Dateline   21 December 2016

 

Wildlife Photography - My way – 28 November 2016 - Paul Shilliam

Report by Peter Flower

Paul explained that this presentation was based around his experience of photography over the past 17 years, moving from a complete novice up to the standard of wildlife photography that he currently enjoys. The process started with a trip to Africa in 1998 when he used a Canon EOS 300. He subsequently changed to digital in 2004. As an example of the current equipment used Paul gave a demonstration of a set-up with Canon 5D Mk3 which he uses with a 300mm lens plus 2 extenders. He also uses a 70 to 200mm zoom, plus wider angle lenses when he wants to show the animals in their environment, rather than detailed close-ups. When walking around he uses a tripod but also has a variety of clamps which provide secure and steady camera use when on a safari vehicle. The presentation aimed to provide the information about wildlife photography that seldom appears in books or magazines. This information is sometimes simple but can make a huge impact on the success for the photographer.

Each half of the presentation included detailed information about Paul's method of working followed by an AV which showed a selection of his work. In the first half he concentrated on the conditions that were likely to lead to success. Although luck might play a part in getting a successful shot there was no substitute for forward planning. In any event it was essential to be familiar with the handling of your camera, a subject which he came onto later. Understanding the behaviour pattern of the subject was paramount. Habits and habitats were of primary significance. Expanding this, where and when might they be found, together with their movement patterns throughout the day. For example, local knowledge would tell you when animals would be visiting a waterhole, as seen in this photograph.

© Paul Shilliam     Thirsty Zebra

It was also important to know how close one could get to the animals and their likely reaction to your approach. Paul described what he termed as the circle of confidence. This could vary from one species to another. From the animal's position there would be an inner circle within which any approach would be seen as one requiring a flight or fight reaction. Outside this there would be a further ring where the animal would keep you under observation. Beyond this they would be unaware or unconcerned. Paul also mentioned the fact that the animal's perception of possible threat could be affected by their previous experience of human contact. He specifically mentioned a reserve where hunting was permitted. The reaction to approaching safari vehicles was one of great alarm, much more so than in other safari areas.

Regarding the images to take, Paul stressed that it was not always necessary to concentrate on close-ups of the animals. These could be very effective, as in the following elephant image, but it could also be useful to include some form of interaction as shown in that between elephant mother and calf.

© Paul Shilliam

It was useful to take a variety of images, such as the following ones of leopards and lions, which not only showed them in detail but also interacting and showing them in their environment.

© Paul Shilliam Female Leopard and Cub, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Lion pair, Gemsbokvlakte Waterhole, Etosha National Park, Namibia

Lioness, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

A further example of this is shown below.

© Paul Shilliam   Young Waterbuck             Waterbuck, Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

In the second half of his talk Paul concentrated on his methods, and recommendations for being able to react to the ever-changing wildlife scene. This was not like landscape photography where time could be taken to assess the scene and make camera settings at leisure. It was essential that you were familiar with the controls and could quickly adapt to the action taking place. In order to explain his own methodology Paul detailed the settings that he used with his Canon 7D camera. These might vary according to the subject matter and lighting, but the important factor was that he had these pre-planned. Examples of the settings that could be made included shooting in RAW, setting an upper ISO limit, single or multiple frames per second, exposure mode (Program etc) and the choice of metering method (Spot, part frame, evaluative etc). On this latter point Paul ran a brief sequence of images to ask the audience to guess what metering method had been used. The guessing accuracy was distinctly variable, but it proved that the majority had in fact been taken with the evaluative method.

Included in the images which he showed in the two AV presentations were ones of birds and other wildlife, and not necessarily taken in game reserves. The following two images of birds illustrate the point that success depends upon accurate exposure measurement and effective focus control.

© Paul Shilliam      Malachite kingfisher                      Herring Gull

Summing up, this was an informative and entertaining talk on wildlife photography. Although many of us will have visited some of the countries where this type of photography is possible it is unlikely that we will have made as many visits of this type as Paul in order to hone our skills to the same level. His numerous visits to such exotic locations as the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Serengeti in Tanzania, Ruaha National Park in Namibia, Luangwa River in Zambia and Earlswood Lakes, Redhill has put him at a great advantage. Yes, Earlswood Lakes! Witness the following charming photograph.

© Paul Shilliam         Mallard duckling at Earlswood

Postscript

Paul mentioned that he had been a society member some time ago, and that this had been largely as the result of contact with Marion Gatland. Marion explains that her husband, Roger, was an electrician working in the hospital X-ray department and commented to a lady in the same department about a display of wildlife photographs in the hospital corridor. It turned out that this was Paul's wife who explained that these photographs were by Paul. Marion subsequently viewed the display, was impressed, and suggested that Paul should join the society. Marion looked up some of the old result sheets and the earliest that she could find reference to Paul was in 2008.

Paul's wildlife images are still on display in the corridor of East Surrey hospital and in the X-ray reception area.

Many more of Paul's images can be viewed from the photo gallery at this link -

http://www.photosnapshot.co.uk/Pages/PhotoGallery.aspx

 

Saturday Natter – Denbies – 3 December 2016

Peter Flower

Truly a 'round-table' meeting again this time with a table reserved by Pete Welch at the previous meeting. Once again I got involved in camera talk. Rosemary Calliman had returned from her holiday so we were able to resume our discussion on the 'intelligent' zoom feature on her Panasonic FZ1000 camera (previously reported in Newsletter 86). Although I had researched this, and found an identical feature on Colin Hodsdon's TZ100, we were able to identify the menu item on her camera which controlled this. John Fisher was also present, having recently returned from his holiday to Brazil. This included a stay in the same hotel as the Mercedes team for the Brazilian F1 race at which John spectated. I asked John about his experiences with his Panasonic TZ100. He said that he was generally happy with the results from the camera. His only reservations were with the difficulty of getting to grips with the very different controls and features of this camera compared to his Nikon DSLR, with which he has become familiar over extensive ownership. During his holiday he did meet up with someone else who had a Nikon bridge camera. He was able to handle this and said that, because of similar controls to his own DSLR camera, he felt much more comfortable with this. However, it was obviously a much bulkier camera and would not have suited John on this holiday. He explained that for security reasons he wanted a camera that was pocketable and that the TZ100 was ideal for this purpose.

Carol Hicks joined in on this conversation, being interested in possible purchase of a second camera which would be more portable than her Canon DSLR kit. Unfortunately John did not have his camera with him, which could have given Carol some idea of the size and features that this provides. I discussed some of the options available to Carol, including fixed-lens compacts and some of the lighter interchangeable lens cameras. (I have since been told by Carol that she did purchase a Panasonic TZ100 from Park Cameras)

Lester reported that on the other side of the table he and Carol were talking to Jan Adcock and David Parnell (a new member) about settings on their Canon DSLRs, especially on the use of an electronic remote control and cable shutter releases, long time exposures, the meaning of “mirror lock”, and light settings (AWB etc). He was also photographing me (with his compact camera this time) experimenting with different white balance settings such as AWB, cloudy and tungsten to demonstrate the differences.

Ian Hunt had brought along a guest, Jean Hogwood who is chairwoman of Reigate Decorative and Fine Arts Society (RDFAS). She explained that her society was planning a photographic exhibition next year and was asking advice on the subject. Jill and Ian discussed this with her and the chances are that, subject to availability, they will borrow our display panels for this event. The fact that there is such a thriving society with a variety of artistic talents local to us could prove an advantage.

Fujifilm X-A10 camera

Techman

Fujifilm has added this entry-level model to its X-series of mirrorless interchangeable lens compact system cameras. The camera has a 16 megapixel APS-C sensor (with a Bayer colour filter, rather than X-Trans one) and will come equipped with a flip-over rear screen designed to make taking selfies easier. The grip has been so that it will be comfortable to hold with the camera facing towards as well as away from the photographer’s face, and that when shooting self-portraits the rear command dial can be used to focus and trigger the shutter. Flipping the rear screen to the 180° position also activates eye-detection AF so that the camera will prioritise focusing for faces. The X-A10 will come bundled with a XC16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II lens and will cost £499 when it goes on sale in January 2017.

Viveca Koh

PF

Further to my report in Newsletter 87 on her recent talk I received the following response from Viveca. As you will see, that report is being repeated on her blog at the link below.

http://www.vivecakohphotography.co.uk/2016/12/03/report-second-lecture-reigate-photographic-society-peter-flower/

This is added publicity for the society.

'Hi Peter, Thank you so much for your splendid write-up of my talk, you really do a fantastic job with all of your reports for the club - I'm sure they appreciate your skills! I will copy your report to my blog as I did before, with a link back to the Reigate website, and full credit to you of course. Thanks again for all your hard work, and I'm glad that you enjoyed my talk - I hope to be able to return to Reigate in future to present my third lecture to you all.

Best wishes, Viveca'

The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show

Europe's Largest All-welcome Photographic Convention Venue: Hilton London Metropole, Edgware Road, London, W2 1JU

All photographers from professionals to enthusiasts are welcome to attend our Convention and/or Trade Show. Full Convention: 11-15 January 2017

FREE* Trade Show Dates: 13-15 January 2017

*Pre-register before 6 January 2017 for FREE and avoid £10 entry fee to Trade Show.

Exhibitors include -

CameraWorld

We will have special offers on Fuji X Series cameras and lenses, Olympus OMD cameras and lenses including the new OMD EM1 MKII and the Canon EOS 5D MKIV.

Bring your old equipment as we will be offering high part exchange prices and on the spot cash buys for all your old equipment.

Park Cameras

We'll have show only deals available on a whole variety of products from the leading brands, including Canon, Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus, Manfrotto, Wescott, Photix and many more.

PermaJet

PermaJet will be offering show discounts of 25-30% off of Digital Photo, FB Baryta, Fine Art Media and more.

Canon

We look forward to welcoming you onto the Canon stand where we will be demonstrating our award-winning EOS DSLR cameras, Professional Video Cameras and printers alongside our Digital Services, including Irista and HD Books.

Fujifilm and many more. Information can be found on the following site -

www.swpp.co.uk/convention/

Set Subject Competition – The Journey

PF

Winner of this second competition in a new monthly series was Stephen Hewes with the image 'Steaming Ahead'. Rosemary Calliman was second with 'Milford Sound'.

© Stephen Hewes – Steaming Ahead                   Rosemary Calliman – Milford Sound

Note: The current subject, set by Stephen, is Christmas Titles or Lyrics. Stephen explains - Anticipating that we will probably all experience Christmas in some form, I thought it may be fun to require all picture titles to be derived from titles or lyrics from Christmas carols or songs. I should stress, the images themselves do not necessarily need to be Christmassy – only have an apt title which is.

In view of the intervening holidays the deadline for entries will be 3 January 2017.

Stick People

Peter Flower

Jill and I went to London recently to view some photographic and art exhibitions. Having stayed overnight we set off from our hotel to nearby Brick Lane area in search of breakfast and to photograph some of the graffiti in the area. Purely by chance we came upon the following graffiti image, which was the obviously the one featured in our report on Viveca Koh in Newsletter 87. It has to be said that the subsequent modifications to the image are not an improvement!

Creative Photoshop Part 3 – 12 December 2016 – Jack Casement ARPS

Report by Peter Flower

This was the third in a series of talks that Jack has given to the society on the subject of manipulating images with Photoshop. Previous ones took place in 2012 and 2013. Jack started using Photoshop version 2.5 in 1994, running private Photoshop workshops. He also taught Photoshop Beginners and Intermediate at Bracknell & Wokingham College in Berkshire, UK, as well as City & Guilds Digital Imaging. For three years he was a member of Charlie Waites' Light & Land team, teaching Photoshop to his photographic holiday clients. He has worked with the various different versions of this Adobe product for a very long time and lectures on its use on a regular basis. He explained that he used the CS version of the product on a personal basis although he was also familiar with Lightroom and the less powerful Photoshop Elements. Over the years the features available within the Elements version have gradually caught up with those previously introduced on earlier CS versions.

It is not possible within the scope of this brief report to go into the details of the processes that he used. However, there is one important factor that was common to the production of all of them. That was the use of layers. Many early users of Photoshop find the concept quite difficult to grasp, but it is one of the most powerful tools that this product provides. He also dealt with the various selection tool options which require careful choice, and familiarity with their way of working, in order to achieve the desired results. An example of these two techniques was shown in creation of the following image.

© Jack Casement

The most notable feature of this is the fact that the text 'Travel Magazine' disappears behind the background mountain. This was achieved by selecting and copying a 'triangle' of the top of the mountain, inserting the text and then bringing back this copy on a layer above.

Another technique was demonstrated in which an image of an original painting was overlaid with a frame that had been created. The image was overlaid with a layer and, using a grid as guidance, the various black bars of the frame created. A variation on this theme was illustrated with a second example where the individual elements had been varied in size.

© Jack Casement

Yet a further variation was shown where fractal images had been mirrored and set into a frame. There were a number of these incorporating the very colourful fractal images.

© Jack Casement

An original photograph of Venice was converted into an impression of a drawing with a random colour wash applied. Again, this was created with the use of layers. The original image was copied onto a separate layer and turned into a pencil sketch, and then colour from the lower layer reinstated in selected areas.

© Jack Casement

It is not possible within this report to comment on all of the Photoshop conversions that Jack demonstrated, but a few other examples are shown below.

© Jack Casement

This evening was of interest on two levels. The knowledge that Jack has about the massive range of tools available within the Photoshop editing software is extensive. For people like myself who rarely use anything other than the most basic features it was an eye-opener to the potential capabilities. For all of us it was a demonstration of how creative thoughts could become visual reality with its aid.

Ian Hunt

Two more photographs that have featured recently in the Surrey Mirror. Cloudy conditions prevented us from photographing the Supermoon But Ian was able to capture a great image of the sun over St. Johns taken from Redstone Hill. Also, as a special treat for our rail enthusiasts, a fine shot of Belgian Marine loco steaming through Reigate Station.

© Ian Hunt

Chatham Challenge and Social - 19 December 2016

Peter Flower

As I remarked in my earlier report on this event Mark had chosen twelve varied subjects to photograph, some of which could be quite a challenge to meet the brief. The definition of 'wild life' posed a possible dilemma – were bees really 'wild' when their hives were probably supplied by local bee-keepers? Fortunately a group of us came upon Mollie who had rescued a baby rabbit from a cat, which was not well pleased by being deprived of its prey. 'Architecture' (with small print 'excluding ruins'), plus 'Architecture - The Ruins' covered both aspects of the buildings. Perhaps the most potentially problematic subject was 'RPS Member In Action'. This provided plenty of humorous incidents where one member would try to get a shot of another, in action, before they had time to react! Of course, if the other photographer wasn't in fact taking a picture at the time it could be entered in the 'Relaxing' category!

Now we were gathered for the nail-biting evening where Mark would deliver his verdict on the entries and condemn someone to organising the next year's event! Of the original 19 participants no less than 16 had submitted entries, and Mark commented that it was very encouraging to have had such a positive response to his challenge. It has to be said that he had prepared a very clear strategy for his marking system and the presentation was very slick. As a result of the large number of entries Mark had to display them at a fairly rapid rate but there were plenty of humorous comments by him on either the failures or the outstanding images.

Of course, the authors of the images are anonymous, being identified only by an individual letter. Thus, as the competition results progressed it was quite unknown (apart from the individual concerned) to know who was in danger of winning the event. An early lead was taken by person T, then a draw between L and T, T and V, and then V alone in the lead. The race then rapidly switched between L and V until V was joined by D at the final 'hurdle'. Mark showed the final results table which revealed a dead heat between competitors D and V. He decided the ultimate winner on the basis of the number of 10's that had been awarded throughout the event. This decided the winner in favour of contestant V. Mark then consulted with Les Dyson, who held details of the identities of the entrants. The ultimate winner was declared as Mick Higgs, with Louise Barker as second and Stephen Hughes as third.

Congratulations (and commiserations!) to Mick on winning and to Mark on organising a superb event.

Top-marks images from the entries are shown below.

© Mick Higgs

© Louise Barker

© Stephen Hewes   Les Dyson   Carol Hicks   Steve Lawrenson   Colin Hodsdon

The final totals score sheet is shown below.

And finally . . . . . . .