Bangor and North Down Camera Club (BNDCC)

Bangor and North Down Camera Club, (BNDCC), Northern Ireland, UK.
"Promoting and developing all aspects of the art of photography through example, discussion and competition."

Bangor and North Down Camera Club

Meetings blog 2011-2012 ...

This page is a log of the activities taking place on our Friday and Wednesday evening meetings in the main September to May season. We give credit to John Bennett, our Information Officer, for preparing these notes each week. Details of the proceedings and photographs are also submitted to the Bangor Spectator Newspaper for inclusion in their Club Section.

Also, have a look at Dawr Blog.   This has been built and kept as an accessory to this website where the "out of season"  activities, namely, Wednesday and Friday Clubnights and Summer outings are described from a personal perspective. It is not intended as a replacement for the present Blog method so ably commented by John Bennett.

Please feel free to add comments to the blog

 

Details of last seasons blog 2010/2011.

 

The members listened to a succession of very positive reports at the Annual General meeting on Friday. The outgoing Chairman,Nigel Snell thanked all the office bearers for their hard work during the year and noted that the membership numbers had risen yet again to seventy eight.

Peter Gibson, the Treasurer reported a healthy financial position while the Competition Secretary, Alan McMorris noted that an increasing number of younger members were entering and winning the club competitions. The inter-club battles with Dublin and Spain again offered a good opportunity to display the club’s work on a wider stage.

David Roberts,the Webmaster reported a healthy interest worldwide in the club website with over five hundred hits a month now recorded while Noel Maitland , in his role as Facilities Manager was happy with the support he had received in the general upkeep of the premises. Congratulations were extended to Gerry Coe (Club President) on his successful exhibits, particularly in the Royal Ulster Academy and to Ray Magill on his appointment as President of the Northern Ireland Photographic Association.

The committee for 2012-2013 is; Chairman,Harry Watson : Vice Chairman,Peter Gibson: Treasurer,Peter Gibson: Assistant Treasurer ,Ray Magill: Secretary,Henry Doggart: Exhibition Secretary,Alan McMorris: Competition Secretary, Alan Hartley: Assistant Competition Secretaries ,Julie Campbell,Bobby Peacock: Facilities Manager, Noel Maitland: Webmaster, David Roberts: NIPA Representative,Alan McMorris: Information Officer, John Bennett: Child Protection Officer: Shirley Graham.

The formal weekly meetings resume in September but the clubhouse is still open on Friday evenings for tutorials and informal workshops. The monthly club outings continue throughout the summer.

John Bennett

The annual exhibition of the Club will be mounted later in the year and on Friday night the final selection was made from the many entries in numerous categories.

The guest judge, Stanley Matchett MBE is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and no stranger to the Ward Avenue clubhouse. Having perused the prints for a week beforehand he admitted that in some of the categories there was only the smallest margin between the placings.

He expressed some slight surprise that there was not a bigger number of prints in the Portrait section - given that the club has a fully equipped studio . However this was more than compensated for by a very healthy entry in all the other divisions.

An innovation this year was a category devoted to the Chairman’s Choice and Nigel Snell nominated the subject “Blue”. Harry Watson took the Advanced honours with Mark Bell finishing first in the Foundation.

Other winners in the Foundation Section were –May Carvill (mono portrait and mono landscape): Darren brown (mono general) : Angus Gardner ( projected digital image): Joe Paulin (colour portrait): Shirley Graham (colour landscape): Edward Mc Cavana (colour general).

There was a large entry in the Advanced section with the following winners – Trevor Craig ( mono landscape) : Hugh Rooney ( mono portrait) : Alan McMorris (mono general) : Peter Gibson ( colour general and colour landscape) : John Miskelly (colour portrait) .

Harry Watson took the overall Chairman’s prize while Trevor Craig (mono) and John Miskelly (colour) finished first in the Advanced overall competition. In the Foundation ranks Darren brown (mono) and Edward McCavana (colour) were first past the post.

The supreme winner this year was John Miskelly’s study of a beautiful chestnut horse called Macduff.

John Bennett

Last weekend was a busy time for the Club – both at home and away. On Friday night Peter Hughes, a past chairman displayed the images he had submitted for the successful award of Associate of the Royal Photographic Society.

Describing the venture as a journey during which he learned much about his subject as well as his own approach to photography, Peter admitted that he had undergone a less- than- enthusiastic period of a few years following his Licentiate award from the RPS but recovered his appetite after a visit to Valencia in Southern Spain. The architectural beauty of the Arts and Science Park in that historic city sparked a revival of his interest to such an extent that he planned a second visit to capture the images he knew he would need to build a comprehensive portfolio.

His fifteen monochrome pictures offered a graphic portrayal of the futuristic architecture which reminded Peter of his boyhood love of space travel, science fiction and glimpses of the future. Entered in the Contemporary section his panel so impressed the judges that they used them as a demonstration set for other aspiring award seekers in England and Wales. Peter thanked his fellow club members Gerry Coe and Hugh Rooney for their advice and encouragement as he completed the assignment.

On Saturday a small band of members travelled south to Clondalkin to meet up with fellow snappers from Dublin. On the way they made a detour to Skerries and availed themselves of the spring sunshine to grab some shots of the family of seals which frequent the harbour of the delightful seaside town. Then it was on to South Dublin for a friendly battle of prints and projected digital images between the two clubs. After a close encounter Clondalkin notched up a narrow victory margin. The Bangor photographers voted the day a great success and certainly enjoyed the hospitality of their southern fellow enthusiasts.

Next year Bangor will be hosts for what has now become a firm date in both clubs’ calendar.

When a group of Irish surgeons planned a mercy trip to a children’s hospital in Vietnam Ruth Kelly asked to be allowed to go to make a photographic record of the venture. The dramatic images she brought back formed the basis of her talk to the Club on Friday evening. It was standing room only at the Ward Avenue venue as Ruth and her colleague Patsy Reilly from the Drogheda Camera Club shared their pictures and their photographic philosophies with their County Down fellow enthusiasts.

Ruth’s panel depicted the Irish doctors passing on their knowledge and expertise to their Vietnamese counterparts in Ho Chi Minh city. Many of the images showed young children before and after surgery as she was granted full access to the operating area in the hospital. The impact of the trauma felt by close members of the children’s families was particularly touching and was brought to life graphically by her use of monochrome.

India was the canvas for another of Ruth’s social presentations; her pictures of rural life brought home the close family ties of poor people ,scratching out a living in very basic conditions but somehow maintaining an optimistic and friendly outlook . With sacred cows and other animals sometimes sharing the mud- walled dwellings the images were at times stark but her sympathetic lens managed to capture an underlying serenity in the unforgiving landscape.

Patsy Reilly stayed at home in Ireland for some of his selection of prints and slides. He has,so far resisted the attractions of the digital age, preferring the feel of the film sprocketing through the camera and the pungent aromas of the dark room to the computer and its software.

His images recalled visits to fairs and markets and portraits of the expressive characters still to be encountered at these gatherings. He investigated the interiors of old cottages and churches and chronicled the inhabitants of the oldest street in his native Drogheda before switching scenarios to Romania and his ongoing love of that country and its people.

During many visits he has won the trust of the locals and has been able to mix freely in their everyday lives and celebrations. Church services and weddings , blacksmiths at work and misty mornings over forests provided picturesque subjects for his panoramic lens and his inquisitive mind. From further afield he also displayed his pictorial recollections of Prague, New York and Cuba .

 

 

On the eve of St Patrick’s Day the Club had a visit from a leprechaun called Paddy. The little fellow,complete with tall hat and red beard, didn’t find the legendary pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but consoled himself instead by picking up one of the top prizes in the annual Panels competition.

 

Shirley Graham (Paddy’s alter ego) was on holiday in Amsterdam when she spotted a selection of exotic fruit on display in neatly packed cases. This provided the inspiration for her half dozen prints which took top placing in the Foundation Colour competition. Julie Campbell’s study of a misty pier was second and Edward McCavana’s holiday scenes third.

 

Visiting judge Peter Knott commented on the very high overall quality of the entries this year remarking that most of the entrants had grasped the importance of not only displaying good images but arranging in them in a sequence which offered a geometric and aesthetic tableau. Trevor Reid followed the guidelines well with his winning shots of a harbour in the Foundation monochrome section.

 

In the Advanced Colour contest Mr Knott had difficulty separating the winners from the others, such was the high standard of the work but eventually Alan Hartley took the number one spot with an evocative series of shots of a rusting passenger ferry boat . It later transpired that the vessel in question was the Duke of Lancaster, for many years one of the British Rail ships that ran on the nightly service from Belfast to Heysham but now left to rust at a dockside in Wales. However it brought back vivid memories for one member because Eddie Wright had served as a crew member on the vessel many years ago. Hugh Rooney’s colourful Venice Carnival was runner up with Bill Cardwell’s thoughtful arrangement of books in a bookcase was third.

 

Ray Magill used a similar tactic to excellent effect to win the Advanced Mono competition; he arranged mementos of various holidays into a box and photographed them six times. Deborah Carvill captured images of a forest to take second place.

 

There was a big entry in the projected Digital Image contest; Bobby Peacock won the Foundation race with his studies of Groomsport in the mist. Mark Bell and Trevor Reid took the placings. Bill Cardwell was first in the Advanced selection ,focusing on close-ups of tulips. Deborah Carvill and Drew McAvoy were second and third.

John Bennett

On Friday, Paul Moore came along and showed us a selection of his work and told us how he got into photography.

He was studying an Arts degree at University of Wales, Newport, and his interest in photography started there.

Paul started by showing his images with a series taken at local nightclubs, all long exposure (1 or 2 seconds) and with Flash.

This created a mix of bright colour movement and the flash stopping the action on the subjects, all very atmospheric.

He also had some pictures that were for accepted into the Royal Ulster Academy annual exhibition, one of a man seemingly shouting at himself and the most recent one of a building in Belfast.

The old saying of "Always carry a Camera" proved very true when he was in Lower Donegall street one day and looking across the road was a lovely Pink car with walls of Graffiti behind it and no other cars around, a golden opportunity.

Paul certainly had the Friday night crowd entertained and informed and also I think quite a few people interested in experimenting with some new ideas.

Gerry Coe

 

The feminine touch was much in evidence at the Friday night meeting of the Bangor and North Down camera Club as many of the major honours in the competition were claimed by the lady members. The occasion was Round Five of the annual competition series and the subject was Shadows.

Shirley Graham posted notice of things to come when she took both first and second place in the Foundation monochrome section – her study of a flight of steps bathed in deep shadow attracting very favourable comments from the visiting judge Peter Wilkins, a Past President of the Northern Ireland Photographic Association. Trevor Robinson and Mark Bell completed the placings.

But Shirley didn’t finish there! In the Colour competition her image of a staircase and railings, framed by dramatic shade and light again took the top spot with Edward McCavana and Joe Paulin also meriting podium placements. May Carvill then made it a hat-trick for the girls with a striking shot of an ornamental wall lamp framed by the sun earning the judge’s plaudits and first place in the Projected Digital Image section. May made it a personal double with another fine colour image to claim second place.

In the Advanced Projected competition Kevin Neupert portrayed shadows on a bridge to winning effect with Bill Cardwell second and Kevin himself taking third place.

Hugh Rooney used Italian sunshine to add a winning touch of class to his winning monochrome print of an ornate wrought iron balcony in the Advanced competition ; Deborah Carvill was second and Drew McAvoy third. Drew,however claimed the winning tag in the colour selection with a striking silhouette of a very lissom lady. After much (mainly male) discussion about the identity of the model Mr McAvoy resolved the speculation by revealing that his mystery sitter had in fact been a porcelain ornament!

 

John Bennett

Unfortunately, our guest speaker booked earlier in the season was unable to make it tonight, so at very short notice our two stalwarts, Hugh and John stepped into the breech and provided us with a tutorial evening centred around Workflow and Lightroom and Photoshop.

Hugh explained his theoretical order of converting his RAW photographic image into a finished photograph which is ready to be printed.  He took the time to explain by demonstration, the basic steps used in converting a RAW image to a finished image using the Develop module within Adobe Lightroom.  There were demonstrations of colour balance adjustment, sharpening and noise reduction given on a specially selected group of his own images.

John transferred to his own Mac laptop and discussed with illustrations, how he saw a wonderful panorama vista whilst travelling back to the ferry after a holiday where the weather and light was poor.

He explained the process of taking the multiple of overlapping photos, whilst being aware of the changes of lighting as he turned towards the setting sun.

He then loaded the photos into PTgui software which he uses for stitching panoramas.   Using lower than normal resolution jpgs for speed of demonstration, the panorama was quickly produced and cropped.

A quick sortie into Photoshop was made to remove an errant bystander and several cars and a quick tweak of the bright corner resulted in a  perfect panorama.

Inspiration indeed for all present.  Thanks again to Hugh and John for a very interesting and informative evening which proved that there is really no difference in an image shot by a Nikon or Canon.  It's all in the eye of the photographer.

 

For a few hours on Friday night stormy rain-soaked County Down was transformed into the rolling hills and cypress-clad valleys of Tuscany as four members of the Bangor and North Down Camera Club relived their photographic odyssey to their favourite region of Italy. And whilst they travelled as part of a larger group and visited the same locations they each brought back a different recollection of the beauty of the countryside .

Hugh Rooney, who enjoys architectural challenges displayed some dramatic monochrome prints of the historic cities of Pisa, Sienna and Florence; his finely executed tonal variations complementing the angular beauty of centuries old cathedrals and towers. The hillside town of Montepulciano, set amid the encircling vineyards featured strongly in Hugh’s lens as did isolated Tuscan farmhouses nestling in halos of sunflowers and hay bales.

Gerry Coe adopted a completely different approach to his picture gathering; leaving aside his professional quality gear he opted instead for the comparatively simple hardware of the camera in his iPhone. Using various applications downloaded for the purpose he enhanced and manipulated the images of country lanes and lone trees and so successful was the enterprise he exhibited the end product in the recent Royal Ulster Academy of Art Exhibition – to much acclaim!

Peter Gibson evoked much mock sympathy from the audience with his tales of sacrifices such as rising at five o’clock to catch the early rays of the sun. However the applause for his sensitive digital projected images was genuine ; Peter wove a varied collection of richly hued images into an entertaining Audio-visual presentation complete with suitable music.

John Miskelly illustrated yet another different approach by showing a mega print of a typical Tuscan landscape which had been “stitched “ together from twenty eight different pictures. This panoramic approach, while painstaking and difficult to perform can produce a minutely detailed representation which can be enlarged to almost any size required. The visit to Tuscany, John explained, was yet another stage of a journey towards landscape perfection.

Trevor Craig used his images almost as a mini masterclass aimed towards the beginners of the club. Showing two images of one scene he was able to illustrate the value of seeking the correct lighting conditions – the “Golden Hour” which is found at dawn and dusk. Shown side by side it was easy to appreciate the benefits to shape and texture to be had under the correct lighting condition .

Perhaps the only things missing from a very entertaining evening werea slice of pizza and a glass of Chianti.

 

John Bennett

 

Amateur photographers spend a lot of time searching for suitable subjects for their lenses; whether it is a landscape, a portrait or a still life the subject matter is usually the starting point and everything else follows from that. The guest speaker at Bangor and North Down Camera Club raised a few eyebrows when she suggested that from an artistic point of view the subject should be secondary in importance to the structure and composition of an image. Susan Abraham introduced a thought-provoking perspective to picture making when she displayed a range of artwork based on photography and offered her analysis of what photographers should be striving to encapsulate in their images.

Susan is an Administrator for the Engine Room Gallery in East Belfast and has had a wide and varied career in Art and Design, both as a teacher and as a gallery executive. Examining the structure of an image she displayed pictures which used colour,shapes and contrast to achieve harmony. Lght and the awareness of its nature,she maintained should be the all-pervasive influence on photographs and paintings alike .

She then suggested that the artist or photographer should not necessarily set out with the intention of capturing an image. Following a well trodden path to a location leads to conventional images – and convention can be boring. Pictures, she maintained, are all around us at all times. The ability to see the moment and seize it is the basis of good art in her opinion. Henri-Cartier-Bresson featured in her explanation – his “ decisive moment” is still relevant generations after he coined the phrase and if the photographer seeks patterns, textures and symmetry they are to be found everywhere if we can learn how to see them. Susan suggested that to capture an image that excites the viewer one should shoot what excites the taker of the picture. The challenge is to capture your own excitement.

Some lively exchanges ensued as some members challenged the ethos of images not being subject driven as well as the apparent relegation of some technical aspects to a lesser importance. Susan accepted the differing viewpoints and accepted that art must be subjective to a large extent. Nevertheless she left an appreciative audience with another quote from Henri Cartier-Bresson, “You just have to live and life will give you pictures.”

 

Only a minor club rule prevented May Carvill notching up a hat trick in the Bangor and North Down Camera Club’s Open competition on Friday. May’s images merited first, second and third places in the Foundation Projected Digital Image section but the rules prevent anyone from achieving a clean sweep so Julie Campbell’s picture was promoted to third spot.

Nevertheless it was a remarkable achievement by May whose daughter Deborah took the runner-up honours in the Advanced section. This was won by Bill Cardwell with Alan McMorris providing both entries for joint third.

The guest judge, Stephen McWilliams (Christian Brothers Past Pupils Union Camera Club) stressed that he generally judged the Advanced and Foundation entries by differing standards. While the more experienced photographers warranted close and critical surveys of their work the Foundation members should be judged in a more constructive manner – affording them comments which could offer advice on how to improve their efforts.

Nevertheless he was impressed by the standard of many of the beginners’ images – Leanne Kerr’s “A girl who sees beauty” caught his eye for first place in the Colour section with Edward McCavana claiming second and third spots.

In the Foundation monochrome competition some of the entries were let down by poor print quality while quite a few others could have been improved by judicious cropping. The judge commented on the number of sunsets on display , remarking on how lucky the residents of Bangor appeared to be in that respect – a comment well received on one of the coldest nights of the year!

Bobby Peacock was the winner of the Foundation monochrome competition with a dramatic portrayal of everyday objects – two table forks transformed by the light of a single hand torch and a fifteen second exposure; David McVeigh and Edward Cavanna provided the placings.

Ray Magill brought back a memory of Spain with a striking monochrome depiction of a bridge entitled “Spanish Harp” and this earned him the winning points in the Advanced Monochrome section; Hugh Rooney claimed both second and third ratings. The guest judge, Stephen McWilliams was very impressed by the winning entry in the Advanced colour competition; Harry Watson’s “Circle of the Mind”was a kaleidoscopic portrayal of a smoke induced image in dramatic colours on a dark background.

John Bennett

Although Ralph Bennett is a regular attender at the weekly meetings of the Bangor and North Down Camera club it has been quite a while since he has exhibited any of his pictures. In fact the last time was in 1997 when the club met at the premises of the Royal Naval Club. That was also the year when Ralph was awarded a Distinction by the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain, one of the most prestigious bodies in amateur photography.

Quite a few members, especially those who have joined in recent years, have never seen his work but they were treated to an eye-opening presentation of Ralph’s talent on Friday evening. Dividing the night into two halves he displayed both colour and monochrome prints, most of which had won or been placed in club competitions and many of which had gone on to achieve commendations in the Northern Ireland Photographic Association contests. His black and white prints, in particular drew admiring comments as they demonstrated Ralph’s prowess with the infra-red technique - a process very rarely seen these days due to the digital advent and the expensive nature of the film.

His subjects ranged from a Donegal farmhouse to the Palm House at Botanic Gardens but it was the depiction of everyday objects seen in a different light which attracted the highest interest. A twisted metal fence, a lone tree in a meadow or the menace of approaching storm clouds – given the Bennett touch with a polarising filter they each told their story in emotive shades and hues. He also explained the painstaking procedures involved in the infra-red process, demonstrating how the film required to be loaded in complete darkness inside the confines of a black coverall body bag. He admitted that this was one manoeuvre he didn’t miss!

 

As Ralph is deaf his presentation was given through an interpreter Rosie Budd. With, at times bewildering speed and accuracy, she translated Ralph’s signs and relayed back any questions. The ease with which they communicated was explained by the fact that it was Rosie’s father who had started Ralph in photography – some fifty years ago. From his initial efforts with a Kodak brownie he had progressed to sophisticated single lens reflex cameras and has now updated his equipment to digital, although he admits that the computer part of the printing process does give him some anxious moments – an admission which brought murmurs of empathy from the audience.

After the tea interval Ralph introduced an array of his work in colour, a large part of which was portraiture. He also dropped a gentle hint that perhaps the club members were not making as much use as they might of the excellent studio facilities available for portraiture. Finally he didn’t actually say as much but given the reception his past work was given he might well be persuaded to take the lens cap off and add a bit more bite to the Bangor competitions in coming months.

 

When the Bangor and North Down Camera Club invited Jim Maginn to be their guest speaker they anticipated a thought provoking evening and they certainly weren’t disappointed!

In the second part of the evening Jim instigated a lively debate by stating that he strongly disagreed with the regular competitions which are a large part of any club’s programme. In particular he criticised the method of judging a photographer’s ability on just one image, insisting instead that a much wider body of work should be considered. In his opinion each photographer should be striving to find and develop his or her own style and then using it as a voice to express their ideas. This, he concluded could not be done by looking at a single image.

Several members were quick to point out that competition was only a small part of the activities within the club . The Wednesday evening tutorial sessions and the regular outings were cited as examples of the wider reach of the annual programme. A good natured exchange of views provided a stimulating night for the packed Ward Avenue headquarters.

Earlier in the evening Jim, who lectures in photography at the University of Ulster, had outlined his curriculum vitae. From O Level art to a Fine Arts course at Sheffield University he had travelled to Boston where he spent four years honing his craft and developing his style. However it was when he returned to the UK, to Newport in Gwent to complete a degree course that he began to study in depth the powerful medium that photography could be. His work involved documenting the lives of alcoholics and heroin addicts and afforded Jim an added insight into the ethical values involved in such sensitive work.

Back in Belfast he went to work with Photoworks North , an Arts Council sponsored scheme to provide support to photographers who are not necessarily involved with clubs. As well as a regular magazine and a dedicated gallery the movement was lobbying for a full degree course in photography to be offered in Northern Ireland. This was successfully achieved and is now in its fifth year of existence in Belfast .

As well as teaching Jim has produced a valuable archive of traditional music which is accessible on his website (www.jimmaginn.com) and still undertakes ventures which involve merging photography with other visual arts such as painting and sculpture. A recent example was The Irregulars – a portfolio of the customers of the John Hewitt bar in Belfast . The portraits, captured as digital images by Jim were then offered to artists as source material. The venture was very successful- in fact no fewer than three of Jim’s images appeared as paintings in the recent Royal Ulster Academy exhibition

John Bennett
Photo: Gerry Coe (iPhone)

 

 

I’ll be the judge of that.

The set aim of Bangor and North Down Camera Club is "Promoting and developing all aspects of photography through example, discussion and competition."  The golden thread of competition is stitched into the fabric of our yearly programme, with one being held on almost a monthly basis.  Club members are encouraged to assess and compare their knowledge, skills and experience, through the mediums of print and the projected digital images, in club competitions. 

The essence of competition means that there will be winners, who will always applaud the judge for their outstanding verdict. But what about the folk who didn’t win, what do they get from competition?

The evening was hosted by Ray Magill, a long-standing member of the club and Vice President of NIPA (Northern Ireland Photographic Association.) He recruited nine volunteers, split into three teams, to perform the role of trainee judges. The brave volunteers, and a few conscripts, were Alan McMorris, Alan Hartley, Julie Campbell, Bobby Peacock, Drew McAvoy, Harry Watson, Christine Pearson, Helen Fettus, and Deborah Carvill. They, and the audience, listened carefully to his presentation about the different aspects of competition; the contestant’s expectations, and the judges responsibilities.

Ray was at pains to point out that his approach was a personal one and was, as he described it, a work in progress.  However, his years of experience as a NIPA judge was clearly evident.  Ray mentioned that he was impressed with Eddie Sethna’s approach to judging photography and recommended members to check out his web site. http://www.monolandscapes.talktalk.net/judging.htm

 

He used a Powerpoint Presentation to get the main points across, and we will be able to provide of copy of this to club members soon. Here is a summary of part of the presentation:

Photographers Expectations:

  • The judge should:
    • be an active photographer and suitably competent
    • have enough experience to be able to carefully evaluate, rank and provide appropriate feedback
    • have been made aware of the local club competition rules and sought clarity on the clubs definition of particular themes
  • All prints should be treated with respect; they should never be dropped, or damaged in any way, or returned with dirty fingerprints on the mount on the photo itself.

Judges Responsibilities:

  • Beforehand
    • be made aware of the entrants expectations, outlined above
    • check, the viewing arrangements
    • check, if other judges will be involved in the process and their role
  • Judging
    • check that the image meets the requirements and criteria of the competition
    • inform the audience of methods used to assess and judge the competition
    • give strength / weakness comments in a clear and coherent manner
    • provide appropriate feedback on as many images as possible
    • offer the results in reverse order, 3rd, 2nd, 1st.
    • be willing to answer questions from the audience

It is the role of the club’s  ‘Competition Secretary’ to ensure that the judge is aware of their responsibilities and the entrant’s expectations.  It is the role of the club chairperson, in particular, and all members present, to ensure that the judge is treated with respect and courtesy.

The three teams were assigned panels of ten mono and ten colour prints and while they deliberated the club members enjoyed a discussion on other competition concerns. The areas raised included whether a print should have a title and if it should be displayed? This provoked much debate, with no consensus being reached. Many members thought that a title was essential and should be displayed, just as it does with a painting or other work of art. Other members thought the focus should be on the photography competition and not on a caption competition.

By this time the three teams had finished their deliberations and were ready to present their findings. All the trainee judges did well, although two photos were dropped, no names mentioned of course. When asked about the exercise some admitted that it was harder than it looks while others thought that simply standing up in front of your peers was a challenge in itself.  The audience also found the exercise useful and no doubt it will be repeated again in the future.

 

The results of the Round 3 Club/NIPA Competition are available on the linksbelow.

The Camera Club welcomed their old friend and ex-member Stanley McIlreavy back to judge the latest competition which had the subject “Reflections”. At the outset he apologised as he knew that his view of the subject would disappoint some entrants. He pointed out that reflections in landscapes and brass instruments would have to be exceptional to score highly as he would be looking for a more imaginative approach to the subject. Although he was correct in his prediction he was not disappointed by the wide variety of approaches.
           

In the Foundation class the overall honours must go to May Carvell who took first place in the monochrome section and second place in the colour print section, . Her monochrome print entry titled “Buoy-o-buoy” demonstrated how simple shapes and clean lines in a silhouetted pattern can make a very striking impression.

The same silhouetting technique was used by Nigel Snell to produce another striking image this time of a black tailed godwit, it took first place in the advanced class monochrome section. First in the advanced colour print section was Alan Hartley’s superb image of the baptismal font in Salisbury Cathedral with all of the splendid decoration of the cathedral’s ceiling reflected in the water.

The image that will remain in my mind, however, was by Nigel Snell of a swan on water. A simple everyday subject but treated in such a way as to give an almost completely white background with the body of the swan just discernable while the detail and saturation increased towards the head. The total effect with its reflection gave an almost ethereal quality to the image.

The results were :- Foundation colour print; 1st David McVeigh, 2nd May Carvil, 3rd Trevor Reid.
Foundation monocolour print; 1st May Carvil, 2nd Julie Campbell,  3rd  May Carvil                                 .
Foundation Projected Image, 1st Trevor Reid, 2nd Michael Rice, 3rd Trevor Reid
Advanced Colour Print ; 1st Alan Hartley, 2nd Hugh Rooney, 3rd Bill Cardwell
Advanced Monochrome Print ; 1st Nigel Snell, 2nd Noel Maitland, 3rd Alan Hartley
Advanced Projected Image ; 1st Nigel Snell, 2nd Peter Gibson, 3rd Bill Cardwell

 

Results: (in pdf format)

2011 Round 3 Advanced Mono

2011 Round 3 Advanced Colour

2011 Round 3 Advanced PDI

2011 Round 3 Foundation Mono

2011 Round 3 Foundation Colour

2011 Round 3 Foundation PDI

 

 

Three years ago the chilly shores of Ballyholme forged virtual links with the sunnier climes of Marina Alta, an idyllic Spanish location in the hills above Benidorm in the Northern Costa Blanca.

The common bond is photography and the Bangor and North Down Club is delighted to maintain the friendship with an annual competition of digital images conducted via the internet.

The home club , having won the previous two encounters were hopeful of a third victory and they did achieve this but with a winning margin much reduced from previous years. In fact of the nine competition categories Bangor finished first in only four, relying on their strength in the placings to see them through.

The judge was Roy McKeown, the proprietor of the prestigious Portfolio Gallery in Ballymena and a previous guest speaker at the Ward Avenue clubroom. He enjoyed Mark Allen’s picture of Stormont in the Snow, awarding it first place in the Landscape competition and affording the same honour in the nature section to Nigel Snell’s high key depiction of a gull in flight.

The Bangor club President Gerry Coe, who instigated the competition, chose monochrome as his medium to win the Portrait section with a dramatic study of an Italian flautist. Noel Maitland completed the Bangor winning entries with a stylised arrangement of a pitcher; this took the Still Life award.

The other categories, Fine Art, Sport,Travel, Glamour and Fashion and Open were all won by photographers from the Spanish Club. The winning margin was 98-91 in favour of Bangor.

John Bennett

 

The little engine was not much bigger than those used to power lawnmowers but when Ernie Patterson saw it he knew it was exactly what he had been looking for .Around it he constructed a flying machine of light aluminium tubing and material that was to faithfully replicate a significant page of aviation history .

 

 

In August 1910 when Harry Ferguson took off from the Dundrum end of the sandy beach and flew three miles to Newcastle he won a prize of £100 and his place in the story of flight. Just a few short months before he had become the first man in Ireland to build and fly his own aeroplane over the grassy hills beside his home at Growell, near Hillsborough. In 1980, to celebrate the Ferguson Festival in Newcastle, Ernie Patterson retraced his airborne footsteps at the controls of a home built craft with a thirty foot wing span, weighing just 112 lbs and powered by that tiny little engine.

The story of Ferguson’s progression from motor car manufacturer to aeroplane designer and aviator was the subject of a fascinating presentation by Ernie at the Bangor and North Down Camera Club on Friday evening.

Beginning with a brief history of flight encompassing European pioneers such as Jacques Henri Lartigue and Louis Bleriot he traced the various stages of development, from the Wright brothers through the exciting landmark flights to the days when Flight Magazine began to publish rough plans of flying machines.

In the early days of the twentieth century photography was rapidly developing as well and many designers used the medium to copy other prototypes and produce their own plans.

One such was Lilian Bland who lived at Carnmoney, North of Belfast, and this remarkable woman first photographed birds in flight before designing her own craft- the first bi-plane constructed in Ireland. She called it The Mayfly – rather sardonically adding ,” because it may fly and it may not!” It did and she became the first female pilot in Ireland.

Ernie’s comprehensive slide presentation relived the rapid development of flight and photography through the early years of the century until they combined to become a potent weapon in the battles of the Western Front during the First World War. The story of Harry Ferguson then resumed when, during World War Two the government tasked him with solving the problem of increasing the agricultural yield to help feed the country ravaged by war. The story of his famous tractor design is well documented – today over 85% of the world’s tractors use the concepts and systems he produced and developed back in the thirties and forties and Ernie’s talk included pictures of the memorial garden at his home near Slieve Croob as well as the celebrations at the Centenary Ferguson Festival held last year at Newcastle.

It

It was Buy One Get One Free night at the club competition on Friday as in all but one of the six categories the winner also took the runner-up spot as well. The event was the Audrey Argue Wildlife Competition, held annually in honour of the former Vice-Principal of Glenlola Collegiate School, a past chairman of the club and a lover of conservation.

The guest judge for the evening was Paul Hanley of the Belfast Photo Imaging Club (BPIC) and before selecting his preferences he offered an insight into his method of separating the winners from the rest of the field. While technical details, such as focus and print quality were important so too was the overall impact a print could make on the eye when viewed for the first time. He was enthusiastic in his praise for the overall quality of the entries.

Trevor Reid took first and second place in the Foundation Monochrome section with images of an ostrich and a fluffy chick. Helen Fettus was third. Trevor then followed his success with another double in the colour competition. A gull in flight and a portrait of a turkey gained him another one-two with Helen again third with a shot of a robin.

In the Advanced contest it was the turn of Ray Magill to do the double –his depiction of a pair of pelicans caught the judge’s eye for first place while a couple of zebras won second. Nigel Snell’s tern was third. Nigel then reversed the order by booking the first two spots in Advanced Colour – puffins and pheasants his subjects . Anthony Crosbie was third.

In the Digital Projected Image competition it was macro photography which took the honours and the first two places in the Foundation section for Michael Rice. His lens got up close and personal with insects and thistles while Michael Graham really got down to it with a snail’s eye view ...of a snail. In the Advanced showing Drew McAvoy was successful with an image entitled cold feet; Jack Thompson and Nigel Snell took the placings.

 

John Bennett

 

Islandhill, nestling on the shores of Strangford Lough between Newtownards and Comber, was a picture of calm serenity when suddenly the skies shimmered and sparkled in the reflection of an amazing spectacle. A flock of knots had chosen that moment to rehearse their intuitive miracle of intricate,in-flight swooping and soaring and even though, individually, knots are rather nondescript little birds when they gather in their hundreds and mount their synchronised skydance they command attention.

Watching their mesmeric movements was Patricia Pyne, a former teacher and recent graduate in Medieval and Modern Languages at Queen’s University. During her studies she had developed a love of photography and was looking for an outlet and a direction for her enthusiasm and growing expertise. As she watched the amazing aerial ballet that afternoon Patricia realised that Strangford had just become her Swan Lake.

The Lough was to be her “patch”; both the violent stormy days and the calm soft peaceful ones were to be the backdrops for her pictures. She captured images of lapwing, plover, whooper swan and the myriad other indigenous and visiting species which frequent the fertile feeding grounds . All the time she was working on creating and developing her own style – putting her personal stamp on every image .

Through time this evolved into a pictorial philosophy of soft-toned monochrome images set against subtle uncluttered backgrounds. The essence of the pictures was movement – egret, wimbrel and tern in flight, mute swans wending their majestic way through the reeds and Brent Geese on the wing as they arrived and departed their holiday home in the sheltered waters.

In time Patricia added another dimension to her photography by contrasting the constant movement of the birds with the statuesque immovable nature of megaliths. Standing stones and dolmens, some over 5000 years old, abound in Northern Ireland and Patricia’s studies have taken her to most of the major sites in recent years. The pictures she has captured form a large part of her very impressive catalogue.

She is now very much in demand as a guest speaker and earlier this year mounted major exhibitions in the Linenhall Library in Belfast and the Graffan Gallery at Castle Espie. Her work has also recently earned her an Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society.The members of the Bangor and North Down Camera Club were delighted to welcome her as their special guest on Friday.

John Bennett

From Normandy to Norway and from New Zealand to Alaska – during the course of a couple of hours Mark Allen indulged in a spectacular spell of globetrotting to entertain the members and guests of Bangor and North Down Camera Club last weekend. And although the subject of his presentation was travel photography, Mark nevertheless indulged himself and delighted his audience by nipping off on quite a few interesting little tangents along the way. He began by recalling his early experiences behind the lens – including the time his father bought him his first camera. Mark promptly took it to Tollymore Forest Park for a picnic – and left it there!

Recovering from minor hiccups like this, as a teenager he went on to secure some close-up images of the Queen- at the same time securing a terse comment from Prince Philip about his uninvited proximity to the royal personages. The Belfast Telegraph filled a page with the pictures Mark took that day.

Later the exigencies of being a husband and a father meant that his hobby took a back seat for a time- for quite a few years in fact until he joined Bangor Camera Club five years ago. Since then he has won the coveted Photographer of the Year competition on two occasions and has served a spell as Chairman of the club.

Always a lover of travelling Mark has been able to combine this with his interest in photography and most of his trips have provided some memorable images. In fact so impressed has he been with some of the venues that his wife and he have returned to the same

Angela Shannon enjoying one of Catherine Allen's Cupcakes

locations on more than one occasion to add even more dramatic captures to his bulging portfolio. A few years ago he became interested in producing audio-visual displays of his work and he approached the new medium with enthusiasm and insight. In fact one of his first efforts, a record of a cruise into the Arctic Circle won first prize in the Northern Ireland Audio-Visual Festival. He has since gone on to offer advice and comments on audio-visual presentation to interested members of the club. In fact,given his knowledge and expertise with computers mark is generally in demand for all sorts of digitally based help and assistance.

Visual records of some of his holidays then brightened the gloom of the encroaching winter evening as he took us, through his lens to the snow-bound majesty of Yellowstone National Park in the grip of winter and then to the stunning fissures of Bryce Canyon where the walls of the slot gorges had been blasted clean and smooth by a natural sandstorm. A trip across northern Canada by train was followed by a cruise through the Alaskan glaciers and from there, via digital projection a high speed flight to Normandy before forsaking the Northern Hemisphere for the mountains of New Zealand in an invigorating Google Earth odyssey viewed through the polished glass of one man’s camera lens.

John Bennett

It was click and display time again at the Bangor and North Down Camera club and the Ward Avenue clubhouse was full for the second Open competition of the season last Friday evening. The large entry, expertly managed and arranged by Alan Hartley and Alan McMorris fell under the expert scrutiny of the guest judge John Belshaw, the Chairman of Shorts Camera Club, Bangor’s Belfast neighbours and friendly rivals.

After explaining what he looked for in a picture (good composition, tonal range and freshness of subject or treatment ) he went on to offer a short comment on each of the numerous entries beginning with the Foundation prints.

Trevor Reid won the monochrome section with a portrayal of an old fashioned sweet shop; Angus Gardiner and Julie Campbell finishing second and third. In the colour competition Bill Nesbitt’s shot of a young bird was victorious- followed by Alex Boyd and Angus Gardiner.

When it came to the Advanced competition Mr Belshaw explained that he would be looking more critically at the composition and print quality. Alan McMorris clearly satisfied his criteria; his monochrome close-up of a guitar took the honours ahead of Nigel Snell and Anthony Crosbie. Alan Hartley’s atmospheric landscape won the colour section with another of his prints in runner–up spot ahead of Alan McMorris.

There was a very healthy entry in the Projected Digital Image competition where the colour and black and white images are judged together. Julie Campbell braved the darkness to provide the Foundation winner with a vivid shot of Donaghadee from the pier. Julie also took third spot behind Shirley Graham. Nigel Snell opted for a close-up depiction of a dew spattered poppy to finish first in the advanced line up – he was also third with Jack Thompson second.

John Bennett

There are additional photos in the dawr6.wordpress.com Blog

 

It wasn’t merely the mini-banquet replacing the usual tea and biccies that signalled something special on Friday night at the Bangor and North Down Camera Club – the fact that the front three rows of the clubhouse were occupied by female members announced what could become a significant evening in the history of the club.

 

Like most camera clubs Bangor has traditionally been a predominantly male institution and while the reasons for this imbalance are unclear it is a fact that many potential female photographers have been somewhat apprehensive about joining such a gathering.

 

Whilst the girls, even in a minority have traditionally competed successfully in the monthly competitions their numbers remained small until the past two years when a surge of feminine candidates has redressed the numerical discrepancy significantly. Even more importantly the new intake has introduced a fresh, vibrant atmosphere to the Wednesday and Friday evening get-togethers.

Many of the newcomers were complete beginners in photography when they arrived but having benefited from the midweek tutorials led by David Roberts new names are already beginning to feature in the winning lists of the various competitions.

 

A willingness to learn the theory and put it into practice (particularly in the club summer outings) has resulted in a marked improvement in the level of skills of the newcomers and this can only augur well for the future of the club in N.I.P.A. competitions.

Friday night’s meeting celebrated this welcome development ; the ladies provided not only the edible goodies but mounted an exhibition of their work in the form of a series of audio-visual presentations.

 

Anne Groves, Alli Martin, Angela Shannon, Christine Pearson, Deborah and May Carvill, Deborah Gardiner, Helen Fettus, Julie Campbell , Mandy Milliken and Shirley Graham showed some of their favourite images and afterwards Shirley made presentations to Julie Campbell, the organiser of the evening and Davy Cooper who helped with the audio-visual compilation.

Christine Pearson captured the mood of the meeting admirably with her poem entitled “our wee club” in which she recalled her joining experience as like “ putting on a warm coat!”

John Bennett

 

There are additional photos in the dawr6.wordpress.com Blog

Inter club competitions are nothing new among camera clubs. Traditionally it involves a visit from another club complete with a selection of prints representing a series of themes agreed in advance. A neutral judge would then typically award marks and a winner  would be announced. Things have moved on however and the club has taken advantage of the technology available to engage in another virtual competition with a club over a thousand miles away.

In the past two seasons Bangor and North Down Camera Club have won the inter-club competition conducted via the Internet. Once again we are competing with Marina Alta Club in Spain.

Marina Alta is situated high in the hills overlooking Benidorm and a small band of photographers, mainly British ex-pats formed a thriving club there some years ago. The Club President , Gerry Coe had made friends with members of the Marina Alta club a few years ago and once again we compete in the County Down v Costa Blanca “battle” . This will take the form of a Projected Digital Image competition.

The Judge has proposed the categories of the images as Portrait, Landscape, Fine Art, Still Life, Sport, Travel, Glamout & Fashion, Open and Nature. A considerable number of high quality images was submitted and the selection carried out by a panel of experienced advanced members through a process of elimination and reducing down to 3 submissions per theme. Unlike other club competitions, there was no differentiation between Foundation (Novice) and Advanced. The objective was to simply select the best three in each category.

All this took place with the members present and there were a few personal choices voiced from the back of the room.

On 2nd December our Friday evening will be devoted to the results declaration and presentation of the judges detailed comments on each entry.

As for next Friday evening, we have what is being called "Girls in Charge". This comes about as a result of a number of ladies having joined the club in the last year and a half, and this is where they think they will demonstrate their dominance. We'll see.

 

David Roberts

The packed Bangor and North Down Camera Club premises were treated to a very different photographic experience on Friday evening.  At relatively short notice, professional commercial photographer, Nick Patterson presented a fascinating photographic experience of the construction of the now well known Belfast Landmark, ’The Rise”, or otherwise locally nicknamed, “The Balls on the Falls”

Nick gave us an outline of his professional career, which began in Graphics Design.  This led through university study into photography.   That was back in the days when Digital Cameras had started to appear on the market but were insufficiently developed to be useful in his commercial work.  He quoted the sensor size of 1 megapixel, minute by todays standards.

He returned to film capture until they developed further.
His main theme of the evening, after showing the eager audience some examples of his commercial work ranging from the new apartment development at the site of the old Ormeau Bakery, through publicity shots for hotels, restaurants, food presentation and fashion, was the technique of erecting the “Rise” structure using Time Lapse techniques.

This was a specially commissioned work for Belfast City Council.  The construction was based on a design by a British architect, Wolfgang Buttress and built by a Rasharkin construction company employing 100 people on the task.

The obvious question was posed about what the finished work represented.  Apparently the designer got his inspiration of peace when walking through a wheatfield on a hazy early morning sunrise and this gave the view of the core as the sun surrounded by a misty halo and the vertical uprights being the stalks of wheat.

At the same time the cladding of the Titanic Building was taking place and Nick attempted to carry out a similar task, however the pace of the cladding work did not suit this technique.

The finished officially credited version of the Time–Lapse film is available at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sync-Imaging/181035938589487

 

After the whole summer to capture potential prize-winning pictures the members of North Down and Bangor Camera Club arrived with armfuls of entries for the first competition of the season and as the theme was Open there was a healthy selection of images in all the main categories.

The judge for the evening was Malachy Connelly , an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and a member of the Christian Brothers Past Pupils’ Union Camera Club and even allowing for the big entry he took the time and trouble to comment on each individual entry.

Shirley Graham’s whoop of joy signalled her delight in winning the Foundation Monochrome section with a still life- Trevor Reid and Ricky Richardson taking the places. In the Colour section Trevor Reid topped thirty entries with a tranquil depiction of a log in a lake. Stephen Johnston provided both second and third places.

The judge mentioned that when it came to the Advanced competition he expected much higher all round quality in composition and presentation and added that he had not been disappointed . Alan McMorris’s interior of a traditional pub took the judge’s eye and first place in monochrome – Alan Hartley was second and Ray Magill third.

With over forty entries in the colour competition, selection took a little longer but when the dust had settled Nigel Snell’s high key image of a tern in flight soared into the number one spot with Brian Watt providing both the runner-up positions.

Noel Maitland’s seascape took the eye and the honours in the Advanced Digital Projected Image selection ,followed home by David Roberts and Jack Thompson and in the Foundation section Trevor Robinson took first and third spot with Jane Richardson second.

 

John Bennett

“The Prince of Darkness” is his title in Russia - to the rest of the world he’s known as The Ragman . The name on his passport is David Foster and he’s a County Down man whose photographs are the link between a small studio in Millisle and online friends on every continent.

David presented a fascinating account of his international adventures to the members – a welcome return to the Ward Avenue venue where he’d been a member and Competition Secretary for many years. Five years ago another interest, hockey called him away and since then he has been restoring the fame and fortunes of the University of Ulster Ladies’ team. However he never lost his passion for the clicking shutter and merely diverted his enthusiasm into the internet via Red Bubble, an international community of photographers and artists.

David’s online name,The Ragman far from being derogatory is a compliment to his ability to see potent, dramatic images in the most banal ,everyday situations and objects. Railway lines, manhole covers and brick walls feature regularly in his portrayals and with the creative use of lighting he illustrates the difference between merely looking and seeing.

The “Prince of Darkness” sobriquet is a nod to his penchant for high contrast, monochrome pictures with a touch of intrigue, mystery or even menace. His style is now widely recognised and he illustrated his portfolio with audio-visual presentations.

Red Bubble is like a vast, international camera club, he explained but instead of fifty or sixty members seeing your images there could be hundreds or even thousands viewing, assessing and offering feedback on your entries.The site attracts up to half a million visitors a day and given the Irish influence in America there is added interest from that country in any contributions from this part of the world.

The community also caters for specialist interest groups and David administers one which specializes in pictures of Northern Ireland. Many lasting friendships have been forged over the message boards and David has visited members from Spain and Cornwall as well as receiving visitors from various European countries. He related the delightful story of one couple from Greece who arrived at his village and not knowing his real name or address proceeded to knock on doors and ask where they could find The Ragman!

Although there is a commercial side to the site- members can offer their pictures and designs for use on tee-shirts, hoodies and the like, David enjoys it mainly for the bond amongst photographers of many different races and culture.

 

John Bennett

The entertainment was of the in-house variety at Friday’s meeting of the Bangor and North Down Camera Club. Various members had been coaxed, cajoled or coerced into giving a presentation entitled “My way with photography”; the heading deliberately vague to allow for a variety of interpretations.

The club chairman Nigel Snell adroitly contrived to arrive at a good mix of experienced photographers and beginners and any first time nerves were quickly dispelled in the usual friendly atmosphere of the weekend gathering.

Noel Maitland opened proceedings with a vintage display of slides (real transparencies shown on a real projector!) which ranged from his early days on the farm to local scenes and landscapes amassed over 40 odd years behind the lens. He then introduced a competitive edge to the proceedings by offering prizes of chocolates to whoever could correctly identify the locations. We are assured that the amateur status of the winners will not be compromised !

Noel completed his enjoyable contribution with a very watchable audio-visual display rather poetically titled “Flowers and Stuff”.

Helen Fettus represented the female membership with a thoughtful montage of family shots cleverly making use of available sunlight in a variety of settings. Helen, who is one of the newer members recently celebrated achieving an A Level in photography and has been enjoying expanding her experience and expertise at the Wednesday evening workshops which ran throughout the summer break.

Jack Thompson displayed his usual creative approach to things photographic when he based his talk on five “wow” moments he has experienced over the years. Starting with a simple box camera and then progressing through student days and a part time job in a professional studio he gradually grew to love images of plants and local beauty spots . More recently Jack has been concentrating mainly on Audio-visual presentations in which medium he has achieved quite a measure of success .

Another new member, Trevor Robinson took the nostalgic path in his journey. Introduced to the magic of images by his father he displayed the actual plate camera he had used in his early days and traced his photographic time-line with various other pieces of hardware he has used over the years. Having dabbled in the nerve-jangling pursuit of wedding photography on occasions Trevor more recently has been glad to relax and enjoy the relative freedom of snapping anything from motorcycle racing to beetles.

The enjoyable evening ended with a masterful presentation by Nigel Snell in which he demonstrated that when it comes to bird photography he is well versed in capturing that elusive magic moment.

John Bennett

Andrew Hipson is a photographic artist. It’s a job description crying out for explanation and the members of Bangor and North Down Camera Club were treated to just such a revelation at the weekly meeting on Friday last. Andrew left his previous employment to escape from the stress of everyday pressures and returned to photography, his erstwhile hobby, as a replacement means of earning a living.

Realising that he would need to offer something innovative if he were to make inroads on a very competitive market he set about finding an artistic direction which would eventually evolve into a distinctive style on which he could base his work. The photographic part of the venture is, as he freely admits, merely a means to an end. Beginning with local landmarks he experimented with Adobe Photoshop enhancement software to find how he could embellish the images to mould them into a unique “look”.

This he demonstrated graphically by exhibiting a picture of Donaghadee lighthouse set against a yellow sky with a violet lifebelt as an added attraction. The bandstand at Bangor seafront shimmered amidst yellow grass and a purple sea while other iconic images like the giant cranes at Harland and Wolff’s were similarly portrayed against attention-grabbing hues. Andrew favours the strongest of primary colours for his surroundings but insists on retaining as much as possible of the integrity of the main subject of the image. Like a dramatic print of the giant fish at Belfast harbour his work offers a new perspective on some well known objects and for this reason is particularly popular with expatriate customers in Australia and Canada. Indeed at present he is preparing for a forthcoming tour of the USA , and New Zealand.

He has also exhibited at The Waterfront and House of Frazer in Belfast and The Curve Gallery in Bangor but even though his style has developed to the point where his work is easily recognised he still continues to refine his approach. He demonstrated some of his latest images, including a striking likeness of the McKee clock in Bangor produced by the screen printing process.

Andrew’s presentation added some fuel to the age-old discussion about whether or not photography is an art form and certainly seemed to suggest that the two are at least compatible.

 

John Bennett

As befits the start of any new term there was a distinct air of anticipation around the shoreside premises of Bangor and North Down Camera Club for the first meeting of the new season. Greetings and gossip gave way to discussions about new equipment purchased or new software investigated and soon the members had slipped effortlessly back into photo-mode for the business of the evening.

The Chairman, Nigel Snell welcomed everyone ,especially some new members (some of whom had been drawn by the images on display in the annual exhibition at The Flagship Centre. Others had been attending the informal gatherings on Wednesdays and Fridays during the “off-season”.) As has become traditional over the past few years the first night was reserved for a showing of the Audio-visual displays of the members’ holidays.

Hardly surprisingly the images on show covered a very wide spectrum of interests and geographical areas – from Switzerland to Newtownards and from Vancouver to Ballyholme. The local interest was provided by Jack Thompson’s natural history slides taken between Bangor and Groomsport ; David McVeigh focused on some derelict buildings in Newtownards while Alan Hartley and Davy Cooper produced thoughtful records of club summer visits to Benburb and The Argory.

On the theme of transport Drew McAvoy’s presentation was a fast moving depiction of motor-sport while Noel Maitland opted for the slightly less hectic but perhaps more graceful environs of the River Shannon for a boat rally. The railway journey to the summit of Snowdon captured the imagination of Lawrence Henderson ; Jane Richardson brought back memories of a trip to the Swiss Alps and Gerry Coe invoked the sound and sights of flamenco and Spanish sunshine with his Iberian adventure.

France was the magnet for Nigel Snell ; his long lens captured some fine flora and fauna. For others it was carnival time. Peter Gibson followed the music and fun in Tenerife (he doubled up with a look at the joys of summer in Tuscany) while Hugh Rooney investigated the esoteric masks favoured by the partygoers in Venice. Bill Cardwell enjoyed the delights of Vancouver and shared them with an appreciative audience.

The club continues to meet every Friday evening with informal gathering each Wednesday at eight o’clock. Anyone interested in photography will find a warm welcome at the clubroom which is situated at the junction of Ward Avenue and Seacliff Road.

John Bennett