Articles

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our annual Audio-visual competition evening took place on 25th April. It was well attended and there were a total of eight entries several of which were first tries - and one of those won! Some were very polished offerings, produced on industry standard software like PicturesToExe and these were mixed in with more modest efforts using Windows Moviemaker. Amazingly, they all ran on the Windows 7 laptop without too much trouble. The clever combination of music and images was quite moving in places and, at one point there was nearly an outburst of community singing to ‘How Great Thou Art’!

Final voting was very close with only one vote between each of the top three. The winner was ‘She Shakes My Soul’ by Beverley Thornton, a beautifully produced study of her daughter and grand-daughter. John Boyle’s ‘Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost’ was second and ‘Bradford Mirror Pool Events’ by Rais Hasan was third. All the entries had something to offer in their different ways, and I am sure the audience was impressed by what can be done – and perhaps be inspired to enter themselves next year!

As a post-script, Kenn showed his cartoon-like ‘Ghosts of Bolling Hall’ to popular acclaim and encouragement to enter it next year.

Our third print competition evening of the year was all about All-Rounders and provided a surprise blast from the past! In both competitions each entrant had to submit four prints, one in each of four restricted categories. Although this requirement led to a reduced number of entrants compared with other competitions, there were still 76 images to enjoy during the evening.

Twelve members entered the Walker Trophy for Colour All-Rounder. Michael Myers won with his images ‘Hairy Rocking’ (20/20), ‘Palais de Isle, Annecy’, Aspiration’ and ‘Splash Down Peppers’. Tom Heggie, in second place also had a 20/20 with ‘Did You Get It?’ as did Imran Khan in third place with ‘Standing Tall’.

Seven sets of four images were entered for the HM Storey Salver for Monochrome All-Rounder. The winner was Peter Milthorp with his, unusual these days, film-produced prints ‘Portrait’ (20/20), ‘Not Speaking’, ‘Morris Men and Women Meal Break Kirby Lonsdale Victorian Faire 1989’ and ‘Chapter House Steps, Wells Cathedral’ (also 20/20). A very popular result! Second place was taken by Michael Myers and Don Crabtree was third. The only other 20/20 in this competition was ‘Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II, Milan’ by Rais Hasan.

The constructive comments by Chris Hodgson, the judge for this evening, were most helpful in helping us all understand how our own work could be improved.

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.

The evening of the 31 January saw the re-arranged 2nd DPI Trophy night, the judge for the evening being Michael Newton from Hebden Bridge.

The evening commenced with the Percy Lund Rose Bowl Best All Rounder Novice. Eight sets of four images were presented to the judge who gave fair, constructive and encouraging comments on each image. Due to a misunderstanding by myself, the winning set by Steve Swiszczowski unfortunately had to be eliminated as Steve was no longer a novice having won a previous competition. 35 When Vandals Attack. The good news being that Chris Ingleson was declared the winner. Congratulations to Chris for his entries: 'In The Spot Light', 'Clamping Down', 'When Vandals Attack' and 'Detail Bradford Conditioning House'. In second place was Clark Longbottom, and third John Boyle.

The Novice Trophy was followed by The D Bates Trophy Best All Rounder which attracted an impressive entry of eleven sets of four images, again Michaels analysis was spot on. I know that we all gained some new photographic knowledge from his visit. In first pace with her excellent winning set was Sandra Cockayne : 'My other Job is a Ballerina', 'Mirror Pool Centenary Square', 'Deadly Fibre Cap' and 'The Drawing Room Bolling Hall'. In second place was Michael Myers and third Graeme Mitchell. The judge awarded two 20/20's One to Michael Myers for 'Sparkler Wine' the other to Graeme Mitchell for 'The Langdale Valley'.

On the 10th January 2013 Leeds photographer John Dolan came to talk about his 365 and 52 photography projects and also about his portrait photography. This entertaining and informitative talk had been postponed from the 16th October when John had been due to do a co-talk with fellow photographer Si Cliff, who also does inspired self portraits. John spoke about what inspired him to start his 365's and the difficulty in comleting the projects whilst working full time as a teacher. John is an active member of the Leeds flickr group and you can read more about John and view his work by viewing his website.

 

http:/johnfotohouse.com/

On 13th December, our second print competition evening of the year provided a lot of interest with a healthy overall entry of 60 prints submitted for the three trophies on offer. As all the images were marked together, it was a bit of a cliff-hanger to work out who was winning until the great revelation at the end!

moonlightThe Greenwood Trophy for the best print by a novice, had only eleven entries and was won by Karl Dunachie with his striking image ‘Moonlight’. It was the only image submitted for this trophy to score 20 with the judge commenting that it broke all the rules and was clearly a combination of two images – to great effect, though.

Six sets of three images were entered for the Tom Scatchard record trophy. Although second place’ Peter Davison, had two 20s for his images ‘Guitar Ensemble’ and ‘Detail of Stephenson’s Rocket’ he was pipped for the trophy by Graeme Mitchell who score no less than three 20s for ‘Detail Above Door of Bank at Sowerby Bridge’, ‘Hall of Fame Gallery, Munich’ and ‘Library at Chatsworth House’.

The open best-print JH Leighton Trophy drew an impressive entry of 31 images of which no less than eight scored 20! They were:
‘Fairground Ride’ by Bill Longbottom.
‘Altar at St Weonard’s Church’ by Stuart Ross.
‘Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness’, ‘Quiet Water’ and
‘Towpath Rider, Hebden Bridge’ by Michael Myers.
‘A Winter’s Day at Arncliffe’ by Graeme Mitchell.
‘Stormy Whitby’ and ‘West Burton Waterfall’ by Steve Barrick.

Michael Myers won with ‘Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness’, a beautiful classic natural image, neatly demonstrating that his skills extend well beyond Photoshop!

It was her first judging date for Margaret Southerington, our judge, and we thought that she did very well. The club appreciated her constructive comments and her efforts on our behalf, giving us a memorable evening.

Our first projected images competition evening of the season took place on 15th November. The Novice trophy was for the best set of four images, and attracted ten entrants, while the open JF Mather trophy was for sets of three images, and had 18 contenders. If you do the arithmetic, that gives a very healthy total of 94 images that were shown in the evening!

In the Novice trophy, third place was taken by Peter Kurton, with a consistent set of images of Bolling Hall, scoring 68. Chris Ingleson, with 70, came second with images of a variety of subjects, all scoring 17 or 18. Bill Clark’s winning set scored 72, and included the only two 20s in the competition: for ‘Strawberry Splash’ and ‘Keep Calm’. He was accused by the judge of being drunk when he took his impressionistic floor-level shot of ‘Boogieing on the Dance Floor’ – which Bill happily confirmed afterwards.

The Open trophy generated an impressive number of high-scoring images, with three 20s. These were awarded to Graeme Mitchell’s ‘Wast Water Screes’, Bill Longbottom’s ‘Footbridge’, and Graham Pile’s ‘Aurora’ — all stunning images. Overall, Bill came third with a score of 56, while Graham and Graeme tied on 57 points — the decision going to Graham Pile in the end.

Richard Townend, our judge for the evening, employs a detailed scoring system, awarding partial scores for sharpness, exposure, composition and artistic merit, which he adds up to give the total score. He left his score sheets with these details, so, if anyone wants to know how their images were scored, please contact me.

It was another great evening’s competition, with a large selection of fine images in contention.

West Yorkshire Inter-ClubIt started with a Disaaaster, Daaahling! Bob Free's initial announcements proclaimed that his own club was penalised 16 points for using an image that had appeared in the Interclub before, and BPS was penalised 17 points from our first round score because two of the images in the general section were by the same author, Graham Pile, which is (strictly) not allowed!! He later privately revealed that he had been back through last years entries and found several examples of the same crime — too late to change anything now. So we were rumbled, and take forward 73 points from the first round, instead of that lovely 90 we originally had.

In the evening's competitions, we fared more modestly than last time, but still respectably.

The set subject was ‘Dance’, and our entry ‘No Mercy’ by Keith Nuttall scored 16. In the set theme, ‘Record’, Steve Barrick's ‘Looking Back on Evolution’ scored 14.

In the general section, ‘Strawberry Splash’ by Bill Clark scored 17, ‘Goit Stock Falls’ by Graham Pile scored 12, and ‘Siena Dusk’ by Keith Nuttall scored 17, giving us a respectable score of 76 for this round. (Note that, having two of Keith’s images is OK, as the rules specifically allow one person to have an entry in the set subject as well as the general sections. Phew!)

Since the penalties had not been correctly deducted, BPS was announced as 4th overall after two rounds with a score of 166. Sadly our real overall score is only 149 — not a total disaster, but quite a disappointment.

As anticipated, the judge, Graham Hodgkiss, was entertaining and educational, even if I couldn't agree with all his scores. There was an interesting bias towards artistic appreciation, versus the stricter adherence to conventional rules of composition and photography that we are used to. The main subjects of one image, of Cossack-type dancers, were just a blur of vivid colour, and it scored 20!

So altogether an interesting evening, but not for all the right reasons!

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