Meeting – 5

Bugle, bugle, bugle!!!

The “blue” competition winners are :-

In the artistic section Ian Duncan for his photo of blue embroidery.

In the technical section Monica for her photo of the boats.

In the Overall impression section Philippe Souchard for his boat and lobster pot photo.

We were really delighted with the thirteen entries all of which were of a very good standard, nobody got no points.
I would be glad of any feedback or suggestions re the competition, could everyone see the TV screen OK? we may have to consider the projector if there are problems though the screen is not very clear.
I think we will simplify the competition next time and everyone will simply mark the winner in each section rather than first second and third. I didn’t realise the number of permutations in doing what I did last time, 25 x 13 x 3 x 3 it took me two hours to work out the score!!, then I had to relate it back to the photos and work out who took what!

After the competition we moved on to looking at the menu on cameras. some parts of the menu are relatively obvious but other parts really take time to “get one’s head around”.
I went through the entire menu the best I could with much assistance from Philippe and other experienced members. This was in order to give an overall feel of it, as we move along through the coming sessions I would hope to pick on specific items on the menu, ISO, White balance, AF, etc. one at a time and practice with each item to see the specific results. This to be interspersed with photo shoots and any other aspects that members would like to cover, do give me feedback on this.

The venue for the next meeting is at the Jardine du Monde in Royan. this will provide some superb opportunities for photos in particular close up or Macro with the butterflies and also outdoor shots. This will provide the theme for the next competition.
There will be two sections “butterflies” and “a foreign garden” as the gardens are divided into various cultures. These will be subdivided as before into artistic value, technical aspects and overal impression.
I seem to remember that there is not a great deal of light in the butterfly house so you will need to think about this without blasting the insects!!
If you are not able to atend the next meeting you can still enter in either of the categories with a relevant photo. Judging will be as before and at the following meeting on the 18th of July.

I will update you all on uploading the photos.
Kind regards

Meeting – 4

Dear All,
We had an interesting meeting last week with about 20 people turning up.
Jean showed us his telescopes and photographic equipment with which he had taken some fascinating pictures of the stars. He also showed us a free downloadable programme which shows the names of all the stars and their positions at any chosen time or date. It has many other fascinating features.

I explained about some of the basics of Macro or close up photography including some of the problems.
One can include zoom in this category as one can zoom in from a distance to obtain close up shots, there is then macro and super macro on some cameras.
Initially with Macro one can set the camera to auto then click on the macro symbol which is usually a little flower whether it is a button or an item on the menu. Typically one can then get close to the subject down to about six inches. If you have super macro this allows you to get down to even a few millimetres from the subject.

That is the easy part, more difficult can be the lighting, often with small subjects one’s own shadow or that of the camera gets in the way. One has to try moving around, adding more light if possible or getting some reflected light using a piece of white paper etc, often the camera’s own flash is of very little help being behind the lens. Monica showed us a circular macro light which fits around the lens to help with this problem. At about £30 this may be a good investment if you are keen on this aspect of photography.

The second problem with macro is focus, the closer you are to the subject the shallower is the depth of focus to the point that the front and back of a fly can be out of focus while the middle is perfect! I showed an example of this.
We then went on to try out taking macro shots indoors and out, there were some good results one of which we then uploaded on to Windows live photo gallery and cropped to see the final effect.
In a few weeks we will go back to macro to look more closely at various aspects including manual focus.

The next session on the 20th will include the competition where we will all judge all the photos on originality, artistic value and technical proficiency. The subject is the colour “blue” anything you like, just keep in mind blue!!

PLEASE!!! send in your best pic to me

We didnt get to looking at the menus on our cameras last week so we will have a look at them as well. We may also have a general discussion on some of the problems with photography and areas that interest people. If we have time we may look at high shutter speed shooting producing some of the most amazing frozen shots.
Kind regards to all,

Meeting – 3


Well we had fifteen or so members to the last meeting which went off quite well. Philippe had prepared some photos to demonstrate the use of light when taking portrait photos. We were all pleased to see Yves looking so well in the photos.

I demonstrated the use of “windows live photo gallery” to save, file and improve poor photos, the gallery can turn mediocre photos into really quite good ones using the various colour tone, shade and cropping features. The feature can also create some very interesting special effects.

Philippe told us about the camera club that he belongs to and suggested that we run competitions.

Jean gave us useful advice on the setup of cameras.

Thanks to the girls for providing tea and coffee.

For the next meeting we will look at and experiment with macro or close up photography. We will also look at the menus on our cameras to better understand them. In addition to this Jean is going to bring some of his photos most of which are astronomical pictures, he will explain how he took them.

It would be very good if during this comming week people like me who are unfamilliar with Macro could dig out their instructions and take a few photos that we can discuss and debate the problems etc. If your instruction book went the way of most instruction books mostly unread macro on my camera is a button with a little flower! It may be on your menu. email the pics to me or brung your camera and we can upload them to have a look at them.

We have decided to run a monthly competition, everyone in the camera club and those interested in coming will submit at least one photo per month initially by email to me. We will then go through the photos on screen. I will provide everyone with a mark sheet so that we can all judge each photo by different criteria, originality, artistic value, technical expertise etc. marks will be out of 5.

We will all be on trust to put an agreed 3 against our own photo so that no one knows which is whose. That does mean that we will get at least 3 for our photo!!! Each “judge” will total their own sheet to speed the marking.

The theme for this month is the colour BLUE. Anything you like, not necessarily the colour of the photo, just the theme. Send these to me at before the meeting on the 13th of June.

See you all on the 30th of this month!


Meeting – 2

Hi Everyone,
I understand that the last meeting went well, John showed underwater photos and explained some of the complexities of taking such amazing shots.
Jean-Pierre stepped in and displayed facinating photos from his astronomical studdies and also showed some digital enhancement of photos. I really wish I had been there to see it!
Philippe answered questions on various photographic techniques and gave advice.

This comming week it has been decided that Philippe will show how best to do portrait and posed photos, Lots of oportunity for a camera club group shot which we dont as yet have!!!
I propose showing off the little I know about digital enhancement of photos showing not just what can be done but more importantly how to do it. I am sure there are those far more experienced than I am who will step in to expand on the subject!!

I think the informal programme with plenty of questions and off the cuff demonstrations or advice works well. As I have said before, it is important to bring your cameras and laptops if you have them in order that you can play with them as we go along and really get the feel of what can be done or in some cases what not to do!!

For the following week I have in mind that members may like to look at close up or Macro photography, this is certainly an area that interests me and I need to find out more about it. Most cameras have a macro facility. There is an amazing world of photos in any mundane object or site using this technique. Those with experience using it please come!!

A thought for the week, if you are taking pics try getting down on the ground, OK it gets harder but we can do it!!! The view from the ground level gives a great depth of field to the shots and a very different result.
kind regards

Meeting – April 19 2011

We had a fine first full meeting with Philippe showing us the basic structure of a camera then moving on to some techniques which he will enlarge upon next time.
It is so usefull comparing cameras and ideas and practising with the various settings.
We will use a projector/screen next time to better show what is being discussed.

As before it is important that we all bring our cameras and I think it would be good if we could find a way of showing a few of each persons photos on the screen from time to time. These should not be a great list of holiday snaps but photos that one is pleased with perhaps because of the technique used or the situation, poor light, night time without a flash, under water, long exposure or that they are well composed which is an area we must work on. Clearly there are those amongst us who will be way ahead and can give inspiration.

If you have a few, even one photo that you would like put on the screen for debate or lots of exclamations send it to me , or to John.
Unfortunatly England calls and I cant make the next meeting but will forward them and see you the following meeting.

I am concerned that we may loose a few people who perhaps feel that some of it is over their head or that they only have a standard pocket digital. Firstly it is staggering what some of these little even tiny digitals can do and the range of programmes hidden away on their menues.
Amazing photos can be taken with the right techniques and composition.
We will in due course be working on menues to fully understand them and be able to profit from them.

I think we should try and rotate English / French leaders possibly even half way through a meeting, some of the technical terms can be a struggle and one looses the thread and gets tired.

If there are those amongst us who have particular areas of expertise or experience that they would be happy to talk about or if there are others not actually members who could be brought in please let me or John know so that we can sort a programme. For example Richard said that he would be pleased to suggest how to plan a photograph.

For those of us less experienced I believe the best advice is have the camera with you at all possible times and keep using it, it amazingly costs nothing these days. Dump the photos on to the computer or TV and critisize them to see if you can do better. Pocket cameras are ideal for this.

My apologies for not transating this but if anyone cares to translate the bones…

Thanks to Philippe for speaking, Alain for translating and coffee and biscuits and Monica for sorting the venue,

Kind regards