18th May 2020
As the Thornbury Camera Club season comes to a close, the club was left with the problem of how to hold its fifth and final competition. Usually, the judge would visit the club. Prints and projected images would then be shown and the judge would comment. Due to lockdown, the judge could not visit and prints could not be displayed. The solution was for the judge to provide written comments, and for those who would have presented prints to submit them as projected images but for the scores to be added to the print scores from previous rounds.
The judge in this case was Rob Heslop LRPS from the Forest of Dean.
So, 38 members convened on Zoom to see the images displayed on their screens and for the judges comments to be read out by the club’s Competition Secretary Martin Nimmo.
In the print section Dean Packer came first and third with “Yasaka Pagoda” and “Family Portrait”. Steve Wells came second with “Birds in the Mist”. Commended and Highly Commended images came from George Collett, Mike Ashfield, Dean Packer and Joseph Weaving.
In the projected image section, Mike Ashfield came first with “Ferry on Derwent Water”. Second place went to George Collett with “It’s My Fish”. In third place with “Wistful Geisha” was Dean Packer. Commended and Highly Commended images came from Alicia Thomas, Brian McBride, Dean Packer, George Collett, Andy Gillingham, Mervyn Reed, Mike Ashfield, Janet Mann, Malcolm Rea and Rodney Crabb.
11th May 2020
As the Lockdown continues, Thornbury Camera Club met again using the Zoom conferencing service. This time, 41 members joined in to hear one of our members, George Collett, talking about his travels in India. This was the second part of George’s description of his travels to photograph wildlife, particularly birds.
The part of the journey started in Keoladeo National Park about 40km west of Agra in the north of India. Here were Herons, Cormorants, Storks and Ibis as well as vultures and eagles. Some of the smaller birds were similar to those found in the UK. Others, however, were similar in name only; for example, a robin with a blue breast!
Animals included deer (about the size of a European Red Deer) and monkeys.
Throughout his talk George illustrated not only the animals and birds, but the people. Keoladeo is in the Indian state of Rajasthan whose people have a reputation for the bright colours of their clothing. This was demonstrated to the full at a Baraat in Agra. A Baraat is a Hindu celebration which precedes a wedding; normally at a full moon. As well as the colour, the noise (aka music) filled the air – drums and trumpets supplementing the amplified recordings.
Returning to the photography of wildlife, George travelled to the Chambal River. This large, wide river is home to marsh crocodiles and fish-eating gharial crocodiles. People and animals seemed all to be at one in the river despite the presence of the crocodiles which can be several metres long.
4th May 2020
Once again, Thornbury Camera Club met using the Zoom conferencing service. This time, 33 members joined in to hear one of our members, Dean Packer, talking about editing using the Adobe programs Lightroom and Photoshop.
Dean described how there are two types of photographer which he called “Takers” and “Makers”. The Takers see a photograph and capture it in a way which requires little or no additional manipulation. He, on the other hand, described himself as a Maker – someone who captures an image as a starting point and then uses software to “make” something of it. Personally I suspect that most of us fall into this category. The pictures we take are not quite as we want them, and some post-production work needs to be done.
Dean described how he uses both Lightroom and Photoshop. Starting with a RAW file in Lightroom, he first applies lens corrections and removes automatic sharpening. He then crops the image looking particularly for any useful leading lines. Following any localised shading, he sharpens the image using the High Pass Filter.
He gave the impression that this was all straightforward, but then showed us a picture of Durdle Door on the Dorset coast. The photograph was taken at night with the Milky Way prominent. It seems that Dean had tried several dozen times to get the picture as he wanted it … and so far had failed. Maybe it is not so straightforward after all!
27th April 2020
For the latest of Thornbury Camera Club’s Zoom Meetings, 29 members joined on-line to hear one of our members speak. George Collett talked about a visit to India in 2017 to photograph the wildlife. George is well known in the club for his wildlife photographs, particularly of birds.
George worked for a while in India in 1985. Comparing1985 with 2017, much has simply stayed the same; the same squalor in which much of the population lives; the same overloaded bullock carts wheezing down the streets. On the other hand, technology has changed much. In 1985, George communicated with home either by letter or by international phone calls booked a day in advance. Today mobile phones are everywhere. Just as in the West, everyone is in communication all the time.
One thing George did not manage to do in 1985 was to visit the Taj Mahal. So, in addition to wildlife a visit to the Taj’ was high on the agenda.
First, however, the wildlife had to take priority. Having landed in Delhi, a visit to a park in the city itself was in order. It soon became apparent that the birds of India are diverse and that while some are similar to European birds, others are completely new. Despite being familiar with birds, George had to buy a bird book.
On, then, to Jim Corbett Park which is famous for its tigers… none of which put in an appearance. Still, as well as the birds there were deer and sloth bears. The bears are even more rare than the tigers, but at least put in an appearance.
Finally to Agra and the Taj Mahal. The white marble mausoleum sits on the south bank of the Yamuna river. The shimmering building and its reflection are stunning. Everyone remembers the photograph of Princess Diana sitting alone in front of the Taj Mahal and its reflecting pool. Sadly, the number of tourists is also magnificent and the interior so dark that it is barely worth a visit.
This was the first of two talks from George. The second is in two week’s time.