Part of any camera club's reason to exist is to help and encourage its members to explore areas of photography that they would perhaps not have the opportunity or equipment to indulge in, so this evening we were encouraged to bring our cameras. On offer was instruction ( and discussion ) on closeup and plant photography, print mounting, and the advanced use of Photoshop, all subjects ably and skilfully demonstrated by our more experienced members. The highlight of the evening, however, was the presentation to our member Fred Kelly, of a certificate to record his being entered in the Roll of Honour of the Southern Federation of Camera Clubs in recognition of his work for our club, having over many years membership help various positions on the club committee, and in particular being the club rep for the SCPF, during which time he attended every SCPF meeting, which entailed travelling to Winchester. We were very pleased to welcome the current President of the SCPF, Peter Rocchiccioli ARPS, who travelled from Hayling Island specially to present Fred's award, and to personally congratulate Fred. And we all enjoyed the celebratory snacks provided!
A seemingly straightforward title for tonight's talk - but it led us into an amazing journey around the world, following Audrey's adventures in far-flung places. She started her travels in her late teens, however following a successful career in banking,and having now retired ( it would be rude to mention her age, but she retired in 1989 ) she has since indulged her love of travel. She is obviously not a fan of beach holidays - her first trip, in 1968, took her to Finland and Lapland, since when she has visited over 30 countries, many of which are now too dangerous to visit. We started the evening with an overland drive to India, then a year after that she visited Pakistan and Kashmir, accompanied by a small group of fellow adventurers, in conditions that would today be considered very basic. As we travelled with her during the evening we visited famous and not so famous sights, at Jalalabad, Syria, Ethiopia, Mali and Antarctica, and almost countless others, with Audrey reflecting on the destruction of ancient monuments in the Middle East by terrorists. Her presentation style was superb, clearly telling us the stories behind each visit.
This short report cannot do justice to the content of the talk. A thoroughly enjoyable evening with a high turnout of members and visitors - thank you Audrey!
Ruari, whose marvellous shows based around the Hebrides have been seen at the club, has now departed from the islands and travelled elsewhere. This presentation covered a wide variety of locations, including Venice, Malta, through Sicily, via the last working tin mine in Cornwall, and of course, a brief look at the Hebrides. There was also a section on unusual gravestones, accompanied by music in the form of Bob Dylan's " Knocking on Heaven's door " ! By way of a change, we had a brief glimpse of old, rusting VW campervans at their own rally.
The audiovisual techniques that Ruari used to present his images were very advanced and produced stunning results, and even included short video sequences to enhanced subjects like steam trains and a chairlift ride!
At the end of the evening, most members were feeling that they would like to jump on a plane and visit or re-visit some of the places we saw, such was the atmosphere the show created. We hope to see another of Ruari's presentations in the not too distant future.
Report contributed by Dorothy Wood
Leo Rich, who travelled from Salisbury, was the first guest speaker at the club's new venue, St. Peter's Hall, Earley.
Leo, a colourful character, presented a delightful collection of images, at all times with great humour. He admitted that his presentation was indeed a "ramble", and so took members to visit many different places, principally India, to see wildlife, the people and the landscapes. Starting with France, at the famous ( and fictitious ) Clochemerle, we of course had a laugh at the notorious "structure" for gentlemen, followed by some intriguing wall paintings. Leo then progressed to Africa, showing human and wildlife there, and finished with India, a country that he regularly visited. This was effectively a collection of shots of the locals in their national dress, and wildlife images of tigers, cheetahs, giraffes, and assorted reptiles to name but a few. He also poked fun at photographers with candid shots of them doing their " thing " en masse, lots of long lenses poking over fences etc We finally got to see the shot they were after! An interesting, humorous and thoroughly entertaining evening, with a good attendance, to which we were pleased to welcome several new members.
This was the final competition of the current season, with the aim to find the very best work in both print and PDI categories entered for the season's quarterly competitions. It was judged by Martin Pickles from Wokingham, a regular visitor to the club.
Members were allowed to submit a maximum of 2 entries in each category, what the authors considered to be their best work of the season, not necessarily those achieving maximum marks in earlier competitions. Martin had his work cut out to judge such a varied selection of styles and subjects, making helpful and constructive comments on each one. At the start, he explained the " checklist " that judges work to, i.e. impact, creativity, technical excellence etc. No marks were awarded for this competition, a first, second, third and highly commended only.
The winners were :
Prints - 1st Dorothy Wood, 2nd Nigel Holmes, 3rd Ramesh Naik. 3 members were Highly Commended - David Sherwood ( 2 prints ), Janet Marshall LRPS, and Dorothy Wood.
Projected images - 1st Dorothy Wood, 2nd Drew Malloch, 3rd Dorothy Wood. 3 members were Highly commended - Keith Hull ( 2 images ), Ramesh Naik, and Richard Keating.
This was an interesting and enjoyable meeting, even if attendance was a little down due to the bank holiday weekend, and rounded off the season's competitions perfectly. We look forward to meeting Martin again next season.
Report submitted by Dorothy Wood
Tonight we welcomed judge Graeme Sleeman, making his first visit to Reading CC. He was faced with a total of 54 images to comment on and mark for the final print competition of the season, the one that decides the winner of the trophy.
The subject range was extensive, and several prints featured images captured during wet weather, a fact that caused Graeme to enquire if this club had a " thing " about shots in the rain! There were also a number of shots of motorcycle racing, obviously a popular sport with several club members. Other than that, we saw lots of architecture, flowers, people, some wildlife and a few in more abstract style.There was also a wide range of sizes, from A3 to almost miniature prints.
Graeme gave a lot of constructive criticism and assessment, also lots of praise for what he considered the best images. This was an enjoyable evening and we hope to see Graeme again in our future programmes.
In first place this evening was Dorothy Wood, followed by Nigel Holmes in second place, and Graham Wootton third.
Attendance was again a little low, mainly due to the start of the holiday season.
The club tonight welcomed Rolf Richardson, who comes from Henley. Rolf is a retired airline pilot, who took up photography after his flying career.
He began by giving us a whistle stop tour through a few thousand years of picture making, starting with the wall art to be found in the Egyptian tombs,via the classical artists using oil paint, to the early days of photography with Fox Talbot and Roger Fenton, and finishing with all the intricacies of manipulation with Photoshop. On the way, Rolf illustrated that fakery in photography is not a new phenomenon, and showed us some examples over 100 years old of where people have been eliminated from or inserted into photographs.
For the second half, Rolf had brought a small selection of his prints, and gave the background to these, where they were taken, and if they were manipulated. Rolf sells a lot of his images and he explained how the agencies operated and how things have changed since the advent of digital photography. He sends his work to Alamy, who have about 120 million images on file, and explained that he has had fair success with this company.
This was a rather different and refreshing style of presentation, and was very much enjoyed by the members, especially the question and answer session. We were pleased to welcome two potential new members to the club, we hope to see them again.
Report submitted by Dorothy Wood
Entries for this trophy, which is in memory of a previous long-term club chairman, were judged by an old friend of the club, Alan Copeland, chairman of Whitchurch Hill Camera Club. The theme for the competition was " The World of Plants and Trees ", for prints only, and attracted an entry of 36 images. Flower images were particularly popular, with crocuses especially so. Alan observed the set subject closely, and only one image in his opinion did not truly follow the theme. He was unstinting in his praise for the best images, and gave clear and helpful advice for improving the less successful ones. It was a relaxed and informal evening, which is what Alan does best, and the eventual winner was David Sherwood with a highly detailed and colourful image entitled " Insects Beware " of a Sundew plant. Dorothy Wood took second and third places with two different images, and 3 images were highly commended. These were by David Sherwood, Richard Keating and Gill Bridget. Attendance was better than recently as we welcomed back some of the " invalids ".
Due to anticipated large numbers, this annual event took place at Pangbourne Village Hall, and was hosted by Whitchurch Hill club. This event has now been running for over 30 years, and is still going strong, despite the fact that some of the participating clubs have changed over the years. Battling it out this year were Whitchurch, Wallingford, Woodley, Wokingham and East Berks, Burghfield and Reading camera clubs. Each club submitted 5 prints an 5 digital images. The judge for the evening was Colin Harrison FRPS FIPF FBPE MPAGB EFIAP MPSA AWPF APAGB, who travelled from Cheltenham to give us his highly expert opinion on all the images. There was a huge range of subjects and styles portrayed, which served to make Colin's job quite a difficult one.
6 prints and 5 PDI's achieved the coveted maximum 20 marks. From these top marked images, an overall winner was selected in each category, these were :
Prints - " Shades of Blue " by David Brown of Wallingford club.
PDI's - " Quadrant " by John Massey of Wokingham and East Berkshire.
Overall winning club was Wokingham, followed by Wallingford in second place and Burghfield in third place.
Thanks are due to Whitchurch Hill for organising and hosting the event so successfully, especially from those clubs that would have had a longer trip to Pangbourne, but approximately 40 people attended.
Next year's battle will be hosted by Wallingford and will take place at their venue in Benson on 28th March, 2019.
Report submitted by Dorothy Wood
We settled down to enjoy ( with some trepidation ) our final PDI competition of the season. 16 of our 36 members entered images and our judge was Kevin Day, well known to the club and with an engaging and personable style of judging.
" Enjoying " seems to be a buzzword for judges, and Kevin confessed to enjoying many of our images, commenting that they were excellent Club quality. Kevin drew our attention to some of the images with white borders, helpfully warning that too thick a border could draw attention away from the central subject. He gave constructive comments on several pictures which he felt might benefit from slight adjustments to light and shade, told us how effective the application of a subtle vignette could be, and suggested cloning out artefacts which could detract from otherwise very pleasing scenes.
After commenting on and marking 48 images Kevin concluded by saying that his job hadn't been an easy one. Janet Marshall came 1st, we had three members in 2nd place - David Simpson, Jonathan Farmer, and new member Nigel Holmes - and Dave Sherwood took 3rd place. Marianne thanked Kevin for giving us an enjoyable and informative evening.
Report submitted by Janet Marshall