Saturday, 19 December 2015

Annual Audio Visual Competition

On Friday 18th December 2015, Hoylake Photographic Society hosted its annual "Audio / Visual Competition and Social Evening" with club members invited to enter their presentations of foreign trips or themes set to music and commentary and there were ten entries with photographs taken from as far afield as California, Hawaii, Myanmar and the North West of England.

Club President - Barry Quatermass
The evening started with club President - Barry Quatermass welcoming our members and explaining the concept of the evening and the scoring method which was done anonymously by those in attendance scoring between 1 - 5 after the screening of each video. The video with the combined highest score was the winner of the competition.
Brian Magor ready to roll
With the opening formalities out of the way, Brian Magor ran the videos while our club members were entertained with such titles as, California, Hawaii, Lime Kilns, Nature's Patterns, Simply Red, Spring Watch, Surfing USA, The 7p Yangon Myanmar Train Ride, Three Queens and Ugly Bug or Beautiful Bug?

With the viewing of the videos over and the individual scores made by our club members it was time to gather the scores together to find out the top three Audio / Visual presentations with Diana and Brian Magor doing the adjudication.

Diana and Brian Magor collating the members scores 
In the meantime the buffet was officially opened and it was time to eat, drink and talk photography during the half time break.

Mike Waring, Barbara Singleton, Gill Lewis and Brian Lewis
Ian Chantler and Les Pickstock deep in thought
With the scores in and the buffet table emptied it was time for our members to return to their chairs and receive the results of the Annual "Audio / Visual Competition"

In third place was "Simply Red", a beautifully put together video of photographs of the Red Arrows display team set to music by Ian Chantler. The subject is Ian's speciality and it showed.

Screen shot - Simply Red by Ian Chantler
In second place was "Lime Kilns", a thoughtful documentary combining photographs, graphics and music explaining the history or lime kilns in the North-West of England by Anthony Clarke. Anthony added his own commentary to the video and was last year's winner.

Screen shot - Lime Kilns by Anthony Clarke
And the winner of this years competition was "Ugly Bug or Beautiful Bug?" a video of quality macro photography of bugs including text as a commentary and set to the song "The Ugly Bugs Ball" by Diana Magor. Well done Diana.

Screen shot - Ugly Bug or Beautiful Bug? by Diana Magor
It was a fitting end to 2015 and with Christmas cards swapped and salutations exchanged the club is now closed for the holiday season with our next meeting on Friday 9th January when we'll be looking at photographs from the London Salon. May I wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year on behalf of Hoylake Photographic Society.

Monday, 14 December 2015

AV Competition and Christmas Social

This Friday 18th December is Hoylake Photographic Society's annual "A / V Competition and Christmas Social". On the night members are invited to enter their short "Audio / Visual" presentations in an informal competition for club members to vote on and members are reminded to bring along a small amount of food as a contribution to the buffet.

Club members are also reminded that this Friday is the hand in for the "People" competition which will be judged in the New Year. The deadline for the hand-in of prints has been extended to 31st December as per Diana's e-mail to members.

As this will be the last club meeting of 2015 and in the event that any member is unable to attend, I'd like to wish everyone on behalf of the club a "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year". The club's first meeting of 2016 will be a viewing of the controversial "London Salon" on Friday 9th January.

We meet at Newton Village Hall, Grange Cross Lane, West Kirby with the doors opening at 7.30 pm for a 7.45 pm start and a 10 pm finish. You don't have to be a member to attend the club as non members are welcome paying £2 on the door.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Nature Competition Results

On Friday 4th December, Ron Thomas ARPS judged our "Nature" competition. Ron is a local wildlife specialist and well qualified to judge the competition. The monthly competition comprises of "Print" and "Digital Projected Images" sections with the "Print" section split into "Novice / Intermediate" and "Advanced" sections. There is no "Mono" print category, only colour in this competition. The "Digital Projected Images" section is competed for by all members together regardless of their skill and experience.

Our club President Barry Quatermass commenting on the night wrote, "I would like to say that the entry last night was one of the strongest I can ever recall in a HPS Comp. There was not a single weak entry and Ron Thomas, the judge, was openly in awe of the work he had to comment upon. Even the Novice/Intermediate entry could easily have stood up against the Advanced section. Whilst the main prizes were, deservedly, awarded once again to the Sixsmiths, the fact that they got so few images into the final places gives a clue as to the standard of entry - Absolutely fantastic stuff.

Print Section

In the "Novice / Intermediate" colour print section there were four awards. Cynthia Sadler came first with "Amur Tiger", John Gardner came second with "Barbary Macaques", Phil Sadler came third with "Stag During Rutting Season" and Lynette Ryan gained a highly commended with "Summer Scent"

The "Advanced" print section saw a large entry of 35 prints with John Sixsmith taking first place with "Elephant Hawk Moth on Campion", Paul Anderson gained second place with "Proboscis Monkey", Margaret Sixsmith was third with "Glistening Ink Cap"

Digital Projected Images Section

This section is competed for by all members regardless of their skill and experience and again our "Novice / Intermediate" members were well amongst the awards. From an entry of 55 images, first place went to Margaret Sixsmith with "Emperor Dragonfly", Carol Tipping gained second place with "Black Tailed Godwits" and Paul Higgins was third with "Mischievous Mandril". Well done Paul.

1st "Emperor Dragonfly" by Margaret Sixsmith
2nd "Black Tailed Godwits" by Carol Tipping
3rd "Mischievous Mandril" by Paul Higgins
Congratulations to all members (too many to mention) who gained other awards and commiserations to those members who weren't successful this time. There's always the Annual Competition at the end of the season for a second bite of the cherry.

Our next meeting is on Friday 11th December when we'll be viewing the L&CPU Folio. You don't have to be a member to attend our meetings as non members are welcome paying £2 on the door. We meet at Newton Village Hall, Grange Cross Lane, West Kirby with the doors opening at 7.30 pm for a 7.45 pm start and a 10 pm finish.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Cyclo Cross, Stadt Moers Country Park, Whiston

 Cyclo Cross Stadt Moers Country Park, Whiston 
By John Sixsmith, Barry Quatermass & Robert Devenish

Having had inspiration from Roger Evans’s “Talk Sports” lecture recently, we planned a trip to photograph a cycle cross event.

We did the research, checked the weather forecast and found the correct location (even with Barry)

The weather forecast was a cloudy morning with bright sunshine in the afternoon, ---- brilliant, as we were going in the afternoon.  We arrived around 11am to familiarise ourselves with the course & pick out some vantage points, (hopefully were riders were going to fall off) . As usual the weather forecast was incorrect, dark heavy clouds built up around 12 ; 30 just in time for the first event to start.  

During the afternoon, I think we all tried panning with varying degrees of success, its a technique that requires lots of practice.

The race began a little later than advertised and we had to resort to pushing up the ISO’s and using flash .  Later on in the afternoon the sun did eventually show, which caused another problem in that the low angle of the sun gave strong side lighting, ---- another job for the flash gun.

Even though the conditions were challenging, we thoroughly enjoyed our day out, and plan to try another in the near future — why not join us!!!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Reflections of Blencathra Reviewed

Last Friday (the 20th November) Hoylake held a 'Reflections on Blencathra' review night, to show some images, especially to those who could not attend, and hold the fun competitions we did not get round to whilst up in the Lake District. There were 4 'mini-competitions':

Best Nature: won by Margaret Sixsmith
Best Landscape: won by Rob Devenish
Best Image with a Cheap Camera: Won by Barry Quatermass (just to add to the fun... taken BY George Evans, with Barry's phone!)
Gill Lewis got a 'chocolate spoon' as all the judges thought she'd used an expensive camera!
Best Starry Sky Group: won also by Rob Devenish

Hygrocybe Species by Margaret Sixsmith
Crummock Water by Rob Devenish
Sub 500 Camera by Barry Quatemass (George Evans)
Cheap Camera - Middle of the Falls by Gill Lewis
The Stars Are On Our Heads Stupid by Rob Devenish
The competitions were followed by presentations by Judith and Anthony which emphasised what a good, fun time we all had and how remarkably lucky we were with the weather. After the break we enjoyed looking at over 100 images taken by all attendees, demonstrating how good FSC Blencathra location and accommodation was as well as the wonderfully dramatic countryside within 20 miles of it.

All the club members who went thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and we look forward to next May's weekend in Yorkshire at FSC Malham.

If any of the photographs have inspired you to come along to Hoylake Photographic Society then our next meeting on Friday 27th November is the Inter Mersey Competition with John Doherty, APAGB ARPS. We meet at Newton Village Hall, Grange Cross Lane, West Kirby from 7.30 pm to 10 pm.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Reflections of Blencathra

A few weeks ago eighteen club members took a long weekend trip to the Blencathra Field Study Centre in Cumbria as a bonding and photography break. On Friday 20th November the club will be reflecting on the trip, recounting stories and viewing images taken by those who went.

For club members Friday is also the hand-in for next months "Nature" competition.

If you're interested in photography then you're welcome to attend as a non member paying only £2 on the door. We meet every Friday at Newton Village Hall, Grange Cross Lane, West Kirby with the doors opening at 7.30 pm for a 7.45 pm start and a 10 pm finish.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Man-made Competition Results

On Friday 6th November 2015 club members witnessed the judging of our latest monthly photographic competition which for November was "Man-made". The judging was done by our guest Steve Carr and the quality of entries was extremely high.

I'm unable to give you the full results from the Print and Digital Projected Images sections, but here are the top three digital images in the competition.
1st Place - Old Tool - for what? by Carol Tipping
2nd Place - Shepherds Crook Detail by Margaret Sixsmith
3rd Place -Tower Cranes by Paul Boardman
Congratulations to Carol Tipping on her return to club photography and a special mention for Marie Dempsey who gained two awards out her entry of three digital images. Marie is in her first season with the club.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Roger Evans - "Talk Sports"

This coming Friday 13th November there's a change to the event program. Unfortunately, Robert Millin, DPAGB, EFIAP/b, EPSA, BPE5*, LRPS can't attend the evening to give his presentation "A-Z of Sports Photography" But don't despair, as John Sixsmith has found an able and equally qualified speaker for the night.

It would be rude to call Roger Evans, FBPE, EFIAP, DPAGB a fill in when he gives the club his presentation entitled "Talk Sports" and gives his shooting tips and tricks on shooting sports photography. Roger of Chester PS, is a very accomplished sports photographer and will be finishing the presentation with his images taken at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where he was an accredited photographer.

Not only do we benefit from Roger Evans experience in sports photography on Friday, but Robert Millin will be giving his re-arranged presentation on 26th February 2016 so please alter your syllabus. It's gain, gain for club members.

If you're interested in sports photography or photography in general then we meet at Newton Village Hall, Grange Cross Lane, West Kirby with the doors opening at 7.30 pm for a 7.45 pm start and a 10 pm finish. You don't have to be a club member at attend as non members are welcome paying only £2 on the door.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Blencathra Long Weekend

Hoylake Photographic Society decided earlier this year to book a long weekend at Blencathra Field Study Center near Keswick in the Lake District as a bonding and photography session for club members, and having returned from the three night trip (30th October - 2nd November) it can be regarded as a resounding success.

Eighteen club members made the trip in several cars, some arriving early in the day to take the opportunity to use their cameras and suss out the landscape. Blencathra is an old building with lots of character. It has a youth hostel feel about the accommodation and the food was plain but very tasty and plentiful with a bar open from 9-11 pm. No-one could have asked for more of the service provided for the price.

Blencathra Field Study Center
Sitting high on a hillside with Saddleback to the rear, the Autumn mornings provided stunning views of a mist filled valley hiding the main A66 road to Keswick.
Keswick, Derwentwater and the A66 in early morning mist
On the first full day everyone split into small groups with their own list of places to visit and photograph. High on the list were local tourist attractions such as the Castlerigg Stones, Ashness Bridge, Watendlath Tarn, Honister Pass, Buttermere, Aria Force and Ullswater. Unfortunately, most of the day was lost to rain which is typical of the Lake District. Much better weather was to follow over the weekend.

Some keen members rose at dawn in an attempt to shoot the Castlerigg Stones in morning mist only to find fifteen other photographers with tripods had the same idea and it was impossible to get a clean shot without some-one photobombing the image. On one early morning visit the mist was so heavy that the stones couldn't be seen at all. Such dedication.

Ron Cooper

After breakfast it was usually off towards Ashness Bridge overlooking Derwentwater along with the general public and every other photographer in the Keswick area. Patience was needed to get a good shot, as some-one was usually walking into shot or setting up a tripod in front of you, but the waiting time was used to pass on some tips when requested.

Too many photographers spoil the shot
Barry Quatermass talking photography with Phil and Cynthia
Rob Devenish shows Ron Cooper his many phone apps
At times there were so many photographers at Ashness Bridge that they were up stream, down stream and even under the bridge.

Photographers above Ashness Bridge
Photographers below Ashness Bridge
And photographers under Ashness Bridge
Further along the steep road beyond Ashness Bridge we passed "Surprise View" which really had the "Wow" factor overlooking Derwentwater and onwards higher still to Watendlath Tarn and a lovely cafe serving builders strength tea in huge mugs and home made cakes. Most members had decided to spend a few hours photographing around the Tarn and waterfalls before moving on to Buttermere via Honister Pass after lunch.

Rob Devenish wearing the correct shoes
A macro workshop in session
Les is frond of ferns

One of the biggest problems of the trip was the short daylight hours during Autumn which caught out many of our members when trying to photograph Buttermere. By the time they arrived in mid afternoon the sun was already setting behind mountains providing very poor lighting conditions but Judith Dundass took a laid back approach to her landscape photography, whereas Gill Lewis just gave up and laid down.
Judith's relaxed approach to photography

The short daylight hours were handy in one respect, as it gave us the opportunity to practice some light painting in early evening. A trip was made after supper in total darkness to the local Castlerigg Stones as it almost guaranteed that no other photographer with a tripod would be there. It was an absolute hoot.

While the group were practicing light painting the ancient stones using torches and long exposures, George Evans decided to light paint the group using a head torch.

Bulb mode and counting
Light painting the Castlerigg Stones stopped at 9 pm because, as you'd expect, the bar at Blencathra opened and members occupied the lounge to talk about the day's photography. The approximately fifty students from Leeds University staying at the same time preferred the Games Room and television below the bar.

On the final morning we handed in our keys and bedding straight after breakfast and had just enough time for a group photograph taken by Anthony Clarke before setting off again in search of photographic opportunities in the area before making the trip home. Some of the members made another trip to Buttermere hoping for better light only to find the lake covered in mist. It was a photographers dream come true, plus The Fish Inn served a great steak.

A lot of thanks needs to go to Peter Watson and Les Pickstock for their hard work in arranging and organising this very enjoyable trip and the club will soon be working on its next organised trip to Malham Tarn Field Study Center in the Yorkshire Dales in late May 2016.