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PDI 1 Competition – 11th October 2019

Piers Smith_Farewell My Love

Piers Smith_Farewell My Love

Dorothy Wood_London Skyline

Dorothy Wood_London Skyline

Janet Marshall_Kings Cross Station

Janet Marshall_Kings Cross Station

Bo Hansen_Laid back

Bo Hansen_Laid back

Bo Hansen_Bloody togs getting in the way

Bo Hansen_Bloody togs getting in the way

Drew_Midnight Skyline

Drew_Midnight Skyline

Ian Marshall_Turner Contemporary

Ian Marshall_Turner Contemporary

Dave Sherwood_The Eyes Have It

Dave Sherwood_The Eyes Have It

Ramesh Naik_Lady On The Pavement

Ramesh Naik_Lady On The Pavement

Ian Marshall_Depressed

Ian Marshall_Depressed

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Our first PDI competition of the 2019/2020 season was judged by Daan Olivier FRPS AFAIP (http://www.rps.org/member/gallery/distinctions-distinctions-album/Fellowship-Conceptual–Contemporary-16052018—Daan-Olivier-FRPS). Originally from South Africa, Daan brought his warmth and good humour to judging an open subject with close to 60 images. He provided some constructive feedback covering composition and post-processing. Our Webmaster Bo Hansen was the evening’s winner, scoring 55 out of a possible 60 marks.

Friday 27th September – an evening of Audio-Visual with Les Spitz

Les has 33 years of camera club experience and is a frequent judge of AV competitions.  We were pleased to welcome him as our first speaker of the season, gaining an insight into the world of AVs (audio-visuals). 

Les gave us a tour around his photo slideshow software package of choice –https://www.wnsoft.com/en/picturestoexe/. He showed us how he uses the Timeline bar to rearrange the images into the order he wants and set the transition time between images, also showing us the range of transition styles available.   The audio aspect of the presentation (music and commentary) is added via Audacity (https://www.audacityteam.org) – free to download software.  This software can adjust the volume and duration of multiple soundtracks.  Les told us he finds it extremely versatile for all styles of music and sound effects, plus spoken commentary.

Once we’d been through the technicalities, Les showed some of his AVs, which effectively took us on a virtual journey around the world.  We started in Venice during Carnival season with colourful and distinctive shots showing traditional Carnival costumes and masks.  We had a weekend in Paris, took a boat ride around the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, got close to wildlife in Kruger National Park, marked the Evolution of Surfing (Beachboys music, of course) and waited – with Polar Bears – for the freeze in Churchill, Canada.  Bournemouth wasn’t forgotten (who knew seagulls could be so artistic?) and we had a brief trip to the Isle of Man.

Les was an interesting and informative speaker and he happily answered all our questions.  We came away feeling that we knew more about AV presentations and could fully appreciate the expertise that goes into putting them together.

Report written by Janet Marshall

Friday 24th May 2019 – trophy presentations and end of season social

The 2018/19 club season closed with a very enjoyable and relaxed evening to present all the trophies and medals for the season. Chairman Ramesh Naik did the honours, apart from the medals that he won, which were presented to him by Bill Weaver, a longstanding and loyal member. The lady members were particularly successful in taking 5 of the 7 winners’ awards.
They were – Kay White (on the left), a new member this season, who took the quarterly PDI trophy, Photograph of the Year (PDIs) and Shoot A Theme awards.
Janet Marshall (centre), Club secretary, won the quarterly print competition plus the Chandler Cup for the overall winner of the quarterly print and PDI competitions.
Male members were represented by Drew Malloch who took the Photograph of the Year award for prints, and also the Brian Hodgson trophy for prints. In addition, silver and bronze medals were presented for members taking second and third places in each competition.
There was a display of this season’s prints for members to peruse again, and a delightful buffet provided by Marianne Chandler, Sarah Simmonds, Dave Sherwood, and last but not least, Ramesh Naik, whose wife very kindly prepared some delicious cakes. Grateful thanks to all those involved with this.
Thanks must go to our chairman Ramesh for steering a very successful ship once again, and we look forward to next season, which opens on 13th September

Friday 3rd May 2019 – Photograph of the Year

This evening brought the 2018/19 season of competitions to a close. The purpose of this particular contest is for members’ best work of the season to be re-submitted for a final judging and selection of the best images of the year. As a result, we viewed again some of this season’s highest marked entries, which were expertly assessed by the eminent photographer Alan Colegrave, who travelled from Pinner. Alan is a semi professional photographer who produces some very different work, not to mention his video productions. This was an interesting and well filled evening, particularly with a large print entry which kept Alan very busy.
The lucky winners were –
Prints
        1st   Drew Malloch – with an original and well contrived still life of pencils.
        2nd  Bill Weaver – with a stunning sunset
        3rd  Ramesh Naik (our chairman) with a shot of a storm over the South Bank
Projected digital images 
        1st    Kay White – showing the pianist at St Pancras station
        2nd  Janet Marshall – a monochrome image of Tenerife Auditorium
        3rd  Sarah Simmonds – proving that a still-life shot can be created from vegetables

The club’s AGM takes place on May 17th, with the final meeting of the season on May 24th with our trophy presentations and a social event. Once again a successful season, in which we have been joined by a large number of new members.

Friday 1st March 2019 – A New Digital Adventure, with Colin Harrison.

Making a first visit to the club, Colin, who has a considerable number of photographic qualifications, most importantly FRPS, proceeded to astound members with his amazing surreal type photography. His speciality is montaged images, combining features from several other images to give weird and wonderful results. Many of these images are extremely humorous, and the audience spent a large part of the evening chuckling. The images were interspersed with on-screen warnings such as “viewing these images may damage your health”  and images purporting to be issued by “the ministry of peculiar pictures”. Colin also gave the club a few clues as to how he achieves his results, i.e. layers in Photoshop, other software plugins for Photoshop, including Redfield Fractalius, which in the main adds various kinds of feathery effects. He also likes to add snow effects, and how he does this is explained on his website.

This was a most enjoyable, fascinating evening, even if the feeling was that these images went a little beyond the world of true photography, and would possibly have the average camera club judge a little bemused. Colin concluded the evening with a short A/V sequence entitled “Colours of the Wind”, with some compelling abstract images.
We hope to see Colin again soon.
                                                                      Report by Dorothy Wood

22nd February 2019 – 65 years of (South) Reading Camera Club

The photographic society now known as Reading Camera Club this year celebrated its 65th anniversary with a social evening looking back at the history of the club. Originally formed in 1954, and then known as South Reading Camera Club, it recently changed its name to reflect the greater catchment area which it serves. Members old and new enjoyed short talks from members, displays of members’ work, a collection of cameras dating from the 1950s, and a chance to see photography the ‘old’ way, with sequences of projected slides provided by members, some of whom have been members for over 40 years. The evening was part of the club’s ‘Sapphire’ sequence of events, which included our highly successful Robert Canis evening, held earlier in the year.

Friday 8th February 2019 – North Kent to Northern Finland presented by Robert Canis. Part of Reading Camera Club’s 65th Anniversary celebration

For this special anniversary event, Reading Camera Club opened its doors to other local camera clubs, friends and relatives in order to enjoy a very special evening presented by nationally and internationally recognised wildlife photographer, Robert Canis. The event took place at a larger venue in Caversham in order to welcome many guests.
Robert comes from North Kent, and specialises in photographing the wildlife on the marshes there, and also travels further afield to Scandinavia, Iceland and other European countries in search of still more stunning shots. He also runs courses and workshops and his website is well worth a visit.

For this particular evening, he presented ‘North Kent to Northern Finland’, and in the first half, featuring Kent, we were treated to some absolutely superb images of the birds and mammals that live on the marshes. What made this so different was the brilliant usage of early morning and evening light, largely contre jour. Robert likes to present the birds and animals to show their surroundings i.e. the vegetation and ambient lighting conditions, avoiding the record shot approach. There were also some short video sequences interspersed with the stills to show birds in the air and in particular boxing hares, these being some of the outstanding images of this section. When necessary, Robert resorts to lying flat on the ground, finding holes to stand in, and makeshift hides in order to get the best shots, not to mention using a netting face cap to make him less visible. He is also prepared to go out in the middle of the night and wait for dawn – dedication indeed!

We then moved on to Finland in the winter, a snow wonderland, where the images concentrated rather more on landscapes and snow scenes. There were fascinating images of snow ‘sculptures’ formed on bushes and trees, and of course an amazing video sequence of the aurora borealis. Bears with cubs featured together with some unusual bird life. Robert described some of the problems encountered when photographing in these conditions, the camera becoming frozen to the tripod, lunch having to be thawed out, and spectacles becoming frosted up.
This was indeed a presentation with a difference, and Robert’s entertaining style of speaking kept everyone riveted. The quality of his work is on another level to what is normally seen in clubs, and comments afterwards reflected this. It was an evening that will be long remembered. 
                                                      Report submitted by Dorothy Wood

Friday 4th January 2019 – Our Journey in Printing with Mark and Judy Buckley-Sharpe

For Reading Camera Club’s first meeting of the New Year, we were pleased to welcome Mark and Judy Buckley-Sharpe from Harrow club. Mark and Judy specialise in all aspects of photo printing, and their journey began in the darkroom days, when they produced predominantly monochrome, later turning to colour, both negatives and Cibachrome from slides. This brought back memories from all the ex-darkroom workers present, reminding them how relatively easy things are these days without enlargers, safelights, test strips etc. They explained many of the older techniques before moving on to digital printing, giving a wealth of information about all the intricacies of this. We saw many examples of their prints, and found out how they were produced, also what a difference the paper used makes, stressing that for optimised printing, colour profiles should be obtained from the paper manufacturers. This was illustrated by the same shot on several different papers – the difference was amazing.

They also talked about colour casts, and checking these with hand-held filters. They then went on to discuss the various inks available for printing, i.e. pigment and dye, and stressing the importance of sticking to one or the other. Finally, the problem of Adobe RGB versus sRGB was aired, and Mark and Judy felt that overall it was best to stick with sRGB as most equipment was set to this as default and it was difficult to spot the difference, illustrated by a pair of their prints.

An excellent evening, informally presented, giving printers some excellent ideas to try out and non-printers perhaps the urge to have a go.

                                                        Report submitted by Dorothy Wood

Friday 7th December 2018 – an evening with Jeff Lawrence

Jeff, a very experienced photographer who comes from Crowthorne, is a regular visitor as a judge, but this was his first visit as a speaker.

Jeff specialises in extreme closeup work, especially flowers, insects etc., and is a keen exponent of the technique  known as focus stacking, where multiple images are taken using a tripod, then with special software, stacking all the images as layers. The software can then identify the sharp areas in each layer to be combined in the final image, which is bitingly sharp all over. He brought a selection of his prints for club members to admire, and in his talk explained the technical differences between closeup, macro and micro photography, and how to join lenses together as one technique to achieve the desired results. He also showed how to link camera equipment to a smartphone as a form of remote control. We saw a huge selection of his own equipment, 3 case loads to be precise, and members were totally engaged with the presentation, with lots of questions, and notes being taken.

The evening was completed with a YouTube video of a project in Oxford on insect photography in which thousands of images were taken using specialised microscope equipment then combined, to result in huge prints, around 2m x 3m, which showed almost every cell of the creatures with staggering sharpness. 

A very well received and different evening which should help all members try something different.

Report submitted by Dorothy Wood