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.

May 122017

We welcomed back popular speaker David Boag, and with his inimitable style we were taken through the concept of where being creative needs to start – in the camera – not the editing software.

We have all witnessed the technically perfect image being scored lower than one less technically correct, but as David pointed out being ‘perfect’ can be pretty boring and repetitive to the viewer. Being creative is what separates a good photograph from a captivating one.

As always we were shown many images of David’s, and given many tips to stay out of the ‘boring’ zone, he felt that wild animals need space to breathe and be free, we as photographers need to be persistent – stop making up excuses not to capture creatively.

It was also pointed out that these days with digital cameras, photography actually isn’t difficult, we need to get re-enthused, we know to use the rule of thirds, have a good foreground etc, but the first most creative decision we make is our choice of lens – don’t always use the typical lens for the type of image and to get you thinking before clicking the shutter take 3 different images of the same subject – a good way to practice being creative.

As anticipated a motivating evening, David is always exhausting to watch and listen to.

May 122017

Well here we are again at the final points cup competition of the camera club year. To kick the evening off the shields and certificates were awarded to the set subject ‘Weather’ winners. Print was won by Peter Gafney and the DPI’s Stephanie Selwyn.

As last month the number of prints was down to 15 entries and slightly more for the projected images 24. Our judge this month was Sue Sibley we had an idea what her judging style would be as she has given a talk at the club before. She took and artistic, detail and colour related stance to judging.

At the end of the evening the scores were added up for the whole season and cups were awarded to the overall winners in Colour prints, Mono Prints and DPI’s.

Final scores followed by overall winners in each section:
10 points – Sally Chaloner, Marilyn Peddle
9.5 points – Stephanie Selwyn, Marilyn Peddle

10 points – Glynis Larter-Whitcher x 2
9.5 points – Jean Bartlett, Glynis Larter-Whitcher, Eric Langley

Colour Prints

1st Ian Ferris with 57.5, 2nd Marilyn Peddle with 53.5, 3rd Stephanie Selwyn with 52.5

Points cup for Colour prints winner Ian Ferris.

Mono Prints

1st Marilyn Peddle with 54.5, Stephanie Selwyn with 53.5, Rachel Cooper with 51.5

Points cup for Monochrome prints winner Marilyn Peddle

Points cup for Monochrome prints winner Marilyn Peddle


1st Glynis Larter-Whitcher with 60, 2nd Jean Bartlett with 59.5, Pat Catley with 54

Points cup for DPI's winner Glynis Larter-Whitcher

Points cup for DPI’s winner Glynis Larter-Whitcher

Well done to all, get out and take lots of photos during the summer break ready for next season.
Stephanie Selwyn

Apr 272017

We welcomed Edward Parker back as our guest speaker, with a very different talk from last time – then it was all about trees, but on this occasion it was people.

Edward has led a varied life but currently is Trust Manager at Springhead Estate, hence his love of plants and trees. However, on this occasion we learnt a little about his life as a photo journlist, working on projects as diverse as WWF and Vogue. What we learnt is that both projects actually involve photographing people and the skill is how to do it in a way relevant to the ‘story’ being told.

Being a photojournalist is not without its hazards – whether it be trying to capture a model drinking cocktails, who is intent on consuming them prior to the shoot being over, or trying to photograph some stunning sand dunes being lit by some interesting side light – that actually turns out to be on some important border crossing and you and your pupils end up surrounded by armed police that only speak Spanish.

Back to the People & Portraits, composition is spoken about in any genre of photography and using 1/3’s is key to making a stronger image and allowing the foreground and background to blur out of focus also works in portraiture.

After seeing many images throughout the evening some posed, some candid and some reportage style, it became apparent that Edward has learnt the skill of dealing with the people as well as the photography, we were given many tips to try out according to the environment, whether it be too much sun or low light or poor backgrounds. And we were urged to be bold – ask interesting people if they mind be photographed. Essentially, we have no excuse for not giving it a go, difficult situations can be got around with a little bit of thought (although I may not try photographing where people are armed).

I think this was my favourite talk by Edward and hopefully I will retain some of his tips in my memory.

Eric took the opportunity to book us in for a visit to Springhead in the summer and Edward generously has offered to be on hand to help.

Apr 272017

As usually seems to happen this end of the season, entries were down slightly in the monthly points cup competition. Which on the one hand gives the judge a little more time on each image, but I do like to see full boards when we walk in.

Paul Thackery was our judge and with 17 prints forward he had time to give a good appraisal of each. In the projected section there were 22 entries so a comfortable evening of judging.

Final scores:

10 points – Sally Chaloner, Marilyn Peddle
9.5 points – Malcolm Bowditch, Sally Chaloner
9 points – Stephanie Selwyn, Rachel Cooper, Malcolm Bowditch

10 points – Jean Bartlett, Glynis Larter-Whitcher
9.5 points – Jean Bartlett, Glynis Larter-Whitcher
9 points – Jean Bartlett, Glynis Larter-Whitcher

I see a theme here!

Well done to all, all to play for next month!

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
Set Subject winner for prints - Peter Gafney

Set Subject winner for prints – Peter Gafney for ‘Frosty Holly horse’

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 Vowles
  • 3rd Eric Langley
Set Subject Winner for PDI's - Stephanie Selwyn LRPS

Set Subject Winner for PDI’s – Stephanie Selwyn LRPS for ‘Freezing Fog melting’

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