“Subject in Motion” was the set subject for our October competition. We saw a good variety of moving objects and styles of capturing them. Judge, John Hodgson, gave fair, considered appraisal, making the point again that it was just HIS opinion, and the same image may be received very differently by a different judge. This came home to me when I was most pleased by his comments on one of my lowest scoring images because he ‘got’ was I was trying to do. I’d entered the same image with a previous judge, who completely misinterpreted what I thought I was saying. I think they gave me the same score, but I was just happy that, in this instance, John ‘”got it”!
It was great to see Les Ludgate enter, and take a top score for “Catch me if You Can!” Hopefully we’ll see more from you Les!
Can’t wait to see your best work in our Annual Exhibition!
September 25th saw us trial a new method of entering prints for competition, with titles sent online prior to competition night. With entrants able to simply walk in and hang their prints on the wall we saved time and freed up half a dozen people, who would previously have been madly recording names and titles and hanging prints, to socialise, relax and enjoy the night. We were very happy with the new system which looks set to make life much easier!
Derek Rogers was our judge and he provided helpful critique of each image – told us what he saw as the good and the poor aspects and gave suggestions for improvement. The general consensus was that he’d been fair, encouraging and quite positive but, as always seems to be the case (because judges are human and photographers are human), some scores were a little surprising and sometimes the judge just doesn’t ‘get’ what the photographer thought the image was about! Ah, the joys of competition! Overall though, thank you Derek for a great job!
It was great to see one of our newer members doing well in this and recent competitions – congratulations to Gloria Brumfield on having some of the top scoring images! Looks like those SAPF classes are paying off! (You’ll probably tell me those photos were taken before you did the classes, huh?)
There is just one more regular competition to come, followed by the Annual Exhibition. If you’ve been quietly watching from the sidelines, perhaps now is the time to dip your toe in the water and join the competition!
Yes! Another BPC Calendar has rolled off the presses.
We have trawled the images of our talented club members again and managed to snare the work of 39 different photographers. You may have seen some on the club Flickr group or at a competition or an exhibition or even on these pages – but they are all high quality images that will provide viewing pleasure and maybe inspire you.
This time the calendar editor role has passed to……..me! I’ve been given the task of producing the calendar for 2015 and tried to fill it with mainly local images, but now with a couple of twists. This time you get a glossy cover, a different layout, and each page has a theme (see if you can guess it). We’ve also worked with the printers to reduce page curl for a better product you’ll be pleased to share or give.
Now here’s a thought – Christmas is only 4 months away! So let this little beauty soar to remote locations, give it to your Aunt Mabel or Uncle Bob, surprise your neighbor with a copy over a cuppa, present one to your boss or favourite co-worker or even hang one on the wall in your home or office.
Here’s a YouTube video showing you each page:
The price remains the same – $15. Tough bag postage/packaging mail delivery is extra. You can obtain a copy from any club member, email us, or write to the club via snailmail (yes, we do have a postal address). We accept cash, cheques & money orders (payable to Blackwood Photographic Club of SA) and Electronic Funds Transfer (details available upon request) as payment for this great calendar.
How many times have you been to a competition, seen someones works and asked the question “How did you do that?”. Well, tonight was the night we found out.
Helen organised a few of us to share our little secrets. Not really that secret, but enough to inspire some work!
So who did we have?
First up, James Allan describing his little worlds – or extreme panoramas. Fortunately, James put it into a slide presentation, which I’ve reproduced below:
Keen readers will recognise the feature image – and may even see it in our upcoming Calendar (on sale soon!)
Next, Jo Tabe described how she produced some of her stunning HDRs. Yes, there is a tool in Photoshop. Yes, it works. But there are other ways.
First up, get your images – and it need not be all -2, -1, 0, 1 and 2 stops. It can be just the top or bottom three. You can even cheat in Adobe Camera Raw and derive it from one image.
Once you had your image, the merging part took over. Jo’s tool of choice is PhotoMatix – a plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture. The trick is to play with the images, allowing for motion in your subject (like trees) and removing halos that form in standard HDR images. As she pointed out the aim is have a high dynamic range – not surreal art.
Alberto Guirelli then ran through some very simple image manipulation to turn bland images into stunners. He should know – he keeps getting awards!
His trick was to use crop and vignette, and importantly, curves. This is the key – set the white and the black points in the image first. Then crop to what you need. His example of the bland looking Tuscan hillside took all of 2 minutes to transform into a stunning wide range image.
The vignetting method from Alberto was a bit more subtle. Use the lasso tool to outline your subject. Then set a smallish feather (about 50 pixels) and apply an unsharp mask to that area (at about 130-140%). Now, invert the selection and change the feather to about 250 pixels. Then darken it with curves. Now you have an irregular vignette that works!
Finally, the tool of choice that shuts the judges up – the clone tool in Photoshop. Get rid of unwanted branches, insects, people etc with the click/drag of a brush!
Next up – me. I rather like macro photography (probably stemming from my work years ago in a histology lab working with all sorts of microscopes – dissecting, dark field, transmission electron, scanning electron etc).
In the plain old photographic world we quickly run up against lack of sharpness and detail due to diffraction as we try to magnify images more and more. The answer lies in Focus Stacking. Here is a little presentation I put together:
Helen – our MC for the night – then showed us how she made King of Beasts (that great lion image) – starting with the lion with the cage behind it – in all its distracting glory. However, using Nikon Capture she demonstrated the removal of that grid, the ultimate vignette, and then the trick that Nikon Capture (which is apparently based on Nik Efex) allows modification of colour range brightness and contrast at an extreme (almost pixel) level. This allowed her to alter fur, reflections and edges with extreme accuracy.
Richard Akroyd then followed up Helen’s demonstration with more about Nikon Capture showing the broad range of what Capture (ie Nik Efex) can do. Could well be worth the $149!
To follow the high tech world of fine level manipulation, Mark Pedlar presented the image manipulation tech of Photoshop layers and the right selection of images. His Hell’s Gate image is a photo that’s been 7 years in the making when he first saw the gate. Assorted attempts at making it look good were not 100% successful. However, with perseverance we can now show how he did it:
So there you have a summary of the nights proceedings. Lots of lessons and methods, but not all of them high tech. In fact, some really simple techniques that result in some of our presenters gaining the highest awards in the amateur photographic world. As Jo said, sometimes all you need to do is play with the tools you have and learn what they do to get the most out of them. Sage advice
Movie Stills. We’ve all seen them – those classic images that entice us to the movies, inspire our photography, fire our imagination and lead us to into another world. The challenge arose after some of us recalled some brilliant work from Cindy Sherman’s book entitled “Untitled Film Stills“. These were not real movie stills, but images that could have been inspired by film noir, and Italian neo-realism (see the reference in Wikipedia)
Well sadly, it seems not many people at BPC understood the brief! The complaint came from the floor that it was too hard. Que? No matter – we still had a few interesting images pop up on the night. Cindy may even have liked some of them!
Judge Keith Seidel helped us out enormously in several ways. First, he was a last minute judge as the original judge couldn’t attend. Thanks so much Keith – we appreciate the effort.
Then, Keith did a superb job of judging the works on offer with constructive, well thought out commentary and criticism. It was a pleasure to stand out the front hanging the images for Keith to evaluate – and having a bit of banter with him along the way (something our little band of renegades is noted for).
As he commented to me afterwards, our work was good, and he was forced to hand out more 10s than usual.
So what about the movie stills? Well there were only two prints in that category (and I’ve put one of them here). There were a few more in the digital section (just 7), including a clever Lego version of Jaws by Dean Johnson. As for the rest – some great Open category images including Helen Whitford’s “A Screeching Halt” triptych and Jo Tabe’s “Just a Short Tail”.