strobe lights at less than the maximum brightness because their battery life is limited. Most of the camera’s automatic systems don’t work properly underwater, so Mike needs to adjust the settings manually. Underwater photography requires a lot of concentration, since Mike not only has to watch out for photographic opportunities and adjust his equipment, but he also needs to monitor his air, depth and diving time.

Mike went on to show us a video presentation describing different aspects of his underwater photography. Most of the photographs had been taken around the coastline of Scotland. There were impressive shots of marine wildlife: from seals and monkfish, to squid and colourful sea slugs, ending with sharks and a truly gigantic skate! There were beautiful marine landscapes with delicate anemones and fish. There were also were ship-wrecks with barnacle-encrusted, twisted metal shapes, with a ladder leading invitingly into a dark and dangerous hold from which some divers have never returned. Mike also included some of his signature images: stunning split shots showing a shark or seal underwater together with the diving boat and fellow divers. If you are interested you can see more of Mike’s work on his web site or Flickr photostream (below):

Mike Clark’s Flikr Photostream

Thank you very much, Mike, for preparing and giving us this presentation. It was very well received, and the Zoom chat was full of admiration for the stunning photographs shown. Best of luck with your future underwater adventures.

Two different image submissions this week

The next Musselburgh Camera Club meeting will be at 7:30 on Thursday, 13th January 2022. This meeting will be an informal “Christmas Members Evening”, where we will discuss our Christmas-themed images and vote on our favourites. George Todd will be presenting the evening, so please email George JPEGs of your 3 Christmas-themed images by this Thursday morning. (Note that images sent on Thursday afternoon might not make it before George travels to Fisherrow.)

We have two different image submissions this week. George is also collecting images for the second set subject competition on the theme of “Travel In Scotland”. Please also send George 3 JPEG copies of your “Travel In Scotland” images by this Thursday.

06 January 2022 (Set Subject Competition – Reflections)

Our first club meeting after Christmas was the first of our 3 set subject competitions: competition A on the subject of “Reflections”.  The competition was judged by Malcolm Roberts, who had won last year’s competition.

27 images had been entered by 9 members, with different techniques used to capture the reflection. There were images of reflections in lochs, harbours and rivers; and reflections in windows and shiny floors.  Jennifer Davidson had used a puddle to capture a unique reflected view of the Kelpies and Carol Edmond had captured flowers reflected in a mirror and glass table.  But perhaps the most intriguing image was John West’s photograph of a reflection in a spoon.  Malcolm awarded the highest points to the most atmospheric images taken in the best lighting and with the fewest distractions, and Mike Clark’s beautiful “Misty Morning Loch Ard” was admired by all.  Malcolm noted that some of the images had lost detail in the shadows or highlights. He also suggested cropping some images to home in on the detail, or using a different viewpoint to balance the composition (which isn’t always possible when standing on a balcony or next to water).

The top scorers were (in reverse order):

  • 5th place (47 points)
    • George Todd
  • 4th place (48 points)
    • John West
  • 3rd place (49 points)
    • Steven Beard
    • Carol Edmund
  • 2nd place (50 points)
    • Mike Clark
  • 1st place (52 points)
    • Joe Fowler

The top images were:

  • Misty Morning Loch Ard (Mike Clark) – 20 points
  • Island Reflection (Joe Fowler) – 19 points
  • Painterly Reflection (John West) – 18 points
  • Little Mandarin Duck (Joe Fowler) – 17 points
  • Disney Castle (Steven Beard) – 17 points
  • Granton Harbour (Steven Beard) – 17 points
  • Floral Reflection (Carol Edmund) – 17 points

Well done to Joe Fowler, who wins the right to judge next year’s competition.  This is the first of a 3-part competition, with the final result depending on the total score from the best 2 competitions. The observant will notice that only 1 point separates the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places, so at this stage everybody is still in with a chance.

Please note that the image hand-in date for part 2 of this competition (on the theme of “Travel In Scotland”) is this coming Thursday, 13th January 2022. Please send your 3 JPEG images to George Todd.  Images for the final part of the competition (on the theme of “Street Photography”) are due on 3rd March 2022.

Happy New Year! Next meeting Thursday, 6th January 2022.

A Happy New Year to all Musselburgh Camera Club members!

Our first meeting of the new year takes place this coming Thursday, 6th January at the usual time of 7:30pm in the Fisherrow Centre (and by Zoom). Malcolm Roberts will be judging the first of our set subject competitions on the theme of “reflections”.

Don’t forget this Thursday is also the submission date for our human portrait print competition, which this time will be a proper print competition. If you are coming to Fisherrow this Thursday, please bring your mounted prints with you. If you are planning to join by Zoom, please contact George and arrange a mutually convenient hand-over. Please also send George JPEG copies of the images you are entering. The competition will be judged by Gordon Scott on 27th January 2022. It has been a long time since we had a full competition with mounted prints, so this will be a chance to get back into practice.

See you on Thursday.

Change of Programme for 13th January 2022 & Human Portrait Competition

Sadly, we have had to cancel the “Match an Image” competition scheduled for 13th January 2022. After taking suggestions from members this week, we have decided to make 13th January a themed members’ evening. Everyone is encouraged to take some Christmas-themed photographs during the festive season and send up to 3 JPEGs to George Todd. George will shuffle them and show them on 13th January for comments and feedback. The event will be similar to our socially-distanced photoshoot roundup last year.

George is going to contact Gordon Scott and suggest that we make the “Human Portrait Print” competition a true print competition this year. This will give members a chance to practice and get feedback on their printing and mounting skills. You can either bring your prints to the Fisherrow Centre on 6th January or can arrange with George to hand them over at a convenient location. Don’t forget to send George 3 JPEGs as well.

I hope you all have a happy, successful and enjoyable Christmas break.


Set Subject Competition A (Reflections) – Images Due This Thursday

A reminder that this Thursday, 9th December 2021, is the submission date for the first of our set subject competitions. Please send your 3 JPEG images on the theme of “reflections” to George Todd ( Remember to resize your images to be no larger than 1600 x 1200 pixels.

The competition itself will be judged by Malcolm Roberts on 6th January 2022.

02 December 2021 (Black and White Print Competition)

Our black and white print competition took place on 2nd December 2021.  Like the colour print competition judged earlier in the year, this competition was also judged digitally. The competition was judged by Gordon McMann CAPGB of Queens Park Camera Club, Glasgow.

15 members had entered 45 images altogether. There were landscape shots, some shots of local architecture and artwork, a selection of portraits, some sporting action shots, and a few shots of flowers and wildlife.  Gordon commented on the impact and composition of each image. In some cases there was a loss of detail in the highlights or the shadows, and in other cases the dynamic range had been compressed so the image lacked contrast. Gordon recommended solving both of these problems by dodging and burning. The photographer can “paint” regions of brightness or shadow onto the image to enhance some areas and dampen others. Some of the portraits could have been improved by this method: brightening the face while darkening the light shining through a window; darkening the shadows under the chin to enhance the contrast and give the image more depth. While a lack of contrast can make an image seem flat, so can a blank background.  A portrait or flower image on a plain background can look two-dimensional. Carol Edmond’s image “Dying Roses” was an example of a background that worked. The subtle gradient of tone in the background maintained the depth in the image. Gordon also warned photographers to beware of photographing artwork, like the Kelpies, where the sky shows through the holes. If you darken the sky you need to darken everything shining through the holes as well.  Also, watch out for odd shapes at the edge of the artwork where the shadows don’t look right.  One of the most striking images in the competition was Kevin Johnson’s abstract portrait called “Neg”.  A portrait of a model with a tattoo had been boldly presented as a negative black and white image.

Gordon had classified the images into commended (16 points), highly commended (17 points) and then 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The top images were:

  • Highly commended (17 points)
    • In Control (Jennifer Davidson)
    • The Cove (Jennifer Davidson)
    • What a Scramble (Joe Fowler)
    • Nepali Priest (George Todd)
    • Dramatic Sky over East Neuk (Gordon Davidson)
    • Kelpies (Gordon Davidson)
    • Dying Roses (Carol Edmond)
  • Top 3 images
    • Watching for Danger (Charlie Briggs) – 18 points
    • Emotion 2 (Malcolm Roberts) – 19 points
    • Dreaming of Days Gone By (George Todd) – 20 points

When the points were added up, the top scorers were revealed to be (in reverse order):

  • 5th place (46 points)
    • Charlie Briggs
    • Jennifer Davidson
  • 4th place (48 points)
    • Joe Fowler
    • Mike Clark
  • 3rd place (49 points)
    • Malcolm Roberts
    • Carol Edmond
  • 2nd place (50 points)
    • Gordon Davidson
  • 1st place (52 points)
    • George Todd

Congratulations to George Todd, Gordon Davidson, Malcolm Roberts and Carol Edmund. Next week we have our second members evening, and our last meeting at Fisherrow before Christmas. Jennifer Davidson, George Todd and Gavin Marshall will be presenting their work.

See you on Thursday,


29 November 2021 (4 Way Inter-Club Competition)

The 4-way inter-club competition between Musselburgh, KirkcaldyStirling & Edinburgh took place on Monday, 29th November 2021. The meeting was hosted by Edinburgh Photographic Society via Zoom. Some Musselburgh Camera Club members joined the meeting by Zoom and the rest watched the competition from the Fisherrow Centre. Unfortunately, the Zoom format meant we couldn’t socialise with the other clubs over tea and biscuits as we normally do.

Each club had submitted 15 digital images, making a grand total of 60 images. The images were judged by Campbell Skinner, who is based in Greenock. Campbell commented on the composition and quality of the images presented. He suggested that many of the images could be improved by an increase in contrast to make them more punchy. Some of the compositions could be improved by cropping more tightly on the subject, whereas other compositions had the subject too close to the edge. Campbell suggested using the “content aware fill” facility in Photoshop to add extra background to an over-tight composition.

There were several examples of the clubs submitting similar images. There were two examples of white water canoeing, images of interacting birds, empty streets photographed during lockdown, and several flower images. In each of the cases when Musselburgh had a similar image, the other club’s image had a better background, was sharper or had a punchier contrast. Musselburgh had submitted some good images, but this year the other clubs submitted better ones. The final scores were:

  • 1st place: Edinburgh Photographic Society, 273 points.
  • 2nd place: Stirling and District Camera Club, 257 points.
  • 3rd place: Kirkcaldy Photographic Society, 260 points.
  • 4th place: Musselburgh Camera Club, 247 points.

None of our images were awarded 20 points this year, but the following images came close:

  • Cheeky Fox Cub (Mike Clark) – 18 points.
  • Stylish (Carol Edmund) – 19 points
  • Mountain Gem Humming Bird (George Todd) – 19 points

Well done to Mike, Carol and George for keeping up the good standard. Commiserations to everyone who had an image in this competition. The scoring was the exact reverse of the 4-way competition from 2019. We have won this competition several times in the past, and we can do it again in the future.

4 Way Inter-Club Competition this Monday

The 4-way inter-club competition between Musselburgh, KirkcaldyStirling & Edinburgh takes place this coming Monday, 29th November at 7:30pm.

The meeting is being hosted by Edinburgh Photographic Society via Zoom. Information on how to connect to the meeting has been circulated to members separately. Musselburgh Camera Club members can choose to connect to the Zoom meeting from home or join us at the Fisherrow Centre, where we will be showing the meeting on the screen.

Come along this Monday and support your club.