Today’s post and pictures are brought to you from Purton Hulks by club member Myk Garton.
A trip to Purton Hulks on the River Severn as 12 club members braved the heavy rainstorms that were falling over Bristol and made the short journey up the M5 and A38 to the Purton Hulks boat graveyard on the bank of the River Severn. By the time we arrived, the rain had cleared and we were treated to a lovely sunset at the car park whilst waiting for others to arrive, although it didn’t last for very long.
With the light fading rapidly we made our way along the canal tow-path to the boat graveyard. Some members had beaten us there and were already taking photographs. Most of the group walked along to the wooden hulks further along and began shooting various bits of the old wrecks.
As darkness descended, it was time to get the lights out and practice some light painting techniques. I think everyone managed to get a few decent shots.
All images courtesy Myk Garton © 2014
The Summer trips are now complete and we now get to move into our new venue. It will be good to see and hear what everyone has been up to over the summer break
Talking of the new venue. If you haven’t heard we are moving to the newSt. Annes Junior School
BS4 4HUon the 4th of September. Read on for what Dan Ellis wants your help with at that meeting!
NEXT WEEK (4th September)
Because of the late confirmation we’ve sadly had to postpone Bob Martin’s visit until the New Year. Instead we’re going to be doing a variation on the 10×10 nights the club often runs.
This week’s 2x5x10 nights will hopefully help you think about where you are now, photographically, and what you’d like to get out of the coming year. We ask members to bring in five images from both categories.
“Destination” images that you bring in could be of a subject matter that attracts you (perhaps you want to improve your portraiture or macro photography), they could be representative of a photographer you particularly admire (a club member, someone from Flickr, or a “famous” photographer) and would like to learn their style. Perhaps you’ve come across a particular technique you’d like to start using (you might really want to get to grips with depth of field, or learn how to do good HDR), or maybe you want to start selling your images or getting them published. How would you like your photography to improve in the coming year?
Images of your own that you bring in could be some of your best, ones that you think represent your “average” or typical output, or they could be ones that are your current attempts in the direction you want to go (if you want to improve your portraiture bring in a recent portrait you’ve taken).
We ask that you submit images in the usual way via Dropbox but it might be worth bringing them in on a memory stick just for this meeting as the clubs Dropbox folder on the laptop may not be able to be updated before this particular meeting.
We are coming to the end of another amazing year in the life of Reflex Camera club. Sadly we have lost a few members but have gladly welcomed many more. I would ask you all to look back on this season and ask 2 questions
- What have I got out of the club ?
- What have I put into the club ?
Membership is about ‘BEING A PART OF “and I would like all members to ensure they are a part of the club next season.
How can you do this ????
ATTENDANCE – every £1.00 helps – PARTICIPATION – in events and competitions – SHARING – your skills and expertise
The more we all put into the club – the more we can all get out of it .
See you all in our New Venue for another fantastic season.
We’ve switched the old Blog off and are now no longer connected at all with the old hosting which means we should no longer have such slow load times. The old url (www.reflexcc.org.uk) is still active, and will remain so until sometime in 2016! But it will take people to our new site at www.reflexcameraclub.co.uk. The new Blog, your reading it now, can be found at www.blog.reflexcameraclub.co.uk.
What we need you all to do is sign up to receive notifications when the blog is updated. I know it’s a pain to have to sign back up for stuff but we were unable to transfer over our old Blog followers list to the new blog.
Signing up for the Blog is easy
We’ve noticed a few of you have signed up for the website with the login thats on the frontpage. That will be useful at a later date when we implement a few more of the planned features. But we really need you to sign up for the Blog. To sign up you just need to enter your email address into the box just up in the Right hand corner. Yep over there and up a bit!. Once you’ve done that you will get email notifications whenever we update the Blog.
For most of us, it appears, Adobe Lightroom is all we are ever likely to need in a photo editor, and in this insightful evening, Kevin Spiers, Mark OGrady and Dan Thomas gave us a whirlwind tour of some of the possibilities. It certainly isn’t the only editor available, Gimp, Pixlr, Picasa, Paint.Net are all free alternatives with their supporters but none, as they appear to me, have an interface quite as slick and certainly none have the full capability of the cloud based full suite (Photoshop CC and Lightroom) which can now be rented at just under £9 a month. Mind you, photo-shopping is not always approved of!
Kevin was first up and showed us the cataloguing feature. An image isn’t much use to anyone if it can’t be found, and with the ease and cheapness of taking another frame comes the problem of sheer volume. The number of images quickly adds up. Looking for that photograph can soon become evidence of that old proverb involving needles and haystacks, though why anyone would think to even begin to look for a steel needle in a stack of dried grass, much less think that was a suitable storage medium in the first place, has always defeated me. Sounds like bad filing practice, which is exactly what the cataloguing system is designed to overcome. Like trying to find a needle in a sewing box. Simples!
Frequency separation is a technique that gives the user the ability to process the surface and the depth of an image in different detail layers. The image is divided into two layers, containing the high frequencies and the low frequencies and allows the use these layers to work on colours, on broad and fine details independently, using non-destructive changes to the original image.
Definitely an advanced users technique, but one that seems to be getting wider use over the last couple of years . It is, in essence, about utilising the different strata (think of a photograph as a sandwich and each component of the sandwich is both part of the overall sandwich and a thing in itself) that make up a photograph. Or think of your favourite song played by different artists , there are individual notes and there are chords arranged together in subtly different ways that form the overall, still recognisable but differently rendered, tune. If you change the chords and notes sympathetically you change the harmonies but can still retain the tune. Frequency separation is about using these strata to enhance or alter parts of a photograph in the process of retouching and moving the image to a more striking, enhanced representation. Again not a process without controversy, but something that started when the first human artist drew the first image and the first human critic ,that is the first person the artist showed it to, thought “That ain’t right”.
The technique involves creating two layers, a high frequency layer and a low frequency layer. The low frequency layer contains large areas of colours and tones and the high frequency area fine details like skin pores and blemishes, hair and so on. Julia Kuzmenko McKim gives a blow by blow account of this and also includes a Photoshop action that automates the process (which you might use, but entirely at your own discretion). These actions can be replicated in some other programmes too, Gimp, for instance has its own frequency separation plug in.
To the low frequency layer, Mark applied desaturation (taking it to black and white) and Gaussian Blur, also known as Gaussian Smoothing. Carl Friedrich Gauss was an C18th mathematician, perhaps the greatest since antiquity, whose work has had a huge effect on the modern world. It is the application of an algorithm derived from his work and that of Fourier which we need to know not even that much about, leaving such technicalities to people who have use for them. All we need to know is that it is a blur effect that reduces image noise and detail. Mark suggested using a brush around 3.5 to 5 pixels and though the size used would depend on the job to be done and the preferences of the user he suggested that would be a happy medium. The larger the brush the bigger the effect. On the high frequency layer he changed the blending ode to linear light and talked about the relative merits of the healing brush and cloning.
Starting with the low frequency layer Mark evened out the skin tones and then switched to high frequency layer to work on the blemishes, making sure that the healing brush was set to sample from the current layer. There are a number of techniques, he assured us, that can be applied, and people derive their own favourites and short cuts. The results were quite stunning and well worth trying out, more finely controlable than just stamping around with a clone brush. Mark recommended Scott Kelby‘s book on photoshop.
After break Dan took us through the Lightroom layout, which is set out in a way as to aid workflow in that the tools that it shows you at the top of the menus the things you are more likely to productively work on first. This all helps with the work flow. Dan emphasised the lossless nature of using Photoshop, leaving the original untouched. To emphasise these points he took us through some images that he had provided earlier and applied some of the options that the abundant menus allow the user to easily apply. Dan’s top tips? Take in RAW and Slide the Sliders! RAW gives you more data to work with and the sliders let you apply effects incrementally and as long as preview is switched on you can see the effects on your image in real time, saving considerable effort in going back and forth to check your image. There is a downside of course and that is, in the words of Yogi Berra (American baseball player and yes, that was his real name), “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else”. It helps to know what you want to do before you start fiddling around.
A great evening and thanks to Kevin, Mark and Dan for making it possible.
You can find an expanded version of what Dan took us through here and includes ground covered by Kevin as well and a whole lot more too.
A bit of a change
For various reasons we’ve had to make a few changes to some of the upcoming meetings. These changes are now shown on the Meetings page of the website and I’ve put them here for those of you that find clicking on a link exhausting.
Published Works – Four members show and talk about images they’ve had published or sold
Guest Speaker – Ian Wade
Trick Photography – Practical Bring your Cameras, Tripods, Flashguns etc.
Trick Photography – Editing Bring your Laptops etc.
Our 2014 programme is now finally up on the website. I’ve also posted it here so you can just scroll down & take a look:
9th January 2014
Ed Collacott (visit his website)
19th January 2014
Members bring TEN (YES JUST TEN!) images in and say a few words about each. This is always a popular night because it’s great to see what other club members have been doing.
Last entry date for Round 3 of the ROC
23rd January 2014
Battle with Bristol Photographic Society
Make your club proud and come to this home battle where our pictures will be pitted against BPS’s. May the best images win.
30th January 2014
What does Maurice have in store for us as his first Chair’s Evening? Let yourself be surprised. You won’t be disappointed.
6th February 2014
Results of Round 3 of the ROC.
Come see who the judge bestows the honours on this time.
Editing Step by Step. Please bring your laptop if you have one.
Last entry date for the Creative Round of the ROC
20th February 2014
Tutorial – Trick Photography
How to get those magical shots
27th February 2014
Bring your camera’s and get stuck in to practice what you learnt last week!
SUNDAY 2nd March 2014
Sunday? YES Sunday, no I haven’t gone mad. We are having a repeat of last years Photo marathon, which was an absolute superb event that everyone who took part enjoyed. Even though Steve spilled my beer in the pub afterwards! Time, location and all relevant details will be announced nearer the date.
6th March 2014
The results of the Creative Round of the Reflex Open Competition. Just how creative we’re you? Did you resort to Photoshop or did you get creative with a photo shoot?
13th March 2014
Bring the pictures you took on the Practical night and magic them into the end result! Don’t worry if you didn’t attend the practical night, we’ve got something for you too! Bring your laptops if you have one.
Last entry date for Entries to Round 4 of the Reflex Open Competition
20th March 2014
The results of the Photo marathon. Come along. look at the pictures and vote on your favourites. Maybe this year some people will feel confident enough to vote on other peoples images instead of their own! 😉
Ian Wade (Visit his website)
3rd April 2014
Results of the 4th Round of the Reflex Open Competition
10th April 2014
Western Counties Photographic Federation Travelling Print Critique
A show of prints that were submitted to the Annual Exhibition of the WCPF.
17th April 2014
How to photograph the big day
24th April 2014
Joseph Yarrow (visit his website)
Last date of entry for the Stan Scantlebury & John Hankin Shields
1st May 2014
Reflex is your club so come along and have a say in how it’s run.
8th May 2014
Details to be confirmed
15th May 2014
John Hankin & Stan Scantlebury Shield Competition Results
22nd May 2014
Clair Huckle (visit her website)
29th May 2014
Get intimate with your camera and discover its inner workings (sorry Hanneke wrote that bit). Please bring your camera & it’s manual
5th June 2014
Thinking outside the box. Please bring your camera
12th June 2014
Social Evening & Prize Giving Ceremony
Mark the beginning of summer with a fun evening where you’ll also hear who came top in the various Categories of the Reflex Open Competition.
19th June 2014
Plan your Photo Expedition
How to plan your Landscape and Astronomy pictures. In preparation of a club weekend away to Exmoor ( trip TBC)
26th June 2014
Summer Pub Night
A walk in an area of photographic interest with a pub visit to boot. Or you can just skip straight to the pub. Pub location TBC.
New season’s programme of Meetings
The new season is about to start and here at Reflex we’re excited to announce the fantastic Programme of Meetings for the 2013/14 season. You can take a look at our programme by going here.
The first meeting
On September 5th we have the first meeting of the new season and we need you, our brilliant club members, to submit ten images that showcase what you’ve been doing photographically over the last couple of months. You can either submit them via Dropbox, email them in using the clubs usual email address or bring them in on a memory stick. To remain fair to everyone please only submit 10 images. If you submit more than 10 only the first ten will be shown. You can choose to talk about the images or not. It’s totally up to you.
New Rules for the ROC
There are some new rules for the Reflex Open Competition this year. The main difference between this and last is the naming of files. From now on you will need to know your membership number to enter competitions. The files will be named 01_title_Membership Number.jpg & 02_title_membership number.jpg. Now I can hear you all saying that you don’t have a membership number but be patient. We are waiting for the new Membership cards to be delivered and once they are here we will hand them out to fully paid up members and they will have your membership number on them. The full changes to the rules can be found on this page of the website