Report of Bradford Photographic Society Meetings

The reports of the meetings held by Bradford Photographic Society

The first meeting of the new session took place on Thursday 4th September. There was a good turnout of members and an encouraging number of prospective members also came along -a great buzz to start the 2014-15 meetings.

Bruce Pickering, our speaker on 30 October, stated that the Future was back to film. More people are again taking an interest in film - specially large formats.

He brought with him two plate cameras one a 5”x4” with a 90mm Schneider lens, the other a 10”x8” Karona dating from 1903 beautifully restored. The large bellows was made by a British company.

Both have rise and fall, and tilting fronts, and tilt and shift backs, Bruce explained the way these worked with diagrams drawn out on a white-board.  The brass lens on the Karona camera has no shutter, but inside is separate Packard shutter with Waterhouse stops, and a bulb shutter.

On Thurs 21st November we had an interesting guest speaker Mr Howard Toller, also known as "The Owl Man", come to give members a talk on Owls, also accompanied by "Henry The Horror", a wild Tawny Owl, rescued by Howard.

Henry was found in brambles with an extremely damaged wing, which Howard proceeded to tell us of the rescue. Unfortunately Henry will never be released in to the wild, as his left wing is rendered useless. Howard's talk was interesting, witty, friendly, and above all very informative. He described in detail, using projected images, how an Owl differs from other Birds of Prey or Raptors, and at times, in length, interesting aspects of Owls in general.

Members who attended the meeting asked questions, and were intrigued with what Howard had to say about his passion for Owls and the general upkeep of maintaining rescued birds.

Once Howard had finished his excellent talk, members who brought their cameras, were invited to take images of Henry, who, very obligingly posed for us on the makeshift perch made from logs, leaves, Ivy, and Holly, that we made for him!

An interesting meeting indeed!

 

For our first training evening of the new session on 3rd October, we tried a new format. The topic was 'Landscape' and members were invited to submit questions in advance. These were packaged into small sets and each set was answered by a volunteer with some experience of the topic to offer.
Considering first the pre-expedition stage, Michael Myers opened the proceedings by addressing the decisions we need to take about the weight of equipment then Paul Richards made us pause to consider our Personal safety and the sort of planning that should go into an outdoor shoot.
Next was 'Getting the Shot'. Don Crabtree took us through the elements of compostion then Steve Swiss demonstated the important effect of light. The need for a tripod and the choice of lens was demonstrated, with hands-on examples, by Imran Mirza while Sandra Cockayne showed her methods for creating impressive skies and sunsets.
After each short presentation, other members were invited to offer their views and any follow-on questions were addressed. Quite a variety of angles and opinions were aired and some useful debate was generated.
The evening was rounded off by Kath Bonson showing us facebook pages and web sites siuted to further study and well as some that are pure inspiration. Links are now available on the members forum.
In all the evening provided some sound information and I would be surprised if anyone, however experienced, came away without some food for thought - a new angle on how you have always done it or a flash of the blindingly obvious, even!
There will be a club outing to put some of this into practice at the end of the month.

This meeting was intended to let our newer members show off their work and they did so in some style! Each person was allowed twenty minutes to use in any way they wanted so there was a variety of approaches. Although members had seen work from most people before, this session brought out many new areas of interest and expertise.



Imran Mirza showed us some of his extensive portfolio of studio work including fashion and product images along with his famous night shots of well known locations. More of a surprise were outdoor model shots which all seemed to involve the same armchair!

A wander through Imran Khan’s work, from early to recent, covered work for magazines and his developing (!?!) interest in old film cameras.

 

We all expected landscapes from Steve Swiszczowski and there were certainly a wide variety of those.

He demonstrated how impressive, fresh images can be taken of the same subject under different seasons and lighting. The outdoor benches were unexpected. It’s amazing what you can make look good!

Steve Goodfellow displayed an impressive command of Photoshop and showed us some creative images of some familiar subjects.

 

 

 



Danny Hill’s moody monochromes of local streets contrasted well with the riot of colour in his shots of India but the greatest punch canme in the boxing shots.

Leading us through his impressive web site, Chris Ingleson displayed his wide range of subject and experience. There was not enough time to cover it all!

 

 

Well, we actually had a proper summer, for once, and our first meeting did reflect that with a fine selection of members’ images to show on 5th September. Beforehand, a healthy dozen or so members were kind enough to email their 10 images in advance so a respectable evening’s viewing seemed in prospect. But, as promised, images would be accepted on the evening itself and, with nine members taking advantage of that offer, the total was truly impressive!
 

Happily, with a bit of parallel working on re-sizing by willing volunteers, the organisation was not actually overwhelmed and everyone seemed to find plenty to chat about while waiting for the presentation to get started. Every contributor said a few words about each of their images which brought home the wide range of approaches encompassed by our members, both in their travels and in their thinking about photography.

It was great to see such a large and enthusiastic turnout to start us off. Since the evening was very informal and not a competition, we will surely see some of these images again in our competitions to come – an exciting prospect for the new session!


 

 

 

 

 

30th May saw the last meeting of the year, the President's Night. The purpose of the meeting was to present the competition trophies for the year, choose the Image of the Year and, of course, eat and drink!

Kath Bonson, our President had clearly spent a long time polishing all the silverware and, it transpired a lot more time delving into the piles of historic documents that belong to the Society. She started the evening by giving a potted history of messrs Leighton and ???, nationally famous photographers of their day, in whose name two of the trophies we compete for each year were presented to the club. These bits of history made the grand old trophies ranged before us even more impressive.

The prizes were then presented with each winner receiving a small trophy to keep along with a certificate and a brief opportunity to hold the main trophy before it is whisked away to safe (and insured) storage.

The winners of the print trophies were:
WH Hammond Trophy, Portrait: Terry Kolanko (who could not be present)
Norman Stow Applied Trophy: Rais Hasan
JW Murray Pictorial Trophy: Steve Swiszczowski
Greenwood Trophy, Novice: Karl Dunachie
Tom Scatchard Record Trophy: Graeme Mitchell
JH Leighton Trophy, Pictorial: Michael Myers
Walker Trophy, Colour All-Rounder: Michael Myers
HM Storey Salver, Monochrome All-Rounder: Peter Milthorp

And the winners of the Digital Projected Image trophies were:
Bronze Statuette, Novice Colour Trophy: Bill Clark
JF Mather Trophy, open: Graham Pile
Percy Lund Rose Bowl, best all-rounder novice: Chris Ingleson
D Bates Trophy, best all-rounder open: Sandra Cockayne
Norfolk Trophy, natural history: Sue Zajaczkowska
VB Lloyd Trophy, journalism/action/sport: Imran Khan
CE Lawson Trophy, creative processing: Rais Hasan

Using digital versions of the print trophy winners as well as the digital winners, Graeme Mitchell produced a projected sequence of images for us to judge the Image of the Year. In a dramatic tied vote, the Presidents casting vote gave the award to Sue Zajaczkowska for her Natural History image.
The evening was rounded off by eating and drinking - the only disappointment being that Rais' curry was all gone by the time I got to it!
A fine end to the session, indeed!

 

 

 

 

 

Our last speaker of the 2012-13 session was a real treat. Cpl Mike O'Neil gave us a much anticipated talk on his experiences as an Army photographer. The anticipation came from an initial booking for last September which was re-arranged when Mike's posting to Afghanistan came along. While everyone else gets leave as soon as they return from the posting, the photographer has to carry on and cover the arrivals, homecomings and parades of every unit as they come back. So we were very privileged to have some of his precious time and to be the first to see his amazing images of his time in Afghanistan – and there were hundreds of them!

Mike’s running commentary on the circumstances of each picture gave a fluent and intimate insight into the lives of our soldiers, of all ranks, at the sharp end of the conflict. We were left with many unexpected impressions
- of everyday civilian life on the streets,
- of a group of Afghan Policemen laughing
- of sheep running along with the troops as they cross to board a helicopter
- of the rugged beauty of the countryside.
Sadly there was not enough time to linger over the most beautifully crafted images that leapt out from the photojournalism - the dawn patrol walking along the side of the irrigation canal, with reflections in the water and that golden light – just one example.

It was heartening to hear of the dramatic normalisation of in the life of the people since Mike’s previous tour in 2009 and to hear of his ambition to return as a tourist in, maybe, 10 years time to photograph the countryside properly.

We agreed that Mike an excellent professional photographer and a first class representative of the Army. We wish him every success in his next posting to Northern Ireland.

Our Annual general Meeting was held on 28th March. Following the normal agenda produced the usual formal reports from the Secretary, President, Digital Secretary and Print Secretary. There are currently 52 members. One consistent theme running through these reports was the impressive enthusiasm of members, particularly new members, in their willingness to have a go and enter the competitions.

For full details of rule changes, performance in external competitions etc., see the official minutes and the club web page.

The internal print trophy winners were:
WH Hammond Trophy, Portrait: Terry Kolanko
Norman Stow Applied Trophy: Rais Hasan
JW Murray Pictorial Trophy: Steve Swiszczowski
Greenwood Trophy, Novice: Karl Dunachie
Tom Scatchard Record Trophy: Graeme Mitchell
JH Leighton Trophy: Michael Myers
Walker Trophy, Colour All-rounder: Michael Myers
HM Storey Salver, Monochrome All-rounder: Peter Milthorp

And the winners of the Digital Projected Image trophies were:
Bronze Statuette, Novice Colour Trophy: Bill Clark
JF Mather Trophy, open: Graham Pile
Percy Lund Rose Bowl, best all-rounder novice: Chris Ingleson
D Bates Trophy, best all-rounder open: Sandra Cockayne
Norfolk Trophy, natural history: Sue Zajaczkowska
VB Lloyd Trophy, journalism/action/sport: Imran Khan
CE Lawson Trophy, creative processing: Rais Hasan

We look forward to the formal presentation of trophies at the President’s Evening on 30th May.

Officers for the next year were confirmed as:
President- Kath Bonson
Vice president – Tom Heggie
Secretary – Jacquie Gibson
Treasurer – Kath Bonson
Digital Secretary – Graeme Mitchell
Print Secretary – Tom Heggie
Interclub Representative - Graeme Mitchell
YPU Representative – Geoff Richards

The evening was rounded off with the well-deserved award of Life Membership to John and Rita Cawthra. This award was made in recognition of their long-term contribution to the club as officials for many years during the time when BPS, along with most photographic societies, struggled to continue. It was typical of their approach that most of John’s acceptance speech was about how this award was totally undeserved, finally agreeing that it was all down to Rita. Contrary to everything they say, this was a truly well-earned and popular award. Long may they enjoy their Life Memberships!

Re-organised earlier in the week and threatened by the weather, our outdoor meeting in Leeds city centre looked somewhat dubious by the morning of Thursday 16th. However it all came together triumphantly on the night! The weather forecast improved, Kath’s attempt to get permission to photograph as a group inside the Trinity centre succeeded at the last minute – and the members turned out in force! We must have boosted the takings of the Costa coffee shop quite unexpectedly in the closing half hour of their day.

Having compared journeys and parking experiences, we trickled out of the coffee shop and set our minds to capturing the amazing shapes and light effects in the Trinity Centre as the daylight faded into night. The architecture of the development is striking and manages to give the impression of being a seamless, sweeping continuation of the surrounding streets while the curvaceous atrium roof provides weather protection. It is the 21st century’s answer to the preserved Victorian arcades that made Leeds famous as a shopping centre.

As darkness falls, the colour-changing lights in the roof grid come on and combine with the shop fronts and their multiple reflections in the roof glass to create an ever-changing photographic challenge. Several techniques were experimented with and there was always someone about who could advise or discuss any technical topic. It will be interesting to see members’ different versions of such a multi-faceted subject in future meetings and competitions.

The record for the longest journey to the venue goes to Chris who started in Southampton and picked up Don on the way. And the record for the neatest turn-around of a quick buck goes to Sandra who sold his portrait to a dapper reveller for £20 late in the evening! For some of us it was a pleasant, new experience to have the security staff smiling and chatting! It was a great evening in a great location, much enjoyed by everyone who came.

Didn’t we have a lovely time, the day we went to Pudsey? For those who didn’t make it on 16th February, we definitely did! The room over the library where Pudsey Camera Club meet was packed, with people sitting on tables etc. Our hosts politely allowed the BPS contingent prime seats in the stalls, though.

The first half of the evening was the print competition and, by the end, although their set included three 20’s to our none, Pudsey were ahead by only 255 to our 251.

After a cup of tea, we proceeded to the projected images section. Once more Pudsey scored more 20s, two to our one, but our consistency carried us to victory by 253 to their 250.

So those of you who are good at the mental arithmetic will already realise that we actually lost by a single point – 504 to 505! In fact, as I was checking the official scoring, I could see that it was a real cliff-hanger all the way through with the scores neck-and-neck from image to image – very nail-biting!.

Our single 20 was Jacquie Gibson’s ‘Composure’ – very well deserved. The digital images that were used are posted in the 2012-13 Gallery and I will add the prints in due course. Chris Hodgson, the judge, made useful detailed comments on each image. Sandra took notes of her comments and you can see them on the forum thread about the battle. You will be able to appreciate Chris’s judging first-hand when she presides over our 3rd Print Competition Evening next week on 21st February.

A truly memorable battle and a great evening’s entertainment.

Billed as a training night, Graeme’s talk was a cosy flash-back to the days of Powerpoint for some of us of a certain age. He gave us his own personal thoughts on landscape photography along with an interesting insight into how he, personally, goes about it.

He covered the basic principles of composition, illustrating the rule of thirds, leading lines, the golden hour, balance, light-and-shade etc with great examples of good and bad. Also including cases where breaking the ‘rules’ gives a better image too. Thus, surely very useful lesson to beginners, this was still an interesting re-cap for the rest of us and reminder of what we are trying to do and why – maybe a reminder of one or two concepts that have fallen out of our repertoire?

When it comes to kit, Graeme favours the lightweight approach. He uses a Leica Delux 3 compact with a 28-112mm zoom and a 16:9 wide-screen format or a Leica V-Lux1 bridge camera with a fixed 35-420mm zoom lens. While he is reacting to a half a lifetime of lugging professional equipment about, some of us will identify with a desire to travel light. (No, not necessarily lazy, just efficient). His assertion that f/11 hand-held can give you plenty depth of field for practical purposes was well demonstrated by his images. Modern image stabilisation must help.

The attractions of panoramic formats was explored, some based on cropping 16:9 format and some created in software from several images. The magic of using the ‘levels’ adjustment in post-processing was clearly demonstrated and this, along with cloning-out occasional unwanted distractions, is the scope of Graeme’s use of Lightroom / Photoshop etc in every-day practice.

My own theory was that, after all his experience, Graeme is physically incapable of taking a bad picture. This was destroyed by the ‘worse’ examples in the pairs he presented to illustrate his points. Although I did notice that a few were deliberately worsened versions of the ‘better’ image – fair enough, really. I wish I had the problem!

A final post-script was a short Australian video on copying and pasting instead of cloning a largish area. That will save some of us a good few man-hours in future.