14 January 2020 (Human Portrait Print Competition)

This week we had the digital replacement for our human portrait print competition. The competition was judged by Simon Wooton of Midlothian Camera Club. Click on the link below to see Simon’s gallery of landscape, sport and wildlife images.

Simon Wooton’s image gallery.

13 members had entered 38 digital images of people. There were portraits of individuals and group portraits. The group portraits worked better when they told a story of people interacting together, rather than just people who happened to be standing near to each other.  A group of people taking a selfie in the botanical gardens while their baby looks away bored out of shot told a story, as did the shot of two tired young girls in stained and crumpled party dresses sitting on the doorstep.  Simon particularly liked the shots of happy people enjoying life, as an antidote to the current situation. He expected shots taken in a studio to have a higher technical quality than spontaneous shots made in the street. Some portraits had distracting accessories, and Simon recommended hiding shoulder straps from bags that were not visible and removing objects that poked out from behind someone’s head. In some shots harsh lighting had lost detail in the highlights, or had cast a shadow onto the eyes, while other dull shots could be improved with a levels adjustment. Focussing and sharpness were an issue for some shots. It was important to focus on the subject and avoid camera shake, but also important not to oversharpen facial features. The framing of each image was important, and Simon suggested a tighter crop or a different placement of the background in some shots. Despite his enjoyment of the group shots, it was the individual portraits that won the day.

The top scorers were (in reverse order):

  • 5th place (47 points)
    • Gordon Davidson
    • Gavin Marshall
  • 4th place (49 points)
    • Steven Beard
  • 3rd place (50 points)
    • Joe Fowler
    • Steve Williams
  • 2nd place (51 points)
    • Mike Clark
  • 1st place (54 points)
    • George Todd
    • Carol Edmund

The top images were:

  • An Old Gentleman (Carol Edmund) – 20 points
  • Temple Boy (George Todd) – 19 points
  • I’m in Trouble (Mike Clark) – 19 points
  • Prabhu – Temple Warden (George Todd) – 18 points
  • The Joker (Mike Clark) – 18 points
  • The Basket Weaver (Steve Williams) – 18 points
  • Black Lives Matter (Carol Edmund) – 18 points

Well done to George Todd and an especially warm well done to Carol Edmund, who wins a trophy in only her second year at the club.

07 January 2020 (Set Subject Competition – Nature and Wildlife)

The second half of our 2020-2021 season opened with the first of our 3 set subject competitions: competition A on the subject of “Nature and Wildlife”. The competition was judged by Joe Fowler, one of last year’s winners.

45 images had been entered by 15 members.  Unlike last year’s competition on the theme of “Wildlife”, this year’s “Nature” category covers a wider variety of subjects showing or representing the natural environment. There were a lot of bird images, photographs of insects on flowers, some farm animals and a selection of other animals and plants.  Joe commented on composition, exposure and sharpness of each image. Some of the images were spoiled by distractions which Joe recommended the author clone out by copying textures from elsewhere in the image. Sticks, bright blobs and foreground blades of grass were notable distractions. Some images were a little overexposed, due to capturing them in full sunlight, which had burned out the highlights.  Joe recommended cloning texture to recover detail in lost highlights and using the dodge tool to bring up detail that had been lost in shadow. The best images were the ones that were well-framed, well-lit, had fewer distractions, were sharp in the right places but showed some movement where expected.

The top scorers were (in reverse order):

  • 5th place (49 points)
    • Carol Edmund
  • 4th place (50 points)
    • Mike Clark
  • 3rd place (53 points)
    • George Todd
    • Gordon Davidson
    • Anne Yeomans
  • 2nd place (54 points)
    • Steve Williams
  • 1st place (56 points)
    • Malcolm Roberts

The top images were:

  • Green Violet-Ear Hummingbird (Steve Williams) – 20 points
  • Puffin With Sandeels (Anne Yeomans) – 20 points
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker (Malcolm Roberts) – 19 points
  • Nuthatch (Malcolm Roberts) – 19 points
  • Hornbill at Sunset (George Todd) – 19 points
  • Hover Fly (Gordon Davidson) – 19 points

Well done to Malcolm Roberts, who wins the right to judge next year’s competition.

This is the first in a 3-part competition. The next instalments are “Landscapes” (hand-in date 21st January 2021) and “Flowers and Horticulture” (hand-in date 4th March 2021). The final result depends on the total score from the best 2 competitions, with Malcolm, Steve, George, Gordon and Anne now standing at the top of the league table.

10 December 2020 (Black and White Print Competition)

On Thursday, 10th December we had our virtual replacement for the black and white print competition. The competition was judged by Doug Berndt of Edinburgh Photographic society.  15 members had entered a total of 60 JPEG images. Doug explained that his job as judge was to put the images in a pecking order, and every judge has their own opinion. He judged each image on its composition, impact and story, together with any technical issues; although minor technical issues wouldn’t prevent a great image getting a good mark. He also judged how much creative input each photographer had used to make each image.

There were wildlife, nature, still life, landscape and portrait images, and some photographs of urban architecture. Doug commented on the overall sharpness and depth of field of each image, as well as its exposure and contrast. Some images could be improved by increasing the local contrast to cover a wider range of grey levels, as long as detail isn’t lost from the shadows or highlights. He also commented on the geometry and the textures each photographer had captured, or attempted to capture. For some of the urban shots he speculated whether a different viewpoint could have created a stronger image. Some macro shots needed a larger depth of field to capture more detail, and some shots had been over-sharpened. Doug also pointed out bright distractions which could be darkened, and suggested a vignette to pull attention away from the edge of the edge of a shot and back to a central subject. But Doug was impressed by the overall quality of the entries and awarded a lot of high marks.

The top scorers were (in reverse order):

  • 5th place (49 points)
    • Steven Beard
    • John West
  • 4th place (50 points)
    • Sean Conner
    • Gordon Davidson
  • 3rd place (52 points)
    • Jennifer Davidson
  • 2nd place (53 points)
    • Mike Clark
    • Steve Williams
    • Elaine Gilroy
    • Carol Edmund
  • 1st place (55 points)
    • Joe Fowler
    • George Todd
    • Anne Yeomans

The top images were:

  • Withered Rose (Elaine Gilroy) – 20 points (and Doug’s best image of the night)
  • Eyes Front (George Todd) – 20 points
  • Hurricane (Mike Clark) – 20 points
  • Reflections (Carol Edmund) – 20 points
  • Otter with Dogfish (Anne Yeomans) – 20 points
  • The Farrier (Joe Fowler) – 19 points
  • The Forge (Joe Fowler) – 19 points
  • Storm over Lisbon (Steve Williams) – 19 points
  • Hands (John West) – 19 points

Well done to Joe, George and Anne for their joint win, and well done to Mike, Steve, Elaine, Carol and Jennifer, who all win medals. It looks like the club will have to increase its medal budget!

12 November 2020 (Colour Print Competition)

This week we had our virtual replacement for the colour print competition. Members submitted the images they would have used as colour prints digitally. The competition was judged by Fiona Brims of Stirling and District Camera Club. You can see some of Fiona’s work at the link below.

https://www.fionabrimsphotography.co.uk/

Fiona was unable to join us by Zoom, so George Todd read out her comments. Fiona began with a letter telling us that judging the images had been difficult because there had been so many good entries. She had had to be pernickety in her judging to separate these images, but she explained this was just one person’s judgement. She was born in Musselburgh and was delighted to be judging for her old home town.

54 images had been entered altogether. There were landscapes, portraits, photographs of birds (which Fiona recognised by name from the World of Wings bird of prey centre) and close-ups of flowers and cacti. There were also some imaginative abstract images, some of which Fiona felt were more digital art than digital photography. Fiona commented on the composition and technical execution of each image. There were some images where a longer shutter speed could have given a more dynamic image of a moving target by adding motion blur, and there were other images of moving water where a shorter shutter speed would have prevented burn out. Some of the close-up images could have been improved by a smaller aperture and larger depth of field. Some images were let down by dust marks, noisy backgrounds or editing mistakes. Fiona didn’t like the ivory borders that some members had used and recommended that digital images should have borders no wider than 3 pixels.

The top scorers were (in reverse order):

  • 5th place (46 points)
    • Gordon Davidson
  • 4th place (48 points)
    • Sean Conner
  • 3rd place (50 points)
    • Joe Fowler
    • Malcolm Roberts
    • Steven Beard
    • Steve Williams
  • 2nd place (52 points)
    • George Todd
    • Mike Clark
    • Anne Yeomans
  • 1st place (53 points)
    • Jennifer Davidson

The top images were:

  • Rattray Head at Dusk (Steve Williams) – 20 points
  • Sparrowhawk (Jennifer Davidson) – 19 points
  • Pool Room (Joe Fowler) – 19 points
  • Hover Fly on Flower (Malcolm Roberts) – 19 points
  • Brown Hare Grazing (George Todd) – 19 points
  • Incoming (Mike Clark) – 19 points
  • Northern Gannet (Anne Yeomans) – 18 points

The fact that the top images are spread between so many members shows the consistent quality of the entries. Well done everyone, and an especially well done to Jennifer Davidson, who wins the trophy. My apologies to Anne Yeomans, whose superb image of a gannet catching a fish in mid air would have done better without the ivory border I had provided in my earlier post.

08 October 2020 (Digital Projected Images Competition)

This week the club had its first competition of the season, and the first ever competition judged virtually from our own homes. We were pleased to welcome Dougie Allan from Beeslack Penicuik Camera Club. Dougie also took the opportunity to show us some more of his impressive drone photography.

There were 54 images altogether, covering a wide range of different subjects. The pictures included landscapes, sporting events, portraits, wildlife, flowers and some interesting abstracts. Dougie commented on the composition, sharpness, focus and depth of field of each image. There were some lovely compositions which were not sharp and some sharp images that were let down by distracting elements in the composition. A shallow depth of field can be good at reducing distractions from background objects, but it doesn’t help if those distracting objects are brightly coloured (like a red mushroom or a yellow wheel). Some images needed a larger depth of field to keep more of the subject in focus and some images could have been improved with a longer exposure time (to add motion blur or to blur the water). Dougie also mentioned that some images, where the subject was dark against a light background, could have been improved by adding light from a flash or reflector. There were also some fantastic shots where all the elements worked, and these images gained the highest marks. The virtual nature of the presentation, with everyone muted, meant the top scorers didn’t get the loud applause they all deserved. The top scorers were (in reverse order):

  • 5th place (51 points)
    • John West
  • 4th place (53 points)
    • Mike Clark
  • 3rd place (54 points)
    • Joe Fowler
    • Steven Beard
  • 2nd place (57 points)
    • Gordon Davidson
  • 1st place (58 points)
    • GeorgeTodd

The top images were:

  • Making a Splash (Joe Fowler) – 20 points
  • Hare on the Move (George Todd) – 20 points
  • Calton Hill (Gordon Davidson) – 20 points
  • Making an Exhibition of Yourself (Steven Beard) – 19 points
  • Tearing up the Track (George Todd) – 19 points
  • Taking the Last Jump (George Todd) – 19 points
  • Forth Bridge at Sunrise (Gordon Davidson) – 19 points
  • Royal Highland Show (Steven Beard) – 18 points
  • Roe Deer Buck Portrait (Mike Clark) – 18 points
  • Shipwreck Sunset (Mike Clark) – 18 points
  • Wallace Monument at Dawn (Gordon Davidson) – 18 points
  • Stretching Time (John West) – 18 points

Well done to George Todd for winning the competition with only 2 points short of a perfect score.  And well done to everybody else who entered. There was an improvement in image quality across the board this year. A newcomer who is improving today can be a winner of the future.

Next week we will go through the competition images a second time, with more opportunity for feedback and questions.

Welcome to the 2015-2016 Season

It was good to see everyone at the open night on September 3rd, and I was delighted to chat to some potential new members over a cup of tea. I hope we can make them feel welcome. Thank you to all the committee members (and others) who helped to prepare the room.

We have an interesting and varied syllabus coming up. Click here for a syllabus listing. The syllabus includes 3 slots for members to show their work to the club. The first slot is on 1st October (followed by 5th November and 7th April  2016). You could be the first members to try out our shiny new projector! So if you have something interesting to show us (have you had a holiday somewhere interesting, been to an interesting event, learned a new technique, bought a new piece of equipment, etc…) please let Kenny Sharp know. We can have presentations from more than one member per evening, so you don’t need to fill the time on your own.

This year we have a competition every calendar month. Click here for competition dates and rules. Ask George Todd if you have questions. The session begins with the Digital Images competition. Submission of images is on 17th September, with the judging taking place on 8th October. This is the easiest competition to enter. Any subject is accepted, and you don’t need to print or mount the images. Find three of your best images and send them to George as JPEG files. (George has offered to help beginners to resize their images.)

The second competition is the Colour Print competition, with submission on 8th October and judging on 29th October. This is also an open competition, with any subject acceptable. Charlie Briggs can advise you how to mount your prints. Since the Digital Images and Colour Print are both open competitions, a good way to begin the year is to find your 6 best images. I usually make test prints to decide which ones look better as prints and which ones look better on the screen.

Some dates for your diary:

See you next Thursday evening.

Steven.

Club Meeting 18.04.13

Last night brought our current weekly session to an end with our AGM taking place and the presentation of trophies to the members who achieved the highest marks in the club competitions.

We had a number of new officers and committee members voted onto the committee, so I am looking forward to working with them and developing new ideas etc to make further improvements to the club.

Congratulation to all the trophy winners, details will soon be on the web site, together with a group ‘mug shot’.

The syllabus has been set up for next session, with the first meeting starting on Thursday 5th of September, details are on the web site. We hope that you will find it of interest and for it to be an aid to develop your interest and skills in this fascinating hobby of photography.

Meantime we will continue with our workshops, with the next Photoshop Workshop on Tuesday 21st May. Please make an effort to attend this as impute is required to see how this workshop can be developed further, Jim Todd has some training videos that we would like to ‘lend’ to you. So please do not miss out on this opportunity. If you cannot make this date, please let me have your ideas as to the way forward, members impute is vital.

Other dates for your diary:-

            Joe Fowler is running further workshops on the last Saturday of each month at Southfields Stationers – the first on 27th April 10-Noon. If you are interest or want more details contact him on:- fingalfowler@aol.com.

            The Museum of Flight at East Fortune are holding another ‘Wartime Experience’

            on Sunday 12th May – a great photo opportunity. See their web site:-

            http://www.nms.ac.uk/our_museums/museum_of_flight.aspx

For those who are not on the library rota, please visit one of the libraries, details on the web site under ‘Coming Up’

The Set Subject competition subjects were voted on last night with:-

            Colour Print              Street photography.

            Digital Projection     Night photography

So with festival coming up there will be plenty of material to work at. Please also start to think about the other club competitions, details on the web. With a camera and a little imagination start to fill the ‘cards’ and with the help of the workshops start to craft some satisfying images, but best of all – enjoy what you are doing.

I will try to keep in touch as ideas and opportunities arise.

Clive

Club Meeting 11.04.13

I hope that some members picked up a few ideas and motivation to develop their skill in respect of macro photography. An interesting aspect which takes patience and an aim to get full and sharp detail of the subject, it just takes a bit of initative and experiment.

Next week will be the last meeting of this session, so if you have not yet done so, please bring in a couple of prints for consideration for  the library exhibition.

On next Tuesday 16th April will be a further Photoshop Workshop, well worth coming along to, no need to book, just turn up, with a laptop if you have one.

Our last meeting on Thursday 18th April will be in two parts, the first being the statutory AGM. We strive to make all members to be fully part of the club so please make an effort to attend. Also members will be asked to come up with two subjects for the ‘Set Subject’ competition, so please give this some though and make your suggestions at the meeting which will then be voted on.

The second part of the meeting will be the presentation to the club’s winning members of trophies and medals, followed by ‘some nibbles’.

So I look forward to seeing full support and turnout of members.

 

Clive

 

Club Meeting 04.04.13

We welcomed Kirkcaldy Camera Club last night for our annual inter-club competition. Neil Scott – who gave us such an interesting & enlightening talk in January on his topic ‘A silk Purse from a Sow’s Ear’, was the judge. Owing to the distance involved Neil agreed to judge the images ‘on the hoof’, so ‘first impressions’ was what was going to count.

There were ten prints and ten projected images from each club and although Neil said that they were all of high standard, he was going to judge them against each other and therefore the marks would be awarded on the basis of quality of the better images. This would result in some images getting a lower mark if they had been marked on their own merits.

The end result was that Musselburgh received five marks more for the projected images but fell behind in the prints, thus Kirkcaldy CC took first place with a total of 334 points to MCC’s of 322.

Liz and her team had provided a ‘winning’ layout of refreshments, so we were able to give a high quality of hospitality to the victors.

Next week I propose do a session on macro photography – a brief Power Point and then a workshop. Please bring along your camera and a tripod.

Also if you have any camera equipment you want to sell, bring it along and perhaps members may be interested – I suggest that you put a label on it with your name and club number, so items do not get mixed up. It will be up to you to do the ‘negotiation’ and ‘sales pitch’.

Joe has arranged the visit to the Deer Park this Sunday – if you want to go along please send an e mail to him – fingalfowler@aol.com – regarding arrangements.

The next Photoshop Workshop will be held on Tuesday 16th April, so please come along as we all need to raise our skills  so that we can produce more ‘winning images’.

Clive