The Stevenage Photographic Society kicked off its 41st year last night with the start of its 2015/16 season at our trusty community centre on the London road. It was a largely informal night and great to see so many regular faces returning for the new season and even more wonderful to see a good few new ones too! We offer our newcomers a warm welcome and hope that you all enjoy the club and get a lot out of it.
Our very own vice-chairman Mr Tony Brooks introduced the rest of our committee to the group which was followed by a brief rundown of whats to come with our extensive programme that has been put together by our talented programme secretary and news letter editor Mr Chris Thurston. Our exhibition secretary Chris Pike broke some amazing news about our planned exhibition this year, as he has secured space at the Gordon Craig theatre in town for the princely sum of nothing! So start putting all your images together as we have a real chance of absolutely packing it out with all your wonderful work. Don’t let him down! We had a quick run down on the new website and it’s new features which hopefully the club will embrace. A few of the members have already started uploading images so that we can get an impressive gallery going with members having their very own page if they wish!
So with the season underway, we are looking forward to all the events in store with the lectures, monthly competitions, studio nights, tutorials, advice, natters, and social nights. Welcome back everyone, (and newbies) and see you all next week for our collaborative ‘How to use your camera’ group session. Don’t forget to bring your cameras!
This last Monday saw the final SPS gathering of the season!
The club met for our AGM which ended with the members voting for our committee members for the next season. I for one retained my position as web guru and internet genius! Largely the committee members has remained the same with a couple of exceptions. Our very own Arthur Ash has stepped down as club vice chairperson after long and distinguished service, and we all thank Arthur for his time, effort and commitment that he has shown the club over many years and hope that he continues to enjoy the clubs programmes.
Tony Brooks steps in as our new vice chairperson having relinquished his position of social secretary which has been appointed to Jo Sowden. We wish Jo a very warm welcome to the committee and look forward to all that she can offer. Chris Pike has also taken on the unenviable task of organising the clubs exhibitions which enable you all to show off your photographic skills whilst promoting the club!
The evening ended with prize giving for the various competitions that have been run throughout the season with our winners being immortalised on the various cups and trophies. Very well done to all our winners!
So that’s it for the season, we wish everyone an enjoyable bank holiday weekend, and hope you all enjoy your summer break and we look forward to seeing you all for the new season come September! For those of you who can’t wait that long, then come along to our more informal summer season programme! Chris Thurston will keep you all up to date as usual with his newsletter and we hope to see as many of you as possible during the summer programme which kicks off on Monday June 1st at Fairlands Lakes for a nice photo walk with Des. The summer itinerary is as follows. (this will of course be updated on the website calendar programme.)
- 1st June – 19:30 – Fairlands Lakes photo walk with Des.
- 8th June – 19:30 – Back to basics with Chris Thurston – (Venue to be confirmed)
- 15th June – 19:30 – Ware photo walk taking in the church & river.
- 22nd June – Social evening at The Crown.
- 29th June – Country walk with Des.
- 6th July – Summer BBQ – The White Horse – Burnham Green.
- 13th July – 19:30 – Bowling!
- 20th July – Q&A Session with CT/PM/TA. (Venue to be confirmed)
- 27th July – Ruby Murray – (Curry night – details TBA)
- 3rd August – Bank Holiday (Newly invented – now cancelled – evening TBA)
- 10th August – Members choice!
- 17th August – The largest parish church in Herts – St Mary’s, Hitchin.
- 24th August – Old Town, Stevenage photo walk (period building) (pub crawl?!)
- 31st August – An actual Bank Holiday
- 7th September – NEW SEASON! WOOHOO!
Rob Ryder was our guide to the universe tonight. With his big Russian mirror lens and huge Sky Watcher telescope, he was more than qualified to lead us out where no man has ventured before. A very interesting talk which gave some of our club members food for thought. Many thanks, Rob.
We also had a demonstration on macro photography by our good friends, Chris and Adele. A practical demo on depth of field. Many thanks guys.
The annual panel competition judged by the one and only Arthur Ash took place last night. There were some very creative andinteresting entries. Well done to all who took part. Many thanks to our judge, Arthur Ash.
Mick Grayson took these timeless sepia shots.
The Red Arrows caught Adele’s attention.
Clare got these snowdrop shots at Benington Lordship
Stuart’s nature photography were a treat to see.
Thomas revved up his motor bikes from last week
Andy showed us his monotone collection
David Cole presented us with a lovely landscape panel
JC put together a colourful and varied panel
JP steamed in with a model train selection.
Stuart is pleased with his 3rd.
Adele flies in for 2nd place
Thomas is delighted to be this year’s winner!
JP gets a Highly Commended
Mick gets a Highly Commended as well.
Thomas Ashley with his winning formula.
Andy, our trusty mechanic, was on hand to keep the two wheeled machines road worthy after they came into the club for a fantastic photoshoot. Many thanks to Chris Pike for organising the meet and to Stevenage & District Motorcycle Club for their patience as we tried to pose them and their bikes.
John Crouch – Featuring Rob “Steampunk” Ryder
Thomas Ashley – Winner
John Crouch – With help from “Jason” aka Simon Cooper
I must tell you a funny story about this picture. One of our kitchen knives had gone missing for several weeks. It’s in a knife block, so it’s loss was noticeable and irritating. I was blaming Nic and Hilary. We were all puzzled. When this picture popped up last night, I remembered what I had done with it. It was in my props bag.
John Crouch -(my favourite)
Winner – Thomas Ashley – Miss Minoes
Judge – Dr John Law – Top Bloke!
The Oscars 2015 last night were a resounding success and terrific fun. Dr John Law treated us to an hour of his own wild and wacky photographs before judging the Movie Poster Competition. He did a marvellous job and kept us entertained all evening. He enjoyed the whole concept of the competition and declared that he couldn’t remember when he had had so much fun at a camera club. If someone could remind who did Pulp Fiction and Red Shoes I will update the page. Well done to all who entered. Really good fun. Congrats to Thomas for winning the prestigious Oscar and to Mick and Clare who picked up a Dr John Raspberry each. Many thanks to Adele for popping all that popcorn.
This print competition was well supported with a lovely selection of black and white prints with a couple of toned images as well. Our dapper judge was the excellent
Colin Southgate FRPS
Colin found a kind word for every entry and eventually decided on his top pictures.
A big well done to all who took part in this, the final monthly competition in the season.
Our last PDI competition of the season was held on Monday February 2nd and was judged by the lovely Barbara Lyddiatt. Barbara was a new judge to our club and it turned out that she had killed two birds with one stone while in Stevenage by visiting an online friend who lives in the town. Her friend, Sheila, runs the Stevenage Freegle group that some of you may have heard of. It’s a handy recycling group that find new homes for unwanted items.
I have delayed posting this review of the evening as I have been waiting for the images from the authors that won a twenty. They are still not forthcoming, so here are the winners anyway. They all got a twenty. It would have been nice to see their images as well, but I can’t post what I haven’t got. Well done to them and indeed to all who entered.
Getting to grips with a new photo editing software can be daunting. It’s often a very steep learning curve with many hours of frustration and annoying mistakes along the way. Our very own Paul Munns did his best to smooth out that journey and his sound advice and informative teaching techniques were very well received by those attending on Monday evening.
Digital enhancement of photographs is not only accepted these days, but, in fact, is essential to bring out the best of your efforts. Very few, if any, “Straight our of Camera” shots do well in competitions. Paul showed us how just simple changes can make huge differences to images, turning them from average snap shots to prize winning beauties!
Paul Munns – Lightroom Guru
As often happens, we ran out of time on Monday, but Chris Thurston is encouraging all club members to explore the benefits of Audio Visual Slideshows. An AV gives you a chance to show many pictures at the same time to music. I have used them with wedding pictures to great effect. We aim to hold an AV competition to honour the memory of Roger Andrews who was the master of this particular facet of photography. Pictures 2 Exe is probably the most widely used software to create AVs. It’s easy and intuitive. Give it a try.
Robert Ryder, our Webmaster, announced some improvements and enhancements to our website including more use of member galleries. Bring it on Rob!
We had a visit from the multi talented Ann Miles tonight. Talking mainly about monochrome images, she had some breathtaking work to show us.
Whether you enjoyed her landscapes, her snow scenes, her night shots or her architecture images, you can find more at her web site and her blog post.
A very enjoyable evening with plenty of inspiration for everyone.
Dr John Law UPI ZEUS UPI 4 CROWN FRPS MFIAP
was on fine form last night for our print competition. He describes himself as a “Counter Conformist” and he certainly lived up to his own handle. When faced with a themed competition, he looks for “Hard Bits”. That is the actual foreground, background and in between ground. Then he looks at the “Soft Bits”. Lighting and treatment. But, most of all, he looks for the “Wow Factor!”.
He is a very entertaining judge who has critiqued more than a million images in his time.
I found him to be fairly harsh with some images. Beautiful scenes were rewarded with a lowly 15 for no apparent reason. Anything that didn’t seem like a landscape to him ended up with a 12. Dr John seems very enthusiastic and passionate about photography. He touches and caresses the prints as he looks for their finer points to talk about.
He found his winners.
Andy’s volcanoes exploded with Wow Factor!
Andre scored an amazing 21/20 for his print which was deemed to be “Print of the Night”. Andre is also a genius who needs to be nurtured and encouraged. Dr John pointed out that there is a very thin line btween genius and madness, as if we needed telling. Andre’s picture was reminiscent of a Jackson Pollock masterpiece and the judge was actually speechless as he admired it. Remarkable. Some people thought that Andre had simple snapped a picture of someone else’s art, but what do they know?
The other 20 was won by Alan Brown who chose not to attend again. What could be more important than seeing your pictures win 20’s? Alan is becoming The Invisible Man.
Very well done to everyone who entered. A very good quantity of prints with excellent quality. Presentation was very, very good across the board, too. No one was marked down for poor mounting or scruffy entries. Sara and Andy worked well together. (How come I never thought of getting someone else to call out the titles? Doh!)
A great competitive night. Those scores will be getting exciting now.
Jane Goodall combines a Senior Research Fellowship with an established career in photography. Inspired by the natural landscape and captivated by the fleeting moments of changing light and tides she has been drawn to the British coast, regions that include Dorset, Cornwall, Northumbria and the Scottish islands. She has exhibited internationally and judges for the East Anglian Federation of photographers. Jane travels throughout the East Anglia region and beyond, to visit photographic societies and judge their work and give talks on her photography.
Jane insists that her most important piece of kit is her pink wellington boots!
Jane with her delightful image of Brighton Pier
There was a good crowd in tonight to see Jane Goodall and her amazing images. We certainly had our socks blown off by her delivery and descriptions of her preparation for taking photographs. She brought in her camera, her tripod and even her hat and mosquito net! She is an entertaining and eloquent speaker with a charming personality. On top of all that, she can take amazing photographs. Life just isn’t fair sometimes. Click here if you want to visit Jane’s website.
Our open competition was judged by Naomi Saul ARPS DPAGB APAGB EFIAP.
Twenties were scored by the following.
Sitting Pretty by Chris Pike
Snow Bird by Gwen
Norwegian Blue by Gwen
Chris begs Naomi for a 20
Forked by Chris Thurston
Autumn Colour at Crummock Water
Well done to all who entered. A very entertaining and inspirational evening. Apart from Nat, who fell asleep, of course. Many thanks to our lovely judge, Naomi and also to Sara for all her hard work collating and renaming.
We saw some incredible images last night at this annual inter-club competition.
Alan Brown receiving his certificate from judge Paul de Silva
Jo Sowden was another worthy winner.
Cormorants on the Thames by Jo Sowden
Hold Tight by Alan Brown
Power by Tom Couch
There were 90 entries on Monday for the attention of judge, Paul de Silva.
Chris Thurston was our compere on Monday with his glamorous assistant, Adele Gibson.
Chris Thurston was our compere on Monday with his glamorous assistant, Adele Gibson.
Viveca was amazing on Monday night.