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Notes for Wednesday 5 & Friday 7 May 2021
NIPA Top Print and PDI Competition and Ards Camera Club Exhibition

It was a busy week for the Ards club. First of all on Wednesday past it was the NIPA Interclub Top Print and PDI competition when all the 180 images that had been starred over the past 5 rounds were brought together and judged by independent judge Libby Smith from Scotland.

Ards had 20 images in the mix from 9 different authors. Libby spoke on a selection of images that just missed out on getting an award. She spoke on originality and technical aspects. In the colour section she picked on two of Alan Hillen’s images. Her critiquing and feedback of all images was very fair and she suggested minor and subtle changes to the image that could have brought it into contention for a place.

Sian Kerr obtained “commended” for her image of a flamingo, (this same image was used in her successful LRPS Panel, which she gained earlier in the day). Well done Sian! It was Catchlight Camera Club that took top honours in this section.

In the Mono section, Libby again commented on a selection of images as well as all the images she placed. There were some wonderful images with great tonal quality. It was Catchlight Camera Club who obtained the top 3 places.

In the PDI section Rusty Adair’s composite image “Going Underground” was awarded “commended”. The accolade of top PDI went to Alan Hillen with his image “Standing Tall” – a deer captured early one morning in Gosford Forest Park.

This was a great evening, full of superb images and great judge feedback. A special mention needs to go to all our “friends” at Catchlight Camera Club; they picked up 7 of the 9 medals and to Ross who got first in Mono and 1st in Colour – a wonderful achievement. – Well done!!

On Friday past it was our own Exhibition when 30 members joined in on Zoom to hear Lee Sutton from Preston pass judgement on the images before him. In the general section there were 24 colour imsges, 18 mono images and 20 PDIs. While in the advanced section there were 33 colour, 23 mono and 28 PDIs for Lee to critique and comment on.

In both sections there was a wide genre of images on view, with natural history and portraiture to the fore. Lee made positive comments on every image.

In the general sections he suggesting subtle changes to background details or a slight crop which he felt could improve the image. The quality of the images entered was high and he could see that there was a lot of thought that had gone into the capture of the images.

In the advanced sections, the quality was really high and there were many outstanding images on view. The use of light and colour to emphasise the image and textures to accentuate or dull down distractions were to the fore on many of the images.

He said that it was an enjoyable task he had to perform but it was a difficult task as well. He viewed the top images in each section several times before arriving at his choices.

The results were as follows:-

General Section

Colour

Commended: Marlene Hazlehurst (Jackie the Troubadour) and Sean Evans (Lone Leaf)
Highly Commended: Richard Cowan (Silent View)
3rd: Jenny McCrea (Cuckoo in the nest)
2nd: Sean Evans (Tollymore Forest)
1st: Rodney James (Lilac Dahlia)

Mono

Commended: Jacquie Agnew (Pure Beauty)
3rd: Sean Evans (Cascade)
2nd: Sean Evans (Murlough Tree)
1st: Marlene Hazlehurst (The Gent)

PDI

Commended: Marlene Hazlehurst (Sweet Innocence) and Jacqui Agnew (Sitting on the Fence)
Highly Commended: Sean Evans (Alone at Last) and Marlene Hazlehurst (Pier head jump)
3rd: Richard Cowan (at the Top)
2nd: Sean Evans (An open Book)
1st: Chris Davidson (Faroe Islands)

Advanced Section

Colour

Commended: Sian Kerr (Gosford Deer) and Jonny Andrews (Robin)
Highly Commended: Jonny Andrews (Incoming)
3rd: Linda Hutchinson (Car Lady)
2nd: Jonny Andrews (Little Egret)
1st: Alan Hillen (The Feather)

Mono

Commended: Marty Watson (into the Light) and Alan Hillen (Causeways End)
Highly Commended: Jonny Andrews (instilling Fear)
3rd: Rusty Adair (Sea Rocks)
2nd: Jonny Andrews (Standing Tall)
1st: Richard Holmes (Paris Architecture)

PDI

Commended: Alan Hillen (Collard Dove), Rusty Adair (Smokey Joe) and Richard Holmes (Peatlands Frost)
Highly Commended: Sian Kerr (Little Egret), Alan Hillen (Flying Chihuahua) and Ted McKee (Robber Fly on Buoy)
3rd: Rusty Adair (Lost Childhood
2nd: Alan Hillen (Standing Tall)
1st: Jonny Andrews (Enjoying Nature)


TOP OVERALL IMAGE: Alan Hillen “The feather”

Congratulation to all who entered the exhibition and well done to all who got placed. Our grateful thanks also go to Lee who had the unenviable task of arriving at the winners!

Thanks everybody

Chris
Chair

2020-2021 Club Competition

Alongside the NIPA Interclub competition we ran our own monthly competition which was overseen by Marlene. Over the 5 rounds she kept the scores and the results are as below.

General Section

Colour

1st: Marlene Hazlehurst
2nd: Liz Tullett
3rd: Colette Andrews
4th: Jenny McCrea

Mono

1st: Marlene Hazlehurst
2nd: Liz Tullett
3rd: Sean Evans
4th: Jim Tweedie

PDI

1st: Marlene Hazlehurst
2nd: Liz Tullett
3rd: Marty Coney
4th: Colette Andrews

Advanced Section

Colour

1st: Jonny Andrews
2nd: Alan Hillen
3rd: Linda Hutchinson

Mono

1st: Alan Hillen
2nd: Jonny Andrews
3rd: Rusty Adair

PDI

1st: Alan Hillen
2nd: Jonny Andrews
3rd: Linda Hutchinson

The thanks of the club must go to Marlene for all the diligent work that she undertook.
Thanks to all who played their part by submitting entries during the year and to those who were successful – well done. Here’s to next year!

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 30 April 2021
Members Night - Sinclair 'Rusty' Adair

On Friday night 19 members joined Zoom to hear one of our own, Rusty Adair, what made him tick when it came to photography. He loved his photography and always had a camera with him. He wasn’t looking for winners, but if something came along he would embrace it, but most of his shots ended in his scrapbook.

His rules before you go out – A good meal (as time files when you are out), washed down with your local tipple – then go out and enjoy your photography.

Rusty showed a wide variety of images that he had collected over the years. Of course, being Rusty there was a story with each image told in his own inimitable style. He showed his attempts to get to a position at the Glenfinnan Viaduct to capture the Jacobean Express, ending up having to wade across a river to get to his spot, only to miss his picture. Of course he went back at a later time, better prepared and this time got the train.

A lot of Rusty’s landscapes included his signature “heavy, moody skies”, with bleak or empty landscapes. He is not a nature photographer per se; however he did show several images of his foray into that genre. His two dogs also were included. They had learnt to be good posers as they knew that treats would be on offer.

He showed images of various public sculptures that had received the Rusty “touch” for feeling and empathy. Boy, does he like images of yellow fields and, more the better if he can incorporate a lonely tree into the image. He showed several where he had done just that.

Of course he was keen to point out that you took what was offered at the time but could return at a later date when conditions were “more favourable” to what he was looking for.

He referred a lot to “his back garden” – the mountains and hills around him where he would go walking with his dogs and camera and where he could enjoy the vistas. He certainly lives in a beautiful part of the country!

Finally he showed some of street photography images along with the stories of what hurdles he had to overcome to obtain his shots.

It was a very pleasant evening and all the members thoroughly enjoyed Rusty’s take on his photography – thank you very much.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 23 April 2021
Members Night - 'Triptychs and AVs'

On Friday last some 20 members came on Zoom for our annual Triptych and AV competition. This is a fun competition that we hold among members towards the end of the season.

A triptych is three images on the one panel that tell a story or set a scene. There were 16 triptychs submitted from 8 different members. We had images that showed still life, natural history, portraiture, (animal and human) and landscape/seascapes. Peter Knott graciously agreed to critique each image. He spoke on each image describing what he saw and how each image complimented the others. Some were in horizontal format and others in vertical format. A lot of thought had gone into the images to ensure that the story was clear. The processing of each of the images also helped the process.

After a few viewings of the images we tried out the Poll option on Zoom. After a few goes we did come up with the 1 2 3. Congratulations go to Patricia Mackey with "Birds of Prey” which was the most popular. Just to rub salt into the wound she also got second with “Coffee Break” and Alan Hillen came third with “Three Chi’s” (a triptych of his Chihuahuas).

Thanks go to all who entered into the spirit of the competition.

In the AV part we had 8 AVs to view from five different members. Again the AVs were an eclectic mix of different themes all complimented by music to fit the mood. After viewing them all the jury decided that Linda Hutchinson “A Year of Covid 2020” won the Oscar for best AV. Second and third were two by Irvine Ferguson.

An enjoyable evening was had by all and our thanks go to those who contributed and to those joined in.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Thursday 15 April 2021
NIPA Novice Competition

On Thursday past, it was the highlight of the year for Novices with the annual holding of the NIPA Novice Competition. Some 85 members from across all the affiliated clubs, (including some 20 from Ards) joined together on Zoom to see the results. In total there were 194 colour PDIs and 235 Mono PDIs for the three judges to contemplate over – not an easy task by any means!

Time constraints meant that not all images were viewed on the night, (all images have since been uploaded to the NIPA website) so the judges each picked 9 colour and 9 mono images to critique on, as well as all the award winning images.

Needless to say all the genres were on view and there was a great strength in a lot of the images. In the judges choice they spoke on what they felt worked and what didn’t work, but they did point out that these were their views and others may see the image differently, but it was important for the photographer to enjoy taking their photographs.

In the colour section some of the images, the subject was a bit small or enlarged up too much and therefore was slightly soft. A couple of the night shots would have benefited from shooting in the “Blue hour” rather than when taken. It was important to consider as and when to use a vignette and how strong that should be. There also was a lot of positivity in the remarks; good use of colours; in portraits good separation from the background. It was also noted when the photographer had taken control of their image and made their own choices. This was most noticeable in those images that were award winners.

In the mono section, some of the images lacked contrast and consequently lacked punch. A couple of images were full of clutter and didn’t really suit mono setting. There were several shots were the photographer had thought outside the box and was rewarded with strong image. There were a couple of images that had a hint of colour in them and had to be disqualified. It was important to check your histogram. Image(s) was shown as was entered and also whenever the colour tints had been removed – there was a perceptible difference! A couple of the images had been watermarked with the Authors name – again a no-no.

And so to the results. There were 9 members from Ards who submitted entries to both categories and our congratulations go to them for their hard work. In the mono section there were 4 highly commended images and 12 commended images Congratulations go to Marty Coney (for Lee) and Sean Evans (Midnight Stranger) who were both commended.

In the colour section there were 12 commended and 8 highly commended images. Congratulations go to Colette Andrews (Forest Abstract) who was commended and Richard Cowan (Silent View) who achieved 3rd place.

This was an excellent result for Ards given the number and quality of entries submitted.

It was a really great evening and the judges’ comments on the images were very positive. I’m sure that we all learnt from them. The evening was recorded and is well worth viewing to see the talent on show and the constructive and helpful ways that we can improve ourselves.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 9 April 2021
Guest Speaker - Graham Dean 'The Camera Doesn’t Lie... But Photographers Do'

On Friday past 23 members joined our weekly Zoom meeting to hear Graham Dean AFIAP CPAGB BPEC2* who is currently a member of Morecambe Camera Club give his talk “The Camera doesn’t lie..... But photographers do” or, is seeing believing?

Graham started his talk showing an image of a dress and asking what colour we thought it was. 2/3 of us thought it was gold and white while 1/3 thought it was brown and blue. The brain can be tricked into perceiving something different; but the camera on other hand sees light in period of time and doesn’t lie.

Even in the beginning of photography early pioneers manipulated photographs for their own reasons often making an image from a combination of negatives. He then showed various photographs that had been manipulated for political propaganda. He suggested that it can corrupt historical records and create an impression that is untrue. It wasn’t hard to find “before and after “images. Members felt uneasy at some of the pictures, that they gave a different perspective to the story lost in the press.

Even Postcards weren’t averse in manipulating their products; enhancing colours and staging scenes –all to increase sales. All this was done pre Photoshop!

With the advent of Photoshop manipulation became much easier and quicker, from cigarettes being removed (as no longer deemed correct) to adjusting views to fit the size and orientation of the magazine page.

After our customary break Graham then showed us some of his own work and how he used Photoshop to enhance the image and bring it to life, by using layers, filters and the odd piece of cloning. It was very evident just how powerful it was.

He did show several of his composite images that had been made up two or more different shots and how using layers to combine the images created an entirely different image but still full of realism. He finished off his talk with an image that he was working on, to create 4 seasons in the one photograph. He had photographed a local church scene and had revisited it throughout the seasons taking more shots and had combined them into one image. He wasn’t fully happy with his current attempt and he said that it was his mission to return periodically to get a better “seasons” shots that would,when combined reflect better on what he was trying to achieve.

He left us with the quote “A photograph isn’t necessarily a lie, but it isn’t the truth either. It is more of a fleeting subjective impression”

All that remained was to thank Graham for this thought provoking talk that was well constructed and full of images that made you really stop and think.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Wednesday 24 & Friday 26 March 2021
NIPA Inter-club Adjudication Round 5 'Open' &
Club Speaker - Neal Ritchie 'My Journey through Photography'


It was another busy week for Ards Camera Club. On Wednesday 20+ members joined the rest of the NIPA Clubs for the adjudication of the 5th and final round of this year’s competition via Zoom. In this “Open” round NIPA had invited 3 judges from outside our association.

In the mono section Sian Kerr, Jonny Andrews, Liz Tullet and Marlene Hazlehurst supplied the Ards images. Each of them scored a very respectable 11 points.

In the colour section Linda Hutchinson, Richard Cowan, Ted McKee and Alan Hillen were the Ards representatives. Richard and Ted both got starred images (13 points); but it was Alan Hillen who received 15points (and joint top print), who took the biscuit!

In the PDI section the 4 Ards entries came from Patricia Mackey, Sian Kerr, Marty Coney and Alan Hillen. Marty and Alan’s images were both starred (13 and 14 points respectively).

It was a very strong showing by the all the Ards club members on the evening but what did that mean for the final positions?

In the Novice section Ards retained 1st Position with 166 points ahead of BPIC and Ballymoney Camera Clubs. In the Main competition Ards were 4th behind Christian Brothers, Central Photographic Association and Catchlight Camera Club who retained 1st position. Our congratulations go to Catchlight for their well deserved victory.

This was a great showing by Ards throughout the year and a well deserved result. (We were 1st and 3rd last year) Our thanks go to all who entered the monthly competitions, those who were successful in getting their images through to NIPA for the 5 rounds and finally to Alan and Jonny who both achieved a Top Colour and a Top PDI image during the this year’s competition.

Here’s to next year!!

On Friday night it was great for the members to come on Zoom to hear one of our own Neal Ritchie speak of his journey through photography – where he started and where he has arrived at. He did what most of us did, bought the gear (after a lot of research), used the new technology to get himself known through social media and joined a camera club to increase his knowledge and invariably compete in competitions. After a while he decided what he really wanted to do was to tell stories through his photographs. Every picture may not be of competition level but can tell a story, so that’s what he concentrates on now. Sometimes he sets himself a challenge and will go and photo different genres and includes wide, medium and tight shots together with a sequence of images to portray his story .He is always on the lookout for the little incidental moments to add meaning depth and realism to the story.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening for all, with plenty of audience interaction and banter and Neal gave us all food for thought. Thank you Neal for a great evening and all the very best for your forthcoming marriage to Luana.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 19 March 2021
Guest Speaker - Glyn Dewis 'Post Processing'

On Friday night some 36 members of Ards and their friends from City of Belfast joined on Zoom
to see a presentation from Glyn Dewis.

Glyn told us that he was primarily a portrait photographer. In 2019 he commenced a 39-45
Portraits Project to honour and remember the World War 2 veterans and to use it to educate
the current and future generations so that the sacrifices should never happen again.

In March of last year the pandemic forced him to change tack and re-evaluate his photographic
journey. He always liked to be involved with projects as he felt that it helped him to further his
learning and develop his style and he has started to do a lot more landscape work.

For his lecture Glyn was going to show retouching techniques on different styles of photographs
in Photoshop and Lightroom in real time.

Needless to say I am not going into any technical details other than to say his demonstration of
the use of gradient lighting to improve an image indicated how powerful it could be. He also
demonstrated how to create night time lighting to give an image a different feel. In portraiture he
shared how he built up a “recipe” to ensure that all the backgrounds of his portraits project
remained consistent throughout all the images.

His used his knowledge of Photoshop and Lightroom techniques to greatly improve and add
impact to all the images he worked on. He made it look very easy (which it wasn’t) but did
promise to send links to allow us to practise at our own speed.

I know that the members thoroughly enjoyed the evening and, like me, are looking forward to
the links.

All that all that remained was for Irvine on behalf of the club to thank Glyn for a really good
“hands on evening” and for his tips and techniques.

Thanks for a great evening Glyn.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 12 March 2021
Print (PDI) Battle with CB Camera Club

On Friday past 31 members from Ards and Christian Brothers Camera Clubs joined on Zoom for their annual Print Battle. The independent judge for the evening was Anita Kirkpatrick from Enniskillen Camera Club.

As usual there were 20 PDI’s from each club for Anita to critique and score. Ards used the same set of images that they had used in their two previous print battles this year, so we had high hopes! There was the usual wide range of genres on show both in colour and black and white with natural history being to the fore closely followed by portraiture and landscapes.

Anita commented on each image – what she liked about it or made a suggestion that might help improve it. The standard of images was high (as indicated by the markings) and there were many superb images on show from both clubs. Ards had 8 images that scored maximum 20 points, while CB had 6.

When the scoring was announced it all rested on the last Ards image. If it scored 19 or above Ards would win, if it scored 18 it would be a draw - it scored 17points making the final scores Ards 375 points and Christian Brothers 376. What a tight finish! and our congratulations go to CB for their victory.

It was a fun, yet enjoyable time and both clubs thanked Anita for her part in making the evening so exciting.

To finish on a high point, our congratulations go to Rusty Adair who had 5 acceptances in the Basingstoke Camera Club National Open Photographic Exhibition and to Keith Malcolm who had 2 and Sian Kerr who had 1 acceptance.

Our little club goes from strength to strength!

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 5 March 2021
Print (PDI) Battle with Westcourt Camera Club

On Friday past 31members from Ards and Westcourt Camera Clubs came together on Zoom for their annual print (PDI) battle. Our judge for the evening was Darren Brown from Bangor Camera Club. Each club had submitted 20 PDIs for the competition. A wide variety of genres were present, in both Black and White and Colour and it made for an entertaining evening.

Darren commented that the quality of all the images was very high that made the marking difficult. He had to look for small issues to separate the images. He made comment on the muted background colours of a lot of the natural history images, how they complimented and helped make the subject matter pop out, although there were some that he felt were a bit noisy.

The portraits were well lit, nicely posed and told a story. Again, he highlighted little things that could have improved some of the images- toning down bright features that caught the eye, or a little vignette to hold the image in. He felt that one or two of the colour images would perhaps have been stronger in B &W, where contrast could have been increased to improve the viewing experience.

The few landscapes on show had all been well composed, used nice lead in lines and had warmth to them. There were a couple of abstract shots which were cleverly executed and an architectural shot that showed high contrast and great symmetry.

Well done to Rusty Adair, Robert Johnston, Colette Andrews, Ted McKee, Jacqui Agnew, Alan Hillen, Marlene Hazlehurst, Richard Holmes, Irvine Ferguson, Claire Russell, Jonny Andrews, Sian Kerr, Marty Coney and Patricia Mackey whose images were shown .Congratulations to Ted, Colette, Richard, Rusty, Jonny and Alan for getting maximum points.

This was a club event well supported by all our photographers – and thanks go to everyone for taking part.

On the night Ards just had the edge and won by 370 points to 349 points.

Our thanks also go to Westcourt for putting up such a good fight, and to Darren for his critiquing of the images. I’m sure that all the authors took something from his comments.

Westcourt we look forward to locking horns again next year!

If that wasn’t enough, both Sian and Keith had entries accepted for the Southport Salon and there were further successes in the Tom McLaughlin Landscape competition, where Rusty received a commended, Ted a highly commended and Sarah a 3rd place.

Well done to everyone and it demonstrates the strength in depth that there is in Ards Camera Club!

Chris
Chair


Notes for Thursday 25 & Friday 26 February 2021
Another busy week for the camera club...

It was a busy week for the camera club. On Thursday night there was the adjudication of NIPA Round 4 (Emotions). Ards had a great evening!

In the Colour section, starred images (13 points and above) were achieved by Rusty Adair and Alan Hillen. They were strongly supported by Sian Kerr and Jenny McCrea.

In the Mono section all entries achieved a very commendable 12 points. Congratulations to Alan Hillen, Rusty Adair, Jonny Andrews and Marlene Hazlehurst.

Finally in the PDI section, Jonny Andrews achieved top PDI (15 marks) and again well supported by Linda Hutchinson, Alan Hillen and Marty Coney who all achieved 12 points.

All that means was that Ards moved into joint first place in the Novice section on 129 points with Ballymoney and CPA. In the main competition Ards remain in 4th place with 426 points, only four points behind CB Camera Club who are in third.

Roll on 24th March for the fifth and final adjudication – there is all still to play for!
Separate to all that, Ards members have had more success, this time in the Clay Cross Salon. Congratulations go to Rusty Adair (3 acceptances), Sian Kerr (3 acceptances) and Keith Malcolm (1 acceptance.)

Then, on Friday night 27 members joined our Zoom meeting to listen to two of our own members present. First up was Patricia Mackey who gave a talk on her visit (exactly one year ago) to Nepal – oh how times have changed! Her talk was interesting and enlightening and she showed many images of the daily life she encountered. There were images of busy street life, images of wildlife and of the environment. Most of the images were as shot – but she showed a few before and after shots when she had done some editing to remove fussy backgrounds, saturating colours and adding contrast. The differences were very noticeable and had brought the images to life.

After our customary tea (?) break, Linda Hutchinson asked the question “what do you do with the photos you take?” The answer: - You make a photo-book, so you can have something tangible to remind you of trip, family or a project. She then went on show how a book could be made up to your own specific design and requirements. There are many proprietary makes you can use, all are easy to follow and if you choose your timing right offer sizable discounts on their products.

It was a very enjoyable evening from two of our members - one showing her travelling exploits and the other suggesting practical ways to keep your memories for all to see.

Our thanks go both for entertaining and enlightening us.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 19 February 2021
Club / NIPA Inter-club competition round 5 Subject: 'Open'
Judge: Martin Spackman

On Friday past it was competition time again. Some 29 members joined in our Zoom meeting to hear Martin Spackman ARPS from Westcourt Camera Club cast his eye over some 123 images that had been submitted for Round 5 (open) of the NIPA competition.

In the General section there were 21 colour and 17 mono images from all genres for Martin to view. His comments were considered and constructive. He was impressed with the overall standard and quality. The images had been well captured with good use of complimentary colours, clean backgrounds and leading lines to bring you in to the point of interest. There were some instances when he felt that the subject was too tight in the frame and a couple of times he highlighted where he felt that the image was too bright in places and needed to be brought back.

In the Advanced section there were 26 colour and 18 mono images submitted. Again all genres were present with natural history being to the fore. The images were all very strong, well composed and showed an excellent knowledge of camera craft. The use of natural lighting to enhance the image and give depth was commented on. There were a couple of images where the whites were a bit bright and others where more contrast was needed to strengthen the image.

After the break he turned his attention to the PDIs -18 in the General section and 23 in the Advanced section. The quality of the images was again of a high standard; good use of composition, complimentary colours were to the fore and the action shots were well caught. The use of ambient light gave strength and depth to the images.

After critiquing all the images, he had the difficult task of coming up with the strongest images (in his opinion) that would best represent Ards at the adjudication round at the end of March. As usual we will make the winners known then.

Thanks go to all the members who submitted images and congratulations to those who will represent Ards in the next (final) round of this year’s competition.

Finally, a word of thanks on behalf of Ards Camera Club goes to Martin for his time, effort and comments. I know that the members will have gained something positive from his critiquing. There were a lot of strong images on show which made for an entertaining and enjoyable evening.

Thank you Martin

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 12 February 2021
Guest Speaker - Roger Hance 'Garden Wildlife Photography'

On Friday last it was good to see a few familiar faces back again along with some of our friends from City of Belfast to hear our speaker Roger Hance FRPS AFIAP DPAGB BPE5* from Ipswich and District Photographic Society give his talk on “Garden Wildlife Photography”.

Roger explained that he had a normal size garden, but with a little effort, some sticks and a few nails you could make natural looking structures to encourage lots of birds to feed in any garden. If you went that little extra and created a small shallow pond, insects and other invertebrates would visit and use it to.

He explained in detail the equipment he used, the set ups he went for and how he got close to the subjects via the use of a portable hide. He also photographed from his shed, and through his open patio doors. To conceal himself from his subjects he would use camouflage netting strung across the open doors.

He showed a wide range of beautiful photographs that he had taken using the equipment and props he had spoken of earlier.

In the summer months he used a moth trap with a UV light to capture (but not harm) the night flying insects. In the morning he would reposition them (using a small paintbrush to gather them up) on to a piece of bark, branch etc. and then photograph them.

He had changed his equipment as he found lugging around a full frame camera with large lenses was becoming more and more tiresome and difficult. He had changed to an Olympus Micro 4/3 camera and a range of pro lenses. This allowed him to achieve the same focal lengths of the full frame, but with less. It stilled maintained the quality and sharpness that he had been used to, as clearly demonstrated by the images shown.

Roger’s talk was very interesting and informative and very inventive regarding the construction of “garden furniture” to encourage wildlife. The members were very grateful for his openness and the tips he freely gave. Hopefully it will encourage more members to give it a go.

Thank you Roger for a great evening!

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 5 February 2021
Members Night - Sinclair's Evening

We celebrated the birthday of “Father of the Club” Sinclair Adair who will be 97 years young on the 8th of February. Some 25 members joined the Zoom meeting for a programme of two distinct halves.

The members had been asked to produce PDIs in the style for which Sinclair was famous. We had 37 images to enjoy and revel in, and thanks go to all who contributed. Leslie Armour had been prevailed upon to comment on, and choose the 3 best from each section (General and Advanced) and then to choose an overall winner – not an easy task! He was looking for different ideas, weird and wonderful combinations and garish colours –something that would get the Sinclair tick of approval. It was a difficult task but in the end in the General section 1st went to Sean Evans with “Weird World”, 2nd and 3rd were two entries by Jim Tweedie. In the Advanced section the winner was Richard Holmes with “Bonfire of the NIPA Judges”, rather apt given Sinclair’s run ins with the judges in the past. 2nd place was Linda Hutchinson and 3rd place Rusty Adair. The accolade of the PDI that most reflected Sinclair’s work went to Richard, who won a bottle of wine for his trouble.

After tea we had a short AV by Irvine Ferguson about Sinclair. “Mrs Martin’s revenge” – This was a humorous, tongue in cheek homage that captured Sinclair’s way of doing things. It was pleasing to note that the soundtrack did not include any of the C and W stars that Sinclair so freely used in his own presentations!

We couldn’t have Sinclair present, but we had the next best thing – his son Rusty. He showed three AVs of his own; - Ireland, Scotland and Iceland. There were some stunning shots and he spoke about how some of images had come to pass. He demonstrated that he was a very capable all round photographer, and we thoroughly enjoyed his presentations.

The evening was a great success and we were able to celebrate Sinclair’s birthday in some style. Thanks to all who contributed in any way.

Happy birthday Sinclair from all your friends at Ards Camera Club.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Wednesday 27 & Friday 29 January 2021
(Print) PDI Battle with City of Belfast PS &
Guest Speaker - Eileen McCausland 'Black and White Photography'

It was a busy week for the club members. On Wednesday night we had our first print battle of the year against our “old adversary” City of Belfast Photographic Society. Due to the situation it was competed on over Zoom and involved PDIs only. Our thanks go to Peter Knott with his C of B hat on for making the evening so enjoyable and to the judge Ray Magill of Bangor Camera Club for judging the competition and for his critiquing of each of the images. Our thanks go to Marlene for getting the images in from the members, and then to Ted, Patricia and Richard for choosing the 20 images to represent the club.

Well done to Rusty Adair, Robert Johnston, Colette Andrews, Ted McKee, Jacqui Agnew, Alan Hillen, Marlene Hazlehurst, Richard Holmes, Irvine Ferguson, Claire Russell, Jonny Andrews, Sian Kerr, Marty Coney and Patricia Mackey whose images were pitted against City of Belfast. Special mention goes to Sian Kerr whose image of a Flamingo scored the maximum 20 points and to Jonny Andrews with his Robin who also scored 20 points. All the other images scored very highly as well. For the record Ards won by 344 points to 316 points. All bodes well for our two other print battles in March.

Then, on Friday night past, some 28 members and friends from City of Belfast again logged into Zoom to hear our guest speaker Eileen McCausland LRPS, LIPF, AIPF from Dungannon and Cookstown Camera Club talk about her Black and White Photography. She defined what portraiture was – it shows a likeness of the personality and it engages the subject with the viewer. There were many different types within the genre: - traditional, environmental, candid street photography, glamour and boudoir, fine art and the list goes on.

She started of using natural light to get mood and atmosphere. The light from a window could help soften the image. She showed many of her images and she was very honest whenever she critiqued them – what was wrong with them and how she could have improved them. All her images had a story to tell and she was only too delighted to recount them to her audience.

She then went on to learn about studio portraiture, with the use of many lights and different backgrounds. It was hard to create an image you could call your own if you were in a workshop. Others would photograph the same model with slight variations to pose, mood etc. You really need to be on your own and then your creativity will be your own.

A portrait should be 50% of the person and 50% of you. You should use editing programmes like an artist and make your image stand out as your own. She liked to work in B and W as she felt you could really bring out the character. She said that she had a penchant for men with beards and she showed many fine examples where she had been able to add depth and life to the image.

She had started to judge competitions but before she did, she felt she needed to be able go out and attempt natural history, sports images etc. to encounter the difficulties and pitfalls in obtaining such images. She then felt that she was able to judge and critique with some knowledge and awareness.

We had a great evening listening to, and viewing a wide variety of Eileen’s images. She demonstrated who that person was beyond the image by commanding a presence, touching your heart and thus leaving the viewer an enlightened person. It was a breath of fresh air – just what we needed on a dank Friday evening.

Thank you Eileen!

Chris
Chair


Notes for Sunday 17, Thursday 21 & Friday 22 January 2021
A busy week for competitions...

It was a busy week for competitions. On Sunday last it was the North/South Interregional Wildlife Competition. There was a good entry from Ards with Rusty Adair, Jacqui Agnew, Jonny Andrews, Marty Coney Patricia Mackey Ted McKee, Keith Malcolm and Liz Tullett all submitting entries, but it was Alan Hillen who, with his highly commended award for his B & W portrait of a lion, getting the only Ards honours. The overall competition was won by our southern friends – congratulations to them.

Then, on Thursday there was the adjudication of the NIPA Round 3 competition. The theme was “Open” when 100 members from across N Ireland joined the Zoom meeting to hear the judges’ critique and score the images in the various categories. In the B & W section, congratulations go to Jonny Andrews, Alan Hillen, Rusty Adair and Marlene Hazlehurst. Unfortunately the three judges didn’t award any of the entries a Star rating (13 points and above)

Better news in the colour section where Jonny Andrews Little Egret and Robin both were awarded 13 points and a Star rating. Ards other entries were by Rusty Adair and Marlene Hazlehurst.

In the PDI Section (Projected Digital Image) further success was gained by Alan Hillen with Flying Chihuahua and Rusty Adair with Going Underground both scoring 13 and a Star rating. The two other Ards entries were by Ted McKee and Liz Tullett.

When the scores were totalled up, in the Novice section Ards are in 6th place with 94 points. It remains close with 7 points separating 1st and 6th. In the main competition Ards have 312 points in 4th place. Catchlight extended their lead with 337 points. However between 3rd and 4th there is only 4 points of a difference, so there is still all to play for in both sections!

On Friday night our speaker had doubled booked herself so Marlene arranged for 3 of our Advanced Members to review all the images that the club had put forward to the NIPA competition so far, as there had been some discussion around the comments and marking on the Thursday night.

So, our thanks go to Alan, Linda and Rusty for putting their heads above the parapet! They discussed each image at length, gave of their opinion where the strengths and weaknesses where and where they felt improvements could be made to improve the image. Alan also demonstrated some of the edits he suggested.

Those who were at the meeting very much appreciated the feedback that they gave and felt that it would help all who were going to submit images to the competition if they first showed the images for critiquing by some of the advanced members. They could then consider the points made and act on them (or not). In this way it was felt that the image would be as strong as it could be before our guest judge would have to make their choice.

Thank you to our “Guest Judges” for being open and honest. I know those authors whose images were under the spotlight really appreciated the feedback. Thank you to Marlene for arranging the evening at short notice. That ended the official evening, however the die-hards remained on line to the wee small hours and I’m sure that they put the photographic world to right.

Good for them!

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 15 January 2021
Club / NIPA Inter-club round 4 'Emotion'
Judge: Anita Kirkpatrick

On Friday past some 25 members welcomed (via Zoom) Anita Kirkpatrick from Enniskillen Camera Club to the meeting. It was 4th round of the NIPA competition and the subject was “Emotion” not an easy subject to portray, nor an easy subject to judge on!

Nevertheless there were 86 images, 36 in the general and 50 in the advance sections for Anita to consider. She viewed them in the sections of Colour, Black and White and PDI (Projected Digital Image), although they were all shown in PDI format.

Anita began by giving a general definition of emotion and this was what she based her judging on. She said that she viewed all the images without knowing their titles to see if she could feel an emotion depicted from the image, and then she viewed them again with the titles to see if the author’s capture displayed the emotion indicated.

She then gave feedback on each image. Most of the images were portraits with some animal images as well. There were a few images were the author had “thought outside the box” to capture something different. All images were generally well captured, well framed and used a good of depth of field, when appropriate.

She did point out whenever the subject was not quite sharp, or perhaps a different crop would make a stronger image, or some detail could be cloned out or a stronger vignette to help focus the eye better on the subject. Of course this being a themed round, the title was important. She felt that in some of the images the emotion was not coming through strong enough.

She then picked the images in each of the sections that she felt were the strongest and best fitted the theme. From those images she chose the 12 images that she felt would best represent Ards in the NIPA round.

Thanks go to all who submitted images for the competition, congratulations to the winners and well done to those who images were selected to go forward for the Adjudication at the end of February when we will make the names known.

All that remained was for Claire to give a vote of thanks on behalf of the club to thank Anita for giving of her time judging for us – it is indeed more difficult to judge a themed round and for the positive comments that she gave and finally for choosing those images that we should submit.

Thank you very much Anita.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 8 January 2021
Guest Speaker - Steve Myall '100 Strangers'

On Friday past 25 members of Ards Camera club together with a few friends from City of Belfast joined together on Zoom to hear our first guest lecturer of 2021, Steve Myall EFIAP BPE4*from Keyworth Camera Club (Just outside Nottingham) talk about his “100 Strangers Project.”

In this project he took portraits of 100 strangers. When he first started he was nervous about approaching people for this project. He quickly found out that if you went to carnivals, Steampunk rallies, Comic-con conventions, music events, charity events etc. where people did dress up (and expected to be asked to have their photograph taken), then you could up your success rate. This allowed him to be more confident in approaching complete strangers in town. He would explain what his project was all about and when permission was granted he would he take their photograph there and then.

He said that in choosing which people to approach he looked for something that caught his attention; whether it was colourful clothes that they were wearing or people with coloured hair. Likewise you soon learnt who not to approach– people in a hurry, people with children (usually) and people who would not make eye contact. Being polite and courteous at all times was a must.

Sometimes he might see a background that caught his eye, and then he would look for someone who would best fit that situation perhaps wearing contrasting coloured clothes.

Know how your camera works! He usually worked with a fast 50mm lens to allow him to blur the background if it was necessary. With the ISO and F Stop usually pre set this allowed him to commence shooting when permission had been given. Most of his shots were usually head and shoulders and in colour. Although he would change to mono if he felt the situation required. . He often showed the shots he had taken and asked which one appealed best to his subject.

He did some post processing but it was really minimal (e.g. cloning out objects that were obtrusive).

The shots were uploaded to Flickr (following their strict guidelines), were they could be viewed Steve has completed two lots of “100 Hundred Strangers Projects” and has started his third. Unfortunately the Covid pandemic has put paid to this for the moment. He is actively considering other genres that could make an interesting “strangers” project.

He suggested that the Camera club should consider something along those lines as a little project to help keep the motivation going (whenever times allow it).

All that remained was for Irvine to thank Steve on behalf of the club for a very interesting and entertaining talk. His photographs of the strangers he showed indicated that the people were indeed happy to go along with the idea and that Steve was able to bring out the best of his subject.

Thank you Steve.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Wednesday 16 December 2020
Quiz Night

Last night (Wednesday) we had our Quiz night overseen by our good friend Darren Brown. Darren has been very generous with his time for us over summer and judging the little competitions that we had. So, we hope that “The Curly Girls” will enjoy some Christmas treats from Pets are Us, courtesy of their friends at Ards Camera Club.

Congratulations go to Sarah for steering her way through the seas of “General Ignorance” and leaving the rest of us floundering in her wake, and crossing the finishing line first!

I see that a print of Ansel Adams was sold for over one million pounds. Our friend Alan Hillen has had further success in getting his work published in more national papers (and even further afield.) So Alan, someday......................................... maybe.

Happy Christmas
Chris


Notes for Friday 11 December 2020
Guest Speaker - Kylie-Ann Martin 'My Journey in Photography - so far'

On Friday past some twenty members of Ards Camera Club welcomed Kylie-Ann Martin to our Zoom meeting. Kylie hails from Birmingham and is currently a member of Great Barr Photographic Society.

She gave a presentation entitled “My Journey in Photography – so far”. She spoke of early interest in photography, and using the “365 Project” - taking 1 photograph per day and uploading it to the site. This helped encourage her to improve her eye for a good photograph. She was in a couple of clubs prior to her current club and quickly got the bug for club competition work. As time went on she expanded her horizons and entered images into the British Photographic Exhibitions (BPE) - where she has been very successful achieving BPE1 and BPE2. She also has entered images into the Federation Internationale de L’Art Photographique (FIAP) and has achieved her EFIAP.

All of the images that she has taken have been taken in and around Birmingham. With each of the images shown here was an accompanying story – how, why or where. She showed some re-enactment photographs and how by sharing the images with the actors led to other openings. She invested in an infra-red camera and showed some shots that she had taken. She found the difference in the tones made you look at the picture with a different mind. She also showed some of her studio shots and discussed with us images that she had processed in colour and black and white and which was the stronger image. Several of her images were post processed artistically using fractalius and photospiralysis software. The resultant images were certainly different had punch and have gone down very well for her in the salons I’m sure that some of us will give it a go!

She showed a wide variety of images in most of the genres and was quite happy to tell her audience where she felt her image could be improved.

The craic and banter was good and Kylie’s easy manner made her journey enlightening. I think that we all were inspired and hopefully it will help develop (or rekindle) our photographic journey.

Leslie Armour thanked Kylie on behalf of the club for her informative talk and sharing her images with us. Thank you Kylie for a very enjoyable evening.

This was our last meeting for 2020 and the Committee wish to thank the members for their support during these difficult times and hope that all will have a happy and peaceful festive season. Please take care and we will see you in 2021.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 4 December 2020
Roy Finlay Memorial Natural History Competition

On Friday night past we held the annual Roy Finlay Wildlife competition. All the clubs affiliated to NIPA came together on Zoom. This was the 37th year that the competition has been held. It is run in memory of Roy Finlay, a past president of NIPA and a very active member of our club. He was an avid natural history photographer with a passion for puffins. It was on a photo shoot to the Saltee Islands in 1983 that Roy tragically fell and subsequently died of his injuries. In his memory his late wife Rosemary instigated this competition as a NIPA competition to be run by Ards Camera Club. She provided a perpetual silver tray to be presented to the overall winner. Neil Finlay, Roy’s son continues to support the competition and provided a piece of Langham Glass, this year in the form of an otter for the winner to keep.

The competition has grown in stature over the years and this year there was an entry of almost 500 Projected Digital Images (PDIs). It is a testament to the popularity and importance that the photographic fraternity hold it in. The Finlay family and Ards Camera Club are very grateful for the support shown.

Due to the number of entries involved the Judge Ian Whiston DAPG EFIAP/b ABPE could only talk on 125 of the entries plus all the winning entries. Being a Wildlife competition there were plenty of birds and animals on show. There were a few invertebrates and some botanical images as well for the judge to consider.

With the standard being so high he had to “nit pick” to finally be able to arrive at a winner.

The following Ards members all submitted images for the competition:- Jonny Andrews, Alan Hillen, Marty Coney, Colette Andrews, Elizabeth Tulett, Patricia Mackey, Jacqui Agnew, Ted McKee , Michael Loan and Keith Malcolm.

Those who images were Commended were: - Michael Loane (2), Elizabeth Tulett, Jonny Andrews and Ted Mckee. The following photographers obtained Highly Commended with their images;-Michael Loane, Ted McKee and Patricia Mackey.

Congratulations to all who entered and to those whose images were Commended or Highly Commended – you all did Ards proud. We must congratulate Catchlight Camera Club who were placed 5th ,4th,2nd and 1st and to Hugh Wilkinson for his image” rook feeding juvenile” which was placed first. His name will be engraved on the tray and will be delivered to him in due course along with the crystal otter.

Thanks to the judge for his unenviable task of choosing a winner and to those in NIPA ran the night – a very enjoyable evening all round.

All the images have been uploaded to the NIPA Website: www.niphoto.co.uk/roy-finlay-2020 and it is well worth a visit.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 27 November 2020
Club / NIPA Inter-club round 3 Subject: 'Open'
Judge: Hugh Rooney ARPS

On Friday past 25 members joined the Zoom meeting to see our entries for NIPA Round 3 competition being judged. The subject was OPEN and our judge for the evening was Hugh Rooney ARPS, the current President of NIPA and a member of Bangor Camera Club. There were the three formats, Colour print, Mono print and Projected Digital Image (PDI) but as the round was being judged via Zoom they were all in PDI format and as usual there were the two sections, General and Advanced.

There were 116 images in total to be judged during the evening. Hugh spoke on all the images. Being an open competition all the genres were on show, nature, landscape and portraiture being to the fore.

In the General section Hugh felt that the quality of the images was good and there was good use of colour and colour balance. Some of the images could have been stronger if they had have been cropped differently, and a vignette used to darken the corners to help focus the eye to the subject.

In the Advanced section there were many strong images on show. The photographers had thought about the composition and what they were trying to put across. The effective use of lighting and textures were employed to good effect. There were a couple of images that Hugh commented on as being “unusual” and he felt that they asked questions of the viewer.

After the break it was the turn of the PDI section to receive Hugh’s scrutiny. Again they were generally well composed. Some were very simple in the use of tones and colour and really captured the moment.

When it came to choosing the images for NIPA Hugh had a difficult task as he felt that there were a number of Advanced images that really deserved to go through, however he had to make his choices.

As usual no names or titles are given here. All will be revealed at the adjudication evening in January. However it is good to see that there were ten different authors who were placed and among those were three who are new to the club. Well done to everyone who submitted an image for consideration.

All that remained was to thank Hugh for the time and effort that he put in and it was good to hear that he had difficulty in choosing our images – perhaps it bodes well for the future! Thank you.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 20 November 2020
NIPA Inter-club Adjudication Round 2 'Abstract'

On Friday past it was the NIPA Round 3 adjudication, the subject being “Abstract”. There was a maximum of 100 people from all across the clubs in N Ireland who managed to log into Zoom, Ards of course were well represented.

As always there were 3 sections – Colour Prints, Mono Prints and Projected Digital Images (PDIs) but due to the competition being judged over the Internet they were all shown in PDI format. There were 95 images in each section and each judge could score a maximum of 5 points. The round had been pre-judged and each of the three judges spoke on different images.

As you could expect there were lots of different interpretations on show. All were very inventive; most had strong visual impact with harmonious colours and showed imagination. It wasn’t always clear what the image was – but that didn’t matter. Some of the images were well seen, picking out something from a scene that we noticed every day.

The judge’s comments were constructive. They highlighted what they liked about the image; suggested changes to the crop or perspective that might improve the overall composition. A lot of the images were simple with nothing to distract the viewer. Bubbles were a plenty – in coloured water or oil and it was interesting to see how the size, number, position, colours and tones could make such a difference to the image.

There were images that showed Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) and again the use of complimentary colours or harmonious colours could make a great difference to the image.

Congratulations to those members who represented Ards in this round. The judges picked on some of the images and gave complimentary comments for their inventiveness and imagination.

In the Colour print section we were represented by Irvine Ferguson, Rusty Adair, Colette Andrews and Linda Hutchinson. In the mono prints it was Irvine Ferguson, Jonny Andrews, Liz Tullett and Alan Hillen. In the PDIs it was Jacqui Agnew, Keith Malcolm and 2 X Richard Holmes.

Our highest scores were from Linda Hutchinson, Alan Hillen and Richard Holmes who each scored 12 points – well done to them!

In the Novice section of the competition Ards are 5th with 66 points. Only 3 ½ separate 1st to 5th. All still to play for!

In the main competition Ards are 5th with 210 points. Catchlight are out in front with 231 points, with only 8 points separating 2nd to 5th.

We didn’t manage any “starred images” (13 points and above this time), but we look forward to the 3rd round “Open” to be judged in January next year.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 13 November 2020
Guest Speaker - Dave Mason 'Street Photography'

On Friday past the members joined the Zoom session to listen to our speaker for the evening, Dave Mason talk on Street Photography. He lived and worked in South London for many years, but has retired and now lives in the Canterbury area. He keeps himself busy and lectures widely. (constrained to zoom during the pandemic)

He displayed his work under several headings. He was always on the lookout for backgrounds or strong colours to add relevance to the photograph. Signage helped the image and when combined with other elements could give a strong narrative to the shot. He tried not to get too much eye contact – as too much leans towards portraiture. There was plenty of humour about, you just needed to be in the right place at the right time which sometimes required a little patience.

He suggested going to “weird and different” events, where the participants were only too glad to have their photographs taken and he showed several where he was able to combine the eccentricity of people with background elements to tell a story, raise a smile or ask a question.

He travelled light, using a small “unprofessional looking “camera with a micro 4/3 lens, that way he got away with a lot. He blended in and was able to let people come to him. He kept the settings on the camera as simple as possible so he could react quickly when the moment arose. Another trick of the trade was to walk slowly and amble around. When he needed to wait for something to happen he would sit down to have a rest; it helps you look more natural.

He showed images from all around the world. They all demonstrated his eye for composition, style and colour sense. They captured freshness; he saw the small things and brought them to our notice and brought a smile to our face.

Dave uses his camera as a means to an end – it is just a tool to tell a story. His parting words of advice were to take the picture for yourself: then you will enjoy your photography much more!

Thanks Dave for the evening. Your take on Street Photography was both entertaining and thought provoking and hopefully the knowledge you imparted we will be able to put to good use.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 6 November 2020
Guest Speaker - Barbie Lindsay 'Creative Photography'

On Friday past 30 members from Ards and our City of Belfast friends met to hear Barbie Lindsay EFIAP’s MPAGB, FBPE give a talk entitled “Creative Photography”. Barbie hails from Ipswich in Suffolk but her photography has taken her all over the country and far beyond.

The main trust of her lecture was creativity in what she captured. She certainly demonstrated that she has great imagination. Her first few images she showed how she adjusted the composition of the image by moving the props and not having to rely on digital manipulation.

It didn’t matter whatever the genre, the images that Barbie showed her talent for looking into the image and making subtle adjustments to create a mood or emphasise a point. She took great care in titling her pictures, as the title helps the observer better identify the message she is trying to portray.

She certainly wasn’t backward about coming forward in asking passersby to pose for her and she was even able to get them to react in the way she envisaged in her mind. One way of exploiting your creativity was to set yourself little projects – to help focus your mind. She showed a series of images of nursery rhymes, which she had cleverly composed in Photoshop, using other images taken from her extensive library. All the components had been taken by her, there was no clipart used.

There was a series of images of moths, bugs and larvae. She showed us a “nature box “that had been constructed to capture the specimens and assured everyone that no animals had been hurt or harmed in the process.

Her last section of the evening was on images captured on mobile phones and tablets. She showed images captured using the pano setting- it is just amazing the quality that can be obtained on these devices.

Barbie’s lecture challenged us all to think more out of the box when it comes to our photographic experiences. As one who has difficulty in “thinking in the box” this could be a significant challenge to me!!

The one thing that Covid-19 has brought to us is that it has forced us to do our meetings differently. We have been able (via Zoom) to travel further afield to seek out speakers. The quality and variety to date, has been exceptional and Barbie certainly maintained that standard.

Thank you for joining in our evening with us, entertaining and challenging us at the same time.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 30 October 2020
Guest Speaker - Jane Lazenby 'Working with Textures'

On Friday past we had 31 people (including some of our friends from City of Belfast) who logged in to hear Jane Lazenby give her lecture ”Working with Textures”. She has been 25 years as a professional equine and fine art photographer, based in Barnsley , South Yorkshire.

She is a very accomplished photographer who has achieved great success in salons and in the various photographic bodies.

She challenged those present to look for textures in and around the house. You will be amazed what you will find. She showed some of her recent finds that she made during lockdown from tiles in the bathroom, concrete floors, wallpapers to wooden panels. There are endless places to get textures – you just need to keep your eyes open!

Textures can greatly improve an ordinary photograph, help fill the frame, tone down distracting backgrounds, improve burnt out areas and add emotional content to the photograph.

She showed a series of photographs that she had added different textures to change the mood and improve the impact of the image. Gone were the distracting backgrounds, replaced with textures whose colours complimented the subject.

After our customary break, Jane then did a walkthrough using various different photographs, blending and masking (were appropriate) different textures from her library. She used the paintbrush to paint and mask out the subjects. She said that she found it easier than using one of the Photoshop tools. In portraits she masked out the parts of the sitter that didn’t require the texture. She was a great advocate of “try and see”- change the opacity, vary the colour, use multiple textures. Experiment with the various types of blend modes to see which one “lifts” the photograph.

In her final picture, that of a horse with very fine edges to the mane and tail she continued to mask out those awkward bits. When the textured background was sorted she then with the use of a mane brush or tail brush added back in fine hairs where appropriate! There are wealth of brushes that can be obtained from the web. There are videos on You Tube of walkthroughs that you can watch at your own pace.

She answered any questions that were thrown her way in a simple and understanding way.
All that was left was for Jacqui Agnew to say thanks on behalf of the club. Everyone had found it very interesting and she was sure that the members would be on the lookout for objects with which to create their own Texture library and she wondered how many of the images in the next round of the NIPA competition would display textured backgrounds.

It had been a great evening and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Thank you

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 23 October 2020
Club / NIPA Inter-club round 2 Subject: 'Abstract Photography'
Judge: Chelle McGaughey LRPS

On Friday past, the club welcomed Chelle McGaughey LRPS from CPA as our judge for Round 2 “Abstract” of the NIPA Competition.

Despite the subject matter there were plenty of images for Chelle to get her teeth into. There were 26 General Colour, 26 Advanced Colour, 22 General Mono, 24 Advanced Mono, 26 General PDI and 30 Advanced PDI to help pass the evening!

She read out a definition of what was deemed to be an abstract image and she said that she used this as her benchmark when viewing the images. She was also looking for “in camera” work rather than a lot of manipulation in Photoshop. She commented on all the images. Some, she felt, didn’t really hit the mark regarding the subject, others were very clever and still others were simple but very effective. There were images of smoke from different authors and “in camera movement” of trees and other shrubs. It was interesting to see the different results achieved. Some were stronger and more pleasing to the eye than others.

There were a couple of images that she chose to go forward that she felt may be a bit controversial. She suggested a different approach to them; but she was content to leave the final say to the club.

So, congratulations to the members whose images were chosen to go forward, and thanks to everyone else who racked their brains and produced images that didn’t quite make it.

It only remained for Linda Hutchinson to give a vote of thanks on behalf of the club. She thanked Chelle for judging for us - it is indeed more difficult to judge a themed round. She felt that her comments about the mystery of the abstract, creativity, movement, saturation and textures were all positive things that we all could take away from the evening.

Thank you Chelle very much time and your positive comments.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Tuesday 20 October 2020
NIPA Inter-club Adjudication Round 1 'Open'


Well, I was so busy looking at the results on the NIPA website that I didn’t notice the time and when I tried to login – well, refused – maximum 100 people had been reached. I’m gutted!! However I’m sure that ARDS were well represented and made their presence known.

We have started off very strongly and congratulations to who had images submitted. As you are aware there are still the 3 sections but all have been shown in PDI format. If you get a starred image in the Mono or Colour section then you will need to prepare a print for the end of the year exhibition, so remember that.

Colour section

'Incoming' - Jonny Andrews 13*
'Flamingo' - Sian Kerr 14*
'Fungi and Fly' - Marlene Hazlehurst 10
'Alley steps' - Jim Tweedie 8

Mono Section

'Impala' - Alan Hillen 14*
'Mischief maker' - Marlene Hazlehurst 14*
'Here’s one we made earlier' - Jonny Andrews 11
'Night night sleep tight' - Jim Tweedie 10

PDI Section

'Puffin in flight' - Alan Hillen 13*
'Lily' - Patricia Mackey 13*
'Keyhole Ballintoy' - Eddy Graden 12
'Butterfly feeding' - Liz Tullett 10

* 'Starred image'

Congratulations to all and it’s nice to see some new faces on the score card.

So after Round1 the scores are,

Novice Competition

Ards equal 7th with 32 (CB 1st with 37, Belfast Photo Imaging 2nd with 35 and there are 4 clubs tied on 3rd place with 33)

Main Competition

Ards 4th with 114 (Catchlight 1st with 129, CB 2nd with 116 and CPA 3rd with 115.5)

A strong start by the club and I’m sure there is plenty more to come!!

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 16 October 2020
Quadrangle Competition - Review

On Friday night past, while we were still in party mood from Wednesday, we reviewed all the images that had been shown on the night. But before we did Marlene thanked everyone who submitted images for consideration for the Quadrangle Competition. We then had a slide show of all these images. There were 61 in total viewed. These images will be kept for consideration whenever we have our print (Now PDI) battles with other clubs later on in the year. The authors are of course free to use the images as they see fit in other competitions if they so wish.

Marlene then displayed the 60 images shown on Wednesday night; one at a time and members offered their score and 2 points that they noticed about the image (good or bad). It was interesting to hear the members take on each image. We did focus (naturally) on our own images and some members were very open about their images. Some of the scores that the judge gave were a bit low and some of his comments difficult to reason with, we felt.

It was interesting to hear some of our more accomplished photographers take on some of the images, the small flaws that they saw and improvements they suggested. We were all able to add this to our judging learning curve.

Like all judges, you agree with some scores and comments and others you just wonder what they saw in the image that warranted the marking - who would want be a judge?

It was another good evening, with plenty of food for thought for the members present.

Next up is Tuesday night - Round 1 adjudication. We have been advised that we obtained starred images! The Zoom link will be made available presently. See you all there!

Chris
Chair


Notes for Wednesday 14 October 2020
Quadrangle Competition

On Wednesday past some 20+members went on Zoom to support the club in the annual Quadrangle competition with our friends from Hamilton, Wrexham and Corby Camera clubs. Corby hosted the meeting and a total of 78 attendees listened to the judge Roy Lambeth DPAGB EFIAP BE2* of New Forest Camera Club comment and score each of the 60 images.

The Ards images had been selected by our own panel and our thanks go to Linda, Ted and Richard for undertaking this task. Our thanks also go to all who submitted images for consideration. The 15 images from Ards were made up by Robert Johnston (2), Sian Kerr (3), Ted McKee (2), Jonny Andrews (3), Marlene Hazlehurst (2), Claire Russell (1), Linda Hutchinson (1) and Rusty Adair (1).

The judge spoke on each of the images saying what he liked and also made reference to things that brought the marking down. His critiquing was fair and helpful.

After all 60 images had been viewed and scored (and there were several “crackers” among them) the results were announced by Corby.

Hamilton 241    Corby 243    Wrexham 249    Ards 260

Ards scored consistently highly and our congratulations go to all the authors. I want to especially mention Ted and Sian who each scored 20 marks for one of their images. (The female Sparrow hawk and the flamingo)

That was the 6th running of the competition and it went very well with a result being given on the night instead of having to wait until each club had run their own round and getting the scores collated and a winner announced a week or so later. Those attending felt that the Zoom way of doing things certainly had its advantages and kept the tension going.

So Ards managed to hold on to accolade of being the “Best in Britain” which, they have been since its inception – well done Ards!!

If you join with us on Friday you will have the opportunity to see all 60 images and will be able to reflect on the scores. Look forward to seeing you then.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 9 October 2020
Guest Speaker - Lee Sutton 'Critique Night'

On Friday past 24 members tuned into our Zoom meeting. It was nice to see a couple of new faces and hear Sinclair Adair again. We look forward to seeing him in person whenever he gets his video sorted out.

This was our first meeting inviting speakers from PAGB Circuit- and we hit Gold with Lee Sutton from Chorley Photographic Society. A quick look at his web page showed just what a very competent photographer he is in many different genres and he had an arm full of letters to boot to go after his name.

He introduced himself to the club, and showed a few of his images just to set the tone. He also spoke of his journey in photography and his need to strive for improvement working towards the various awards in photography.

His task for the evening was to critique the images that we had submitted for Round 1 of our NIPA competition.

Lee made a comment on all the images. Some of them he did some work on and showed how a little tweak here and there improved the image. Some images were a little “messy” and it was difficult for the eye to find a point to focus on. With a little crop he simplified the image and made it much stronger.

He made a comment that we seemed to like “bright pictures” and he demonstrated that with a few deft brush strokes darkening down parts of the image you could make a stronger photograph. With some of the portraits he made a tighter crop, which he felt enhanced the image. Some of the male portraits, he felt could be made more” gritty” by selectively darkening down some of the wrinkles on the face and he showed his changes to the image. It did indeed make the image more punchy and interesting, but unfortunately added ten years to Campbell!

All the changes that Lee made were subtle and thought provoking but we all agreed that the image was improved. He did say that any changes made were subjective, some would like and others may not be so sure. He did emphasise that the best way to improve your photography was let others critique your images before they were entered into competition. After working on an image for a length of time you become “blind”, yet when others view it they can see imperfections very quickly or make suggestions for improvement.

After he finished, he showed the RAW image of a girl and the steps he went through to arrive at the final image. He did the same for a fine art photograph, combining a model with a background shot at Harry Potter World. He made it look very easy!

We really enjoyed our evening with Lee and he had good rapport with us and we thank him very much for the time and effort he gave to us.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 2 October 2020
Members Night - Sian Kerr and Linda Hutchinson

On Friday night past, 22 members logged into Zoom for our 2nd Members night. Tonight was Ladies Night. First up was Sian Kerr giving us her take on Salons, what benefits she got out of them and she also talked a little bit about textures. After the obligatory break Linda Hutchinson spoke about her journey towards her IPF Licentiate Panel.

Sian told us that all information relating to The British Photographic Exhibitions could be found on their website. All the details were online: how to enter: how to pay and the results announced. It also gave a list of exhibitions (spaced thorough the year) with closing dates.

Most exhibitions were mainly PDIs and there were different sections that you could enter. Three judges viewed the images, each scoring out of a maximum of 5. For acceptance into the salon you had generally to reach 12 points. A hard copy catalogue of all accepted images was produced and every entrant (whether successful or not) received one.

The benefits that Sian received from entering work into Salons was she was able to work outside the NIPA calendar, she could view all the high quality accepted images, and it was nice to see your own work in print, when you were successful. It was also an opportunity to enter your images into different salons, and be marked by different judges. She showed the 4 images that currently she has been successful with along with the marks given. From that she was able to average out her marks and see how they fell within the marking system.

She encouraged everyone to give it a go – you can remain anonymous and tell no one until you have had success!

As a little extra she showed some textures that she had created by using water colour paints. She also said that she had quite a collection of pictures of floors, walls and mats and rugs that she could call upon. She showed an image of a flower that she had entered in the last competition. It was taken in her kitchen against a non-descript background. This allowed her to “cut” the flower out in Photoshop. She then blended in several of her textures until she achieved something that complimented the colour of the flower.

Textures are something that we all can look out for whenever we are out and about and Sian certainly showed how they could be a good edition to your workflow.

Linda started of her presentation by putting up a slide of Maslow’s Hierarchy (!!!- look it up). However, she used it to demonstrate her motivation to achieve higher needs in looking for recognition through her photography. Like all things Linda did her homework and checked out the main contenders between the British and Irish Federations. She decided that the Irish Photographic Federation was the way she would go.

For the Licentiate Panel she had to present 10 prints that would sit balanced as a cohesive set of images, and that in the opinion of a group of assessors appointed by the IPF demonstrates competency in a variety of photographic skills. Easy? – no!

The images could be of any genre, most entrants went for a mixture. The panel should indicate a good knowledge of camera work, imagination and creativity, good composition and editing, good image quality, visual impact, use of light and cohesion between the images on the panel.

She showed some successful panels via the hanging diagram. Some were stronger than others and members were asked their opinions on how the images gelled one with another. It was agreed that it was a difficult task as individuals saw things from their own perspective. We all agreed that the quality of the images were good but not all images would do well in the NIPA competition.

Linda then showed her first attempt, and while she said that she felt that it was competent and there were some strong images it just didn’t tick the boxes that the assessors were looking for. Although she failed she got good written feedback on what images were strong and where other images fell down. From this panel she decided to keep 2 images and have another attempt. So she paid her money, went on holiday and generally faffed around.

With time running down she then knuckled down to the task in hand, picking out a lot of images that she liked and passed them round her friends that were knowledgeable in what would make a good panel. After a lot of toing and froing and a lot of manipulating and editing she felt that she had 10 images that she could submit in a cohesive order that she could take to Leslie for printing.

Of course she was now right up against the wire and she was surprised to see how much time it took to get the image printed so that it would really have visual impact. She told her audience that she spent hours at Leslie’s house, while he got the prints just right. She just made the deadline but she was happy with her final panel. There were strong images; there was symmetry to the panel and cohesion between the photographs.

She passed.

This was an excellent evening all round and it is great to know that the club can call upon its members to provide an evening of entertainment and at the same time impart knowledge to the audience. Thank you both.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 25 September 2020
Club / NIPA Inter-club round 1 Subject: 'Open'
Judge: Vitttorio Silvestri


On Friday night 30 members logged into Zoom for the 1st round of the NIPA interclub competition. This round was an Open category.

It was nice to see a few new faces joining us. Our guest judge was our good friend Vittorio Silvestri of CPA camera club. He had the unenviable task of judging 135 images. There were the 2 sections – General and Advanced and the 3 categories – Colour, B&W and PDI. All were viewed in PDI format as due to the covid restrictions prints were not available. Members were reminded that if their entries received a star at the adjudication round, then a print would be required at the end of the season for the NIPA Top Print Award.

So, down to business, In the General Colour section there was 20 images for Vittorio to comment on. All the genres were on view. In his critique he commented on each image pointing out where he felt improvements could be made to better the image, whether it was a different crop or removal of some detail or darkening or lightning part of the image.

The Advanced Colour section comprised of 25 images, again of all the genres. These images were of a high standard, but Vittorio still made positive comment on all the images.

There were 17 entries in the General Mono section, half of which were portraits. Again Vittorio reprocessed a couple of images to show how he felt they could be improved, as well as commenting on each specific image.

The Advanced Mono section comprised of 22 images, again portraiture being to the foremost. Vittorio commented on how the different crops helped make the image.

The 25 General PDI images were predominately from the nature genre. Again the critiquing was very positive and he demonstrated again with a few subtle changes during processing how some of the images could be improved upon.

The Advanced PDI section comprised of the most entries (26) and covered most of the popular genres. Vittorio took time and made comments on all the images.

His next task was to come up with winners in each of the categories. Not an easy task he said as there were some “cracker images”.

General Colour:  1st Jim Tweedie, 2nd Marlene Hazlehurst, 3rd Eddie Graden, 4th Sean Evans.

Advanced Colour:  1st Jonny Andrews, 2nd Sian Kerr, 3rd Alan Hillen.

General Mono:  1st Marlene Hazlehurst, 2nd Jim Tweedie, 3rd Sean Evans, 4th Colette Andrews.

Advanced Mono:  1st Alan Hillen, 2nd Jonny Andrews, 3rd Robert Johnston.

General PDI:  1st Liz Tullagh, 2nd Eddie Graden, 3rd Jacqui Agnew, 4th Marlene Hazlehurst.

Advanced PDI:  1st Alan Hillen, 2nd Patricia Mackey, 3rd Keith Malcolm.

Congratulations to the successful photographers; nice to see some new names among them. Thanks to all who entered images and made the night so successful.

For our entry into NIPA, Vittorio suggested 1st and 2nd in each section should go forward. We are not posting any images at this time; we will wait until after the 1st round adjudication.

All that remains for me to do is to thank Vittorio for his time and helpful comments regarding the images that he saw and making the evening so enjoyable.

Thank you.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 18 September 2020
Members Night - Alan Hillen and Claire Russell

Week 3 of our new season and we turned to the talents from our own club. There were 27 members all eagerly waiting to be entertained! They were not disappointed.

First up was Alan Hillen, a very competent photographer, both behind the lens and in the workings of Photoshop. He demonstrated in real time how to go about muting down a background, whilst keeping the foreground containing the main subject sharp and distinct. He used a photograph of 2 wolves that he had taken at Wild Ireland. After a few tweaks in Camera Raw he opened the file in Photoshop and created 3 layers. He selected out the wolves and then on another of the layers he used it to blur the background. He combined the two and compared it with the original. Hey presto –a much more pleasing image. He still wasn’t finished. Another layer was created and he opened up the Nik Collection and went into Silver FX Pro where he did a few more tweaks, darkening the edge and adjusting the brilliance and warmth. The image was flattened once again and we were left with an image that really jumped out at you. Just to finish off he added a white border and his signature. Easy peasy!! I’m very glad that we videoed the presentation, so when we get the link I will be able to go over what he did again (and again....)

After our customary break next up was Claire Russell with her presentation “Cack handed Photography” In it she clearly demonstrated how easy it was for things to go wrong. Ideas that didn’t quite turn out as she had expected, equipment she didn’t know how to use. Even when she thought about composition, Backgrounds and the weather, she still managed to come up with images that seemed to ignore all her considerations.

What I noticed from many of the images on display, that a lot of them were very similar to ones that I have on my computer, and I suspect that other can say the same. Her light hearted presentation certainly struck a chord with me.

It was an evening of two halves, but both were equally enjoyable for different reasons. Our thanks and gratitude goes to our two contributors and we keenly look forward to our next Members Evening.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 11 September 2020
Tribute to Paul Hanley by Ross McKelvey

If you were unable to log in to our Zoom meeting on Friday night past, you missed a great evening.

It was our tribute to Paul Hanley by our good friend Ross McKelvey of Catchlight CC. There was a good turnout and many of Paul’s friends and colleagues from other camera clubs also tuned in. Ross had broken his tribute into different themes.

All the images from the various genres displayed careful composition, simplicity, symmetry and captured at just the right moment. His careful use of contrasting colours made many of his images come alive. We were treated to over 100 of Paul’s images from portraiture, through shapes and patterns to symmetry and reflection. His images of spirals (staircases) clearly demonstrated his eye for a good picture, whilst at the same time capturing it in an innovative and different way.

The way that used symmetry in many of his architectural shots demonstrated his clever use of squares, rectangles and lines. The lone figure, just in the right spot was a recurring theme and we were told that he would wait and wait until a person was in the right place before pressing the shutter.

Ross’s presentation was indeed a fitting testament to a great photographer who had a keen eye and was prepared to work to achieve the picture that he held in his mind.

Paul’s untimely death has robbed us of a friend and colleague, but he has left behind a legacy of work which will be available for us all for years to come.

Chris
Chair


Notes for Friday 4 September 2020
Opening Night of New Season

Friday night was the first night of our new session – in fact it is our 60th Anniversary this year. From a first meeting in the Table Tennis Rooms of Robert Street in Newtownards via premises in Movilla Street and in Frederick Street to our current (and wholly owned) premises off Circular Road, we have gone from strength to strength and had many successes along the way.

Of course Covid19 meant that we cannot meet in our premises so we have prepared an exciting and interesting programme that will be delivered over the Internet via Zoom. At our first meeting the committee shared in what we hope to do in this coming year. We had the Treasurer explaining the various ways to renew your membership (or, become a new member). The Programme Secretary explained how we were able to create a diverse programme by utilising speakers from the PAGB, giving their lectures over Zoom. She also highlighted a couple of what she felt were to be highly recommended speakers.

Then it was the turn of our Competition Secretary to explain how the competitions would run this year. The NIPA Club Competition would be run as a PDI only with the two sections (General and Advanced) and the three categories, colour, Mono and PDIs. If your colour or Mono PDI achieved a Star at the adjudication then NIPA would be asking for a print of the image to be used in the NIPA exhibition at the end of the season.

We were then treated to a viewing of a wide selection of images that the club produced last year, with a commentary by Leslie Armour.

There was a good turnout for our first meeting and we look forward to more old members and new members joining us in the coming weeks.

Chris
Chair




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