Tuesday 8th Sep 2020

CALL YOURSELF A JUDGE – An introduction to Zoom. Club members
chose their top NCC competition image from 2018 to 2020.

Our first club night meeting of the season took place in a ‘virtual’ environment rather than in our usual meeting room, using Zoom – the internet-based video communications application that is widely used by both businesses and consumers for bringing groups of people together. The main purpose of the meeting was to give everyone the opportunity to see other members; most of us hadn’t seen each other since March, and to ensure NCC members had the chance to use Zoom before experiencing a club competition involving an external judge.


Call Yourself A Judge gave every club member the opportunity pick their Shortlist from a selection of more than 20 images – all of the top scoring competition photographs from the last two years. The top ten images chosen by the members attending the meeting were then shown and five ‘volunteers’ each gave a critique on one of these pictures. The meeting participants then voted for The Winner.


Congratulations to Paul Topham for winning the competition with this beautifully constructed and photographed picture –

Winning image



We are still unable to hold our usual weekly meetings at Regents Park so a number of online virtual club nights have been organised using Zoom. They will take place on Tuesday evenings, commencing at 07.30 pm prompt – see our Online Programme for the meeting dates.

Club members will receive a personal invitation to attend each meeting by email, together with a link and password.

The club is very grateful to the lecturers and judges that have agreed to ‘visit’ Nantwich via a Zoom link, and share their individual expertise and creativity; thus allowing camera club members to continue to increase their knowledge and enjoyment of photography.

Fred Speed (1930 – 2020). Founder Member of Nantwich Camera Club

We are sorry to announce the sad loss of one of our founder members, Fred passed away on Thursday 30 April 2020. Fellow founder member, David Nicholls, recalls attending the club’s first meeting:

Fred and I joined the fledgling club on the first meeting in 1981, it had been arranged by our current President, John Dodd, to see if there was sufficient local interest to start up a photographic society in the town – the club then became Nantwich Camera Club.

Fred’s interest in photography was mainly cine – not surprising as we were both projectionists at the local cinema. Fred was every clubs ideal member, happy to use his joinery skills to supply print and projector stands until, as he once said, the club could afford better. He was a regular at the club’s evening meetings, as well as the inter-club events. Although not a competition man, he always supported them.

Fred’s health began to fail in 2010, so many of our more recent club members will not have met him. He went into a residential care home in 2014 as he was suffering from dementia He is survived by his two children.

Fred will be sadly missed by many who have enjoyed his company over the years.

David Nicholls

MONDAY 16th MARCH 2020

As we all know, the situation with this Coronavirus outbreak has been rapidly evolving and the government advice on what we should all be doing to minimise the risk of infection has been updated on an almost daily basis. In view of the Prime Minister’s announcement this evening, it has been decided to cancel all of the camera club’s meetings shown in the rest of this seasons programme (7 club nights + the Inter-club competition at Crewe PS). All being well, the new 2020/21 meetings season will commence in September, but these are highly unusual times, so who knows?

We have contacted the lecturers and competition judges that were booked to visit us during March and April, to advise them of our decision to close the meetings season at this juncture, and to tell them that we hope they will be able to attend one of our club meetings in happier and more settled times. I know quite a few members have already prepared prints and / or submitted projected images for Competition 6 on the 31st March. That competition will not take place now, however you will be able to resubmit your Comp 6 mages in one of next season’s competitions.

Our AGM is scheduled for the 28th April, your committee will be looking at how we handle that in the present circumstances of restricted group contact. For the time being the existing committee members will each continue to look after their areas of responsibility

Please do not turn up to Regents Park tomorrow night!

I will keep you updated when we have any NCC news to pass on. Keep well and take care

Very best wishes

John Kay (Chairman)

Lancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union Annual Club Competition

To read a full report about this competition, please see the “Competitions” pages

Tuesday 10th March 2020
PAGB 2019 Inter-federation Print Competition and Exhibition

The evening received a low level of support in terms of numbers attending, probably due to concerns related to the current virus problem.
The PAGB now provide the annual issue as a zipped download, upon payment of £5; a bargain compared to the previous arrangement, where a DVD was posted for £15, which had to be returned by post immediately after showing. Some consternation was experienced when the digital projector persisted in projecting the club’s banner, when the laptop was showing the content of the folios. None of the regular projectionists were present to advise and salvation eventually emerged by swapping the VGA connection for a HDMI cable and restarting the laptop, which solved the mysterious discrepancy. The vice president managed to keep talking during this hiatus, but I suspect our panic was noticed.
Four folios were available for showing, Colour Prints, Mono Prints, Nature PDIs and Open PDIs. In previous years the presentation was provided as an automated slide show, but now the showings are progressed manually. This does allow the opportunity for appraisal and comment from members. The credits for each image however are still provided using quite a small font size and located beneath the image, are difficult to read for those not on the front rows of seating. With seventy or eighty images in each folio, viewing all of the images was not possible. In fact the mono prints, the open PDI and the Nature PDI folios were shown. The first two folios contained the usual gamut of images ranging from creative, bizarre to excellent. All in all, the nature folio provided the higher degree of honesty, through imposed restriction and included a high degree of excellent work.
Our thanks to Paul for filling in as projectionist and for resolving the initial problems.
After the tea break, the usual informal review of the previous week’s competition print entries was arranged.

Nantwich Camera Club Special Event.

Nantwich Camera Club are hosting their annual ‘special’ lecture on Tuesday the 24th March featuring award winning natural history photographer, author and writer Paul Hobson.

Originally from Manchester, Paul gained a degree in Environmental Science at Sheffield University and worked as a wildlife and conservation lecturer there for twenty years, before becoming a full-time wildlife photographer. His photography started 40 years ago using a Pentax camera and slide film, which launched a path of learning, leading to his current expertise using Canon EOS equipment. A university project in the Peak District National Park, included a session in a bird hide and resulted in a consuming affair with natural history photography, which eventually embraced plants, insects, mammals and reptiles as well as birds.

He produces a monthly wildlife article for Derbyshire Life and was Amateur Photographer wildlife photography masterclass expert in 2010/11. He is a contract holder for Natural England and has a responsibility on their behalf, for wildlife photography throughout the East Midlands and Peak District. Though he has worked far and wide, best of all he finds the challenge of Britain’s dark dank conditions, the most rewarding. He has won acclaim nationally and internationally and regularly gained recognition in British Wildlife Photographer of the Year events. He has published three wildlife photography books and is now working on his fourth. In addition, he regularly lectures, holds workshops and leads wildlife holidays.

His talk is entitled ‘The Best of the Last, Warts and All’ in which he will review his photographic exploits during the last year.

The talk will be held on Tuesday 24th March at Nantwich Camera Club’s usual meeting room at Regents Park, London Road, Nantwich, CW5 6LW. Non-members are most welcome to attend.

The £5 entrance fee is payable at the door. The event will start at 7:30 and the talk will last about 2 hours with a tea / coffee break in the middle.

Examples of Paul’s work can be found on his website at
For more information about the talk, e-mail or look on the website at


To read a full report about this competition, please see the “Competitions” pages

Tuesday 25th February 2020
Portrait Practical Evening, Graham Currey

Drawing on his theatrical experience, Graham dressed as a Dickensian figure, provided a studio set-up with back-drop and lighting and proceeded to pose for and supervise club members in capturing dramatic images. Cameras were required to be set in manual mode, with ISO of 100, aperture f6.3 and shutter speed of 1/160 of a second, with white balance set to auto. A small turn-out of members probably helped the occasion, in that virtually everyone took part. The studio flash lights were operated by a hot shoe mounted electronic trigger device which was passed rapidly from member to member. A great deal of appreciation was expressed for the sheer energy of Graham in prompting participation, particularly surprising in that he had taken a return flight earlier in the day. It was clear that setting up the camera for manual operation was an alien experience for many of us, a place that we don’t visit often, but most managed to get there.
Those who chose not to attend missed an excellent practical evening.

Tuesday 11th February 2020
Table Top Photography

This inclusion in the programme provides an opportunity for members to be in the initiative in providing photographic subjects and lighting set-ups to share with other members and hopefully encourage participation to possibly venture into new areas of photography.
On the night, four tables were manned.
Wray demonstrated his camera’s ability to be programmed to produce multiple images with incremental progressive shifts to the point of focus. A lily was the photographic subject against a black background, with camera tethered to a laptop computer and illumination from a backlit brolly photoflood. In excess of forty images were produced, which were then stitched into one image using Helicon Focus software. This software uses the small critically sharp portion of each of the forty plus images to assemble one image with cumulative sharpness from foreground to background to combat the minimal depth of field possible from a normal single macro image. This image stacking technique, probably represents a development, which so far as I can recollect, was not even dreamed of or was possible prior to the era of digital photography.
David Foster, who kindly chaired the evening in the absence of both the chairman and vice chairman, provided a diffused tent with external illumination, for photographing a pair of mini daffodils. The same set-up was appropriated for a spirited study by John Dodd: a bottle of Famous Grouse and two miniatures, which remained steadfastly sealed at the end of the day, despite a degree of alternative encouragement.
Similar to Wray, David Luker illustrated the feature in his Fujifilm XT3 camera, for producing images for stacking to combat restricted depth of field, with an Emperor Hawkmoth as the subject.
David Hoyle and Paul Topham manned the fourth table, where Paul provided an insight into how he produces the various images of suitably lit constructs of A4 paper sheets, which have proved to be very successful in competitions. David provided a bundle of drinking straws, which when back lit, resulted in interesting pattern pictures. This set-up was illuminated by very affordable LED light sources, which have been introduced to the photographic scene in recent years. They are very versatile, with adjustable intensity and often include colour filters and various methods of mounting.
The evening was fairly well supported and scored on a social level, with extensive networking around equipment, particularly shared appreciation of camera capabilities. Our thanks are extended to all those who made it possible.

Tuesday 4th February 2020
A Panel of Prints, Alison and Wendy

The night’s ever-popular programme inclusion, originally introduced to provide an easy introduction into competitive print production for less experienced members, whereby four small thematic images are mounted on a standard 50 x 40 cm mount board, this time attracted twenty-four entries. The format also provides a basic opportunity to appreciate the considerations of the judging process, in that each member is allowed to vote for the one panel which they consider to be the best entry, in a secret vote, not knowing the identity of the author. From some impressive entries, the top three panels were produced by, in third place “Folkestone Beach” by Bryan Averill, second place “Characters of the Caribbean” by Wray Douglas and in first place “Winter Landscapes” by Brian Sankey, unsurprisingly some of our most experienced members, but then the intentions are good!
The tea-break was followed by an opportunity to view the entries for the previous week’s print competition. After a period of networking around the exhibits, the authors of the prints awarded the top three places were asked to provide the story behind the prints. This proved to be both insightful and entertaining and worthy of inclusion on future similar occasions, providing that it does not deter the less forthright from entering competitions.
Thanks are extended to Wendy and Alison for once more playing host to the panel of prints initiative, to every-one who supported the evening by providing a panel entry and to our stand-in chairman, who is making a pretty good fist of things.

Tuesday 28 January 2020
4th Club Competition Judge:- Graham Currey

To read a full report about this competition, please see the “Competitions” pages

Tuesday 21st January 2020
A Few Happy Snaps Mike Sharples, ARPS, MPAGB, AFIAP, BPE5,

Mike revealed that he always uses photo paper from the Permajet range and his camera equipment comes from the Nikon stable. Normally he worked with available light, often accompanied by fellow photographers on photo missions, who obliged by holding a reflector to soften shadows. Recently he has added a couple of hand held LED lights to his kit, to supplement lighting for difficult situations. Alien elements were pasted into images for composition considerations and others erased using Photoshop tools. Black and white layers were extensively used to correct the tonal range and more suitable backgrounds were often injected. Plug in filters from Nik and Topaz were extensively used, particularly for monochrome conversions.
He provided a commentary for a prolific range of print images displayed on the illuminated print easel, often with colour and monochrome versions for comparison. His work mostly encompassed landscape, architectural and portrait images. His quest for photographic opportunities, took him to many locations. For landscape, images from Eigg, Rannoch Moor, The Burren, The Dingle Peninsular, Newborough sands Anglesey, Burnham-on-Sea, and Yosemite. For portraits, much use was made of the heritage parks, including Blists Hill Telford, Black Country Living Museum Dudley, Crich Tram Museum where he sought to cement relationships with staff as potential models, through regular visits. He also visited the theatrical haunts including the Edinburgh fringe festival, the zombie event at Lincoln to capture the exotically made up characters, who are pre-disposed to posing for photographers and with whom he found it easy to strike up a rapport. He found that the people met in India and Georgia to be very obliging in this way too. Recent forays into London yielded tall building images for which he used a wide-angle lens to compress converging verticals. A brief foray into a photographer’s bird hide with bated prey, provided some convincing natural history shots
Mike presented in a light hearted way which was appreciated and readily engaged with our members. His presence was initially jeopardised by being trapped by a traffic incident en-route. We would have missed a rich experience had he not made it.

Tuesday 14th January 2020
My Eye in the Sky, Ian Stewart DPAGB, ARPS.

Ian opened his talk on drone photography by acknowledging the impact that the Gatwick airport incident had exerted on the perception of drones and revealed that there is now doubt in some quarters that a drone had ever been present and some ulterior motive was the true basis of the disruption.
His interest in drones started in 2015, reduced to second best from an earlier aspiration to fly a helicopter. He traced the sequence of acquiring progressively better models as the technology developed, leading to his current collection. He reviewed the current market availability providing an indication of the price and capability for each model, many of which originate from America, which enjoys the largest market share. The lead manufacturer is DJI with a large range of constantly evolving models with increasing technological sophistication, prices ranging from £500 to £5000. Following the Gatwick chaos, a range of legislation has been brought into force to control dangerous and anti-social use and further legislation is constantly being put into place. Prier to flying a drone it is now necessary to register ownership with the Civil Aviation Authority. Operations are restricted to always being in the sight of the operator, with strobe light assistance if required, maximum height of 400 feet, maintaining a 50 feet distance from people and 150feet from buildings, five kilometres from airfields and not during the hours of darkness. For commercial operation a CAA pilot’s licence is required, earned by completing a training course and being passed to fly, typically costing £1000. It was noted that in cases where estate agents did not comply, they were fined £2000 per incident. Public liability insurance is required in case of flight failure resulting in damage to people or property. Before flying a thorough check of the security of the drone components and the condition of the rotors, is essential. Those with five rotors are capable of continued flight with the loss of one rotor, whereas, a four-rotor model would probably not survive such an incident. Control may be exercised using a smart phone app or a dedicated control unit using GPS and radio with live image streamed back to the operator. Flight is only possible in dry calm conditions, with battery power monitored and limited to about 30minutes. Familiar names like Leica and Hasseelblad provide high- resolution cameras, some with interchangeable lenses and having all the usual controls, with which we are familiar. It was recommended that setting an ISO value appropriate to the prevailing conditions is preferable to using the auto setting. Neutral density filters are often used, Many examples of good practice were advised, like pre-identifying a safe area for a crash landing and taking into account the height of adjacent trees to ensure that they are exceeded by at least ten metres. Lots of good advice is available on the internet and smart phone apps can provided crucial local information related to local flying conditions and bylaws.
A series of videos were shown, produced using the drone’s camera, showing numerous areas of the Wirral coast, out to Hilbre Island, Meols, Leasowe and new Brighton. It was evident that the drone provides a remarkably stable platform for photography. Still images were also shown and it was revealed that competitions are held for drone still images and Ian has participated with some success. It is quite possible that drone photography has already ventured into club competition photography without our realisation.
This was the club’s first drone related talk to date and Ian provided a very comprehensive overview of the subtleties of this new area of photography and Ian ably illustrated what may be achieved.

Tuesday 7th January 2020
Member’s AV Night

Our new year opened with the now traditional member’s audio-visual presentation. Within the ranks of members there are accomplished workers, who well know how to exploit the full capability of the magic toolbox which Pictures to Exe provides, ranging to those who only produce sequences for this programme inclusion, through to those making a first attempt. Either way the event never fails to provide a full and entertaining evening, providing oxygen to justify those images which fill our hard drives, but are never going to make it in individual competitions. Below is a listing of the contributions.

  • Coastal Express – Hurtigruten, By Trevor Clowes. A record of the classic sail along the Norwegian coast.
  • Scottish Highlands – Bryan Averill. Captured during a Fort William holiday was a landscape record of the surrounding outstanding scenes unique to Scotland.
  • Iron Works – John Dodd. Somewhere on the A5 road between Oswestry and Shrewsbury in a rural setting is a display of metallic animal sculptures which formed the basis of this sequence.
  • Africa -Brian Sankey. A special holiday of a lifetime touring South Africa, Botswana and Zambia provided the opportunity to record the native animal species and landscape.
  • European Excursions – Graham Dodd. Reaching into his archive of colour slide work, acquired over the last fifty years a sequence was assembled of Graham’s favourite European cities.
  • Canoes, Canoes and More Canoes – Bryan Averill. A visit to a kayak slalom course at Bala, provided a myriad of images which were presented utilising the full range of P to E animation possibilities.
  • Northumberland – Brian Sankey. An annual springtime visit to the Farne Isles for the nesting birdlife, was allowed to overflow into Scotland to include the Bass Rock at North Berwick, catching Lindisfarne on the way to provide material for this presentation.
  • Sunrise and Sunsets – Alison Wood. A delve into her hard disk allowed a sequence to be assembled precisely in accord with the title. Alison confessed that she is biologically more suited to the ‘sets’ than the ‘rises’.
  • Brussels Highlights – David Hoyle. A chance opportunity in Brussels allowed, with the help of advice from the local tourist office, the capture of architectural images around the Grand Place et al for inclusion in this sequence.
  • DIY in the Garage – Martin Watson. A sequence assembled during the construction of an elegant circular table with radial sectioned top, within his highly specified woodworking workshop garage was the catalyst for Martin’s first venture into club AV.
  • Kew Gardens Glass sculpture – Alison Wood. Visiting a friend in the big city provided the opportunity to record the extraordinary glass sculpture display which has been injected into the already amazing botanicals which is Kew.
  • Three Blokes and Four Museums – Nick Hutt. A fast-paced presentation in tribute to beautiful metal working exhibited in each the three Mulhouse museums dedicated to trains, automobiles and electricity formed a basis for this sequence.
  • Sometimes When We Touch – Paul Topham. Paul chose to provide images to interpret Tammy Wynette’s title song. He hinted that he had a friend in Google during the production process.
  • Dumfries and Galloway – Bryan Averill. A landscape record of this largely neglected part of Scotland which is the closest to our doorstep was the basis for this offering.

A very full well supported evening bears testament to the popularity of this jump into the new year. With a little effort any member could find the material required to assemble an entry for next years event which will come along all too soon, so why not start now. It would be particularly pleasing if a situation arose in which members were restricted to only one entry.
Our thanks is extended to all those who made an effort to provide support and particularly David Hoyle for assembling entries and making the whole presentation possible and further suitably enhanced by the provision of his HI Fi system.

Tuesday 10th December 2019
3rd Club Competition (Set Subject – Bent, Broken or Busted)
Judge:- Nick Hilton EFIAP, DPAGB, BPE5*

To read a full report about this competition, please see the “Competitions” pages

Tuesday 3rd December 2019
The Dragons Journey

For the last of our lectures of 2019, we closed the decade in style with good attendance levels for the eleventh presentation from Margaret the Welsh dragon. As usual she mesmerised her audience. This girl definitely knows how to play a crowd! For those making a first acquaintance with Margaret, it was a revelation with much expressed appreciation.
Margaret traced her journey in photography with words and images, starting from her initial darkroom steps in the 1970s, where she was captivated by the magic of the emerging image which grew in a dish of chemical wizardry up to the present day, in which the all-pervading digital revolution enables exactly the same capabilities, but with greater speed and comfort. Both industries recognised her qualities, originally being sponsored by Ilford and now by Fotospeed, from whom attendees were invited to pick up a voucher which allowed a 15% discount on their inkjet printing papers.
She provided much evidence to prove that the judgements meted out in competitions is only an opinion of an individual, which should not be allowed to deflect one from following one’s own path in photography. All the so-called rules are just generalisations, which can and are often ignored to great effect. Be true to yourself at all times. Margaret glories in breaking the rules
Images came thick and fast, starting in her beloved Wales, Snowdonia, Blaenau Ffestiniog slate fields and much travelled, they were collected from around the world always perceptive of the common humanity for which she engineered inimitable, often irreverent contact. We learnt that the gypsies at Appleby were fine, the mannequins in Venice may well be a male drag artist from Yorkshire, the Taj Mahal only has mist from Photoshop, New Zealand has amazing natural photographic light and we were invited to share her love of animals. The humble sheep of Wales, lead to elephants in Sri Lanka, alpha-male Orangutans, whale sharks in the Mexican seas and laughing monkeys in India. The children of Ethiopia and an African wedding were used to emphasise that eyes and hands can have a massive photographic impact. Horses are another love which lead to her providing illustrations for a friend’s equine book. To capture a photo of an architectural size earth-work size horse rendition in South Wales for the book it was arranged for a four seat light aircraft to provide Margaret with a photographic platform, all-be-it only possible when banked on its side to enable window shots.
Her photographic mantra is expressed as try anything that you can get away with and see if it works. She believes in photography as an emotional artform through which self-expression is facilitated.
In Singapore, photography’s red dragon was awarded a golden dragon, well amber really, to join her many accolades.
We closed our twentieth century second decade lecture programme on an unsurpassed high.

Tuesday 26th November 2019
Back Garden Naturalist by Paddy Ruske

Paddy opened with a passionate, clear message related to the importance of insects for the sustainable world and explained how everyone can contribute to their existence and well-being. Insects play an essential role in the environment, from performing as mini refuse collectors, pollinating the crops upon which we depend to in turn being a food supply for other creatures. To this end came a plea to not cover gardens with concrete, decking and tarmac or a significant area of our congested planet becomes more sterile than necessary. Having worked on BBC wildlife productions he cautioned about assuming that similar photographic opportunities are available to the holiday tourist, explaining that two or three seconds of stunning imagery, is usually the product of months of preparation and some deception.
Now in semi-retirement, following some moments of anxiety in which his laptop repeatedly crashed, he showed a sequence of images explaining how he has set up his garden to attract and photograph the many visiting creatures, which are not evident to the casual glance. He showed and explained the plants and shrubs, multiple bird boxes and insect hotels. Water is an essential feature in every wildlife garden, even a very small pond attracts a colony of frogs, one of his favourite creatures and different insects. Toads were also provided with potential homes.
A knarled post provided a perch in the proximity to bird food for avian photography was supplement by various diffused backdrops. The camera was mounted on a tripod, pre-focussed on the post and controlled from a comfortable position within his home by radio remote control. A UV moth trap was included in the garden for more diversity. For macro work with insects, a hand held Fuji Finepix bridge camera was used. This was highly recommended due to the quality of the lens, very affordable at around £25 second-hand on ebay and much preferred to an expensive Canon 100mm macro lens, recently made available to him for test purposes. For macro work, it was recommended that dull soft light is preferable to strong directional light. You can even have success in the rain. A further sequence of impressive images illustrated his home garden work with this equipment
After the break a set of images were shown from when he spent several months in Namibia, where heat haze can be a photographic problem. Many animal species were shown and landscape scenes from the famed desert featured.

Thursday 21st November 2019
Alan Challinor Trophy
Judge:- Christine Widdall FBPE MPAGB EFIAP APAGB HonLCPU

To read a full report about this competition, please see the “Competitions” pages

Tuesday 19th November 2019
Shooting the Inside of my Head, Rev. Dr. Richard Hainsworth

Richard explained that the first session of the talk would be about his approach and involvement in photography at various stages of his life, through starting as a teenager in 1998/99 with a heavy Russian camera which had no metering system or aids to focussing. Persevering through mixed results brought an enforced discipline of careful consideration prior to pressing the shutter button. In 2000 he discovered the magic of the darkroom and slide material and was convinced that the infant digital movement would never compete! 2001 was consumed with technological study, superseded by becoming a vicar and marriage which precluded photography until holiday opportunities brought a resurgence in camera work.2014 parental duties caused another break. Now a lecturer at a university he has become an active member of Mold photographic society. Acknowledging the value of the comments of competition judges and recognising how subjective encouraged him to seek self-satisfaction by going his own way regardless, which has been vindicated by photographic qualifications acquired and acceptance in salons, both nationally and further afield, features in Amateur Photography magazine and winning various awards in National competitions. To his surprise set subject competitions brought an expansion of his area of operations by being thrust into types of photography which he previously found of no interest, but which subsequently were viewed with a new sense of pleasure. Quoted was landscape and street photography, but in all areas the wish to do it in his different way was preserved, ideally not considering what the reaction of any judge might be. Digital now of course is the only way and illustrated were many examples of creative and composite images shown from ‘as taken’ contrasted with their developed version. Meticulous attention to ensuring the direction of light was consistently applied to introduced elements. For those not wishing to take out a monthly subscription fee for Photoshop or Lightroom he recommended Affinity Photo from Serif, which costs a £48.99 one off payment for Windows or Mac. Having the majority capability of Adobe products, he often uses Affinity to blend black and white and colour layers to preserve clarity. Topaz Clarity plug-in was also recommended. Attention to the histogram to ensure the highlights were exposed correctly at the taking stage was paramount, with the knowledge that the latitude in mid- range and shadow elements could be corrected in the PC for an image shot in RAW. When inserting human elements into landscape work to fill empty space, it emphasized that it is essential to soften the edges of the cut-out figure if it is to look credible. In reality clothing and features always have a degree of fuzziness. Much valuable advice was extended.

After the tea break, a very full explanation and viewing of his many areas of photographic work was illustrated, ranging through creative, enhanced reality, composite, travel, street, city scenes, HDR, landscape, sport, natural history, portrait using his wife at her request and records of his growing family. They were headlined by Richard as “well I like them” and much wisdom was simultaneously offered for each.
Personal birthday gift enquiries were invariably met with a request for a train ticket to a city and an overnight stay providing an opportunity for exploration with a camera. Debenhams iconic building in Birmingham caught his attention. A Liverpool busker shot generated follow up opportunities, yet to be completed.
My words cannot capture the shear depth and value of the presentation, fortunately a large proportion of members were present to benefit from and enjoy a very special evening. Rex Kingsley brought proceedings to a close with a thoughtful and beautifully composed vote of thanks.
I hope that Richard can be drawn back to Nantwich on a future programme.

Saturday 16th November 2019
L & CPU Annual Knockout Competition
Judge:- Malcolm Kus ARPS, DPAGB,EFIAP/b

To read a full report about this competition, please see the “Competitions” pages
Tuesday 11th November 2019 L&CPU Folio

Tuesday 11th November 2019 L&CPU Folio

In common with other local societies, this year we withdrew from the circulation path of the actual print folios due to the deteriorating transport logistics. Instead we now receive a DVD containing projected image versions of the prints, which is a digital, easily facilitated alternative. The presentation now is rather regimented with a brief showing of each image within an AV sequence, carrying the image title and authors name, sometimes above sometimes below the image. Familiar names appear but they are no longer associated with clubs within the federation. So slick is the presentation that there is no real opportunity for comment, no narrative and not even, background music, resulting in a pretty sterile feeling. As a result, appreciation of print quality and subtlety is now impossible. Purely a personal perspective of course, but change is not always for the better.

The first folio was a natural history one, which was generally to a very high standard. In recent years, high quality natural history photography was not a sufficient qualification for gaining entry to these folios. It was essential that the creatures were displaying some form of dramatic behaviour. Raptors had to be devouring prey, aquatic birds similarly were portrayed catching or swallowing fish, other species needed to be mating or exhibiting courtship displays etc, This folio was different in that there seemed to be some recognition and appreciation of the difficulty of simply photographing some species. Hence a simple image of a Cetti’s Warbler gained inclusion. Their presence is usually limited to an incredible explosion of song from the depth of some thicket; sightings limited to flitting to the adjacent thicket. Similarly, a rare sighting of a bittern was ably captured, again a bird that normally skulks in dense reedbeds. Beyond that however simple portraits of goldfinch and greenfinch, together with a singing robin, which is present in everyone’s garden, made it into the folio. Perhaps things are changing or maybe this folio was judged by more perceptive judges.

The second folio shown was the Annual Individual Competition Open Digital 2019. This included the whole gamut of straight photography, through creative to the work of fantasy graphic artists, Adobe Photoshop was triumphantly created exactly to fulfil precisely this range of activity and exponents of all extremes featured in the folio Perhaps it is revealing that the three images judged to be the best in competition appeared to be pretty much straight photography. Hooray!

Our thanks to volunteer projectionist Paul, who managed to chase the VGA/HDMI gremlins from the projection system to make proceedings possible.

Tuesday 5th November 2019
2nd Club Competiton
Judge:- Diana Magor EFIAPb, MPSA, CPAGB, LRPS, BPE3*

To read a full report about this competition, please see the “Competitions” pages

Tuesday 29th October 2019
Interclub Competition Nantwich v Whitchurch
Judge:- Rob Hockney CPAGB, BPE3*

To read a full report about this competition, please see the “Competitions” pages

Tuesday 29th October 2019
Inter Club Competition at Chester PS

To read a full report about this competition, please see the “Competitions” pages

Tuesday 15th October 2019
“From Here to Eternity” by Peter Siviter

Peter revealed that he and his wife do an awful lot of travelling, In fact he has visited all seven continents in the last five years. The places visited provided the source material for the nineteen AV sequences presented, as listed below.

  • I was born in Smethwick – images from the Black Country Museum Dudley with local folk group vocals.
  • Send in the Clowns – Venice Festival images to the music of the title.
  • Cathedral of Spilt Blood – St Petersburg, Russia, highly decorated by mosaics.
  • Bryce Canyon US National Park – Utah hoodoos, music from Pink Floyd.
  • Victoria Falls – Zambezi River, Zambia/ Zimbabwe.
  • Rio Carnival – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Thessus Hot Springs – New Zealand geothermal springs.
  • Cape Horn – An Antarctic cruise around the cape with high seas, snow, ice and bergs.
  • Snow monkeys – Japanese aquatic monkey study.
  • Madeira – A portrait of the rugged product of its volcanic origins.
  • Tenerife Carnival – less well known than Venice with prominent use of children.
  • Gaudi – Homage to Barcelona’s work in progress.
  • Notre Dame Cathedral – this was the Montreal one.
  • Buenos Aires – Argentine is the world capital for graffiti.
  • Evita – Still in Argentine with a tribute to the life, times and death of Eva Peron.
  • Hawaii – Views from a helicopter of the hostile mountain territory.
  • Iguazu falls – Dramatic falls between Argentine and Brazil.
  • Brothers in Arms – A tribute to soldiers from around the world.
  • Peter – An animated presentation featuring himself and others with music from a Queen tribute band with Bohemian Rhapsody.

When asked how long it took for him to produce his videos, he said he normally knocks one off in a day and sits watching television at the same time, with a laptop on his knee – incredible! The choice of music was generally unusual and inspired. He admitted that he does listen to a lot of music, which sometimes provokes an AV creation. The presentations were fast moving and extremely impressive without there being too much emphasis on the complexities which reside within Pictures to Exe the software of choice. The sound tracks were handled by Audacity, available as a free download. He used a range of cameras, from Canon DSLRs to upmarket compact models for his high-quality images.
The evening was very well attended by an appreciative audience. Hopefully we may get Peter back at some point after he has completed further globe-trotting.

Tuesday 8th October 2019
A Basic Intriduction to Lightroom
Jeremy Malley-Smith LRPS<DPAGB< BPE2*

Jeremy mentioned that he had been keen on photography since his teens as an avid colour slide worker and had transitioned to digital in 2005, when he bought a very expensive Canon 5D with 12MP resolution. With the camera came a Canon image editing programme, which had a serious disability in that it did not auto-save editing work and a wrong move could result in many hours work being lost causing great frustration. This propelled him to seek safety in Lightroom. He still uses Canon equipment, now a full frame model and even more expensive, but he acknowledged that other brands offered similar capability. He revealed that his aim was always to adjust his camera menu settings for any project in order to get the best image possible downloaded from the camera in order to minimise work in Lightroom. It is a necessary pre-disposition therefore to have a very good understanding of your camera’s control capabilities. Attention also needs to be directed to ensuring that adequate back-up precautions are in place for your library of images. Though less common nowadays, it is still possible for hard drives to crash with the loss of all content. Insurance may be secured from a selection of built in duplicate hard drives, external USB drives and cloud storage resources.
The pre-break section of the talk dealt with the facilities within the Lightroom Library module to import images to Lightroom storage and to simultaneously assign meaningful file names and other useful information to each file. For this, random images taken within Regents Park were used to illustrate the process. In passing for those who download using a card-reader, it was recommended that obtaining a modern USB3 version greatly accelerates the process.
After the tea break the Lightroom Develop module was demonstrated for editing images in order to enhance many areas. Thoughtfully, Jeremy had produced a hand-out print of the talk content for issue to every one in attendance, in acknowledgement of the difficulty experienced in remembering the many techniques and capabilities contained and demonstrated within Lightroom, which I’m sure will be of value to existing and new workers.
The task which Jeremy addressed within one evening was immense. I do feel that he was able to achieve a great deal by revealing the many effects which can be obtained very quickly, which hopefully will provide inspiration to many.
We would wish to welcome Jeremy back so that we are able to appreciate the natural history work which impressed in his pre-talk slide show.

To download Jeremy’s notes from this lecture, please click on the link below:

A Basic Introduction to Lightroom

Tuesday 1st October 2019
1st Club Competition
Judge:- Mike Sharples ARPS, MPAGB, EFIAP, BPE5*

To read a full report about this competition, please see the “Competitions” pages

Tuesday 10th September 2019
AVs from Around the World, Sheila Giles DPAGB

Sheila plucked a random selection of AVs from her large portfolio. She explained that a constant inclusion in her camera bag is a recorder used to capture material for inclusion in the soundtrack of her AVs, all of which are produced using Pictures to Exe software

  • “Out of the Blue” was assembled from a visit to Alaska with dramatic landscapes, snow ice and bergs together with the resident wildlife, bears, whales etc.
  • “321 News” was a record of a tornado which occurred during a coastal holiday in Turkey which wreaked havoc and devastation not seen in the previous 100 years.
  • “The Oasis” was produced whilst on a photography course with Charley Waite, when a temporary mobility problem, restricted activities to a wet day in a garden. Charley suggested an exercise in intentional in-camera movement blur. The images resulted in a diffused greenery sequence, with the odd sharp element.
  • “Arthur’s Secret” assembled a poignant presentation reaching back to the second world war in which an account of a soldier’s endurance following capture by the Japanese in Java, remained unrelated until artefacts were revealed after his death.
  • “Grand Slalom” was an action-packed account of the success of the British kayak team members in qualifying at Cardiff and eventually winning in the Commonwealth games at Lea Valley.
  • “A Very Special Job” related an extraordinary story of a Blackpool couple who after a holiday in Kenya gave up their guest house and established a “Happy House” sanctuary for a very large number of orphaned homeless children at Turtle Bay, Watamu, Kenya. The soundtrack was largely spoken by Sue Hayward, who established the purpose-built home.
  • “The Engine Room” was a compilation tribute to dance and drumbeat gathered in various places including Indonesia, Alaska, Kenya and Madagascar.
  • “A Mind of Winter” originated from a Christmas visit to Canada to visit her son. Advantage was taken to record the snow scenes for a sequence backed by a poem read by a Canadian.
  • “12 Unrelated Images” were matched to music with slow fades to illustrate how a very simple concept can combine to form an interesting sequence.
  • “Microlite Experience” resulted from a special birthday celebration for Sheila in which she flew as a passenger in a two seat microlite aircraft for trip along the Fylde coast at three thousand feet. Daryl provided back-up images from a light aircraft in close proximity.
  • “The Human Seasons” resulted from a club event in which members provided random images and Sheila was tasked with producing an AV sequence from them, backed by a Keats’s poem.
  • “Elkhorn Slough” was assembled from California coastal wildlife images, with terns, pelican, egrets, cormorants, shags, seals and sea otters.
  • “The Birds of Ewe” provided images for a dramatized sequence influenced by Hitchcock’s Birds film. In this case a specially arranged photographic visit to this small Scottish island was met by the resident tern colony, who during the breeding season fearlessly dive-bomb intruders in defence of their ground level nests. The photographers sought refuge in a tin hut until the boat rescued them some hours later.
  • “Las Vegas by Night” captured all of the unique colour and razzamatazz. An amazing place which is constantly recreated regardless of cost.

During proceedings Sheila offered some guidance for AV workers. Music is often preferable to songs because lyrics can lead to a perceived need to interpret them, which may not help. Avoid recognisable music because it can provide a detraction from the sequence. Copywrite is not generally an issue for not for profit club work, but an annual licence can be bought for about £8. Individual tracks can be purchased, you don’t have to pay for a complete album. Credits for music should not be included in the sequence. Restrict sequences to a duration of four or five minutes.
Sheila got our new season off to a very full and informative start. An excellent evening.

Societies Day July 2019

Camera Club President John Dodd with Nantwich town mayor Arthur Moran, with David Luker and Chairman John Kay in attendance at the Societies Day July 2019.

Final Competition League Tables for the Season 2018-2019

Print League 2018-2019PI League 2018-2019Clubman Ranking 2018-2019

Archived News in Adobe pdf format