This evening’s speaker, Robin Lenman, gave us a fascinating talk entitled “The Photographer Next Door: Taking Pictures in a Community”.
Robin Lenman is Senior Lecturer (retired) at the Department of History, University of Warwick. He’s always been interested in history and how photography can help illustrate life and events, so throughout the evening he showed us various social history images from the 1840s to 1990s.
Robin started with David Octavius Hill who together with Robert Adamson experimented with the calotype photography technique in the 1840s. He then showed many of their social history photographs of the slums and poor living conditions in Edinburgh during the 1800s, together with the relatively prosperous working class fishing community of Newhaven.
Robin then compared these with the other photographers of the time, Frank Meadow Sutcliffe and the Cornish photographer Frank Gibson, who produced many of the early images of life on the Isles of Scilly.
He then showed examples of the famous photographers, Henri Cartier Bresson and Robert Capa, who were celebrities in their day. Other photographers shown were Grace Robertson who worked for the Picture Post covering post war Britain and Eugene Smith, an American photo essayist who covered the Minamata tragedy in Japan.
After the tea break Robin then selected two contrasting locations:-
Southern Italy – where after the unification of Italy, the Southern tip and Sicily were always considered the ‘problem child’ and the ‘wild west’. This was illustrated by the various photojournalists who covered the conflicts with both the mafia and the earthquakes that caused destruction to the region.
North Devon – we were shown the photos of James Ravilious, the son of well-known artists, who spent 25 years taking photos of the locals going about their everyday lives at work and play around Torrington.
Words by Ian Williams.
It has to be said that it was a ‘grey day’ when 15 intrepid members and friends of St Agnes Photographic Club headed down towards Marazion for the first stage of the day’s field trip. The greyness of the day refused to budge and photographic inspiration was not easy to find. However, members made what they could of it and most came away with some worthwhile images. Some resorted to street photography in an attempt to make up for the shortcomings of what the sea and St Michael’s Mount had to offer.
Lunch was booked at the Godolphin Arms and it proved to be an excellent meal, thoroughly enjoyed by all. Those who went on to Tremenheere for the afternoon session felt well fortified by their energy intake.
On arrival at Tremenheere, we were greeted by our guide for the afternoon, Dr Neil Armstrong, who, after some discussion, admitted to being the owner and founder of the sculpture gardens. We headed off up the hill with the knowledge that 2 hours would be barely long enough to get around and see it all.
Our guide provided a very entertaining tour of the gardens, relaying a wealth of information about all the different plants, trees and ferns which he and earlier owners had planted on the site. Plant Latin names flowed freely and we all marvelled at Dr Armstrongs’ depth of knowledge. It was very interesting to hear the thoughts and origins behind the various sculptures and structures which he had been instrumental in installing in the gardens.
The whole visit was absolutely fascinating and everyone left with the intent of returning again at some point in the future to spend time taking more photographs.
Words and image by Geoff Osborne.
On the 9th August 2016 members met at the Miners and Mechanics Insititue looking forward to the guest speaker of the evening, Portrait photographer Mark Walker. As mentioned in the diary he had hoped to bring a model with him to help demonstrate how he uses the all important feature of light.
He explained the Fibonacci Spiral. The more commonly known way of composing a photograph is the rule of thirds. Most photographers will often use this – often you are encouraged to without realising it with most cameras offering the option on live view. However there is another way of positioning your model or camera to get an equally impressive shot and that is the Fibonacci Spiral. It was made famous by Leonardo Fibonacci in around 1200AD. Since then it has been used by artists including painters (Leonardo Da Vinci – with the Mona Lisa and Johannes Vermeer with his ‘Girl with a Pear Earring) to name but a few. Naturally photographers would also latch on to it.
Mark also went on to explain the Light Inverse Square Law and how it can be used in lighting up a subject. At this point he bought in his model for the evening Georgina. He set up a ‘Studio’ with a selection of studio lamps and soft boxes and reflectors and a couple other tools and computer software that he often uses. He recommended angles to use when shooting both female and male subjects if using a soft box. Not to mention camera settings he most often uses including F5.6 which allows for model movement and which shutter speeds to use with flashes on high speed sync.
Subjects also covered were tips on positioning your model for the most effective and flattering shots and how to include your model, by showing her the shots, using hand signals and also showing them how you want them to stand so that they can imitate to ensure the correct pose.
All members thoroughly enjoyed the evening with those who particularly enjoy topics such as street and other forms on portrait photography managing to get several helpful tips.
By Amanda Weatherley
On the evening Tuesday 5th June, members and friends of St Agnes Photographic Club were set free to range around Truro Cathedral for two hours taking photos as we wished. The cathedral was closed to the public and there were no restrictions on using flash. The gallery gave a great perspective of the cathedral, but also highlighted the wonky construction of it.
In one corner of the cathedral was the recent temporary installation by Imran Qureshi. The work was huge in scale and was constructed from 30,000 A2 crumpled, printed sheets carrying images devised by Qureshi. It was installed by the artist and a team of 14 volunteers working over 4 days, all in the public gaze. There was a brilliant stop mo video of the construction which showed just how much work had gone into it. Reaction to the installation was polarised: some loved it, some disliked it.
It was a fantastic opportunity to wander unhindered around the cathedral ‘after hours’, although the problem with shooting with other photographers is that they often feature in your photos!
Note to self – don’t leave it to the morning of a field trip to assemble your kit. You’ll then discover that you have no idea where the bit that connects your camera to your tripod is (and that you don’t know what that bit is called) and you have no time to find it, rendering your lovely tripod useless. My shots posted here were handheld and are straight out of camera (no time to edit them!).
Words and images by Nicola Bathe.
Following the excellent field trip to Trebarwith Strand, Peter came back to review the images club members had taken during the day.
Before he did so he gave us a very useful tutorial on Lightroom, which is his main photo editing program, unless he needs to do something specific in Photoshop.
Some of the areas he covered were:-
* Using the library to review images and tag them for ease of finding later
* Using the Develop Module to adjust images and specifically the Graduated Tool to enhance skies – remembering to use feather at about 50% to smooth the effect
* Using split toning – highlights to make more “cool”, shadows to make “warmer”
He also suggested double clicking the slider bar as this takes you back to the default (rather than trying to remember the number) and to try the ‘black’ & ‘white’ sliders while clicking on the Alt key to show the effect.
Following questions about filters Paul suggested people buy a minimum of 3 graduated filters (-1, -2 & -3 stops) and explained how to measure the difference in light levels between the land and the sky. He also recommended people look after them very carefully by wrapping them, as any scratches can cause light diffraction.
Following the tea break Paul gave his comments on the photos members took at Trebarwith Strand.
by Ian Williams
Our judge, Victor Tullin, is a member of Penryn Camera Club and well known to many of our members. He has been into photography since the age of eight, when he got his first camera. He has ran community photographic projects in Northern Ireland through the late 70’s to mid 80’s. He also worked for the BBC in Northern Ireland as a computer graphic artist, manipulating images for many departments such as news, sport, current affairs, schools, and religion.
The three classes were:
- Open, any subject
- Abstract Nature
- Monochrome, any subject
Victor delivered his constructive comments on all of the entries, as well as naming the prize winners, at our meeting.The results were as follows:
HC - Reflection - Sue Thomas
HC - Blue Fish Ripples - Ben Church
3rd - Eye Eye - Geoff Osborne
2nd - Crocodile Eyes - Ben Church
1st - Leaf - Alan Barker
HC - Going to be a nice day - Geoff Osborne
HC - Spooks - Simon Walford
3rd - Elephant Mouth - Ben Church
2nd - Somerset Mouth - Simon Walford
1st - Gwithian November - Claudia Crewes
HC - Ink Wells - Elizabeth Barker
HC - Tide Pull - Alan Barker
3rd - Splash - Simon Walford
2nd - Broad Bodied Chaser - Ian Williams
1st - Wheal Coates - Alan Barker
Our speaker, Peter, was very apprehensive talking to the club as he
had only given a WI talk before, but he needn’t have worried – he was
brilliant. Peter was very easy going, and made extensive use of a white board to discuss ideas and concepts. His presentation concentrated on the demands of Landscape photography. Peter gave us a number of technical pointers, discussion of the equipment needed, and tips on using composition techniques to best advantage. His approach invited a good deal of two way conversation, which was appreciated by members.
After a break, Peter concentrated on encouraging member to “embrace” the concept and techniques of editing, with particular emphasis on the advantages of taking images in RAW, rather than jpeg.
Peter is due to lead on a field trip on Sunday 22 May. At the moment, the plan is to go to Trebarwith, but it could change at shortnotice if there is an issue with weather or sea conditions in that area.
By Geoff Osborne
Our talk this evening was by the well-respected marine biologist Paul Naylor.
Paul started by explaining that he’s a marine biologist who likes taking photographs whilst diving. He usually dives off the coast of Devon, often near home at Wembury, but fortunately for us he’s been a regular diver at Trevaunance Cove and was able to show us many local images.
He uses various cameras but one of his main ones is a Nikon DSLR in a purpose built housing, with two arms for lighting that is waterproof to 60 metres. Because it’s specifically built for his particular camera he can still use every button and function from outside the housing. In addition to using this very large bit of kit, he also uses a compact camera in an underwater housing which is a lot easier to carry. Recently he’s started using an Olympus Tough compact while snorkelling, as this is waterproof to 15 metres straight out of the box.
He stressed that many of his pictures were taken just off the shoreline and not that far from the low tide point. The photos (and videos) he displayed showed just how much variety there is around our coast, from ‘driller killer’ dog whelks to the territorial tompot blennies.He then went on to show a fantastic selection of his images that included blue ray limpets, cuttlefish, seals, crabs, wrasse and sponges.
After the tea break Paul showed the images of the tompot blennies he’d studied for a research article, that included 7 male and 14 females all in one area. He showed that they all have individual markings and videos of them fighting for territory.
Many members said they now felt inspired to get out along the rocky shoreline to see some of the inhabitants in the rock pools.
By Ian Williams
Well known wildlife photographer Steve gave us a talk on his latest trip, entitled “Madagascar – Marvels & Mishaps”.
Steve’s interest in photography started during a 6 month backpacking holiday in 2000 with his partner. He took along some disposable cameras and frustrated with their limitations, he bought an SLR for their 5 week trip to Africa. Over the subsequent years he has realised what equipment is needed and invested in the best bodies and lenses to get the most from their trips.
As Madagascar is such a large island (approximately 1,000 by 350 miles) they concentrated their three week trip to the North East and joined an organised trip by Nick Garbutt, who is not only an award winning BBC photographer but a specialist in rainforest animals.
Steve showed us a fantastic range of animals, beautifully captured in their natural surroundings. There were various geckos, chameleons, lemurs and the very elusive Aye-aye, as well as the huge spiders and millipedes. He also showed us the places they stayed, the people they met and travelled with and gave us an insight into the gruelling schedule they kept up to try an see everything. Getting up at 3:40am to start the day was more than most of us would do on ‘holiday’ but the images Steve brought back showed it was worth it.
By Ian Williams
Our first talk of the year was by the well known local photographer George Collings, entitled “The Costal Intimate Landscape”.
George started by explaining that he’s always had an interest in abstract work and was inspired to try and create his own intimate landscape images after attending a lecture.
George’s approach is to get ‘up close’; seeking out texture, shape and colour in the coastal rock formations to create special abstract images.
He uses a Canon 7D, usually with a Sigma 18-200 and to keep everything steady he uses a Manfrotto 190 and a remote/timer shutter release. He also usually carries a paintbrush, to clean around the area he photographing and an umbrella on sunny days to provide some shade. His usual settings are f22, with image stabilisation turned off (as the camera is on a tripod), ISO 100-200, and a 2 second exposure. The camera is set to manual or aperture priority. He uses only ambient light – no flash. Initially George used a water spray to give the scene a fresh wet look but feels the images are better without this nowadays.
He then went on to show a fantastic selection of his images from a variety of beaches including: Plaidy Beach (near Looe); Kynance Cove; Priests Cove (Cape Cornwall); Charlestown; Boscastle; Porthleven; Salt House Beach (Widemouth Bay), Sandymouth (a few miles up from Bude); Godrevy; Bedruthan Steps
Check out George’s work at his website: georgecollingsphotography.weebly.com
He also showed us some sample of images taken in caves but stressed the need to be careful so as not to get caught out by the tide.
Many members said they felt inspired to get out to the beach with their cameras now.
By Ian Williams