What we’ve been up to at Midhurst Camera Club.
Speaker Night – Clive Nichols
Photographing Plants & Gardens
This week we were pleased to welcome back Garden Photographer, Clive Nichols to Midhurst Camera Club. Clive is a garden and flower photographer with over 25 years of experience. His photographs are frequently seen in magazines, and rarely does a month go by without them appearing in The English Garden magazine. With this sort of pedigree we knew that the evening would be special and we were not disappointed.
We were expecting an increase in audience numbers so instead of using the smaller room which is our normal venue, we moved into the large hall for the evening. It was a wise decision because we would not have had a lot of space in the other room.
Clive photographs are quite unique and it is easy to see how he has reached the top of his trade. He “lives and breathes” gardens. When you spend a lot of time photographing in a specialist area like Clive Nichols you become part of the fabric. Clive instinctively knows the “when, where, and how” of garden photography. This sort of knowledge takes time.
The images covered many aspects of the garden. From sweeping vistas to intimate close-ups and with each photograph Clive explained his technique for capturing it. He explained the lenses he employed right down to the aperture, shutter-speed, and ISO used and his reasons for using it. I wish more speakers would do this. Many camera club members (and beyond) are not experts and join clubs to obtain this sort of knowledge and Clive Nichols provided it in spades. He particularly favours telephoto lenses such as the 70-200mm over a wider angle lens for many of his shots. “It focus the eye on the subject”, he said. “Fast shutter speeds are a must for magazine photography. Editors don’t want to see blurred images”. His wide-angle lens of choice seemed to be a 21mm. He also favours a 180mm lens for macro work. Clive also makes a lot of use of smaller apertures, even going up (or down) to f/32. I do happen to know that many photographers are nervous about using apertures this small because of diffraction problems. I have to confess though, that there is no evidence of this in Clive’s photographs. Every one of them is stunning. A light touch in Photoshop is all that Clive employs. You do need to do a little postprocessing with this type of work. There is only so much you can achieve in-camera.
An informative question and answer session rounded off what was for me an excellent evening. Many people I spoke with afterwards felt truly inspired and I fully expect to see many garden images appearing in our forthcoming competitions.
Clive Nichols has established a reputation as one of the world’s finest flower and garden photographers. His passion for the subject comes across in every image that he makes. Clive has photographed many of the world’s best gardens, including HRH The Prince of Wales’s own private garden in Scotland, Lord Rothschild’s private garden in Corfu and Lord Heseltine’s private garden in Oxfordshire. In addition his work has appeared in hundreds of books as well as in countless magazines, calendars and brochures. Over the past 25 years he has amassed a stunning collection of over 60,000 images which are available for reproduction. Clive regularly gives master classes in flower and garden photography for The Royal Horticultural Society and for the past 5 years he has been one of the two main judges for the prestigious ‘International Garden Photographer of the Year’ awards.
Clive also photographs interiors, travel, architecture and lifestyle, undertaking many prestigious commissions including a calendar of the world’s best modern buildings for a Russian Senator, a book about the finest Villa on Lake Como for Conde Nast and a new brochure on the historic BMA House in Tavistock Square, London, for the British Medical Association.
Article and Photographs by Richard Corkrey – 12/10/2017
Competition: Ladies and Gentlemans Trophies – 2017
The Ladies and Gentlemen’s Trophy Competition is traditionally our first competition of the season. This is a non-league competition which means that the scoring here does not count towards member’s league aggregate scores. It also gives our newer members a chance to see what happens during a competition which will prepare them for later in the season.
The members are split by gender and not by the normal “Club” and “Advanced” categories. This means everyone is in together which can lead to some interesting results Last night 65 images were submitted, 31 in the Ladies Class, and 34 in the Gentleman’s Class. The Judge was Stephane Rocher from Petersfield.
Stephane’s method of judging differs in many respects from many other judges insomuch as he is no lover of what he calls the “club crop”. A lot of judges insist on cropping close around the subject of the photograph. “This can lead to a claustrophobic image”, he says. “Pictures are about atmosphere, and colour. They need room to breathe”, he added.
The first part of the evening was the Ladies section. Many fine images were up for judging. The results were:
1st – “Urban Creek” by Michel Facer
2nd – “Staithes” by Val Carver
3rd – “Early Morning on Winsford Hill” by Sue Bird
The Gentlemens’s section which came after a short break brought the following results:
1st – “Pebbles in a Rising Tide” by PJ
2nd – “Ceibwr Bay” by Richard Corkrey
3rd – “On the Turn” by Clive Bennett
In the judges opinion the standard of the Ladies images was a lot higher than those offered by the Gentleman. “I want to push people and bring out their creativity”. said Stephane. His parting advice: “Get rid of the labels! Photography is about mood, atmosphere, and movement. It is also about shape, light, and form”.
Last but by no means least we offer our congratulations to our very own Membership Secretary, Shirley Blott, who was presented with an award for “Image of The Year”. The image being “The Great British Summer” which can be viewed on an earlier blog.
Article and Photographs by Richard Corkrey – 28/09/2017
Workshop: Camera Basics
Our first Practical Evening/Workshop: Camera Basics was a successful evening with about 22 people in attendance. We are a small Club with just over 40 members and many of our more experienced members tend to skip this one, so this was a good turnout. We even attracted two visitors. Camera Basics is traditionally our first workshop of the season
The evening started with a Powerpoint presentation by the Chairman (PJ) demonstrating the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. The presentation also included a description of the Digital Metering Modes of the camera. Anyone who needs a refresher on DMM can get one in our Knowledgebase. This was followed by a practical run-through by me. Many different makes of camera were in evidence so the aim of this section was to help people find each mode in turn. The longest time was spent on Programming Mode. Many experienced photographers hate this mode but I reckon it makes a good first step out of Automatic. It’s also a great “grab mode”. We the touched on Aperture (A/Av), Shutter Speed (S/Tv), and Manual (M). The final part of the evening was a hands on session where people were invited to experiment with depth of field using mugs on the table.
It’s very easy to confuse and deter people who are new to photography so we deliberately kept the evening simple. I think we struck the right balance.
Article by Richard Corkrey, Photograph by Peter Jones – 21/09/2017
Speaker Night – Nick Jenkins
Black and White is the Colour of Photography
Last night was our first speaker night of the season. To kick us off we were treated to a talk by Welsh photographer, Nick Jenkins ARPS AWPF. His subject was “Black and White are the Colours of Photography”. The talk was very interactive – something which Nick welcomed. He explained that the evening was not a “look at my wonderful pictures and my wonderful locations” it was intended to be a show and tell of his relatively new venture into Black and White “warts an’ all”.
Fifteen years ago Nick was very much a colour photographer and he never thought about Black and White. This was a completely new venture for him. “It’s absolutely revolutionised the way I look at things”, He explained. “Now I shoot with my eye on a monochrome opportunity”.
Nick’s selection of images were a pictorial log of his B&W journey. Most were taken in Wales and included various subjects such as: an abandoned phone box, an old petrol pump, an old bike, a pre-war general store, and a reservoir. These were just a few of the variety of images displayed. As he showed each I’mage he invited comments from the audience. The discussion was quite lively at times. Nick was not afraid to show some of his obvious “howlers”. “I want people to see how I went wrong”, he said. “When you shoot in B&W you have to slow your thought processes down. You have to ask yourself if the image will make a good B&W. It doesn’t work for every image”. Nick further explained that B&W photography was more about contrast and form, and that just removing the colour didn’t work. “You can’t rely on the camera do the B&W conversion”, he explained. “You do need to do a bit of post processing”. Many of the images had been worked with a software infrared filter to further bring out the contrast. “I see that this hasn’t always worked now”, he said. “Choosing the right composition is paramount”.
Nick mainly shoots with a Nikon camera. His lenses of choice being a 24-70mm, and a 70-200mm. For some work he used an ultra wide-angle lens. Many shots were taken between f/5.6 and f/14. He used a lot of differential focusing
A very informative talk from a very talented photographer. The interactive element of the talk gave many members the opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions. A very different sort of evening.
Nick Jenkins is an award-winning landscape photographer whose love of the more remote areas has taken him to the less populated corners of this country. He has been an outdoor photographer for over 30 years; 15 years ago decided to take the plunge and go professional. He runs workshops (Freespirit Images) around the UK. He has also tutored for, amongst others, Light & Land Photographic Holidays, Tatra Photography, Gwent College and HF Holidays. Further information can be obtained from his website here .
Nick is an Associate of both the Royal Photographic Society and the Welsh Photographic Federation.
Last but not least Midhurst Camera Club had the great pleasure to present an award to one of our most valued members. The Presidents’s Cup was awarded to Jane Castley for her fine service to the club. Jane is active behind the scenes in many areas of Club activities throughout the year. The most visible of which is ensuring that everyone is suitably fed and watered during our breaks. I’m sure everyone will join me in offering congratulations for her well-deserved award.
Article and Photographs by Richard Corkrey – 14/09/2017
First Meeting of the New Season
Last night was the first night of the Midhurst Camera Club new season which was very well attended. As well as welcoming back our existing members we were pleased to sign up several new ones. We extend a warm welcome to David Garrard, Julia Kelly, Andy Cantlon, David Trojak, Sally Bates, and Declan McCullagh to the Club. We hope they will enjoy the Club evenings and get as much from them as the existing members do.
The evening began with the Chairman’s Welcome delivered by PJ in his own inimitable style, followed by Webmaster Richard Corkrey who explained how to get the best out of the Club through the various online facilities and social media: The Website for general information; Facebook for discussion, announcements, and photographic tips; Flickr for members who wish to receive advice on images; Twitter to have Club announcements sent directly to your smartphone.
A brief outline of the Speakers planned for the coming season (complete with images) was given by Programme Secretary, Elke Epp. Speakers we have booked for this year are: Nick Jenkins (September), Clive Nichols (October), Roy Matthews (November), Viveca Koh (December), Alan Brindle (January), Rachael Talibart (March), and Linda Wevill (April).
Wearing his other hat Practical Evenings Coordinator, Richard Corkrey outlined the evenings planned for the year: Camera Basics (September), How To Enter a Competition (October), Basic Lightroom, Elements, and Photoshop (November), People and Portraits (January), Intentional Camera Movement (February), Black and White (March), and Your Questions Answered (April).
Two cups were awarded to members for the last year. The Secretary’s Cup was awarded to Peter Marsh for his fine service to the club. Throughout the year Peter is always the first to arrive, set up the room, erect the screen, and erect the print stands. The award for winning PDI League (Advanced) went to Print Competition Secretary, Patrick Balfour.
The final section of the evening was given over to “I Do It My Way”. A set of four talks by four Club members on their styles of photography. First up was President, Hilly Hoar who presented a set of very fine prints which included images taken in Iceland, and her work photographing water droplets at various angles and distances. Hilly specialises in this type of Macro Photography. The patience and skill needed to produce images of this calibre cannot be overerstated. Hilly finished her talk by showing us how to have a Photography Book published and produced her own fine book as an example.
Next up was Treasurer, Rob Sadler who produced a set of images that demonstrated how to “cure” and avoid problems that beset us all as photographers. Among his examples were how to photograph snow, setting the correct depth of field, and removing colour casts by setting the correct white balance. Rob is an excellent portrait photographer and will be hosting a workshop in January called “People and Portraits”.
The third talk was given by Richard Corkrey who is a Woodland Photographer. Richard produced a set of images that took us all through the seasonal woodland. He explained through his photographs how the woodlands change drastically throughout the year and the techniques he employs to get the trees and woods to evoke the right atmosphere. Richard has lately had one of his cameras converted for infrared and his final image showed the first attempt he had made with the camera. Richard shoots a lot of Black and White images and infrared will help enormously.
Finally we were treated to a talk by Chairman, Peter Jones (PJ). PJ specialises in Macro Photography, mainly flowers. He has provision for a studio in his house and was able to demonstratel how he obtained such intricate close-ups. He shared some of the techniques used in getting just the right background, and lighting. PJ is a great fan of Clive Nichols who will be speaking to the Club in October. PJ finished his talk by demonstrating his immense knowledge of Photoshop to produce a fine art print from an ordinary photograph.
All in all a very successful evening and we can all look forward to the year ahead.
Article and Photographs by Richard Corkrey – 06/09/2017
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