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 2012-2013 ...

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 2011/2012.

An official, unofficial Summer outing was added to the 2013 calendar. Much to the delight of members who couldn’t make it to the previous ones this year. An open invitation to members sent by Davy Cooper on the BNDCC facebook page to Mount Stewart for a ‘Macro Day’ was warmly welcomed.

It was going to be a busy photographic day for everyone as other events had already caught the attention of members. The Festival of Flight in Newcastle and Rosemount Traction Engine Festival in Greyabbey, but 15 and an honorary member joined in on this new world of Macro photography and, from the submitted images already on facebook, have grasped a firm hold on the macro bug!

Darren had gone ahead as a pre-planned photoshoot was to take him away for a while.

Tea and scones (thanks Julie and Jack) gathered us all together and we headed into the grounds. Pram packed and buckling with all the cameras, lenses, tripods, coats and lunches (hoping to get a sporting model soon!).

Equipment, such as a reversing ring for lenses, extension tubes, a ring flash and magnifying filters were kindly offered by Davy and Jack for loan, with guiding advice to start us all off. Oh! A welcome to Alan Field on his 1st club outingand toDeborah Gardener and a few members on their introduction to the world of macro.

The grounds were being used for the set location of a new movie being filmed and a wedding reception later on that day, but the gardens were a perfect location. Tripods sprouted up from the grass and flower were growing legs as the members tried to get as close as they could until a short, shower sent everyone, apart from Michael Rice, (now that’s dedication), diving for cover under a wedding marquee.

When the rain stopped and the sun appeared we got back to the bees and flowers, only for a ‘Sprinkler Test’ to send us ducking for cover again, only to realise there were 3 sprinklers on the go. A mistake that could have cost dearly. iIf you were to tally up the cost of all the camera equipment in the one area. How Rude some people can be without even opening their mouth), but the cry of ‘lunch’ bellowed from the hedges and was gladly taken up.

Refreshments calmed us down and brought more advice and chat along with the return of Darren to the group. The sun shone and the Red Admiral butterflies filled the Buddleja Buzz Ivory (Butterfly bush) providing a great photo opportunity and then a chance for everyone to split up and search for their next subject further along the paths.

Standing still in the same spot took a tiring toll on everyone and soon one by one drifted off and headed for home to find out the results of their newest photographic technique, but one thing was clear; the day was a huge success and one that hopefully will be carried into next year's outings.

Thanks to Davy for a day that sparked a talent in many of our members and to those members, well done! The competitions will be wonderful this year and I for one can’t wait to see the results of our little day in Mount Stewart.

Deborah Carvill.

 

Proudly celebrating over half a century, as a club. The Bangor & North Down Camera Club, joined in the Bangor 400 - Open House Festival, with their Annual Photographic Exhibition.
There is a growing membership with more women and younger members joining the club. The BNDCC competitions and annual exhibition are strongly supported by new and experienced members and this display bears witness to the talent of the members, inspiring each other, and hopefully the visitors to the Aurora Leisure Complex who wish to view them before the 23rd August.
 
On Friday’s opening night (9th of August), the Mayor of Bangor Andrew Muir, Club President Gerry Coe and Chairman Harry Watson, brought this years exhibition to a grand start.
 
The Mayor showed a great interest in the vast array of subjects. Touring around the display panels, guided by Gerry and Harry, asking questions and listening to the brave stories behind some of the impressive images. One such image caught the attention of the Mayor and he made a special compliment, to be passed on to the Author, Trevor Craig. ‘False Kiva’ a beautiful, atmospheric landscape, rarely captured, had proved the dedication which club member Trevor has toward photography and the capturing of a glorious image, like no-one else can. I asked Trevor to share his story and experience with us.
 
The photo location was at a remote corner of Canyonlands national park in the state of Utah USA known as Island in the sky. The site is not marked on any official park map but known to the park rangers who will tell you the general location but not take you there because it is a dangerous path to take.

" I made my way to the location around three in the afternoon with temperatures around 38 degrees. I was alone and using information gained from research on the Internet I found the barely visible trail and walked to the cliff edge. The path to the mouth of the cave where false kiva (An ancient Anasazi Indian stone circle ) was situated involved scrambling along a rough stoney path cut in the cliff face down a couple of hundred feet of drop and the scramble over a rough bank of stones to reach it. I had two litres of water with me and used most of it on the way to the ruin. I stayed an hour sitting in the cave waiting for the clouds to move to the right place for my photo and enjoying the complete silence and atmosphere of the place. I took the photos, packed away tripod and camera gear and started back up the cliff face again.
 
It was starting to get dark as I reached the top and the change in light disoriented me and after an hour or so of trying to figure out the way back to my parked car I realised I was in trouble as all the slick rock started to look the same. I was out of water and starting to feel lightheaded from the sun and effort involved in traversing the rocks. In the four hours I had been there I was completely alone. My phone had no signal in such a cut off location so I had to think of a way to get back safely. I remembered I had GPS on my iPhone so I pulled it out of my pack and used that to set the location on the map where the car was, and then used it to guide me back safely to the vehicle. I owe my possible existence to that technology as I was in a fairly poor state being completely dehydrated and totally exhausted when I eventually got back to the car.
 
It just goes to show the dedication and extraordinary lengths we landscape photographers go to for a photograph!"

 

The Mayor began, by welcoming the club members, family and friends, welcome guests and passing visitor to the Aurora Café. He commented on the buzz reverberating around the new leisure complex following the World Police and Fire Games and Bangor 1st ever swim cinema screening of Jaws, in the complex the following day. (Kindly demonstrated by Gerry and received by the crowd) These events were being complimented by the BNDCC display of images. Where visitors could casually catch the display, at their leisure.
 
The Mayor described how important such creative projects are to Bangor and how the council is dedicated to the growth and prosperity of such projects taking roots in the town. Firsty and now Project 24 bringing a bit of life back to the town and especially Queens Parade. (Projects that we all know will put Bangor on the map along with the Musical, Sporting and Acting Talents that emerge from the town.)
 
Congratulating the members and wished the exhibition every success, the Mayor officially opened the photographic exhibition.
 
The President, Chairman, Committee and Members of the Bangor & North Down Camera Club would like to express their sincere gratitude to the Mayor, for his time and dedication to the club and this Exhibition. Thanks to the Aurora for providing the space to display the images.
 
Also to those members who spent time and money to submit images. With Special Thanks going to the Exhibition Secretary Alan Mc Morris who’s unending dedication and hard work made this all possible and the many helpers who gave up their time to help make the exhibition happen.
 
(Bangor Camera Club would like to apologise to visitors on the first Saturday and Sunday, who travelled especially to see the exhibition, as an event in the Aurora, caused the display to be removed and the club could only resolve the issue on the Monday morning. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.)
 
 
Deborah Carvill

 

Members had gathered at the club house for the usual 9am start, to arrange our route and meeting place before setting off on the last, but slightly longer than normal journey of the summer, to Crom on the shores of Upper Lough Erne. A 2hr plus drive. (slightly delayed in Lisnaskea due the towns band parades with some wonderful characters offering some potential photo opportunities) But we all arrived safely and gathered for an early lunch, with our tea and scones from Jack. (Thanks Jack!)
 
For many of the Bangor & North Down Camera Club members, it was a first time visit to The Crom Estate in Fermanagh and a welcome one for Shirley, on her first ever club outing, was recognised. The weather forecast for the day was also discussed and raincoats where packed, or to be on hand, for a downpour or two.
 
After lunch it was back to our cameras and we headed off to discover the wonderful landscapes, nature and wildlife, that the 2000 acres Demesne would charm us with. And it did! 12 members set off. Some ventured further than others on the 3 miles of nature trails, open up by the National Trust in 1987.
 
A few members crossed the bridge and gained a better vantage point of the Castle and grounds. While others took advantage of being at one of Ireland most important nature conservations and tried to capture some of the wildlife that were surrounding them. Member and walkers remarking to each other, in passing, about the butterflies and the size of the Dragonflies, which were darting about the flowers and testing our reaction. Trying to get at least one focused image of them. Members kept in contact with a snap, captured with the zoom lens on full stretch and with a wave to each other from the distant shore.
 
Distant Church bells rang out further along the shores. Kayaks glided and speedboats whizzed past to give a point of focus, within the framing, of members landscape images. Bellowing white, grey and black clouds in a calming blue, gave skies an atmosphere with a story to tell. A changeable, but not disruptive, weather occasionally loomed over, as the trees held good cover during the few showers of rain. Making the colours more vibrant and rich when we set off again.
 
The grounds of Crom Estate contain two castles. The ruins of the Old Castle and a tower house, which was previously owned by the Balfour family and a second castle which, the present structure was built in 1820, is now privately owned by The Crichton family, Earls of Erne. While the estate is now managed by the National Trust. Wedding Couples are able to use the west wing of the Castle for weddings and on this day a wedding did coincide with the outing. A huge marquee graced the lawns in front of the castle restricting access to the area, to guests only. But some members where delighted to see a limo pull up in front of them and a Beautiful Bride and Handsome Groom appear and prepare themselves, for the romantic photographic location, only for the rain to quickly change their plans for a drier location. With a smile and a wave, to the disappointed members, before being wisped off. A lovely reminder to the day!
 
With time running out and harsher weather warnings forecasted, members gradually found each other and headed back on their 2 hr return journey home. For a few, the peaceful surrounding still captivating them. A cup of tea, a chat and a promise to return to the excellent provisions, which catered for visitor, campers and boaters alike. A place highly recommended by the members as a place to relax with family and friends and enjoy a day or two in the peaceful surroundings.
 
On the return home the journey took on two extremes of nature, as only our little part of the world would. From rain that was bouncing off the road as high as the car, leaving no option but to stop at the roadside until it eased up. To a Glorious ‘3D Movie’ of Cloud formations that left you in awe of its array of colours and vastness. A cloud that filled the vista with a perfect contrast, of the purist of sky blue, as its backdrop. The sun filling the white clouds with reds and pinks and in the darker clouds, the shadow had a tonal range that even Ansel Adams would have waited a lifetime for. A rainbow that would filled the skies would appear to land on the car or in a field in front and jump forward, as we travelled along the miles, would disappear only to reappear hiding in the shadows of the clouds.
 
As the miles counted down, the closer we got to being under those breathtaking formations which we were witnessing for miles and now realised, that above us, was the potential for the heavens to open upon us. It must have been a lucky day for us, as we seemed to skirt around the worst of it and continued, homeward bound.
 
As we looked back upon the day and the beauty of this country and the people we met on our little journey in life. The gold we search for is not at the end of the rainbow, but all around us in the people we meet and the places we visit. Waiting to be Captured and Shared.
 
Deborah Carvill.

Saturday saw blue skies and a golden glow to begin our third summer outing of the year. A great sight for us all, after we had been pre-warned into bring our wellies, as it could involve crossing muddy fields, for the more adventurous of the group.
 
Members made their way from the clubhouse, in Ward Ave, to the Armagh County Museum to meet up with the rest of the members. Where we were all warmly greeted, by Sean Barden and some members of the Armagh Camera Club. A buzz of introductions and conversations over a welcoming cup of tea or coffee and a scone started us off. A tone that was to set the day as to the relaxed, friendly atmosphere the group adopted.
 
Setting off in convoy we headed off. Winding our way to the previously visited locations, back in 2010. This time passing a familiar viaduct, visited on that day too.
Onwards to Dundrum Mills and Beetling Mill, about a mile from Keady. Some of the group were visiting for the first time and others had been there before but the variety of photo opportunities was plentiful.
 
The Mills were Bleach mills, which whitened freshly woven (brown) linen and they also worked as a Beetling mills which had big hammers that pounded the bleached linen to give it a polish or finish. Dundrum, dating from at least 1835. These 19th century Linen mills used the Callan River as water source to power the industry, which Sean explained and pointed out to members the arch on the outside wall where the water wheel connected to the building and was evidenced by the chimney of the 2nd mill for the steam power used to drive the machinery. An Industry, now gone.
 

 

The only evidence remaining is the empty building or ruins. One building is in private use and has a wonderful display of history and passing time. Now a reminder of a family who once and still work and play there. Their memories stored on hooks and on shelves. The other, a more derelict building but none the less restricted in its character. A great opportunity for members to capture images for this years upcoming NIPA competition for degeneration.
 
Everyone seemed to vacate the same mill at the same time but spread out during and after lunch. Some ventured across the fields separating the two mills. From my memory it was a place I had wished to visit again. Remembering the old stone work and the blue colours on the walls, that remained through the changing times. I had wished to capture again with the improved skills on the second time around but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Images from Mark Allan and Alan Mc Morris who ventured to the upper floors that day, to highlight the blue, which anyone downstairs only had a glimpse of. I await our Wednesday club night to find out if anyone was brave enough to document the environment and battle with the elements of the last 3 years have had on the walls and floors of that lasting memory.
 

 

As the path, across the field, was a different route. It deemed a more difficult one and took a toll on those who now found it a challenge as the day warmed up. Many, if not all took to a more relaxed one (if not ruled by the fact that in the parking of our convoy we couldn‘t drive anywhere and took the opportunity to share photographic and local knowledge with the group and family we had gained permission (via Sean) to visit. Discussing the henhouse where mother and her three chicks, had once been a prison portaloo and even joked we had something in common as we had travelled from the Bangor Louvre to another.
 

As all the members returned, a group photo was taken and once again the convoy rolled on to our last location. The private garden, kindly opened up again for the club to visit. The garden had many sculptures with hidden animals and creatures. A river, with a bridge over it and through the arches, a pathway, to link the Gardens. From real flowers with bees, to plastic ones with spiders webs. The heat finally getting to the majority of the members and we took the opportunity to relax and enjoy a chat in the surrounding settings. Taking a seat (not the ‘Granny seat‘) in the sun or a dip in the river that ran through the gardens. Again A Great Day! In the clubs calendar.
 
I join with the rest of the club in expressing our Sincere Thanks to Sean and the owners of the private properties who granted the club special permission to visit and Photograph. Who also joined in our day to make us feel so welcome. To Sean again another memorable day with you and the members of the Armagh Camera Club. Thank You Sean! For all your time and hard work in arranging the outing for us all. A day with a wonderful memory of its own. Congratulations!
 
 
Deborah Carvill.

 

Saturday 1st June saw the second outing in the BNDCC 2013 Summer calendar.

A smaller but not less enthusiastic group of 15 members gathered to visit The Ulster Aviation Society at RAF Long Kesh. The group met in the societies home, a WWII hangar which was the perfect setting for a wonderfully eclectic collection of Aircraft associated with Northern Ireland heritage. One of the pinnacles in the heart of the aviation industry.

After tea and scones, arranged and supplied by Jack (whom I will take this moment now, to thank once again, for a refreshing start for our day ahead). We were given an introduction to the society and a few H&S rules. The group was split into 3 smaller groups of 5 members and headed off in different direction, to discover all the exhibits and displays contained in a historical but working environment.

The dedication and commitment from the U.A.S. members was self-evident and abundant. The restoration process for each plane explained with enthusiastic admiration to his fellow members and made sure those members were pointed out in recognition for their achievements, a passion that mirrors our own club in its dedication and endless talent it possesses.

The heritage of aviation, contained in the hangar, ranged from Wessex and Alouette Helicopters to Canberra, Shorts Tuscano, Shorts 330, Vampire, Seahawks, Buccaneer and WWII Wildcat which was salvaged from Portmore Lough.

Our visit also took us through history to rooms of memorabilia, Air raid sirens, HQ control rooms and bunkers giving us a glimpse into life during the world wars, even to original tinned food of the day. With maps of recovery/crash sites in N.I. a wonderful array of equipment and clothing to make the experience a rich and full one.

An experience that revealed the bravery of the crew was imprinted in the fabric of the surrounding metal skin, two of which displayed the cramped, terrifying and noisy conditions the men had the endure to fulfil their duty in the face of death. One, in a glass enclosure, would sit on the outside of the plane, spinning and rotating a spray of bullets on the enemy. A noise that left the ears permanently damaged.

The other in the nose cone of the plane, confined in a cramped space with panels of buttons and dials, with 2 small windows and a circular site to observe the location below, travelling at hundreds of miles per hour. Both left us mesmerized with admiration.

As planned we were then given the rest of our time recording and creating an image that had something a little special. Somewhat being made difficult with the array of aircraft in the same area, which pushed all our photographic skills to the max. With this, for Henry, May and I, it offered a photographic opportunity of a different kind. With the Societie's official photographer, asking us to pose for an image for the website and monthly publication. (Shirley will be proud of us!)

I cannot end without expressing our thanks to the members of the Society and Alan Hartley for arranging the visit to Ulster Aviation Society. A must visit! to those members who couldn’t make it on Saturday. It is a challenging location but well worth the experience.

 

Deborah Carvill.

The Annual General meeting of the Club was held on Friday night at the Ward Avenue headquarters. A healthy turnout heard the various reports from the office-bearers paint a picture of a successful and enjoyable season. Particularly gratifying was the increase in membership numbers which resulted in a significant number of new names on the competition winners’ list.

The Chairman Harry Watson and President Gerry Coe listed particular areas worthy of note including the continuing success of the Wednesday night meetings where beginners and in particular have been receiving tuition and encouragement from advanced members – in particular David Roberts and Mark Allen.

The President took the chair for the election of Officers for 2013-2014 and Harry Watson was re-elected as Chairman with Ray Magill returned unopposed as Vice Chairman. The other positions were filled as follows;

Secretary....Christine Pearson

Treasurer....Jack Thompson; Assistant Treasurer....Peter Gibson

Exhibition Secretary....Alan McMorris

Competition Secretary....Alan Hartley; Assistant Competition Secretary...Julie Campbell

Facilities Manager....Noel Maitland

N.I.P.A Representative....Alan McMorris

Webmaster....David Roberts

Child Protection Officer....Shirley Graham

Auditors....John Miskelly; Trevor Craig

This was the final scheduled Friday night meeting for the 2012-2013 season although the midweek sessions will continue throughout the year.

The first summer outing of the club took place on Saturday 4th May when over a dozen keen snappers enjoyed the early summer sunshine in the lovely grounds of Castleward. A full programme is planned for the remainder of the summer.

John Bennett

One of the highlights of the year for The Bangor and North Down Camera Club annual exhibition in The Flagship Centre and this year’s winners were paraded on Friday evening in the club’s Ward Avenue headquarters. The guest judge this year was Lee Boyd, a painter and sculptor who has entertained the members on a previous occasion with a fascinating account of his approach to the visual arts.

Lee has also recently taken up residence in one of the “Pods” on Queen’s Parade in the town samples of his work will be on display there.

While acknowledging that photography was not his prime interest Lee presented a strong case for approaching the appraisal of paintings or digital images in a similar fashion. He explained that he looked for strong textures and dynamism in both media and went on to draw parallels in the use of colour ,tone and composition.

Even allowing for the very large entry and constraints of time he offered constructive comments on all the prints which had earned the top placings.

FOUNDATION SECTION.

PORTRAIT (Monochrome) 1.Trevor Robinson 2. Mark Bell 3. Darren Brown

(Colour) 1. Darren Brown 2. Mark Bell 3. Alan Field

LANDSCAPE (Monochrome) 1. Mandy Milliken 2.Helen Fettus 3.Darren Brown

( Colour) 1. Darren brown 2. Alan Field 3. Christine Pearson

GENERAL (Monochrome) 1. Alan Field 2. Darren Brown 3 .Angela Shannon

(Colour) 1.Brian Mc Mullan 2. Darren Brown 3. Mandy Milliken

CHAIRMAN’S CHALLENGE 1. Angela Shannon 2. Alan Field 3. Mark Bell (Angela was also the overall winner in the Chairman’s Challenge)

TOP PRINT (Monochrome) Alan Field

(Colour) Brian McMullan

ADVANCED SECTION

PORTRAIT (Monochrome) 1. John Miskelly 2. Hugh Rooney 3. Hugh Rooney

(Colour) 1. John Miskelly 2. David Best 3. Joe Paulin

LANDSCAPE (Monochrome) 1. Hugh Rooney 2. Nigel Snell 3. Trevor Craig

(Colour) 1. Nigel Snell 2. Hugh Rooney 3. Joe Paulin

GENERAL (Monochrome) 1.Trevor Craig 2. Harry Watson 3. Nigel Snell

(Colour) 1. John Miskelly 2.Deborah Carvill 3. Edward McCavana

CHAIRMAN’S CHALLENGE 1. Edward MCavana 2. Alan McMorris 3. Deborah Carvill

TOP PRINT (Monochrome) Hugh Rooney

(Colour) John Miskelly

The award for the Best Overall Picture went to Hugh Rooney and the Projected Digital Image prize was won by Darren Brown.

 

John Bennett

John Miskelly, Hiugh Rooney, Lee Boyd and Brian McMullan .

 

A Special award was also presented to Shirley Graham. Nuff said!!

The members of Bangor and North Down Camera Club are always on the lookout for something new to introduce to the weekly meetings at Ward Avenue and Friday evening saw a very popular innovation in the form of an Audio-visual night. Mark Allen came up with the original concept and prepared would-be participants by arranging tuition and support over in the preceding weeks.

The guest judge for the evening was Raymond Hughes from Merville Camera Club and his experience and expertise added an extra dimension to a very enjoyable meeting. The competition was divided into two categories – a Beginners section for anyone trying the medium for the first time and an Advanced section for the smaller number who have been involved in this branch of photography for some time.

There was a remarkably healthy interest in first time participants; nine members took the time and trouble to capture the images, arrange them into a sequence and add a commentary and/or music accompaniment. Five members took up the Advanced challenge.

The judge gave thoughtful and helpful feedback on the entries as they were projected , emphasising the need for a structured approach and the necessity for a basic theme or development. This, he explained made the difference between an Audio-visual presentation and a basic slide show. Various tricks of the trade became apparent as the evening went on; the importance of consistency in the format of the images was a recurrent theme mainly in the newcomers’ section.

Raymond also demonstrated the jarring effect of rapidly switching from landscape to portrait format and offered examples of how the transition could be achieved more smoothly.

Christine Pearson won the Beginners’ competition with a short ,snappy cinema- trailer like presentation extolling the virtues of the club’s Ladies’Night. Bill Henning’s portrayal of Hot Hotels was second with Ray Magill and Colin Ross sharing third.

In the Advanced section Mark Allen’s striking vistas of a trip to Skye earned him the top spot; Jack Thompson was runner up with a an informative exposition of the Norman influence on our culture. Again there was a tie for third place between David Roberts and Noel Maitland.

Due to the popularity of the evening it is likely that it will become a permanent fixture in the club calendar.

John Bennett.

The awe-inspiring wonder of a snowdrop opening its face to the morning sun or the menacing vision of dark storm clouds racing across a threatening sky are sights which can only be appreciated properly with the benefit of time-lapse photography.

The procedure whereby a still picture is taken at intervals and then the sequence is projected at cinema speed has been used with dramatic effect by naturists like Sir David Attenborough in his many award-winning wildlife television programmes. In the past it was a long tricky operation but with the benefit of modern technology it is now well within the compass of the amateur photographer.

On Friday night Hugh Rooney treated the members of Bangor and North Down Camera Club to a selection of wonderful examples of how landscapes and cityscapes can be given an extra,spectacular dimension using this method. Under the photographers’ guidance The Northern Lights appeared to dance across a twilight sky and myriads of stars described graceful arcs above a darkened earth.

New York taxis performed a mad Formula One dash around the skyscrapers of Manhattan and snowfall on the Rockies in Canada thawed and melted into rushing rivers in seconds under the magic manipulation of the photographers’ skill.

Hugh demonstrated the basics of the procedure by leaving his own camera on time-lapse mode during the first half of the meeting and then encapsulating the five hundred or so shots into a seven second burst of frenetic action. He then demonstrated the basic skills and equipment required to make an entry level start before continuing to show more examples of the sophisticated end products of the top exponents of the art.

Some have spent weeks and months in mountains and deserts, capturing thousands of images from which to condense and distil finished products lasting mere minutes. However advances in technology have made it possible to achieve a basic form of time-lapse using a smart phone and relevant software and Hugh’s excellent presentation offered a challenge to the members to try something new and exciting.

 

John Bennett

 

The Panels Competition is an eagerly awaited event in the calendar of the club. Not only does it entail capturing quality images but these must be arranged in such a way as to convey a theme or storyline. The six photographs required may be monochrome, colour or projected digital images .

This year’s entry was much higher than in recent years – a feature remarked upon by the guest judge Martin Spackman A.R.P.S. Nevertheless he perused each and every entry carefully and offered constructive criticism and praise where warranted- a gesture appreciated by the entrants who had to spend considerable time ( and not a little expense) constructing the half dozen images required. Martin explained that his criteria for success were quality of photography, composition of the image and impact of the story that each panel conveyed.

Angela Shannon was the winner of the Foundation Monochrome section with a collection of portraits of senior citizens – Darren Brown and Helen Fettis were runners up while Darren’s depiction of various waterfalls took the honours for Colour with Alan Friel and Christine Pearson sharing the podium.

Hugh Rooney’s atmospheric shadows of ironwork received high praise and first place in the Advanced Monochrome line-up with Ray Magill and Deborah Carvill second and third. Edward McCavana chose dramatic lighting to add impact to the otherwise mundane appearance of tomatoes to clinch the winning spot in Colour; Deborah Carvill and Alan Hartley took the placings.

There was a healthy entry in the Projected Digital Image Section ; Michael Rice got close up and personal with a hungry spider to clinch first place in the Foundation competition; Darren brown and Helen Fettis again featuring for second and third places. At the Advanced end it was a family affair with May Carvill’s study of a motor-tricycle winning just ahead of her daughter Deborah. Alan Hartley was third.

Hugh Rooney’s study of shadows was adjudged the overall winner.

 

John Bennett

 

“Judge not that ye be not judged” – a Biblical quotation (Matthew 7:1) which might well be applied equally well to photographic competitions as to a moral or ethical path for life.

The lonely, friendless figure who arrives at a camera club intent on delivering a fair, balanced and positive appraisal of the efforts of the members is often the target of the wrath of those whose work is deemed unworthy of accolade. The judge, along with the football referee is on a hiding to nothing. How can he,or she not possibly see the hidden depths, the subtle nuances in my print? How can they possibly choose that out-of-focus, colour-cast monstrosity in front of what is obviously a work of near genius (mine!)

On Friday night Ray Magill (President of the Northern Ireland Photographic Association) prescribed a dose of their own medicine to the members of Bangor and North Down Camera Club by inviting selected (press-ganged!) participants to try their skills at judging panels of entries for accreditation to the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain.

Each entry consisted of ten images which were shown to the judges for five seconds each. During this time they had to assess the quality of the picture and award marks from one to five. The cumulative total was then measured against a cut-off point of two hundred marks to ascertain the successful candidates. From the anguished cries of the volunteers it was plain that this judging lark was, perhaps not as easy as it looked.

In the event the Bangor panel judged the selections slightly harder than the actual national team which met last week.

Prior to that Hugh Rooney had displayed a selection of the cream of the work selected by The Royal Photographic Association for their annual display.

This represented the best photographic efforts of both amateur and professionals around the world and while the standard of work was very high it was noticeable that a substantial amount of the images had been enhanced and manipulated – some to a degree which, it could be argued lifted them out of the realm of photography and into the sphere of art.

Yet another potential pitfall to ensnare the poor judge!

John Bennett

Angela Shannon, Deborah Carvill, Edward McCavana, John Hill, Noel Maitland, Shirley Graham, May Carvill and and Alan Hartley

Competition Judging evenings at Bangor and North Down Camera Club are guaranteed to enjoy a full attendance. This evening was no exception. John Hill from Central Photographic Society, Belfast, was our Judge for the 5th Round competition.

The theme for this round was "Documentary" and as with all themed rounds huge debate raged during the foregoing weeks and months as to the definition of the word. Of course what really matters is the interpretation of Documentary, by the judge on the night and judges for the subsequent Northern Ireland Photographic Association round which selects overall placements from all the Northern Ireland Camera Clubs.

Before proceedings commenced, Awards for Commendation in the recent Audio Visual Festival at Ballyearle were made to Alan Hartley and Jack Thompson.

John Hill's opening statement was that he was carrying out his last formal judging session tonight and after 60 years in photography felt that it was time to step back from the role.

He commenced with his concept and definition of the Documentary theme. As a case in point, he showed an entry of the Princess Victoria commeroration event at Donaghadee lifeboat and suggested that this in his view was more of a memorial than a documentary. Similarly, various sports shots didn't quite fit the definition. As proceedings continued it became more obvious of the difficulty of fulfilling the definition. In spite of this difficulty, John took time to pass on advice and words of wisdom especially to the Foundation level members.

Of the Foundation Member Colour Print entries, 1st place went to Michael Rice, 2nd Place, Angela Shannon and 3rd Place, Alan Field. Michael Rice, Angela Shannon, Alan Field and Mark Bell received Commendations.

Michael Rice and Angela Shannon once again captured 1st and 2nd place respectively for their Monochrome prints in the Foundation group. Angel also secured 3rd place with Commended awards going to Michael and Angela plus Alan Field. The quality of the Foundation class was outstanding.

Deborah Carvill, Alan Hartley and Henry Doggart captured 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively in the Advanced Colour class. May Carvill, Noel Maitland, Edward McCavana and John Miskelly were granted Commendations.

In the Advanced Monochrome class, Deborah Carvill, Noel Maitland and Trevor Robinson achived the placements with May Carvill, Brian Watt and Edward McCavana granted Commendations.

Projected Digital Images are those which are displayed on our large screen by means of a digital projector. Once again the standard was very high. Projected images usually display brighter and more stunning colour hues than printed copies. In the Foundation Group, Michael Rice, Darren Brown and Angela Shannon gained the placings with Alan Field, Angela Shannon and Darren brown also receiving Commendation.

Finally, the Advanced group were led by Noel Maitland, Henry Doggart and Anthony Crosbie with Shirley Graham and Anthony Crosbie achieving Commendation.

Our thanks go once again to John Hill and we all wish him a happy retirement.

David Roberts

 

Gerry Coe, David Best, Hugh Rooney, Trevor Craig and Peter Hughes

 

One of the regular activities of a dedicated group of 8 members of Bangor and North Down Camera Club, who feel that they have photographed everything of interest locally, is to have an annual trip away to some off-shore location.

Past trips have been to Grenada, Spain and Tuscany, Italy. On this occasion Paris was the chosen destination and a good opportunity to practice their French on the locals.

Trevor Craig introduced proceedings for the evening stating that it is an old adage that when important photographs have to be taken one should always have a spare camera. As well as his trusty Canikon camera, Trevor brought his Fujifilm X100 as backup. As it turned out the latter camera didn't work!

Trevor took his audience on a grand tour of some of the well known landmarks, but with a different aspect; very early morning and late night vistas, without the distraction of hoards of tourists in shot.

Peter Hughes to a different approach. He concentrated on Paris street and River Seine views. His stories were told in Audio Visual format and incorporated some striking grafitti, which is very prevalent in Paris.

Another participant on the tour was David Best and he gave us detailed explainations on how he eliminated tourists from his photos and reflected on the difficulties encountered with changing light levels whilst creating panorama views at dawn.

Hugh Rooney showed his shots in which he utilised his 17-40mm and 24-105mm lenses to good effect. He related the experience of fellow traveller, John Miskelly, who in pursuit of the perfect panorama, placed his tripod and camera out through a narrow gap in the glass shield onto a narrow ledge on the 58th floor of the Tour Maine Montparnasse building. Apparantly John almost suffered frostbite by holding his precious gear for almost an hour.

Ray Magill, who is currently the President of Northern ireland Photographic Association, could not attend in person and it was shown by proxy. Ray's offering was a delightful scenic tour of Paris in Monochrome.

Finally, Gerry Coe diplayed a selection of his photographs. As a professional photographer one would have expected him to bring his top notch camera. Not at all. Gerry travelled light with his iPhone and pocket tripod.

Gerry has recently been internationally recognised for his amazing iPhone photo-art and showed both projected images and mounted print images of some of the Paris shots. Some are displayed in the photograph.

 

DAvid Roberts

 

 

“Plus ça change – plus c’est la même chose”- is the French way of saying, ”The more things change the more they are the same.” And it certainly would appear to apply to photography as the members of Bangor And North Down Camera Club learned on Friday evening.

The Club President Gerrry Coe brought along a fascinating array of memorabilia collected over many years as a professional photographer. Some of the artefacts dated back to the earliest days of cameras and film including a still-functioning plate camera beautifully crafted in mahogany and brass. Among the images he displayed were original Daguerreotypes printed on emulsion coated brass plates and tin-types, cheaper productions mounted on a tin base and usually sold at fairgrounds. Ladies in floral bonnets and military gentlemen, stiff and formal stared fixedly at the lens of a long since gone photographer and bygone family groups posed self-consciously in front of neo-classical backcloths. The sepia tones, Gerry explained were the result of the silver being extracted from the emulsion as this would have caused the image to fade when exposed to light.

 

 

The mysteries of Cartes-des-visites were made clear with a display of small portraits, many of them celebrities of their day . These were collected and encased in albums and provide a graphic history of a past age even before newspapers were able to print photographs.

Perhaps the most thought-provoking aspect of the talk was the fact that the grainy, monochrome images of those early days were now very much back in fashion amongst creative photographers only now they employ the very latest digital technology to achieve the effects. “Plus ça change!”

The Club Chairman Harry Watson offered some mental stimulation with a picture quiz featuring cameras and equipment through the ages including a multi-image panorama which John Miskelly described. Panoramas are again much in vogue today but modern photographers have the benefit of digital means rather than the long ,painstaking methods employed by their predecessors.

Jack Thompson then rounded off a very entertaining evening with some audio-visual presentations.

 

John Bennett

 

 

Bangor and North Down Camera Club celebrated the first competition of 2013 with a healthy entry in all the sections and an encouraging turn out to witness the judging. Ian Lyons from Merville Photographic Club was the guest judge and he offered particular encouragement to the Foundation entrants with a comment and some advice to each member.

The range of subjects reflected the Open nature of the competition with landscapes, natural history ,sport and other categories on display.

Brian McMullan’s spectacular shot of an airborne motor-cyclist took first prize in the Foundation Colour section; Angela Shannon and Michael Rice took the other placings. A thoughtful study of a church won the Monochrome contest for Christine Pearson followed by Alan Field and Darren Brown.

The Digital Projected Image prize went to Mark Bell for his shot of a spiral staircase. The runners-up were Michael Rice and Darren Brown.

In the Advanced Competitions Edward McCavana swept the boards winning all three sections outright. An atmospheric skyscraper at night took the plaudits for Colour ; Noel Maitland and David Best were second and third. A similar subject and treatment did the trick for Edward in the Monochrome section ahead of Ray Magill and May Carvill and when the results of the Digital Image contest were announced it was a hat-trick of victories for Edward. His winning subject was an interior of the art gallery in The Mac in Belfast.

Harry Watson and Deborah Carvill were runners-up.

John Bennett

In the olden days, before the advent of digital photography holiday snaps were either pasted into an album or left to moulder in the dark confines of a forgotten drawer. Modern technology nowadays affords a choice of ways to preserve ones precious images. On Friday night the members of Bangor and North Down explored one such method - Audio-Visual presentations .

Various software packages have made it easy for even the beginners to gather their images and present them in an attractive display complete with musical backing and even a voice-over commentary if required. Quite a few first time efforts were on view along with those of the more experienced practitioners and the themes were as varied as holiday snaps and natural history.

Alan Field offered some memories of a recent adventure in the Amazon while Alan Hartley demonstrated his landscape skills with a collection from the Scottish Highlands. Chairman Harry Watson recalled his days in South Africa with visual memories of photographic safaris and David Roberts revived pleasant memories of holiday cruises in a dramatic portrayal of the ice shows.

For an encore David showed sights of St Thomas and San Juan captured on a recent Caribbean holiday. After Noel Maitland’s take on the beauty of New Zealand’s scenery, Helen Fettus reminded everyone of the sights nearer home by concentrating on the landmarks of Belfast. Jack Thompson delighted the audience with a guided walk around Ballymacormick Point , enhanced by an engaging commentary.

Tenerife was Peter Gibson’s choice of subject while Shirley Graham exhibited a couple of presentations, one of which was completed as an exercise on how to make an A.V. from 100 images in thirty minutes. Christine Pearson meanwhile had her tongue firmly in her cheek when she screened a short, very funny homage to the club’s Ladies’ Night.

Mark Allen is currently running a class for beginners in the medium and it is hoped to introduce a new club competition in the near future. As an example he showed an example of his work which has won awards in the past.

John Bennett

 

 

The members of Bangor and North Down Camera Club have been whisked away to some truly wondrous locations in recent weeks. Before Christmas Paul Evans presented a display of the celestial marvels, planets, stars and comets revealed by telescopes and camera lenses while on Friday night Alan Cranston went in the opposite direction when he shared his exciting images of journeys to the bottom of the earth’s oceans.

Alan, who has more than five hundred successful forays into the deep behind him began his illustrated talk with some remarkable photographs taken on various expeditions to the Red Sea. Most impressive were the scenes shot around some of the various shipwrecks- all of which have been clothed in a coating of multi-hued coral of various kinds.

These have attracted not only many divers but many different varieties of fish whose marvellous colours become iridescent under the powerful strobe lighting which is necessary equipment for any diver/photographer. The light intensity diminishes rapidly at depth and the colours merge into a subdued grey-brown so the pictures brought back to the surface sometimes bear little resemblance to the actual scene.

The deep waters are inhabited by a bewildering array of marine life – from the hard and soft varieties of coral to the families of fish with strange names and even stranger shapes. Scorpion and crocodile fish are to be avoided as, like their counterparts on dry land they possess very dangerous armaments. Trigger fish have no teeth but have been known to lift a lump out of a man’s skull with their razor sharp beak while Oceanic White Tip Sharks possess a set of dentures big and sharp enough to inflict lethal wounds on any unwary visitor to their domain.

Alan also showed images of Basking Sharks, up to twelve metres long swimming in the cold waters of the Western Isles of Scotland. As these giants are plankton eaters and have no interest in human food he was able to swim to within a foot or two of the cavernous jaws of the leviathans before clicking the shutter.

In the warm waters of Malta one can encounter almost a museum of World War Two armaments. Sunken warships reveal guns and shells; bombed transports have complete five ton trucks and motor cycles tumbling out of the fractured holds and rusting hulks of bombers lie grounded in the silt of many years.

In the Maldives he recorded images of Frog Fish, Puffers and Parrot Fish as well as a giant Mantra Ray about the same size as a small family car while off the coast of Rathlin Island he investigated the various wrecks and their attendant shoals. Donegal too is a good spot for the diver with a camera but, like the waters of Strangford Lough it has a problem with visibility .

As Alan explained diving is an expensive hobby – the camera equipment is highly specialized and organized expeditions can be costly and it can also be dangerous. Even after extensive preparation and respect for the rules an unexpected current can force a diver into a battle with downward pressure which could endanger his air supply. Happily it doesn’t happen very often and Alan Cranston is adamant that his hobby satisfies his two great passions- diving and photography.

 

John Bennett

 

 

A couple of record shots of Friday's Annual Quiz Night.

Strictly speaking a triangle is a three-sided geometrical figure but the vivid imaginations of the members of Bangor and North Down Camera Club introduced quite few other definitions in the third round of their annual competition. Some of the entries did indeed adhere to the literal meaning but others employed trees, clouds,buildings and even the bent knees of footballers to depict triangular shapes.

The guest judge, Trevor Gibb from Merville Camera Club adopted a lenient approach and accepted most of the efforts which, at least had captured the spirit of the meaning. Remarking on the number of images with similar themes he jokingly wondered where amateur photographers had got their inspiration before the advent of The Titanic Belfast and Victoria Centre buildings.

 

In the Foundation section the lady members were prominent with Angela Shannon taking first and third place in Colour, nudging Eddie Wright into second.

 

Angela’s winning effort was a thoughtful study of water tricking into triangular shapes over a step. Christine Pearson again went for the offbeat approach in the Monochrome competition; her winning effort displayed two workmen on triangular stepladders. Darren Brown and Alan Field took the placings.

 

In the Advanced section Joe Paulin cleverly juxtaposed a Give Way traffic signal over the statue of Edward Carson at Stormont to take the Colour print honours. Edward McCavanagh and Noel Maitland were second and third respectively.

 

Ray Magill travelled to Paris to capture the angular attractions of Le Louvre for first place in the Advanced Monochrome; Edward McCavanagh again took the runner-up spot with Joe Paulin third.

 

Alan Field’s arrangement of pool balls in a triangle won the Digital Projected Image prize with Darren Brown sweeping up both the minor places in the Foundation contest. It was a family affair in the Advanced judging ; May Carvill employing a prism and clever lighting to capture an intriguing study while her daughter Deborah followed her in second place with David Best third.

John Bennett

 

 

 

Paul Evans once travelled to Australia to take photographs of a solar eclipse. It lasted for precisely thirty two seconds but Paul reckoned the round trip of almost twenty five thousand miles was worth it. So he went again – twice!

 

The lure of astrophotography beckoned to Paul from an early age; he was only ten when he was given The Observer’s Book of Astronomy and a simple camera and on Friday evening he shared his enthusiasm for his pursuit with the Club – illustrating his absorbing talk with many illustrations. Using his eight inch telescope as a focal point he demonstrated the means by which the celestial images can be catured by the camera lens ,either indirectly via the viewfinder or through the telescopic mirror.

There are, as he pointed out, some difficulties to be overcome before one can expect satisfactory results. Given the (literally) astronomical distances involved more than usual magnification is required so long telephoto lenses are needed. Even then some of the more remote galaxies may appear no more than a swirl on the camera sensor but given that the image had taken two and a half million years to reach earth it is still capable of producing a sense of awe and wonder.

The earth’s rotation presents another problem as even a small movement of the stars or planets would be noticeable in the photograph ; this Paul overcomes by the use of an electro-mechanical device attached to the telescope. This measures the amount of movement and compensates by adjusting the telescope accordingly.

This enables the camera to capture remarkably clear images of starfields, comets, meteors and even the craters of the moon. Two of the most memorable pictures showed the planet Saturn, complete with its rings and the encircling Mir Space Station as it passed overhead in space.

An enthralling evening and one which left the members with stars in their eyes.

John Bennett

 

Spitzbergen is the largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago. It lies between the Arctic Ocean and the Greenland Sea and has a population of just over two thousand seven hundred. It boasts three police officers but they have little to do as there is virtually no crime in this tax free outpost of Norway. The last major offence was committed some years ago when a man was jailed for eighteen years for shooting a polar bear.

These fascinating facts came to light on Friday night when Bob Given entertained the club with an account of his recent photographic expedition to the frozen wastes of the far North. Coal mining is now the main occupation in the area since the whaling fleet long ago ceased to risk their lives daily in the freezing waters a few hundred miles south of the North Pole.

Bob was attracted to the region mainly by the possibility of photographing wild life – mainly seals, walrus and polar bears but he explained to the packed hall that his real fascination lay with ice. The pictures he showed of glaciers and icebergs demonstrated the inherent beauty of the cold landscape where daylight lasts twenty four hours in the summer months. Hues of deep blue underlined by the red of the sandstone rocks offered stunning opportunities for Bob’s lenses and he captured some memorable sights as huge mountains of ice separated from the main icebergs and “calved” into the ocean with mighty roars and mountainous waves.

Now and again a polar bear, either alone or on occasion with cubs at heel would come into view, searching for food in the inhospitable ice fields – leaping from floe to floe with amazing dexterity. Seals seemed happy enough to pose for Bob and his companions while the giant walruses, weighing up to four tons were equally accommodating. Gulls, petrels and kittiwakes followed their ship as they negotiated the narrow channels between the bergs .

Bob, who has recently retired from his job as a professional photographer has already been to the Antarctic and is already planning his next odyssey with the camera.

 

John Bennett

 

The late Audrey Argue was a founder member of Bangor and North Down Camera Clu- a teacher, a talented photographer and a lover of nature. Every year the club honours her memory with a competition devoted to images of wildlife and ,as always this year’s entry was of a high standard.

The guest judge for the evening was Billy Leahy, a member of the Belfast Photo Image Club and the secretary of the Northern Ireland Photographic Association. He made it clear that his preference was for images produced with a minimum of manipulation – the emphasis, he maintained should be on the natural essence of the subject . His adjudication was fair and balanced and when he did have reason to criticise an aspect of a photograph he did so with an almost apologetic air.

The subject matter on display ranged from micro-sized insects to very large gorillas with a large number of the entries depicting birds of various shapes and hues. In the Foundation Monochrome section Michael Rice took first place with a big close up of a spider. He also finished second with Darren Brown third. Darren, however reserved his best effort for the Colour section where he gained all three top places, his portrait of a dog earning the number one spot. A club rule deprived him of the clean sweep however so Angela Shannon’s highly commended entry moved in to third place.

In the Advanced Monochrome competition Nigel Snell’s love of bird photography was much in evidence – he took first spot with a study of an owl and added a third placing with Anthony Crosbie second. In the Colour section Nigel had to be content with second and third to John Miskelly’s striking portrait of a magnificent chestnut horse called “Macduff”. John’s serene study went on to win the overall prize and the annual trophy.

There was a large entry in the Digital Projected image competition - Darren Brown again victorious at the Foundation level with a shot of an otter. He also took the third spot with Gary Sweeney second. Ducks did it for Noel Maitland in the Advanced contest- his charming portrayal of little ducklings catching the judge’s eye with Jack Thompson and Anthony Crosbie second and third.

Winners in the Audrey Argue competition”

 

John Bennett

 

 

The annual Ladies’ Night at Bangor and North Down Camera Club is an event much anticipated by the male members not only for the excellent nature of the refreshments provided but also for the quality of the photographic work on display. Over the past few years there has been a growing female presence in the club and the girls have brought with them a welcome sense of fun and enjoyment as well as producing work of increasing ability.

 

As Julie Campbell, M.C. for the evening mentioned most of the ladies had joined with little or no photographic experience and by attending the midweek workshops and tutorials had raised their levels of skill to the point where they are now competing with marked success in the club competitions. Julie, who was a complete beginner just over a year ago produced an attractive collage of views from the North Coast including seascapes and sunsets.

 

Most of the presentations were in the form of audio-visual displays ; Deborah Carvill produced a photographic diary of her year with images from various locations. Deborah’s mother May accompanies her on many of her photographic forays but still manages to produce pictures with a different slant. Her portfolio included images of Bangor and Donegal. Christine Pearson thanked the senior members ,particularly David Roberts for the help and guidance on offer and read a little poem in praise of “Our Wee Club.”

 

Anne Groves produced a pleasant collection featuring flowers, children and local views while Angela Shannon showed images of her travels in Italy and France and explained how the club had rekindled her photographic interest when she joined last year. Alli Martin, another new recruit last year produced her first audio-visual depicting her special interest in nature and wild life . Caroline Lismore-Kerr, similarly in her first year of membership displayed an artistic interpretation of her shots of family, pets and holidays in Donegal. Her daughter Liane made it a family affair employing a thoughtful approach to her collection of family and holiday shots.

 

Helen Fettus paid a pictorial tribute to Belfast with a trip around many of the city’s landmarks while Deborah Gardiner chose to follow the life of a blackberry from blossom to blackberry pie, mousse and crumble. Velia Martin presented a pictorial account of her restoration of a farmhouse in County Armagh and Shirley Graham opted to display a collection of her prints which admirably reflected the improvement in her work since she started coming to the club just three years ago.

 

The evening finished (after full justice was done to the supper) with a visual record of the girls’ day out at Crawfordsburn Park and a word of thanks to David Cooper who had added his expertise to the compilation of the presentations.

The Ward Avenue headquarters of the Bangor and North Down Camera Club was well populated for the second round competition of the season on Friday night. With the Club’s entries in the Northern Ireland Photographic Association competition depending on the results there was an air of keen anticipation among the members as the judge, Brian Hennessy ran his eyes over the displayed prints.

As Brian is a retired professional photographer himself it was an experienced appraisal he applied to the various categories and he expressed a degree of satisfaction at the generally high standard of the work . Beginning with the Foundation Colour section Brian, faced with an entry of over forty prints had time only for a cursory comment for each one before announcing the winners. Michael Rice’s study of fungi shot from ground level was a worthy shot to take the first place followed by Angela Shannon and Mark Bell.

 

 

Angela moved up a notch to take first in the Monochrome section with a striking portrayal of tulips by moonlight. Mandy Milligan and Christine Pearson made it a clean sweep for the ladies.

Anthony Crosbie enjoyed double success in the Advanced competitions winning the Monochrome plaudits with an atmospheric depiction of a churchyard . Ray Magill and Alan Hartley filled the other podium places. In the Colour competition for the Advanced photographers Anthony again captured the esoteric ambience with a thoughtful image of Yosemite National Park by moonlight.

There was a misty magic about Bobby Peacock’s Projected Digital Image of Groomsport harbour swirling in a sea fog; Liane Kerr and Gary Sweeney filled the minor placings.In the Advanced Projected Images Noel Maitland’s were adjudged first and third – his winning entry was a shot of the sea turbine at Strangford Lough. David best took second place.

 

John Bennett

Simulated emergency evacuation carried out at Clubroom

 

Chairman Harry Watson had to admit that when he tried to enlist a group of volunteers to stand up and give an account of their photographic influences he failed signally. A good psychologist could probably have come up with a diagnosis of the condition but sadly the club doesn’t appear to have one on the books at the moment!

A quick reshuffle was required and thankfully,such is the depth of experience and expertise amongst the senior members a last minute replacement was eased in for the evening – and the substitution was of a quality most Premiership football managers can only dream about. Hugh Rooney’s illustrated amble through some of the magical mysteries of Photsohop was pitched at exactly the correct level to offer instruction to the newcomers yet be entertaining and memory-jogging to the more experienced users. The esoteric niceties of burning, dodging, selective sharpening et al were deftly introduced and demonstrated before Hugh moved on to lay bare some of the secrets the glossy magazines employ to make their models appear flawless. Minor blemishes disappeared under his deft touch, skin tones glowed with a seemingly peach-like texture and teeth were magically whitened to a toothpaste-ad sparkle.

Turning his attention to landscape photography Hugh demonstrated how a pleasing scene could be enhanced to competition standard by a few little “tweaks”. Increasing the saturation or contrast of a particular area could emphasise a feature of the picture while a decrease in brightness or softening of focus could point up and emphasise a chosen feature. The secret, as he pointed out, is not to overdo the tweaking.

John Bennett

 

Straight out of school and following his dream eighteen year old Paul Gallagher opened a professional photographic studio. The only problem was that he didn’t have the money to buy the expensive camera required for the job. He didn’t hesitate; he sold his most prized possession, a complete set of autographs of The Beatles, and bought the camera with the proceeds.

The gritty determination he displayed in his teens has been evident throughout the Liverpudlian’s career and he is now widely regarded as one of the foremost landscape photographers in the business. He shared some of his secrets and gave a brief resume of his career when he was the special guest of Bangor and North Down Camera Club on Friday night.

A  rapt full house heard how he had developed his own individualistic style by learning the rules and then breaking them when he discovered he could make better pictures by disregarding them. Following the well trodden path of film camera and darkroom developing he progressed to digital technology although he explained that he places only minimal emphasis on computer enhancement of his images.

 

“The camera may take the picture but it’s the eyes that make it,” was the underlying mantra of his message, emphasising that there is a world of difference between looking and seeing when you have a photograph in mind. Paul’s discourse was admirably illustrated by examples of his work – including samples from his numerous books, publications and television programmes over the years.

He is fondest of the rocky grandeur of places like the highlands and islands of Scotland. Scenes from romantically named places like Beua chaille Etive Mor and Loch na Chairn Bhain and dark brooding aspects of The Isle of Skye came to life when coaxed through his expert lenses. The weather and the light were the most important components for a good landscape in his book and he thought nothing of waiting all day for a transient glimpse of sunlight to enliven a vista. ”Making order out of chaos” was how he described his approach to selecting and recording a landscape.

In a witty couple of hours he infused the audience with his love of the job he does and, especially when displaying a short portfolio of Icelandic scenes, he offered them much food for thought . Unlike most photographers who visit the vast snow and icefields of that country he opted instead for the rolling flatlands, vast cultivated areas with little human habitation. The message he imparted was that rather than take the same pictures that all the previous visitors had taken it might be more productive to look for something different. Don’t take the obvious picture.

The members gave the visitor a rousing appreciative reception at the end of an enthralling couple of hours and some went on to participate in a weekend masterclass with Paul.

John Bennett

In a divergence from the published programme (due to unforeseen circumstances) the members of Bangor and North Down Camera Club had to provide their own amusement and entertainment on Friday evening and they proved more than equal to the task.

The club President Gerry Coe opened proceedings with a display of “antiques” he had rescued from the clubhouse loft. Some of the artefacts required explaining to the younger members who had never experienced the delights of a wet darkroom. Developing tanks,changing bags and the mysteries of noxious smelling chemicals brought knowing smiles and nostalgic nods from the pre-digital membership however.

Club Chairman Harry Watson then introduced a light hearted rolling debate on “The Lighter Side of Photography” inviting Gerry Coe to relate the story of his first camera. It turned out to be an Ilford Sportsman which took a roll of 12 pictures – five of which he shot on holiday that year and the remainder on next year’s holiday!

Julie Campbell then spoke about her favourite photographic publication which turned out to be mainly in the local library. John Miskelly’s topic required him to explain why he had taken up photography and it transpired that it all began for him when he was given a camera by his uncle. He still has the camera.

Henry Doggart explained why his favourite subject is photographing people, especially in city centres, a pastime not without its inherent problems – especially when people don’t want to be photographed. Mark Allen maintained he didn’t have a specific favourite for his lens but liked landscapes; David Roberts explained what he did with his cameras when he upgraded them while Jack Thompson considered modern photographic developments to contain both good and bad elements. Bill Nesbitt said he would miss both passing on and receiving advice and tips if he had to give up photography while John Bennett averred that his favourite model would be The Incredible Hulk!

Trevor Craig, even after all his travels is still looking for the perfect picture but never really expects to find it while Kevin Neupert maintained that a really good picture can sometimes e the result of an accident.

All a bit tongue in cheek perhaps but a good night’s fun nevertheles.

John Bennett

 

Bangor Camera Club

The judge for the first competition of the season gave the members of Bangor and North Down Camera Club some food for thought.

John Belshaw of Shorts Camera Club offered thoughtful and constructive comments on each print and image in the contest and made it clear that it was the finished product he was judging. He wasn’t really interested in the how and why of the shots; enhancement , in his opinion was perfectly permissible if it improved the photograph.

Size, he went on was not an issue either – a small picture could be every bit as valid and effective as a big enlargement. On the subject of landscapes John reiterated his belief that almost invariably a scene could be improved by the inclusion of a figure – human or otherwise.

His remarks certainly gave food for thought to the packed headquarters at Ward Avenue. It was encouraging to see new names on the winning list and the Foundation section certainly has received a boost from the healthy influx of new members this year. Curtis Irvine won the Monochrome competition with a mother and baby shot while Michael Rice got close up and meaningful with a macro examination of a spider and a fly in colour.

Alan Hartley, the Competition Secretary looked suitably abashed when he had to announce his own name as the winner of the Advanced Colour section ; his beach scene merited high praise from the judge. Noel Maitland’s simple but so effective portrayal of a beach pebble took the arbiter’s eye and the number one spot in Monochrome.

The Digital Projected Image competition attracted a large entry, Leanne Kerr displaying a freshness of approach with a shot of a human eye framed by the bottom of a bottle. This earned her first place in the Foundation battle with Daniel Hughes capturing the ephemeral nature of dandelion seeds to earn the plaudits in the Advanced competition.

John Bennett

Bangor Camera Club

 

“We live in a wonderful place!”

John Miskelly left his audience in no doubt that although he had photographed breathtaking vistas from the architectural wonders of Venice to the Imperial majesty of India there was still much to marvel at on our very own doorstep. Pictures of North Antrim’s rocky splendour and the misty Mournes mingled with atmospheric dawn and dusk shots of secluded little bays and beaches in his array of landscapes which illustrated his talk to Bangor and North Down Camera Club on Friday evening.

John had already carved out two successful careers ( as an audio engineer and an accountant) when he decided that what he really wanted to do was to take photographs so he followed his heart and became a professional photographer. Initially the bulk of his work entailed weddings and commercial assignments but after a life-

changing visit to Venice landscapes became the central focus of his output and he gave the members an insight into the amount of dedication required if one is to succeed, or at least fulfil ones own ambitions in this medium.

To utilise the best lighting conditions he normally works at dawn or dusk. In “the golden hours” the colours are enhanced and the scenes take on a richer hue. Rising at four or five o’clock on a cold winter’s morning to drive to a desolate beach or mountain is part and parcel of the job. Sitting for hours waiting for the clouds to disperse and the sun to break through and returning to the same scene a dozen times to ensure the right conditions is par for the course. The hardships of the way of life was brought home vividly by a picture of John wading chest deep through the icy waters around the Western Isles of Scotland. He had been so focused on the shot he was taking he hadn’t noticed the tide coming in and surrounding the rock his tripod was standing on.

It can be a lonely existence as well as usually these trips are unaccompanied and the landscape photographer needs to be happy with his, or her own company for long periods. As well as all the photographic gear- camera, lenses, flash guns etc John packs essentials like wet weather gear, cooking stove, small tent (sometimes) ,torch, map, phone and food. He has to be prepared to negotiate unknown and sometimes very rough terrain ; this can involve potentially dangerous ventures particularly on mountainous regions or cliff tops.

There are many ingredients in the making of a good landscape picture but the most important,according to John, is the emotion the scene invokes in the photographer.

John’s website is www.johnmiskellyphotography.co.uk

John Bennett

BANDCC

Once the official season begins at the Bangor and North Down Camera Club premises in Ward Avenue, it can be assured that when guest speakers are invited to give presentations, the clubroom will be packed to the doors. This certainly was the case on Friday evening when Billy Rily was our presenter.

A slideshow of some of his personal and client work was shown at the early part of the evening.

Billy has been a life-long friend and colleague of our President, Gerry in Robert Anderson Photography, more recently known as Anderson McMeekin and now known as Blacksheep, at the tender age of 15as tea-boy, ascending up the ranks to be chief photographer, before setting up a private business. He has now been in the photography business for 45 years.

He comes from the Newcastle area and having retired from full time professional photography, is now a tutor at Newry Campus SRC, teaching photography.

He described the early age of 9 years old when he was inspired by a Box Brownie film camera given to him by his late mother.

His commercial photography regularly involved the use of 5"x4" plate cameras. He recollected some of his early experiences, in particular the day when he was required to photograph a corpse at an autopsy in a morgue using the plate camera mounted directly above the body. Whilst up on stepladders and head under the black cloth used to shield the light from the viewing screen, the corpse burped, and the reaction of alarm of all the officials standing around caused panic and the camera collapsed on the body and got broken.

Billy's view was that until the era of digital, photography using film and chemical development and printing became very static. Back in those old days he recalled having to roll and unroll 60" wide prints in and out of the chemical developer, checking progress then a dash to the fixer tray and final washing. Amber finger tips and nails were a mark of the trade. After 15 years using digital cameras he says he will never return to the old methods.

His photographic career encompassed the period of the "troubles" and his assignments took him to all parts of the province. During this period he experienced the most difficult subjects including human remains.

Whilst he began freelance life as a wedding photographer, he now only does wedding shoots for friends and family. Everyone who now has a digital camera considers themselves as a wedding photographer, even having a supply of business cards.

The second half of the evening was devoted to a lively question and answer session with audience members. A debate arose on the merits if shooting JPG files versus RAW format. Billy's view is that the mainly uses JPG.

As Gerry Coe closed the evening, he revealed a photograph taken which included them both when he was the tea-boy and he had ample black hair. Billy's late brother Ted, was responsible for all the trophy engraving for our club.

An excellent evening enjoyed by all.

David Roberts

BANDCC

BANDCC

 

HArry Watson Bangor Camera Club

 

It seems hard to believe but the modern, well appointed headquarters of the Bangor and North Down Camera Club once housed a public convenience.

The familiar Mock Tudor façade on the seafront once displayed very different furnishings from the studio lights and comfortable seating the members now enjoy. When the Council deemed the building surplus to requirements some years ago the photographers saw the chance of a permanent home for the club and moved in – having first removed all the fittings and evidence of the former facility.

After a lot of hard work the present enviable centre was completed.

However, as the new Chairman, Harry Watson pointed out at the first meeting of the season there is still a tangible link between the old and the new. The address of the club is 100 Ward Avenue and with the sea on one flank and the Pitch and Putt course on the other there seems no logical reason why it should be so numbered.

Unless, as Harry mused, someone with a sense of humour spotted that on the old fashioned typewriter keyboard the symbol for 1 was a capital L and the key for 0 was a capital o . The end product spelling “LOO”.

True or not it was the signal for much merriment among the packed house – such is the popularity of the club these days the membership has had to be closed, although if anyone wants to drop in and see what goes on they will still be welcome.

The Chairman introduced the new committee to the members and gave a brief resume of the programme for the coming year – including the usual quota of competitions. He also paid tribute to David Roberts for his work on the very popular Wednesday nights when the club is open for tutorials, studio sessions and general discussions and appraisals of photographs.



Here we go again! Another year.

John Bennett