17th February 2020
Digital manipulation of mages has become the normal practice in modern photography. So, for this meeting, Thornbury Camera Club invited members to show not just final images, but the digital processing which led to those images.
Eleven members rose to the challenge. At one end of the scale they offered very basic reframing and adjustments of brightness. At the other we were shown the creation of fantasies which derived as much from the photographer’s imagination as from the camera. There were woodland scenes where seeing an elf peer from behind a mist shrouded tree would not have been a surprise.
Some of the manipulation was the rescue of images which might have been corrected at the taking stage. For example, in one image the result of flash not firing resulted in a seriously underexposed photograph. In this case, the photographer had taken an uncompressd “RAW” image. This was used to show the difference between an image recovered using all the depth of uncompressed RAW data compared with what could be achieved from compressed JPG data. The difference was impressive.
While everyone learned something, it was apparent that members are using many different software editors; not only Photoshop and Lightroom, but also Affinity, Dark Table and Luminar. The lessons from one piece of software were not always applicable to others.
An illuminating and enjoyable evening, but I am still waiting for that elf to put her head round the misty tree.
10th February 2020
Today, Thornbury Camera Club travelled with Eddy Lane (ARPS, DPAGB, EFIAP) and Pam Lane (ARPS, DPAGB, EFIAP) as they journeyed far above the Arctic Circle to Svalbard; just 700 miles from the North Pole. Eddy and Pam are well known for their wildlife photography. In this case the reason for their travel was the polar bear - large, curious and dangerous. Arriving in Longyearbyen in September, photographs showed kindergarten children being escorted by teachers carrying hunting rifles - the bears often visit the centre of town.
As part of a group of ten photographers, Eddy and Pam joined an icebreaker, the “Stockholm”, for the three week trip round the archipelago. Polar bears are often depicted as white in fact they are a yellow-cream colour which contrasts well with the snow. The main problem for the bears is food. There is plenty of other wildlife but walruses have long tusks which can cause serious injury. Safer sources of food are the seals and birds which are faster moving, but less dangerous.
The safety rules said never to approach closer than 50 meters to the walruses. No-one told the walruses! So, by waiting for the animals to come closer, Eddy and Pam shot close-up portraits.
Svalbard is bleak, and dangerous, but it is beautiful. There were days when the sky was dark and the rain falling hard. But there were other days when the sky was blue and the sunlight glinted off the icebergs.
3rd February 2020
This evening, Thornbury Camera Club once again featured two of its own members showing their style of photography. Martin Nimmo and Barbara Gibbons presented. Martin and Barbara are well known within the club; Martin for running the internal competitions and Barbara for maintaining the club website (http://www.thornburycameraclub.co.uk/).
Martin presented first. He started by staying close to home, showing pictures of the Wye valley from Chepstow to Tintern Abbey and beyond. A recurring theme was tourists, whether riding zip wires at speed or making more leisurely progress in hired canoes.
Having meandered along the Wye, Martin’s attention moved abroad, to Berlin Marrakesh, Paris and Vienna. Wherever you go in the modern world there are tourists and, it seems, that wherever you go the tourists are distracted from their surroundings, no matter how spectacular, by the incessant demands of their mobile phones. It makes you wonder why they travel! Martin’s presentation ended with a sequence of images of Thornbury Carnival Parade; lots of cheerful people having fun.
Barbara turns more to wildlife and landscape with a little macro photography thrown in for good measure. As with Martin, Barbara has travelled far. While staying close to home for trips to Scotland and the Lake District she has also visited New Zealand for Whale watching, walking in mountains and admiring glaciers (do so while you can – before they melt). I was particularly interested in her Lake District images as it is an area of the country I know well. While the hills can be spectacular when the sun is out, the area is known for its rain and lowering clouds. In Barbara’s images the dark clouds were there but added interest rather than distracting.
It is always good to see what our own members are doing. They provide ideas for our own images and, just maybe, for next year’s holiday.
January 27th 2020
At Thornbury Camera Club we offer many different attractions for our members. Week by week, outside speakers and competitions appear in the programme. A popular feature is the opportunity for members to show their own photographs. After all, the purpose of photography is to create images and there is little point in creating images and then not showing them off! So it was on this occasion; members were invited to show six images on the general theme of “Two of a Kind”.
Eighteen members rose to the challenge. Each set of six images was projected and the authors asked to say a few words about what attracted them to the picture and to describe any interesting details about the techniques needed to capture them.
Such a general subject gave rise to many interpretations; Teddy Bears alone gave rise to several including one with a dozen bears and the punning title “‘Too’ Many Teddies”! There were people and places, lamp-posts and bollards. Images from the natural world included flowers birds, lambs and deer.
Perhaps one of the more surprising entries was a set of monochrome stills from a film showing two women dancing. The shapes in the images were made from the forms of their long hair shaking as they danced.