Blackwood Photography Club News

Music in our souls – 12-Mar-2015

Ashley Hoff - Precision Bass - Set The competition – Music.

The images – 116 incredibly varied photographs.

The judge – David Smith.

The Outcome – BPC members with music in their souls!

 

About 45 BPC members and visitors attended on a night with colourful and intriguing images of music being performed, danced to, instruments close ups, musicians in action and lots more. Some images obviously came from the archives (a very young Cliff Richard was observed). And some images were so fresh they had titles like Music 1 and Music 2. Mad March in Adelaide supplied a lot of the images from the Clipsal 500, the Adelaide Festival of Arts, the Adelaide Fringe and WOMAD. There was something for everyone! Even beer (well – a picture of beer).

Judge David Smith worked through the images with care despite the large number, giving constructive critique and a fairly large number of 10s in the process. Not that the recipients complained!

Ron Hassan - Sunset - OpenTwo things stood out tonight:

  • The high quality and creativeness in the novice competition – well done!
  • Ron Hassan’s Sunset image

 

 

I’ve delayed publishing this whilst I chased images – but not all have turned up. Check out the ones we did get as usual at our Top Prints and Top Digital pages.

Keep on dancing to the music!

Chris :)

 


Composing in Black and White – Arthur Farmer – (author James Allan)

Arthur Farmer was guest speaker at our March meeting.  I can say that I really enjoyed his presentation.  He gave a talk on Black and white photography.  Arthur has a preference for monochrome slides.  With the switch to digital media it is getting a lot harder to do nowadays.  His favourite film has gone out of production and he needs to send it away to the US to print his slides.  I took some rough notes from Arthur’s talk.  I would like to put some of his images into this article.  Hopefully I will be able to add some as they become available.Image20

It was apleasure watching the skillfully crafted images.  Arthur mixed his slides with explanations of his approach to photography.  “Photography is representational and not just representative”.  He quoted widely,  Will Nolan, Ken Rockwell, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston. “Simplify and Exclude” was the mantra of Ken Rockwell.  The ‘s’ from simplify and the ‘ex’ from exclude make the acronym sex.  “Removing colour stripped back an image to its elements”, Arthur explained, “black and white is the essence of the subject, the root of art.”

Arthur exhibits a high level of technical competence.  His landscapes are sharp from the foreground to the back ground.  He handles highlights and dark areas well, preserving detail where possible.  He uses texture to good effect.  Arthur explains, “The first impression of an image is emotional and therefore important and often better than analytical or logical evaluation.”

Quoting Edward Weston he exhorts us to pre-visualize the image before taking it.  Arthur believed in composing pictures.  He uses lines to lead to the subject. Silhouettes can be powerful, as can movement.  Curves, textures, Shadow, foreground details are all important. Real life has too much detail.  The photographer has to simplify things.  Get in close.  It is OK to crop things out of the picture.  Keep it sharp.

A longer article from this session has been posted in Camera clips.  So make sure you have a read.  As said previously, I really enjoyed this session.  It gets back to the joys and pleasures of taking photographs.  To quote Arthur, “’amateur’ comes from the Latin word ‘amore’, meaning to love.  That’s why we take photographs, because we love it.”


Spain through my lens – Paul Hughes – 12-Feb-2015

A large audience of 43 members and visitors at our last meeting were present as BPC President, Ashley Hoff, welcomed English visitor Paul Hughes (and North Norfolk Photographic Society member) and his family to our meeting.  Paul had earlier contacted the club and offered to show his photographic record of his walk through northern Spain along the renowned pilgrim route known as Camino de Santiago – it is also known as the St James’ Way or the French Way.  It commences in the French town of St Jean Pied-de-Port and finishes at famous Romanesque Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, a journey of about 800 kilometers.

Paul explained that after much research and with the generous encouragement from his wife Kate he decided to do the walk to mark the year of his 70th birthday.  The trade off was Kate would visit family in Blackwood South Australia.

The first thing – other than the walk – that Paul mentioned was the need to travel light. He left behind his large SLR and lenses that weighed almost 10kg – his research had indicated that a pack of 7kg was about the limit. Instead he used a smaller Canon Powershot G12 so he could carry clothes and water. In one image he showed us was this travel beaten camera that served him well.

It was not long before everyone was being taken along the walk through Paul’s many photos using landscape and portraits as well as well placed videos of the various characters he came across in the many towns and villages he passed through.

Paul had initially decided to do the first short leg of the journey up to Puene la Reina. But after returning home and much thought he chose to complete the full journey.

The basic but adequate bunk accommodation (including bed bugs) and the camaraderie quickly established between the walkers along the way were experiences obviously enjoyed by Paul. His shots of the Pyrenees landscape to the flat plains known as the bread basket of Spain and the various wine regions along the way were fantastic. The architecture from Roman bridges to modern city buildings, the vast Gothic Cathedral in Burgos and the stain glass in the cathedral at the Leon were outstanding.

During Paul’s presentation we were given an insight into the various cultures and Spanish way of life. This included those in the famous wine lands of Rioja, the streets and people of Pamplona, famous for its bull running festival and culturally rich Leon.

Upon conclusion Paul invited everyone to view the mementos of the trip has referred to during his presentation. Fortunately, he didn’t bring any of the boots he found – often seen abandoned on the walk.

Many members used this opportunity to discuss Paul’s walk with him and to add to the vote of thanks made by Ashley at the conclusion of the presentation.

Sam Savage

Spanish borderYou can see many of Paul’s photos on Flickr


Blue for you – 29-Jan-2015

Blue – it evokes a range of emotions, has a range of meanings and is seen all around us. For some it is sadness or melancholy and for others it is calming and soothing. We relate blue to cooler temperatures.  We listen to blues music, and often see it in corporate colours. In some cultures blue means a boys colour (but in others its for girls). It’s the colour of the sky and of water. Blue is often a favourite colour (no Monty Python quotes here) – or not – but that also depends on culture. Many people wear blue clothing (blue jeans!). It is the colour of an utterly insignificant little planet in the outer western spiral arm of the galaxy. Technically, blue is a primary spectral colour, with a wavelength of 450-495nm and RGB value of 0,0,255. Until the advent of modern chemical dyes, it was a difficult colour to reproduce and source from minerals such as lapis lazuli and cobalt or plants such as woad. Early photographic emulsions were overly blue sensitive making colour reproduction difficult which was overcome with the advent of panchromatic films.

But enough of the philosophy and history of blue. How about some photographic representation? There were plenty of people present to see how we could represent blue in our images – 40 members, 3 guests and judge Peter Phillips. On this occasion Peter had 108 images to judge (of which 45 were set subject). Peter seems to be making a habit of visiting our club at the start of the year as a judge – and that may be a good thing as he carefully and efficiently judged the images, giving some very good critique, sharing his insights, and handing out scores. As Peter carefully pointed out at the start, the scores he gave were his opinion – but the most important opinion was that of the photographer responsible for the image. Despite his warning – he did hand out a lot of very good marks (I counted eleven 10s and fifteen 9s – that’s almost 25% of the images). We also shared our usual club banter with the judge (there were a lot of puns and segues) making the night the usual friendly, relaxed affair we all enjoy.

Jennifer Williams - Something Blue - Colour (Set)

Jennifer Williams – Something Blue – Colour (Set)

So – how did we go?

Well the usual offenders obtained their expected high scores (and a few lower ones as well), but a few new faces emerged that will threaten the status quo! Jen Williams shook up the competition with the image at left. I’ve been watching Jen’s work on Flickr – and I think other BPC members should not be complacent. This image evoked no comment from Peter other than “10”. Enough said about that.

Gloria Brumfield is showing off her talent too with some great images. Dean Johnson again showed his ability with just one very clever image. David Hope gave us a stark landscape. And Perry Phillips took a punt in the novice section with some unusual images of silica gel (I knew what it was) – I hope we’ll be seeing more from him.

It was also good to see Theo and Ursula Prucha return to the club and get a few high scores in the process.

So – the first competition of the year is over. Check out the images that scored highest in the Top digital and Top print pages.

Cheers

Chris :)


The 31 Days of December 2014 are over – did you like it?

A dedicated bunch of BPC members took up the challenge again this year. It’s been a fun ride and most of the participants managed the full 31 days.

If you look through our flickr group it looks like Heather, Jen, David, Eric, John, James and I managed to post at least an image a day. Kerry came close, and we had a few images from Gloria, Ann, Helen, Terry, Howard and former member Hilary.

So what did we see? Well first we had a huge variety of images, following of themes, a bit of image manipulation, some of our photographers rediscovering their photographic passion, and a bit of repartee between us in the comments. I’ve picked what I think are the best of each members images and a comment on what they gave us. You may not agree with my choices, but you’ll probably agree it’s been fun and entertaining for the observer.

sticks and bits 14/12

Sticks and Bits

Let’s start with Heather, who gave us a selection of wildlife, birds, travel photos, Christmas food and drink (love that Quinta Ruban!) and observation. No theme per se, but Heather looks to have had fun. What’s more, Heather didn’t confine herself to her dSLR, but use her iPad and a compact as well. For me, the image above was quintessential Heather – simple and effective imagery.

31 Days 2014

Figure to ground relationship

Next we had Jen exploring themes of photographic composition, often using simple objects and simple lighting. There were some powerful images in there that merit a serious look – like the 3 rocks and the almost monochrome sea urchin on a black background. Jen has a very good eye for composition – so watch out in this years competition everyone! Jen I think takes out the award for comment discussions. I direct you to one image as an example and you be the judge!

Kerry took part for most of the 31 days (actually, all of them I think, but she didn’t post them all on the BPC flickr page), and seemed to explore a lot of food! Not a problem really, as we all like it, and I was half tempted to visit and inspect the pantry! You’ll have to look at her photo stream to see her images as I can’t embed the images here directly. Never the less check out her Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars and her Dump Trucks to see what I mean.

Father & Son

Father and Son

David worked at giving us an image a day from his secret hideout south of Adelaide (we can’t tell you where or he may have to silence us!). David presented us with an fascinating array of still life, images from the hideout,  and garden images, often manipulating the images to add something new. For me, Father and Son, (although not fully representing the body of work) showed us David’s wit and talent. But don’t overlook his artistic work either – Argive Abstract is one not to miss.

Year End. 31.Day.2014

Year End

Now on to Eric. Never stuck for a word or a witticism, Eric produced some excellent work demonstrating clever manipulation in camera, around the camera, in processing and outside the camera. Check out Friction Grater as an example. That’s comes from lots of practice and experience. But for me, Year End was a stunner that should not be missed.

 

Day 16 BPC Hindmarsh Old and New

Hindmarsh Old and New

Our newest club member, John, participated in the process enthusiastically – both as commenter and photographer. Although a long time photographer, he commented to me “This challenge has whetted my appetite for photography again. Until it started my camera would have been lucky to have been out of the house more than once a month or so”. John’s stream of images shows his new enthusiasm with some great images of his favourite architecture (like the one above), but also exploring other ideas like panos (which he does very well – have a look at Base Running),macros and some clever textures. I’m glad you had a good time John and look forward to lots more images from you.

Bus Shelter 2

Bus Shelter 2

James again enthusiastically took part in the Challenge, even incorporating a Best of 31 Days commentary on his new Camera Clips page. His images of course show his experimental and strong visual style. The image above is one that is shows a powerful awareness of that style. It has shades of Robert Capa’s “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough”. How many of you see beyond the obvious? James of course gave us his bird and insect shots, but I think his abstracts are some of his best images.

Day 11: Coffee! (B&W)

Coffee!

Finally, there was me. I spent a bit of time trying different things like only using one prime lens a for week (I succeeded), experimenting with mono treatments of images (like the one above – check out it’s colour cousin), wide angles, abstracts, and memories of lost relatives. It was hard work at times – as work and other things again got in the way. But the capture of a daily image or two to share was very satisfying in the end.

So there you have it – an interesting journey for all of us. Please visit the club Flickr page and see what we’ve done. We’ll probably hold another mid-year just to try something new.

Day 31: The End!

 Chris :)


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