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February’s Monthly Theme is Still Life

January 31, 2018 in Uncategorized

Inspired by this George Franks’ talk a few weeks ago on Still Life photography I’ve decided to give you the chance to show what you can do. George showed us how to cheaply build up a set using simple lighting and home made accessories. You don’t have to spend a lot of money and have expensive equipment to get some great still life photos. You just need some creative ideas and basic knowledge of lighting, exposure, composition and controlling depth of field.

George showed us how to photograph a bottle of wine with table lamp and a couple of flashguns. He used light modifiers made out of Pringle tubes turning them into a snoot, softbox and a grid to control the light. He didn’t use an exposure meter. He adjusted his exposure by judging his histogram and camera’s screen. He set his camera and budget flashguns to manual and kept changing the settings and positions until he was happy. Digital photography makes this possible and a lot easier than it once was.

Of course you don’t have to use artificial lights at all. Diffused window light can give a wonderful soft even light but is less controllable. You’ll probably need a reflector to bounce some light back into the shadows.

The weather hasn’t been too good so it’s a good time to enjoy your hobby indoors. Now it’s your turn to experiment with creative lighting and share your photos with fellow members for us all to learn from.


The ‘Battle of Nantwich’ 27th. January

January 12, 2018 in Uncategorized

On Saturday 27th.January, Nantwich will commemorate the English Civil War battle of Nantwich which took place in 1644. Nantwich was a Parliamentarian strong hold in Cheshire and was besieged by Lord Byron’s Royalist forces. Every yearhundreds of the Sealed Knot re-enactors from all over the country invade Nantwich in their civil war uniforms and arsenal.

I’m a veteran of the event myself, not as a re-enactor, but as a photographer. I’ve seen it grow from a small group of soldiers who stood around the square for an hour to the big event it is today. These days activities start in the morning before the troops arrive with Morris Dancers and singers entertaining the crowds. I enjoy talking to the knowledgeable Sealed Knot to learn about the history and way of life during the Civil War. Then I’ll watch the troops do their drill and engage in a mock battle.

It’s always been quite a challenge to photograph the event due to the large number of people there and the distracting backgrounds.  If you get there mid morning you’ll be able to warm up photographing the Morris Dancers. They’re a friendly bunch who enjoy actively dancing and like to pose for portraits as well. I liked to try using a variety of shutter speeds to capture them sharp and also get some blurry movement. Around midday the Nantwich Players Theatre will put on a short performance in the square where a scandrell  is found guilty and marched down the stocks in Pillory Street where the children throw lettuce at him.

The troops will march from Malbank School down Welsh Row around 1pm into the church square and wait to be inspected doing their drill. There’s also a wreath laying ceremony to remember everyone that died during the battle. The troops will be there for about 30 minutes and you’ll have an opportunity to photograph them. It gets very busy with many spectators and photographers at this time. Of course, the way you photograph the event depends on what type of pictures you want. I always like to get a general view of a line of soldiers using a wide angle lens, with the church in the background, but it can be difficult to get without spectators in. Then with a longer lens look out for some of the many characters there who make great portraits. Using a wide aperture can help diffuse the background. Also keep an eye out for when the regiments doing their drill as you can get some good photos looking down the pikes or barrels. Don’t forget to focus on the eyes.

After the drill the soldiers will march down to the Mill Field by the River Weaver to re-enact a mock battle. They will engage with cannon fire, muskets and pikes to gain territory. Due to the camber of the land slopping to the river, it can be difficult to see if you’re not on the front row so it’s a good idea to get there early to get a good spot. It’s probably best to use a lens in the range of 70-200mm as the action could be across the field or closer too. They also have a secondary barrier that you’ll need to photograph over. Be prepared for the loud bangs the cannons make when they’re fired. Trying to capture the moment of them firing is difficult so you could try a rapid fire technique. It’s good to take a variety of photographs of the flag wavers, the drummers, the musketeers and the pikemen in combat. Sometimes smoke drifts over the scene which adds to the atmosphere.

I’ve found this schedule of the days events:

RedShift Stage – Town Square – 10am – 1.30pm

10.15am – Sinead D’abreu-Hayling

11.00am – Nantwich Young Voices

11.30am – Tim Lee

11.55am – Nantwich Players Theatre

12.45pm – Sealed Knot troops leave Malbank School to parade along Welsh Row

1.00pm – Troops arrive into Town Centre

1.15pm – Wreath laying ceremony at War Memorial

1.30pm – Troops parade to Mill Island to battle

Nantwich Museum – 10am – 12.30pm

10.00am – Civil War tour

10.30 – 11.30am  – Musketry demonstration with Sealed Knot

11.30 – 12.30pm – 17th Century music from Forlorne Hope

Mill Island – 1.45 – 3pm

​​1.40pm – Troops arrive

1.50pm – Artillery Demo (BIG BANGS!)

2.00pm – Battle reenactment begins

Around Town – 10am – 12.30pm

Mollies / Plough Witches / Street entertainers

Doomsday Morris Dancers


Good Shooting, Peter

January’s Monthly Theme is Shadows

January 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

Happy New Year everyone. Are you looking for a New Years’ resolution? How about submitting a photograph to our Monthly theme. Start this month by showing us how you can photograph shadows to create dramatic photographs. Members can then give constructive feed back which will benefit us all and improve our photography.

December’s Monthly Theme is ‘Favourite Photos’

December 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

As a festive treat for all of our members I’m asking you all to enjoy sharing your favourite photos with fellow members and say why you like them. There’s no time limit so feel free to go through your archives and dig out those special memories. Hopefully it’ll start off an interesting discussion.

November’s Monthly Theme is ‘Leading Lines’

October 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

As we enter a brand new month we have a brand new theme to challenge our members. The theme for November is ‘Leading Lines’ which nicely follows on from October’s compositional theme of balance. So show our members how you can use different techniques to lead the viewer a long an invigorating path to you main subject. Don’t have too many obstacles on the route and make it flow naturally. Show us what you can do and we can discuss your image.

October’s Monthly Theme is Balance

October 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

This month’s theme gives you the opportunity to test your balance.  The balance of your photograph can transform an average photograph into a winner so take up this challenge to show members how well balanced you are. Not only can you balance your subjects size and position, but also it’s tone, colour and sharpness. Play around with the composition and find one that pleases you then share it on our friendly forum for some constructive discussion.

September’s Monthly Theme is ‘Water’

August 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

As I’m way during the turn of the month I’m giving members advanced notification of September’s theme. So you can get your photographs ready early. You may even take some for the upcoming competitions.

water is a fascinating subject to photograph and can be captured in many different ways. Do you like your water to freeze or flow? It can make a good reflector or even a lens. Back lighting brings it to like and coloured filters can be very creative.  With the new season rapidly approaching here a good opportunity for you take and show some exciting photographs.

Please don’t enter your water photographs until 1 Sept, but you can still show us your garden photos in our August theme.

CPS Members photograph an Alan Turing play

August 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

Members of Crewe Photographic Society who had registered as volunteers with Cheshire East were invited to photograph the preparation and the play about the trial of Alan Turing and Arnold Murray. The play is being held as part of Knutsford’s Heritage Open Days.

Alan Turing was a mathematician, code breaker and pioneer in computer science. He decoded German messages at Bletchley Park and it’s thought his dedication shortened World War 2 by two years and saved 14 million lives. After the war Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts with Arnold Murrey. “Gross indecency” was a criminal offence in the UK and he accepted chemical castration as an alternative to prison. He died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning thought to be suicide, but it has been noted that the known evidence is also consistent with accidental poisoning.

The play takes place in the actual courtroom in Knutsford where Turing was sentenced and explores the external pressures and the internal thoughts of the people in the courtroom.

Ian McNab and I were invited to take documentary photographs of the first rehearsal last Saturday in the courtroom recording the preparation and rehearsal. The photographs are to be used on social media to advertise the play and CPS will be given credit and a link to our website.  Some of the photographs have already been posted on the ‘Re-Dock’ Flickr site at Re-Dock Flickr Site

Their Twitter site is: Re-docks Twitter site

August’s Theme is Gardens

July 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

The monthly theme for August is Gardens. You might want to get in close and photograph an individual flower or photograph the whole garden. Perhaps you’d prefer to concentrate on the garden’s wildlife or how people enjoy it. Don’t forget the lighting is as important as the subject. What technique you choose we’d love to see and discuss your work. Join the club!

July’s Theme is Summer Time

June 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

Summer is a great time to get out with your camera and take some wonderful photographs. You can just capture the beauty of summer plants or a summer event or sport. How does summer make you feel? Can you express that in a photograph? Have a go and show us what summer means to you. Please read the post heading the monthly theme for details on posting images.

Thanks, Peter.

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