Exploring the Forum

September 11, 2017 in Information

The above photograph is by Martin Munkácsi. It was taken in 1929 or 1930, and has long been known as “Three Boys at Lake Tanganyika”. Cartier-Bresson said it was the only photograph that influenced him: “In 1932, I saw a photograph by Martin Munkácsi of three black children running into the sea… [it] made me suddenly realise that photography could reach eternity through the moment. I couldn’t believe such a thing could be caught with the camera… I said damn it! I took my camera and went out into the street.”

Cartier-Bresson had spent years studying painting, including two years (1928/29) with André Lhote, who taught, in particular, figure painting – how to represent the human figure’s physical presence, movements, and expressions. Hence Cartier-Bresson’s astonishment that a photograph could do something that he’d thought only the plastic arts (drawing, painting and sculpture) could achieve.

Munkácsi learnt his trade as a newspaper photographer after the First World War. He specialised in sports photography, which at the time could only be shot outdoors in bright light. But he managed to do this with remarkable attention to composition, which required technical as well as artistic skill. And it was the meticulous handling of the plastic forms, expressing such spontaneity and joy in life, that had so impressed Cartier-Bresson.

Munkácsi summed up his approach to photography in an article called “Think While You Shoot”: never pose your subjects; let them move about naturally; all great photographs today are snapshots; take back views, take running views; pick unexpected angles, but never without reason.

In the early 1930s, Martin Munkácsi took a series of photographs along the west side of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on glass plate negatives. These pictures, combining architecture and people in the street, show the same meticulous attention to composition, to the flow and gesture of line through a picture, that had made such an impression on Cartier-Bresson a couple of years before.

(This post appeared on the Forum recently and is copied here to tempt you to view our Forums – and sign up if you are a member. In addition to illuminating posts like this one you will find posts about events, technical discussion and, of course, our popular Monthly Theme)


An evening with Mike Lane

September 9, 2017 in Information

DUNNOCK or HEDGE SPARROW, Prunella modularis, UK

A dedicated wildlife photographer for forty years, Mike Lane FRPS is someone most of you will know. He was telling SECOS (South-East Cheshire Ornithological Society, founded by two Crewe PS members) last night that he now has access to the largest private woodland in England.

Felix Dennis was the country’s richest man and was dedicated to leaving a natural legacy – by turning as much of Warwickshire back to woodland as he possibly could. Mike, and a fellow photographer had made a small woodland their “patch” and had carte blanche to do as they pleased to advance their wildlife photography there. They were disappointed to learn a few years back that the woodland was to be sold. Fortunately Mr Dennis was the buyer and was happy not only to let them continue but offered them the entire estate for photography!

There were plenty of tips from Mike on photographing Kingfishers, Herons, etc and pictures of the many (wooden) hides and other devices he and his associate had constructed. Some subjects he regarded as easy; Kingfishers for example, readily perched on a stick introduced into their flight path. He also found that removing the stick caused them to hover for 30 seconds at the spot where it used to be, offering another opportunity for photography.

These tricks and tips make it all sound easy but they are in fact very very hard won and the underlying message was the supreme dedication which Mike has to his work. All more the pity that he can no longer make a living from wildlife photography – there are just too many wildlife photographers now! This was echoed by our friend Patrick, who was also at the meeting – he has a huge back catalogue of images with agencies which used to do well for him – they now earn a pittance.


Chalk It Up! A Success for Crewe

September 8, 2017 in Crewe PS news


Chalk It Up! in Crewe last weekend (26/27 August 2017) provided plenty of photo opportunities and members of Crewe PS were there to get the shots. This spectacular creation by the Mexican artist Adry Del Rocio (I guess a self portrait) took first prize as far as the public vote was concerned. There is an excellent movie of the event HERE. including some superbly managed drone shots!

A number of Crewe PS members were able to send images in to Crewe Town Council, Cheshire East and local newspapers to celebrate the success of this event.

Chalk It Up!

August 26, 2017 in Crewe PS news

Crewe Ps members are helping Cheshire East and Crewe Town Council document some of the events which they have helped to stage in Crewe in recent times and on Saturday 26 August the two-day event Chalk It Up started with the artists getting to work on their creations. Thankfully a warm, dry day was promised as they sketched things out. There were a variety of approaches from the geometrical construction to the impressionistic splash – all looking great. It will take all day and perhaps  more for some of the more detailed works to be finished but by midday there was already plenty to see. In the afternoon a major work will be underway outside the Lyceum which you are all invited to contribute too, while on Sunday youngsters especially are invited to have a go themselves in a pavement artist competition.


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

Oliver Wright

August 20, 2017 in Information

We had the pleasure of listening to Oliver Wright speak at the Birdfair in Rutland this week. It would be hard to imagine anyone more helpful than Oliver and he was quite happy to extend his talk into a demonstration afterwards.

I think we were all most interested in focus-stacking, and Oliver has become a foremost exponent of this technique, achieving some astonishing results which can be seen on his website.

He used the 65mm Canon 5:1 macro lens in some of his shots. This remarkable lens, unique in the macro field, changes length alarmingly as you change the magnification. There is no focussing, you set the magnification and then move the camera to focus. The depth of field wide open and at full magnification is a tiny fraction of a millimetre, but, thanks to stacking and his practised technique, Oliver can get a high success rate. Eschewing a tripod or any mechanical support, which are too inflexible with moving quarry, Oliver supports the lens with his finger at the end of the barrel. When he is near enough to the closest focus point he fires off frames in continuous mode whilst gently pushing the lens against his resting finger. That tiny movement, as the flesh resists movement, is enough to cover the field required. He then processes the shots in Lightroom (do just one in the series then copy the adjustments to all shots) then he processes the stack, usually in Ps. With the 5DS – the camera with no anti-aliasing filter and 50MB images, you can imagine the time this takes the computer and how big the finished assembly can be – 120GB was mentioned – obviously all this can be compressed into a normal sized jpeg in the end. Oliver does a lot of deleting!

There is now a blog on his website in which Oliver is going to discuss focus stacking specifically.


August 4, 2017 in Information

ARK is a collection of sculptures installed in Chester Cathedral until 15 October. There are some 90 works from 50 different artists including some of the leading figures; Barbara Hepworth, Elisabeth Frink, Eduardo Paolozzi, Antony Gormley,

Did you know David Bailey was a sculptor?

This is a very enjoyable collection, dotted around the entire cathedral, which itself, of course, is also a work of art.

It is free to see, though you need a guide list (£2) and it is only fitting to respond to the request for a donation and a modest further £2 is all that is suggested.

Featured is my shot of the very striking Stubbs (Absorbed) by Michael Joo; a life size Zebra based on a Stubb’s painting.


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!

Gold Medal at the PAGB Inter-Club PDI Championships 15 July 2017

July 16, 2017 in Crewe PS news

Ian Whiston’s Cheetah with family was the Gold Medal winner in the PDI Nature section of the 2017 Inter-Federation Competition and his award was presented at the PAGB event yesterday. In the picture he is photographed by Terry Donnelly (himself an award winner (in fact THE award winner with “best in Show”) while PAGB President, Gordon Jenkins, in his over-exposed white shirt, finds his place in the script.

It was another great event and marked by being the tenth anniversary of switching to PDIs from slides. Smethwick were the winners (Wigan 10 second) and the “second division” Plate Trophy was won by Dumfries CC.Marking was high (pushed up by the judges being told not to award anything less than 3) which actually made things more exciting!

Explanations: 1) The Inter-Federation competition is an annual competition, organised by the PAGB, between all 15 Federations – the number of entries based on the size of the Federation. How the selection is made is up to each Federation but the L&CPU entry is selected from the Annual Individual Competition images. The prints are exhibited at various venues during the coming year and the PDIs are available on CD.

2) The Inter-Club PDI is also for all Federations, this time two clubs are selected (in the L&CPU case from the Club Annual successes) and they take part as a team. There are two opening rounds, using 8 images each from each club. The top 8 scorers then compete for the CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY in a further larger round and the rest of the clubs compete for the PLATE TROPHY in a further single round. The top 8 that year are automatically invited to take part the following year so this year the L&CPU had 4 clubs; Wigan 10 and Chorley PS because they were finalist last year and North Cheshire and The Evolve Group as the two selected clubs.



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