Photonews Celebrating the Postal Photographic Club and its Members
Photonews Celebrating the Postal Photographic Club and its Members
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Postal Photo Developments Dave Whenham An update on the goings-on at PPC HQ.
The Bark of Trees John Histed The first part of John’s series exploring his personal project
PPC Rally 2017 at Rydal Hall Dave Whenham If you missed it, no need to miss out! A write-up of the weekend’s activities
Classic Cameras: A Minolta Moment Geoff Leah An overview of the rise of Minolta
Bill Stokes in Twenty Questions or Less
Notes From The Gulf
John Pattison Photos and notes from John’s trip to Singapore
A Tour Around My Panasonic LX100 David Ridley LRPS An introduction to a favourite camera
From the Webmaster Graham Dean
PNO News Report
Pictures To Exe and the Mac
Kieran Metcalfe A snapshot of a seasonal project
Clive Piggott Details of the changes to the web forum
Dave Whenham Dave talks us through getting this software working on Apple OSX
Jon C Allanson’s Photoshop Notes
Large Print Circles
The final installment of Jon’s helpful PS tips
Jon C Allanson News from the LP Circles and recent winning images
Small Word by Martin Parr
Who Said That?
Clive Piggott A review of Martin’s book on Travel Photography
Eric Ladbury Eric travelled to Llandudno to meet Alice Liddell
David Ridley LRSP A quiz to test your knowledge of photography quotes
David Ridley LRPS Is it time to get back into shooting film?
The Artist by Colin Rogers Colin’s evocative portrait of this street artist unsurprisingly won him first place in the “Out in the Street” folio in the recently launched IC10 which has a set theme each month. Colin says “If street photography is gritty and urban, and probably mono, then this isn’t it! But I was out and about and saw this and just loved the blend of colours between the painter and the context.” It was certainly a hit with his fellow members in IC10! IC10 publishes a set of monthly themes a couple of months before the season starts to give everyone a chance to shoot to the themes throughout the year.
POSTAL PHOTO DEVELOPMENTS News and Updates from PPC General Secretary, Dave Whenham Welcome to the final issue of Photonews in 2017 and at the risk of sounding a little premature – Happy Christmas and a Creative New Year! We start this issue with news of two new awards which I hope will be of interest to everyone who enters the Annual Print and Projected Image Competitions, colloquially known as the Travelling Exhibition. These will be awarded to the individual who accumulates the highest overall score in each competition and will be known as: The Raymond H Short Trophy for the Highest Overall Score in the Annual Print Competition The President’s Salver for the Highest Overall Score in the Annual Projected Image Competition You will have guessed from the name on the print trophy that Martin Short has generously offered to donate a trophy in memory of his father. We will adapt the existing points scoring system that is used for determining the best performing Circle and the club’s rules will be amended to reflect these new awards. We had informally discussed the suggestion of these highestscoring awards with members at the Rally who were very enthusiastic about the idea. As a committee, we were also conscious of several important considerations: •
Ensure entry numbers are manageable moving forward
Maintain the overall quality of the entry
Provide a level playing field for all members
Encourage more members to participate
Reward those who consistently enter high-quality images without necessarily winning one of the main awards
Address some concerns arising from the reduction of entries to four per member per competition a couple of years ago
The “playing-field” is being levelled by the introduction of a maximum of eight images per member per competition with effect from 2018. Currently around half of our members participate in just one Circle and for them this change will
enable them to submit an additional four entries. For a third of our members there will be no change in the number of entries they can submit meaning that only a small percentage of members will see their maximum entry number reduced and not all of these actually submit anything every year. Prior to the meeting we had received direct member feedback that some felt compelled to submit below par work simply because of pressure to represent their Circle. By introducing these two new Top Photographer categories we will no longer be able to award the Top Circle awards so this will also address this concern. Whilst one committee member voted against removing the Top Circle awards in the annual print and projected image competitions there was unanimous consent to the introduction of the Top Photographer awards. We know from experience that any changes to the competition rules always attract comment and that it is impossible to please everybody all the time. However, our belief is that by introducing the two new awards, removing the requirement to enter on behalf of a specific circle and introducing a level playing field for everyone we have gone a long way towards addressing all of the concerns and comments that have been directed towards us in the past two years. Fourteen members of the committee were present at the meeting and all of them contributed to a lively and informed debate culminating I think in the agreement for two exciting new awards. The Founders Cup competitions are not affected by these changes and will continue to operate as they have for some time now including the provision of Top Circle awards. We will make the necessary changes to the club and competition rules in due course and issue revised copies to members ahead of the 2018 competitions.
Postal Photo Developments - Dave Whenham
THE ANNUAL PRINT AND PROJECTED IMAGE COMPETITIONS Informally known as the Travelling Exhibition, or TE for short, our annual competitions should in fact correctly be referred to as the annual print and projected image competitions. It is the award winners and accepted images from these two competitions that make up the Travelling Exhibition itself. The Half Plate Challenge Cup has been awarded to the best print in the Annual Print Competition since at least 1946. It is a hallmarked silver conical shaped cup. The trophy name and donor, F G Marfield, are engraved on the front of the cup together with winners from 1946 - 1951/52. The projected image competition also has a best image award, The HPPC Dorothy MacDowell Salver for the best image in the projected image competition. This is an 8-inch diameter, heavy-duty “silver” salver engraved on front with the Half Plate Photographic Club logo & trophy title. As it is a heavy-duty salver winners’ names can be engraved on the back face. It was originally awarded for the best colour slide but with the decline of transparencies and the rise of digital photography the award moved with the times into its present usage. It still bears the original inscription however so “slides” live on in the form of this solitary inscription on the annual trophy. When time allows I will write a more detailed article for Photonews covering the club competitions in more detail. Picture Credit: John Kay
Committee Changes The main change to the committee structure has been the appointment of Sally Anderson as our Membership Secretary. Sally will look after all new members from initial enquiry through to their hand-off to a Circle Secretary and will also support the General Secretary by maintain the membership and circle lists. This is a new role which was created to provide support to the General Secretary particularly as the current incumbent is also Joint Editor of Photonews. I am also delighted to report that Pat Couder, a new member in 2017, has stepped into the IC7 hot seat taking over the Circle Secretary job from Kieran who remains in the Circle. Mike Atkinson has taken over from Jon Allanson as Circle Secretary for IC4 whilst Jon becomes Circle Secretary of IC12, our second non-scoring online Circle.
Competition Slideshows You should all have received an email from me in October containing links to the 2017 competition slideshows on YouTube. The slideshows also carry a short advertorial for the PPC so it would be great if you could share these links
as far and wide as you can. Direct emails to your friends and colleagues or by sharing the links to your social media outlets can all help spread the word. Annual Print and PDI Competitions (Travelling Exhibition) http://bit.ly/TE17-Prints http://bit.ly/TE17-PDI Standalone versions of the PPC print advertorial http://bit.ly/PPCAdvert Founders Cup 2017 http://bit.ly/FC17-Prints
Large Print (A4) Developments As reported elsewhere in this issue LP1 is up and running with three folios completed since its inception earlier this year. What is probably not as well-known is that LP2 kicked off at the Rally with John Kay in the Circle Secretary’s chair. These large print circles circulate just four folios per year making them a very easy fit even for the busiest of us. We have a few spaces available in these two circles for anyone who fancies having a go at a print circle without the requirement for a monthly print.
Postal Photo Developments - Dave Whenham
Finally My end-of-column image this month is special to me for one simple reason – I was there with Richard Walliker, fellow C1 member who is lurking somewhere in the shadows, enjoying a mornings photogvraphy and conversation. Friendship is one of the cornerstones of PPC membership to my mind, what
friendships have you made due to your membership I wonder? As we slide towards a new year I am already contemplating a 365-Challenge encouraged by member Maxwell Law. What are your 2018 photographic resolutions? I’m still pushing the idea of a Letters Page you’ll note! Dave Whenham
Postal Photo Developments - Dave Whenham
The Bark of Trees The first in a three-part series by John Histed, documenting his personal project photographing the details and textures of trees The Bark of Trees - John Histed
Fig Roots on Veranda. These roots seem to flow down across the paving and into the ground.
Background I have a personal project underway at present in which I photograph the trunks and bark of trees. Some members of IC9 have shown interest in learning a little more about the project and so this is the first of three articles about it. In this first article, I will explain how I became interested in the subject and give an overview of the work I am doing. The subsequent two will include a number of the images that represent the two main threads of the project. My interest started in the early 1970s when I was working in South Africa. At the weekends, I frequently went walking in the Magaliesberg. The Magaliesberg is a small range of mountains stretching from east of Pretoria to Rustenburg in the northwest. It has an escarpment of steep cliffs on the south and a gentle slope to the north. On the northern slopes are deep kloofs (ravines), some more than 100 meters deep, with steep cliffs on either side. It is mainly of interest for rock climbing and to a lesser extent walking. The surrounding area has cattle and fruit farms but the higher parts are largely left to nature. On the higher slopes, you may see small herds of grey rhebok and mountain reedbuck. There are reputed to be leopard but I have not met anyone who has seen one. There is an abundance of insects, arachnids and reptiles, if you look for them. Snakes are a potential hazard; puffadders and rinkhals are the most common but late at night around a campfire after a few drinks I have heard of the occasional black mamba. Generally, humans make so much noise as they walk that snakes have plenty of time to get out of the way. You will be certain to meet baboons and vervet monkeys. The baboons can be dangerous but keep to themselves if left alone, the monkeys will rifle your rucksack if it is left unattended and careless people lose their food. The climate is typical of the highveld; in winter from May to October there is virtually no rain; in summer, there are usually afternoon thunder storms with occasional periods of continuous rain for several days. This gives rise to unusual vegetation. Generally, it is rocky scrub with substantial areas of grass and many aloes and other succulents. Trees such as we know them grow in the kloofs where they have plenty of water but those that grow on the grassland are usually stunted and rather strange looking (see Image Nos1-4). As a photographer, I began building a portfolio recording the general environment. Aloes and other succulents made interesting patterns and shapes but the fig trees became my greatest interest. They grow on ledges and crannies in the cliffs and send their roots down to find water in the kloofs below. The roots are easily mistaken for creepers and form fascinating patterns. Images No 5-8 show how these trees grow. 1) Top: Tree with peeling bark. This tree is in open ground at the top end of a kloof. It was one of a small clump. I included the twigs around the edges of the image as they show the overall structure of the tree with branches and mostly at right angles to each other. 2) Bottom: View across a kloof. This kloof is particularly deep and narrow. The candelabra like plants on the far side are a type of euphorbia found in the area.
The Bark of Trees - John Histed
3) Top Left: Bottom of a Kloof. This was captured at the bottom of the kloof that features in Image No 2. The viewpoint would very close to that for Image No 2 on a map but at the bottom of the cliff. 4) Bottom Left: Trees growing in a Kloof. This is a wider kloof with small trees growing in the bottom. 5) Above: Roots on Cliffs. The roots grow down the rock faces finding ledges to establish a foothold before continuing on to find water and soil at the bottom. It can be difficult to distinguish individual trees as one root system may support many trunks. The roots may grow through cracks in the rock and split the rock as they grow resulting in one of their common names â€˜rock splitterâ€™. On the way to the ground the roots cross over each other making interesting patterns. The Bark of Trees - John Histed
6) Top Left: Strangler. The seeds of the fig trees are often spread in bird droppings. When they germinate in the fork of a tree the roots can grow down around the host tree to find water and nutrients. Ultimately, they can totally encase the trunk and kill the tree, hence the common name â€˜stranglerâ€™ 7) Bottom Left: Tangled Roots. Nature is frequently untidy. Often when the roots reach the ground they are tangled. But at times they form interesting patterns as shown in Images 8 and 9. 8) Above: Roots at Cedarberg Kloof. This group of roots entering the ground at the bottom of the cliff fascinated me for years. I photographed it in many different conditions and at different times of the day. I preferred the indirect available light above.
The Bark of Trees - John Histed
Since Retirement We can now fast forward about 35 years. Family and business demands had previously cut my photography short and now I had returned to this country. When I retired and resumed my photography I retained my interest in trees. After completing my LRPS I started on a project to explore trees as a subject with the intention of compiling a portfolio to assist in identifying them. I started with a comprehensive approach. I worked on every aspect of trees. This involved images of typical specimens of a species as well as details of their limbs and bark and their flowers, foliage and fruit. I found this too broad a subject. It was a massive task and I felt I was not really getting to grips with anything in particular. In retrospect, I can see that I had set myself an immense project with no intermediate objectives. Meanwhile, I was finding the shapes of some of the limbs and trunks interesting. Looking at the images on different occasions I could see them representing different things. We stayed in a hotel that had a fig tree growing on the veranda. The roots looked like molten metal being poured into a mould (I started my working life as a metallurgist), then looking on different occasions and zooming in they looked like body parts. I tried this out on my wife, a retired doctor and she saw the body parts and a whole lot more related to medicine. I showed them to friends and colleagues who also saw the ambiguity and perceived them as many different objects. I concentrated on the trunks and limbs and the major scars left by broken branches and pruning looking for ambiguous images. I also looked out for patterns and textures on the surface of the bark. I have difficulty in defining the dividing line between the form and shape of the trunks and limbs and the textures and patterns on their surface. At the one extreme, there are the trunks and these have so much in common with the major limbs which, in turn, lead onto the branches. All these have form and shape; and so do the major scars from storm damage and pruning which merge into the trunk or limb. These are clearly distinct from the texture and patterns in the bark. At a more detailed level are minor features in the bark which are often caused by the failure of a shoot to develop into something bigger; failure which could be caused by nature or human intervention (pruning). The minor features often merge with the bark assuming its texture, which gives rise to interesting bark patterns. 9) Top: Organ Pipes. When the roots growing down reach an overhang they just keep going. In this instance, they have reached the entrance to a cave. They have continued down, forming a vertical screen that reminds me of organ pipes. This image includes two trees growing from the soil in the bottom of the kloof. 10) Bottom: Fig Roots on Veranda. These roots seem to flow down across the paving and into the ground. The Bark of Trees - John Histed
JOHN’S TECHNICAL NOTES Technical details of monochrome images Cameras and Lenses: Mamiya C33 with 65, 80,125 and 250mm lenses, (a 120 roll film 6x6 format twin lens reflex). or Horseman 920 with 80,120 and 180mm lenses (an 120 roll film ideal format camera fitted with a range finder and capable of a full range of front and back movements).
Film and processing Monochrome - I wanted good quality but found that slower, fine grained, film too contrasty for South African conditions. As a great admirer of Ansel Adams I worked with his Zone System, modified to suit my conditions. I achieved the gamma I wanted with Tri-X Professional exposed normally for highlights but slightly underdeveloped in fine grain developer. I cannot give exact details as my photographic records were destroyed in a flood 10 years ago (happily my negatives were stored independently). Colour – High-speed Ektachrome processed normally by a professional laboratory. At that time, I did relatively little serious work in colour.
Scanning The negatives were scanned with an Epson flatbed film scanner using a resolution of 4800dpi and no sharpening in scanning.
Digital processing Photoshop CC
IN THE NEXT ISSUE.... As with many personal projects John’s tree bark series grew in the making. I usually hesitate to use the word “journey” as it is vastly over-used in contemporary photographic writings but given the time span of the project from its genesis until now it can probably be seen as a journey in time too. These three articles then cover a personal journey – John’s personal journey. This first part in the series has set the scene and identified John’s starting point as a photographer with an interest in nature, and shown how a general interest progressed to become focussed on certain aspects of trees. While exploring the detail of parts of trees John found that the trunks, limbs, roots and the scars from major damage became objects in their own right. Part two in our Spring issue therefore concentrates on this one thread from the project. This stage required a perceptual shift from the factual recording of nature to seeing ambiguous shapes, all of which started as a simple physical object and all of the images chosen for the article reflect this change in focus. Finally, the third part of the article will contain images from another thread that developed spontaneously. While looking more closely at the structural components of the trees John quickly realised that the textures and patterns found on their surfaces provided patterns worthy of note on their own account. We have seen several of these in online folios and I am looking forward to seeing them in the context of the whole project. Dave Whenham
The Bark of Trees - John Histed
PPC Rally 2017
at Rydall Hall
Image Credit: Barry Roberts The 2017 rally was well attended with up to fifty members and partners, past and present, appearing at some point over the weekend. Thirty-nine members and partners took over all but one room of the Hall and the one other resident n the Friday evening was “adopted” by the group and even sat in on the slideshows that evening. There are always many highlights to a Rally weekend and these will vary from member to member but the undoubted centrepiece is always the Print Travelling Exhibition which has its first public airing over the Rally weekend. As you will have read elsewhere it comprises the award-winning images from the Annual Print competition together with those prints that have been Accepted for the exhibition. Something we also do, although just for the Rally, is to show a selection of “Retained” prints which are effectively runners-up from the main print competition but, not having been Accepted, do not travel with the main Travelling Exhibition itself. As ever David James, ably assisted by Bill Hughes and a couple of other committee members who didn’t run away fast enough, set up the exhibition before dinner on the Friday and the exhibition was in place for members to enjoy across the whole of the Rally weekend.
Alongside the TE were the main winners from the 2017 Print Founders Cup competition, which unlike their TE brethren were in the standard PPC folder rather than mounted on stiff card. We were also fortunate enough to have some of the WJ Stokes Archive of folio prints on show courtesy of Bill Stokes. The Presidents Reception, hosted this year by John Kay, was as ever held on the Friday evening starting with a few words of welcome from our President himself who also thanked the committee and in particular the General Secretary for all their hard work throughout the year which sees the Club in a good position with the healthiest membership numbers it has had for a while. After an excellent meal in the communal dining room Graham Harvey premiered the PDI Travelling Exhibition slideshow, created from the award winners and accepted images from the Annual PDI Competition - you’re getting the hang of this now! We also had time on the Friday evening to view the best PDI images from the 2017 Founders Cup competition and whilst this had been available online it had not up until that point been projected publicly for members to see. Incidentally, all of this years’ Founders Cup and Annual Competition slideshows are now available online – see my editorial for details.
2017 Rally Report - Dave Whenham
Image Credit: John Kay One of the best parts of the Rally weekend for me is catching up with friends old and new and in some cases finally putting a face to a name. There were several members at this year’s event whom I’d not met before and it was a huge pleasure to meet them and have a chat. I was not able to have lengthy conversations with everyone but I don’t think I missed anyone out – although if I did then apologies! One new member suggested to me that committee members should have their title on their name badge for the benefit of newcomers and we will pick up on this for next year. I will also try to get a mugshot from every committee member for the next iteration of the committee list which will hopefully do the rounds in January (committee members you’ve been warned – who will be first to proactively send me their mugshot?). The weather was not the kindest it’s ever been to us on a PPC Rally weekend but most members braved the elements on the Saturday and returned with some “acceptable” images and, it should be noted, some very wet cameras. Barry Roberts has kindly provided a few of his images from the weekend to incorporate within this report and I am very sure we will see a smattering of Lake District images in folios over the coming twelve months and no doubt in the Annual Competitions too. If you would like us to include your favourite image from the Rally weekend in a future issue of Photonews you know what to do! During the late afternoon, we held two drop-in workshops for members to dip into with a coffee and cake if they wished. Stephen Yates gave a practical demonstration on close-up photography and Jon Allanson provided a projected image presentation entitled “Mono conversion and sharpening techniques”. This was my seventh Rally and the first time that I recall there being anything of a practical nature provided and I sincerely hope that this is an innovation that John will continue for future weekends. Incidentally, I am trying to get Stephen to let me have a copy of his notes to share with you all in a future issue of Photonews. For those wanting some insight into Jon’s presentation you could do a lot worse than revisit the four-part article that reaches its conclusion in this issue.
Image Credit: John Kay After dinner on the Saturday we held the Awards Presentation, hosted by John Kay ably assisted by his glamorous assistant (OK, me, for those who weren’t there) and by the Club’s Official Photographer (OP) Graham Harvey who kindly provided the mugshots you see scattered throughout these pages. Graham has fulfilled the duties of OP for the last three or four years and so it is gratifying to be able to appoint him as “OP for Life” which saves me needing to find a “volunteer” every year for said duties. I, sadly, broke my reading glasses an hour before the presentation which made reading my notes a challenge but John had organised all the silverware so carefully that I managed to get through it without major incident. Unlike many recent years most of the trophies we presented on the night were taken home by the members proving how valued they are, something the committee duly noted on the Sunday morning. Club member Graham Dean then presented his new PAGB lecture entitled Elementary Dabblings which was well-received and generated a fair bit of discussion amongst members. It was interesting to see a different approach to photography
2017 Rally Report - Dave Whenham
Awards Presented by John Kay to: Top Left: Graham Harvey Top Middle: Jon Allanson Top Right: Richard Bown Centre Left: David James & Martin Short Centre Right: Peter Redford Bottom Left: David James Bottom Right: Bob Rawlinson
2017 Rally Report - Dave Whenham
Image Credit: Barry Roberts and I was intrigued at how much could be achieved with Photoshop Elements, the “elementary” of the title. John Kay gave the vote of thanks and I too would like to add my thanks to Graham for an interesting and thought-provoking session. We even managed to run to time this year!
was only right that following a very enjoyable lunch I should thank everyone for their attendance and participation, to wish everyone a safe journey back and to ask members to show their appreciation in the time-honoured way to John Kay for another excellent Rally, organised to his usual high standards.
The Sunday morning of any Rally is a mixed bag. Some members need to leave early to start a long journey home, others head out to take more photographs and some sit and enjoy the peace and quiet of the venue itself. Some however go to work and for a few hours thrash out the key direction of the club for the coming twelve months and all the various things that are needed to keep the show on the road for another year.
I then high-tailed it home to look after two of our grandsons as my daughter had given birth to another son that very morning and Auntie needed relieving having looked after the boys since 5am.
All too soon though the gong sounded for Sunday lunch and the final act of the weekend was played out. As John had welcomed everyone to the Rally on the Friday evening it
It is always gratifying to know that others have enjoyed the weekend and when several take the trouble to write and express their thanks it is particularly pleasing. From the feedback that John and I have received it would seem that the 2017 Rally was another successful event – here’s to our return to Snowdonia in 2018. Dave
2017 Rally Report - Dave Whenham
Awards Presented by John Kay to: Top Left: Bill Hughes Top Middle: Eric Ladbury Top Right: Allan Bate Bottom Left: Bill Martindale Bottom Right: Dave Whenham
Fri 12 - Sun 14 October 2018 Plas Tan y Bwlch
Maentwrog, Blaenau Ffestiniog, in the Snowdonia National Park
ÂŁ150 per person 2017 Rally Report - Dave Whenham
Classic Cameras - A Minolta Moment Geoff reviews the manufacturer of these classic cameras Established in 1928 as “Nichi-Doku Shashinki Shokai” (Japanese camera Company), the first Minolta branded cameras appeared in 1931. These first models had Japanese bodies, but German lenses. By 1937 the Company were making every piece of their cameras, and in 1962 the Company name was officially changed to The Minolta Camera Company. Initially all their cameras were either glass plate or folding roll-film models. In 1936 their first TLR was made, called the Minoltaflex. The last in the TLR range were the Autocords. They were made until 1966, and represented a superb camera that was a match for any other TLRs on the market, and they still command a premium price. The first model to use 35mm. film was the Minolta 35 (model 1) introduced in 1947. It looked like a Leica, and used the same 24x32mm format. The first 35mm. SLR was the Minolta SR2 appearing in 1958. Over the years Minolta has been a prolific camera manufacturer, with models ranging from sub-miniature to large Press-type cameras, and including a large number of 35mm. rangefinder cameras.
The quality of Minolta products is so high that in the 1980s Sony bought the Company in order to use Minolta SLR technology in Sony digital SLRs. Minolta has always been in the shade of manufacturers such as Nikon and Canon. This is strange because the quality of their products is very high. In later years they made their own lenses to a standard that matches the previously mentioned two brands. The all-manual outfit illustrated with 28, 50 and 135mm Minolta lenses, and body with tlr. metering, might be worth £90. To buy a similar outfit from Nikon and Canon would cost around £300, yet they all perform to similar standards. So if you own a Minolta, or fancy getting one, buy some 35mm. Agfa colour negative ISO 200 film from “Poundland” (yes, it’s only £1 for 20 exposures and it’s very good) , get it developed (around £3 per film) and scan it on your flatbed scanner. You can then make colour or monochrome images. You will be very pleased with the results!
Classic Cameras - Geoff Leah
Bill Stokes In Twenty Questions (or less...) After teaching in secondary schools and special education I ‘retired’, but living on a family farm the word ‘retired’ has little meaning! The farm is a traditional Pennine small-holding with a few beef cattle and sheep. My youngest son has ‘taken over the reins’ and my input keeps me physically and mentally active in all weathers. I always like to be outside in an expansive landscape with sky and clouds. I have seven grandchildren, two of whom live next door, so my life gets rather complicated dealing with children and animals. [Never work with children or animals. Ed] It has been a busy year on the farm because we have demolished a onehundred year-old shed and replaced it with a modern version. Like all projects it was over budget and not on time. My wife’s grandfather bought the farm in 1917 and we had a Centenary celebration in September. It was a great opportunity to photograph dozens of invited relatives. My Sunday walking club and local photographic club can often be side-lined, and that has been the case particularly this year.
How long have you been a photographer and how did you get started? I have vague memories of using a box camera and pressing a shutter around the age of six or seven. My clearest memory was when I was about ten. It was a Brownie 127, my sister’s Christmas present, and on the Boxing Day we walked down to Woolwich Ferry, SE London. It was a cold day and the sun was beginning to set over the Thames. As the ferry was moving from the north to the south bank the twin slender funnels were about to frame the sun. My father told my sister to press the button just as the sun appeared between the two
20 Questions - Bill Stokes
funnels. My sister obtained a successful shot. My turn captured the ferry approaching the berth. Where did the negatives and prints go? I have searched and asked my sister but to no avail. My father did all his own printing and was a member of the Half Plate Postal Club, (now PPC). My father’s hobby was part of family life so I suppose my sister and I unconsciously absorbed aspects of his hobby. (My sister ended up going to Art college but she is not interested in photography!) Some of you will have seen some of his prints at this year’s Rally and many of you will have seen the articles in previous editions of Photonews that Dave Whenham helped me with. I am proud that the W J Stokes Archive will stay with the PPC for future generations.
Who has influenced your photography the most?
My father has undoubtedly influenced my photography the most. He enjoyed drawing and painting but his main hobby was his two cameras, one for b/w printing (Ensign Selfix 820) and the other for slides ( Kodak Retina). This childhood background probably influences how I look at things and line them up through a view finder. He would point out aspects of composition, the thirds, ‘golden mean’, lighting etc. He would set up a temporary darkroom in the kitchen where the ‘magic’ process of producing an image happened. It was highly likely that the shot would be memorable because you might have spent, to a child, a very long time waiting for my father to get the right lighting. Whenever he was walking he was very observant and apart from forward and side vision, he often looked backwards to check a view. I think I have unconsciously adopted this habit which increases the potential for a suitable shot. He never owned a car, he preferred the pace of walking or public transport which gave him time to observe. His cameras were always available and odd occasions he would even take a camera to work.
Detail USA Loco “Big Jim”
Which other photographers do you admire and why? Photographers all have their individual merits and style, so I find it difficult to answer. I do tend to admire the exponents of landscape and photojournalism. One person that comes to mind however is Paul Beriff, a photographer and film producer. He gave a presentation at my local club earlier this year and showed his early work - portraits of famous up and coming pop stars including the Beatles. He always tries to get away from other photographers to get a different angle. On one occasion, because of this, he achieved a scoop at the infamous Moors Murders location. He said that his career consisted of being in the ‘wrong place
20 Questions - Bill Stokes
Christmas Night Telly
at the right time’. He happened to be at 9/11 and filmed the first tower collapse. He pointed his camera backwards over his shoulder and ran filming as the dust and debris cascaded down the streets. He was injured but survived. He said that his experience of capturing dramatic events through the viewfinder detached him from the usual emotional response he never dreams about 9/11.
Have you ever had ‘buyer’s remorse’ with a camera? Yes, a Fuji Fine Pix. After using my wife’s retirement present (a Pentax Optio S10) I thought I would get a viewfinder digital as the downside of
First Portrait the Pentax was the lack of a viewfinder. In bright sunshine, it was akin to driving a car through a fog. I found it so frustrating holding the camera at half arm’s length with the shakes and extraneous screen lighting. I also missed the feeling of stability with the camera against my face and no viewfinder.
Looking for a viewfinder digital, (2010) at my budget was difficult. In the end, I bought a Fuji Fine Pix S1500 bridge camera. It was OK to hold, and had an acceptable viewfinder, I wear glasses and so viewfinder design is an important choice issue. The camera appeared to work well for the digital novice but downloading a series of shots I noticed that it produced a split screen with the left side switched to the right and the right to the left.
20 Questions - Bill Stokes
Fighter The shop sent it to the Fuji hospital where it was restored to health. For the camera’s convalescence, I took it to Majorca for exposure to bright Balearic sunshine. When it came back, it obviously had a terminal relapse - same illness, and I took it back to the shop and for an extra bit of cash I was persuaded to buy a Nikon Coolpix L110 bridge camera. I found it easier to use and hold - but no viewfinder! I was beginning to think that my father in that ‘darkroom’ in the sky was sending a a signal ‘just stick with film son with a decent viewfinder’.
How long have you been involved with the PPC? I decided to sort out my father’s photographs and archive the original negatives and slides onto the computer. I took them to my local club and after receiving positive feedback thought it would be worth contacting the PPC to see if they would be interested in my father’s original print folders. It was a coincidence that Dave Whenham lived not so far away. He came across to look at my father’s prints and also suggested I joined the PPC which was how I came to be a member in 2014.
Do you prefer to shoot Film or digital? The nostalgic childhood memories of home processing and printing makes film appealing. The slides arriving post processing and seen on a large screen through a projector
in your front room was another attraction. However, the reality is that it could be an expensive hobby and in modest accommodation with family commitments a temporary darkroom created domestic organisational problems. Just as battery car drivers have ‘range anxiety,’ pre - digital, there was ‘film anxiety’. Two rolls of film for the holiday, every shot had to be considered which in a sense certainly made one think twice before pressing the shutter. Now, the whole process has been liberated by digital and the previous constraints no longer exist. Hundreds of shots, instant appraisal and often an opportunity to try again. Recent and future photo technology can assist people of all ages creating images easily. If more people are involved then I presume it will increase the potential for more people to become absorbed in photography with a greater creative depth.
Do you prefer to use a Camera or smart phone? Years ago, the camera was not something that was close to you 24-hours a day. For most people, it was like a best suit, brought out for special occasions, holidays, weddings etc. The smart phone has created an interest in photography for people who may not have considered it. Now, everyone seems to be capturing images at special events or even mundane routine gatherings. In a public dramatic event, everyone suddenly has
20 Questions - Bill Stokes
the chance to capture the photo journalistic (‘winning’) shot. Imagine the JFK assassination with smart phones, as opposed to the 8mm Zapruder film. People are becoming uninhibited image capturers coupled to an instant transmission system. For a high proportion of people capturing an image is almost random, look, point shoot with possible editing afterwards. It has been widely reported that here has been a significant fall in digital camera sales in recent years, particularly of the point & shot variety. Hardly surprising when some phones boast apertures as wide as f/1.7, dual lenses, lowlight performance and RAW shooting, especially when you consider “look-point-shoot”. For me, at this stage the camera is still my choice. But who knows what my preference will be in the next year or two? I have read that Hasselblad and Motorola are creating a True zoom that has the feel of a ‘real camera’.
If you could pass on just one tip about photography to a newcomer what would it be? I wonder how a newcomer is defined in the days of smart phones? I see young children (e.g. my 3-year-old grandchild) regularly using phones to ‘take pictures’. My 10-year-old granddaughter has a phone and is sending images. We gave her parents the Pentax Optio when I bought the Fuji Fine Pix, naively thinking they would treasure and use this ‘modern’ camera. In my ‘pre-phone’ mind I thought that the camera would be used by the parents. The grandchild ‘played’ with the camera while the parents ‘played’ with their phones. My granddaughter now has the use of my Nikon CoolPix as well as her 10th birthday present - a smart phone. Her ambition is to be a wedding photographer! My first tip would be to get a budget digital camera with a viewfinder and a few basic controls. I liken cameras to cars, you don’t need an expensive car when learning to drive. I remember a BBC documentary in the late 70’s, when David Bailey was sent out to photograph ‘London’ to achieve acceptable shots with a cheap basic camera. Using digital I would suggest to a newcomer to experiment with multiple shots, at different angles, of the same local subject with different types of lighting throughout the seasons. Remember to give the lens some TLC - ‘Timing, Lighting, Composition’.
Are there any types of photographic “genres” you specialise in? I suppose everyone has a style. I would rather leave the description of my style to the viewers than try to describe this aspect myself. Footprints to Emley
20 Questions - Bill Stokes
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? I think I would like to go to a War Zone and (if I survived) Antarctica. Other continents have suffered military death and destruction whereas the Antarctic remains relatively pristine. The stark contrasts of the two areas would create a chance to capture visual extremes. Since early teens I have always enjoyed reading books about Antarctic Exploration. I never tire at looking at the images of Herbert Ponting (Scott’s ill-fated expedition) and Frank Hurley ( Shackleton’s “Endurance” expedition). They and similar photographers were producing striking images in adverse conditions with early photographic technology. The same applies to the war photographers from the American Civil war onwards. The Vietnam War was the first ‘live’ war that I became conscious of in my early teens due to media coverage. Larry Burrows would take 50 rolls of film when he went on a patrol in Vietnam.
Do you have a favourite photographic location? I like my immediate West Yorkshire locality but when circumstances permit I do like a nostalgic trip to the Isle of Arran, known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’. It has a dramatic mountainous landscape in the north and pastoral rolling landscape to the south all combined with seascapes and changes in lighting. I know the north end of the island very well as I spent childhood holidays there and it was my father’s photographic stomping ground.
How does membership of PPC enhance your photography? The big bonus with PPC is the time efficient convenience of the 24/7 internet. Originally, I was in IC5 and I found scoring decisions rather difficult. I feel more relaxed in the non-scoring IC9 and I feel more ‘liberated’ in terms of what I submit. I think others in the group feel the same. I enjoy the chance to study and comment on the images and to get feedback on my own submissions. The format allows one to take time analysing images and constructing appropriate comments. I find the club format very convenient and it allows one not to make rushed judgements. The demand of putting comments into written sentences forces one to carefully consider what you are trying to say. With the monthly submissions I tend to have a threestage approach, a quick look for my initial reaction, then a considered study with comments and a final look after a ‘cooling’ off period. Apart from receiving comments, the routine stimulates your own thinking about how you observe
Rock and Tree and what and how you photograph. It makes for a satisfying contrast with my local club where critique sessions are somewhat rushed with quick verbal comments.
What equipment do you currently use? What has been your favourite camera over the years? At present my favourite camera is the one in use at present – a Panasonic Lumix G5. It is the most “‘advanced” camera that I have used but I did find it overwhelming after purchase. It has 33 user-selectable choices for each of function buttons. Compared to previous cameras the G5 is incredibly complex with multiples of operating combinations. I feel that the design ergonomics of cameras is very important, e.g. how it feels, the position of controls, etc. I have similar sensitivity about car dashboard design. However, cameras are similar to cars there is always a more ‘advanced’ model coming out than the one you have at present.
20 Questions - Bill Stokes
Goat Fell Summit, Isle of Arran
Outside the Privey Going Home
Rydal Hall Sheep 20 Questions - Bill Stokes
What would you consider to be your photographic achievements? My photographic achievements are rather modest. Since joining PPC and my local club I have gone ‘public’ with a few images. In 2016 I won the local Hospice Christmas card competition. I entered two and the judges selected both, a bit like buses they came along together.
Are there any ‘remorse’ shots that you have missed? I have numerous shots that I have missed in my mind’s eye. I always have the fantasy that if only I had taken the opportunity it would have been a ‘winner’. A few years ago, I was lost (pre sat-nav) driving through an industrial area of Barnsley. As we
20 Questions - Bill Stokes
came down a hill I saw this factory complex with a massive cloud of steam in the winter setting sun. No stopping, my wife had lost patience. Missed shots are less likely when you are solo! Last May, I saw Huddersfield Town play at Wembley when they scored the penalty that took them into the Premier League. Fans behind me were crying with emotion. Because I was involved in the emotion and part of a group I missed the opportunity to turn around and photograph the fans.
Do you have an ongoing project? Near where I live, the 1000 feet Emley Moor TV transmission tower is being closed down for technical improvements. A temporary metal tower is being erected with guy lines on the same site. I think there will be an opportunity to record the assembly/dismantling over a time lapse of days/ weeks/months/years. Apart from that there might be some interesting steel geometric skeletal patterns on the sky line as the structure progresses. The work is over a number of years and the temporary tower will then be dismantled. Siesta
20 Questions - Bill Stokes
Notes from the Gulf
A Trip to Singapore The conclusion to Johnâ€™s article commenced in the Autumn edition of PhotoNews 28
Notes from the Gulf - John Pattison
Singapore is well worth a visit, itâ€™s a fascinating city with a wide and varied range of tourist and not so touristy hot spots! First on the agenda to visit chosen by my wife was The Botanical Gardens, which have a wonderful display of flora especially in the specialist National Orchid Garden, I have no idea of either the common or botanical names of these beautiful flowers and unfortunately most were not identified in the Garden. We spent a good couple of hours walking around the gardens in general and came upon lizards on our way out.
Notes from the Gulf - John Pattison
Next up on our list of ‘must see’ places were ‘Little India’ and the Hindu temples (above). Some parts of Little India (right) are not so salubrious and there is a strong juxtaposition here with the modern sky scrapers of the downtown business section of the city and more affluent residential areas.
Notes from the Gulf - John Pattison
Still the open street markets are colourful and there are some interesting ornaments available. Notes from the Gulf - John Pattison
Marina Bay was on our list too and here an image taken from the boardwalk of the city skyline.
Notes from the Gulf - John Pattison
On our last night in Singapore I wanted to see the iconic ‘Supertrees’ which are in the Gardens on The Bay. The ‘supertrees light and sound show’ started at 8.45 pm but we arrived there a couple of hours earlier to see the ‘trees’ in daylight too and view from the ‘sky walk’ And finally, it was night and dark and time for the show ….
Now where to go in 2018 …… Notes from the Gulf - John Pattison
A Tour Around my Panasonic LX100 David Ridley LRPS introduces us to a personal favourite camera A little while ago I wrote about why I mainly use a bridge camera and that still holds true. I also decided that, since I carry a small compact in the car at all times (and indeed have found it a useful ‘emergency camera’ on many occasions) that it would be sensible to compliment the bridge camera with a ‘high end’ compact providing me with a second camera body albeit with a non-interchangeable lens. I really appreciate having a second camera body without the hassle of changing lenses and again with what I find is that all important weight advantage. So, to this end I decided at the time I would commit fully to fixed zoom lens cameras and subsequently purchased a Lumix LX100 complete with a spare battery. It boasts a fixed Vario Summilux zoom lens and a 4/3 sensor.
The lens (in old money) is a 24 - 75mm f1.7/f2.8 which has an optical extension to 150mm or a digital extension to 300mm. Because of image quality I naturally favour the optical extension and now also have my bridge camera set the same preferring to avoid using the digital zoom. The bridge camera will go to 800mm on optical extension and 1600mm on digital extension, naturally the compact can’t match the bridge camera on the reach of the lens but is a match or near match in other areas and indeed exceeds the bridge cameras maximum aperture of f2.8 - /f4. It also has the 4/3 sensor as opposed to the bridge which has a 1” sensor. Like the bridge camera it sports a rapid frame advance when required. So, all in all not only an excellent second camera for me but a great tool in its own right!
A Tour Around My Panasonix LX100 - David Ridley LRPS
I carefully considered quite a few compacts before my purchase but in the end, I went for the Panasonic LX100 (mainly because of the Leica/Panasonic ‘tie up’) as it has similar controls and functions to my Leica V-Lux (type 114) bridge. The familiarity of the controls was definitely helpful and the choice has certainly worked well in the respect of easy initial set up and continued ease of use.
button which is clearly distinguished with a central red dot, although for me as a stills photographer video capability was never a consideration. Also on the rear is a circular function disk giving access to the main menu, white balance etc., AF mode, drive mode and ISO settings. The camera has an ISO range of 100 to 25,600 plus an auto ISO option which can prove useful if using a night option for example.
The LX100 has only 3 function buttons that can be programmed for easy menu access as opposed to 5 on the bridge and I find this just about OK for my requirements. I have them set to:
The lens barrel sports four useful features. The first located nearest the camera body at the top is an easily-movable ratio setting for the selection of 3:2, 16:9, 1:1 and 4:3 My preference
The HDR is of course (just like the bridge) useful when visiting properties where flash isn’t allowed and to be honest I prefer not to use flash. The Photo Style function is also an easy access for switching to monochrome when required. The ‘built in flash’ isn’t built in, it’s actually a tiny separate unit supplied in a draw string bag which when required clips into the hot shoe but is still powered from the camera battery. I must say I like this arrangement as I have never particularly been impressed with ‘pop-up’ or indeed built in flashes and of course having a hot shoe means one can use a more powerful compatible flash gun if required. In addition, it has a pre-programmed quick access menu button which although customizable I’ve left on default as from there I can easily access a couple of items that I’d normally assign to a function button were there more such buttons available. There is also another useful button on the top plate marked ‘filter’ which gives access to various pre-programmed filters like ‘Pop Colour’, ‘Sepia’ etc., and again monochrome can be accessed here. On the far right of the top plate is a thumb wheel which is used if exposure compensation is required in 1/3 of a stop values to a maximum of plus or minus 3 stops. This is very easy to use and much preferable to having to access a main menu when compensation is required for the odd shot or perhaps if gathering various exposures for manually building an HDR image with a software programme at a later date. Moving to the rear of the camera the fixed screen is clear with adjustable brightness although I find the default setting is ideal for me. The separate viewfinder which I do make regular use of is able to be set to auto switching between the live view screen and viewfinder meaning that when my I’m looking at the screen the viewfinder is switched off, and vice-versa. To the right of the viewfinder is a small thumb wheel for dioptre adjustment if necessary. Again, situated at the back of the camera is the AF/AE lock button and the video recording
is nearly always 4:3 as this option uses the full pixel count available so I know that cropping at a later date doesn’t present me with a quality problem. To the left of the ratio ring (when holding the camera) is another easy adjustable feature for selecting auto focus, auto focus close-up, which enables focusing down to approx. 3cms and of course manual focus, so again no having to go into the main menu. In front of these features is a milled ring running fully around the barrel which once programmed can be used to focus in manual mode or used to zoom the lens, the latter of which I prefer rather than using the W & T zoom leaver situated around the shutter release button on the top plate. Finally, in front of the milled ring is another ring which is used to set the required aperture in 1/3 stops (if using aperture priority) or set to ‘A’ if using shutter priority. The lens also accepts screw in filters of 43mm. So, why did I bother when I find the bridge an excellent tool with that familiar DSLR feel? Well as I said it is primarily a back-up , which adds only marginal extra weight to carry alongside the bridge and is easy to put in the pocket. Also, if I’m travelling anywhere without a car it’s the one I’d take as a first-choice because of size and weight. Being of smaller size
A Tour Around My Panasonix LX100 - David Ridley LRPS
it’s less obtrusive for ‘street photography’ so would be my first camera of choice if my aim was to take mainly candid shots on any particular jaunt. Incidentally, being less obtrusive in my opinion isn’t down to size alone because the model I have is a silver one with an attractive brown ‘leather look’ front grip together with brown covered thumb rest and eye piece trim at the rear which all add to what could be described as a ‘retro look’. It is a look that I believe most people who aren’t committed amateur photographers as such, would from even a short distance, easily take to be a film camera model from a past decade, especially since I normally use the viewfinder rather than the screen. Perhaps they may just think ‘I wonder what that old bloke’s doing?’ as they hurry on their way not giving me a second glance. True my customized maximum zoom range is 150mm (but remember 300mm is available) which even at 150mm is surely enough for most candid shots? Of course, at the wide end of 24mm it can handle a lot of buildings and structures that may take my fancy, the same as it can handle a lot of landscapes in the countryside. Of course, one area where neither this nor the bridge camera can match a DSLR is if a wider or longer lens is required. Yes, I’m a definite convert to fixed zoom lens cameras as you will no doubt have gathered. For me the advantages outweigh any disadvantages but I know that what suits one doesn’t necessarily suit another which is why there is such a choice with most consumer goods. A short while ago I was at a local camera club and one of the members on seeing me using the bridge camera told me he had indeed used one and thought for his purposes there was little difference to his DSLR. Although not in the market to replace his camera at present, a camera with a fixed zoom lens would certainly be a serious consideration for him when the time arises! I sometimes wonder had he seen me use the LX100 if his thoughts may have been similar? In fact when I think about it a good compact would complement a DSLR system for all the reasons I’ve mentioned even if a second DSLR body is already owned. Of course, as I’ve said before I do indeed have a now ageing DSLR and a selection of lenses, all of which fit and are fully functional with the current manufactures models, but I virtually never use it now and should it ever break down I’d be likely to just ‘bin it’ and sell the lenses. If I could only have one camera would the LX100 be a contender to be that camera? You bet it would! It has a solid feel to it and size-wise is one of the larger compacts currently available which I consider makes it easier to operate. Whilst I can’t ever envisage a situation of being a one-camera owner I am confident that I’ve got a very capable camera, albeit used by me as a second camera, that has the ability to cope with most of my demands whilst still producing results that as a keen amateur photographer I would expect. In other words – it is a capable and good all-rounder!
A Tour Around My Panasonix LX100 - David Ridley LRPS
From the Webmaster Organisations such as the PPC need a constant supply of new members if they are to thrive. New members bring fresh ideas, vital for any creative endeavour. There will always be a natural turnover of members – especially in clubs with the average age profile of the PPC! One of the main reasons for having a website is to act as a recruitment tool. Being able to sign up to membership immediately makes joining a simple process. So it is gratifying that we had 26 people completed new membership forms since October 1st 2016 (to be honest, I’m not sure if all resulted in new paying members, as I only see the forms – not the completed PayPal transactions).
But that’s not the whole story: if we delve a little deeper, only 7 of these stumbled upon our website via search engines. The remainder came across the site due to your efforts. 5 found the website by following links that our members had managed to have placed on other websites or in newsletters – so please keep trying to have our club publicised in this way. But the largest cohort by far had been told of the club directly by members – so you are by far the most important recruitment tool. If we had an award for the organisation which had supplied most recommendations it would go to Lancaster PS, whose members recruited a total of 8 new members to the PPC. Well done Lancaster.
From the Webmaster - Graham Dean
Frozen Kieran Metcalfe reflects on a personal project and why he couldn’t Let It Go Ed (and probably anyone with young children/grandchildren): *Groan...* While watching a Brian Cox documentary late last year, one of the establishing shots in a sequence was of a bubble freezing in the cold air of their Arctic location. Fascinated by the delicate textures, I was intrigued as to whether it was possible to reproduce the process in our more temperate climes, and crucially if I could take some images of them. So, the next time I woke to a frost I quickly dressed, grabbed a bottle of the kids’ cheap bubble solution from the cupboard, and headed out into the garden. I had done a little reading up on the subject, and the general consensus seemed to be that the air needed to be below about -7 Celcius. As such, I wasn’t expecting much at all. I blew a few test bubbles and the vast majority simply popped on touching the frozen patio or grass. I was just about to give up when one settled briefly. It didn’t last long, but when it popped
it left behind a delicate and incredibly thin shell - as opposed to just disappearing completely. Some, if not all, of the bubble had frozen in the short space of time it was sitting on the ground. I realised then that the examples I had seen online had the bubble freezing in the air, or hanging from the wand. So yes, in those cases, the air did need to be much colder. However, the key here was that it was the cold from the ground which froze the bubble. Encouraged, I grabbed the camera from inside and tried again - trying to work out how best to minimise the impact of the bubble on the sharp frost. I also decided (perhaps foolishly) that I wanted to photograph the bubble on the grass, rather than the patio.
Frozen - Kieran Metcalfe
Getting a fragile bubble to rest on frozen blades of grass is no mean feat. Blow too gently and you don’t get a bubble, too hard and they’re too small or hit the grass too hard and burst. Any errant breeze would dash them against the floor, or whisk them away over the fence (the neighbours must have been wondering who in their right mind would be blowing bubbles in the garden at 7:30am on a winter’s morning...). Even when they did land and freeze, they often burst or collapsed before I could get the camera set up as it’s nigh on impossible to make them land where you’d like. Eventually though, I had a couple of successful attempts, and with quite pleasing placement on the grass. The time it took me to move the camera (which was low down on a tripod) meant that the bubbles had frozen completely before I got the shot taken. The images below and on the front cover are the fruit of that session.
The close-up shot reminds me of the patterns on a planet or something of that ilk. The depth of field, however, is far too shallow - but I only realised that later when I’d retreated to the warm (unable to feel my fingers...). It makes a good abstract image, with viewers often questioning how it was taken, or indeed what it is! Pleased with my first effort, I posted them in a Macro Photography group on facebook and was approached by a chap from a news media agency looking for seasonal images to sell. He suggested they could sell well across their clients, but in the end, only one was used, and even then in a small inset picture by the Daily Star. That said, it did pay £90, and Wex Photographic featured them in a Facebook post for which they generously gave me a gift voucher, so it was a morning well-spent! However, after a time, my niggling mistake with the depth of field got me keen on trying again, as well as wanting to get some images in the process of freezing. I tried on a bitingly cold morning over Christmas with a thick frost on the roof of the car. The light was poor however, and while there were some nice results, again the lack of feeling in my fingers drove me back indoors - the only gloves I had to hand (no pun intended) soaked up the bubble solution which froze quickly and chilled my fingers even more than the original attempt.
Frozen - Kieran Metcalfe
A month or so later another sharp frost was forecast, so I headed out before dawn to a local park, hoping to find a location I could shoot with the rising sun, or at least the colours in the sky. I was hoping for a fence post or similar to balance the bubbles on, but I struggled to find a suitable location. The park has a large playing field with a cafe and picnic tables at one edge. The sun had just started to rise at the far end of the pitch, and I spotted some large planters with Yukka plants in them. A strange choice of plant, but the broad, long leaves made for a great place for the bubbles to sit, even though it did mean that the bottom of the sphere was lost. On this occasion, I was able to blow much larger bubbles, and the higher position off the ground allowed me to position the rising sun right behind them - and quickly too. The bigger surface area also meant that the process of freezing took much longer, so I was able to capture Jack Frost at various stages of his work. Getting the sunlight almost directly behind the bubble was the key here - the way the light refracts through the bubble makes the patterns stand out much more sharply than on my other attempts, as you can see in these last few images and the header image back over the page.
As I write this article, we’ve just had the first heavy snow of the winter and I’m thinking I should be outside trying this again before the warmer weather forecast for later in the week. I’m sure it’ll be cold enough again before too long though! If you’d like to have a crack at this, you will need: •
Ideally a macro lens, extension tubes or macro filter, but that’s probably not essential.
Bubble solution: Just normal cheap kids stuff, or make your own with washing up liquid and water
A cold morning, after a sharp frost - probably about -3 Celcius or colder
Warm (and waterproof!) gloves. I’m thinking of getting some ‘Photography Gloves’ where the thumb and index finger have tips which fold back so you can operate the camera while keeping the rest of your hand warm!
Plenty of patience, and (if done in a public location) the self-confidence to put up with strange looks!
(They can be quite pretty when they pop too!)
Frozen - Kieran Metcalfe
Processing the image The header image for the article is, in fact, a composite of two shots to create a more pleasing result.
The earlier image with better frost patterns. It was a fairly simple task to swap them over after applying matching tonal adjustments. This was the base image, straight out of camera. The main issue was the fact that the curved leaf made the bottom corners bend outwards in a rather unflattering manner.
The final image - after feedback in competitions at our camera club, and in IC7 Iâ€™ve made some adjustments to darken the bright sunlight in the corner to make it less distracting.
After some photoshop work to correct the corners and some initial toning and cropping itâ€™s looking a bit nicer. Unfortunately, it had taken a couple of seconds to find a composition I was happy with, and in that short time, the bubble had frozen too much, losing definition and separation in the patterns. I checked the other images from that sequence and found one with clearer frost from a few frames earlier.
All the images were taken on a Canon 500D with the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM lens (the cheaper non-L glass version). This sequence was shot at ISO800, f/10, 1/200sec.
Frozen - Kieran Metcalfe
PNO News Report
(Formerly Forum News) The big news of this bulletin is that the Forum has now effectively been replaced!!! It has been replaced by the PPC News Online (PNO) Website. The PNO uses the same web address and software platform as the Forum before it, and logging in is exactly the same as before, so if you were registered with the Forum, you are now registered with the PNO. The main difference is that the new PNO Website offers a much simpler user menu, mimicking a 'magazine' format. It also has greater editorial content and design input than before. The intention is that this will more effectively complement the Photonews Magazine in providing timely and accessible news and information to members and also over time provide an online record of club developments and achievements. On logging in you are now presented with a simple front page menu as shown below: 1. PHOTONEWS MAGAZINE 2. CLUB MATTERS 3. CIRCLE INFORMATION 4. MEMBER PROFILES 5. COMPETITION WINNERS AND TRAVELLING EXHIBITION 6. PPC TROPHIES AND WINNERS 7. RALLY 2018 & RALLY REPORTS 8. IN MEMORIAM 9. HELP Clicking on a section (e.g. '1. PHOTONEWS MAGAZINE') takes you immediately to the related and updated information that is provided there. This is a work in progress and it will take some time to add all of the new features I would like to include. Please drop in from time to time to see how we're getting on. The intention is that, in the fullness of time, if you need to know anything about the PPC you should be able to find it easily on the PNO 'reference library'. More news next issue.
Eighty Years of the HPPC/PPC Can I once again, and unashamedly, draw your attention to my editorial in the Autumn issue of Photonews and our plans to (hopefully) produce a special book to mark our 80th anniversary. To date I have had forty-two members (a little less than half) commit to supplying an image and short supporting caption for the book. However, to make it a viable project, bearing in mind it’s no small undertaking, we really need more of you to commit to sending an image before we start working on this in earnest. I don’t need any images yet - at this stage all I need is a “yes - I’m in” and assuming there’s enough of those then I will send out instructions on how to submit your image. This is a unique opportunity to celebrate the club and its history and whether you’ve been a member for eighty years or eighty minutes I would love to get every one of you involved. All that is needed at the moment is for you to text “Yes - I’m in” followed by your full name to 079 1360 5616 or to email “Yes - I’m in” to firstname.lastname@example.org What are you waiting for? I’m in!
PNO Update - Clive Piggott
Pictures To Exe and the Mac… A match made in heaven? Pictures to Exe (P2E) is a photo slideshow application developed by WinSoft Ltd for the Windows operating system. It’s been the go-to application within the audio visual world for many years now and in fact until last year it was the software we used to produce the slideshows for the Rally. But what if you use a Mac? There are plenty of workarounds to be found on the Internet but to me they all seem to need a degree of techy skills that I lack in order to realize the desired outcome. Despite an expectation that v9 of P2E would work natively on Mac that didn’t transpire. I use v8 of the software on a Windows laptop and really miss the speed and convenience of my Mac; my laptop is snail-like compared to it. I also have to copy image files and other resources across to the laptop when using P2E. Although I knew it was possible I had been loath to look into running Windows on my Mac fearing, as I mentioned above, that it would be complicated and might compromise the smooth running of my other applications but frustration with the laptop finally led me to take action. Speaking to Graham he recommended a program for the Mac called Parallels and as I had a Windows 7 disc in the back of a cupboard I parted with £50 for the Parallels software. Back at home, sat in front of the computer ready to begin the installation I was expecting some serious stress so I settled down with some soothing background music, a mug of black tea and a packet of chocolate fingers. Having downloaded the Parallels software and started it running I settled back to wait but it almost immediately asked me to put the Windows operating system disc in the CD drive which I did before even opening the biscuits. I didn’t actually time the operation, I was expecting to measure it as in afternoons not hours and certainly not in tens of minutes but imagine my surprise when it announced it was complete and I’d barely got half way through the mug of tea. It really was that quick and straightforward. I felt somewhat cheated and had only eaten a couple of the chocolate fingers too. And P2E worked! I’ve been using it for a few months now and have not noticed any performance issues from the Mac. I only run Parallels when
using P2E and am astounded at how well it integrates with my Mac. I can prepare all my resources using the Mac as normal, particularly the Adobe Creative Cloud applications, save them as I would usually , where I would usually and they are available immediately from within the Windows environment. So if you run a Mac and have been wondering about the ease of running your Windows programs I can attest to the efficacy of this solution. Truly the best of both worlds.
Pictures To Exe and the Mac - Dave Whenham
Film Revival David Ridley LRPS revists film to see if it’s time for a comeback Doesn’t it gladden the heart to hear of the reintroduction of Ektachrome 100 reversal film in 35mm format after its absence for some years. I’m sure like me it’s a film that many of you were familiar with in that not so long ago pre-digital age when there was an abundance of slide, or reversal film if you prefer, available in a variety of process paid & non process paid offerings from a number of manufactures. Ektachrome by Kodak was just one of the non process paid films on the market which could be processed by many labs who offered the required E6 process or of course it could be processed at home using one of the E6 kits then available. I always considered that when projected onto a screen slide film gave a depth, detail and impact not generally available from a print, but with the advantage that should a print from one or more of the images be required then of course one always had that option. Although I processed my own monochrome efforts I supplemented these with the use of colour slide film which I had commercially processed and indeed constructed my LRPS panel from slides which if memory serves me correctly required a submission of two or three extra images at the time due to the fact that slides were generally not considered wholly the work of the applicant, although I would stand any correction on this as my recall from a couple of decades ago may not be exact. However, what I can defiantly say with confidence it that when using slide film there was no chance of correcting any errors at a later date and even a half stop exposure error could prove a significant mistake as could incorrect framing of the subject, but I suspect that for many of us using this medium it taught us to get things right in camera and probably stands us in good stead today when using digital. It certainly taught me to think before pressing the button and only to take single shots or a series of single shots unless photographing moving subjects. I would generally only engage the motor drive/ power winder for moving subjects due to the fact I only had 20 or 36 frames available on a newly loaded film but may have only had 2 or 3 frames left if nearing the end of the film. Naturally cost was also a consideration not least because one needed to carry a stock of film in the camera bag.
So, is it time to dust off our £30 SLR’S? Some of us will probably still have previously cherished cameras because they are unlikely to fetch much these days, and looking at the second hand prices I’ve noticed that my Canon EOS 600 (released April 1989) which at one time was cutting edge with a built in power winder capable of 5 frames a second can be had for …. you’ve guessed it, thirty quid! When thinking of these happy times past I’m tempted in the near future to perhaps put a couple of rolls of slide film through my ‘old camera’ just to see what I can come up with these days safe in the knowledge that any desirable results can be scanned to digital then manipulated in the usual way ready to print via a computer & ink jet, but manipulation of colour would need careful consideration because every individual film type has it’s own colour rendition which is part of its own make up and I believe its individual charm which may be best left alone. Whilst I’m not advocating a complete return to film and would probably be foolish to do so, it could just be an alternative when looking for inspiration or just something different, as I think we all do now and again, and renew our undoubted basic skills and who knows maybe even form a regularly used second string to our bows. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the pre digital age of photography and hasn’t used and doesn’t own a film SLR giving it a whirl may will enhance your enjoyment of photography and even teach you one or two things into the bargain. After all for around a thirty pounds investment you could enjoy a whole new experience that countless others have had!
Film Revival - David Ridley LRPS
Film Revival - David Ridley LRPS
Jon C Allanson’s Photoshop Notes
will introduce a tiny amount of tone into the burnt out area– care must be taken not to darken the whole image too much.
The fourth and final part of Jon’s series of tips and techniques for editing your images.
Things like very bright distracting blades of dead grass can be toned down by using the Dodge and Burn tool set to highlights only at about 10% opacity
Extracts from Jon’s Photoshop Notes which were written using Photoshop and Elements for PC so if you use a Mac you will need to bear in mind that the ALT, CMD and CTRL keys work slightly differently. These notes are not meant to be prescriptive, giving exact details of how to achieve the ﬁnal results, but rather are intended as a set of basic ideas and techniques that can be adapted and applied to your taste. You will need to experiment with them to ﬁnd the best ways of applying them and the settings that work best for you. A modicum of existing knowledge is assumed.
To make more dramatic skies On the top make a new layer and fill with white. Apply a blackwhite gradient on to this layer so the sky is covered in black, then apply Multiply blend and use Opacity to control the effect. Adjust along the horizon with a layer mask.
Chromatic Aberration This often shows as red or blue fringe when a dark area comes up against a light area. It is possible to remove it in the ACR or Lightroom when converting a raw file. To remove it later, create a Hue and Saturation layer mask and choose the blue/cyan or red option, then desaturate the image, fill the mask with black and then paint a white line along the colour to be removed.
Shadow and Highlights The Shadow and Highlights tool is often neglected as it is ‘destructive’ – it makes a permanent change to the image or to the layer it is applied to. It is a very effective tool for toning down highlights or adjusting shadow detail. It is best used as either a ‘smart layer’ or by making a copy layer, applying the filter to the lower layer and masking out the upper layer as required.
Burnt out Areas and High Lights It is often possible to clone out burnt out highlights by using a soft edged stamp or paint in with desired shade in DARKEN Mode at an opacity of less than 40%, this works well on skin tones. ‘Dotting in’ the highlight with a very small soft stamp will often produce a better result as it increases texture. Sometimes it is better to create a new layer with the cloned (or a copied area) on and put a layer mask it, then adjust the masking using either soft edged brushes so that the burnt out area blends out. It is worth experimenting with the opacity of the cloned/copied area to assist in the blending. ‘Dotting in’ the highlight with a very small soft clone will produce a better result If it is a RAW image using the exposure and recovery sliders and then adjusting the blacks, whites and shadow sliders can usually correct the burn out. The careful adjustment of the OUTPUT slider in levels from 255 down towards 245 on either a selection or on the whole image
Jon C Allanson's Photoshop Notes
White Balance This is best corrected at the Raw conversion stage. The white balance of a JPEG or TIFF image can be adjusted by opening the image in Camera Raw and altering the colour temperature.
Flipping the Image We read text from left to right and this can influence the way read a picture. It often helps to put the strongest element on the right of the image with less important elements leading to it. It is not advisable to use this with images of well-known places or images containing text as it will easily be spotted and commented on. To get the best out of any of these techniques experiment with them and please let me know if you find any effective variations on them.
Checking the Final Image Once you have decided that you have achieved your final image, add a Layers adjustment layer to check that your image reaches both ends of the histogram. If it does not move the triangle at the ends in touch the edge of the histogram. (One of common causes of unexpected dark prints is because the histogram does not reach the 255 end.) If there is already a full range of tones this layer can be deleted immediately.
Some other useful tips •
Always start your work by ensuring that there is full range of tones in the image – this is best done at the RAW conversion. On a converted image a LEVELS adjustment layer is a good way then adjust the mid-tones with the centre slider.
[ and ] alter the size of brushes, and cloning stamps etc.
SHIFT [ and SHIFT ] alters the softness of their edges
If the size of the brush disappears it may be because it is too large for the screen or because CAPS LOCK is on.
When using CURVES or LEVELS as an adjustment layer, changing the blending mode to LUMINOSITY will prevent changes in the colour saturation.
When using the HIGH PASS filter for selective sharpening/ softening changing the blending mode to NORMAL can make editing easier.
To combine all your layers into one new layer on top of the stack SHIFT+CTRL+ALT +E.
To disable/enable a layer mask SHIFT click.
If you use masks it is worth right clicking on the mask in the layers palette and going to Refine Mask and then experimenting to see how it could help you
In Elements – there is no Invert in the drop down menus but CTR I works. It is worth investigating how many of the other Photoshop short cuts also work.
Jon C Allanson's Photoshop Notes
Large Print Circles Following the questionnaire that Dave Whenham sent out last year a number of members indicated that they would be interesting in joining a circle for larger sized prints. At the Annual Committee meeting it was decided that if a sufficient number of these members would commit to the project, then we would launch one with a maximum membership of 10, in early 2017 on the basis of 4 rounds per year. This was so as not to compete with the current print circles for members time. I offered to act as the circle secretary and to sort out the logistics for this new style circle. I modelled the system on that used by a RPS digital group circle, using a display folder to contain the prints, comments and notebook. Aware that sufficient members had originally indicated an interest in such a circle for further large print circle to follow, I purchased enough folders and pouches to operate 2 circles.
The first folio went live in January 2017 with 10 members and included an interesting selection of prints as the circle accepts colour, mono and manipulated images. The first three folios have now completed their rounds and as the â€œstickeredâ€? images shown here demonstrate there has been an interesting variety. An example of the folder was taken to the Rally for other members to view. As anticipated, there was additional interest in this type of folio and Circle LP2 was launched at the rally in October with John Kay at the helm. We wish everyone in LP2 success in their new venture.
Large Print Circles - Jon C Allanson
Jon C Allanson Circle Secretary LP1
Left: Horse Barry Willcock, Folio 1, 1st Place
Top Right: Eden Roger Edwardes, Folio 2, 1st Place Bottom Right: The Old Stove Roger Edwardes, Folio 3, 1st Place Large Print Circles - Jon C Allanson
Top Left: Sheâ€™s Wearing That Hat Again Ken Ainscow, Folio 2, 3rd Place Top Middle: The Harbour Entrance, Portleven Roger Edwardes, Folio 1, 2nd Place Top Right: Making an Offer Ken Ainscow, Folio 3, 2nd Place Left: Red Kite Jon C Allanson, Folio 3, Joint 3rd Place Bottom Left: Dawn in Snowdonia Barry Roberts, Folio 3, Joint 3rd Place Bottom Middle: Still Smiling Ken Ainscow, Folio 1, 2nd Place Bottom Right: Fish Auction Kerala Jon C Allanson, Folio 2, 2nd Place
Large Print Circles - Jon C Allanson
Small World Martin Parr A book review by Clive Piggott Martin Parr (born 23 May 1952) is a British documentary photographer, photojournalist and photobook and postcard collector. He is known for his photographic projects that take an intimate, satirical and anthropological look at aspects of modern life, in particular documenting the social classes of England, and more broadly the wealth of the Western world. Since 1994, Parr has been a member of Magnum Photos. He has had around 40 solo photobooks published, and has featured in around 80 exhibitions worldwide.(Wikipaedia) We are all familiar nowadays with the sight of the selfie stick and of smartphone users snapping other smartphone users snapping ‘selfies’ in front of some tourist hotspot. But this is nothing new. Small World is a collection of Parrís photos of tourists many of them in the process of taking photos of themselves at cluttered travel destinations the world over. Small World was first published over twenty years ago in 1996. A revised edition was issued in 2007 which includes some additional destinations. To produce this work, Parr travelled to many tourist destinations across the globe photographing tourists (e.g Italy, USA, France, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Mexico, India, Gambia, Brazil, Israel, Egypt, Greece, Arctic Circle, Lapland, Switzerland, UK, Thailand, Japan, Tenerife, Majorca) but there is a disturbing similarity about the tourist experience and behaviour wherever he visited. Photography and travel have developed together over the last two centuries. This 2007 Edition has an unusually
readable introduction discussing some of the issues raised by Parrís photographs, for example it says, “The tradition of photographing exotic places reaches back almost to the invention of the medium... Once the resulting pictures became widely available the desire to see these places increased... People go to places not to see the places but to obtain evidence - photographs of themselves - of having been there.” Parr’s images here are humorous and entertaining but are not intended to mock, but rather to pose questions about the nature of individuality that we all struggle to reconcile with modern consumerism. Parr continues to be fascinated by the tourism industry. He has not ruled out a future update to this work. Small World Author: Martin Parr (introduction by Dewi Lewis) Publisher: 2007 Edition - Dewi Lewis Published: Originally 1996 (revised edition 2007) Size: 30cm by 25cm
Small World Book Review - Clive Piggott
Alice Liddell, perhaps a less than familiar name, has vague connections with photography. How? Well possibly the North Wales seaside town Llandudno might help to enlighten the link. No? Maybe adding the name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson raises a thought, still not seeing the light? He was a mathematical lecturer at Oxford, and also, he had a keen interest in the early days of photography. What about the Latin interpretation of his name: Louis Charles? He was an acknowledged genius in this genre, particularly for his studies of children. If you are still none the wiser, perhaps the pen name of Lewis Carroll will be more helpful, and his writing around that little girl Alice Liddell, better known as “Alice in Wonderland.” Through somewhat surreptitious connections with children both through imagery and story telling Dodgson developed the Alice series of stories, gradually becoming one of the most popular children’s books of the period. So “Alice in Wonderland”, this may be a fairy tale, or more precise a recent modern-day children’s story book. Yet there are also connections to modern life through Llandudno, a small seaside town on the North coast of Wales as it was the destination of Alice’s family for holidays, and although no actual connection between Carroll (Dodgson) and Alice exists, the family were known to Lewis Carroll around the town.
Today this seaside resort is a thriving destination forf many holiday makers, including present day photographers. Unlike many other coastal towns around Britain which have been slowly sliding into decline over the past four or five decades, this Victorian settlement has always made effective positive moves to encourage visitors to the region. Llandudno has however only relevantly recently come to my attention as a destination for an active photographer. I was first introduced to this Welsh seaside destination in 2007, but I have always in the past, right from my teenage years, deplored “sand and candyfloss” holidays. Mainly being quite active through my younger years, following passions of cycling, walking, and rock climbing, along with an underlying interest in nature and all things connected to natural history. My holiday destinations were usually linked to action-based pursuits, I just didn’t have the mindset to bask in the sun or guzzle gallons of beer! No. I wanted for an eternity in which to explore. Thus, when this notion to go to the town of Llandudno on the Irish sea was introduced to me by friends, I was sceptical. Members of the rambling group I had joined had apparently for years taken an annual pilgrimage to this North-West corner of the Principality of Cymru, and were singing its praises (but not in the Welsh language I might add)! With age taking its toll I have now to think of slightly less strenuous, more sedate hobbies, to associate and accompany
C ne r or
my love of photography. So, this surprising little gem on the coast of the Irish sea has given me the taste of a more pictorial side for my imagery rather than the pure record style of yore, insects, church architecture and abstract work. The biggest and perhaps most weird connection to this town being Mr Dodgson and his tales told of Alice. Nowadays, anyone visiting this Victorian town can “Follow the White Rabbit” and peer through Alice’s looking glass into a wonderful world of old and modern icons placed around the streets, promenades, parklands and buildings of this locale and once again enjoy becoming a child for a day, (or more). There is a lot information to be gained from the web sites and local tourist information Office relating to this trail and several others, such as historic buildings, or around this Llandudno Victoriana extravaganza and at other similar gems along the Cambrian north coast. Or you could be more active and climb Snowdon and it associated mountain range to the south of the town; but to be honest for a change a quiet gentle visit, following the “White Rabbit Trail” could reward a photographer in other ways! For more information why not start at http://www.alicetowntrail.co.uk Eric's Corner
WHO SAID THAT? A Quiz from David Ridley (Answers on the back page) 1. “Photography is not a sport. It has no rules. Everything must be dared and tried!” 2. “To make photographs means putting ones head, eye and heart on the same axis.” 3. “Art does not reproduce what we see ; rather it makes us see.” 4. “No place is boring if you’ve had a good nights sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film.” 5. “A picture should be looked at - not talked about. “ 6. “The simple fact is, there are some photographs that can’t be done by people on iPhones.” 7. “When the weather, or circumstances, turn against you, try to relax and have faith in your own abilities. You can’t beat Mother Nature. If you put yourself in the right place at the right time enough times, sooner or later you will get lucky.” 8. “I fight to take a good photograph every single time.” 9. “My job as a portrait photographer is to seduce, amuse and entertain.” 10. “The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” 11. “The camera sees more than the eye, so why not make use of it?”
To view more of our images, learn about the club and for membership information, please visit postalphotoclub.org.uk
Photonews Celebrating the Postal Photographic Club and its Members Photonews is published four times per year. All rights reserved. All materials copyright The Postal Photographic Club and/or their respective authors. Any opinion or statement expressed by the author of any article published in this magazine does not necessarily reflect the views of The Postal Photographic Club, the editor or its members.
Answers to â€œWho Said Thatâ€? 1. Bill Brandt (1904 - 1983), 2. Henri Carter Bresson, 3. Paul Klee (1879 - 1940), 4. Robert Adams (American Photographer), 5. Elliott Erwitt. American documentary photographer b1928, 6. Chris Eades chairman of the BPPA, 7. David Noton writing in Amateur Photographer issue dated 5th November 2016, 8. Anne Leibovitz (American Portrait Photographer) b. 1949, 9. Helmut Newton, 10. Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987), 11. Edward Weston (American Photographer) 1886 - 1958
Celebrating the PPC and its members. More information and a membership application form at http://www.postalphotoclub.org.uk