Merit Competition Round Up

The results for the 2015/16 Merit competition were pleasing for two main reasons.  Firstly, with a growing membership, the number of entries was much higher than for 2014/15: Set Subject up a whopping 60% with more members stretching their creativity to come up with some fantastic images. Projected Images up 16% and Prints up by a healthy 33%.  Secondly, it’s great to see some of our newer members giving the ‘old-guard’ a run for their money with Joost Lohman coming 3rd overall in Set Subject and Thomas George 2nd overall in Projected Images, with Matt Stratford (who’s not really a new comer any more) coming 4th overall in the Print category.  Congratulations to our three overall section winners: Thomas George (Set Subject), Phil Holroyd (Projected Images) and Helen Jackson-Garside (Prints).


Go on, be bold...

I was asked if I could write an article for the website, my reply was is there a particular topic I should cover. I was told I could write about anything I like and I guess this in a way mimics everyone's photography at one time or another - How do we be creative? A search for definitions for creative gave me this: Relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something.

Creativity is what defines photographers as well as any other artists. Being creative is an experiment, a step outside of your comfort zone. Don't be afraid to try, these days with digital cameras it does not cost to experiment.

If you shoot typically with a mid range zoom such as a 24-70 or 24-105 then stick on a wide angle, or a short telephoto such as a 70-200; alternatively try a wide aperture prime lens such as a 35 f1.4 or 50 f1.4. You will be forced to look at the world in a different light.

Experiment with different compositions, shoot vertical as well as horizontal and vice versa. Do you like an object for the foreground or are you willing to try leading lines. Do you have a nearby landmark? Can you go and shoot it every week for a year or every season? If you like dark and brooding images, consider going high key or experimenting with HDR.

Try your hand at a different genre. One of our members always said he didn't do people, yet he's just won the portrait category of our projected image competition. If you shoot landscapes try a new location or a different type of year or weather. Landscapes needn't be about sunrise and sunset. I've taken some fabulous images in less than ideal conditions.

Be bold, take a walk on the wild side of your comfort zone.


Annual Projected Images Competition
Alan Rich had a challenging evening as judge for the Annual Projected Images competition with almost 80 entries submitted by the members. The standard has continued to improve year on year and Alan's constructive feedback was appreciated by all those who entered. 

The winning images were as follows:
Pictorial and Overall winner - Portuguese Poise by  Helen Jackson-Garside
Photo of a Lusitano horse Passaging next to the shadow of a lamp

Portrait - Pay the Bill by Tony Cartwright
Gritty portrait of an angry man

Flora and Fauna - Puffin Flap by Helen Jackson-Garside
Puffin Flapping it's wings

Set Subject - Action - Aerial Cartwheel by Nick Archer
Photo of a lady performing an aerial cartwheel

Tom Way's Mercia Group Talk - Capacity Audience
The JPS hosted Mercia Group event was a great success with photographers from all round our local area and beyond coming to listen to a thoroughly entertaining speaker. He even managed to covert our resident "Non-Wildlife" photographer Tony Cartwright to wildlife images as a subject. Although Tom has only been a wildlife photographer for 4 years he's already developed an impressive portfolio of images from the UK and round the world.

Panel Competition
A fantastic collection of images awaited judge Bob Johnson at our annual Panel Competition. Each member had entered a panel of 3 images on a related theme.

Winner of the Projected Image section with his series of Flooded Jetties was Phil Holroyd. 

Winner of the prints and the overall competition winner was Joost Lohman with "Waiting for the Train". Well done Joost!

Winning Panel Entry

Merit Competition Round 2
Members submitted another fantastic selection of images for the second round of the merit competition, the print section now has just 5 points between the top 5 contenders. In the projected images section newcomer Thomas George extended his lead well done everyone! Don't forget it's practical week next week.

A Date for your Diary
JPS will be hosting award winning fine art wildlife photographer Tom Way for our Mercia Group talk on the 20th January. It promises to be a fantastic evening in two parts, firstly the wildlife on our doorsteps and then exciting wildlife from around the world. You can heck out Tom's work here
Tom Way Poster 20th Jan
Speed Challenge
This week we tried something new - a list of 20 random subjects and 40 minutes to photograph them in, then to select and share them straight from camera. It was great to see everyone trying something they may not normally shoot, the range of creativity was great with each photographer's personal style shining through. Bonus points for those who managed every subject, and a special mention for Tony who didn't move more than a metre from his seat and with the help of assistants came up with some great images. Next week we'll be learning more about lenses and the difference they can make to your photographs.

New Lightroom Video
The latest instalment of our hints and tips for the digital darkroom is now live, check out the Lightroom page of Hints and Tips to find out how to make use of Digital Graduated ND Filters to enhance your photos.

Welcome Back
The season is back underway, it was great to see you all again and to see some of the adventures you've been on over the summer. After some lively debate the fun set subject for the first round of the merit competition is "People" the clock is ticking - you now have until the 30th September to take your image.

Digital Projected Images have a new size this year to make full use of our projector. The new size is 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels high.

See you all next week for our digital evening - send an e-mail to the club account to let us know a topic you'd like us to cover.

Not Long to Go....
The summer break is almost over, which means the start of the season is almost here! Bring your friends along to our New Members Evening 2nd September.

One Place - So Many Interpretations
It's always good to get out and about with your camera, sharing images afterwards reveals just how many possibilities there can be even when stood in close proximity to your fellow photographers at a local land mark. The images below are a small selection from our summer outing to Kenilworth Castle

Joost Lohman
Joost Lohman
Joost Lohman
Backlit Grasses
Helen Jackson-Garside
Flowers at Sunset
Helen Jackson-Garside
Kenilworth Castle
Helen Jackson-Garside
Kenilworth Cottage
Steve Randle
Lone Figure on Horizon
Steve Randle
Kenilworth Castle

Tony Cartwright
Tony Cartwright
Scott Wiggins

Scott Wiggins

In Focus
The latest issue of In Focus is now online with articles on aeroplane photography, packing light for city visits and some trip reports too. Click here to read it :)

New Equipment
A big thank you to Simon and Brian at The Flash Centre who have helped us with the purchase of some new equipment for our studio portrait practical events. They'll be coming along to give us a demonstration and you'll have chance to play with it in the new season. If you can't wait that long, our practical on the 5th August will now be a session using them at the club house.

Enjoying the Summer

We've now got our new committee in place, Scott Wiggins has picked up the reins as Chairman, Tony Cartwright is now Secretary, Nick Archer has stepped up to the role of Competition Secretary, Bill Griffiths has joined as Treasurer and Helen Jackson-Garside continues as Publicity Officer.

Our summer practical events are now on the calendar page, make the most of the weather to get out and use your cameras - even bad weather can give you some great photo opportunities. The set subject for this year's annual competitions is "Action" so check out all those local events and see what you can find.

Video Fun

Members spent an evening looking at the video functions of their DSLR and compact cameras with a view to being able to record either sections of video to add into slideshows or to record short videos for friends and family. 

With audio being a key factor in any video a section of the night was spent looking at this as well. As we are not professional videographers we looked at the on board mic of a Canon DSLR and the use of a shotgun mic on a 5D Mk III. The video below is a little comparison of the two pieces of footage.

Experimenting with video

The notes from the evening are also available to download should you wish to have a go yourself.

We may also put some of this into practice for a few tutorial videos on our practical events so watch this space.

The Victory Show

Our first practical of the year will be a trip to The Victory Show at Cosby, providing a great variety of opportunities from re-enactors to aeroplanes. Check out the website at feel free to bring friends and family along too. We'll meet at 9:30am by the flight line (Where the planes are parked) on to allow everyone to get to the show and park and make their way over. The selection of images below show some of the shots we're taken in recent years.


Hartland Weekend Trip Report - Scott Wiggins
Our annual weekend photography trips continue to grow from strength to strength.  Phil one of our members suggested we make a trip to Hartland in Devon, somewhere known for it's rugged coastline and natural beauty.  16 of us made the trip down on Friday stopping along the way at Watersmeet in Exmoor to photograph the house there and river which surrounds it.  With such a diverse range of photographic interests we had a mixture of landscape and natural history shots.

Moving Water at Watersmeet - Scott Wiggins

Grey Wagtail - Helen Jackson-Garside

We all settled into our lodgings for the weekend and had a quick recce of the shore by the hotel.  The clouds prevented a good sunset or any celestial photography so we enjoyed a social night with a few drinks.
Hartland Quay - Tony Cartwright

Saturday morning started was a dawn patrol amongst the rocks, well for those of us who got up early!  Lots of tips and pointers were being shared as we made the best of the early morning light and outgoing tide.
Hartland Mist - Scott Wiggins

Hartland Rocks - Scott Wiggins

Fortified by a hearty breakfast we set off for Welcombe.  If you'll excuse the pun, our welcome at Welcombe was a wet one but the rock formations were stunning and the nearby waterfall and river gave further photographic opportunities.  The hard shower of almost horizontal rain didn't dampen anyone's spirits.
Spot the Photographer! - Helen Jackson-Garside

It would be rude to not enjoy a Devon Cream Tea and the tea room a Docton Mill Gardens allowed us chance to rest a little before we enjoyed the gardens.
Tulip at Docton Mill Gardens - Helen Jackson-Garside

We returned to the hotel to find that the stormy winds had knocked the power cable off the pole, the fire brigade were present and there was no power to the hotel.  Thankfully the bar was gravity fed so we could still enjoy a pint.  The incoming tides around the harbour were some of the most violent I've ever seen, mother nature is certainly the dominant force.  

Crashing Wave - Helen Jackson-Garside

The power was restored in plenty of time for our group meal and everyone swapped stories from the day or began to work on images they'd taken.
Incoming Tide - Scott Wiggins

Sunday was going to be a long drive home and we broke the drive up by visiting the beach at Woolacombe for a couple of hours in the hope of catching some images of the surfers on the beach.  The surfers were not as prevalent as we'd hoped although we did get a few images, together with lots of candids of each other on the beach.
Surfer - Helen Jackson-Garside

All in all a great weekend of photography, fun and friendship.  Thanks to everyone who played a part in organising the weekend, I can't wait for next years trip.

JPS does Hartland