Blackwood Photography Club News

Water – Competition Thursday April 21st 2022

Our Set Subject of Water was very broadly defined, resulting in everything from seascapes to macro droplets on miniscule dandelion seeds.

Entries were fairly evenly divided between Set and Open but numbers were again relatively low, with just 24 prints and 43 digital images.  This meant that judge, Peter Phillips, was able to give time and thought to every photo.

Whilst he looked for impact first he had many tips for technical improvements and, whilst claiming not to be a “cropaholic”, he did suggest tighter framing for quite a few of the images, mostly to remove distracting elements.

The very highest scoring photographs are shown below.

Click the links for all of the Top Prints and Top Digital Images.

Framed – Competition March 10th

It was a bit quiet at BPC on Thursday night, with just 55 photographs to be critiqued by judge, Don Brooks.

There was an interesting variety of “Frames” used to present the images, from tree branches and old stone walls to drain pipes and glass blocks.

(Insert Judy’s Knobbed Hornbills, Meredith’s Kanyaka Stone,  Libby’s Viewpoint, Helen’s Mythical Moose)

The depth created by a frame of receding pillars impressed Don in Steve Wallace’s A Distant Doorway and Di Gage’s Framed by Pillars.

(Don generally preferred images in which the frame retained detail rather than simply being a dark shape around the subject although he still awarded Judy Sara’s Split – Old and New a 10 for the well-presented scene.

Judy Sara – Split-Old and New

In Open subject Judy’s exquisite Sunflower received a glowing review and Don was impressed by Sam Savage’s Unwanted Distraction, Helen Whitford’s Post Coital Screech and Di Gage’s Gnarly Tree.

Overall Don gave constructive comments and took the time to properly evaluate each image.

It was an early wrap to a good night.

Questions on Notice (February 24th, 2022)

On Thursday February 24th a panel consisting of James Allan, Judy Sara and Helen Whitford, with supplementary comments from Steve Wallace and MC, Mark Pedlar, answered a range of questions relating to photography which had been posed by club members.

The following questions were posed to the panel.

  1. Do I really need a tripod/ monopod if my camera has good image stabilisation. Please comment for A) Landscape and B) Birds.
  2. I would like to be able to view my photographs and get rid of the bad ones before I load them into Lightroom. Is there a way to do this and is it the best thing to do?
  3. What are the best settings for star photography?
  4. What are the advantages (and disadvantages??) of mirrorless cameras compared with DSLRs and which would you recommend?
  5. How should I prevent and/or correct colour cast in my photos?
  6. How does multi-point focus work – how does it decide which focus points to work on.  Is single point focus better – is multi-point just a lazy way of doing things?
  7. How do I improve the quality of my competition entries?  Please comment on such things as bright/over exposed spots; over-sharpening; distracting elements; principles of effective composition.
  8. Panoramas – what are the best settings?  What are the key issues in producing good panos?
  9. How do you use off-camera flash??
  10. A club member has had his photos downloaded by an acquaintance who has claimed them as his own. What redress is there? What would you do? And how can he stop it happening again?
  11. What’s one thing you always take on a shoot?
  12. Of the photo gear you have bought, what wouldn’t you buy again?
  13. Is it possible to use flash units from the pre-digital era with digital cameras without frying the electronics?
  14. What’s the difference between “grain” in film and “noise” in digital?
  15. How is an “unsharp mask” used in digital and what is its purpose?
  16.  Can anyone recommend a SLR film camera repair person/business.  I have an old Pentax that may need attention.

Answers and other related documents are available as pdf’s; located in the Reading and Reference section of the Website (See tab at top of the Home page.)

Thanks to Paul Hughes who collated the questions and to Mark Pedlar for acting as MC.

Thank you to those who asked and answered questions!

Architecture – Competition January 27th 2022

In a good start for Set Subjects in 2022, Architecture accounted for 75% of entries – a popular choice!

We changed a couple of sections this year, dropping Album prints and dividing Projected Images into separate Colour and Monochrome sections.

Judge, David Rowlands, provided thoughtful comments on each image.  In Architecture he particularly looked for a different perspective and ways in which the photographer made the “art” their own.

The high scores were well spread with Di Gage doing particularly well from photographing Port Adelaide with Old Port Woolsheds, Old Port Woolsheds 2 and Woolsheds as well as The Cloisters, Iona Abbey.

Judy Sara’s Windows and Different Structures impressed David with their simplicity and clean lines, as did Steve Wallace’s Old against New.

The more classic Pont d’Avignon and Maison Carée by Gordon Lindqvist, along with Heather Connolly’s Big end of Town, Judy Sara’s Palm House and Geometric and Sheila Gatehouse’s Building up to the Sky, You Can’t Hide your Best Angle and Hart’s Mill rounded out the Set Subject High scores.

In the smaller Open sections the most successful photographs were Judy Sara’s Ladybird on Duty, Helen Whitford’s Post Coital Screech, Ray Goulter’s Tree Skeletons and Balmy Afternoon and Meredith Retallack’s Orange Spider Wasp.

It was great to see a good number of different entrants doing well!

Click the links for galleries of Top Prints and Top Projected Images

Blackwood Photographic Club Annual Exhibition 2021

Our Annual Exhibition was held on Thursday November 18th with a good turn-out of members to celebrate our achievements for the year.

It was great to see some different faces among the award recipients, including Sheila Gatehouse who won Top Colour Print with Lily, Ray Goulter with Top PDI, Lillies after Rain and Heather Connolly with the Top Album Print, Wanderer Feeding. Judy Sara’s Spoonbill Perching was the Top Monochrome Print and also earned the Nature Award. Judy also did extremely well in Aggregates!

The Australian Landscape Award was won by Steve Wallace with Lindsay Waterhole and the Portrait Award went to Parry by Frances Allan.

The awards were presented by Julie Goulter, the club’s president.
The full list of awards was as follows:

Projected Digital Images

1st  Hutt St Photos Award – Ray Goulter – Lillies after Rain

2nd  Vicki Kramer – Hear the Little People

3rd  Sam Savage – Screech

Merit   James Allan – Wood Duck Nesting

Merit  Heather Connolly – Magpie Lark

Merit  Paul Hughes – Much Easier after Covid

Click HERE to see a video presentation of all the projected digital image entries.

Aggregate – PDIs

1st Photographic Wholesalers Award – Judy Sara

2nd James Allan

=3rd  Vicky Kramer & Jenny Pedlar

Monochrome Prints

1st Judy Sara – Spoonbill Perching

2nd Frances Allan – Pimelia

3rd Di Gage – On the Prowl

Merit – Frances Allan – Parry

Merit – Judy Sara – Poppy

Aggregate – Monochrome Prints

1st Blackwood Times Award – Judy Sara

2nd James Allan

3rd  Vicki Kramer

Colour Prints

1st Fotoswift Award – Sheila Gatehouse – Lily

2nd Sam Savage – Beautiful Firetail

3rd Judy Sara – Up, Up and Away!

Merit  Di Gage – Coming in for a Landing

Merit  Steve Wallace – Lindsay Waterhole

Merit   Helen Whitford – Bee, Mama!

Merit  Helen Whitford – Cormorant Preening

Aggregate Colour Prints

1st Blackwood Photographic Club Award – Judy Sara

2nd James Allan

3rd Vicki Kramer

Album Prints

1st Ege Malpas Award- Heather Connolly – Wanderer Feeding

2nd Sheila Gatehouse – Sean

3rd Helen Whitford – Willie Wagtail

Merit   Sheila Gatehouse – Sunflower

Aggregate – Album Prints

1st Vicki Kramer

2nd Helen Whitford

3rd Heather Connolly

Landscape Award – Steve Wallace – Lindsay Waterhole

Nature Award – Judy Sara – Spoonbill Perching

Portrait Award – Frances Allan –  Parry

Thank you to our judges, Brad Hodge, Suzanne Opitz AFIAP AAPS and Peter Barrien EFIAP FAPS.

Service Awards

Di Gage was presented the Bill Templer award for service to the club.

Julie thanked the following people for their assistance throughout the year.

Birds in Nature – Competition October 21st 2021

The Set Subject of Birds in Nature joined Head and Shoulders Portrait as our most popular this year, each accounting for over 70% of entries respectively.  This demonstrates where our photographic passion lies!

Still, only 12 members entered the competition and it would be great to see more members enter the fray!

There were some stunning photographs with beautiful captures of birds in action – flying, feeding, calling and interacting but images of birds simply perching and resting were also impressive.

Don was impressed overall with the standard of our bird photography and loved Judy Sara’s Fish Dinner, Screeching Seriema, Spoonbill Perching, Landed, Wren Huddle and Cape Grassbird.

Frances Allan demonstrated a talent for capturing the moment and the light and was rewarded by judge, Don Brooks, with multiple 10s.  Her Splendid Wren in How Splendid wowed everybody and The Smile made everybody smile, despite Shoebills being an “ugly” bird according to the judge and Art Deco Eyes was something a little different.

Di Gage’s Coming in for a Landing, Eastern Yellow Robin and Fairy Wren, Helen Whitford’s Am I Welcome?, Bee, Mama!, Cormorant Preening and Lori, James Allan’s Tell the Truth, Hope to Die, Ansty Osprey and Feeding Time, Sam Savage’s On the Move and Screech and Sheila Gatehouse’s Fairy Wren in the Rain rounded out the Set Subject high scores.

There were also some beautiful photographs among those which didn’t make the top scores as the competition in this Set Subject was fierce.  And I haven’t even mentioned the Open category!

For all of the high scoring images, including Open Section photographs, go to Top Prints and Top Projected Digital Images

Love Story – Competition Sept 24th 2021

This competition saw an almost equal number of entries in the set subject and open categories. Members’ interpretations of the subject was quite varied, with many images depicting love between animals as well as humans.

Vicki Kramer’s entries were all in the set subject, with Labour of Love, Loving Sons Bidding Farewell and Twins Love among the top scoring images.

Paul Hughes entered a collage, Walter and Doris, showing aspects of a couple’s loving life together.

Judy Sara’s Cormorant Love Story was a clever interpretation of the topic.

In the open category James Allan’s Landscape gained the top score. The Judge, Geoff Smith, was impressed with the composition and lighting; a great shot both technically and aesthetically.

James also had success with Dunes and Collapse of Greater Plains

Di Gage’s Fairy Wren and Sam Savage’s Morning Light were also among the top scoring images.

Copycat night

At the Peer review workshop next week we will be looking at imitation as a technique to unleash creativity. To kick off the discussion I would like you to look at these famous monochrome portraits, select an image and have a crack at emulating the style. Bring your images along to the workshop where we can discuss how it went. Regards James.

Not sure what to do? Here is an example.

Above is an image I took that was inspired by the famous image below.

I am interested to see what you all come up with. Regards James.

Zoom Burst – Competition August 12th 2021

Following our creative workshop on Zoom Burst last month we checked out some of the results and images inspired by the night in Thursday’s competition.  For the most part members were not keen to print these images, with few entries in Set Subject in the prints but in PDIs Set and Open were equally represented.

Judy Sara and James and Frances Allan were rewarded for their creativity with Banksia, Art Gallery, Zooming on Traffic on a Wet Night, City and Let’s Celebrate.

In Open, Vicki Kramer’s Outback Sunrise impressed judge, Peter Phillips, who felt that it took him straight into the Nullarbor.  We sincerely thank Peter for rushing his dessert, dropping everything and coming in at the last minute following a judging mix-up.  Peter gave positive, thoughtful commentary on each image with lots of helpful tips.

Judy, James and Frances continued to make an impact in Open with Inside the Poppy, Waterfall and  All things Citrus.

Click the links to see all of the Top Prints and Top Projected Digital Images.

Half the Story – Competition July 15th

In a rather different night, we broke with tradition and ran this competition with “community

“Half the Story” proved challenging, with only one third of the 64 entries being in Set Subject, most
of which were images showing half of an object or creature.

Vicki Kramer’s “Fill in the Blank” was probably the most creative take on the theme.

With the exception of Judy Sara’s Delicious, images showing a whole image or scene which was half
of a story requiring interpretation did not fare as well.

In Open, Di Gage impressed with Blue Heights and Chameleon, Frances Allan’s Parry got everyone’s
vote and James Allan’s From another Dimension was popular.

It was an interesting change which gave everyone the opportunity to step into the judge’s shoes for
a night. Some liked the fit, some didn’t but there was general agreement that the right photographs
rose to the top.

Thank you to James for organising the evening!

Follow the links for Top Projected Images and Top Prints.

Head & Shoulders Portrait Competition – June 3rd 2021

Members embraced the Set Subject of Head and Shoulders Portraiture with more than two thirds of entries being portraits. There was some stretching of the Head and Shoulders definition though which gave judge Brad Hodge a few headaches.

Brad gave thoughtful comments and clearly explained his thinking, taking a casual and amiable approach which put members at ease. Sheila Gatehouse’s strength emerged in this Set Subject,

She was joined “on the podium” by Judy Sara and Vicki Kramer.

It was great to see a good number of prints and an increase in monochrome photographs.

Other high scoring images can be seen here.

Click the links for Top Prints and Top Projected Images

Blue Hour – Competition May 6th 2021

Thursday night saw us feeling blue, but not in a bad way! Finding lovely Blue Hour light can be quite a challenge, requiring you to be in the right place at the right time, and to have a bit of luck, so in this competition our Set Subject images were significantly outnumbered by Open section photographs.

Helen Whitford’s Double Bolt got a “Wow!” and Judy Sara’s Ghost Mushrooms impressed judge, Peter Phillips, in both the image and the degree of difficulty, while Vicki Kramer’s Melbourne Blue and Judy Sara’s Brisbane River were seen as classic Blue Hour shots.

In Open Subject a number of images caught Peter’s eye. Top Print images will be added as they are received.

NOTE: Apologies – the Top Images Gallery and Top Prints and PDI pages will be updated later. WordPress has completely revamped the way it is used. The easy “Classic Editor” which I always loved using seems to have disappeared and I am stumbling my way through trying to work out where to find things in the new system, when I really don’t have time. Not happy, WordPress!



In the meantime, the Top Open PDIs are here.



What a Load of Rubbish! – Competition April 8th 2021

Thursday was a rubbish night with our Set Subject being Rubbish/Trash.  Being just after Easter it was in danger of being all over very quickly with very few entries but we rallied and had just enough to make a competition.  (Yes, we’ve learned a lesson – no comp just after Easter!)  Few members were willing to commit to printing their Rubbish photos, with only six prints in Set Subject, while 23 were in Open.

The challenge was to “capture the subject artistically”, which proved difficult for some.  The only photograph which convinced judge David Rowlands that it had done so was Jenny Pedlar’s Elsehul Wilderness.

Jenny Pedlar – Elsehul Wilderness

Some others seemed to achieve the goal to a lesser degree.

In Open subject Jenny and Mark Pedlar impressed with Sea Ice, Drive Safe and Survival! along with Vicki Kramer’s The Orphan and Helen Whitford’s MY Grevillea!

In projected images these were also of interest.

For Top Prints and Top Projected Images from this and other 2021 competitions click the links.

A Surreal Evening – Competition March 11th 2021

Our Surreal competition was a challenge to everyone – entrants, viewing members and the judge!  Members came up with  a wide variety of interpretations of this set subject which stretched our imagination. Here is a selection of the more creative entries.

Judge, Tim Newberry, seemed to get caught up in the “dream” part of our definition “Surreal – Seeming like a dream or Fantasy” but he appreciated the creativity in images, as long as they didn’t include a cat!

It was great to see the top scores spread around a bit, including to new members.  View Top Prints and Top PDIs here.

Landscape/Seascape Competition February 11th 2021

“If at first you don’t succeed, read the instructions.”

This was a “meme” before anyone had heard of memes and I have to admit it popped into my head a number of times during preparation for this competition.  I don’t usually do these write-ups from a personal perspective but I feel the need this time as so many of the members who entered had issues with their entries – “out of category”, too big, incorrect file names, titles provided not matching title on print/file, category not nominated etc., almost all of which could have been avoided by carefully reading the subject definition and the entry instructions.
At the risk of sounding like a teacher, I do ask that everyone please take care to avoid these mistakes because each one of them makes the task of putting the competition together take that bit longer.  Gordon and I are very happy to manage the competitions but it is frustrating when it takes twice as long as it should.  OK, whinge over.  Thanks for “listening” – Helen

Now to the competition!  We had a good number of entries, with 82 photographs from 14 different members, and the entries in the Set Subject of Landscape/Seascape well outnumbered the Open category.

Despite photographing a spot which is becoming an iconic location, James Allan made an impact with From the Clifftop.  Jenny Pedlar’s daring Impressionist Hay Plains did impress judge Keith Seidel, who was in his element judging Landscapes, and Helen Whitford’s panoramic Parachilna also caught his eye.
(Click on any image to see it at full size.)


In the Print sections, Vicki Kramer’s El Capitan’s Fluffy Hat, Mark Pedlar’s 69 Degrees South, James Allan’s Remarkable and Judy Sara’s At Horizontal Falls were the most successful entries in Set Subject. (Photos coming soon!)


In Open category Keith commended Vicki Kramer on “breaking with convention” in baby photography with Baby Liam and he admired the simplicity of Judy Sara’s The Curl.

Keith gave thoughtful, constructive comments and offered useful tips on ways to improve technical aspects of the photographs.  It was a great start to our competitions for the year!

For more Top Prints come back in a few days for an update.  Top Projected Images are available for viewing now.


BPC Annual Exhibition and Presentation of Awards December 3rd 2020

2020 has been an extraordinary year, full of twists and turns and surprises, including the postponement of our Annual Exhibition due to the brief Covid 19 lockdown two weeks ago.  Happily, we were able to hold the event live on December 3rd with 25 members present.

As our 2020 competitions were revamped to include only Projected Digital Images the evening took a slightly different format, with no prints on the walls, but with twenty members entering a total of 163 images we had a strong competition and a fabulous display of the talents of our members.

Congratulations to Suzie Smith and Frances Allan who emerged to challenge the regular strong performers, James Allan, Judy Sara and Helen Whitford and it was great to see the awards spread between 8 members.

We introduced two new award categories this year – Nature and Portrait.  The images were all judged in Open category but the highest scoring image nominated in each of these categories (and the existing WEA Australian Landscape category) won the award.

Nature was won by Suzie Smith with her exquisite Pink Robin.

Portrait was won by Frances Allan with Surfing Pondalowie.

The WEA Australian Landscape Award went to James Allan for Last Light on Rawnsley Bluff




Colour Projected Digital Images

In the Colour PDI section Suzie Smith’s Pink Robin was First.

Helen Whitford’s Feather came Second









James Allan’s Last Light on Rawnsley Bluff was Third





Merits were awarded to:

Frances Allan for Pied Kingfisher and Shaped by Prevailing Wind














James Allan for Mist on the Water


Mark Pedlar for I Beg your Pardon


Jenny Pedlar for King Penguins

Steve Wallace for Ever Watchful








and Helen Whitford for Pearls and Bonney Light



Monochrome Projected Digital Images

In the Monochrome PDI section Suzie Smith’s First Train of the Season was First

Frances Allan’s Surfing Pondalowie was Second

and Helen Whitford’s White Cheeked Gibbon was Third


Merits were awarded to:

James Allan for Hooded Robin


Di Gage for Had Better Days


Suzie Smith for Reynisfjaara




and Helen Whitford for Timid



Aggregates 2020
The Aggregate Awards for competitions throughout the year were also different in 2020.  As Print categories were not possible we ran just two sections – Colour PDI and Monochrome PDI.

Colour PDI Aggregate 2020

First – Helen Whitford
Second – Judy Sara
Third – James Allan


Monochrome PDI Aggregate 2020

First – Judy Sara
Second – James Allan
Third – Helen Whitford

Thank You to our judges Peter Phillips SSAPS, Brad Hodge and Sandra Goulter.


The Bill Templer Award for Service to Blackwood Photographic Club over the past 12 months was presented to Helen Whitford


See below for the slideshow of all entries and awards.














October 2020 Camera Clips

Posted on October 27, 2020by James Allan

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The banner this week is a montage of what I considered were the great character portraits from the recent competition. The Authors were, Frances Allan (1&3), Shiela Gatehouse (2&4), Helen Whitford (5) and Steve Wallace (6). I chose these images because of their unwavering gaze. I was not the judge, but there would be several 10’s in this collection if I was.

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The alternate (second) Banner comes from Vicki Crammer from the product photography competition with a strong image called the handbag. Of course all of the original images and a write up of the competition can be found on the club web page.

It is time to choose your favourite images for judging. The end of year competition looms. Of course this year the competition is only projected images, with 2 categories, colour and monochrome. In addition there are 3 special prizes, one for Landscape, one for Portrait and one for Wildlife. Entries are due in early November, refer to the wabpage.

This month I have articles from Mark Pedlar (A photo journal of his Antarctic holiday) and Ray Goulter (Baby Brownie Camera). To that I have added a write up of another photographic location in South Australia, the Paiwalla wetland near Murray Bridge.

So this month I am going to start a new feature. As there is a lot of trial and error in photography, I have decided to look at the problem solving aspect of capturing an image. This week I will pose a problem and once you feel you have the answer, have a look at the answer page. Best of Luck.

Enjoy this edition of Camera Clips.

James Allan

Post script:

There is a change of format this week. Word Press has updated it’s editor and I can no longer nest the pages within each months newsletter. Accordingly I have made each of the articles a post on the home page. However you can navigate to the articles in the usual way from the table of contents below.


Character Study – Competition October 22nd 2020

The Set Subject of Character Study was embraced by the 12 members who entered, with about 60% of entries in the category.  The inclusion of Animals in the definition surprised judge, Geoff Smith, but he embraced the concept, appreciating that animals can indeed display character in their expressions and actions.

Geoff was impressed with Huli Wigman by Judy Sara and Helen Whitford’s Quizzical.

In Open category he liked new member Frances Allan’s In the Moment and Heather Connolly’s Painted Lady.

Rounding out the high scores were James Allan’s Climbing Boy, Duart McLean’s Linked Pair, Paul Hughes Love at First Sight and Judy Sara’s Elle.


As an Editor’s Choice I select Frances Allan’s Playing with Light, which I saw as a beautiful serene scene, although it perhaps didn’t display as well on the large screen as on a computer.

Frances Allan_Playing with Light

That’s it for regular competitions in this unusual COVID year! All that’s left is the Annual Exhibition and I would encourage EVERY MEMBER to ENTER!  Even if you don’t feel “competitive” this is your opportunity to share your work and and have it seen in a public space! We anticipate showing a slideshow of images in a public display after the Annual Exhibition and Awards night and all images will be displayed on this website.  Why not join in and perhaps put yourself in the running for one of the special 2020 trophies for Portrait and Nature images!  Entries are due by 7pm Monday November 2nd.


Here is a slideshow of ALL of the images in this competition and you can look back over the best images throughout the year here.