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Goal Achieved!

Another busy month due to family matters but I still managed to submit my monthly competition prints and my annual competition prints. October’s set subject was “high key” which was quite a challenging topic. I achieved one acceptance and two merits which I was pleased with.

Surf Rescue Training

This image received am acceptance. Through using a shallow depth of field, I was unable to have all parts of the image nice and sharp. The judge said letting the image drift into a silhouette would have worked well as the art is in the shape.

Mirror Image

I was not sure how this image would be regarded. However, the judge thought it was worthy of a merit. He said it is a very complicated image on first viewing but it holds you in for a while so you can get your bearings.

Down but Not Out

This image was awarded a merit which I am very grateful for. The judge commented “Thank god humour in photography isn’t lost!” This image is inventive, fun and well done. I must admit it was fun creating this image.

At the start of the year I set out to create prints for each competition and to qualify for advancement to A Grade within Brisbane Camera Group. I am pleased to say I have achieved both these goals. In 2020, I will be competing in A Grade which will really challenge me. The learning process continues!

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A Quick Update

It has continued to be busy with Marie’s dad in rehabilitation. Little time has been available for photography, especially new work. This month at Brisbane Camera Group the competition topic was “Framed”. I submitted three images into the set subject for judging.

Artist at Work

The image above was awarded an Acceptance. The judge thought the woman was a distraction and that the image had been over worked as there was some halo effects in places.

Through a Window

This image was awarded a Merit. It was praised for the placement of the people within the frame. It was also acknowledged that in camera multiple exposures can be quite difficult to create and this one was a success.

And The Cock Crowed

This image was also awarded a Merit. The judged commented that it was sharp right through the image and was a great example of “framed”.

Overall, a satisfactory night’s performance and these results keep me on track for promotion to A Grade. With one more month to go, I can’t afford to slack off.

That’s all for now. Until next time, keep on creating!

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The Best Laid Plans………….

Phew! What a month it has been. As can happen, the best laid plans come to zero. Our lives were turned around on Sunday 4 August when the Police phoned and told Marie her father had been involved in a motor vehicle accident. They said he was in hospital and that he was okay. We immediately stopped what we were doing at the time and went straight to the hospital.

As the evening unfolded and we spoke to the medical staff in the emergency department, we were not certain how the future would unfold. Would he pass away, or would he make a full recovery, or would it be somewhere in between? Being 92 years of age, his chances were not rated highly. The Neuro Surgeon told us he had a bleed on the brain and some fractured vertebrae in his spine.

Given these circumstances, we cancelled our planned 5-week overseas holiday so we could be here to assist in his recovery and adaption to life without a motor vehicle. Now, he is in rehabilitation and progressing well. Accordingly, photography has been less prominent in our lives as we have spent a lot of time visiting him and attending to some of his affairs.

I am pleased I had devoted some time to choosing images for the monthly competitions so I could submit entries for while we were away. This meant I just had to send the images to the printer for them to be ready. For the August competition I submitted my entries into the Open section. The results I obtained were very pleasing. Here are my entries and the results:

Cloud over Marseille – (Merit)

Three Doors – (Merit)

Burlesque Babe – (Honour)

As I mentioned last post, the opportunity to learn about Photoshop from Andy Cross through Maud Street Photo Gallery over six Sundays was too good to pass up. I completed the last three modules since last post and now need to get my notes up to date and indexed so I can find the techniques I need during my workflow. As with most things, if I don’t use what I have learned, it will be forgotten and attending the course will have been a waste.

The September competition topic is “Framed”. The definition we have been provided with is:

Framed refers to using elements of a scene to create a frame within your frame. For example, you might shoot through a doorway, pulled back curtains, branches, fences, tunnels, or arches to highlight your subject.

I have worked on some images that fit this definition. They will likely be the ones I submit to the set subject category rather than the open category in September.

Until next time, keep on creating!

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Learning Opportunities

Where did the time go? Seems like the last few weeks are one big blur! There haven’t been many opportunities to get the camera out and make some images. From having a week and a half off work due to the flu and spending the last three Sundays attending Photoshop lessons, very little time has been left over.

The deadline for submitting images for the monthly competition seemed to approach without warning and caught me unprepared. Therefore, I quickly scrambled three images I entered in the annual competition last year and submitted them in the monthly open section. I was disappointed all three images were only awarded acceptances.

I think this is a valuable lesson though. Just because an image performed well in the annual competition, there is no guarantee it will perform well in the open section of the monthly competitions.

Leanne in the Ring – this image placed second in the People section of the annual competition last year. The judge indicated there were some lighting issues with the image especially around the hand gesture. This area is a key focus point of the image that we want the viewer to look at and the hand is not lit well enough to draw the eye.

Preparing for Winter – this image placed first in the Social Documentary/Photo Journalism section of the annual competition. As an image in the Open section, it didn’t hit the mark well enough. The guy throwing the piece of wood is too dark and needs to be lightened so he is more a point of focus in the image. Some of the lighter areas could be darkened to draw the eye through the image.

Weaver at Work – this image placed third in the Social Documentary/Photo Journalism section of the annual competition. The judge indicated this may have worked better as a black and white image due to the varying strong colours in the background which distract the viewer.

Photoshop is a tool I have used but struggled with in the past. My prior education has been via Google searches to find out how to do what I wanted to achieve. The opportunity to learn from Andy Cross through Maud Street Photo Gallery over six Sundays was too good to pass up. To date, I have completed three modules with three modules to go.

Marie and I are going on a long-awaited break soon so I am working hard to prepare my competition images for while we are away. Also, I am aiming to prepare images for just after we get back. This will reduce the pressure and make it easier to start reviewing the images we have returned with.

Until next time, keep on creating!

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Negative Space

This month has been a mixed bag with Marie having her cataracts removed and a little down time as a result. I have also spent some time thinking of some techniques I need to work on. A couple of weekends ago, I wanted to test a Photoshop technique where you can photograph a scene and have the people removed. To achieve this, I took my tripod out and captured images for approximately eight minutes of various buildings around Brisbane. Taking an image every 45 seconds resulted in around 10 images per location.

The ten images for a location are then loaded into one file in Photoshop and a script is run which creates an image of the unchanged parts of the images taken. Most had some artefacts still, but I had one image where it required virtually no extra work to get the result I wanted. This image was of the Brisbane GPO and it appears below:

Marie and I are focusing on improving our fitness and on most Saturdays walked to build stamina and along the way capture some images. Here is a small selection of images I captured on these walks:

I submitted some images for the Presenters Night at BCG this month. A short showing of members current work is made so we can see how our images look on the large screen. Here are the ones I submitted:

BCG came second in the River City Print Competition which was a very pleasing outcome for the club. This competition is “impact judged” and my prints performed around the middle of the pack. Looking at the scores reinforces to me how subjective judging can be. I had one print in the Non-A Grade Colour section and it scored 21 out of a possible 30 points. The three judges scored it as 8, 5, & 8. The highest scoring print in the section scored 26 out of 30 points.

The most surprising result for me was my print “Walking Down the Alleyway” which was in the Non-A Grade Monochrome section. In the BCG annual competition late last year, this image was judged the best overall monochrome print for the club. The judges in the River City Print Competition judged it as 3, 5, & 8 totalling 16 out of a possible 30 points. The diversity in scores from the judges for this print shows just how much subjectivity there is in judging.

I entered two images in the set subject for the BCG monthly competition. The set subject topic was “Negative Space”. I received one acceptance and one honour. Also, I entered one image in Open and it received an acceptance. The highlight for me was winning the best image overall in my grade for the month for which I received a Sponsors Award from Brisbane Camera Hire to the value of $30.

Golden Tower – Acceptance
The Damage Has Been Done – Acceptance
Dancer in White – Honour

July’s Competition topic is “Photo Replication”. The definition is: “Photo Replication is the copy or reproduction of a famous photograph, painting, sculpture or piece of art. It can be replicated, reproduced or copied in any way as interpreted by the photographer, however the photo must clearly remind the viewer of the artist’s/photographer’s style. Photo  Replication is not considered plagiarism as this is the intention of this concept to flatter the artist’s/photographer’s work by copying or reproducing his/her’s work. The image can be in mono or colour.

This is going to be a challenging topic!

Until next time, keep on creating!

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Conventions, Competitions and Photo Walks

Marie and I attended the Photographic Society of Queensland (PSQ) Convention which was held over the long weekend in May. It was a great opportunity to catch up with some old faces and to meet some new ones too. The program was varied, and I gained some insights that I am sure will help my photography over time.

The keynote speaker was Professor Des Crawley who spoke on “Visual Cultures and the Imagined Vision”. There was so much in this presentation and I am very grateful he made the slides and supporting material available to attendees. I am planning to refresh my memory by working through his papers.

He also closed the Convention by speaking on “Developing Creativity at Club Level – The Portfolio Process”. This talk also provided many insights and I think will assist me with my next print project with Brisbane Camera Group (BCG). Many of the principles can also be applied to photobooks too.

Another speaker I found particularly interesting was Adam Williams. He spoke on “The Search for Meaningful Photography” and lead a workshop on “Creative Photoshop Wizardry”. Russell Brown spoke on “Change the Channel – Utilising the power of colour spaces in Photoshop” and afterwards I purchased his book, so I could follow some of his techniques to improve my images.

My first photobook arrived in the post during the month. It was done using chatbooks and I am happy with the results. Like any other first, it is a learning process. I need to pay more attention to the settings when I am ordering as the size was not what I expected. Also, I thought I selected that the title be on the spine but that didn’t happen. From a image selection perspective, I need to be careful not to have key elements too close to where the book is bound.

Recently I attended a photo walk conducted by Bruno Domingues Photography which focused on natural light portraiture in various Brisbane CBD locations. There were approximately 30 attendees and 6 models. This was very much an opportunity to create images of the models rather than being a workshop. Here is a selection of some of my images:

Each Presenters Night at BCG has a short showing of members’ work. I don’t submit every month as I often forget or am more focused on getting my competition images ready. This month I did submit some images and here they are:

Each year the club enters the River City Print Competition which is for clubs located in South East Queensland. I have been fortunate enough to have some of my images selected to form part of the club entry. They are below:

I entered three images in the set subject for the BCG monthly competition. The set subject topic was “Impressionist”. I received 2 Merits and 1 Honour.

Everglade Reflections – Merit
Waiting for the Storm to Pass – Merit
Peaceful Fields – Honour

June’s Competition topic is “Negative Space”. The definition is “Negative space, is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space occasionally is used to artistic effect as the “real” subject of an image.

I haven’t given this topic any thought yet, so I had better get moving and seeing what I can produce. It is always good to have a challenge that I can learn and improve from.

Until next time, keep on creating!

30 Years

This month just seems to have been busy! I ran out of time to prepare images that met the Brisbane Camera Group monthly competition topic of “Transportation”. As I could use images from the annual competitions that hadn’t previously been used in monthly competitions, I decided to enter three in the Open section.

Two of my entries received acceptances and one received a merit. I was hopeful of a better result but I think effort to make new work in the set subject rather than pulling out old images for the open section will push me harder and build my skills better. The images I entered are below.

Romenade du Paillon (Acceptance)

Scanno Exit Reflections (Acceptance)

The Strongest Man (Merit)

At the Brisbane Camera Group Presenters Night, we were given a taste of photo books in all their shapes and sizes. My eyes were opened to the creative efforts some people make with there books. The following week we had a “workshop” session and I discovered websites and software available to create photo books and the various services that will print them.

While I had no plans to get involved in photo books when I attended these sessions, I came away motivated to give it a try. One of the options I was impressed with was the books available through chatbooks.com. This seemed like a great way to dip my toe into the water for very little cost. So, I picked 30 images from the week Marie and I spent in Caloundra in February to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. I have titled the book “30 Years – February 2019”. I am now eagerly waiting for it to be printed and delivered.

Marie has been working on her skills in taking in camera multiple exposure images. On our last photo walk, I have also been giving this form of photography a go to see what I can do with it. Doing it on a photo walk means one’s creativity is stretched to the max as you have to make the best of what is presented to you. This makes it challenging and difficult to get to come away with many “winners”. We also did a photo walk through the valley on a Saturday night which was an interesting experience.

Here are some of my recent images:

Looking to next month’s competition, the topic is “Impressionist”. The definition is “A style when the photographer tries to convey the feeling of a scene, a general impression, or suggestion of a scene. Lacking in detail these impressionist images emphasize colour over line and are often soft, dreamy, and have a painterly feel.” I am working on some images and plan to have three prints to submit for this topic. I am confident I won’t need to resort to finding images for the open section to compete in May.

Until next time, keep on pressing that shutter button!

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Celebrations and Competitions

Wow! Is it really two months since I posted my last update? Where has the time disappeared to? All I can say is I have been busy, and I know that is no excuse.

The Brisbane Camera Group February competition has been and gone and my result was an acceptance for each image submitted. This was not the start of the year I was looking for as I was hoping for one or two merits at least. While I understand the judge’s reasons for the acceptances, I also know they are opinions I can choose to take on board or not. Here are the images:

Church of Saint Ferreol-Augustinians Marseille – The judge suggested the image could be improved by cloning out the church behind.

Inside Galleria Umberto I – Naples. Improvements suggested included showing less of the ceiling and having a panorama style print showing the art work with less distractions.

La Pergola Nice France – He suggested less sky and a person on one of the balconies would make a difference.

In February, Marie and I spent a week in Caloundra celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. We both took many images especially of the beach. Marie has been playing around with in camera multiple images and encouraged me to give it a try. Here are a couple of my images that worked out okay.

Ice Cream Time at Noosa
Keeping a Watch
Learning to be Surf Life Savers

The March competition topic was “Movement” – “a finished image that depicts motion blur resulting from long exposure or panning or in camera movement. The image cannot be a freeze frame photo, it must show some blur in some part of the image.” I submitted two prints into the competition set subject and one print into the open section.

This was a far better month! I received one merit and two honours, so I am really pleased with these results. My “Movement” prints scored a merit and honour while my open entry was an honour. Here are the images:

Slow Dancer (awarded an honour)
Getting Ready to go back for More (awarded a merit)
Bicycle Built for Two (awarded an honour)

Looking to next month’s competition, the topic is “Transportation”. The definition is “The image must show the action of transporting someone or something or the process of being transported.” I haven’t begun to think about this topic yet. Time is running out, so I need to start sooner rather than later.

Until next time, keep on pressing that shutter button!

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What Does 2019 Hold in Store?

It is hard to believe that January is almost behind me. Where has the first month of the year gone? Usually, January is a great time to put plans into place to achieve my goals. This year seems to be very fuzzy just now.

I have been saying my key photography goal this year is to do what’s required to move from AB Grade to A Grade at Brisbane Camera Group. What this means is I need to submit a minimum of 15 images in the monthly competitions and achieve a grade point average of at least 10. I have been asked what genre I am going to focus on. This is a tough question that I don’t have an answer for. My thought is to focus on the set subjects each month wherever possible and to do prints rather than DPIs.

The first monthly competition is in February and the set subject is architecture. The definition is “..The picture must be of a building intended for human occupation or use. It may be a picture of the exterior or interior and may be a detail of a limited part of a building or buildings that displays architectural angles and lines in a dynamic or colourful way (Monochrome allowed)…”

While I have thought of going out and taking images around Brisbane in readiness for the competition, I find now that time is running out. Instead, I have reviewed my images from the last couple of years and have decided to submit three images from our trip to Italy/France in September/October 2017.

Last weekend Marie and I attended a workshop run by Digital Camera Warehouse. The topic was blur and sharpness in the same image. They had two dancers for us to photograph in a studio setting. While the dancers were great, the backgrounds were not great, and I was left with a feeling I would not get anything out of the images.

The March Monthly Competition set subject is “movement”. Hopefully I can rescue a couple of images from the workshop to enable me to submit them. This could be a further opportunity to improve my Photoshop skills. Here are a couple of images from the workshop:

So what else have I been doing since my last post? I pondered the question: what do you do will all the images that just missed the cut for my Print Project submission last year? I decided to use a number of these images around a theme or series and apply some textures and effects to re-purpose them. Here are the series I created:

Until next time, keep on pressing that shutter button!

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As 2018 Draws to a Close

Sorry for the delay in putting up this post. I decided to change web hosts and plans to save some money as this is a hobby site. This wasn’t the best idea and I have been sorting out performance issues since and have needed to upgrade my hosting plan to be able to do what I need to do. As a result very little financial saving has been achieved, just plenty of lost time.

Brisbane Camera Group held its Annual Dinner and Awards Night on 3 December. My prints did well (view them here) and I was happy with the outcome. Here is a list of my results:

Pictorial Monochrome Prints AB Grade
            1st – Walking Down The Alleyway
            3rd – Black Goat of the Family

Pictorial Colour Prints AB Grade
            2nd – Sienna Cathedral Ceiling

Nature Prints AB Grade
            1st – Galah

People Prints AB Grade
            2nd – Leanne in the Ring

Creative/Experimental Prints AB Grade
            2nd – Summertime
            3rd – Building Patterns

Social Documentary/Photojournalism Prints AB Grade
            1st – Preparing for Winter
            2nd – Anzac Square Redevelopment
            3rd – Artistic Weaver at Work

Being at the judging gave me an insight into how to improve some of my images. In Pictorial Colour Prints, my image was a tie for first place. The judges were required to judge these two images again for first and second placing. A key reason my image came second was the central part of the ceiling was off centre. In People Prints, my image was also a tie for first place. The other image was very different to my image. However, a key factor was not all of the shadow was in my image. If it had have been then I may have placed first.

These are tips for me to remember when preparing my images for future competitions. That said, I was pleased with my haul of ten awards in my grade for the print categories. There were two more moments in the evening that I am proud of. The Club Champion Monochrome Print is selected from all the monochrome prints that placed irrespective of grade. My print “Walking Down The Alleyway” was chosen as the recipient of this award. It was a very proud moment to have won the Champion Monochrome Print. Here is an image of me receiving my award:

Image courtesy of Lex Lucas.

After the judging, a couple of the judges suggested my image would have improved by reducing the impact of the sky. It could be either darkened or cropped as the key focus is the two people walking down the alleyway. Here is a copy of the image after implementing the judges’ suggestions.

At the end of the night I was awarded the President’s Award for my service to the Club over the year. This is a book prize and is tremendous recognition for my contribution to the Club. Here is an image of me receiving my award:

Image courtesy of Lex Lucas.

After completing my Print Project which was exhibited last month with other members of Brisbane Camera Group, I was wondering what to do with the many images that didn’t quite make the final six images. I decided to start a series based on “…everyone wants to be a clown…” and call it “Clownsville”. This series has been appearing on my Instagram account. Here is a selection of the images:

 

Now that the year is drawing to a close, I will have some time to think about what I want to achieve in photography in 2019. Club activities recommence in February but the first monthly competition needs to be planned for and images created by late January. The first topic is “Architecture” and it is defined as “The picture must be of a building intended for human occupation or use. It may be a picture of the exterior or interior and may be a detail of a limited part of a building or buildings that displays architectural angles and lines in a dynamic or colourful way (Monochrome allowed).” That will be my first challenge.

Wishing you all the very best of the festive season. May 2019 bring you closer to what you desire in photography and life. Thanks for reading my posts and following my progress.

See you in 2019! Keep on creating images!

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