Sunday, 9 December 2018

Standard soaring at BPC annual club comp!

Congratulations to everyone who took time out to work on, what became, an amazing collection of submissions to the 2018 club photo competition.  

This year's competition proved to be a bit of a hybrid, merging digital submissions with hard copy and presented a variety of challenges to our long-suffering judge, one of Smethwick Photography Society's best, Peter Siviter!

Peter takes each photo and gives a positive critique, outlining the good in each image and suggesting ways that might enhance the final version, sometimes this, he advised, could be something as simple as a tighter crop.

62 images were submitted, a massive increase on last year's competition and a 500 per cent build on 2016!

Peter was quick to notice the significant improvement in the overall standard of the images.  He particularly liked the thought behind photographs that told their own story, those that capture the fine tones of a dramatic landscape and shots of everyday images which had just that something extra in the colour, the crispness and the execution in capturing the mundane and making it magical.

As is the tradition with BPC club competitions, the members had their vote, a simple 'first past the post' vote and as if to prove that members knew what they were looking for the same image scooped both Peter's top prize and that of the members.

The results:

Overall winner and Members' Choice

Christine Farrell - for her beautifully dramatic landscape.





The two runner up prizes went to:

Mark Waidson for his eagle-eyed opportunity in capturing this New York scene




And Steve Reynolds, pictured below (R) with his delightful image. 
(L-R) Mark Waidson, Christine Farrell, Peter Siviter and Steve Reynolds.


BPC 2018 Christmas Party

What a Christmas cracker!

Many thanks to the chef and staff at Whistlers in Pershore, for making this year's BPC Christmas 'do' a total success.

Fantastic food (thanks chef), delicious drinks and way to go waiting staff!

Many thanks to all of the members who had left their regulation Kagouls and camera kit at home, swapping them for high heels and a generous sprinkling of sequins (for the girls of course!!).

Here are a few of the highlights. 


Paul, starts the night off with a glass of something good! 


Before the cracker pulling begins! 


Come on Sheila, show us what you're made of! 


Sue enjoys a rather amusing little number, the wine that is,
 not Colin, who is sitting next to her! 



Graham presents Irene with her long service award
Thanks Irene for everything you do for BPC 




Ahhhh - and then there was pudding! 

Friday, 23 November 2018

Black Friday Deal with TPA

Full membership with The Photographer Academy offer


TPA offers a massive online training facility, they say the biggest in the UK.  Using videos, live webinars, how to sessions, photo critiques and events their passion is to make you a better photographer.

Visit https://mailchi.mp/markcleghorn.com/black-friday-membership-offer?e=ddd7217328 and join TPA for just £30 annual subscription - full price is £199.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Autumn Exhibition Opens

Darren cuts the ribbon and the cake!

Many thanks to Darren Hedges and his team of wonderful staff who helped to make the official opening of Birlingham Photography Club's 2018 Autumn Exhibition on Saturday 10th November a huge success.

BPC members and their guests enjoyed the tea and delicious cakes as much as they enjoyed looking at the images at Revill's Farm Shop & Cafe.

Nine BPC members are taking part in the exhibition, which is based on local scenes and is proving to be an interesting topic of conversation by visitors to Revill's as they try to guess where some of the images were taken.

Congratulations to all of the photographers who made a huge effort to create their stunning images that will grace Revill's cafe walls on the lead up to Christmas.

Opening hours are 9am - 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10am - 4pm on Sundays, more information is available at www.revillsfarmshop.co.uk 

BPC Organisers would also like to thank Picture Scene, where husband and wife team, Kelvin and Gill Hartshorne, worked tirelessly on a splendid job of mounting and framing the work.  More information is available at www.picturescene.co.uk

Visitor book comments include:

"Congratulations on a lovely and varied exhibition, showcasing genuine local talent in a great location."

"Congratulations to everyone involved in this exhibition.  Well Done."

"Great exhibition, demonstrating superb photography skills."

"Lovely afternoon celebrating Birlingham's photographic skills a super tea shop."

"Super images and a cream tea - what a combination!"

"High standard of photography displayed in a lovely setting - well done all.  Look forward to the next exhibition!"

"A very nice spread of photos, all well presented.  Thanks to Angela for organising the exhibition."

"A lovely exhibition.  Well done to everyone involved."

"A lovely selection of photographs. It's interesting to see the contrast between the colour, black and white and sepia photos.  What a talented bunch!"


BPC members photographed below have original works on display, together with further images by:

Pete Allen, Tissy Davidson, Nick Harley and Tony Woods.  The exhibition will run until Christmas, for more information email birlinghamphoto@btinternet.combirlinghamphoto@btinternet.com


Pictured (L-R)

Elaine Castleford, Sheila Reed, Steve Reynolds, Darren Hedges, Angela Fitch, Jennifer Taylor and Rose Finch



Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Wex's Guide to Using Filters

Are you a landscape photographer?
Do you use on-camera filters?

Neutral Density Graduated Filters (ND Grads) are just the thing to transform landscape images which have bland or uninteresting skies into something quite extraordinary.

Wex Photo Video has a useful guide to using filters.  
Visit to https://bit.ly/2O4HvfT to find out more

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

BPC Christmas Do!

Saturday, 8th December, 7pm arrival
Whistlers, Broad Street, Pershore
£24.95pp - partners welcome

What a fantastic year BPC has had!

Visits to Slimbridge Wetlands Trust, Croome Park and Gloucester Prison, a stunning exhibition of work at Evesham's library and a further exhibition to open in October at Revill's Farm Shop and Cafe, Defford.  Over 20 members have exhibited work, many photographers exhibiting for the first time.  Congratulations to everyone on capturing those wonderful images that have been part of the Club's exhibitions.

Added to which, 17 members have taken part in interactive training days with local pro photographer Richard Barley.

Perhaps it's time for a rest?  The Christmas Do is just what we all need to round off a fantastic year over some excellent food, good wine and first class company.

Bookings are being taken now, email birlinghamphoto@btinternet.com.
£24.95 per person, partners are welcome.

Deposits of £10pp will be collected at the November meeting and the balance at December's meeting.

Absolute Beginners Photoshop Workshop

Saturday, 1st December, 10am - 1pm
Birlingham Village Hall
£7 for members, £10 for non-members - booking essential


Several BPC Members have suggested that they need some basic training in Photoshop and to meet demand this three hour absolute beginners workshop has been designed for photographers who are new to Photoshop or have tried it in the past but given up.

The workshop is totally interactive.  Four mentors will lead small groups and cover everything from the basics of opening and saving images, throughout the essentials of adjusting exposure, dealing with shadows and highlights and colour saturation, converting to mono, controlling contrast and brightness and move on to cropping, straightening horizons, adding text to an image, cloning, healing, dodging and burning.

Each attendee will need to bring their own laptop with a version of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements fully installed.  Attendees will also need some images on which to work in real time.  A free seven day trial of Adobe Photoshop is available at https://www.adobe.com/uk/products/photoshop/free-trial-download.html 

The workshop is open to anyone, but is particularly designed with beginners in mind.  Bookings are being taken - please email birlinghamphoto@btinternet.com 



Sunday, 22 July 2018

Peter Siviter to judge BPC 2018 comp!

Birlingham Photography Club is delighted to announce that Peter Siviter will judge the 2018 Club competition, which will be held on Tuesday, 4th December at the regular Club meeting at Birlingham Village Hall.

Peter, a member of Smethwick Photographic Society, has enjoyed an amazing year with his photography, scooping an RPS Gold Award at Cheltenham and no fewer than four (yes four!!) medals at the Midlands Salon!

The Birlingham competition is exclusive to BPC members, free to enter and it's an open theme.  Any member can submit up to three images and prizes will be awarded to the judge's 1st choice, two runners up and the Members' Choice, selected via an anonymous vote.

Stop press...
The 2018 BPC photography competition will include a digital category, thus allowing members who prefer not to print to submit images electronically.

Deadline for digital images - Saturday 24th November
Deadline for hard copy images - Saturday 1st December

More information about Smethwick Photographic Society at http://www.smethwickps.co.uk

Friday, 15 June 2018

Richard Barley Photography Workshop

Five go to Worcester!

A fantastic day yesterday (14th June) with Worcester top tog, Richard Barley!
The full day workshop included the basics of photography - in a nutshell, the exposure triangle.

Richard started the day by finding out what equipment we were using and what specific problems each of us needed to deal.

We then set our tripods up at Severn Quay and spend plenty of time working on exposure, shutter speed and ISO.  White swans on a dark background are not the easiest things to photograph, but with Richard's guidance we all managed to get something that wasn't blinking burned out highlights off the camera's viewing screen.

After a working lunch, we covered aspects of portraiture and with that came depth of field.

Richard's golden rule is start taking your photos from a standard combination of settings, he recommends:

Aperture (F-stop)         Shutter speed       ISO
       5.6                                   1/200             200            for outdoor photography
       5.6                                    1/60            1600            for indoor photography

He says, start with the above, keep the aperture at 5.6 and move the shutter speed and ISO to meet the specific needs of your camera, lens and the available light.

Everyone had an enjoyable day, learned a great deal and enjoyed the tog to tog exchange of ideas, help and advice.

Thanks Richard!

For more information about Richard Barley's training visit www.richardbarleyphotography.com




Richard (right) helps Paul get to grips
 with various menu selections
By Irene Luck



Richard demonstrates his preferred app
which helps him to calculate depth of field
By Irene Luck



Swan Rescue feed the birds at the Quayside
By Angela Fitch

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Resizing in Mac

This top tip in from BPC Member, Paul Marsh...


1)  Open image with preview. (Paul suggests using a copy of original as the alterations are permanent).
2)  Select “TOOLS” , then “ADJUST SIZE”.
3)  Select “RESOLUTION”, change the number, see the result
(72 down to 40 gave me 3mb to 1MB) press OK to confirm.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Foundation Photographers' First Meeting

If you tend towards auto settings on your camera and don't know your ISO from your White Balance, BPC's Foundation Photographers' Mini-group may be just what you need!

The aim is to provide member to member support so that the more experienced work with those who want to work in manual settings but need a little guidance to get them on the right path.

The mini-group is open to BPC members only, the meetings are casual affairs, held in the early evening at local pub restaurants.  It's free to attend, all you have to do is buy your own drinks and there is the opportunity to stay on for supper afterwards for anyone who would like to.

Thursday 24th May saw the first Foundation Photographers' Mini-group (FPM) meeting a The Orchard, Evesham.  Six FPs and two more experienced photographers worked on the basics - the exposure triangle.  Handouts were provided as aide memoires and self-set homework, to meet your own time availability and skill level, will help FPs to work on a couple of mini-projects between meetings.

The date of the next meeting is TBC - watch this space!

Sunday, 20 May 2018

BPC Croome Park Visit

Members' morning out

9am arrival at Croome Park, the National Trust's property near Pershore, Sunday 20th May.  Beautiful blue sky with just enough cloud to give some detail and plenty of nice shadows - just what was needed to capture some nice landscape and macro images!

Many thanks to everyone who came along - if you didn't manage to make it this time, there will be other informal photo walkabouts throughout the summer.

Below - BPC Member Geoff gets to grips with a dandelion seed head.




A Story of Three Togs!
By Kevin Williams


Backlit Naughtiness
By Kevin Williams 


Bluebell
By Kevin Williams 


Going Down
By Kevin Williams 


On Reflection
By Kevin Williams


Patterns
By Rose Finch



Tree House (Croome Park)
By Rose Finch



Croome Lake
By Rose Finch


The lake at Croome Park
By Andy Crook


Croome Park
By Andy Crook 


Buttercups
By Mark Waidson 


Intentional camera movement
By Mark Waidson 


Mono Croome
By Mark Waidson



Dandelion Seed Head
By Angela Fitch



Cow Parsley
By Angela Fitch


Friday, 18 May 2018

Value for money online printer

Member recommendation


BPC Member, Kevin, has used DS Colour Labs and has been very pleased with the results!

Visit https://dscolourlabs.co.uk/about/Print_Prices for more information and prices.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Latest Adobe Lightroom Update

Many thanks to Ken Wigfield for the following info and explanation

Lightroom Update, Tuesday 3rd April 2018: 
Adobe continues to release updates every two months (it used to be three-monthly).  Today Lightroom Classic CC, along with Lightroom CC desktop and Lightroom Mobile, received significant feature enhancements, support for new cameras and new lens and the usual bug fixes.
Most significantly, Adobe has introduced powerful new ‘Profiles’ into all those applications. These Profiles provide a starting point for your images in terms of colour and tonality.
Few of us use or are even aware of camera Profiles.  They’ve been available for application to RAW photos for years.  They lodge way down in the Camera Calibration panel in the bottom right of Lightroom Classic’s Develop module. In addition to the Adobe Standard Profile (the default Profile used to open all images in Lightroom) there have been Profiles that mimic your camera’s picture modes.  In general, quite limited.
Adobe has now expanded (to 6) the set of Profiles specifically for RAW files as well as introducing over 40 creative Profiles for many image file types (JPEG, TIFF, etc.).  More usefully, Profile selection has moved up to the top of the Basic panel to encourage their use at the beginning of one’s workflow.  Incidentally, Dehaze has also, helpfully, moved up into the Basic panel.

Profiles?  What Profiles?
The two most obvious questions for many will be “what are Profiles?”  and “why have Profiles when we already have Presets?”.
Profiles are intended to be one of the simplest starts to your image workflow.  You open up your image, you open up the Profiles section and run your cursor over those shown to see if you like the effect that could be applied; if you like it, click on it and you’ve got it.  “Adobe Colour” replaces Adobe Standard as the default Profile.  Some are designed for specific purposes – such as Adobe Portrait (to optimise skin tones), Adobe Landscape (slightly ups the saturation), Adobe Monochrome (for a range of black-and-white), etc.
Presets (on the left side of the Lightroom screen) apply an effect that has been generated by Adobe, or by you, or by some third-party.  Now that sounds remarkably similar to Profiles and in terms of the effect on the image they can be virtually identical.
The BIG difference, however, is the impact they have on your workflow.  When you apply a Profile it does not change the sliders in any of the Development panels.  That’s not the case with Presets.  So, when you apply a Preset you change all the earlier set up work you’ve done.  Adding a Profile doesn’t do that.  It can be added to or taken out of your workflow at any time leaving all your other adjustments intact.
I’ve not tried Profiles yet but the idea sounds pretty good.  Applying one Profile to an image at the beginning of your work could well be all you need to achieve the results you want.

Updating
If you are a Lightroom Classic CC subscriber go to Help>Updates and in the Creative Cloud application, click on Update next to “Lightroom Classic CC” (NOT Lightroom CC).  If the update is not listed in the CC app, click on the three dots in the top right and choose Check for App Updates.

It’s a good idea to back up your Lightroom catalogue before updating. If the Backup prompt doesn’t show when you close Lightroom, then in the menu bar in the top left of Lightroom go to Edit (PC) or Lightroom (Mac) then Catalogue Settings.  On the General tab, change the Backup frequency dropdown to “When Lightroom Next Exits”. Then close Lightroom and click the Backup button to backup your catalogue. (The backup frequency will then revert to the selection you had previously.  Better still, choose “Every time Lightroom exits” to have the option each time you close)

Note that there is no update to, and there will not be any more updates to, the non-subscription Lightroom 6 application – the last update was Lightroom 6.14, released in December 2017.

Ken Wigfield
Wednesday, 4th April 2018

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Photography News for Free!

Online magazine available now

Many BPC Members will be familiar with Photography News, the free magazine for photographers which is usually available at our Club meetings. But did you know that you can download this great publication for free?

Visit www.photographynews.co.uk and stay ahead of the game!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Free Lighting App

From The Photographer Academy

Pick up your free lighting app today, courtesy of The Photography Academy - they are also offering a free 12 month basic membership, which gives you access to a wide range of online training videos.

The lighting app features 50 portraits alongside which is included camera and lighting settings so that you can try to capture the same effect at home!

TPA is a reputable organisation, often seen at the big photo shows, they don't send spam and they answer enquiry emails.

More information a at www.thephotographeracademy.com and your free lighting app is available at https://bit.ly/2JdG74g

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Free Street Photography Guide

Streetsnappers Guide Available

Brian Duckett of Streetsnappers is gradually extending the street photography workshops to make them increasingly accessible to photographers all over the country.

London - various locations
Leeds
Liverpool
Manchester
Birmingham
Blackpool 
and with major cities lined up to come on board.

To help those who have yet to dip their toe into street photography he is offering a complimentary guide to taking the reportage style images of the street genre.

For your free guide, visit http://streetsnappers.com and sign up to the Streetsnappers email newsletter.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Thinking of your RPS Licentiateship?

BPC's RPS mini-group latest....

If you're thinking of taking your photography a little further BPC has it's own Royal Photographic Society (RPS) mini group, a small group of people who have reached a variety of stages in their image making but all want to work towards an RPS Distinction.

Visit https://youtu.be/n88j7TMRGDY for a short Youtube video of a real assessor session and for more information about the BPC mini-group please email birlinghamphoto@btinternet.com

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Vietnamese Photographer Interview

On a recent visit to Vietnam, BPC member Angela Fitch, spent a day in Nha Trang with one of the country's top photographers, Mai Loc.  His story is more than interesting and the following article made in 2010, with Mai Loc's permission, is included on this page to allow others to understand what twists of fate and good luck can take a coffee smuggler and turn him into an internationally acclaimed reportage photographer.  

Read on and be amazed!



An Interview with Vietnamese Photographer, Mail Loc
By Alice Laurel Driver, 8th May 2010

Two images are etched in my mind: one is a starkly beautiful black and white photo of a regal old woman who wears her wrinkles like a crown and smokes a pipe and in the other a woman in a conical hat walks along the curved spine of a sand dune as if she were the lone human left on the earth.  Vietnamese photographer, Man Loc, took these photos which so captured my imagination.

I met him in 2006 at Sao Mail Hotel in Nha Trang, Vietnam.  At the time he was working as a tour guide in the area and taking photos of the people and landscapes of his country.  We sat down to drink a cup of iced coffee with condensed milk and I asked him how he became interested in photography.  HIs story is a lesson in how simple acts can and do change lives.

The story of how he became a photographer is compelling and it begins in 1995 when he was working as a cycle drive in Nha Trang. Cycle drivers provide cheap transportation for locals and tourists all over Vietnam and they pedal bicycles with carriages attached to carry one or two people.  One day in 1995, Gunnar Simonsen and Eva W Mellquist, a Norwegian couple vacationing in Vietnam, took a cycle ride with Mail Loc.  The couple found out that Loc was learning English and they were so impressed by his eagerness to learn English that they promised to pay for future English classes.  The couple formed a friendship with Loc, kept in touch with him and returned to visit him in 1996 and 1997.  While attending Loc's wedding, Simonsen and Mellquist gave him his first camera.  As time passed his increased fluency in English allowed him to quit cycle driving and start his own tour business, while the camera provided him with his first photography experiences.  Eventually, he saved up money for a good camera and, with the encouragement of friends, began to market his photography.  This interview follows the story of Mai Loc's life and his growing passion for photography.



Driver:  What kind of work did you do before you were a cycle driver?

Loc:  As a little boy, around 12 years old, I worked selling cigarettes outside the train station.  Then from 1985 to 1989 I worked as a smuggler, mainly smuggling coffee.  In 1989 I went bankrupt and took a job searching for gold in the mountains 35km east of Saigon, near Nam Cat Then National Park.  It was a horrible nightmare.  A lot of people got malaria or were buried alive in the mountain.  Most of them had no identity cards.  While digging for gold I got malaria and I was very sick for three months.  After this I became a cycle driver from 1990 - 1998.  In 1994 I began to learn English.

Driver:  Why did you decide to learn English?

Loc:  I wanted to learn English for fun.  It is a useful language.

Driver;  You have an eight year old son and a two month old daughter.  Are they learning English?

Loc:  I hope that in the future, when they are older, they can learn English.

Driver:  In March of 1995 a Norwegian couple, Gunnar Simonsen and Eva W Mellquist, took a cycle ride with you.  How did your relationship with them develop?

Loc:  I spoke a little English and they encouraged me to keep learning.  They gave me energy and advice and when they left Vietnam they gave me a ring.  Whenever I looked at that ring I felt encouraged.  In 1996 they came back to visit me and in 1997 they attended my wedding.  They gave me a solar powered Canon camera as a wedding gift.

Driver:  And your career in photography began with that solar camera?

Loc:  From that camera I learned to take photos.  In 1998, just before Gunnar died of a terminal illness, he sent me $6000 to start my own life.  I started a motor taxi tour guide business.  Whatever I saw that was beautiful in my eyes I decided I should try to take a photo.  Friends saw my photos and encouraged me to make postcards and enter photo contests.  In 2002, when Eva returned, she was surprised and happy with my success.  As a present I gave her some of my photos.  Back in Norway Eva presented the photos to some galleries and they wanted me to come over for a show.  It is very hard to get a visa in Vietnam and took many years to get my visa.  In 2006 the Nordiclight Photo Festival in Kristiansund, Norway invited me to attend and with the support of the Norway Photography Associated and government officials I finally got a visa.  I went from August 17th to September 13th, 2006.  I still can't believe I went to Norway.

Driver:  How would you describe your relationship with Eva and Gunnar?

Loc:  I call them my parents/. Eva is very proud of me, like my mother.  Our dream was that I could come and visit Gunnar in Norway and I finally got to come and visit his tomb in 2006.

Driver:  Your trip to Norway was your first travel experience outside of Vietnam?

Loc:  Yes, I remember every detail.  Everybody loved me and it was very nice in Europe.  I have lived through many bad situations but I could not control my tears in Norway.  I cried several times because of happiness.  Everything in Europe was new to me.  I always had my camera  with me. In Norway I gave a lecture.  I talked with people about Vietnam and the power of love.  I hope that one day the world will know peace.

Driver:  What motivates you as a photographer?

Loc:  People - how they live, how they smile - that is what interests me as a photographer.

Driver:  Do you want to travel more as a photographer?

Loc:  I hope so.  that is my dream.

Driver:  Do you have any memories of the Vietnam War?

Loc:  I was born on September 24th, 1966 in Duc My, a small town on the way to the central highlands located on Highway 26.  When I was a little boy, some of the government soldiers taught me to use an M-16.  My mother had a canteen inside the military training centre in town and my father was a South Vietnamese soldier.  Sometimes I saw big trucks on Highway 26 carrying dead bodies home.  Some things you need to remember and some things you need to forget to keep going.

Driver:  What was your family life like as a child?

Loc:  I was raised by my mother.  she had one shirt and one pair of pants.  When she washed them she had to wear a blanket.  I have four sisters and I know what a hard life it is to raise five children.  When I was young I lost my childhood. My father had four different wives and 16 children.

Driver:  How is your daily life now?

Loc:  When I don't take tourists out I work for a hotel.  I get my photos from daily life.  I also look after my wife, my two children and my mother.

Driver:  What aspects of Vietnamese culture are important to you?

Loc:  Wrinkles are experience in life.  This generation takes care of the next generation, that is how we live in Vietnam.  In Europe they put the old people in homes.

Driver:  What advice would you give to tourists coming to Vietnam?

Loc:  It is very important for tourists to read a book about the history and culture of Vietnam.  Many tourists don't do this and don't care.  They carry travel guides like bibles, only looking for cheap hotels.  Tourists are looking for pleasure.  It is very important that you come here with a real heart to learn something, to exchange something about the culture.


For more information about Mai Loc visit www.mailocphotographer.com or email mai_loc98@hotmail.com