RPS Northern News December Issue

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NORTHERN NEWS ISSUE 17

December 2020

Season’s Greetings to everybody


THE NORTHERN TEAM Regional Organiser John Devlin ARPS northern@rps.org

Secretary Lyn Newton LRPS northernsecretary@rps.org

Treasurer John Dilworth

Team Irene Berry Michael Curry Susan Devlin Kathleen Jobson Carmel Morris

NORTHERN NEWS INFORMATION Š2017 All rights reserved on behalf of the authors. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the written permission of the copyright holder. Requests for such permission must be addressed to the Editor. The Royal Photographic Society, Northern Region and the Editor accept no liability for any misuse or breach of copyright by a contributor. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the RPS or the Northern Region.

Editor: Lyn Newton LRPS northernsecretary@rps.org


December 2020

And what a year it has been! I’ll start on a sad note if I may with a nightmare we will always remember – the year of COVID 19. Misery was, and still is, on our doorsteps, especially for those businesses who had to close their doors for the last time, not to mention the employees who have become redundant and are now in financial crisis. But most of all, of course, to the thousands who have lost loved ones, family, and friends, my heart goes out to you all. I was thinking the other day how fortunate we are to have a great pastime, and even more so, to be members of the Royal. They have kept the wheels turning over the past year feeding us with a wealth of on-line events. It’s been a steep learning curve where ZOOM is concerned and it can only get better – hopefully! But our year was far from being a write-off. As lockdown was relaxed a little, we managed to squeeze in a couple of workshops, one of which, Understanding Black and White Photography, took place in Saltburn and is featured in this Christmas edition of Northern News. Five delegates attended the day and under the watchful eye of course leader Mark Banks, gleaned experience and creative inspiration in the dark art of black and white. Their thoughts and images can be seen in this issue.

Ade Gidney FRPS gives us an excellent article entitled ‘Combining the Elements’, taking us on a journey from seeking locations, to planning and executing a shoot, right through to the thought process in achieving the shot. Inspirational, even if landscape is not your thing! What do you think when you hear the word ZOOM? Well Carmel Morris ARPS takes us on a different journey reflecting on how the word ‘ZOOM’ has changed its meaning over the years. She tells us what it means to her and thousands of others who have taken on board virtual meetings. Carmel also shares images from a workshop highlighting a mindfulness approach to her photography and how that helped her find a different way of thinking about her craft. Our December competition attracted some amazing images and gave our judge Malcolm Blenkey ARPS a hard time in selecting the winners. The winning entry receives a one-year subscription to the on-line publication Landscape Photography Magazine and a big thanks go to them for the prize. Well done to all. Finally, for those who tuned in to our latest ZOOM event - an interview with Mike Berry ARPS - we feature a few more of Mike’s images, displaying his unique way of shooting and thinking. This is the first in what we hope will be a season of bi-monthly interviews showcasing photographers in our region. Well, that’s it for this year and it just leaves me to don an almighty boot and kick 2020 into touch! From the team and myself, we wish everyone in the region a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Thanks John


Mike Berry, ARPS travels extensively on the Indian sub -continent and in the Far East. He is known for his images of people living their lives in challenging environments. Following on from his very successful RPS one to one interview with John Devlin, Mike has shared his thoughts and images with us. Hi everyone, I hope you are all keeping safe. Apparently the cavalry is coming over the hill as I write this. We live in strange times! John asked me to write a few lines to give people an idea of my approach to image making. I’ve worked out that I am not a documentary photographer, at least if I use the RPS definition. I travel, or I did, quite extensively and photograph what I see. Sometimes it is not pretty, but that’s life for so many people in less fortunate circumstances than us. When I am in deprived areas of the world, such as the slums of Mumbai, I seek to engage with the people I’m photographing. I think this brings an important extra dimension to the image. It’s not just a shot of someone doing something in their environment, but eye to eye contact with me and the viewer. If they smile, great, if they scowl and are indifferent, not a problem.

If you were to put me in one of the most stunning landscapes on the planet, I admit I would probably struggle to come away with a great shot. Why? Because it doesn’t excite me, and I can’t see the image. However, put me into the concrete jungle and I will trip out on visual overload. We are all individuals; we all have our strengths and weaknesses so play to your strengths.

One final point I think worth mentioning is, you must be passionate about whatever you are doing. Take the time to do your research and seek help on the ground. You will not be successful if you just “dip” into somewhere for a short time. Yes, you will get some images, but they won’t have the depth and feeling you should strive for.





Understanding Black and White Photography Field Trip Back in September, COVID-19 restrictions fully complied with, five intrepid photographers met up with professional photographer, Mark Banks to further their understanding of black and white photography. They have shared with us some of their images and thoughts about the experience.

Nicola Robley

Really enjoyed Mark's workshop. I have now been on a few of his workshops and learn something new every time. What I really appreciated was his explanation of seeing in black and white using Ansel Adams's Zone System and this has made me look at black and white photography differently as a result. It was a full-on day and the time just flew by with a

lovely group of people.


Paul Cayton Who knew that trying to see in black and white is so difficult? On most occasions I would take a photograph as normal and then see what it looked like in mono on the computer when I got home. On this workshop Mark encouraged us to look at the world in black and white and get a completely different perspective of the image.

That’s more difficult than it sounds, at least it was for me, and the exercise we did in the morning proved that. What looks like a dark rich shade in colour can be light in monochrome and vice versa.

You can see the comparison in the two images of the three beach huts above. The challenges Mark gave us were, therefore, much more interesting and difficult to achieve. Going forward now with the knowledge and information that Mark was so willing to share, I can certainly say that I have a better understanding of shooting black and white mages and will do it more often.


Marilyn Beacham Saltburn sea-front is bursting with vibrant colours so I knew that a workshop based solely on capturing images in black and white was going to be something very different. And it was. Mark’s first task certainly made me think. It was a fascinating challenge to visualise the colourful beach huts in black, white, and grey tones. Thank goodness we had been given an Ansel Adams Zone System chart to help us. Some of our results were unexpected or way out...and some were spot on! Mark explained every task clearly, helping us throughout the day, giving encouragement and support often on a one to one basis. He is an excellent teacher and I learned how to use the manual setting on my camera, experimenting with movement and shutter speed and I now feel more confident. Everyone was very friendly and supportive. We shared stories and learned from each other. I would recommend this workshop to anyone interested in learning more about black and white photography and I am looking forward to attending other RPS workshops in the future. Many thanks to Mark for a most enjoyable and informative day. He has a quiet, calm teaching style which belies his wealth of knowledge and expertise.


Stephen Smith The workshop started at 10am in Saltburn with five people attending and after brief introductions and formalities, we were given a project for the day to produce black and white images as follows: Low key - High key - Shades of Grey - Movement - Long exposure. The first part of the workshop helped us to ‘see’ in black and white. We used the brightly coloured beach huts adjacent to the pier in this exercise. Using the Ansel Adams Zone system, we carried out a visual assessment of a number of huts putting them into zones 0-10. We then repeated the exercise using our cameras set to black and white mode.

The exercise was very useful and allowed us to work out which colours give high contrast when viewed together and which give low contrast. We then worked on completing the set project, with Mark on hand to provide support and guidance. It was a very instructive and enjoyable day and members were still making images into the early evening.


Sarah Hillier There we were, four of us, walking along a row of brightly coloured beach huts in Saltburn earnestly discussing numbers on our pieces of paper. We were on an RPS Black and White Photography course; the piece of paper showed the Zone System devised by Ansel Adams. We looked at how colour, light and shade affected the numbers in the Zone system and assigned a Zone accordingly. This was the first practical exercise of our day with Mark Banks. As we fed back and discussed, the importance of the Zone System became clear and we became more confident in seeing in black and white. Who knew that red and blue huts would end up being assigned the same zone?

We were given a challenge to produce other images too - high key, low key, long exposure and one showing movement, which could be through ICM. The advantage of being such a small group was that we had a good deal of individual support and encouragement from Mark, encompassing composition, aperture, focus and exposure. It was refreshing too, for abstract ICM images to be encouraged.

We had begun the day at Cat Nab, thinking about the elements of a successful black and white photograph and looking at some of Mark’s superb black and white images and how they are printed. By the end of the day, I felt I was beginning to climb the foothills and that I have some of the skills to climb higher. This was the third RPS workshop with Mark in which I have taken part. Each time, I have come away with new understanding and renewed enthusiasm. I look forward to doing some more!


The latest of our Meet the Northern Team features Carmel Morris who tells us how Zoom has impacted on her life. In 1962 ‘Zoom’ was an ice lolly, coloured red, yellow and orange, and shaped like a Space Rocket. Jump forward to 1982, it’s a pop song by Fat Larry’s Band staying at number 2 in the charts for 11 weeks. Another jump to 2020, and it’s a communication tool that has changed how we work, meet friends and family, learn, play bingo, party – and so it goes on. Starting out as a sceptic, I am now a confirmed Zoom advocate - there are other apps available!. From the comfort of my own home I’ve attended camera club meetings, RPS talks, seminars and workshops all over the country - Dartmoor, South East England, Yorkshire, Bath, Cornwall, and London. No long train journeys, overnight stays, traffic jams and travel costs. I have a front row view of the speaker; I can see and hear the presentation clearly; I can get the speaker’s attention to ask questions and get replies; I have notes and handouts emailed to me and sometimes even a video recording; a comfortable seat and the heating is just right. What’s not to like? One of the workshops that had an impact on me and my approach to photography, was ‘ An Introduction to Mindfulness Photography’ with Paul Sanders. www.discoverstill.com. It was a very different approach for me, focusing on slowing down and immersing yourself in the location. Taking time to notice with all of your senses what’s around you, how it makes you feel and ENJOYING taking pictures of what interests YOU, without feeling the need to conform to the rules of photography, or impress a judge or fellow photographers. As part of the workshop I spent a few hours rummaging around the rocks at Staithes. I was intrigued by the groups of winkles and limpets, and the patterns that had been created on the rocks. I loved how the little winkles clustered together like a litter of puppies. I could see a lobster, a lion’s head, and a wolf in the marks on the rocks. Overall, it was a very different photographic experience, one that I really enjoyed. It left me feeling refreshed, relaxed, and contented, and I am continuing to practise it. I can highly recommend applying mindfulness to your photography! Here are a few of the photographs I came away with.


I have been greatly inspired by the numerous RPS Zoom talks given across all genres of photography – abstract, landscape, nature, documentary, creative. I’ve learnt new skills and improved others and connected with people across the world. I really do hope that, going forward, Zoom remains a permanent feature of our post-COVID lives and RPS membership. Carmel Morris ARPS


Ade Gidney FRPS looks at Combining the Elements People sometime ask me how I get shots in the mountains, or where to go to get great images of the Lake District. Sometimes I rely on my 40 years of fell walking experience to imagine a scene or view from a mountain or valley. Other times I will specifically visit an area or location with a view to scouting out compositions which I then record on one of my mobile phone apps. At the end of August I went with some friends to wild camp (it used to just be called camping!) at Low Water below The Old Man of Coniston. A beautiful little tarn, a few hundred feet below the summit, which I rightly thought would be sheltered from the south westerly winds. I planned to take my camera gear hoping there would be a decent sunset and possibly some good light at sunrise in the morning. I had in my head the idea of a composition from somewhere near the summit of The Old Man but didn't know what. I had been up there, just a matter of a few weeks before, on a tarn swimming jaunt with another mate. I couldn't remember anything that would make a good foreground other than possibly the summit cairn. I even googled “Coniston Old Man Images� to get an idea of what might be possible. This technique can be useful if you want to see what other people have produced in the area. After spending an hour walking up from the Walna Scar road, through some old mine workings, I put my tent up on a flat spot near the tarn. I then walked the 25 minutes up to the summit.

Morecombe Bay (Canon Eos R, RF 70-200 @ 77mm ISO 200, F6.3 1/200sec)

There was some great light spilling across Morecombe Bay and the bottom of Coniston Water. I looked around for a foreground, to include in a wider shot of maybe 35 or 24mm, but there was just nothing that excited me. I realised that the shot wasn't about a foreground but the undulations of the hills with light and shadows, with Morecombe bay receding into the distance. I used a 70-200mm lens at 77mm, later cropped to 2:1 ratio in Lightroom. The dark clouds above and shadows at the bottom helped to make a natural vignette to draw the eyes into the centre of the image.


I continued my search for foregrounds as I thought the evening had the makings of a great sunset. In my head I wanted a portrait image with jagged rocks in the foreground, leading the eye to the coast, possibly Dow Crag and the sun setting in the background.

As I looked around still with the 70-200mm lens I could see the Isle of Man was really clear behind Dow Crag. Sometimes it is not visible for a number of reasons, haze, low cloud or bright sun. Again the shot wasn't about foreground and by zooming to around 110mm I could concentrate on the Isle of Man with a few other elements providing a supporting cast.. I cropped it to 16:9.

Isle of Man & Dow Crag (Canon Eos R, RF 70-200 @ 115mm iso 100, F6.3 1/800sec)

I was starting to think there were no compositions in which I could include a meaningful foreground. The sun was getting nearer to the horizon. It was now about 7.50pm and sunset was in 20 minutes. I could see that a gap in the cloud was going to produce some sidelight in about five minutes. I was desperate not to miss it but didn't want to compromise on just grass and the odd sheep in the foreground. (I have annotated the next image for demonstration purposes) .


Dow Crag (Canon Eos R, EF 16-35mm @ 18mm iso 400, F8 1/80sec)

I found some rocks which seemed to form a bit a triangle that I could use on the left hand side to balance the bright light coming in from the right. The rocks on the left were nicely lit by the side light. I cropped the image to16:10, a ratio I often use when the top and bottom do not add anything to story. After later posting this image on social media I thought it might look better with less grass in the foreground so narrowed the crop to 16:9 which I think works better.

Dow Crag (Canon Eos R, EF 16-35mm @ 18mm iso 400, F8 1/80sec)


I had around 10-15mins to see if I could find another composition. I was still looking for something that would work in portrait either in 4:3 or 5:4 ratio, my two preferred portrait landscape crops. I usually set the image in the display on my camera to 4:3 (it doesn't have a 5:4 option) to help with the composition process. I found some foreground rocks, but the only slight problem meant me standing on an extremely steep slope with a very long drop to the tarn below. Even then the nearest foreground was around a meter from the camera. The large dynamic range of the scene dictated I would have to bracket the shots. I wanted to produce a sun star, so a narrow aperture of F14 not only helped with that but also gave me a large depth of field using the 16mm lens. The resulting image whilst pleasing is not quite what I had in mind.

Dow Crag sunset (Canon Eos R, EF 16-35mm @ 16mm iso 400, F8 1/250sec)


Small Water wild camp (Canon Eos R, EF 16-35mm @ 17mm iso 400, F8,g 30sec)

So that was it, I thoroughly enjoyed the hunt for compositions which included the elements I was looking for. Sometimes, though, it shows you don't always find what you're looking for even if the weather conditions are in your favour. Flexibility, and not being too fixed about how you shoot a scene, can produce images you never actually imagined you would get. I headed back down to the tent for a cup of tea wondering whether sunrise was going to happen, and whether I could find a composition I had in my head involving sunrise, sidelight, old mines, and bits of rusted metal work .

Mountain & Wild Camping photographer www.adegidneyphotography.com


December Competition

Many thanks to Malcolm Blenkey for his time and expertise when judging our December Competition and for his comments on the winning images. The winner of the competition will receive a year’s subscription to the online Landscape Photography Magazine. Malcolm says: I have enjoyed viewing the 51 images submitted for the December competition. There were some wonderful images and interesting ideas. As always with open competitions it was extremely difficult to decide the final placings, with so many strong images from different genres. I have changed my mind on the order of the top four several times and, if I were scoring, I would have probably given them all the same score. The interaction provided through groups such as RPS Northern throughout the last year has been particularly useful for keeping us all involved in our various photographic interests, not to mention for our mental wellbeing. Many of us who are members of camera clubs have welcomed the opportunity to see the very high calibre online presentations on offer from the various regions of the RPS and the PAGB over the last nine months. However, I’m sure we are all very much looking forward to being able to meet physically again later in the year.

Thanks to Landscape Photography Magazine for providing the prize https://landscapephotographymagazine.com


1st Vervet Suckling Baby by Christine Hadfield ARPS

A superb piece of behavioural natural history photography. The photographer has waited until the angle of the baby monkey’s face has allowed the eyes to be shown, which is so important even though they are closed. The critical area is sharp and the depth of field in the image has been well handled. The shadows have been well processed to ensure a perfect exposure throughout the image.


2nd Kudu Carrying Oxpecker by Kenneth Hadfield ARPS

The curve of the Kudu’s spine is used well to lead us through the image to the wonderfully alert expression of the animal. The point of focus and depth of field is perfect to include the tip of the Kudu’s nose, bright eyes and its erect ears indicating that all senses are in action. The light through the animal’s mane is very effective, as is the inclusion of the Oxpecker which seems to be very aware of the Kundu’s alertness. The defused subtle background tones provide a perfect backdrop.


3rd Back lighting by Bill Maughan LRPS

The power and speed on display at these Jet Ski events provide a great opportunity for dramatic action shots and this image is an excellent example of what can be achieved. The moment has been chosen well to capture the spray both sides and in the wake of the jet ski. The backlighting through the spray also adds to the drama. The exposure and sharpness of the jet skier has been well handled which allows us to just about see his/her eyes which is always a bonus with this kind of image.


4th Celestial by Steven Ball

A very well composed image with the tree in just the right place. The mist in the lovely light adds a subtle softness that suits the autumnal scene. The sinuous tree trunk and nicely separated branches create a very aesthetic shape. The small bush on the right provides balance to the rocks on the left.


Highly Commended Life and Death—Kaffir Lily by Ade Gidney FRPS

A simple but very effective image. The inclusion of the lifespan of the florets from faded to prime blooms and buds adds interest. The main prime bloom is well positioned in the frame and beautifully lit. The choice of colour of the mottled background works well. The vignetting of the corners takes your eye straight to the main subject and helps with the composition.


Highly Commended Red Squirrel in snow by Sandy Furniss ARPS

Photographing these small animals in snowy conditions really helps to lift them from the ordinary. Timing has been perfect to capture the delightful pose of the Squirrel in this well composed image. The tree stump looks natural and provides a strong base. The soft light has captured the detail of the Squirrel’s coat and is particularly effective through its bushy tail.


Highly Commended Hanging on by Irene Berry LRPS

The doleful expression on the little boy’s face catches your eye immediately, which combined with the image’s title makes the viewer try to imagine what the situation is for this group of people. Presumably, this is some form of crowded public transport but the boy’s hands gripping onto the bar and his expression even with the wonderful catchlights in his eyes gives the impression of desperation. The cool colour palette works well with the mood of this image.


The City Race by Edward Forster ARPS

Four birds and a bloke by Jeremy Griffiths LRPS


Lock Down by Susan Devlin LRPS

Walkway by Peter Dixon ARPS


Untitled image by David Saxton

Preparing for winter by Mark Corpe LRPS


A woodland stream by Paul Terry LRPS

Autumn Tones by Alan Bradley LRPS


Akiu by Steve Eva

Golden Light by Carmel Morris ARPS


Nature’s gift by Lyn Newton LRPS

Pastel Woodland by Mark Banks LRPS


Henry by Kenneth Bladen

There may be a pandemic but we can still be stylish by John Stephenson LRPS


The Devil’s Daughter by Peter Downs LRPS

Hanging On by Keith Snell LRPS


Tulips after rain by Stephen Smith LRPS

Gladioli by Celine Alexander-Brown LRPS


Leafy Blues by Ann Healey LRPS

Treeworks by Linda Duncalf ARPS


Derwent Reservoir by Susan Rowe LRPS

Tewitt Tarn by John Petty LRPS


Red Cliff by Michael Curry LRPS

Rays of Light and Hope by Margaret Whittaker LRPS


Downhill Racer by Trevor Thurlow LRPS

Watch the ball not the bail! by Brian Swales LRPS


Circles and Lines by Jane Morris Abson LRPS

Steam steel and sunshine by David Trout LRPS


NOT SAFE TO GO ANY FURTHER by Patricia Wood LRPS

Heart of Steel by Geoff Crisp ARPS


Footsteps in the Sand by Roy Frankland LRPS

Beadnell Harbour by Gordon Hartill


Waiting area Freeman Hospital by Geoff Bradford ARPS

We Remember by Anna Chambers LRPS


Image No. 1 by Joy Renwick

Light and Shade by Marilyn Beacham


Isolation by Francis Annett

Storm Light by Paula Davis FRPS


Luxury Quarters by Lynda Golightly

Missed the canal entrance by Mike Allport


Gibside by Peter McKenzie LRPS

Norwegian Fishing Village by Olivia Costello


You know you want me by Mike Berry ARPS

Bangkok by Ray Cooper ARPS


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