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January 2, 2017 in Crewe PS news

Happy New Year everyone and best wishes for the New Year.

Unfortunately, I have to start with some sad news. Mary has been in touch with Margaret Smith, wife of our treasured long term member, Ron Smith. Mary sent me the following message.

‘I have spoken to Margaret this afternoon. She is very frail and has had a fall recently. The district nurses are treating her. Ron has been in Station House for 3 weeks. He is very frail and his condition varies day to day he needs 24 hour care now. Margaret said he was happy to stay in Station House. She visits when friends can take her.’

Let’s hope Ron and Margaret can make a speedy recovery.

We start again on 5 January 2017 with an exciting offering from Judith & Stephen Coyne. They are much travelled and their talk Delhi to Kathmandu promises to be a highlight of the season. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again.

Don’t forget that our third print competition is fast approaching and takes place on 25th.January. John requires that the PDIs of the prints be passed to him by Sunday 8th January and the prints need to be in by Thursday 12th.January. The dropbox link for the PDIs is: here

Make a new year resolution to keep yourself up to date with the forum activities. A lot of work is done in keeping it up to date and new items are regularly added. Have a look at the events page which has been updated with details of interesting local talks by Glyn Dewis and Doug Chinnery at North Cheshire Photographic Society. There’s also the Three Countries Exhibition at Keele University.

Don’t forget to show us your seasonal photographs in the forum’s monthly theme.

See you on Thursday.


Final Meeting of 2016

December 16, 2016 in Crewe PS news

15 December was our last 2016 Meeting and we had presentations from Meg and Peter Robinson to enjoy before our usual “Office Party”.

Peter had two AVs to show us – one about Blist’s Hill Victorian Village and one of a journey along the famous Route 66. The former especially was really excellent; really well scripted, dozens of super shots, well edited and very detailed with coverage of every part of the now quite extensive museum area. It had me planning my next visit – I had missed so much! (Not a single tourist/visitor in any of the shots by the way!). Route 66 was inevitably full of the razzmatazz which is Route 66 but the diversion to the Grand Canyon provided respite. This was more of a slideshow – but what slides! Peter is an adventurous photographer, constantly looking for the new angle (he inevitably uses a wide-angle quite a bit) and new compositions. The show was full of exciting shots, some of which we have seen as competition entries.

I am sure Meg felt a little trepidation following that! She need not have worried; she gave us the back-story on a collection of her competition entries and her candour and engaging Scottish accent commanded close attention and  left us wanting more!

We should reflect on what excellent presentations we have had from members this year. Of course we enjoy and learn from our visitors’ talks but it is especially interesting and useful to know what our own colleagues get up to with their photography.

The following Christmas party was our usual buffet but many were hearing what a great evening MCCC had had at their club dinner the night before. Some mused that we might do the same but remember that next year we will be having our 70th birthday celebration dinner and, since it will be near Christmas, we might combine the two!

We now have a break until 5 January when we start 2017 with “From Delhi to Kathmandu” with Stephen and Judith Coyne.

Members Evening 24 November 2017

November 25, 2016 in Crewe PS news

Martin’s presentation, about how Photoshop Elements can be used effectively in manipulating your shoots was a delight. His enthusiasm for changing the content of his pictures knew no bounds, but he kept a realistic feel (no unicorns ascending rainbows, though we did have an OTT rainbow which was not serious). Martin made it all such fun and still included a number of serious bits; the Lytham Lifeboat and Cornish mining disasters. He has promised a Part Two, and to be hones, I cant wait!

Wallace then presented 15 minutes about his recent nature photography trip to Norfolk. Here we were engaged in a different way; this time by the sheer spectacle of thousands of knot driven off shore by the rising tide, barn owls silently floating by in cold evening light and delightful Reedlings, Bramblings and even translucent fungi photographed at Sculthorpe nature reserve. Again, I hope we soon get another episode – the third or fourth in Wallace’s case.

John told us about a fascinating project by Levon Biss who has created some truly astonishing, detailed pictures of insects. This is focus stacking gone mad because his depth of field in working on such tiny things is only 10 microns, so he needs to stack dozens of shots. He then only works on little details at a time and composites the images to make 3m wide prints. Yes, that was three metres. Sometimes he has used 9,000 shots to make one print. He worked with Oxford Museum of Natural History, which has the second largest collection of insects in the country. The most striking, iridescent, strange (and perfect) specimens were used. If you want to explore this yourself look at the website

We got down the brass tacks with comments about our website by webmaster, Peter Robinson. Peter has just effected a brilliant improvement to the uploading of images on to the Forum, so we now expect far more contributions; especially to our monthly topic and the critique ones.

Finally a five minute look at how we could include discussion of individual work into these sessions. What a success! Within that five minutes we got deeply into the details of mounting prints and I learned a number of new things.


Levon Biss examines one of his 3metre photomicrographs

These sessions show just how much we can learn from each other and just what our fellow members particular interest and skills are – a super evening.


L&CPU PDI Knock-Out

November 21, 2016 in Crewe PS news

composite-lcpu-ko-2016That heading needs some explanation. The L&CPU is our Federation of photo clubs and societies, about one hundred in all. They help us with insurance and many organisational matters, keep a register of judges and lecturers who will visit clubs at special rates, and organise 4 big competitions each year. This is one such competition.

Last year we came within an ace of winning, in fact tying for first place only to lose the tie-break.

This year we were not so successful, but turned in a good performance for =13th place out of 45 clubs taking part.

Each club enters 8 images; the last one always being a reserve (for the tie-break). How many images are used depends on the number of clubs entering and this year it was very popular, resulting in only 4 images being required.

The judge simply eliminates the images he least prefers in a series of rounds. 2 of ours went out in the first round but Martin McGing’s Grasstrack Racers and Ian Whiston’s Leopard Club Affection fared better, making Round Four and Round 5 respectively. Chorley PS won the event.

Full results are now available HERE. Note that we tied with WIGAN 10!

PDI 2 2017 – Judged by Brian Dunseath ARPS

November 4, 2016 in Crewe PS news


Brian was back for the second time. He impressed us last year with his confident reading of our pictures and good technical criticism centred round guiding the viewers perception of the image.

The winners were a sure-fire set having in common something to communicate and  excellent taking and processing skills to bring that out. I felt the monochrome were looking especially good on our projector, now set up to perfection. Projectors will always be inclined to be brighter than your monitor at home and reveal blown highlights (pure white areas) and any strange goings on in the shadows (!) but if you are aware of this it can be avoided. In quite a few cases just a little dodging and burning might have put things right and I think this is something we can look at in our workshop session on 24 November.

Brian was very complimentary of the quality of our work and he is absolutely right, we presented him with a difficult task but he was more than equal to it.

The three section winners are shown above (see Gallery for larger versions). They all have high emotional content. Kim is such a joyous picture and a fresh pose, looking great in mono, Love in the Mud is also beautifully composed (incidentally following the “painter’s armature” perfectly) and how effective the man’s expression is, despite being a very small part of the picture – and how the girl sliding down the bank points straight to him! Finally Ian’s African wildlife dominated the Nature section – great capture but also of excellent quality – such attention to detail.

An aura of quietude

October 28, 2016 in Crewe PS news

mono_1_-arcade_tom-seaton-webTom Seaton’s winning mono print in our first print competition shows how photography can make the best of the world – pointing the other way the scene would have been full of people! Anyway, as John Berger said in an interview yesterday, that is something to think about for a long time, no more from me on that matter, well, here at least.

It has been said before here that we always look forward to seeing Tom Seaton’s entries in our competitions but last night (20 Oct)  he excelled himself with two section
wins and a further 3rd place! Above is the beautifully serene Arcade, which won the monochrome section. Tom has plied a straight furrow to perfection, he has always
been attracted by architectural features, especially in mono. His eye unfailingly picks out form and his prints render them perfectly. GALLERY for PRINT 1 2017

This print possesses something which I notice many mono entries in national competitions seem to lack and that is a semblance to the great, revered mono images of the past in its surface qualities. It is a  look which many of us still to strive for, as opposed to the in-your-face edginess which would surely have ruined this picture.

Hoylake International with Brian & Diana Magor

October 28, 2016 in Crewe PS news

Brian and Diana have made a great success of their venture into Photographic Society of America (PSA) competitions. They started almost by accident in realising that their FIAP competition entries were quietly gaining PSA points too. Investigation proved that even well known and respected competitions were being run on a shoe string and were easier to organise. So they made their own; and now the Hoylake International has been running for several years with great success.

There are a number of really attractive things about the competition; first and foremost being Brian and Diana’s enthusiasm for making it accessible, offering awards especially for L:&CPU club members and their own club members. The other thing is that the PSA categories have a wider appeal – photojournalism and travel being two topics which would open possibilities for many of us – they are for lightly processed images too.

If tonight encouraged you to have a go the next competition is open for entries in the new year – we’ll remind you when the time comes with a front page ad.

Both Brian and Diana hold the MPSA award and their PSAA work has taken them to India, China and America.


Roger Evans FBPE EFIAP DPAGB – Talk Sport – 13 September 2016

October 14, 2016 in Crewe PS news

Roger Evans FBPE EFIAP DPAGB is a very determined man. It shows in the variety of sports he has photographed (everything from synchronised swimming to weight-lifting), the number of events he covers (about one each week) and the way he overcomes any difficulty.

Roger’s talk conveyed that determination very clearly as he took us through his sports photography career, from a “stringer” in the 1980s to his work at the Commonwealth Games.

He quickly learned the need for detailed preparation – and patience (he recounted spending 7 hours at one jump at some recent horse trials).

Tips? Well there was one in every sentence but so too was the evidence of a great knowledge of the sportsmen and women he was photographing. He uses the best equipment; Canon 5DIII, 300mm f2.8, 70-200 f2.8 mainly, but it is the way they are used that really counts and we heard many little details which told you that here was a man who knew exactly what he was doing, left little to chance and thoroughly deserved the remarkable success that he has enjoyed over the years, culminating in his FBPE (700 acceptances, 50 awards from 25 different pictures) in the last few months.

Having just heard Wallace’s talk about photographing gymnastics we had a special empathy with Rogers account of covering the same sport and Wallace was kind enough to provide the vote of thanks at the end.

Roger is a member of Chester PS and well known to our member Ian Whiston. I first had a chance to talk to Roger at Keele last year and he never mentioned sports photography, what he did talk about was how, during his early career in London, he often requested viewing particular works of the past masters of photography from the V&A collection. I like to think that this informed his particular style.

A truly remarkable evening.


PDI 1 2017 – 29 September 2016 – The Winners

October 9, 2016 in Crewe PS news



Sports photography is all about depicting action and we certainly got it with two of the class winners in our first competition of the 2016-17 season. Kath Hill’s Making a Splash, certainly does just that in more ways than one and Martin McGing’s Grass Track Racers also has things flying, in this case the vegetation rather than water. Finally we had the almost inevitable winner of the Nature section – Ian Whiston’s Cheetah and Playful Cub.

The full results and a gallery of all 12 top scoring images can be accessed from the RESULTS page, found under DOWNLOADS above.



Members Evening 9 Oct 2016

October 7, 2016 in Crewe PS news


What a great evening! We had three excellent contributions, the first explains the rather weird looking picture above. It is an anaglyphic 3D image which you view with glasses which have a red filter as the left lens and a cyan filter as the right. I am sure most readers will be familiar with the idea but in Ken Last’s presentation he showed us how easily these images can be created just with one ordinary camera. In trying out the technique before the night I was astonished how easy it was! The biggest secret is a wonderful piece of free software called Stereophotomaker. You simply take a shot. move a little to the right (keeping things reasonably level) and take another, the software will then align, tint and combine the images into one like the sample above. Viewed with red and cyan glasses the results will astonish, the plane nose seems to loom out over you.

We then moved on the some AV presentations by Ralph Browes. We all know that Ralph is a keen walker but his 3 AVs included a surprise; the British Grand Prix! Alpine views and, nearer home, the Pennines, were the main subjects and how those European shots with colorful wildlife and sky-scraping, jagged white peaks made you really want to be there!

Finally Wallace told us about his experiences photographing gymnastics. Gymnastics is not something that Wallace particularly follows but he thought it would make an interesting subject to photograph. The story of gaining permission to shoot at a major event was really surprising – they were so accommodating! They did, however, have very strict rules about where he could and could not go in the arena – but the rules seemed to me to be perfectly reasonable and Wallace got some good shots. Like all subjects you have a lot top learn at first but the event ran over several days so he was able to plan better as time went on.

Thanks very much you three for a very interesting and entertaining evening.

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