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.
Below is a letter from Maurice explaining to you what will be happening to us when the school moves to its new building.
To keep you in the picture (pun not intended).
Last week I had a meeting at St Anne’s school to discuss how our future Reflex meetings will continue after the school moves. As a committee we would have preferred to stay at the same school when the infants take it over. Having discussed this at length with the school it will not be possible to stay at the old school, this is because the car park that we use now is going to be redeveloped into a soft play area. This means that we will not be able to drive over it, and there is also a possibility of oil drips.
The existing school want us to move with them, they have no problem with us, and compliment us on our tidiness and the way that we exit the building. I have seen the plans of the new school, the facilities are superb. Although we may not use it, there is a projector with surround sound in the main hall. There would be a choice of two halls, a kitchen, obviously toilets, but also a storage facility (so Roy & Alex won’t need to climb anymore).
Hire rates would remain the same because we are existing tenants. The school is due to become an Academy at the end of the year, this will require a meeting with the governing body in order to renegotiate.
The only issue as we already know is the parking. There will be between 22 to 26 parking places, a few more if we double up. The overflow would be on the road, or I will go to the building to the left of the school to ask if we can use their parking places out of hours.
There is an open day coming up in July, and I will be notified of the date. I will inform the Committee when this is due to in order to attend.
I hope this gives you some information regarding the move, and I will give you more when the committee have met after seeing the new school.
Chairman, Reflex Camera Club
So there you have it. We will be moving once again although this time to a brand new building with excellent facilities and as soon as we know the date of the move or get any more information we will let you know.
The new school is located on Wick Road where the old Community Centre used to be. Here’s a Google Map with the new location marked.
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.
This week I am going to stick my neck out a long way. It is always interesting to see what other photographers have put their effort into if only to sort what you like and dislike. The trick is to sort out what exactly you see in the image that you like or dislike and then to decide how you would use it. This last bit is the most important for us as developing photographers. The WCPF Travelling Critique is an excellent resource and it was good to get fellow members views on some of those prints. These are the ones that were accepted but didn’t make it into the top 100, so why do you think? I am going to use the blog this week to try and build something you might want to consider when looking critically at a photograph (or a number of other things). There is more than one way, and this is not (emphasis on not) about how to become a judge, see the WCPF for those details. Feel free to disagree and use the discussion options on the blog to tell me how wrong I am and where and why.
Susan Sontag (1933-2004), critic and one of the foremost on photography wrote: “Mallarme said that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book. Today everything exists to end in a photograph” and there were a wide variety of topics covered by the photographers who entered the WCPF Open, but to take the book metaphor a little further, not all of them told a story. Story is an important part of photography, it is rarely, if ever, just about the content of the photograph as you could write in a shopping list. It is the interconnectedness of the whole thing, its construction. So 100 photographs, 100 stories? Well I have already stated that to be not quite the effect, but there are two sides to each story/image, the teller and the viewer. “To photograph is to confer importance” – Sontag again, but that importance isn’t always shared by the viewer.
To illustrate from my own and some shared observations from other members as we went around. There was one print that I just failed to get the point of – as did several other members from the discussion around me. There were a couple of other prints that close up didn’t have the impact they promised at a distance. One I glanced at on a side table when the main lights were out and it was being lit from an acute angle by the light on the picture stand several feet away and it worked really well, as if there were multiple faces staring out. In an even light it was flat. One of a black and white subject would have been better (if a little ironically) rendered in colour because it’s focal point was an eye which would be big and brown and contrast to the monochrome represented in the rest of the frame. The blacks weren’t black enough and the whites a shade of grey to my eyes. The eye, the focal point from the title of the work, instead of being deep and vibrant, was soulless.
On the other hand: John Long ARPS DPAGB image “Dennis And His Bowl” had more depth to its tones the more you looked; Gill Cardy ARPS DPAGB AFIAP “Japanese Crane Dance” was the best of the wild life photography for me and Hanneke at least agreed with me on that one; Sheila Haycox ARPS DPAGB AFIAP ” Despair” I thought very atmospheric and I was struck by the shapes mirrored in window and figure; the composition, strong and simple and colour contrast shown by Martin Horton in “Passing The Pieta” I thought arresting and Mike Martin’s “Stair Light” I would happily hang on my wall. If you are now convinced that I shouldn’t be allowed near a keyboard unless heavily medicated, great! What is it about those images that makes you disagree?
I am not going to look at the technical aspects, that can be done better by others and is covered by the events we do over the year, thanks to the committee. The rules are not hard and fast but they should be mastered before we start to break them. So I am going to take for granted that the image: Is in focus and on the most appropriate part of the picture; that dust and marks have been cloned out (clean the lens and sensor regularly, even better!) and exposure is appropriate.
So, as someone who likes photography and who wants to understand more of it by making my own, it’s necessary that I don’t just suspend my judgement at the point of my initial reaction (though usually the strongest). The most powerful word in the whole of education is because (I don’t do humble opinions in case you hadn’t guessed). That is how we make the links between things, by applying our inner critic, by stating because …. There is a Japanese proverb that goes something along the lines of “If you want to know the answer ask, five times, why?” which is a very good place to start – five is an approximate number but in practise never less than three. That is the route to take after you have your initial reaction.
If you are in want of a metaphor for this whole process, think of a funnel. A funnel restricts the path of whatever passes through it to a defined point. Criticism of a piece of work should do the same. If it doesn’t it’s not the work but the criticism that is incomplete. Sort out what it is you like and what it is you dislike about the image. Make notes, mental or otherwise. These are great places to make the next steps on the journey and they can be used to improve your own images too. What we are sorting out is what we feel about an image and why. Yes it is subjective and certain (breakable) technical rules about framing, exposure and focussing aside, this is a subjective exercise. Very small things can take an OK photograph to a good one when executed well. This photograph makes me feel ….. because …..
Then is the time to look at how you react to those technical subjects, the ones I have listed above plus things like the use of colour (or not) and the thing that is so important to photography that it is named after it, the light (strength, direction, balance, colour). Ask yourself, “So what”?
There has been a lot of hot air generated over whether photography is an art or a craft, I would argue both. For me there is an art in all crafts and all art is manufactured. There is a connection between the nine linen panels of the Bayeux Tapestry (actually it’s an embroidery) and Robert Capa’s eleven surviving images from Omaha Beach (10 were published) but it isn’t in materials, scale, production time or production values and the big story, Norman Conquest, D-Day Landings respectively, wasn’t the artists to own but was there’s to tell. The way they tell it (please, no Frank Carson jokes at the back) is the art. Its balancing of the elements the craft. How does this photographer choose to represent this subject? Does it come across as a considered, thoughtful treatment or is it casually selected? That matters because …? It focuses the attention on ….? which is important because …? Would this image work better in black and white/colour? Why …? because …? Why do you think the photographer made the choice to use/not use colour/black and white? What do you feel about that? How is it cropped? Is the composition classical? Does it follow the rule of thirds? or the rule of fifths? (basically for landscapes, but works on the face too, I am told) or did they/you go to art school/ good at maths/have watched every episode of QI and cunningly employ the Golden Ratio? What effect does it have …? Because…? How does the arrangement of objects in the frame give energy to the story? Because…?
Now you have enough material to make your decision about the photograph and importantly, you can say with some confidence why it works or doesn’t work for you. This is important for us as developing photographers. Other people’s work is as important as our own at the very least (no, make that more important if we want to develop our own) if we want to get past the click-go-happy accident form of photography we probably joined a photographic club to get away from. The next step is to take all this and decide what you would do to improve it by way of everything else you have looked at. This would work because …?
Now in a more formal setting, one where you report back to an audience either directly or in writing (this goes for any topic, not just photography) you would need to feed all this information back. If you find yourself in this situation don’t just repeat what you have already said, summarise it and use the things you have discovered because you have asked yourself because (or so what) as the conclusive points. Take it from someone who has sat through thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of presentations, it makes a big difference.
A really big thanks to Julie and Ian for their efforts last night, much appreciated.
Here endeth the lesson. Over to you ….
Next week … Wedding photography … you only get one chance to get it right!
This Blog was written by Ian G.
We’ve just posted it a little differently due to some upcoming changes to our website (more details on that soon!)
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.
Website & Blog Posts
You may have noticed that a few weeks ago the website went down for a while. When it reappeared it had a few problems which have now mainly been resolved but one still remains and will take a while to fix. That one problem is that all the old Blog posts that used to have images associated with them (Reflex Open Competition results & other competitions) no longer have those images available.
Well unfortunately the site decided to go into meltdown and the back up solution I had in place seems to have a small but significant flaw in the way it worked. It backed up the site all the posts and all the images to the clubs Dropbox folder. Unfortunately it did not save which images were associated with each post nor did it save the contents of slide shows that were embedded into certain posts. Now it would seem a simple thing to put the photo’s back into each post & slide show. Well the site currently has over 800 images and I have to manually go through each post and find each image that should be in that post. It’s going to take a while and to be honest isn’t high on the priority list at the moment. Finding a properly working back up solution that doesn’t cost anything, or has a very low cost, and is easy to deploy is the first order of business.
Now for some good news. We have a new “Editor” for the Blog, Ian Gearing has volunteered to help run the Blog and you should start to see posts from him very soon. We would still love to hear from any club members that would like to write articles or features for the Blog regularly. So if you’d like to become an Author for the Club’s Blog get in touch. It’s easy and all you really need to remember is that its a place to post info on club activities or information that the club’s members would be interested in and not somewhere to advertise your own or your friends business.