Tag Archives: BCG

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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Print Project Exhibition

Last weekend Brisbane Camera Group exhibited all the entries in its Print Project Challenge at Maud Creative. The opening was very well attended and exceeded all expectations. Marie and I were proud to have our entries on display and we were very happy with their placement within the gallery. The range in subject matter on display was large and the quality was really good. I think all club members who participated can be proud of their work.

The entry the judges awarded as the winner was “Ode to Darkness” by Ray Shorter (BCG President). Ray’s entry was outstanding and a everyone I spoke to on the night agreed with the judge’s choice.

Ray Shorter Opening the Exhibition

Judges Melissa Anderson & Adam Finch announcing the “winner”

Some of the People attending the Opening

Marie (My wife) proudly showing her entry

 

While I have a competitive streak in me, I approached this as a process rather than anything else. I find it interesting how a project develops and progresses before it is “finalised” for printing and display. Back in March when I drew rough drawings of the content of my images, I thought the job was shooting the images and then put them together in Photoshop. The images printed and displayed at the Exhibition did not reflect the initial drawings with the exception of the characters and their costumes. It’s amazing what the constraint of time does to a project and how it can change the way concepts are presented.

23 October was the deadline for submitting images for the BCG annual competition. Unfortunately I did not submit any images this year. The best laid plans came undone due to unexpected family circumstances. However, Marie and I were able to attend the judging and were very impressed with the quality of images submitted. The annual awards are announced at our club dinner on Monday 4 December.

As promised in my last post, here are some images from our recent trip to Italy and the French Riviera.

Thanks for reading and happy snapping!

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Print Project Judging

Time flies so quickly and I can’t believe it is so long since I have posted my progress here. My main focus for the year has been the Brisbane Camera Group Print Project Challenge. The images were submitted early in September and were judged last Sunday. There were 16 entries submitted by club members which were a very good response. While I did not place in the competition, I am still proud of my final images and the story they told.

The club is holding an exhibition of the images entered at Maud Gallery here in Brisbane. The opening night is Friday 17 November starting at 6pm. The exhibition will be open on Saturday and Sunday for anyone to view the images.

Earlier in the year I published my Artist Statement. The images I submitted and the fine-tuned Artist Statement follow:

Each of us, as Whitman writes, does ‘..contain multitudes’. Contacting the jostling crowd of inner selves, giving them a chance to speak and to act, can greatly enrich our lives.” (Julia Cameron, “The Vein of Gold” page 87)

In Inner Selves I have created five characters – Performer Pete, Judgmental Jack, Nervous Ned, Furious Frank and Rebel Ray – to explore the “jostling crowd of inner selves” we all possess. I have used the genre of self-portraiture and deliberately chose characters I know are part of my personality but rarely seen by others. In the work I show each character in front of a crowd, a literal and metaphoric representation of the judgment we fear when we let these inner selves out.

I begin the series with an image that represents the jostling crowd of inner selves and my five characters are hiding within the crowd. The final image portrays a growing acceptance of these characters without the fear of judgement as their existence has been acknowledged. I want Inner Selves to invite the viewer to reflect on their own inner selves and to encourage the acknowledgement and acceptance of them.

Each image began as a photograph before being manipulated in Photoshop to produce prints reflecting the vision I held for each of the inner selves. The artistic challenge was in self-portrait making and using Photoshop to tell the story through combining multiple images. I used obvious layers and rough selections to indicate that inner selves can be poorly defined unless they are examined. I also wanted to reflect that as humans we all have imperfections.

An outcome of this project was further development of my artistic and storytelling skills in photography. Also, there was fun in creating the characters suggesting more work on this theme may be possible in the future.

 

I was fortunate enough to attend the judging and to hear first-hand the feedback they provided. Their comments were very helpful and highlighted the need to be attentive to detail at all levels of the image making. A key area highlighted was the harsh lighting used in the self-portraits. This is an area I have little experience in even though I did attend a couple of lighting workshops prior to finalising my images. They indicated that their eyes were drawn to my shoes in a couple of images which was a distraction to the story being told. I had noted the same thing myself but ran out of time to try to fix.

Overall the Print Project Challenge was a valuable learning experience I know will hold me in good stead on my photographic journey. The ability to put together a number of images that link to each other and tell a story is not as easy as it may seem. This project has opened my eyes to some of the techniques needed to achieve this.

Also, from mid-September to mid-October, Marie and I travelled to Italy for 3 weeks on a photography tour and to the French Riviera for a week to relax and prepare to return home. This was my first time to Europe and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The historical areas were an eye opener. I came back with over five thousand images that I need to work through. Below are some images I took with my phone. I will display more images later as I process them.

 

Brisbane Camera Group has an annual competition for members and the closing date for image submissions is 23 October. I am aiming to submit some images again this year.

Hopefully my next update will not be so long after the last one. Thanks for reading and happy snapping!

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Where has the Year Gone?

Since the last post, Marie and I have both had the dreaded lurgy which has interfered with getting out and about taking images. Also, I have used time around the house to catch on some chores and trip planning that I had allowed to slip. Procrastination is sometimes my too familiar friend.

It was also a useful time to reflect on my Print Project Challenge entry and the time remaining until submission. I was shocked to realise that so much of the year has flown by with not enough progress having been made. I thought about withdrawing but the more I thought about this option, the more I knew I couldn’t do it.

A few days ago, I had a moment of “inspiration”. I decided to keep my story line but to change the images representing each stage of the story. The images would be less complicated to produce and hopefully will be more “conceptual” in nature. I think this will help me achieve the deadline and maybe end up with a better entry than originally envisaged.

Yesterday was the deadline for submission of images to the Brisbane Camera Group monthly competition. I had not prepared anything so this month I am not competing. However, I did submit some images to the “image show” that was played at the start of our Presenters Meeting last night. The images were a mix of more recent and older but all from this year. They were as follows:

Blooming Garden

Coffee and Text

Follow the Leader

Let the Bells Ring

Rest After Shopping Done

Takeoff

With Marie attending a photography workshop on Saturday, I am hoping to use that time to take a number of images for my Print Project Challenge entry. All being well, the bulk of images will then have been taken leaving it up to me to do my compositing in Photoshop and working with various effects to tell my story. This hopefully leaves me time to do a test print to ensure that are working out as planned.

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Sometimes Judges Produce Surprises

Unfortunately Marie and I were unable to attend the Brisbane Camera Group’s Competition Judging evening last Monday. Therefore I have only received the results but not the feedback provided. This was one of the few months this year where I submitted four images for judging.

The set subject was “Self Portrait” and I only submitted one entry in this category. As my Print Project Challenge is based on a series of self portraits, I didn’t want to submit any work done to date. Instead I took one of my test shots and tried to be creative with it. This resulted in the image “Rock Solid” displayed below which received an acceptance.

Rock Solid – Acceptance

As I mentioned in the previous post, I submitted an image for judging that I also submitted for the image show. I must have experienced a “grey moment” for that to have occurred. In hindsight I was not very happy with the images I submitted in the Open section and was not expecting much at all. And that’s where sometimes the judges surprise!

I was very surprised when the image I least expected to do well received an honour. The other two images only received acceptances which was most probably all that they deserved.

Lions Guarding – Acceptance

Rusting – Acceptance

Peace Brother – Honour

Photoshop still remains largely a mystery to me. However, last Saturday I worked my way through Peter Eastway’s “How to Master Photoshop Layers” and found this to be a very useful resource. Just watching how he does his selections was a revelation and has made my workflow a lot easier. On Sunday I put my new found knowledge to work to do some proof of concepts for my Print Project Challenge.

The tutorial sections on Hayley Robert’s Photography website are also proving very useful for assisting my knowledge development. For example, she illustrates how she creates shadows in her images using Photoshop tools. So my learning journey continues.

 

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Digital Show Images Submitted

On Saturday Marie and I attended a short photo outing with the theme of Travel Photography run by Photoh. We spent time walking around parts of Southbank and then into the Brisbane CBD. As with most photo outings, there is always something to learn or be reminded of. I submitted three of the images I took during this event to the Brisbane Camera Group Digital Image show which was shown at the club meeting last night.

Here are the images:

Accident 1

This image resulted from me failing to change my camera settings back to normal after doing some project work the previous weekend. I have put the shutter on timer and failed to put it back to normal. Initially I thought my camera was playing up as it wasn’t responding when I pressed the shutter. Once I realised that it was in fact taking pictures I remembered that I had set the timer and then adjusted my settings. This images has had effects applied in Photoshop as well.

Queen of the Castle

This woman had made a number of attempts to climb onto the top of this letter. Once she was sitting on top I took the shot.

See Me Jump

This guy in the yellow suit jumped from letter to letter and I captured a number of images as he moved from one end to the other. This one is possibly the best action one out of the series.

Singing in the Mall

This image was taken within the last couple of weeks. Marie and I were working the Mall looking for images for the monthly competition. I was attracted to this image as the singer was wearing her national costume and the singing was largely A cappella.

 

Entries in the monthly competition had to be submitted by last night. I decided not to participate this month as I had no suitable images on the set subject and I hadn’t done sufficient work on any current images to submit them in the open category.

The previous Sunday I had started doing some test shots for my entry in the BCG Print Project Challenge. I then used these images to play around with some concepts in Photoshop involving blending of images. Ideas are still being formed and will require further testing to see if they will work.

I am looking forward to next Saturday when Marie and I will be attending a workshop on “Shoot to Print”. I am sure I will learn a great deal from this and it will help when I come to do the actual prints for my entry into the Print Project Challenge.

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50% Success Rate Continues

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks since my last post. The Brisbane Camera Group monthly competition for April was Sport. I did not go out specifically to shoot sport in the lead up to the competition deadline, instead relying on images I had taken over the last 12 months of surfers and beach volley ball players.

When choosing my images to submit, I was not happy with any of these images. Either they were not sharp enough or the action moment was just before or just after the moment I pressed the shutter button. I think that a burst of images may well have been the best option for some of these situations.

I chose to enter 2 images in the Open DPI section instead. These images are displayed below:

Into The Surf

This image was taken at Caloundra in February 2017. We had our annual wedding anniversary holiday there and this was one of the rare mornings we chose to get up and embrace the early morning light. I really enjoy this image but the judge only thought it was worth an acceptance.

Me and My Hula Hoop

This image was taken 1 April 2017 in King George Square, Brisbane. Marie had suggested we go into town to get some images and when we arrived I was keen to head to the mall. Instead Marie suggested we start in King George Square and so we did. Thanks to Marie I was able to get this image. The judge awarded it a merit and made a comment suggesting that I may have a tad too much contrast.

May’s competition topic is “emotion”. An extract from the Club’s definition reads as “Photos with emotion convey a mood or an atmosphere and pull the viewer into the scene; they tell or encourage a story and tug at the heartstrings. Photos with emotion may transport the viewer to another time or place, or evoke certain feelings that make them engage with the photo.

The deadline for submission is May 8 so I don’t have a lot of time to capture images that meet this topic. While I have noticed a few scenes as I have walked around at lunch time, I have been hesitant to pull out my phone camera and take a shot. If I am to capture some images, I’ll need to find some extra courage or alternatively endeavour to set up some scenes. Otherwise I will be competing in the Open section again.

Last Saturday, Marie and I attended a workshop on Conceptual Photography. I found this to be of great value as it has made me rethink some aspects of my Print Project Challenge. To be creative in approach requires me to be less fixed on my initial ideas and be prepared to test options to see if they improve the planned image.

For example, what would be the impact of subtracting an element of the image? We were given a list of items we could consider in our process to discover the image that best fits our concept. One danger I face is using something that is too cliché. Therefore, I need to think deeper to be able to convey my message in a way that makes the viewer stop and study the image.

My Print Project Challenge is coming along. I have acquired most of the props I need to start creating images. Then it’s a matter of doing the work, then reworking, then doing the work until the images are ready for submission.

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Portrait Workshop

Last Sunday morning Marie and I attended a Portrait Workshop put on by Brisbane Camera Group. The workshop was led by John Lomas and Peter O’Brien – both are very good portrait photographers who shared their wealth of knowledge and experience with us. We had lights set up to represent a studio environment and we had some members act as models and some members brought their children along to act as models.

The various styles of lighting were demonstrated and we learned about hard light and soft light. We were also shown Rembrandt lighting, butterfly lighting, broad and short lighting. The use of reflectors was demonstrated too. We were able to also use flash triggers once we started putting what we learned into practice.

Here are some of the images I took on the day:

 

 

 

 

 

In the afternoon we attended the second half of the Australian Photographic Society’s National & International AV judging which was held in Brisbane this year. Seeing the quality of the AV’s and how well they structured their stories provided inspiration to aim to create some more myself once I have completed my print project challenge.

 

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Monthly Competition Results and Planning My Print Project Challenge Submission

It has been some time since I have posted. I had been aiming to participate in the February monthly competition but I wasn’t happy with any of my images so I did not submit any. The topic of minimalism proved to be more challenging than I had expected.

The March competition topic was graffiti/street art. The club definition was quite lengthy and for the purpose of this challenge it could be freehand paint, marker pen or stencil or combination of any of the elements. The Graffiti Art should be a major component of the image; however as it is art in it’s own right the photographer really needs to add another element/angle to make it their own art. So a number of pieces shown in context of the location within the same image would be considered a change to make it yours own. Also the adding of a person or object can change the context again making it your own art.

I submitted two images instead of the usual four as I want to devote more time to my print project challenge. The image titled “This Ol House” gained an acceptance and the major criticism was the unnatural colours. The image projected on the screen at the meeting last night did have a colour cast that I felt was different to what I had seen on my screen. This image appears below.


“This Ol House”

The other image I submitted was “Passing David”. I have to thank my wife Marie for spotting this piece of street art and in effect I stole her idea. This image was awarded a merit and the judge indicated that it could possibly be further improved by increasing the exposure by a stop. This image appears below.


“Passing David”

During March I spent time refining my ideas for the print project challenge. Those participating needed to submit their artist statement by last night. I achieved this deadline. I am now looking for the props I will need for the images I want to create. Here is my artist statement.

 

“Each of us, as Whitman writes, does ‘..contain multitudes’. Contacting the jostling crowd of inner selves, giving them a chance to speak and to act, can greatly enrich our lives.” (Julia Cameron, “The Vein of Gold” page 87)

This work focuses on the initial 5 inner selves I recognised in 2001 together with one additional self in 2015. These 6 inner selves represent a large portion of my life. Some are very public and well recognised. Others I have kept hidden in the shadows as I tried to keep them from public view. However, there were times when they showed their face and I was surprised by my lack of control. Only 4 of the 6 inner selves will be recognised in this project.

With thanks to encouragement from Marie (my wife), this has developed from the initial work into a creative pursuit. My tentative first steps were a short poem followed by considering how to compose classical music to describe each of the characters. Each of these attempts stalled. However, since resuming my interest in photography, I have this opportunity to use images to tell my story.

I believe photography can be a healing tool to improve my life for the better. This topic has “fermented” over 16 years. These images will be created as a self-development exercise to enable my inner selves a chance to speak and act. It is only through accepting their existence and giving them space to express themselves that I can lessen the surprises they sometimes hold in store for me.

All images will begin as photographs before being manipulated in Photoshop to produce prints reflecting the vision I hold for each of the inner selves. The artistic challenge will be in portrait making and using Photoshop to tell the story through combining multiple images.

Overall, I hope this project will enrich my life and given me more acceptance of these inner selves (particularly the ones I attempt to keep hidden) as well as further develop my artistic skills in photography.

– – –

 

The monthly competition topic for April is Sport. I plan on using some images I have taken over the last few months for this competition rather than seeking new images. My stronger focus will be on the print project challenge – refining my vision for the 6-8 prints I need to produce and acquiring the props I need so I can start testing some concepts in camera.

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A New Year and Fresh Challenges and Opportunities

Happy New Year everyone! Here we are at the start of another year which is going to have its own unique challenges and opportunities I am sure.

Over the last few weeks I have given thought to what areas I need to focus on to improve my photography skills. My initial goal list is:

  • Take more photographs asking myself how I can improve this image. Move around more and work the scene. Participate in more BCG outings.
  • Learn how to use Photoshop so I can create images that are truly altered reality.
  • Plan my workflow so I can enter more prints in the BCG monthly competitions.
  • Do the BCG Print Project Challenge as a means to stretch myself and further develop my skills.
  • Do some short photography courses that will help me improve my landscapes, architecture (internal & external images) and portraits.

My focus at the moment is on the February monthly competition which is “minimalism” and the Print Project Challenge. Minimalism is a style employed by many 20th century artists, using a minimum number of components such as colour, shape, line and texture. I am looking through images I have taken in the last year or so to see if they may qualify as well as trying to get some fresh images.

Marie and I have been out on the weekend looking for opportunities. Here are a couple of images taken that with a bit of work may be okay to submit.

Water Slide 1

Water Slide 2

The first step in the Print Project Challenge is to write an artist statement which will guide how the project unfolds. While it doesn’t need to be submitted until late March, I would like to start work on it sooner rather than later. The end product is seven to ten prints to be submitted for judging. Submission is late September so it is a 6 month project.

One of the reasons I want to start sooner is my topic for the images is challenging and I suspect I may be biting off more than I can chew. The concept is still being fleshed out and already a number of props will be needed along with very much improved Photoshop skills. Also, I have started writing the artist statement but it is still some distance from being ready to submit.

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