6th June

This evening started with a visit to the Lacock village D-day 80th anniversary celebrations, amidst concerns as the local gazette had reported closure of the main road to and from the village from 7pm onwards for repairs.

With everyone having arrived early, we started with Danny Wooton giving a brief talk entitled "9+5 from Norway" where he showed images of his trip from Bergen to Kirkenes by ship back in February of this year.

The journey started in Bergen, where there was surprisingly little snow and extreme clothing was not required:

Bergen © Danny Wooton

Bergen © Danny Wooton

No snow at Ålesund:

Ålesund © Danny Wooton

At Trondheim, however, snow, grey skies and lower temperatures had arrived:

Trondheim © Danny Wooton

Tromsø © Danny Wooton

Once above the Arctic Circle, full survival gear was required at all times when outside, and signs of human habitation became more scant:

Towards Norway's Northern Frontier © Danny Wooton

Danny also saw the Northern Lights, and spoke about the challenge of photographing them from a moving ship:

Northern Lights © Danny Wooton

He then reached Honningsvåg, Europe's most northern city, where little schoolchildren are always encouraged outside for breaks, no matter what the weather

Honnigsvåg © Danny Wooton

Then followed a talk by Brendan Whyte entitled "Medieval Graffiti".  Brendan has spent the last few years photographing church interiors as well as the interiors of other medieval buildings, looking for evidence of graffiti.  Far from being the scourge it is in modern times, graffiti in medieval times was seen as a good thing.

The simplest, and earliest form was a circle. It was believed that evil spirits, wandering through the air, on finding a line, would follow it to its end.  Thus one finding a circle, would be trapped forever.

Although these circles are difficult to find now - and not helped by the uniform colour of church walls - before the Reformation, church walls were highly coloured and decorated and this graffiti would have been easier to see.

An elaborate circle, carved with a compass, or similar device © Brendan Whyte

The fact that the majority of medieval people couldn't read or write cut down the "Kilroy was here" messages which plague our own age. 

Crosses, VV and RR were also discussed, along with Mason Marks.

Mason Mark © Brendan Whyte

"V V" © Brendan Whyte

"V V" © Brendan Whyte

Brendan mentioned that the church porch - something we hardly consider now - had more significance in medieval times.  For instance, only Lords were married at the altar, only Knights married in church, everyone else was married in the porch.

As the ages wore on, more people learned to write and so more names with dates appeared.

Churches will often have a small door on the north (darkest) side. This was left open during Baptisms to allow any demons expelled by the baptism to escape.

"Mason" Marks © Brendan Whyte

A date inscribed © Brendan Whyte

We then finished with a review of photos taken in May:

Greenhouse under aurora © Danny Wooton

Aquilegia © Amanda Gregory

Arctic Ice © Ros Vickers

Open Garden © Caroline Howe

Aurora over forest © Craig Purvis

Bluebells at Erlestoke © David Eagle
Callanish © Graham d'Aucourt

Clouds © Derek Liversidge

Dandelion Clock © Helen Day

The Bride Arrives © Howard Morland

Happy Landings © Philip Male

Damselflies at the Open Garden © Rob Macklin

Sunshine © Sue Power

The next meeting, on Thursday 20th June, will be the last of the year.

Members are reminded to fill in and email a copy of the annual club questionaire to help organise future events.  This can be found on the Google Drive.  Please remember to make a copy of it before altering it.

9th May

This evening started with a review of the exhibition and a few of the comments visitors wrote on their voting forms. We discussed how wide our audience was, having visitors from places as varied as Australia and Iceland.

Many visitors asked how much Photoshop manipulation had been done on some of the images - there was actually surprisingly little. We wondered how best to communicate this in future years.

Then we moved on to a review of images taken in April:

Callenish Stones © Amanda Gregory

Towering Bluebells © Craig Purvis

Avebury morning © Derek Liversidge

Bluebells © Graham d’Aucourt

Puerto Banus © Helen Day

White Tailed Eagle © Julia Lloyd-Parkes

We then continued with a talk given by Tony Bamford, of our own parish, on Macro Photography.  This was a prelude to an upcoming photo challenge, photographing plants and flowers in Amanda's garden on Saturday 11th.

He discussed:

  • Close up filters
  • Extension tubes
  • Fully connected bellows
  • Lens reversal
  • Macro lenses
  • Lensbaby offerings
  • Exotic probe lenses

Moving on to lighting options he then discussed the various merits of using LED lights vs flash and the different systems offered by different manufacturers.

The talk then moved on to the most challenging aspect of macro photography, the lack of depth of field.  Diffraction was mentioned (a good reason to never use f/32) finally ending with the merits of focus stacking and a shout-out for Helicon Focus, which somewhat leaves Photoshop in the dust when blending those focus stacked images.

Our next meeting will be on 24th May.

3rd and 4th May


The Bank Holiday weekend saw the annual club exhibition, held at Lacock Village Hall, where over the course of two days we had roughly 750 visitors:


It also saw the one "competitive" thing the club does for the whole year, which is to ask visitors to vote for their favourite three images as they walk around.  There are no prizes, except for bragging rights for the next 12 months.

The winners, in reverse order were (drum roll please)...

In tenth place:

Enchanted Wood © Phil Selby

In ninth place:

Taking a bow © Pam Bamford

In eighth place:

The Furry Forager © Philip Male

In seventh place:

Fighting Starlings © Tony Bamford

In sixth place:

Flash of Blue © Rose Porfirio

In fifth place:

Icelandic Horses © Tony Bamford

In fourth place:

Wings of Gold © Phil Selby

In third place:

Fish Supper © Pam Bamford

In second place:

Milky Way © Caroline Howe

And in first place, showing us all how it's done:

Mr and Mrs © Philip Male

Congratulations to the winners.  Our next meeting will be on Thursday 9th May.

25th April

This evening Hilary Stock gave two presentations, part one entitled "Beyond the Lens - Adventures with my Camera".

When Hilary first approached art galleries to promote her work, she was flatly told "we only take art".  To help persuade photography is art, she developed a technique of printing an image in the middle of an A4 sheet, then carefully folding it into a box, before mounting it in a frame.

Portscatho Boat © Hilary Stock

Although this created a unique 3D look, it was an incredibly time consuming and error prone procedure and the deep handmade frames (with their non reflective glass) were very expensive.

Turning away from art galleries, she sought hotels in the process of being extended, knowing they would be looking for something with which to decorate their new real estate. When a hotel owner offered to showcase her work for sale, she felt "people didn't go on holiday to buy art". It turned out they do, and she was suddenly overwhelmed with orders.

Producing each folded paper image was so labour intensive, she looked for an alternative means to bring her 3D look to her work.  Eventually she chose to move to "floating images", printing onto card, then mounting cards at different depths within the frame:

Into the Woods II © Hilary Stock

She set herself a goal of mastering street photography, first photographing local people, which developed into a project to document life at a local cattle market.  Initially she was met with some apprehension as the farmers suspected she might be an animal rights activist.  Once they realised this wasn't the case, she was able to get images that both she, and they, were pleased with:

Cirencester Cattle Market © Hilary Stock

Cirencester Cattle Market © Hilary Stock

She also photographed families:

Portrait © Hilary Stock

She even turned her photographic eye towards seaweed, which she assured us, can't be transported anywhere and must be photographed (on a lightbox) fairly immediately after collection:

Cornish Seaweed IV © Hilary Stock

Purple Trio © Hilary Stock

Towan Treasure © Hilary Stock  

... as well as seeds...

Seeds © Hilary Stock

Hilary became an official "behind the scenes" photographer at Womad:

Adult Dance Class, Womad © Hilary Stock

Children's Dance Class, Womad © Hilary Stock

Part two of Hilary's talk was entitled "Thriving through Venture".  She became involved with teenagers in danger of being drawn into the NHS Mental Health programme.  Introducing them to photography increased their ability to interact with people and increased their self confidence.

TTV Teaching © Hilary Stock

She was able to organise an exchange programme with her twinned town of Gunjur in Gambia - an environment in which her group was able to thrive.

Thriving Through Venture © Hilary Stock

Tabaski prayers in Gunjur © Hilary Stock

Tin Mal Mosque © Hilary Stock

This was one of the most inspiring presentations we've seen at the club and made us all realise how sharing both photography and photographs with others can benefit both them and us.