WDCC Blog

For the 25 Sept Workshop evening, I organised an evening of High Speed Flash Photography. This follows my limited experience of it I had gained during some competition rounds.

However, the one lesson  I learnt was that it could be achieved with the minimum of extra equipment - mainly a flash gun with a manual output, a remote flash trigger and , if possible, screens.

 

 brandy swill 2         

High Speed Flash uses only low flash outputs eg 1/128 which have the shortest duration. This short duration can be used to "freeze" motion.

As a preparation I practised swilling fake brandy in a brandy , dropping fruit and veg into a tank of water and lemon slices into a glass of lemonade, complete with fake ice cubes.

                        peach 

Careful timing was needed to capture the drops a split second after the objects hit the liquid. I played around with different exposures and shutter speeds.

The practices also enabled me to prepare all the equipment and accessories for the workshop, e.g. a squeegee is required to clean the water drops off the inside of the fish tank.

On the night I looked after the fish tank, Andy Gilert ran the brandy swill and Lawry looked after the lemon drop. (and got drenched with lemonade!)

 Dave Mellor provided a superb setup for a red wine pour and dropping a strawberry into milk.

                                             

I kicked off the evening with a short presentation about the principle behind High Speed Flash

The session got off to a bit of a frantic start as the flash guns had to be set up to compatible cameras (something I'd completely forgotten to look at) but once it got started most people seemed to enjoy the shooting.

One member came up to me and said it was easier than he expected and it gave him the confidence to try it at home.This made my night as that was why I wanted to put the session in the first place

 

 

 

Well, I found that to be a very interesting talk, even moreso than I expected. Some of the images blew me away, and hearing about the lengths Jo goes to to capture the images was fascinating. It doesn't sound easy being a pro photographer, but the thrill of capturing a winning image like some of those we saw must be amazing. Selling them in abundance must be even better!

We will continue to try and bring great speakers like Jo to the club, and have pencilled in some dates for guest speakers for the new programme. Bernard is working hard to secure the services of a selection of great speakers for next year. 

But this year isn't over yet, and we have not one, but two sessions to come with Alan Angel on portrait photography (a lecture one week and a workshop following). Can't wait!

Well, I’ve been a lax in keeping this blog updated, but it’s been a busy few weeks with all of my spare time being taking up with the vote and the additional meetings this has entailed. Since our trip to Another Place, the club has a number of events, that I will cover in aggregate

Member’s Worknight – Competition Winners

For this event we invited the top 5 placed people in the photographer of the year competition to give talks on the successful (and not so successful) images. I always find it interesting to hear how other photographers get their inspiration, what they were trying to achieve, and how they came to realise their vision for the image.

We had images from Andy Gilbert, Bernard Booth, Ian Sprott, Mike Lyne and myself. A varied selection of images and stylesfrom wildlife to nature, and some great creative shots.

For my own part, I like to show the before and after. Show the image as it came out of the camera, how it was when it was submitted, and give an overview of the steps I took to get from A to B. Sadly in that sort of event, there can’t be a live demonstration, although I know that people have asked for some more practical guidance on image editing. Keep an eye on the programme as we try to build those type of events in.

 

Workshop – Shutter Speed

This was a practical workshop led by Michelle Mansley, regular visitor to the club. Her sessions always seem to go down well, and there was lots of positive feedback from the night. Some photos from the event are on the club Facebook group and the Flickr site.

I consider that I know what I am doing in terms of shutter speed, so on the face of it I didn’t think that I would get much from the session personally. In actual fact I still had fun (especially trying to time a shot of a bubble being burst!) and even learned a couple of snippets that I didn’t know previously. We will try and get Michelle back next year for another practical workshop.

It was also the first time we tried out the Winwick Leisure Centre for a club night (the committee have met there on a number of recent occasions to scope it out). It was very successful, and a sizeable portion of the membership got to see the venue for themselves.

As you will no doubt know by now, the membership have voted in the majority for a move to Winwick to aid with cost cutting, ensuring the future of the club. We will move there in the near future once we have ironed out the last few details, and this will no doubt be a new page in the club’s history after many years in Grappenhall.

 

Guest Speaker – Adrian Lines “Post Creative Photography”

Most recently, we had a talk from Adrian Lines entitled “Post Creative Photography” where Adrian told us how he got started in photography, how his inspiration led him to creative, and both national and international competition. Again, heaps of positive feedback for the session, and I myself enjoyed it thoroughly.

Whilst I couldn’t begin to create images in the style of Adrian, I am a fan of this type of creative artwork. His presentation, where it showed the creation of an image from the building blocks, through the blending and post production process was especially interesting. Of amazement is that most of his creations are done in a night. It just goes to show the benefit of shooting everything, and building up a library of components to use in creative composites (we’ve been told the same by Joan Blease and Lynne Morris of Wigan 10 in the past).

I know from recent research of clubs in the region that Adrian is essentially on a tour of the LCPU over the course of the year, so if you missed his session at our club, I would recommend trying to pick it up as a visitor at another local club.

The last club location shoot was at the Another Place art installation along Crosby beach. I grew up not far from here, so Crosby beach was a common weekend trip on the bus (4p for a half I seem to recall). Having moved away from the area in adult life, it was nice to get back to my old stomping ground, if only for a few hours.

The weather was perfect for the evening, and an unusually high turn out was great to see. Most location shoots we get a dozen or so attendees, this week there were 20 of us, pretty much two-thirds of the club membership. Sadly due to the distance (and lack of a pub at the locality) it was impractical to arrange meet up for a drink afterwards. Most people had the best part of an hour's trip home, but nonetheless it felt like a pretty social event anyway, as the majority of members were working within close proximity to each other. We also got a lot of feedback during the night and afterwards that people really enjoyed the location.

The have been some great images posted from the evening already, keep them coming on Flickr, Instagram or the club Facebook group - it's nice to see different people's take on the same subject matter.

The next location shoot is still a bit fluid - we are looking at a possible Sunday (16th July) visit to Astley Head Colliery. If this doesn't come off then it will probably be a trip to Salford Quays on the Monday 17th July (we will of course keep you updated at club meeting and via the website). The club did go to Salford Quays a few years ago (before I was a member), but there has been a lot of development since with the Media City springing up, so lots of great photo opportunities there.

The club welcomed Brian Dunseath to its meeting on 10th April to judge the first club competition of the year.

The “open” subject attracted a selection of good quality images on a variety of subjects. These included landscapes, natural history, sport and portraits and made selecting the winning images a challenge for Brian.

Having provided helpful tips and guidance for members, Brian spent some time considering the images and selected a print from Andy Gilbert and a DPI from David Mellor as the outright winners.

The rest of the winning images are included in the gallery elsewhere on the website. Thanks to all members who entered and to Brian Dunseath for judging and  entertaining us on the night.

Warrington District Camera Club members examining the print competition entries

The meeting on 27th February was the fourth and final Club competition of the year. Former LCPU President and well known member of Bebington Photographic Society, Bob Dennis was invited along to judge.

With all to play for in the Photographer of the Year rankings, a good, high quality number of images were submitted on the subject of “Groups”. The subject matter was interpreted in a number of different and interesting ways and presented Bob with quite a challenge to select the winning prints and DPI.

Blended with his usual good humour, Bob provided a lot of helpful advice and comments to club members. After a lot of thought and consideration he selected images from David Mellor as winners in both the print and DPI sections.

The winning images gallery is elsewhere on the club website. Thanks to all members for entering and to Bob Dennis for judging.

The Photographer of the Year will be announced at the upcoming AGM.

 

Bernard using one of the product photography setups

A little later than planned, due to a trip to Rome, here is a look back at our last session at the WDCC. This was one of our workshop nights, where we have multiple "stations" set up with lighting setups, and various objects to photograph. The brief was "Product Photography" - taking an image of something potentially mundane, but making it look it's best by creative use of lighting. Particularly useful if you are an Ebay seller and want your items to look their best.

We had no dedicated instructor for the night, so it was very much a learn by "trial and error" type affair, although there were a couple of club members on board to provide a little guidance, although not quite expert tuition. The session was also put together at short notice due to the schedule changes and all things considered it seemed a fairly successful evening.

Some of the shots that have been posted up to the clubs Flickr group and Instagram feed looked really good, and we've received quite a bit of positive feedback from members. We aim to have 4 workshop style nights in the program each year and are always looking for new themes that members might enjoy. If you have any suggestions for future workshops, please email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or speak to a committee member on any club night.

So this week we had our first members work night of 2017 (we will have 3 such nights during the year). There was a great selection of images displayed, and it was great that the authors were willing to talk about their images (sadly Bernard, the author of some of the great images was unable to be there on the night). It was also pleasing that members were willing to accept critical feedback about their images, on how to make them even more impactive.

The email submission process really helped Tim out on the night too, so this is something we will encourage going forward.

I also mentioned during the meeting that for future members nights, submissions will be encouraged from club events (be they model nights, table-top sessions, outdoor events and location shoots). This came out of a conversation at a recent committee meeting that these events are well attended, but we often don't see the fruits of the session save for a handful of images that get through to the club Flickr page. So it was agreed that sharing of these images on members nights would be encouraged.

Part of the rationale for this is that new members get to see the sort of shots that be taken in club events, and get a feel for how they work.

My announcement caused some debate on the night, but please be clear this is not prescriptive or mandated, just encouraged. You are still able to proudly display your shots taken elsewhere.

I'm hoping to post to this blog in the days following each club event, in part way to document our year, record the successes and failures of our program, and try to help shape future events based on feedback from members.

Thanks

Lawry