Photography ArticlesThis is Bradford Photographic Society website's teaching and activities section, where you can find advice and stories from members.

Along with reports of our meetings.

We hope to eventually have a good collection of interesting and entertaining articles on different aspects of photography.

Gold - Kyle Smith

On Thursday 9th we had a Photographic Treasure Hunt. Although the turn-out was relatively small, those who took part agreed that it was a lot of fun and an unusual challenge. Teams were given until 9pm to hand over five images entitled:

1.       Gold

2.       Perspective

3.       Old Blue Eyes

4.       Bright

5.       Food for Thought

The 2nd April saw the 154th Annual General Meeting of the Bradford Photographic Society. An impressive 22 members attended, sacrificing the opportunity to see the 7-way political leaders debate live on television!

The meeting proceeded in accordance with the agenda, taking the pre-circulated minutes of the 153rd meeting as read and approving them. Reports were delivered by the Hon Treasurer, Kath Bonson, the Print Secretary, Tom Heggie, (detail to follow by email), the Digital Image Secretary, Steve Swiszczoski, the Acting Webmaster, Peter Sykes, the Interclub Representative, Graeme Mitchell, and the YPU Representative, Geoff Richards. This was followed by the Presidents report by Tom Heggie who thanked the committee for their hard work during the year which has resulted in a lot being achieved with separate mention for Brain Packer who, although not a Council member, agreed to be co-opted to help with the archive.

'Dawn at LLandudno Pier' by Michael Myers scored 20 for BPS

Our battle with Pudsey Camera Club on 26 March was much anticipated and did not disappoint. The visitors turned up in strength - both in terms of images and people. They were nice and early too, arriving before we had any chairs set out!  Christine Hodgson BA Hons, ARPS, CPAGB , our judge,  had apparently, judged the last battle we had with Pudsey some years ago! She did a great job deciding scores in short order, not having seen the images in advance.

Members were entertained by Howard Tate, Immediate Past President of the YPU, on large prints on 19 March.
Large being A1 and special Panoramic shots with over a 100 images taken - well beyond the 400x500 YPU standard size!

Howard, a judge himself, seemed to have little time for the opinions of other judges and made it clear that the images he took, were to please himself, and to promote his own individual styles, and often broke the rules of composition.

At the Interclub third round on Saturday 14 March BPS came joint 2nd on the night and placed 3rd overall after 3 rounds. The two images displayed both received 20's.

"Bradford at Night" by Kath Bonson and "Drawn Back to the Scene" by Steve Swiszowski.

What set out to be a training evening on Action and Sport Photography on 5 March, developed into something rather unique.

We started off with two short talks by Tom Heggie and Kath Bonson about the techniques for photographing 'planes, bikes and trains' and 'swimming and rowing' respectively. The intention to have a couple of boxers demonstrating shadow-boxing  expanded somewhat as Nick Manners brought along no less than six members of PAT's gym to our meeting.

With a total of 45 images in the gallery in advance, we had a lot to talk about on this our second critique evening of the year. I was interesting to hear what the author was trying to achieve in each case and how he/she had gone about it. It was surprising how often opinions on how an image could be improved developed into a consensus - and there were the inevitable disagreements. One man's meat will always be another man's poison!


Thursday 12 February saw the third of our competition evenings for projected images. Howard Toll stepped in to do the judging at short notice, giving us an entertaining evening without the aid of his owls.

First up was the Percy Lund Rose Bowl for the best Novice All-Rounder. A very close contest, just won  by Kyle Smith with his images 'Goit Stock Falls', 'The Old Sew', 'Steam Punk' and 'Gin and Tonic'. A close second, also scoring a total of 65 points was Tony Kilcoyne. Very bad luck, really! Indeed the lowest score in this competition was 63 - not far away!

Next to be judged was the VB Lloyd Trophy for photojournalism, action and sport. From a healthy, varied entry of forty images, 'Lunch Break, Haworth Wartime Weekend' won; a great candid shot by Graeme Mitchell.


Following our 'Training Evening' on 5th Feb 2015, Stephen Goodfellow circulated some useful information about focus-stacking which desreves to be perserved for future reference - thanks Stephen!


Focus stacking is the combining of several images to create one photo with a greater depth of field. It is mainly used in macro photography where you have to deal with small depth of fields.

First you'll have to shot several photos using a tripod. In each image you'll put the focus point a bit further away on your subject. Make sure you've got some overlap in each image.

If you have Photoshop CS4 or a newer version you can stack your photos in Photoshop. Start by loading the photos into Photoshop and putting them together in one file. Each photo should have its own layer. The order you use is important; each new layer should be the next step in focus depth. If you mix them up stacking them won't work.

When you've got all the photos together in one file, select all layers. You can do this by clicking the top layer in the layer palette, hold down your shift key and click the bottom layer. All layers are marked blue now. Go into the edit menu and choose auto-align layers. In the window that opens, just select ok. The automatic mode should do the trick. This process aligns the layers so any movement in between the different shots is corrected. 

Next step is combining the layers into one. Again, choose the edit menu, but this time select auto-blend layers. In the window that appears you choose the blend method Stack Images and also check the Seamless Tones and Colors. Press ok do let Photoshop work its magic. 

In most cases the automated result will be good. If you find something to be off, you can correct it by editing the layer mask Photoshop created. You'll need to crop the edges out to get your final photo.


Here are five low-res images you can try it with:

























and you should get something like  this:













Because they are lo-res images the final result will look blocky when viewed at a high magnification, but the improved depth effect can still be seen if you compare the outcome with each individual image. 

Since there are only 5 images to stack you may not achieve seamless depth of focus, as you might with 130 using specialised software, but you'll get the general idea and if you want to move on, the sky's your wallet.

Have fun,

Back in the warm on 5th February, we set out to share our knowledge of Macro photography. During the introductory video, with its American presenter, you could hear a pin drop. That was because the sound level from the projector was so weak that it was almost inaudible! We need decent extension speakers.

Tom Heggie illustrated his experiments using extension tubes on his existing non-macro lenses. Paul Richards showed a full-scale macro set-up complete with a solid tripod, focus rail, ring light, remote release and a special lens with bellows. He also explained the inherent issues with depth of field, sensitivity to camera shake and getting light on the subject. Then Kyle Smith showed his macro lens and some of the images he has taken with it - complete with suggestions for attractive subjects and tales of image stacking.


On 29th January, a truly impressive number of members (12+) turned out for this outdoor expedition in snow-covered Bradford. We met in the Jacob's pub in the city centre - itself a revelation for the uninitiated. After a brief run-down on night photography techniques by Stephen Goodfellow we ventured forth. There was a surprising lack of reluctance to leave the pub!

It was cold, but not as cold as expected since the forecast wind did not materialise. We managed the cold and slippery conditions without mishap. Unfortunately one member was taken ill and an ambulance was called to be on the safe side. She got home late that evening, fully recovered and we look forward to seeing her pictures.


On 22nd January we held our second Print Competition Evening of the 2014-5 session. Three trophies were on offer giving a full evening's work for our judge, JM Newton.


The   Trophy,  for the best set of four All-Round monochrome  images, was won by that master of the monochrome Donald Crabtree with a total score of 71 out of 80 points! His prints were: 'Wells Cathedral Steps', 'Loving Arms',  'Jock and Jan, Street Musicians, Greenwich' and 'Neolithic Dwellings, Stonehenge'. Michael Myers came second with 59 points and Sandra Cockayne third with 56 points.


The WH Hammond Trophy was for the best single print of a portrait, figure study or image of people. It was won by Rais Hasan with his classic portrait "Black History", see above.

The reports of the meetings held by Bradford Photographic Society

Reports of BPS Exhibitions and talks held by others

Articles on the history of Bradford Photographic Society

Reports about Bradford Photographic Society photowalks and shoots

Articles on how to improve photographic techniques

Other articles about Bradford Photographic Society or photography in general

Reports on the various competitions in which BPS is involved