15th January 2015 – On the Club Battle v BPS and Travel in Uganda

Busy week with the Club battle versus Bristol Photographic Society on Wednesday and an interesting and well explained substitute evening from Adrian Herring ARPS DPAGB and Vanessa Herring LRPS from the Kingswood Club and their month long trip to Uganda standing in for our own Simon Caplin who was ill. Get well soon Simon.

 

BPS first. The camera battle was the third battle of the evening for those who attended. First there was the weather, which was atrocious, then there was the perennial how-do-you-park-in-Clifton Village? followed by the club evening camera battle judged by Sandie Cox ARPS, CPAGB and WCPF Members Exhibition Secretary. May I extend a club thanks to all those involved, to our hosts who were most gracious (and victorious) to Sandie for her detailed feedback and obvious, detailed, preparation and to the committees of both clubs for making it happen. RCC extend our best wishes for their upcoming move to Montpelier, where the premises are more capacious and the access easier (you can even get there on the train!).

The final score was BPS 335 v RCC 285, a wider margin than a year ago when the scores were BPS 366 v RCC 331. The two club sets were varied and natural history (Sandie’s RPS panel subject and one where she has particularly strong feelings, unsurprisingly), travel, street, and art all proved popular categories. Sandie’s other great love is for monochrome which wasn’t widely represented this year and as she said herself, for a particular sort of monochrome.  BPS had 9 images scored at between 18 and 20, RCC 2 and the distribution of marks was between 13 and 20 for BPS and 11 and 18 RCC. Last year it was 15 and 3 respectively in the 18-20  marks and the range was between 16-20 (BPS) and 14-18 (RCC). Overall it was an enjoyable evening to brave the elements on and here’s looking forward to the 2016 battle!

 

Results

Economy Steve Hallam 11
Pandoras Box Barry Mead 18
In Step Derwood Pamphilon 16
Mikie Darren James 15
Common Darter Rich Price 12
Waxwing on Berry Mary Pears 16
1925 Wendy O’Brien 11
Dancer in her Final Pose Julia Simone 17
Forest Giants at Dawn Steve Taylor 14
Vicars Close Mark Stone 14
Red in the Pocket Greg Duncan 13
Puffin and Catch Geoff Morgan 16
Gull Feeding on Flies Mono Lake Val Duncan 17
Red Nose Band Barry Mead 18
British Summer Eddie House 15
Riding High Greg Duncan 18
Knock-out Punch Julia Simone 14
That 80’s Feeling EddieDeponeo 15
Pallas Bat John Hudson 15
Iceland Rich Price 18
Going for the Basket Val Duncan 18
Kingfisher Rich Price 11
Welcome Barry Mead 20
Wish I was out there Geoff Morgan 18
Namib Storm Approaching John Chamberlin 20
Abandoned Mark O’Grady 16
Working Together Greg Duncan 20
Judge Sandie Cox ARPS CPAG 335 285

 

 

So, on to the Herring’s adventures in Uganda. A recent month-long trip to Uganda to see not only the country but also the work of the organisation run by Vanessa’s cousin, Soft Power, and operating in Jinja. Some miles were certainly put in and the huge variety that Uganda encompasses was on show in a vibrant projected and print presentation that filled the evening. Adrian and Vanessa’s skill and experience was obvious and whereas we would all do slightly different things with the same opportunity, something they showed with the occasional different view of the same subject, it is the individual interpretation of the rules of composition, storytelling and angle that make a different story for the viewer and the photographer as we have examined over the evenings, activities and posts of this season.

 

As with Kev and Rich’s presentation on Iceland last season, the key to the Herring’s successful trip was planning and deliberation. In order to make something worthwhile happen they had to be open to what was going on around them, but also needed a direction and purpose. We come across the idea of serendipity again.

 

The Adrian and Vanessa took a couple of telephoto zoom lenses with them amongst their kit and that introduces a fundamental question about what you need to take when you travel, and there appear to be two opposing schools of thought here. The debate about the merits of the Prime Lens v The Zoom Lens is as old as the zoom lens. Weight, size and maximum aperture definitely lie with the fixed lens. Speed in framing, where you would have to physically move or change lenses to better frame the shot and therefore general flexibility lie with the zoom. Prime lenses also tend to be sharper, especially at the wider apertures and cheaper because there are less moving parts and less glass in their construction.

 

Some of the advantages of primes over older zoom lenses, especially the early ones are beginning to be eroded. F5.6 seems to be increasingly a leveller when it comes to sharpness and image stabilisation, where fitted, certainly is found a lot lower in the price range of zoom lenses than primes (for a reason). That means you can be more flexible in the use of your ISO because good results are available with lower shutter speeds than without an IS or VR option (Image Stabilisation is the same as Vibration Reduction). You pays your money and you takes your choice, but one other factor to consider is the type of photography you are going to indulge in. Smaller, lighter, less intrusive will almost certainly win out in street photography, but with faster moving subjects, the ones where the relation to the photographer are constantly changing, especially from foreground to background, the zoom option will give the opportunity of more shots taken. That’s potentially more. No guarantees of quality in quantity. There’s just a bit more to making a keeper.

 

The upshot of these considerations is that you need to plan. The glass you have is the glass you take in most cases, not least because this can be an expensive hobby and laying out on new kit constantly isn’t either affordable nor particularly desirable – for most of us. Get to know the equipment you have well.  Don’t, as I have written about before, itinerate to the minute, so much can be lost by trying to pack too much in. You want to avoid, I suggest, the feeling of being on a touristic production line. The Herrings mentioned several times the uses of local guides and local knowledge, especially if it can help with being navigating around and even avoiding the worst in popular areas (and sometimes not-so-populated) and they plainly took their time in engaging with local people and volunteers on the project they visited and helped with. This pays dividends when you are travelling – and even when you’re not, the same goes for street and environmental, studio, modelling, well you get the idea.

 

So our thanks to the Herrings for an interesting evening. Next meeting Rich is giving a talk on the use of colour space. Here is a little something on gamut and colour space by way of introduction, if that isn’t something familiar to you.

 

Announcements

 

Don’t forget the club Flikr page competition. This month the topic is COLD.

 

Closing Date for next round of the ROC is Thursday 22nd.