Dateline 5 December 2014

 

 

Match the PDI – Reigate PS versus Dorking CC – 10 November 2014 – judged by Rachel Talibart

Report by Peter Flower

In the past it was not unusual for there to be fairly regular inter-club competitions referred to as 'Match-a-slide'. This would involve two or three clubs meeting on an evening with multiple screens and projectors. Each club team would have a selection of, say, 60 colour slides. They would take it in turn to project a selected image and the other clubs would try to match the image, in subject matter, colour or imagery that was similar. Marks were awarded for matching the original image and for the best image. The teams take it in order to present the first image.

This time the competition was adapted to feature the projection of digital images, with just Dorking and ourselves competing. The process was quite complex because the opposing teams had to operate two laptop computers, with one showing the complete set of available images in thumb-nail form and the other connected to the projector to show the chosen image. Our team, who had selected the images, comprised Carol Hicks and Mike Weekes choosing from the thumb-nails and with Ray Algar at the controls of projection. Marion Gatland kept the scores for our team.

The strategy for winning is quite difficult. Hopefully the images will be of high quality but this is no good if the variety of subject matter does not enable you to match that of the other team. There is also the added complication towards the end of the session of having a much smaller choice of image variety to match that of the opposition. This is when the teams have to use their most persuasive efforts to convince the judge that a match has been achieved!

The good-humoured judging by Rachel resulted in the battle going to and fro, with plenty of audience participation and comments from members when their image was deemed not to match or not be the best image. In the end the final score was 56 to 51 in favour of Dorking.

This was a highly enjoyable evening and, hopefully, one which will be repeated in future programmes.

A story from the past – many years ago there was a three-club 'Match-a-slide' competition involving the use of colour slides. At the final round before the refreshments break a club put up a slide of a London Transport red Routemaster bus. Almost immediately, to a gasp of astonishment from the audience, the other two teams put up almost identical images of Routemaster buses. Obviously, a complete match!! It seemed totally impossible for this to happen. Then the reason was explained by the judge. Entering into the spirit of fun for the occasion he had brought the three almost identical slides with him. He distributed them, one to each team, with instructions that they should display them simultaneously on a command from him. The trigger would be his comment “Well, this will be the last round before the tea break”! There was a huge roar of laughter from the audience when the subterfuge was explained.

 

Don Morley - Leica Fellowship Awards

Peter Flower

Most members will know that Don, in addition to his distinguished career as a professional photographer, has been a long-time enthusiastic owner and user of Leica cameras. Although he used a widely varied range of equipment during his journalistic career, including Olympus, Canon and Rolleiflexes (to name but a few), his main love has been for Leica equipment. He valued the quality engineering, robust build and, above all, the excellent optical quality of Leica lenses.

As a result of this enthusiasm he has been a member of the Leica Fellowship for a very long time. Membership of this group was originally restricted to Leica owners who had attended the company training school, which was likely to include mainly professional photographers. These rules have since been relaxed, but membership will still be composed of enthusiastic and generally long-term Leica owners. There are two fellowship meetings each year, mostly in the UK but sometimes in Germany where a visit to the factory is arranged. Although the membership is greater, attendance at these events tends to be about 100 to 150. They take over a hotel, normally over the weekend for three days, but sometimes more.

In addition to other activities these meetings are the point at which results are announced for a series of competitions in categories such as natural history, colour, mono and photojournalism. Don has won many awards in previous years, but has triumphed particularly well at the last meeting. He was awarded The Leica Fellowship 'Oskar Barnack M6 Award' again (having won it before in 2005) for his photojournalism pictures this year. He also won the colour slide & PDI championship awards, plus 'The Founders Silver Salver' which is awarded for the overall best picture of the year. Don now has an impressive array of silverware to display (although he also has to arrange for his own engraving!) together with yet more certificates to add to the extensive collection displayed in his 'office'.

Just three of Don's pictures that were involved in his competition entries are shown below.

The street theatre guy taken outside Kings Cross Station was called 'Sykes' , the baby picture - 'An eye on the future' and the final shot was called 'Modern Times' and this picture also won The Colour Award on its own.

Images are © copyright of Don Morley

Below is an image of the impressive collection of Don's recent awards

 

How to make digital AV's – 17 November 2014 - Len Deeley FRPS

Report by Peter Flower

Len is a familiar visitor, having given us several talks before. His last visit was in March 2014 when he talked about his diving experiences and making audio-visual presentations. This was reported in Newsletter No. 59.

He has been diving since 1970 and started serious underwater photography in 1980, originally with film cameras. In the early 80's he saw an audio visual presentation of an expedition to Norway and was totally knocked out by the power of the medium. Before long he had his own AV equipment and now enjoys bringing together three of his delights, photography, diving and music.

Over the years he has won many photographic distinctions, too numerous to mention.

He regularly organizes diving trips for underwater photographers to locations worldwide, such as Red Sea, Indonesia, French Polynesia, Galapagos, Cocos Islands, South Africa, Mozambique, Philippines, Cuba, etc.

His talk interspersed advice about the process of creating digital AVs with examples of some that he had created. As he explained, although his early work had been done on film his current audio visuals, which include underwater sequences, are now totally digital. In terms of software to create his AVs Len said that he used PicturesToExe, available from WnSoft.com. There are other software options available but most of the serious AV workers now use PicturesToExe. (Refer to Note below)

In order to show the results that can be achieved Len showed an AV that had won two awards. 'A Compassionate Man' used as its subject George Frederic Watts, a popular English Victorian painter and sculptor associated with the Symbolist movement. Watts became famous in his lifetime for his allegorical works and portraiture. Watts has the distinction of having a gallery totally dedicated to his work. This is the Watts Gallery, at Compton, near Guildford. I found a very interesting web site that includes a Google interactive tour of the gallery. This is at -

 

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Watts+Gallery/@51.2213879,-0.628804,3a,75y,77.2h,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sDWzHtsKxWwhdkdKVf6MSRg!2e0!3e2!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x8ff346fef2da381!6m1!1e1

 

Len explained the process that he adopted. In order to create an AV he wanted to combine images with appropriate background music and commentary. He would normally prepare a script for the dialogue and ensure that all the images and audio elements were assembled in a common directory folder. He would edit all of the images beforehand to ensure that they conformed to the same picture ratio. Background music would be chosen to match the mood of the AV theme. In respect of dialogue, he would also try to choose someone with a voice that was appropriate to the subject matter. This was well illustrated by the sombre voice that accompanied the AV 'From Unquiet Graves'. The subject was Sedlac Ossuary, Prague, which can best be illustrated by the following images, similar to those included in Len's AV that he showed.

Images from the internet

Whilst the editing of images would be done in Photoshop or some similar program the preparatory work on audio was done with Adobe Audition. This was his preferred application, although he did mention that free software called 'Audacity' could be used for this purpose. It was explained that this software was used to correct the sound beforehand but that sound levels would be done during the editing in PicturesToEXE. As an example, it would be necessary to lower the background music when dialogue was introduced.

The typical compilation process of the AV was fairly simple, with visual images placed along one timeline, music in a second and dialogue in a third. A simple fade between pictures gave a smooth transition although all sorts of more complex transitions were available. Whilst many of these gave impressive results it was generally advisable to avoid too much use of these.

As a further illustration of the capability of the latest generation of software to create AVs Len then showed 'Expedition Djibouti'. This recently won the Keith Hunt Trophy. The subject was a visit to Djibouti to swim with whale sharks, the largest fish in the sea. The quality of this AV can best be illustrated by just a few of the images that were used in it.

 

Images – Whale Sharks; Orange-faced Butterfly Fish and Arabian Angelfish

What I find most impressive about these images is the quality of the light. Anyone who has watched Len's AVs in the past will remember his comments about the way in which depth affects the light spectrum. This often requires the use of flash to provide true colours. However, in the case of these sharks swimming close to the surface are shown perfectly.

Another interesting AV was 'Hebridean Journey'. This documented a visit to the Outer Hebrides and the Isle of May. Some of his images are shown below.

Images – The Cloister, Iona Abbey; Fingal's Cave, Staffa; Puffin Landing, Isle of May; Dive Boat at Staffa

Images in this article except where indicated are © copyright of Len Deeley

Finally, Len showed an earlier example of his work, a personal record of a visit to India, entitled 'The Golden Triangle And Beyond'. This gave an indication of the way in which his AV techniques, and the software capabilities, have improved.

Len's talk included some very entertaining AVs as well guidance on what could be achieved with the latest versions of software. There is no doubt that these have improved dramatically in recent years. There are not many who do this sort of work but perhaps having seen the results that can be achieved some might be encouraged to take it up.

Note: In March 2010 three members of the AV Group of Alton Camera Club gave a presentation on the techniques involved in preparing AV digital projections, as well as showing some of their resulting work.They mentioned two particular pieces of software that could be used. These were WNSoft's PicturesToExe and Photodex Pro Show Gold. The latter was their favoured software product and was used for the preparation of their AV sequences that they showed during the evening. They also mentioned a sound editing product called Audacity, which was used to prepare soundtrack music or commentary.

For many years I have been using video editing software. This is principally used to edit video but can also incorporate still images, so could also be used to create AVs. As a result of their visit I decided to experiment with a free trial version of Photodex. I have to say that I found the process very frustrating and limiting. However, I have looked at product information on the web and it would seem that it is now much improved.

Photographic Display in the Community Centre

PF

On 17th November a new display of members' photographs was mounted in Reigate Community Centre. The photographs are on show along the corridor to the left of the Hub cafe, with just a few more at the top of the staircase.

Exhibition at the Harlequin Theatre, Redhill

John Gall

One again we have refreshed our exhibit in the Woolsack/ Tanners room at The

Harlequin Theatre, Redhill. The following prints have now gone on display:

Foraging Bees by Colin Hodsdon

Watching by Les Dyson

Russian Lavochkin by Dave Lyon

No 35028 Clan Line by Tony Peacock

Seeing Blue by Carol Hicks

Nothing Allowed by Dave Lyon

A Wet Day on the Run by Jill Flower

St Pauls and Millenium Bridge by Colin Sherlock

Chain Gang by Les Dyson

Shafts of Light by Jackie Martin

Cut-E-Sark by Carol Hicks

Ghost of a Barge by Dave Lyon

Bar Tailed Godwit by Marion Gatland

Crown by Modesto Vega

 

Chatham Challenge reminder – 15 December 2014

Peter Flower

The 2014 event, organised by Jill Flower, was held on the 4th May. It was slightly unusual in that the venue in London covered three market locations – Columbia Road flower market, Brick Lane and Spitalfields. It was also special in that the 15 contestants taking part were accompanied by a similar number of Lego people. In two out of the twelve images that were required it was necessary to show the Lego people enjoying their day out and doing something adventurous.

As the person responsible for collating the entries, prior to handing them over to Jill for judgement, I was in the privileged position of having a sneak preview to see just how much the Lego people enjoyed their day out. I can assure you that they got up to all sorts of adventures during the day !! This is recommended viewing. Below is an image that (in the true 'Blue Peter' tradition) was taken by me earlier.

Members are reminded that in addition to the showing of all the images taken on the day, and announcement of the winner, it is traditional for us to take along buffet-style food to enjoy in the second half of the evening. This is the ideal way to close the 2014 half of the programme events and get into the festive mood.

Panasonic DMC-CM1

Techman

In Newsletter 63 (where you can find details of the specification) we reported on the introduction of this new model at Photokina. Initially it was the intention of Panasonic to restrict sales to France and Germany. However, due to reportedly high demand it has been decided to allow a limited number of UK stores to stock it. The device is being marketed as a camera with smartphone technology, rather than a smartphone with a camera. Due to this it will be sold through stores that are principally camera dealers rather than purely smartphone retailers. Subject to final confirmation the following outlets will stock it from 1 December 2014.

Jessops, Oxford St, London.

Dixons, Harrods, London

Wilkinson Cameras, Liverpool

Park Cameras, Burgess Hill,

Panasonic Store, Plymouth

John Lewis, Edinburgh

Dixons Travel, Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5

It is reported that the purchase price may be almost £900. It will be interesting to see the reaction to this camera/phone hybrid that offers high quality photographs in a pocketable form. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom smartphone offers a 10x zoom lens combined with a much smaller sensor for a price below £300.

Images of the Panasonic DMC-CM1 and Samsung Galaxy K Zoom are shown below.

 Panasonic CM1 and Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

 

Sony Alpha7 II, the World’s First Full-Frame Camera with 5-Axis Image Stabilization

Techman

In Newsletter 64 there was an item about the pricing of the current Sony Alpha 7. There is now news of a replacement, the Mark 2 version, with further important improvements to the specification.

 

The innovative 5-axis image stabilization on the new α7 II detects and corrects camera shake along five axes during shooting, including angular shake (pitch and yaw) that tends to occur with a telephoto lens, shift shake (X and Y axes) which becomes noticeable as magnification increases, and rotational shake (roll) that often affects shots at night or when recording video. The 24.3 MP full frame sensor moves to accommodate all of these types of shake, with stabilization equivalent to up to 4.5 steps faster shutter speed of correction. The 5-axis stabilisation works with Sony lenses with optical steady shot (OSS) to provide maximum stabilisation and clarity. It also performs well with Sony α A-mount lenses and third party lenses without in-built stabilisation. Effects of the stabilisation can be previewed via live-view on the LCD or OLED viewfinder of the camera.

The camera also provides fast and accurate autofocus with its Hybrid AF feature. It employs a 117-point focal plane phase detection AF sensor with 25 contrast detection AF points, with approximately 30% faster AF responsiveness and 1.5 times more accurate subject tracking than the original α7 model thanks to a series of new algorithms for detecting subject distance and predicting motion. Additionally, AF and now automatic exposure (AE) is provided while tracking subjects during high-speed continuous shooting at up to 5 fps.

If you would like to see the capability of the image stabilisation there is a video example on the following site -

 

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/sony-alpha-a7-ii-announced-in-japan-26530

  

Lomography Lomo’Instant Camera

Techman

In Newsletter 64 I reported on the Polaroid Socialmatic camera that was expected to be launched shortly. This has a new competitor in the 'instant print' camera category. I quote from their announcement on the web -

'Lomography introduces their latest instant photography camera via a Kickstarter campaign in the form of the Lomo’Instant. Features include a built-in wide-angle lens with 0.4m closest focusing distance, with fisheye and portrait lenses available as additional attachments. Auto-flash and manual shooting modes are available as are unlimited multiple exposures. Infinite long exposures are included for low-light and nighttime shooting. Colour gels allow for makeshift colour filters while two-step focusing results in quick, spontaneous shooting. The Lomo’Instant uses Fujifilm’s Instax Mini Film and is expected to ship in November 2014.'

Models have already been tested by internet reviewers. Judging by their comments users should not expect top quality images! They will probably be much like those produced from their existing models that use film.

Images of the camera are shown below -

 

Hasselblad Stellar 2

Techman

In that same Newsletter I also reported on the Hasselblad Stellar and the closure of its Treviso design centre in northern Italy. It would seem that the staff there had one last laugh before they departed. This comes in the form of the Stellar II. This is how it is announced on the Hasselblad web site -

 

Michele Channer, Hasselblad's International Sales Director announced it in these words -

"Stellar II is a unique object of desire. It blends eye-catching beauty with exceptional performance and comes with the latest tech innovations. The new 20.2 megapixel Wi-Fi model, which can capture outstanding images in almost any light, comes with an option of four different grip finishes: olive wood; walnut; padouk and carbon fibre - and of course Zeiss lenses; HD 1080/60p video and a 3.6 x optical zoom capability are all standard on the Stellar II."

 

What you have in fact is a rebadged Sony camera. In this case the RX100 II (Introduced in June 2013) which has already been superceded by the RX100 III, introduced in May 2014.

Young Photographer's Competition - December 2014 - judged by Don Morley

Report by Peter Flower

This is the third year in which our society has invited young people to compete in a photographic competition specifically for them. The iniative for this event came from John Gall who was at that time chairman of the society. In the first year it was open to a number of local schools. In the second year it was opened up to include members of some youth groups and young people who had participated in the YMCA-sponsored Young East Surrey 'Express Yourself' photographic scheme. Jill Flower had been involved in this project. We have been very fortunate in having the entries judged by Don Morley who has provided very appreciative and encouraging comments on the images submitted by the young people.

On the evening we were happy to welcome a number of the young people who had participated in this event, together with family, friends and teachers. The theme for this year's competition was 'movement' and as the photographs were projected we witnessed a wide variety of images that matched this theme. Amongst these were youngsters jumping off a climbing frame, down steps and doing acrobatics, pigeons taking flight, running water, both from a tap and in a stream, and someone blowing bubbles. There were two classes, based on age. Don commented on all the entries in each class before revealing the honourable mentions and three-to-one winners. It was a pleasure to see such a range of quality images and the refreshingly different ideas that young minds brought to the creation of their photographs.

The winning entries are shown after the following comments which come from Don Morley who carried out the judging. As can be seen from his record listed at the end there is no one better qualified, or whose opinions are more respected.

The Reigate PS schools competition has become very special to me over the three years it has been running. It has been my privilege to sit in judgement on these wonderful young peoples' pictorial results, and not least so because year upon year I have never once failed to be amazed by the versatility, imagination, and sheer latent talent shining out from these pictures.

In my opinion everyone of them is a winner and, believe me, arriving at my favourite few has always been a far, far harder task for me than it has ever been when judging many major Professional photographic competitions. Indeed I hold the opinion that some of the Reigate PS Schools entry pictures year on year actually eclipse some of the entries I see and sit in judgment upon from adult photographers at a far, far, higher level.

 One of THE main judging criteria for me incidentally, and at whatever level of expertise or competition I am judging, is to ask myself 'Do I wish I had taken it?' Believe me, I would have just loved to have taken more than a few of these wonderfully imaginative pictures. Long may this competition continue.

Don Morley.

Three times Motoring Photographer Of The Year; former UK and International Sports Photographer of The Year; winner of numerous other National and International Photographic awards etc etc. Also author of 24 books including several on photography.

 

Category – Years 7 to 9. Winner – Fly, James T; Second – Running Water, Rachel Jung; Third – Pool Table, Jess McKay



Category – Years 10 to 11. Winner – Blowing Bubbles, Sophie Marie; Second – Oxted At Night, Sam Tamplin; Third – Jumping, Christina Ward


Unfortunately a number of the winners were unable to attend but we show two of the winning presentations -

  

After the break Charlotte Simmons of Robert Leech, estate agents, made a brief announcement about the photographic competition that the company is running. It has offices in Reigate, Lingfield and Oxted and aims to attract photographic images of those local areas that can be used in a calendar. There are different themes as shown -

Seasons - Closing date 14 March

Architecture and Around The Home - Closing date 30 May

High Days & Holidays - Closing date 15 August

Flora, Fauna and Fur - Closing date 31 October

We were also informed that the winner of their previous Local Street Scene inspired photographic competition was Ian Hunt with his image of the Quadrant in Redhill. To quote from the Robert Leech announcement -

'Reigate Photographer Jo Hughes who runs Captive Photo was our independent judge, selected this image as it grabs you visually immediately as its an interesting capture. It has good leading lines drawing you into the image and a strong overall composition - good use of symmetry and light & shadows, and is well exposed.'

Ian's photograph is shown below -

 

 

And finally . . . . .

 

 

I don't think he's quite got the right idea about the 'selfie' technique!