Speaker: Dave Mason

We had a real treat on Wednesday 20th October with a Zoom visit from Dave Mason. Dave is known for his surreal street photography, much of which captures life in London and the south east of England, and he has an enviable talent for finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Dave was modest about his ability to see the absurd in mundane life but he has a way of capturing moments in camera, often humorous, that would pass the rest of us by and we saw numerous examples of his unique and finely honed skill. Alongside a fast paced narrative and some tall tales the time flew by and our thanks go to Dave for a fun and interesting evening.

Our next club night, on 27th October, is our first themed competition of the Season with a set subject of ‘Song Titles’, the hand-in deadline for which has now passed. Competition nights are always popular with members and it’s a great chance to see each other’s work and to receive constructive critique which helps us learn as photographers. Guests and new members are welcome – please see our membership page for details on how to join in.

Tutorial: Low Key Portraits

We had a lovely evening on Wednesday 13th October at Underbarrow Village Hall, which played host to our second portraiture workshop led again by club member Seamus Bryans.

Seamus gave an excellent, knowledgeable talk supported by the use of a presentation which he’d prepared. The talk covered all aspects of Low Key Portraiture, which as Seamus explained is predominantly made up of dark tones although still covering the full range of tones. Lighting styles were discussed and practical examples given using the models Seamus had brought along. We used continuous lighting, rather than flash, so that we could all see the effect of different lighting placements in creating the different styles.

After a break we were given guidance on how to ask the models to pose and the do’s and don’ts and then we were invited to have a go ourselves. We had been asked to bring our cameras and Seamus had recommended which lenses might be best. Generally we were shooting with as wide an aperture as possible, in manual mode and exposing to the ambient about 2 or 3 stops down. This meant that when lit with the studio lights, the subject’s faces were correctly exposed while the background dropped away to black. Everyone had a turn, some a bit more confident than others and the hardest bit was probably directing the models and knowing what made a good pose. Below are some of the resulting images from Heather Mallinson, Jeff Bagnall and Kim Rigg.

Special thanks again to Seamus but also to his two models, George and Isobel, family members who willingly put up with our efforts to capture some worthy images of them. More pictures from the evening taken by members can be found in our Facebook Photoshoots group.

This Wednesday we look forward to an evening via Zoom with Dave Mason, who will be speaking about Street photography. Guests are welcome – please see our membership page for more information. Members are reminded that the hand in date for our next competition on the theme of ‘Song Titles’ has been brought forward to 20th October. See you all on Wednesday!

Competitions: Novice Cup & Oldham Mono

Kendal Photography Club is part of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB), which has over 40,000 individual members all over the UK. PAGB affiliated Camera Clubs are grouped into regional Federations and Kendal PC falls under the Lancashire & Cheshire Photographic Union (L&CPU) which is one of the most successful Federations in the country.

Every year, the L&CPU hold competitions for individual camera club members in their region with images chosen by the author, and also for Clubs as a whole with images chosen by each Club’s committee usually from those which have done well in that season’s Club competitions.

It’s a huge honour to have an image picked to represent your Club at Federation level and if an image does well in a Federation competition it can be used in that Federation’s portfolio, used in inter-Federation competitions against other regions, used to represent the Federation in nation-wide PAGB competitions, or even to represent your country in global competitions such as the FIAP world cup. It’s a great way to get your name known by your Federation or even the PAGB and gives kudos to your Club.

Last year, Club member Russell Millner was awarded gold with his Bears on Baffin on his very first entry into the L&CPU Novice Cup, which is a Federation print competition designed for members without any photographic qualifications or distinctions, and goes to show that our Club members have as much chance of success as anyone else in our region.

It was, therefore, disappointing to see the low number of entries from our Club in the 2021 annual Novice Cup. We could have entered 12 images but we only had 10 entries, which meant that our combined score was low compared to the other Clubs who had all submitted the maximum amount of photographs.

A big “thank you” to Kim Rigg, Liz Bagnall, Phil Drayton, Ann Dallaway and Heather Mallinson who made the effort to enter and a selection of whose images are below, and to club Secretary Maureen Smith who helped with the printing of the entries.

Oldham Mono

Each year, Oldham Camera Club invite all the clubs in the L&CPU Federation to enter a monochrome competition, which is usually a print competition but this year changed to PDI and held via Zoom due to the ongoing Covid pandemic.

Judges who visit our club often comment on the strength of our monochrome pictures and again it was disappointing that there weren’t more entries from Club members, so our thanks go to Russell Millner, Derek Mackie, Maureen Smith, Jeff Bagnall, Gordon Bramwell and Peter Kennedy for taking the time to submit images, a selection of which are below:

We did well as a Club in last year’s Federation competitions coming mid way down the leader board despite our region containing some of the most successful Clubs in the country, so although we’re small we have the potential to pack a punch and I hope that next year we see more members submitting entries into Federation competitions and helping the Club to succeed.

Speaker: Caroline Preece

We were treated to a fascinating zoom talk on 6th October from London based photographer Caroline Preece, who encouraged us to look in a different way at photographic composition.

Entitled ‘Tools Not Rules’, Caroline explained that photography is a visual language in which we communicate our own personal take on the world through our images. She explained the psychology behind how people interpret the visual elements within photographs, which helped us understand how to make informed choices when composing our pictures, ensuring they convey feelings and emotions and have visual impact.

We’re often told about the rules of composition, but this was the first time I’d heard an explanation of why and how they work. A good image isn’t one that’s technically perfect but soul-less, it’s one which makes us feel something and Caroline empowered us to make different choices when composing our photographs to help convey our personal message during a very informative night.

This week Club member Seamus Bryans is holding a Portrait Workshop at Underbarrow Village Hall. Seamus is an accomplished portrait photographer who will be offering guidance and tuition on low key portraiture, with the opportunity to put skills learned into practice by photographing models at the event. Please note, this is an in-person workshop and not available on Zoom. Further information will be emailed to members.

Competition: Open

Our first Members’ Evening competition took place on Wednesday 29th September and had an open theme. Judges for the evening were club friends Dave Bibby & Paul King of North Fylde Photographic Society, who delivered the scores and comments from their members who had their work cut out wading through our 93 entries!

We began with the Club mono section, and our congratulations go to Kim Rigg who scored 20 points with her image Askham Fell Pony, while 19 points was shared between Alvina Labsvirs with Loughrigg and Elaine Elrick with Textured.

Next up to be judged was the Club colour section, where Kim Rigg continued her winning streak with Me and My Mouse. Coming joint second with 19 points was Phil Drayton with Barbary Macaque Playing, Ann Dallaway with Mary Eric and I, Bill Lowis with both Bluebell and Working Hard, and Elaine Elrick with Winter Sun.

We then turned to the Advanced mono section, and big congratulations go to Jeff Bagnall who scored a double 20 pointer with his images Starling Family and Gear Wheels. Joint runners up with 19 points were Dylan Reynolds with Embrace and Russell Millner with Photographer and Starlings.

We ended the evening with the Advanced colour section, won by Jo Knight with Trio of Tulips who also shared second place and her image Evacuee with Jeff Bagnall’s Sea Defences.

Next week we’re very much looking forward to welcoming guest speaker Caroline Preece whose Zoom talk is entitled ‘Tools not Rules’. We recently had an evening on the rules of composition, but Caroline aims to get us thinking in a different way about photography and composition, using psychology to empower people to make informed decisions as opposed to worrying about rules and whether to break them. Guests are welcome for a small fee, please see our membership page for details and to book a place.

Tutorial: Composition

Club member Jo Knight gave a Zoom tutorial on how to compose successful images at our meeting on 22nd September. Covering 8 basic rules of composition Jo demonstrated the importance of strong focal points, choosing where to place our main and secondary subjects, and how to achieve balance within our photos.

Weak composition
Strong composition

Alongside guidance on the rule of thirds and the importance of “KISS”, Jo also looked at when it’s OK to break the rules. There was a lot to take in, so a handout from the evening is available in the Members’ Section of our website. Our thanks go to Jo for her hard work in creating a very informative night.

Weak composition
Strong composition

Our next meeting is the first Members’ Evening competition of the season, which has an open subject. Competition nights are always a favourite, as they give us a chance to view each others images and to receive constructive critique on how to improve our photos. Guests and new members are always welcome, either via zoom or in person at Castle Street – see our membership page for details. See you next week!

Speaker: My Photography Challenge

It was a pleasure to welcome three new members and three guests to the first meeting of the new season on 15th September. Our experiment to enable participants to take part both at home via Zoom and in person at Castle Street community centre seemed to work well and there were thankfully no major technical hitches!

Club member Jeff Bagnall gave a short introduction and explanation of how the Club works, then went on to give a presentation on a year long photography challenge which involved taking 1 photograph each week for 52 weeks. It’s a big undertaking and it was interesting for club members to see the range of subjects Jeff managed to capture and the stories and locations behind each shot. Our thanks go to Jeff, as we recognize the time and effort it takes to put together a 2 hour long talk.

Our next meeting takes place on Wednesday 22nd September, when club member Jo Knight will be giving a tutorial on composition. Participants can again take part either from home via zoom, or in person at the Centre where the zoom meeting will be projected onto a screen. It’s not too late to join the club as a member, or book a place as a guest for the evening – see our Membership page for details. Looking forward to seeing everyone on Wednesday 😊.

New Season Begins

The new 2021-22 season begins on Wednesday 15th September at 7.30pm with a welcome and introduction by club member Jeff Bagnall, who will be hosting the evening and giving a talk on his 1/52 photography challenge.

Jeff will briefly preview the new programme and explain how things will be working this season as we try to gradually get back to a kind of normality at the club (see below for further information). After this he will give his talk and share images from his recent photography challenge, discussing the images, the locations and the techniques he has used. It is intended that the talk will be informative, hopefully good humoured and might encourage others to think about a photographic challenge.

After much discussion in respect to the current Covid situation, the committee have decided to hold all meetings via Zoom but with two ways to participate. Members and guests can either stay in the comfort of their own home and join in via Zoom – an email link to the Zoom meeting will be sent out to all members and registered guests each week. Or members and guests can meet up in person at Castle Street Community Centre, where a screen and speakers will project the Zoom meeting. This gives those members happy to mingle in person a chance to meet up, but also allows those members who are more cautious to safely join in.

Members and guests wishing to attend in person please note the following, which include terms and conditions imposed by the Community Centre:

  • Spaces are limited by the Centre to 12 in the room we use. Anyone wishing to attend in person MUST REGISTER beforehand. Spaces will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis – please see the email sent by Club Secretary Maureen for more information or contact us.
  • Attendees need to bring their own refreshments.
  • Attendees need to bring £1 with them to cover the cost of the room hire (note: no change will be available).
  • Sanitizer will be provided by the Centre.
  • The Centre NHS QR code will be available for scanning on a mobile phone.
  • Windows will be open for ventilation.
  • Members are asked to observe social distancing and to wear a mask when using toilets and corridors for the safety of others using the Centre.
  • Some cleaning of surfaces and equipment will need to be carried out before leaving and we ask all attendees help with this.
  • Please do not attend if you or anyone in your household has had COVID-19 symptoms in the last 48 hours.

Due to restrictions at the Centre meetings won’t be fully back to normal this season, not least in terms of having to restrict numbers, but we hope this compromise works for all club members – please bare with us while we navigate the constantly changing coronavirus situation.

Looking forward to seeing members old and new on Wednesday! 😊

Summer Shoots

Our new 2021/2022 season will start in just over a month on Wednesday 15th September. It is currently expected that meetings will resume in person at Castle Street community centre following any Covid guidelines at the time, but we are also looking into continuing with Zoom in addition to the physical meetings for those members who are still uneasy about congregating in large groups indoors. We will keep members informed and details will also be posted here on our website and via our Facebook page.

While some members have been enjoying a well earned break over the summer, others have been meeting informally for various fun and educational photo shoots. On 3rd June, a small group of members met at Morecambe and despite the less than summer temperatures had a great evening taking pictures of the iconic seaside landscape under stormy skies.

On 8th July, Club member Seamus and his family kindly hosted a very informative and enjoyable evening on outdoor portrait photography. Members who attended learned a lot and we are hopeful of seeing some of the resulting images in upcoming competitions!

On 4th August Bill organised a fabulous trip to Killington lake where members photographed sailboats, stunning scenery and were treated to a spectacular sunset.

It’s brilliant that after all the long months of isolation brought on by Covid members are finally able to meet up again to share our collective passion for photography. Hope to see members old and new when Club meetings resume next month!

AGM & Yearly Look Back

Our Annual General Meeting, and final club meeting for this season, took place on Wednesday 21st April via Zoom. The AGM gives members the chance to put forward suggestions on how they would like the club to proceed next year, volunteer for committee posts and also gives an insight into all the hard work which takes place behind the scenes in keeping the Club running which this year due to Covid has been complex and a huge learning curve for everyone involved.

Members all have differing priorities, needs and expectations which can lead to lively debate but as usual at our Club the meeting was conducted with grace and good humour, although our poor Secretary’s fingers must have been worn to a stump trying to type up all the points of order!

Due to Covid our previous season was cut short last March but the committee didn’t miss a bat, setting up Zoom meetings almost immediately and our thanks go to Chairman Gavin for getting to grips with the software which until then no-one had ever heard of! Feeling a need for connection during lockdown we didn’t have our usual summer break and carried on weekly Zoom meetings, meaning a hurried new summer programme had to be invented. Jeff, Dylan, Dave and Gavin worked quickly behind the scenes to come up with ideas for meetings which would work online and their hard work is to be commended. Both club and committee members generously offered to fill evenings with talks, tutorials and fun competitions and our thanks go to everyone who kept the club going at such an anxious and worrying time.

There were other issues to be dealt with due to the pandemic, including changes to our website and banking arrangements so that we could accept guests and new members online which were put in place by Jo and Ann. Dylan and Jo also created a brand new YouTube channel for those members who didn’t feel able to join in via Zoom, so that meetings and tutorials could be watched as videos. This has been technically demanding and hugely time consuming, so a big thanks to them both for all their efforts.

Just about everything to do with the running of Camera Clubs changed due to Covid. It has been an enormous learning curve for everyone and I am amazed at how well our Club, our Federation (the L&CPU) and our national organisation (the PAGB) have dealt with the crisis. For the most part all competitions have taken place, albeit without prints, and distinction awards have resumed using PDIs or AVs. I can’t emphasise enough the sheer hard work which has been involved, all carried out by volunteers purely because of their love of photography. We should be rightly proud.

Holding meetings and competitions online has opened up new opportunities. We have welcomed 6 new members to the Club this year, two of whom do not live locally, and have been able to make use of judges and speakers from all over the UK. L&CPU competitions have seemed more accessible and we have entered Annuals as a Club for the first time. Thanks go to Ann, Dylan and Maureen for all their work on choosing and entering our images which was a steep learning curve, and thanks also to the L&CPU for making the judging available on Zoom which has been great to watch.

This past year has held huge challenges for Camera Clubs but we have risen to the occasion with passion, dedication and humour and it has been a joy to be part of. Having said all that, it’s also been a lot of work and I for one am ready for a break and finally some time to do what I love best – take photographs 🙂. Our programme for next season is now available and we look forward to seeing you all again in September.