Dateline 25 August 2014 


Photo Club de Brunoy, France

Apologies to John and Steven for omitting the pictures that they provided to illustrate their article that was published in the previous Newsletter. These are shown below.




Skittles Match – 17 June – Surrey Oaks – Organised by Jill Flower


We had our third annual skittles night in June. This is held in the Surrey Oaks Pub in Parkgate. The pub has a dedicated skittles hall where they served us a buffet meal. There were 15 people attending this year and we all had a good time. As before we split into teams decided by drawing lots which gave some interesting groupings. Cass's partner took over the scoring as I could not reach the top of the board and a number of us kept fit standing up the skittles! There were some notably high scores, mainly from some of our female members. It was a relaxed and fun evening which hopefully will be repeated next year.





Visit to Chauffeur’s Flat, Tandridge - 21 June 2014 – Organised by Carol Hicks

Report by Carol Hicks


On a sunny mid-summer’s morning about a dozen RPS members couldn’t have asked for a more enthusiastic welcome by Mr and Mrs Richins, owners and designers of what is surely one of England’s most unusual gardens. Quirky is the only word to describe the surprises and delights at every turn. Amongst the plants, climbers, shrubs, hedges, trees, pots and ponds are crazy and fascinating sculptures from recycled material, created by Mrs Richins and executed by her husband. From mirrors to knives and forks embedded in a tiled table, rusty screws welded into uncurling fern fronds, heads, mirrors, and fountains, you just never know what to expect as you work your way up the different levels of their sloping garden. Near the top is a magical house enclosing a tiny child’s shop opening out of a cupboard-like structure, while nearby a white spiral staircase rises to the sky among climbing roses, offering views over the Weald and the house and garden. It is unique, fascinating, unforgettable, and a photographer’s challenge and paradise.



Cycle Event in Priory Park – 20 July 2014


Amongst the many events that have taken place during our summer break was one in Priory Park. There were many attractions, but one which caught the eye of Ian Hunt and myself featured some cycle stunt riders. Ian was asked by the Surrey Mirror to supply some photographs of this event – he is fast becoming an official (unpaid !!) photographer for the paper. Two of his photographs are published below, plus one of mine that illustrates the advantage of a Nikon with direct finder versus my pocket camera reliant on framing with the rear screen in bright sunlight!



Garden Party - 27 July 2014 – Hosted by Sue and John Gall



Once again the annual event was blessed with warm, sunny weather. Members gathered in the spacious garden running for considerable length at the rear of the house. Although it was not needed a large marquee had been erected that sheltered two long tables where we assembled. Refreshing cool drinks or tea were on offer as we arrived. Then there was a choice of sandwiches and snacks, followed by a delicious selection of home-made cakes, produced by Sue who had been busy in the kitchen. To cap it all, and to ruin any good intentions about counting calories (!), scones with jam and cream followed.

We spent a very pleasant afternoon and early evening in these peaceful surroundings. This was a very relaxed event with plenty of time for social chat – hardly any of it to do with cameras or photography! Our thanks to Sue, especially for the delicious cakes, and to John for hosting the event.


Big Gun from Canon


One of the largest interchangeable lenses ever produced for an SLR camera is for sale second-hand by a UK retailer. Canon's massive EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM is a rare beast, and the longest lens in the world with autofocus. MPB Photographic describes it as being in mint condition and is offering it at a price of £99,000.

The lens was in production for a limited time in the '90s. It is not known exactly how many copies are in existence, but it is estimated at around 20. The lens weighs 16.5kg / 36.3 lbs, and provides an angle of view of only 2.5°. It features two fluorite elements and a ten-bladed aperture.


A more sensible alternative would be the Canon SX50 HS bridge camera that boasts a zoom lens spanning an equivalent range of 24 – 1200mm (50x). This is lighter on your pocket in two ways – weighing in at a comparatively featherwight 551 grams and currently on offer at prices in the region of £320 !


Nikon SVC QV camera

Peter Flower


I recently came across a copy of 'Vision' (the Society's newsletter) dated March 1991. The cover picture was a hand-drawn image by myself of a Nikon SVC QV digital camera. This is shown below -


It should be explained that the newsletter was printed by offset litho at the London Country Bus print room and that it was difficult to include genuine photographs, hence the hand-drawing. (An exception were the photographs used to illustrate the article on China – mentioned in a previous newsletter – but the versions actually printed were of even lower quality than those shown on the web)

The 'Cover Story' that I wrote explaining the picture is interesting.

'Technology advances fast, and the world of photography is being affected every bit as much as the more obvious electronic one of computers. We have featured cameras in previous editions which incorporate an array of electronic aids, such as automatic focus, exposure control, film speed sensing, electronic flash metering (by light reflected from the film surface, even!), and many other detailed features too numerous to mention. The real revolution, however, has yet to hit the amateur photographer – but it is already in regular use by the professionals of 'Fleet Street'. I refer to the technology which does away with film in cameras, replaced by the CCD (Charge Coupled Device) – a sensitive recording cell – which can capture and transmit images to a magnetic diskette. Quite apart from the advantage that this storage medium is reusable, the capture of an image in digital form means that it can be transmitted (without prior development as well!) by telephone or satellite communication from any location back to the news-desk. The advantage of this to the picture editor, working to a tight publication deadline, is enormous. In addition, the fact that many newspapers now use electronic technology to input text, and create page layouts, lends itself to the incorporation of photographic images originating from the same technology. Inevitably there is a price to pay. As an example – the Nikon SVC camera costs £2,400, an 11-120mm zoom lens £2,665, the transmitter/player £6,400, and so on. A total kit might cost over £15,000.'

Key Features of the camera -

SLR-type monochrome electronic still video camera

Nikon QV mount (QV Nikkor 10-40mm f/1.4 and 11-120mm f/2 lenses)

2/3-in. 380,000-pixel monochrome CCD

ISO equivalent 400/800/1,600 sensitivity

FM recording standard recommended by ESCC

VF-10 video floppy disk (2” - capable of recording 25 or 50 images)

What I found interesting is that surprisingly fast ISO speeds are available, given this relatively early stage of development. The first amateur cameras had much lower limits. Although there were a variety of other cameras available earlier it is probably fairest to compare this with the Casio QV-300 of 1996. This took a 640 x 480 pixel image, saved onto internal memory. The ISO speed was 120.

A photograph of the camera is shown below, looking very similar to the image on which I would have based my drawing -


Electronic Flash Metering


In the previous article mention was made of some of the advances that electronics brought to camera control, including more convenient flash metering. It should be remembered that flash exposures were originally calculated manually from the 'flash factor' number for a specific flash gun. For example a flash factor number of 100 would enable an exposure at f/8 for a subject just over 12 feet away. (8 x 12 = 96, accurate enough) Alternatively, opening the aperture up to f/4 would cope with a subject 25 feet away. Things became easier when flash guns came equipped with inbuilt metering systems. However, the ultimate goal had to be a system whereby the camera controlled the amount of flash. This is what the Olympus OM-2 film camera did when it was introduced in 1975. Any camera could obviously measure the ambient light before the mirror flipped up but could not meter the flash at exposure time. The OM-2 overcame this by an ingenious system called TTL OTF (Through The Lens, Off The Film Plane). When the shutter opened the amount of light reflected from the shiny surface of the film was used to control the output from a dedicated flashgun.

Anyone interested in more details about this advanced system for its time can find it at the following link -


Surprise call from down-under

Peter Flower

A couple of weeks ago I received a phone call that showed up as 'International' on the phone display. This is normally a trigger for me to go into Victor Meldrew mode or even to be downright abusive – very often in response to some person from the Indian continent purporting to be from 'Windows' and telling me that my PC is in great danger, or someone telling me that I am missing out on a golden opportunity to get free loft insulation or replacement gas boiler (I'm all-electric) solar panels and double glazing at bargain prices. Fortunately I kept my cool and the person at the other end announced himself as 'Dave'. Dave who? It turned out to be David Thorpe phoning from his home in Sydney.

The name will not mean anything to members who have joined in the past ten to eleven years but he will be fondly remembered by his contemporaries. After retirement Dave and his wife sold their house at Lonesome Lane and followed their son out to Australia where he was already resident.

In addition to knowing Dave through the photographic society I also worked with him over a long period of time in the offices of London Country Bus in Lesbourne Road. At that time he was the deputy payrolls officer and ultimately promoted to head the department. Dave brought his accounting experience to the society and was on the committee as treasurer for countless years. However, he will be best remembered for the quality of his photography and the punchy black and white prints that he produced. Over the years he produced a variety of images that ranged across a number of different subjects – but always readily identifiable to him. Subjects included motor racing, visits to Epsom Downs (where he photographed the 'characters' such as bookies, tic-tac men and punters), and general street photography. Most memorably he made several visits 'up North' where he captured images of industrial decline and run-down neighbourhoods with their cobbled streets and bleak terraced buildings.

We keep in touch on an occasional basis and I know that he retains an interest in the society's activities through the newsletters. I keep trying to recruit him as our Australia correspondent, but so far without any luck! Anyway, it was so nice to get this surprise call and I hope that this brief article will recall happy memories of him for the members who knew him.


More than meerkats


In Newsletter No. 60 we published an amusing photograph by Will Burrard-Lucas in close encounter with a meerkat and pointed you to his blog site. I have now seen details of his Beetlecam which he uses to photograph a range of wild animals. The following link will take you to the video and general information -

There is also interesting information about another project – Beetlecopter – that has been used to take some stunning aerial photographs in the Serengeti -

And finally . . .

Staying on the wild life theme -

Giving a new meaning to 'Watch the birdie'!