1600 and all that!

January 4, 2017 in Crewe PS news, Information

I earlier reported that the L&CPU are following the PAGB lead in requiring 1600 x 1200 PDIs from July. I now find that the L&CPU will require 1600 x 1200 PDIs for the Club Annual in MARCH.

The problem the L&CPU will have is that the 2017 PAGB Inter-Federation Competitions will presumably ask for 1600s (although the entry is in June) and if the L&CPU do not change their rules they will only have 1400s to submit.

The problem is being passed down the line and now we will not have 1600s to submit. It would have been better for us if the change had been made at the L&CPU Individuals Comp in May, especially since individual members are responsible for entries in that competition.

We now have the choice of not entering PDIs at all, or chasing members for 1600 versions of PDIs we want to use, or putting in images which are 25% smaller than their 1600 rivals..

Longer term, please note that the 1600s will display satisfactorily on our projector and there is no need for a new machine. Whilst we would see more detail with 1600s displayed AT 1600 we will not see any difference on our 1400 projector but we can continue to enjoy the very good standards we presently have for as long as members wish – (a new projector is £2,500). We must change to 1600 next season, otherwise submissions to external competitions will not be competitive; 1400s can be entered but will be 25% smaller when viewed by the judges through a 1600 projector – an obvious disadvantage and probably completely spoiling any chance of an image being selected to represent the L&CPU in the PAGB competitions.

Remember that you can reduce an image size with no problems but enlargement degrades the image. This degradation is lessened by using specialist software but the fact that new pixels are being added to the image inevitably means lost detail compared to a 1600 made in the normal way.

All other PDI standards remain the same.

NOTE added 8 January – At the Exec Meeting yesterday the L&CPU decided that, for the Club Annuals, all projections will be at 1400, so the 1400 entries will not be at a disadvantage.

CPS News

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.


January’s Monthly Theme is ‘ Pictures of the Season’

December 31, 2016 in Uncategorized

Happy New Year everyone and best wishes. We’ve all just had a Christmas break and are looking forward to a positive new year so here’s a opportunity for you to share your Christmas and seasonal photographs with members.. It’s not just about Christmas and New Year celebrations, perhaps you’ve taken some seasonal landscapes or sporting events or even the crowds in the season’s sales. Just show us what you can come up with. I have a New Year’s resolution to improve my photography and will use our website to help me achieve that goal

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.

December’s Monthly Theme is Shapes

December 1, 2016 in Monthly Theme

This month’s theme is all about the shapes and lines that make up your photograph. Show us some of your photographs that use these elements to create an interesting composition. Then, if you wish discuss the photograph with us or just let us enjoy it. The subject matter is open so get your thinking caps on and show us what you can do. Don’t forget to use our new easy upload tool.

A Local History Project

November 28, 2016 in Information

_dsf1183Even with digital photography you can reproduce that magical moment when a negative image on a film, with a scene depicted which you can barely construe, bursts into real life in the developing dish. At last you can see your picture! The same thing happens when you scan or photograph some negatives and then change them into positives, but now at the press of a button. That is what I have just been doing for a small Crewe & District Local History Association project. There were 80 small glass plates; some were relatively well known photographs of the Crewe Cottage Hospital Fete (1907) which were recently featured in a book “Change at Crewe”. The others, well nobody at present knows the photographer or his subjects. They are mainly people posing stiffly in their Sunday best outside the windows of their terraced houses, in the “yard”. There is no attempt to disguise this urbane backdrop, though sometimes the Aspidistra has been brought outside from its gloomy world to decorate the scene, perched on its fancy stand. Of course we all know the strictures the slow process of photography placed on the art in those days; you had to keep still, you needed lots of light. It was also very much an occasion, even if the photographer was a friend or family member.

Among these rigid  compositions were two or three really charming shots and you wish the photographer (I assume they are all one person’s work) had done more like those. The rigidly posed shots communicate a lot of information but these few show life and soul. It is so much easier to be involved with these  images and feel you are sharing in the lives of the subjects. You empathise and you are involved; something to remember with our own photography.

As the club comes up to its 70th year we will be assembling photos from the club’s past and present). We record things for history all the time without knowing it. Every time you press the shutter you capture a bit of history – perhaps we can think about how our pictures help future historians to piece together our times.

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!

Gary Waidson DPAGB HND – Waylandscapes

November 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

sunset_way_350We were really looking forward to a return visit by Gary after his excellent talk last year about using layers in Photoshop. This time it was about his landscape photography and to say that it did not disappoint would be something of an understatement! His AV presentation was one of the most impressive I have ever seen and the mastery of technology which was behind its production was also a feature of his photography where HDR, Multiple-exposure night shots and so on were heavily featured.

Gary has been a regular winner of awards in the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition and it is no surprise.  It is not just the technology which characterises his work; he has the patience, determination and vision required of a  landscape photographer but is also fascinated by the time element which can be put to work in photography, something which is explored by people like Michael Kenna. Gary turns it up to 11.

A great evening. Gary is working on a new presentation which he gave us a taste of – we look forward to seeing it in 2018!

You can enjoy his work by visiting his website

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.

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