Rachel Cooper

I have been a club member for several years now and find I learn something whatever club event I attend. I enjoy the Studio Group evenings, and at home will photograph in the garden or when out and about with my woofers.

Apr 112017

Due to a no show from the booked judge we were lucky to have amongst our members present two stalwarts of the judging community, and luckily neither of them had entered both the print and dpi section so we appreciated them standing in.

As usual part one was the prints and Norman Carey the judge.

Norman was keen to say that being true to the subject was very important to his judging and although there were some strong images a few of them he felt were not quite capturing the weather ‘happening’.

It was a strong line-up nonetheless, as Norman ended up holding 10 images from the first critique, which was roughly half of them. After more deliberations the final line up was;

1st Peter Gafney
2nd Marilyn Peddle
3rd Tony Ward

After the break Peter Gafney took to the floor as judge, again he was very keen that the images should meet the brief. A similar number of images were forward, and Peter held 14 in the first instance – but obviously he had not had the opportunity to see the images prior to judging – I think this shows the advantage of judging prints as you can have a good look before the actual judging starts!

After narrowing the field down to 7 and then 5 the final positions were;

1st Stephanie Selwyn
2nd Judy Vowels
3rd Eric Langley

Many thanks to both judges for stepping in at a moments notice.

Mar 282017

At the start of Tony’s latest talk, Abandoned America, he gave us all a push about doing a personal project – Tony is sure everyone has the ability to produce one, and when you realise how many years it can take to complete one (although I do wonder if once you start, you would ever actually stop) I can see that it would focus your mind into a different mindset. ie taking photographs for yourself, rather than a judge.

Most of us are familiar with Tony’s work, he has spoken at the club several times, and it is always an inspiring night. On this occasion we were taken across the high plains of America, seeing desolate and abandoned home-steads, some stunning properties in their heyday but now just falling down because there is no-one willing to stay in the barren, lonely landscape. It all looks quite benign, but when Tony mentions going in to these properties making a noise to scare away the creatures, I was thinking rats and mice …. but no, Tony was meaning raccoon, skunk and rattle snakes! For this trip Tony and his wife were keen to travel when the weather would suit the mood of the surroundings, so 15 years after the initial project they returned hoping for cloud, rain and stormy skies, but equally intending to miss the tornado season.

As we would expect the images were stunning, the commentary amusing but also surprising, and thought provoking, when you realise those inhabitants just walked away, leaving personal possessions in the rooms and photographs on the walls, off to their new lives.

Mar 162017

Sorry for the late report, I was busy getting my exhibition entries ready and hoping that everyone else was busy doing the same!

With 27 prints and 21 dpi’s for judging, Peter gave us a comprehensive and diplomatic analysis of each image. In the print section a total of 3 10’s were awarded, however in the dpi’s only 1 image was worthy of the top mark.

There was an interesting range of subjects, as always, and I do like to see what people choose to photograph, I try to learn from the critiques of my own images but also learn from the comments given to other peoples’.

10’s – Malcolm Bowditch, Colin Cross, Ian Ferris
9.5’s – Stephanie Selwyn, Sally Chaloner, Malcolm Bowditch x2
9’s – Stephanie Selwyn, Rachel Cooper, Peter Watts

10 – Glynis Larter-Whitcher
9.5 – Jean Bartlett
9’s – Jean Bartlett x2, Pat Catley x2, Glynis Larter-Whitcher

Mar 052017

It is with regret that I have to report the outcome of the Wessex Cup, Men vs Ladies, annual competition.

After two years of success for the ladies, the men dug deep to gain a win, however, the women fought a good fight, winning the mono print section, and at half time it was one apiece with the men winning the colour print section.

After the break the judge, Rob Barron, was tasked with the projected images, awarding a good number of 10’s, although far too many were awarded to the men and not nearly enough to the ladies.

Final result:
Men 220
Ladies 212.5

It was a good night, with a strong set of images from both sides. Both picking panels would like to thank everyone for a good selection to choose from. It is no easy task choosing the entries and the ladies picking group would be very happy to delegate this task if anyone is up for the challenge, (however, no men should apply).

Malcolm Bowditch accepting the cup from Judge Rob Barron.

Malcolm Bowditch accepting the cup from Judge Rob Barron

Feb 112017

Sid Jones, a member of Dorchester Camera Club, was our judge on the night. He remarked how much he enjoyed visiting our club as we are so friendly!

Before commencing the job of critiquing the images Sid warned us that he was looking for really good composition, as he felt that digital cameras do such a lot of the work for us these days in regard of exposure etc.

There were 30 prints and 33 projected images for judging, and 10 were awarded the top score across the evening.

10’s – Stephanie Selwyn, Sally Chaloner, Marilyn Peddle, Eric Langley
9.5’s – Marilyn Peddle, Malcolm Bowditch
9’s – Stephanie Selwyn, Judy Vowles, Peter Gafney, Malcolm Bowditch, Ian Ferris

10’s – Glynis Larter-Whitcher x 3, Eric Langley, Graham Hutton, Jean Bartlett
9.5’s – Kevin Pearce, Jean Bartlett
9’s – Howard Westlake x 2, Jean Bartlett, Colin Whitelock, Graham Hutton

As the season progresses we are getting to see some distinct styles emerging from individual photographers. The standard is high, but it is those little touches that help make images stand out – whether it be a delicate stroke line around the projected images or cropping to give subjects more impact, Sid helped us to see what may improve an image.

Feb 072017

January has been an excellent month for guest speakers, but with the extremes in weather from freezing fog, to wind and rain, not every evening has been well supported by members.

Don Bishop attended early in the month, his talk entitled Light & Mood – UK Landscape Photography was a mixture of fantastic images of seascapes and landscapes with a commentary of useful information, Don was quite prepared to tell us how he set up the shots, what lens and filter combinations he used, and even the camera settings. We actually received a ‘masterclass’ without leaving the relative warmth of the clubhouse. I mention the temperature as Don’s talk started in Scotland, in the winter and the white sand, azure sea and clear blue sky made you think of warmer climes, but then you notice the snow capped mountains beyond and Don mentions the biting wind! We traversed the country seeing all the best bits of most regions of the UK, but it became apparent that planning and knowledge and a little bit of luck is what made these images special. Not only does Don produce a stunning landscape shot, his other love is to see steam trains in the countryside that he photographs, and his planning and vision in this direction is no less – we heard him casually mention that he arranged for an engine that is normally on the Bluebell Line to be taken to Wales, get repainted in its original colours, to be photographed on the actual line it originally worked, and in addition to that they were short of some carriages so they got them shipped down from Scotland. For those that missed the talk, Don has a shop in Taunton and has published 5 books so perhaps someone worth looking up.

Brian Pettit was next in the schedule, A Wildlife Year to Remember – 2015/16.
A different type of presentation, again all based in the UK, but this time the creatures within the land. Brian said the best thing we can do is learn patience, photographing wildlife is never boring as you will never see the same thing twice, however it is good to learn the behavioural patterns of the animal you are trying to photograph, then you can anticipate an image. 4 months of the year was spent capturing hare’s but whilst waiting (there is a lot of waiting) other things happen – a deer ambled by, only to return a few minutes later with it’s young fawn who had been safely stashed in the undergrowth; birds flew in and out and landed within a few feet; now I will add that Brian and his assistant Tim, are in full camouflage gear, but when the creatures they are photographing are coming in too close to use the big lenses it is obviously a step worth taking. The rest of the year was full of moths, butterflies, bugs, reptiles, rodents and more. It makes you realise how much there is to see, and that we often just walk on by.

Last week, Paul Sturgess returned to the club with a presentation entitled ‘A time to Reflect’
This time a slide show – and I mean actual slides – although Paul did say he was now taking his first steps into Digital! It was easy to see why he is a reluctant digital photographer when he achieves what he can ‘in camera’ there is a richness to the colours of the countryside on his slides.
Paul impressed on us the importance of not wasting your time – meaning plan what you want to photograph – pick the right time of day/year to get the shot that is in your mind – if you get up in the morning and want frost but its raining have a contingency plan – don’t waste your time going to that place you wanted to photograph the frost. I think because Paul is out walking so much he absorbs his surroundings and makes a note of what would make a good future image – when the conditions are right.
Paul used a play on the title words, showing us some lovely images of actual reflections – beautiful, still mill ponds with the surroundings mirrored on the surface, but another Time to Reflect was seeing images of times of old – Black & White images from around the region and their comparative view today. And the Time to Reflect of revisiting places previously photographed.

Three thoroughly enjoyable evenings, with three completely different presenting styles, images from around the UK and no-one duplicating an image or a story. What was apparent is that photographers are a diverse bunch, but all three of these speakers respect the countryside, consider other photographers and appreciate the land they are on.

Jan 152017

Yet again we had an abundance of styles and subjects for our Points Cup judge to critique this month. With 26 prints and 31 projected images to see, our Judge, Colin Gogerty, had plenty to talk about.

Titles were mentioned again, which makes me wonder how many clubs / competitions there are when titles aren’t given, not so long ago titles were optional at our club, but I do agree with all the judges that have mentioned it this season, it does give you an insight to what the photographer saw when they clicked the shutter. However, as Colin pointed out, relying on the title to pin-point the main subject of an image can mean the image isn’t strong enough.

Colin discussed cropping quite regularly throughout the evening, some cropped too tight and others not tight enough for his taste!

Top scorers on the night;

10 – Sally Chaloner, Ian Ferris, Graham Hutton
9.5 – Graham Hutton

10 – Gylnis Larter-Whitcher x 3, Jean Bartlett, Pat Catley
9.5 – Jean Bartlett
9 – Colin Whitelock, Judy Vowles