09/04/19 Vivian and Martin Howse

Our guest speakers for the evening were Vivian and Martin Howse, both associate members of the Royal Photographic Society and whose work is renowned throughout Cornwall. The Club was treated to a display of eight diverse portfolios of high-quality prints, three from Martin and five from Vivian. Members we given time to pursue each portfolio in turn, while our guests answered our many questions.

Martin’s work is routed in the traditional darkroom, where he spends many hours producing the finest quality black and white prints from film. Vivian, by contrast, has embraced the digital world and produces equally stunning print work, usually in colour.

Their portfolio’s included images of Cornish artists, trees and an insight to a pottery workshop by Martin and; abstracts from artists studio’s and boatyards by Vivian. Perhaps the portfolio that most captured members imagination and generated the most questions was the final portfolio from Vivian. This was the results from her improvised pin hole cameras (sweet tins) and out of date photographic paper, which were placed under bushes in her garden for a month or two. The resulting images were a range of stunning prints resembling planets from some a distant universe.

It was an amazing collection of work, that we were very fortunate to have had shared with us, by two very talented individuals.

By Alan Barker

Robert Wiltshire. “HDR Photography”

A presentation by Robert Wiltshire about HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography was introduced and well received by members of St. Agnes Photo Club at the March monthly meeting.

The basic concept of HDR photography, using the bracketing feature of your camera and suitable HDR software to create your workflow were demonstrated to good effect on the night.

We learned that dynamic range is the difference between the lightest light and darkest dark you can capture in a photo. Once your subject exceeds the camera’s dynamic range, the highlights tend to wash out to white, or the dark’s simply become big black blobs.

Basically, an HDR creation is two, three or more photos taken at different exposure levels and processed with software to create a better picture; some newer cameras can even shoot HDR in-camera, but usually in lesser-quality JPEG than RAW. Ideally, the photographer takes a range of bracketed photos — that is, photos of the same subject taken with varying shutter speed combinations in order to produce a set of images with varying luminosity.

HDR photography works best with the camera on a tripod and with landscapes void of moving objects. Then, with the help of advanced post-processing software, the photographer is able to blend the photos together and create a single image comprised of the most focused, well-lit, and colourful parts of the scene.

These types of images, depending on how they’re processed, can be anything from accurate reproductions of what your eyes see, to creative art forms.

Quarterly Theme: “Bridges”.
Members images for the “Bridge” theme threw up a wide and interesting range of images taken from far and wide ranging from a footbridge in Porthtowan to the famous arch bridge in Sydney Harbour. It was interesting to note the trouble taken to record some of the close up detail of these structures and how materials and designs have changed over the years.

The next Quarterly Theme will be “Textures”

It was also announced by Alan Barker that SAPC fared very well in the recent Charles Hoskens competition at Carnon Down with Andrew Cox receiving a “Commendation” for his work depicting the night sky.
Several other members achieved some very respectable high scores.

A preview of the images selected to represent SAPC at the CPA exhibition were also shown to the audience on the evening.

Chairman Alan Barker thanked Robert Wiltshire for his informative presentation.

By Philip Gott

Andy Hughes. “The Politics of Waste”

From the awaking of his artistic talent in Yorkshire to Arthur C Clark’s ‘2001 a space odyssey’, Andy Hughes lecture on the ‘Politics of Waste’ was so much more than a photography talk.  Every image had its own story and every story held the audience captive. A discarded golf ball, sea worn and forgotten, collecting particles of sand and detritus, led us on a journey of corporate greed and pollution on an industrial scale; while a discarded lighter on a beach standing tall as a megalithic portal representing both origin and enlightenment. Andy shared the inner thoughts of an artist and his own philosophy of life.

It was a lecture that sort to challenge our acceptance of what we consider to be the norm, and through his collection images he demonstrated a different way to view the littoral zone, the wider marine environment and perhaps even a way to own the politics of waste.

By Alan Barker

Mr. John Strike. “The Lantern Man”

Storms and tempest hit the St. Agnes Photographic Club on the 8th January 2019 by way of a unique projected image presentation by Mr. John Strike that showcased shipwrecks and the heroic actions of lifeboat crews around the South Cornish Coast in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The amazing stories were brought to life with images taken at the time and preserved in a format of double sided glass slides for use on John’s period projector that had been handed down to him by his father. John’s family line was steeped in life at sea and this showed through in his free flowing and well informed commentary of the subject matter.
Given that the photographic images were taken using the heavy camera equipment of the day, sometimes in very extreme conditions, the composition, clarity and overall quality was superb.

The perilous sea conditions around Porthleven, The Lizard and Mount Bay proved to be the downfall of many a good sailing ship navigating the coasts of Cornwall, some of the events sadly resulting in high casualty rates which in itself initiated new ways of improving the rescue services of the day. Getting a line on board was a hit and miss affair and John was able to talk us through the developments that had taken place with both “on shore” and “on board” launching devices as well as improving the launching of man powered open life boats.

The presentation is unique and of the highest order that leaves you feeling rather humble at the way our forefathers responded to those in peril on the sea.

It was a pleasure to have listened to your presentation John.

By Philip Gott

11/12/18 – Members Evening

Earlier in the year several club members were lucky enough to attend a talk given by the renowned landscape photographer Charlie Waite https://www.charliewaite.com/. When the club became aware of a DVD by Charlie called ‘Travelling Light’ we decided to obtain a copy and screen it at one of our members evenings to try to pass on some of Charlie’s wisdom to our members. Tonight was the night!!! The DVD was great and showed how low cost compact cameras can successfully be used to take some amazing photographs. It provided an excellent insight into basic camera settings and picture composition. The DVD was well received by all of the clubs members and everyone enjoyed Charlie’s way of presenting not to mention the quality of his photographs. It really did show that expensive DSLRs are not required to obtain excellent photographs – although a few of our members did suspect some post processing work!

After a short break we viewed our member’s photographs from two of our quarterly themes “Sea” and “Abstract”. In total we had about 70 images to view, which was an excellent response. There were some outstanding images and it was interesting to see how many (coincidentally?) incorporated hints and tips that Charlie had made in his DVD.

Geoff gave a quick presentation about the clubs improved website. The web site now includes galleries of club member’s photographs as well as galleries of our Porthleven field trip.

 All in all it was a very enjoyable evening. A special thanks to Alan who not only purchased the Charlie Waite DVD but also sorted out all of the licencing issues to get the DVD shown in ‘public’.

By Dave Bourne

09/12/18: Field Trip to Porthleven

Half a league, half a league,

Half a league onward,

Well there were times when the St Agnes Christmas outing to Portleven felt a little bit like the ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’. With a bitter north westerly gale blowing and deep clouds firing volleys of bullet like rain every few minutes, the brave 19 members of the Club who attended the meet, staged an assault on the harbour, pier and beaches of this picturesque Port. Some did fall by the wayside, taking refuge in the tea rooms and shops, but the majority bravely stuck to their duty.

The small breaks in the fast-moving cloud allowed glimpses of sunlight to pepper the harbour, which lent a magical light to the preceding’s.

Finally, wet and weary, we stumbled towards the Harbour Inn for some well-earned lunch and a good natter.

Amazingly, by the time we re-emerged into the fresh air, the wind had died down, the clouds had started to disperse and the sun began to take control. The gallant survivors, armed with cameras and tripods, once again took aim at the harbour and beaches.

It was wonderful day spent in great company, the results of which can be viewed in the website Gallery. A special thanks to Martin Morse to organising a memorable day.

By Alan Barker

13/11/18: Critique & Pasty Evening with Penryn CC

The Club welcomed members of the Penryn Camera Club for a joint critique evening. Each club projected 15 colour and 15 monochrome images, which had been previously selected with the express intention of triggering a discussion. Alan Barker and Ron Pitcher introduced each image and then invited comments from the members.

It’s always entertaining when groups of photographers get together to discuss each other’s work. Everyone it seemed had an opinon as to how the images could be improved: “perhaps if you had moved to the left a little the composition would have been stronger”, “but there was a bramble hedge in the way”, “well we all have to suffer for our art”.

There was lots of hilarity, but also a great many learning points, which you can only obtain when you see your images through the eyes of others. The friendly and open atmosphere meant that both experienced and newer members of each club joined the discussions.

During the break, the members tucked into warm pasties, which were nicely scenting the room. Thanks to Martin Morse for arranging the delivery.

A special thanks to Penryn Camera Club for sharing their photographic knowledge and enthusiasm.

By Alan Barker

A round up of the last few meetings

13/03/2018 – Members Evening

This evening we held our first new members evening following some local advertising and were delighted to see 12 new people come along to find out about the club.

We started with an overview of the forthcoming programme by Martin Morse, our Programme Manager followed by Dave Bourne, our Membership Secretary talking about joining the club.

A few of us then ran through the cameras we use, showing the types of the equipment we use from compacts to full-frame DSLRs, along with their advantages and disadvantages.

After the tea break, where everyone had a chance to chat and find out more, we showed members images from the last quarterly theme. Following this we held an interactive critique of various images from the internet, seeing what was good and not so good.

10/04/2018 – Speaker David Haughton

This evening we had an inspirational talk by local landscape photographer David Haughton, who’s been shortlisted for Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2016 and Fine Art Photographer of the Year, Landscape in 2016 and 2017.

David started off by explaining that he’s a graphic designer and website developer by day and showing us some of his beautiful fine art inspired landscape images from around Cornwall. After the tea break he went on to show us images from further afield, including Wales & Scotland.

29/04/2018 – Field Trip to Kennall Vale

A group of us met for Sunday lunch at the Olive Grove Bistro before joining with some more members at the entrance to the Wildlife Trusts beautiful nature reserve at Kennall Vale.

Here we spent several hours exploring the reserve and taking photos of the old gunpowder factory, buildings and water courses. Fortunately we had good weather with plenty of sunny intervals and everyone agreed it was a great place to visit.

12/06/2018 – Annual Competition

Tonight was our annual competition, where we had over 100 entries across 3 categories – Open, Monochrome and this years Themed one of Macro.

This year we were fortunate to have the excellent local judge, Margaret Hocking, who kindly critiqued all our entries with constructive feedback, which made it a very enjoyable evening. The category winners were:-

Open – Andrew Cox
Monochrome – Paul Johnson
Macro – Ian Williams

Words by Ian Williams.

13/02/18 Speaker Andrew Hocking

This evening we had a talk by local landscape photographer Andrew Hocking who started his career in graphic design.

He purchased his first “proper camera” in 2012 to photograph his freelance design work but got hooked on photography when he went with a photography friend to photograph Mevagissey.

From then he’s been regularly travelling around Cornwall to take pictures of the coast, woods and moors. Andrew then started showing us his images and talking through what he was looking to achieve and how he took them.

Andrew is very fortunate that his sister lives in Wales so he’s able to visit her and take pictures of places such as the Brecon Beacons.

To maximise his photography time Andrew has created a list of all the places he likes or wants to photograph and annotates them with when is likely to be the best time to photograph them. He also suggested using the Photographer’s Ephemeris as a very useful tool to help plan sun rise & set times.

After showing us a number of his images from Cornwall & Wales Andrew finished to a round of applause.

Further details are on Andrew’s website: hocking-photography.co.uk and you can follow him on Facebook too.

Words by Ian Williams.

09/01/18 Speaker Kirstin Prisk

Our first speaker of the New Year was the well known local freelance photographer Kirstin Prisk.

Kirstin started off by explaining that he was (and still is when he has time) a keen surfer and wondered what to do as a career. This led him to a complete a photography degree and realise his passion was photographing people and events.

From here Kirstin took us through the photographs on his website, explaining the story behind them and what he used to create them. Wherever possible he tries to use natural light and follow his subjects with minimal ‘posing’, especially of the formal variety. He showed us some of his commissioned commercial work, such as the Watergate Bay Hotel and James Martin.

This gave us an insight into the amount of work required to not only take the image but the post production work afterwards and that even if he’s at a glamorous location, his work doesn’t give him much time to appreciate it.

After showing us a few more of his wedding photographs he finished to a round of applause and our greater appreciation of the life of a freelance photographer.

Words by Ian Williams.