Welcome to our Virtual Club page!  We have created this page to keep the club operational online during the Covid-19 lockdown. We will post announcements, news and new ideas and initiatives here to keep us all active whilst the season is effectively closed.


Challenge Review

With the start of lockdown, the club introduced the fortnightly challenge.  Every couple of weeks two new themes were chosen which challenged members to experiment with new ideas, think creatively and explore editing skills.  All the images can be seen in the reports below which are accompanied by brief notes from the photographer.

The challenges have been well supported and hugely enjoyed but with the club's new season approaching, it was felt appropriate to bring the venture to a close.  As a final part of the project, members were invited to nominate two images about which they wished to learn more and a Challenge Review took place via Zoom.

Twenty members joined the meeting at which twenty six images were reviewed from seventeen photographers.   Despite the limitations of Zoom on spontaneous discussion, there were animated exchanges as some outstanding images were appraised.   The meeting offered an excellent opportunity to learn how some effects were achieved and to stimulate everyone to continue exploring different ways of taking and editing images.

Many thanks to all those who took part in the Challenges and we greatly look forward to the exciting programme of events which can be viewed under the website's Meetings tab.

Brian H - Covid Gates

I was walking around Sherborne recording images of the Pandemic’s effects on life in Sherborne.  I saw this advice on social distancing on the Abbey gates.  At the same time council workmen were using stencils to spray paint similar advice on the Cheap street pavements.  There were closed shops with various notices related to these strange times, will they ever re-open?

Gypsymoth(?) Caterpillar Webs

During lockdown we went for a walk along Fanny Brooks Lane to get some exercise.  A warm sunny day brought out butterflies and cow parsley was in flower, (Queen Anne’s Lace is a much better name for them).  The contact with nature brought a sense of normality.

The hedges along the grassy lane were festooned with these webs for a considerable length and all contact was avoided as they could cause rashes.

Peter - Sparrow Hawk

Nikon D810, f/2.8 1/1000 Sec: ISO 640 -1 stop @ 200 mm.  Heavily cropped,  hand held,  lightened, increased contrast and not a lot else as I was a novice to Lightroom (still am !).

Sunset over Glastonbury

Canon 5D Mk iv f/16 1/25 Sec: ISO 800 @ 200 mm. Tripod used, slight cropped, Lightroom adjustments including grad: filter.

Sarah - Orchid, Ham Hill

Canon 60d, Sigma Macro lens 105, F4.0, 1/13th sec.  Had to climb a steep bank by the side of the quarry for this, then balance between it and the barbed wire fence!  There were other Orchids in the fields but the light on this one caught my attention.  In post, I lowered the saturation on a layer and painted through some of the colour from the original.  The background was pretty much as it was, I just took a random leaf out.

Have a Guess!

A plastic drainer mat from Wilco that I thought would come in handy for images, and it did!  I put a red plastic wallet under it (for colour) and crushed tin foil under that.  Quite a good result but when I started to play, I produced this and liked it.  After converting it to b and w, I brought the highlights up and bit and darkened the shadows down.


Challenge 14 x 9

The themes for this challenge were Nature and Patterns, and we are still going strong!

Malcolm - Dandelion in a spin

Canon 5D iii, 24-105mm lens at 84mm

Exposure: ISO 500, 1/20s at f/9

During the early phase of lockdown I had watched a few YouTube videos on ideas for photography during lockdown. There was a bit of a craze for twirl effects so I thought I would have a play. The starting image was a simple dandelion flower taken on one of our exercise walks. Basic exposure adjustments made in Lightroom and then exported to Photoshop. In Photoshop the image was converted to a smart object. Step 1 was to apply a Mezzotint. Step 2 was to apply radial blur. Step 3 was to apply a Twirl Distortion filter and change the blending mode to lighten. You can easily spend many hours tweaking the settings. I think it is a marmite type of image. Love it or hate it!

Equilateral Polo’s

Canon 5D iii, Sigma 105mm macro lens

Exposure: ISO800, 1/400s at f/2.8

I have to confess that the original idea was not mine. I remembered seeing an image before, made using polos. I used an old Subbuteo pitch as the green backdrop. A sheet of plate glass was placed on the green backdrop. The thing that took longest was balancing the 9 polos on the glass. I tried it first with artificial light but it was too harsh. So the next morning I used soft natural window light. Processing was very minimal. Tweaks to white and black points, crop and levels adjustment.

Mike N - Ecorce D’arbre  

Taken 12th August 2020 in Lysander Road, Yeovil.  Samsung J5 mobile, F1.9 @ 1/100sec, ISO 100.  Lens 4mm (35 equivalent: 28mm)Metering - Centre weighted Average, handheld, natural lighting.

Next Year’s Crop

Taken 8th August 2020 in Lenthay Road, Sherborne.  Samsung J5 mobile, F1.9 @ 1/100sec, ISO 640, lens 4mm (35 equivalent: 28mm), Metering - Centre weighted Average, handheld, natural lighting.

Pam - Gatekeeper Butterfly  

We’ve had a few of these in the garden during the recent hot weather.  Managed to take this quickly with my iPhone!

ISO 20, 1/320 sec f/1.8 focal length 3.99mm.

Oxalis Iron Cross

This plant is a perfect example of patterns which nature creates!!  If you look more closely at plants there are patterns everywhere.  Last week I was watering my pot of this beautiful plant which has gorgeous pinky red flowers and noticed the blotch pattern on the leaf, not to mention the veining.  This reminded me of a tie-dye pattern or watercolour paint bleeding onto paper.  Thankfully, there was only a little wind so not too difficult to take.  I love the way my macro lens has picked up the hairs on the leaves.  The colours really are this vibrant!

100mm Macro lens, ISO 640, 1/500 sec at f/5.0 on a tripod.

Chris E - Dusty Details

I always return to this Gothic door in Sherborne; the building invariably always has something different to offer up; this time it was patterns to fit this week’s challenge.  This is pretty much an out of camera monochrome image from my Olympus Pen-F (12-40mm Pro, ISO 500, f2.8, 1/60sec shutter) hand held; just some very minor of tweaks in Lightroom.

Patterns in Nature

Ideally I would have used my Macro lens and tripod on this composition to lower the ISO/increase sharpness but I only had my pseudo macro lens with me which had to do (12-40mm Pro, ISO 1600, F3.5, 1/80 sec shutter).  I manually focused also, as my camera was having trouble picking out the spider as the focus point.  I will definitely be returning to this spot in Sherborne to have another crack at this subject... This image was taken moments after the dusty details image and you will notice the similar patterns of the gothic door in the background. I loved the patterns of the cobweb here; the spider could be sharper...perhaps next time.  Also, this image could feature in either Patterns or the Nature theme.

David H - Wiltshire Woods 

This shot was taken towards the end of July in the wider Stourhead Estate. I was aiming for the source of the Stour with Jack the dog but got myself thoroughly lost on the way. It was very wet underfoot but the compensation was the sight of these wonderful verdant trees. We got there in the end and found a more direct route back. Taken using a Fuji X-Pro3 and 10-24mm f/4.0 lens, 1/25th second at f/5.6 ISO 160.

Weathered Bricks

The more you look the more you see. I have often looked at this wall situated in Sherborne opposite the Waitrose car park. On this occasion (yesterday, Tuesday) there was a good light and contrast in the afternoon so I stopped the car and took this shot. The marks on the bricks are interesting - perhaps they have been reused. This area was bombed during WW2. Taken using my Fuji X-Pro2 with f/2.0 lens, 1/420th second at f/5.6 ISO 200

Wendy - Evening in Dorset

This was taken on the return trip from Weymouth one evening (I am not entirely sure where).

Settings were ISO 200 -  7mm focal length ( Using 7-17 lens) 1/125the sec at F 8.  A Little titivating in lightroom.

The Cob Nut 

I found this while out walking the dog one evening.  I took the image the next day, it was resting on a white cotton pillowcase which explains the funny background. I will retake it eventually on a better background.

Settings were ISO 200, 60mm focal length (Macro lens), 1 sec at F5.6 on tripod using natural light, photostacked in camera, trying to get a good depth of field.

Elizabeth -  Nature

Canon 80d;  f22 at 0.6sec ISO 200 24-105 lens at 105mm hand held.  This is a dried seed head which was converted to black and white and then put through the usual edits of channels, dodge and burn (through using the history brush).  Reducing the opacity of the stem was done by cloning the background and painting over the stem with a reduced flow.  I found this much easier than messing around with erasers or blending!!  


Canon 80d;  f11 at 1/60 sec ISO 200 LENS 24-105 at 105mm; tripod.  This is the surface of the lake at Sherborne Castle.  Cropped, and edited with hue/saturation changed, shadows/highlights/curves.



Challenge 14 x 8

Challenge 8 and still going strong!  The themes this time were Night Sky and Open.

Trevor 1 - I was inspired by our club talk last season on aircraft images. Here is one i took of an Armee de la Air Dassault Mirage nuclear strike fighter. The family name of the company owners was Bloch, Dassault was given of the company to celebrate the memory of his brother Renne Dassault, which was his code name in the French residence during WW2.

The only information on camera settings is ISO 400.

Trevor 2 - The picture was taken at Scone Palace, Scotland on Halloween night. The building in the background is the chapel were many Scottish kings were crowned, including Malcolm.

Camera settings were ISO  1600  20mm  f/11 and 1/8 sec.

Wendy- Around the Pole Star, taken 25/4/2020

ISO 200, a wide angel lens set at 7mm f2.8 and an exposure of 8 sec which was set to make a composite image - I set it up and went to bed and this is what i found in the morning.

I had to adjust white balance shadows etc in lightroom but was fairly pleased with the result.

Wendy - Monster in my garden

This is, I think, is a weevil I found crawling round the garden one morning. It's less than half an inch, but close up, looks really scary.  Macro lens, 60mm ISO64 f13 1/10sec

Mike N - Tree Sculpture  Taken 10th May 2020 in Pageant Park

Samsung J5 mobile, F1.9 @ 1/2238sec, ISO 64, Lens 4mm (35 equivalent = 28mm),Metering - Centre weighted Average.  Handheld, Natural lighting

Mike N - Sherborne School  Taken 7th June 2020 in Abbey Road.  Samsung J5 mobile, F1.9 @ 1/582sec, ISO 64, Lens 4mm (35 equivalent = 28mm).  Metering - Centre weighted AverageHandheld, Natural lighting

Brian H - On the last day of July we had one of the hottest days on record - 38C at Heathrow, a more modest 30C here, with the ground crying out for rain, and yet in February it was a record month for the wet stuff!

The photo was taken at Smith’s bridge on the edge of Bradford Abbas.  At times of very heavy rainfall you know the road will be impassable, though some try and fail miserably as their vehicle stalls in the middle of the flood, or gets swept into the hedge.

In the centre distance a shepherd’s hut is similarly stranded, just the place to be if you are writing your memoirs and don’t want to be disturbed…

Richard M - Images of Comet NEOWISE taken on the evening of July 16 from the garden in Stourton Caundle.

Two colour shots 10 seconds exposure, 60mm f2.8 EF-S Macro lens, ISO 250 at 22:44 and 23:12 BST.

One black-and-white with a total exposure of 880 seconds, 300mm f2.8 Canon lens from 22:53 to 23:13 BST.

Peter - Milky Way - Olympus EM 5 mkii  f/4 15 Sec: ISO 3200 @ 12 MM

Peter - Ah, This One Looks Better!  Canon 5D mk iv f/4 1/2000 Sec ISO 200 @ 105 mm

Elizabeth Now Open  Canon 80d;  24-105 lens at 28mm;  f5.6;  ISO 400; 1/125 sec;  manual;  tripod.

This was taken on the recent photoshoot at Sherborne Castle.  I had taken the gate in early Spring last year when there was no foliage and was interested to see how different it would look in summer.   Annoyingly, in frustration at being unable to remove a setting on my camera I reverted to factory settings to get rid of it and didn't realise this meant I was taking jpegs and not RAW.  Hey ho!  I have put the image through the usual tweaks of saturation, contrast, dodge and burn but essentially it's as it came out of the camera.  I just wish it had more punch.

Elizabeth - Shepherd's Delight  Canon 80d; 24-105 lens at 73mm;  F9;  ISO 1250;  1/80 sec.

I wasn't going to do Night Sky as I am lazy about going out late enough to get a pic.  However, on Friday evening, looking out of the window I saw the most amazing sunset which reminded me of the skies you see in some of these renaissance paintings.  So this is just a "snap" where I have slightly increased the saturation (and it really is slight:  the colours were stunning!).

Chris E - Saturn, Jupiter and the Milky Way  Shot wide open on my Olympus Pen-F at 12mm, f2.8, a 15s exposure, ISO 800.  Originally went out to capture Comet Neowise so the interesting foreground was the other way in this composition (I had my back to Sherborne Castle (New)) at about 11pm one night.  However, this for me was the better composition on the night and probably my best Astro shot taken to date with minimal light pollution, a clear Saturn and Jupiter providing some extra interest alongside the Milky Way.

Ally - Heron   I saw this Heron sitting not too far off the road prior to the sun going down.  Manual settings as follows; f8  1/250  ISO-640

Ally - Space Station - Later after the sun had gone down, whilst I was searching for the comet, I noticed the Space Station zooming across the sky.  I set the camera for a 30 second exposure on f11, ISO-640, and 24mm, to capture the movement.  During that time it had travelled 150 miles!

Chris D - The Sundew Plants were taken in the New Forest at the beginning of July. Quite a find!  Exp.1/160 sec, ISO 100, F3.2

Chris D - Wareham Forest image was taken to show the rapid re-growth after the devastating fire recently. Exp.1/200sec, ISO 100, F4

David H - A Holy Place. This should be named 'Just in Time' as I took the shot this morning (Sunday) as an Open entry. Like some others I think, I am not the only one photographing this amazing location. Taken using my Fuji X-T3 and 10-24mm f/4 lens

David H - Old St Cuthberts Chapel Interior - This shot was also taken on Sunday morning. I have corrected some of the perspective distortion as I used my 10-24mm lens at 10mm and also changed the High Dynamic Range on the highlights and the very dark area on the right and sharpened for screen viewing. No tripod, just propped myself against the wall. Exposure was 1/80th second at f/4.5 ISO 800 - Fuji X-T3 and 10-24mm f/4.0 lens.

Sarah - Sunset - Taken a while back in the garden of our old house, no details of settings.

Sarah - Under the Waterbutt is a Whole New World! - This was the scene underneath when we moved the waterbutt in our new garden.  I just thought it was so amazing and looked like an old etching. Tricky to take the image in the corner of two walls.  Canon 60d, 24 -105 lens, 1/25 sec, f6.3, hand held (hovering precariously over the top!).

Changed the hue slightly, shadows and highlights, tiny bit of cloning, upped the texture and dodged the highlights a tad.  



Malcolm -Comet Neowise over the Abbey  Canon 5D iii with 70-300m lens at 70mm on tripod, manually focused

Exposures: for the sky, 7 separate exposures of 3.2s each, ISO 3200, f/4, for the Abbey and foreground 0.5s, ISO 3200, f/4

This image was about 10 days in the making. With the appearance of Comet Neowise in the night sky I had an idea to try and capture it over the Abbey in Sherborne. After working out its position and tracking it using the Stellarium App I needed a clear night and a suitable location. After several failed attempts I finally got the image on the night of 21st July. The photograph was taken from “The Slopes” above New Road on the footpath to Hayden at 11:20pm.

The seven sky images were loaded into Photoshop as separate layers and then manually aligned. The resulting stack was then converted into a Smart Object and a Median filter applied to reduce the background noise. I then loaded in the foreground image of the Abbey and created a mask to allow me to replace the Abbey in the sky shots with a correctly exposed version.

Malcolm - Comet Neowise  Canon 5D iii with 70-300m lens at 176mm on tripod, manually focused

Exposure: 10 separate exposures of 4s each, ISO 6400, f/5

This set of images were taken just after the Abbey shots. I wanted to use a higher focal length to make the comet fill as much of the frame as possible. Having got the 10 exposures I used the same technique as I did for the Abbey shot to align them and reduce the noise. This task was easier as I had no foreground to change. The final image was converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro.

I was pleased that you can see the two distinct tails of the comet.

Pam - Jersey Tiger Moth  1/1150 sec at f1.8 Focal length 3.99mm ISO 20 Taken on iPhone.

This beautiful moth came to visit a couple of weeks ago and was sitting on the kitchen window.  I quickly grabbed my phone to take a picture!  It appears both in the daytime and at night.

Pam - Just Tiggy - 1/30 sec at f11, Focal length 105mm, ISO 650, Canon 5D

She stayed still just long enough for me to get this one!  Children and animals are never easy to photograph.  Here she was butterfly chasing and after several attempts I managed to get this.  I’ve called it Just Tiggy because she’s known to us at Just William…………..always up to mischief, very amusing and a scruff bag!!!  Adorable and beautiful though, what more can I say?!!!



Challenge 14 x 7

The two titles for the Challenge were Abstract and Food.  This has provided huge scope for the imagination with some stunning submissions.  Many thanks to all the photographers.    Not all images were accompanied by text but those that were are well worth reading!!!!

Barbara - Footprint  Taken from the exercise machine we bought to try to keep a bit fitter. Taken with Olympus camera.

Barbara - Red Velvet Cake   This was made for my birthday at the beginning of July by my brother who had never tasted one before let alone made one, so a real challenge and proto type for him.   Taken with Olympus camera.

Chris D - Luminescent Fly   This fly was photographed on my window shelf. With the help of Adobe Elements 'Filters', I inverted the image and came up with this!

Chris D - Glowing Mini-beast   This is an image of an ichneumon wasp taken some time ago.  I again used 'Filters', and with the help of 'Layers' added the surround

Chris E - Make Do   Taken with my Konica TC-X film SLR earlier in the year, a 50mm f1.8 lens and Ilford Delta Professional 400 film.   Maybe not a strict abstract in the truest sense, but the only recent image that I’ve taken that I could loosely class as such; the variety of locks/braces and add-ons to this gateway over the years caught my eye with this composition; negative scanned and inverted in Photoshop; heavily cropped and edited in Lightroom to focus on this aspect of the image.

Chris E - Picnic  Taken with my Olympus E-M1 and 50mm Macro lens.  A reasonable aperture so I could get some depth of field in the biscuits, the rug and background objects.   The school where my wife works was looking for submissions for a ‘lockdown’ recipe with an accompanying picture; this was our attempt earlier in the year in the back garden.

David H - Curves, Patterns and Shapes  Taken on Fuji X-T3 and XF 56mm f/1.2 lens 1/1100 second at f/5.6 ISO 800. This was preparing for something hot to be taken out of the oven. Afterwards, when seeing this image on my screen, I realised that it was an acceptable example of an abstract shop, perhaps. I have just raised the shadows a little, cropped slightly and that it was finalised! I like the layers of the wooden effect working top, the wooden board and the raffia mat.

David H - Rustic Tomato and Courgette Tart   Taken on Fuji X-T3 and XF 56mm f/1.2 lens 1/75th second at f/7.1 ISO 160. My eldest daughter, Sally was cooking and when the food was cooling down we positioned the food in various ways. We decided that the crust was broken and decided that it was 'rustic' and needed some crumbs. Not a macro lens used by any means so was on the minimum focus distance. No cropped. Handheld, natural light, shadows raised a little. Winging it really.

Elizabeth - Abstract  Canon 80d 24-105 lens at 105mm;  F13;  3.2 sec;  ISO 1000;  Tripod.    I wanted to do an image featuring glass and the internet described what I had in mind as "simple".   It was anything but and I could not get the result I was seeking which was to photograph the glass without any reflection.  However, along the way I became quite carried away with different possibilities and hugely enjoyed the ride!  I put one glass on top of another in front of a blue and green background and filled the top glass with water.  Editing involved hues/brightness etc and I then duplicated the layer and flipped the image before blending with the layer below.

Elizabeth - A Lot from the Allotment  Canon 80d 105mm macro;  F9 at 1/10 sec ISO 400;  flash;  tripod, spot metering.  This is cropped as when I came to edit the image I found two of the raspberries were damaged, didn't look good and cloning attempts failed miserably.  Alas, I had eaten everything by then so couldn't do a retake.  Slight blurring and enhanced saturation in photoshop.

Fo - A Pregnant Pause in Spring  So-called because it reminds me of a pregnant figure.  It is a composite art creation which started with a few overlaid images of bluebells and was taken during lockdown, in Spring, when everything was on pause.

Malcolm - Medullary Rays    Exposure: Canon 5D iii with Sigma 105mm Macro lens, ISO 100, 0.8s at f/14, tripod. I love working with wood and I have a piece of yew that I had sectioned and polished. I wanted to show the very fine structure within the wood as an abstract image. The image was taken close in at a magnification ratio of 1:1.  Post processed in Lightroom to adjust black/white points and clarity and vibrance adjusted. To give the image more of an abstract look I used a hue/saturation layer in Photoshop to radically change the colour hue in the image. I was really surprised and pleased with the final result.

Malcolm - Can you smell this?  Exposure: Canon 5D iii with 24 to 105mm lens at 35mm, ISO100, 1/5s at f/11, tripod.  I wanted to capture the essence of my wife’s spice cupboard. The base for the shot is a granite flat that I use in the workshop for lapping my tools. A variety of spoons were chosen and the layout worked out before adding the spices. Lighting is mostly natural from a nearby window with a small LED light used to add a bit of pop.  Post processed in Lightroom to adjust black and white points and add a bit of clarity. Cropped to square format. Final touches added in Photoshop to remove some blemishes on the granite.

Mike N - Entanglement  Taken 12th Feb 2017.  Panasonic LX100;  ISO 200;  F8 at 1/15 Sec;  Metering: Pattern;  Focal length 24mm (equivalent 35mm lens: 52mm);  Handheld Natural Lighting.

Mike N - Highrise Food  Taken 19th Sept 2019;  Samsung J5 Mobile;  ISO 64;  F1.9 at 1/239;  Metering: Centre Weighted Average; focal length 4mm (equivalent 35mm lens: 28mm) handheld;  natural lighting.

Pam -  Diamonds or Squares? 100mm macro lens, 1/125 sec at f9.0 ISO500, tripod.  Abstract is something new for me.  This is a garden chair which I feel lends itself to the subject if you look at it in a completely different way!!

Pam - A Good Year…….for mushrooms!  24-105mm lens, focal length 50mm,  tripod, 0.6 sec at f16, ISO 100.  As I’d already used vegetables in the macro competition, I had to think of something different…..so decided to use a selection of woodland mushrooms, some herbs from the garden and, of course, red wine.  Taken with natural sunlight coming in from the window.  Years ago, when visiting Bonnieux in the Luberon we discovered a vineyard and some delicious red wine!  We then discovered it was the filming location used by Ridley Scott for his film based on Peter Mayle’s book “A Good Year”.  They were actually selling the bottles of the Vin Garage (Coin Perdu) as in the book/film……..a marketing gimmick I thought so only bought the Chateau bottles!!  Big mistake……because years later we tried a bottle…….it is fab and really is their best wine!!!

Peter - My 1st Attempt   Olympus XZ 1 compact;  1/60 sec: f/1.8 ; ISO 100 @ 6 mm.  My 1st attempt at butterfly cakes - yummy they did not last long !  Lockdown may be good for turning our hands to other or new challenges, but not good for the waist line!.  Being quite chuffed with the outcome I just grabbed my trusty XZ1 and confess set on auto .......... sorry!

Peter - It's not Donald Trump !   I don't think there is any point in giving any details of camera settings.  However, it is (or was) quite a nice night shot of the George Inn on Weymouth's Harbour Side  (2019).  Using Photoshop only I used the filter and distort , ripple, pinch, spherize.  Then went to 3D and new mesh from layer to get white background finishing with a long process of rendering .  Pot luck with an interesting result.

Sarah - Tree  Sony RX100 M3, cropped, Nik Silver Effects Pro, High Contrast, Duplicated layer, Turned to different angle, erased some of top layer to bring original layer through.

Sarah - Hosta  Canon 60d with Sigma 105 Macro lens.  Cropped 3 different images and added them to a new layer, Made b/g black and then cropped whole image.  All 3 images put through shadows and highlights, Oil Paint under filter menu and then Radial Blur (spin).

Trevor - The Best Ice Cream in the World   ISO 64  62mm  f3  1/700 sec.  Taken in Barolino south east Lake Garda Italy. The menu is superb and I recommend it to everyone if they visit.  It's right on the lake side, a huge choice and all delicious.

Trevor - All Day Breakfast    My second on the subject of food.   Camera settings ISO 125  6.2mm  f3.0  1/30 sec.  Breakfast at the Hotel Parc Gritti in Bardolino Garda Italy.  It was quite comprehensive and my tip to all travellers is really fill up at breakfast time so you don't need to stop for lunch!!

Wendy -  Bubbles   Exposure ISO 6400, 1/80thsec at f2.8 with my 60mm lens on the Olympus.  Must have been in Auto for me to use that ISO, was in my shed and not very bright.   This is some washing up liquid and glycerine mixed together put in a spare lens cap and then with a straw gently blown up to make a bubble, sadly the sun did not put in appearance to make it sparkle so some coloured Christmas lights helped bring a bit of life to it.

Wendy - Not sure!!!   Exposure was ISO 200, 1/320 sec at f6.3 with my 12-40mm lens on the olympus focal length of 32mm.  I wasn't sure what to call this:  it's blue and red food colouring swirled together.   I think it looks a bit like a bird with a heavy duty beak!!


Challenge 14 x 6

The Challenge this time was Intentional Camera Movement and Long Exposure.    There were some fantastic ideas making for a very entertaining gallery.   Great to see such enthusiasm!!

Ally - Penstemon Swirl  (ICM).  Camera settings on manual f/16,  1/8 sec,  ISO-100 at 70mm.  I have not done much ICM before and this was my first attempt at rotating the camera.  I am quite pleased with the result as the centre flowers are still in focus.

Ally - The 3 'Evil' Ghosts  (Long exposure).  Camera settings on manual  f/8,  30 sec, IS0-100, manual focus.   At this time of year I had to wait until about 10.30pm to attempt this shot, and capture the 3 'evil' ghosts (Hear, See and Speak no Evil).   I moved position roughly every 10 seconds during the exposure.  Converted it to black and white to give the ghostly effect.

Chris D - Sunflower Swirl  ISO I00, F2.8, 1/5 sec.  I am not quite sure how I did this!  But after many very over-exposed images I managed to find some shady places where I felt the exposure was acceptable. This image, one of many, was taken in my bathroom! And the flowers aren't real, of course.

Chris D - The Secret Garden - ISO 100, 1/4 sec, F8 and stopped down 2 points.   Again, after many very over exposed images, I found a wooded area, bordering someone's garden. I must have done something right, but why the gate and trellis are in focus in an otherwise blurred image, I don't understand!  Can somebody explain please?

Chris E -   This may be stretching the bounds of what a long exposure is but it was long if you take into consideration that this was a hand held exposure of 1/4s in nearly dark conditions and at a wide aperture of f2.8 and a 12mm focal length (equivalent to 24mm full frame).  It was taken on Monday in the 1.6km long Combe Down Tunnel, Bath.  To be able to expose the shot at this relatively quick shutter speed I had to boost the ISO to 6400.  I was surprised anything useable came out based on past experience with high ISOs but I was pleased at how atmospheric the shot turned out.  In terms of post processing, I converted what I had to monochrome using Silver Efx Pro 2 and applied a low key preset, then used the radial tool in Lightroom to bring out some detail on the doorway on the right hand side to create just a little more interest in this composition.

David H - The Bruton Dovecote.   Exposure 60 seconds at f/22 ISO 100 on tripod using x10 ND filter Fuji X-Pro2 camera and Fuji XF 10-24mm lens at 10mm focal length.   Before the lockdown I had visited this place but with limited results. Either no tripod or no cable release, without a spare battery or neutral density filter - however I managed to bring everything along that I needed on Monday morning accompanied by Jack the dog for his walk. There were just some thin clouds although with a nice breeze to move things along although no big fluffy cumulus. Set the camera to monochrome film simulation Acros+Red Filter inclined upwards to give emphasis to the sky. RAW conversion in Capture One and cropped bottom to give 16 x 9 format.

David H - Hand in Hand.  1/8th second at f/22, massively overexposed. Fuji X-T3 and 10-24mm lens at 24mm.     I made a quick visit to the Castle one afternoon and noticed an elderly couple ahead walking along slowly, helping one another and holding hands . I chose this shot as it shows the castle in outline so gives some context. I had been admiring the work of Olga Karlovac www.olga-karlovac-photography.com through the latest Black and White Photography magazine. How does she do those clearly ICM? My attempt!


Elizabeth - Helter Skelter.  Canon 80D;  24-105mm lens 105mm;  F22  1/4 sec  ISO 100.  I was going to take a waterfall but as I do that so often I decided to try and create the effect but with a bed of flowers.  I had the camera on a tripod  at a slant with the idea of the yellow rose in the middle being the "focal" point and looking as if it was something being tossed by the flow.  It took several attempts but I am quite pleased with this one.  Post editing in Photoshop and Lightroom including filter. blending, curves.

Elizabeth -Tick Tock  Canon 80D; Sigma 105mm macro at 8sec F22 ISO 100.  This image cost me dear as I started off using my grandfather's fob watch and in trying to secure it to my makeshift stand........broke the glass.  To start with, I had the idea to use my metronome but it didn't work so turned to the second hand of (eventually!) a clock.  I took a number of shots with my 24-105mm lens before realising it would probably be better with the macro.  Basic editing in Photoshop and then turned to black and white and ran through Silver Efex Pro.

Fo - A Rush of Thistles  Taken in a Dorset field this week whilst looking for poppies.

Fo - Wonder in the Woods Taken in  Greek mountain woods on the way to a waterfall. It is a combination of two photographs merged together

Malc - The 2022 to Salisbury  Exposure: Canon 5D iii with 24-105mm lens at 105mm, 4s, f/11, ISO250 with 6 stop ND filter, Tripod.  Taken on 23rd June 2020.  The shot was taken on Three Arch Bridge near Milborne Wick with low evening light. My first attempts were of a down train with a 30s exposure. This resulted in a very long faint smear which was unrecognisable as a train. I then decided to try an exposure of 4s but had to wait 30 minutes for the up train! I quite like the 70 speed limit sign next to the speeding train.  Post processing was mostly done in Lightroom with adjustments to shadows and highlights. Photoshop was used to create a monochrome version as a new layer and then a mask was applied to reveal the colour in the train and the 70 sign. Finally back in Lightroom a couple of radial filters were applied change the overall contrast.

Malc - Win Green Hill  Exposure: Canon 5D iii with 24-105mm lens at 24mm, 5s, f/11, ISO200 with 10 stop ND filter, handheld ICM. Taken on 16thJune 2020.  This photograph was taken on our first real day out since the start of lockdown. I wanted to try a handheld long exposure of the trees on Win Green Hill. My first shots were taken from much further away but did not really work. I have found that you have to take a lot of images before you get on that is worth processing. The original image had the trig point visible below the trees . I removed it with the healing brush in Photoshop. Initial processing in Lightroom. In Photoshop I blended a warm fill layer over the image using the multiply mode with low opacity. I then used the Analog Efex Pro Camera Kit filters with Vignette, Curves and film effects. Final tweaks to colour balance were made with Viveza.

Mark - Bamboo Forest 1/8 sec, f22, with a 24mm lens on a Canon 5DMk2.   It was taken a year ago in India from the back of a moving jeep and  I was trying to give a feeling of the energy in the forest.  The image was converted to B&W and processed with Silver Efex Pro

Mark - "Not quite Monet"was taken with my iPhone in my garden in the last two to three weeks.  I was using the Slow Shutter app. It was taken at 2 secs  processed in the App.  This is an amazing App and can give endless fun and interesting effects.  In these images I was not being very extreme but you can be!

Mike Herrmann - Long Exposure  Exposure was ½ second at f16, ISO 50, 16mm on a 16-35mm lens with a 6 stop ND filter mounted on a tripod.  I wanted to find an alternative composition for Durdle Door to the shots that one always sees, taken midweek with few tourists.

Mike Herrmann - ICM   Taken at 1/25th of a second at f22 ISO 50 85mm on a 72-200 lens handheld. I thought that this beach with its variety of colours was an ideal subject for an ICM shot.

Pam - Poppy Seed Heads  Focal length: 105mm;  ISO 50;  1 sec at f20.  This was a new thing for me!!  I didn’t have much time to experiment.  I tried moving the camera from side to side and up and down but wasn’t very pleased with the result.  Here I twisted the camera and got a result I like!  It was all very green so decided to convert to black & white.

Peter - Waterloo  (28/02/20) Olympus OM 5 Mkii   f/22  1/4 Sec ISO 200@ 12 mm.  Small crop to remove unwanted CCTV camera, increased contrast in elements, lightened shadows, increased brightness.  Tripod used obviously.  A worthy note,  You need permission to take photographs in Waterloo Station using a tripod. (probably true for all stations, not sure about monopod).  A permit can be obtained in the station office free of charge which also gives you access to all platforms.

Peter - High Speed Barrow  (28/06/20) Canon 5D Mk iv; f/22; 5 Sec; ISO 100@ 50 mm.  Slight increase in contrast, brightened shadows  I moved camera from left to right and endeavoured to pause while shutter was open 3 times at the beginning, middle and end.

Roger - Bamboo slide    1/13 sec  f/8.0  F 67mm  ISO 400.  This was taken back in the summer of 2017, when I had a brief (and largely unsuccessful) flirtation with ICM.  I think I was sparked off by one of Huw Alban’s images.  The idea here was to emphasise the vertical element of the bamboo grove, and I rather like the jungly feel.

Roger - Breeze 1   This is based on 2 images of Alstroemeria on a windy day.  I chose this because of the bright colours, and used an out-of-focus lawn as the background.  The camera was obviously on a sturdy tripod.   The images were processed in PaintShop Pro, using layers with image 1 on top; the opacity of the top layer was then reduced to 75% to allow image 2 to bleed through.  Using Lightroom I then darkened the corners very slightly in an attempt to keep the final image together.  The wind movement was considerably more than I had anticipated, and a 1 second exposure was enough to reveal it (I hope 1 second counts as a long exposure!).  I’m not sure whether I really like this image  . . . but it was the only idea I had, apart from light trails/ falling dominoes/ bouncing balls, and it was an opportunity to do some new experimentation.

Sarah - Gerberas  Canon 24-105 lens, F7.1, 1/20th sec.  Just swiped the camera diagonally and got lucky!  Had to straighten the image up in post, shadows and highlights and a bit of cloning and smudging on the top left flower.

Sarah - A Mixed Up World Canon 24-105 lens, F22, 1/4sec, ISO 100, Handheld.    Smoke tree flower with raindrops.....I seriously think I may be losing the plot but I just really like it!!

Cropped, Shadows and Highlights, added some texture in Camera Raw filter and brought up the saturation a bit.

Wendy - Where is it?  Exposure  ISO (64), lens 12-40mm at 12 mm f22 and 1.3 sec.  I deliberately went out to take images for this challenge.  Where is it? is somewhere everybody in this club  should recognise.  I took this last Wednesday during my lunch break so it was bright sunshine with a cloudless sky.  I had a heavy duty  filter on the lens in order to allow time for the movement.

Wendy - St Mary Magdalene Batcombe. Exposure ISO 64 lens 12-40 set at 40mm f9.0 and 1.6 sec.    I set out with the intention of finding a field with a crop which was swaying gently in the breeze.  No Chance.  Every one of them looked as though everything was on the move even with the tripod.  So I ended up in Batcombe which has a very old and small church.  I tried not very successfully ICM on the east window.  As this was inside I decided not to use the filter. Should I have maybe used a tripod?



Challenge 14 x 5

The Challenge this time was Farming and Lay Flat Photography.   Some great submissions and thanks to all who have taken part.

Ally - Fruity Fred
I have never done flat photography before and found it quite interesting.  I came up with the idea of using Fred Flinstone as the centerpiece and had cucumber, banana, brie and strawberries available to make the car.  I took it with my DSLR on manual settings.  f-11, 1/80 sec, ISO1000, 110mm

Ally - Follow The Leader
Whilst out walking I took this image with my mobile phone.  I thought it was quite amusing, and I captured 'Jack The Treacle Eater' (folly) in the background.

Chris D - Cyclamen Seeds
F2.8;  1/60 sec.  Hand held.

Chris D - Young Cows
F4;  1/500 sec;  ISO 100.  Cropped.

David H - Flax Fields in Summer
Taken with a Fuji X-Pro2 with a Fuji 23mm F/2 lens 1/1800 seconds at f/5.6 ISO 200 with Velvia colour profile.  RAW conversion using Capture One and final editing using Lightroom.   Capture One renders RAW conversion on Fuji files better than Lightroom. I apologize for the lack of variety but these were taken on different days when taking my dog for a walk on consecutive days.

David H - Flax Growing
Taken with a Fuji X-T2 with a Fuji 10-24mm F/4 lens 1/640 seconds at f/5.6 ISO 200 with Velvia colour profile.

Elizabeth -  Standing Out in a Crowd
Canon 80d;  F/5.6;  200 sec;  ISO 500;  Lens 24-105 at 35mm.  This was an unplanned shot.  We had been enjoying a walk across the fields when suddenly a herd of heifers decided it would be fun to chase us.  I didn't find it funny it all and breathing a sigh of relief as I clambered across a style, I turned round and was captivated by the brown face staring at me.  Cropped and some editing with curves/shadows and highlights.

Elizabeth - Miles of Joy
Canon 80d;  F/16;  1/15 sec;  ISO 500; Lens 10-18 at 18mm; tripod;  manual.  This was a lot harder than I thought it would be!!  The perspective was difficult and each time I cropped the image as there was always too much "map", I ended up chopping off one of the items on it. The positioning of these was more important than I realised.   After several attempts, each one worse than the last, I decided to go with the attached.  Minor editing of clarity, levels, etc.
Fo - Alexander Caulder Recreation
f2.2 1/50 sec ISO 160.    The first one is one I created recently, for fun, for a Facebook page that has started up since lockdown. It's called 'Recreate artworks with things you find at home'. This particular recreation was an Alexander Caulder mobile which I recreated by arranging black and white wool, an orange, a lemon, a grape and an aubergine on an A1 piece of white card on the floor. Lighting and shadows were very difficult to get right. I've included the original, which you can crop out if not wanted.

Fo - The Christmas Gift
f4 1/320 sec ISO 640.   This is from my archives. It is a photograph I took of my grandson, when he was just 3 days old. I wrapped him up and had him lying on a padded rug. I used two soft boxes either side of him and stood over him making sure the camera strap was around my neck. Safety is the most important thing before anything else here.

I took this looking down on a fibre optic lamp sitting on the floor.  The camera is the sx50hs.

Malcolm - Crop lines and social distancing.
Camera: Canon Powershot S95; Exposure: 1/640s, f/6.3, ISO 80, 7.49mm (35mm full frame equivalent) Taken on the lane above Bradford Abbas from Yeovil. Handheld.  I had seen several fields with crop lines on my local bike rides but struggled to find a decent composition. This was my favourite.  Unusually of late there was an obliging cloud in the sky. The out of camera image only had one person walking in the road. I felt it needed a person on the crest of the road so with a bit of cloning and transforming I created a pair of social distancing walkers!  Basic adjustments in Lightroom, Mono conversion in Silver Efex Pro 2 and final cloning in Photoshop.

Malcolm - My Favourite Tools
Camera: Canon 5D iii with 24-105mm lens.  Exposure: 1/10s, f/10, ISO 100, 50mm.
Tripod used and LED light panel for illumination.  For Lay Flat Photography I Initially had an idea to make a picture from various screws, nails and nuts and bolts in my workshop. However, this proved too difficult to make a decent composition and things would keep moving! I have been doing quite a bit of woodworking recently and noticed a pile of wood shavings on a corner of my bench. Hence the image of my favourite tools which created the wood shavings.  Basic adjustments in Lightroom of whites, blacks and highlights. Mono conversion in Silver Efex Pro 2 and then colour tone and wet plate effect added in Analog Efex Pro.

Mike Herrmann - Still Life
The exposure was 1/6th of a second at F13 ISO 100 focal length of 25mm.  Taken with my camera mounted on a copying stand, all the items have some meaning to me.

Mike Herrmann - The Ploughing Competition
Exposure was 1/125th  of a second at f13 ISO 200 focal length 50mm.  Taken last summer.

Pam - Anyone for a Face Pack?!!
Settings: 1/40 sec f20, focal length 28mm, ISO 320.    I took this at a friend’s farm in Sussex a few years ago.  A lorry load of puddle clay had just been delivered for the renovation of an old dew pond on the South Downs.  The young bullocks were so excited, they could barely contain their curiosity and wait for the lorry to leave the field before dashing over to investigate their new play mountain!  It was hilarious to watch and a joy to see young cattle enjoying themselves in the summer sunshine.

Pam - From Bloom to Seed
ISO 100, focal length 3.99mm, 1/17 sec f1.8.    I’d made up my mind I would use food or flowers for the lay-flat challenge.  I have to say that my thoughts have evolved over the 2 week period and I left it until the last minute to do this!  I decided last week that I’d use the plentiful calendula I have in the garden but took ages to decide what background to use.  I eventually decided on a white plate for my display and got my camera and tripod ready.  I spent a while arranging the flowers and seed heads and taking practice shots with my phone, to get things how I wanted.  I love the shadows the overhead kitchen spot lights created so decided not to get any other lights out and also decided, to my surprise, that I was really pleased with the phone shots!  I’ve even done my adjustments in Lightroom Mobile!! Just goes to show what can be done!!  Hope you don’t think I took the easy option and cheated?

Peter - Farming
Olympus M5 Mkii; ISO 200;  f/11;   320/sec at 40mm.   Not much to say:  reason for this I had plenty of time!  Taken between Weymouth and Abbotsbury.  Very little adjustment in lightroom, hand held and tried various positions. I think farming is obvious here.

Peter - Race across Europe
Olympus M5 Mkii;  ISO 200 ;   f/3.5; 640/sec @ 30mm.   Tripod used.   A bit of fun really and a take on race around the world.   A little crop some lightroom adjustment also lightened the shadow and a little Photoshop to remove an insert on the map.

Sarah - Living on the Rim
I didn’t take note of the camera settings.  The nigella flower snapped off so I popped it in a drinking glass as all my vases are packed.  Walked by it and thought, that’s interesting so dropped everything and started to create!  My light pad was also packed so made a white screen on my iPad and popped the glass on it and shot from the top, handheld. Post production in NIC after shads and highlights. Bit of dodging and burning.

Trevor - Frau Daisy
ISO100, 37mm, F8 and 1/100 sec.  I have not been allowed out of my front door, so I have relied on my back catalogue to find a farming image.  Its title is "Frau Daisy" a mountain cow in Austria.  The lens was my trusty 18/50.

Trevor - Keep Your Feet out of the Image
Taken with my 18-50 kit lens at ISO 400, 24mm, f5.6 and 1/125 sec.  I have included this as a tip for our members who like to take landscapes and architecture.   In most towns and cities on the mainland of Europe, manhole covers are unique to each town and in most cases carry the name of the town.  This is useful when back home and trying to remember where you took the images.    The only thing I would add is keep your feet out of the image!!

Wendy - Harvest
ISO 100F2.2, 1/290 sec Lens of 26.3mm.  Near Corton Denham using my drone which would have been on auto.

Wendy - Oh I do like to be ..............
ISO400. F7.1, 1/20th sec, using my olympus OMD 1 mkii Lens 12-40mm set at 32mm. Taken in my shed on 12 June with a sidelight and the door open to let in natural light.  The set up was on the floor with me leaning over the top.



Wendy - Cardigan
Olympus EMD1 mkii  12-40 mm lens at 27mm;  ISO 200, f3.2 and 1/1600 sec in the full sunlight in the garden on 29 May.   I adjusted the exposure removed the colour and increased texture and clarity.

Wendy - Seed Head
The seed head was pinned to a white background, & backlit again using my olympus with  the 12-40 mm lens @ 36mm; ISO 200;  f20 and 1/10sec.  Again similar adjustments with cropping to get rid of the background and a vignette added to even the background out.

Malcolm - Dreaming of Summer
Exposure: 1/640s, f/11, ISO 200; Canon 5D iii with 70 – 300mm lens at 229mm.  I had been watching this field along Bradford Road to try and capture the flax crop in full flower but never really managed to be there at the right time. The other day when I was cycling past I noticed that there were quite a few poppies growing in amongst the flax. I spent a couple of evenings trying to capture the textures in the poppy flowers with strong backlight from the low sun to highlight the very fine hairs on the stems. However, I could not get a shot I was happy with and most of the poppies had closed up or the petals had dropped.  I decided to go back during the late morning to see if I could catch a few more poppies in full flower. This was going to be a challenge in the harsh light.  In post-production I wanted to achieve a soft low key look to the image. Basic adjustment to highlights and shadows were done in Lightroom and then in Photoshop I used screen blending modes to combine the original image with a version that I had blurred slightly with gaussian blur.

Malcolm - The Path Home
Exposure: 1/850s, f/2.2, ISO 50, 2mm focal length (13mm full frame equivalent).  Taken with a Samsung Galaxy A71 phone.  This shot was taken on an evening walk through the Sherborne Castle estate.  Basic adjustments made to the jpg file in Lightroom and converted to black and white with Silver Efex Pro 2. 


Challenge 14 x 4

The subjects of this challenge were Black & White and Textures. Some great submissions - enjoy!

Peter - Burnham Girl
Olympus OMD 5 Mk ii; ISO 200; App f/3.5; Sec 1/300; mm 40. Taken 28th May 2020. Used polarizer, lightroom adjustments, cropped. Also Photoshop adjustments. I had never been to the lighthouse at Burnham, I went yesterday for my exercise: whoops ....... don't tell ! Took several shots of the lighthouse as the sun was going down but saw an opportunity for something a bit different.

Peter - A Cool Bite
Olympus OMD 5 Mk ii; ISO200; App f/5.6; Sec 1/15; mm 70.  Taken 29th May. Used tripod, Lightroom adjustments, heavily cropped. You caught me having an ice cream earlier this week, but with the weather so good who could resist.  Plenty of texture here and it went down well.

Roger - Sunny Spadix
Canon EOS 550D  ISO100  f/11  1/100sec  F97mm  handheld (braced against a wall), manual focus.  Just one image attached to reveal texture in the floral structure of Arum lily.  I wanted to capture the detail of the spadix male flowers releasing pollen grains.  The spathe was large enough to use my Canon 24-105mm lens at a distance of about 40cm, with the spadix roughly parallel with the sensor plane.  I used a diffuser screen to filter the harsh sunlight, and a metal support to hold the stalk in position.

Mike H - Mumbles Pier
I took this contre-jour picture with an exposure of 1/1600 sec f32 ISO 400 70mm on 70-200 lens. The ISO was raised because shooting into the sun with even a slightly raised ISO increases the grain which is the effect I sought. I would not normally shoot at f32 but there was no risk of light defraction shooting into the sun and in black and white so this was quite permissible. The leading lines of the meandering rivulet decreasing in size as it goes away from the foreground was the compositional outcome I wanted. I had intended from the outset that this shot would be black and white and I think that it has worked well.

Mike H- Textures in Wood
I thought this was a difficult subject, I photographed an oak post in my sun room with a 24-70 lens. The camera was very close to the timber and as I was looking at one edge of the square post I had to focus stack the image to get all parts sharp.  I photographed the wooden pig in my garden and cut it out from the background in Photoshop.  I loaded the two images on top of one another in Photoshop and adjusted the size of the pig to suit. I reduced the opacity of the pig so that the timber came through form below. I think that it demonstrates different textures in timber quite well.

Mike N - Pageant Park Tree Carving
Taken 10th May 2020.  Samsung J5 Mobile.  ISO 64;  F1.9 at 1/2238 Sec;  Metering: Centre Weighted Average;  Equivalent 35mm Lens: 28mm;  Handheld;  Natural Lighting

Mike N -  Crepuscular Rays Beyond the Allotments
Taken 22nd May 2020. Samsung J5 Mobile;  ISO 80;  F1.9 at 1/17904 Sec;  Metering: Centre Weighted Average;  Equivalent 35mm Lens: 28mm;  Handheld;  Natural Lighting.  This was taken over the hedge and across the allotments at the end of Lenthay Road.

Pam - Morning Shower
I took this image last year in March.  I bought a few different stems from the florist as I wanted to experiment with my macro lens.  Whilst this is my black & white challenge image it does also fit “textures”.  As I was looking back at these old images I spotted the texture on the stem of the plant.  It’s has a furryness about it and the added water droplets add even more texture.  I have closely cropped in with adjustments in Lightroom then used Silver Efex Pro.  100mm macro lens;  ISO 100;  2 sec exposure at f14;  Tripod used.

Pam - Tracks in the Wood
I love turned wood and have collected some lovely pieces over the years.  This is one of my favourites.  It's an Ash bowl which I found over 20 years ago in The Shambles, York and was made by a very appropriately named woodturner, Stan Wood!  I love the fact it has the natural edge of the tree with all the insect channels and gnarled, knobbly bits.  Having watched Tony North's talk on Tuesday, I realise I could have achieved something better with focus stacking.  A technique I must learn!!!  I used only natural window lighting with my camera on the tripod with 100mm macro lens

Sarah - Sitting in the Corner
Canon 60D, Sigma 105 macro, F6.3, 1/125 sec Hand held. Cropped, put through Silver effects Pro High Contrast, bit of dodging and burning.  A lovely Montana Clematis that I nurtured from a spindly beginning and now thanks me with the most beautiful display

 Sarah - So Vein
Canon 60D, Sigma 105 macro, F7.1, 1/80 sec Hand held.  Cropped, put through Silver Effects Pro, dodged highlights.  A Smoke Bush which to be honest, is not really happy where it is, but nowhere else to go so has to make the most of it like we all do!!  The light through the leaves either end of the day is stunning.

Chris D - Freesia
Converted to black and white, with a soft colour vignette added.

Chris D - Artistic Rose
Taken in a country lane: I added an artistic filter ('poster edges'), then cropped and brightened slightly.

Chris E - Fields
I actually prefer the colour version to the monochrome image.  This was taken at the Terraces, Sherborne, looking down on some lovely fields.  I love the way that you can see a faint track in the upper field and the shadow of the cloud before the far tree line on a dipped area of the field.  This was taken using the Olympus Pen-F, Hand Held and with the 45-175 lens, f/11, 1/125s, ISO 200.  Converted using Silver Efex Pro 2.

Chris E - Looking Down
Sculpture on a balcony near Sturminster Newton Mill.  I didn’t envisage this treatment when I took the photo but that’s good thing with Silver Efex Pro, as you go down the pre-sets you start to see what it could become.  Taken with the Olympus Pen-F, 12-40mm Pro lens, hand held  f7.1, ISO 200, 1/400s shutter.

 Elizabeth - Fabulous Ferns
Canon 80d;  F22;  1/2 sec;  ISO 200;  Macro 105mm taken at 105mm. Having watched Tony North's talk, I thought I would use the macro and wanted to use something from the garden.  I love ferns so brought some inside and mounted the camera directly over the fern and used an old spotlight (must get a new one) to add some "life".  Good practice in getting the tripod to contort to all sorts of positions!!

Elizabeth - St George's Churchyard Portland
Canon 80d F16;  1/160 sec;  ISO500;  24-105 lens at 24mm. I decided on the venue at the outset and hoped there would be some clouds to add menace to an already atmospheric location.  Alas I could not stop as long as I would have liked and the composition could be improved, although I did want the tree on the left to be dominant and I like the light coming in from the left.  Inconvenient tree in front of the church needs cutting down!!  The "angles" challenge was also in my mind and I took the image from a lower viewpoint than I know I would have done a few weeks ago!  Worked in Lightroom and Photoshop with channel mixer, levels etc and some dodging and burning.


The Art of Macro Photography

SBACC's last meeting of the season was the first on Zoom - and what a way to end the 2019/2020 programme!! There had been eager anticipation for the talk and we were not disappointed. Tony, a teacher in Manchester, only took up macro photography a few years ago, but in that time has had images selected for major salons and won numerous national and international competitions. Being a teacher, his talk was well prepared, easy to understand and beautifully illustrated.

He began by explaining the equipment he used and went on to discuss his approach to macro in relation to art. Subject v beauty, pictorial quality, story- telling, originality and creativity.

Tony then went into detail about how best to secure a good image and explained about getting close to the subject, depth of field, avoidance of camera movement, the use of light, shutter speed, bokehs and post processing. Each section of his talk was accompanied by outstanding images of insects which demonstrated the points he was making. Sharp, well-exposed photographs with good shape, position and background do not happen without a lot of hard work!!! He also discussed photo-stacking as a means of ensuring sharpness throughout an image.

The evening ended with Tony illustrating his all-round skills as a photographer by showing a selection of his landscape images which included multiple exposures, light trails, long exposures and astrophotography. They were breath-taking examples of his command of the camera and left everyone spell-bound. In addition, he answered various questions posed by members through the Zoom chat facilility.

It was a very well supported and memorable evening. More can be seen of Tony's work on his website at https://www.artofmacro.com/


Challenge 14 x 3

The third of our fortnightly challenges and this time the themes were Clouds and Using Flash.
Thanks to those who took part and sent in some cracking images.

Malcolm - Bouncing Water Drop
Exposure: 105mm macro lens, 1/8000s, f/8, ISO 250. Canon Speedlite 580 EXii remote from camera.
My intention with this shot was to use a Speedlite to freeze a drop of water when it hit a bowl of water by using a fast shutter speed. The normal flash synchronisation speed for a camera is typically about 1/200s maximum. However, after a bit of research I discovered that I could set the camera and flash to work in High Speed Sync mode. This in theory should allow the flash to synchronise at the fastest shutter speed on the camera (1/8000s). The down side of using high speed sync is that effective flash range falls down to well below 1m.
I filled a glue syringe with water and secured it above the bowl of water to create a steady flow of drips. The Camera was on a tripod with a remote cable connection to the Speedlite which was placed close in to the left of the water bowl. Timing of the shutter release was very critical. I fired off about 200 shots before I captured the effect I was after! Minimal post processing to adjust contrast add a slight crop and a vignette.

Fruit Splash
Exposure : 105mm macro lens, 1/8000s, f/10, ISO 250. Canon Speedlite 580 EXii remote from camera.
For this shot I used the same setup as for the water drop shot, except in this case I dropped frozen fruit into the tumbler of water. It only took about 15 shots to get this one.
A real challenge which I discovered whilst taking these shots is getting the focus right. I didn’t quite get it right. Depth of field is very narrow close in with a macro lens. I think a lot more practice is required to improve the technique.

Trevor - This is my submission for the Flash category.
I do not like using flash so for me this a rare image, to bring up the colour and definition of the stone I used off the camera fill in flash. The down side of this is the outer view is not quite as pin sharp as i would have liked. The camera settings were ISO 400,  25mm,  f/9, 1/20 sec.
Here is my interpretation of clouds, titled "Golden Hour, Loch Tummel”. It was taken last October and is one of a set i thought i had lost. Settings - ISO 200 ,18mm, f11, 1/20sec. As you can see with all the cloud and mist it was not a good morning. I used my 18-55mm lens because it is light and for me easy to handle.

Ally - I Can See Clouds   While I was walking along with my sunglasses on I noticed that the sky looked bluer.  As I don't have a polarising filter I thought it would be interesting to see if I could take the photo through my sunglasses.  I was quite pleased with the effect it produced.
The Hand of God   When I downloaded this image onto my computer I noticed the hand - like shape.  With a few tweaks and adjustments you can really see what looks like the shape of a hand.

Mike N - Overlooking Paignton Samsung Mobile J5, ISO 64, F1.9,1/1936 Sec, 4mm. Centre Weighted Average
Bay of Biscay - Samsung Mobile J5, ISO 64, F1.9, 1/4213 Sec, 4mm. Centre Weighted Average.

David Birley - Both photos taken in Italy with my D500 using a tripod. The house is 2,000 ft above sea level. We have a terrace which faces west so we get some great sunsets. It can look as if the heavens are on fire.

Anders - The ‘Above the Clouds’ photo was taken during our flight back from Tenerife in February 2019.
We saw this interesting image when the sun was reflected on top of the clouds. iPhone7, 1/240 sec,  f/1.8, ISO 20.
Opposite Bradfords’ was taken during one of Jill’s and mine evening walks since the lock-down. It looks like an explosion just happened and debris is flying all over the place.  iPhone7, ¼ sec, f/1.8, ISO 20.

Chris D - Iris  Camera setting f4, 1/640 sec, ISO 100.
Taken with a ring flash, and cropped a little.

Mike H - The Thinker  Taken against a black background, the camera was on a tripod with a 100mm macro lens exposure iso 100, f 8, 1/250 sec, off camera flash. I set up the shot and set the exposure to let in the minimum amount of light. 250th of a second is the fastest shutter speed on my camera that allows flash sync without going to high speed sync and ISO 100 to again let in little light. I took one test shot at f5.6 and increased this to f8 as I was still exposing some of the black background. I fired the flashgun from the side in Paramount mode set to manual firstly at 100% flash and finally settling for 50% flash. All light for the exposure came from the flash gun which lit the figure only. The image was shot in raw and contrast was enhanced in post.

Stormy Evening at Austage End  Taken at 5.00pm following a stormy afternoon on a June day. The camera was handheld f11 at 1/125 sec at iso 400 and shot in raw. I increased clarity and brightness and enhanced the red and blue colour channels on a separate layer in photoshop blending the two together afterwards.

Roger - Drip

Canon EOS 550D, Canon EF 24-105 lens, 1/8 second, f/8, ISO100, F73mm. Tripod, Canon Speedlite, with dark velvet background behind kitchen sink to remove distractions. Experimenting with flash again to stop the action.  Processed in Lightroom, with minor cropping of bottom edge; converted to B/W with a very small amount of partial toning to highlights.


PeterAnother storm brewing in Westminster  Nikon D7100 2.5 sec, f/9.0, ISO 100, 28 mm. I did not get wet !!
Furrows in the Sky Olympus XZ1 Compact. 1/800 sec, f/7.1, ISO 100, 6 mm.

Elizabeth  I regret to say that on  most of the days when I took out my camera..............there were no clouds!!  Such has been the weather.
I did get something earlier this week and, remembering the previous challenge of angles, I bore this in mind.
When I first read the theme was "clouds" I imagined storms and spectacular cloud formations.  I  came to realise that the fluffy white clouds seen at the present time are actually very attractive!!
Canon 80D  F/16, 1/30 sec, ISO100,  Lens 24-105 at 50mm.

Back Walking at Ham Hill Taken on my Sony RX100 compact on our first dog walk to Ham Hill for 8 weeks!  AP and on camera fill in flash used.
A Break in the Cloud  Sony RX100 as close as I could get on AP, 25mm, f4, 1/100sec. I’ve been experimenting at home using natural filtering with no success, trust mother nature to oblige!

 Chris E - Up on the Hill  It was almost like the case with the ‘bird’ photo from the previous challenge in that they were a little too far away, even with my 175mm reach (350 on full frame camera).  However, when I took it into Silver Efex Pro 2 I think this low key version of the photo looks great.  It really made the clouds look dramatic and helps to elevate this photo to something special.  Taken on my Olympus Pen-F with the 45-175 lens attached. Hand held, f11, ISO 320 and 1/200s shutter speed.

Clouds 1 This image was taken on my daily walk and is of a field of Linseed which of course looked lovely in colour but I wanted the clouds to pop and achieved this more effectively with mono.  I used Lightroom and then Silver Efex Pro. Exp: 1/40 sec, f/14, focal length 82mm, ISO 100.

Clouds 2  The other day I had a weird idea of checking out what the clouds looked like if I lay down on my back and looked up!  I decided to use my wide angle lens as I felt some distortion would make an interesting concept so this is what I came up with.  I left the buildings and the trees in there to give the full feel of what I saw.  Again, I like the drama that mono achieves.  Processed in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro. Exp: 1/160 sec, f/11, focal length 16mm, ISO 100.
EF16-35mm lens with polarising filter.


Chris E - Red Kite Silhouette.  I was out on my walk at the weekend and walked past a runner at a safe distance who saw that I had a camera and remarked that there was a Red Kite circling ahead....I looked down and replied “I don’t have the right lens.....”  I looked up and thought no chance with my 12-40mm lens but I thought boy, doesn’t that sky look interesting so I took a shot (f7.1).  Yes, the bird is quite small but what a sky... and because of that and some work in post (Lightroom and Silver EfEx Pro 2) I think I just get away with this silhouetted shot.

Say Ahh!  I tried a subject other than a tulip and this was the result.  The petals (to me) all look a little like tongues, hence the title.  This was taken on a tripod, 50mm macro at f20 ish with flash and a flash bender.  It was middle of the day so it was great that the background came out black!  Very minor work in Lightroom and Colour EfEx Pro 4.

Brian H - With no builders around the Jackdaws are nesting in the eaves.  Panasonic DMC G5. iso 160,1/640 at f11

Borage, but where’s the Pimms? - Panasonic DMC G5, iso160, 1/500 at f8


Challenge 14 x 2

Our second challenge since going virtual, and the fabulous images keep on coming!

Our first theme was changing the colour of the car, thanks to Ally for the image of the Porche.

The second theme was 'Angles in Composition'.

Chris D - Slimelight was taken after dark, with the aid of a torch, F8, 1/60 sec, ISO 800. The change of colour was done by isolating the vehicle with the 'quick selection' tool. Then 'Enhance', Adjust colour', 'Replace colour’.

Peter - No Prizes.  Obviously a bottle of Gin, taken from above with a light under the bottle.  There was a little left in the bottle at the time!! Canon 5D Mk iv, Sigma 105 @105,  ISO 100,   f/5,   1/15 sec. Some cropping and minor LR adjustment. Tripod used.

Jay in Free Fall!  Not really, just leaving it's perch.  Canon 5D Mk iv, Canon 70 - 200 @ 145,   ISO 200,   f/5.6,   1/800 sec. Quite a big crop and minor LR adjustments. Tripod used  

Malcolm - Car Paint Job.  Created in PS from the original. Colour selection tool used to create a layer mask which was then modified with a brush tool to correct the problem areas. Hue/Saturation, Color Balance, Vibrance and levels layers used to finish the conversion. Used LR to create final tweaks to colour balance. The final step was to use Analog Efex Pro 2 to add a selective background blur.

Five Past Three.  A busy afternoon in Sherborne. Taken on a Samsung smartphone at road level to create an unusual angle. 13mm equivalent focal length, 1/1600s, f/2.2, ISO 50.  Basic edits in LR and converted to monochrome with Silver Efex Pro 2. A quick edit in PS to reveal the clock face in colour by masking the B&W layer on top of the colour layer.

Pam -  Rusty Rain Drop. No surprise that this was taken in the rain!  I’ve noticed raindrops on these metal bird seed holders before and thought about photographing them.  I wanted to get the reflection of the window in the droplet to be in focus and concentrate on this.  I used my 100mm macro lens on a tripod. 1/60 sec at f11, ISO800.

Mike N - Car Paint Job. Imaging has never been my thing, and of an opinion that a photo should “capture a moment in time”. However, I felt I ought to give this one a go. Initially I tried using the “Quick Selection Tool”, but soon restarted using the “Lasso Tool”. I then used Enhance > Adjust Colour > Replace Colour, using the eyedropper to select the shade of red I wanted to swap, and with what colour. This process was repeated until all shades of red in the car had been suitably swapped. Finally, I cloned back the bottom of the post box (as seen through the Porsche’s windscreen), and the rear number plate to their original colours. Not the wildest of colour choice I must admit. I’m sure there will be some super spray jobs done by more proficient members.

Bubbles Galore   ISO : 400 Lens: EF24mm F2.8 IS USM F5.6 at 1/6 sec Aperture Priority Handheld – Natural lighting.  At first I thought this was going to be a relatively easy choice (I recalled at age 15 laying on my back to take photos looking up trees). However, whilst doing the washing up yesterday morning, I noticed all the colours, sizes and shapes in the myriad of bubbles. So, with the camera at the ready I ran a clean bowl of soapy water. I found the best angle to be overhead, as it gave a good degree of sharpness and avoided most DOF problems. I think it’s worked, but had to rely on a dense group of bubbles to be the focal point of interest placed on a “third”. My problem when post processing this image was in realising I had stopped processing and was just staring at thousands of bubbles…!

Wendy - Life on the Edge.  Settings were ISO200 f16 1/40th sec in dappled sunlight on my Olympus E-M1 mk II, using the 12-40mm lens. The exposure was adjusted, cropped and converted to black and white in L/R.

Elizabeth - Car Paint Job.  This is the result of seeing Sarah's exciting image involving "Twirls".  I have had tremendous fun with this (loads of tutorials on YouTube) and applied it to the car.   I also experimented with layers (don't faint), selection using the pen tool and changing colours.  Text was also touched on but I haven't got the hang of warping it.  Still..............another time.  Saw a tutorial about changing wheels so gave the car two new wheel rims.

Angles.  Here, the lesson learnt was less the photography than using my tripod!!!!  I have always known I can contort it into endless levels, including very low down, but have never actually done it.  In order to photograph the book I had to get to grips (ha ha) with the tripod..............so more knowledge acquired.  

I thoroughly enjoyed messing around and look forward to learning what the next challenge will involve.

Trevor - This is a picture I took last year of the V@A Dundee, its angular construction is quiet unique. It was shot on ISO200, 18mm,  f/8,  1/100 sec.

Fo - Car Paint Job. I hand erased the background and then played with tone, contrast, saturation etc until I got the desired effect. I'm afraid I'm a terrible one for not recording what I do as I'm playing with images.

Breakfast down under and Out with the Old. Both set ups taken from under my kitchen table. I had to clean the underside before I began as my grandson enjoys walking under it and trying to get the things from on top. I had to use lights as my kitchen was very dark. Both were taken on iso 650 at f4 at 1/60. It was hard to get the right amount of dof to separate the background from the subjects whilst also dealing with reflections.

Roger - Silver bowl (made by my father) Canon EOS 550D Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 lens Exposure 0.8 sec f/22 ISO 100.  Focal length 65mm.  Daylight, with diffuser screen, reflector, and tripod, against dark velvet background.

The Poacher (made by my paternal grandfather).  Canon EOS 550D Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 lens Exposure 0.6 sec f/22 ISO 100Focal length 105mm.  Daylight, with diffuser screen, small white spotlight (to illuminate the face), and tripod, against velvet background.

Sarah - Car Paint Job.  Failed miserable on the brief for this one!  I got so carried away with 'deconstructing' the Porche, I ran out of time to change the colour!  Bit of selecting and adding as another layer and changing the angle on the bumper and some use of the warp tool.  Added some rust using the paintbrush and then sharpening it. Holes on window were selected using the lasso tool and then darkening the inside.

Out of the Dark. I tried to get the feeling of depth by getting down low and getting the right depth of field.  Canon 60D, Sigma 105 lens, focal length 105mm, F18, Iso 100. Cropped and put through Nik Silver Effex Pro.




Challenge 14

The first of our Virtual Challenges looks to have been a success with plenty of support.

The themes were 'What I saw on my Walk' and 'Homes and Gardens'.

Look out for the next one which will be coming up shortly!

Some members included info about their images and they are attached below.

Mike Hermann:

Bluebell on my Walk -

1/400th sec, f2.8, ISO125, 100mm macro lens.

Bluebells and Primroses on my Walk -

1/1600th sec, f2.8, ISO 125, 100mm macro lens.

These two images were taken during my constitutional walk. They were taken at around 4.30pm when the sun was no longer too high and as I was near woodland, there were some long shadows. I was lying flat in the grass, so totally illegal as we are not allowed to lie down during lockdown, but it does give me the sort of angle I prefer!


I have a small project to photograph insects in flight, which requires a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec or faster for most.  This is possible with ISO 6400, but it’s much better with flash and, amazingly, this does not seemed to deter the ones I have tried it with.  The project is ongoing, but two images are attached which I am reasonably pleased with.  For the botanists, there is a profusion of wild flowers this Spring and I have seen several specimens of early purple orchid.

Mike Nicholls:

Gates - all handheld and natural lighting

Level Crossing Gate - ISO : 100, Lens: EF-S 18-135mm, F3.5-5.6 IS USM @ 75mm, F11 at 1/50 sec.

Kissing Gate (To Common) - ISO : 100, Lens: EF-S 18-135mm, F3.5-5.6 IS USM @ 18mm,F11 at 1/160 sec

Bridle Way Gate ISO : 100 Lens: EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS USM @ 18mm F11 at 1/320 sec

Flowers - all handheld and natural lighting

Tiny Blue Flower (in grass) - ISO 100, Lens:EF24mm F2.8 IS USM, F5.6 at 1/500 sec.

Dandelion Seed Head - ISO : 100, Lens: EF24mm F2.8 IS USM, F8 at 1/500 sec.

Bluebells - ISO : 100, Lens: EF24mm F2.8 IS USM, F5.6 at 1/500 sec.


My Images taken while walking around the garden.

Bumble Bee -

Kindly arrived while I was about to remove a nettle.

Canon 5D Mk iv,   Sigma 105 mm,   f/4.5,   1/2000 sec,  ISO 200.

Minor Lightroom adjustments,  heavy cropping to remove a cane.

Lock Down (Bluebell) -

I call this Lock Down as unusually the focus is on the buds as apposed to the flower bell(s) - most were shut this day with only a few open as WE await for 'normality' to return and everything is open again.

Nikon 810 Lensbaby, f/1.2, 1/600 sec, ISO 100.


Homes & Gardens!  I loved the early evening sunlight glinting on the orange calendula and from my kitchen window the orange and the blue look lovely together.  I used my tripod set down very low.  Camera settings ISO 1250, focal length 200mm, 1/640 sec at f6.3.  Image processed in Lightroom.

“What I Saw On My Walk Today” or rather last week.  I loved the structure of this tree and was very intrigued by the hole at the top.  I wonder if an owl lives in it?  I took this with my compact Canon G7x and converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro.




Social Isolating - no one told the cows!

Seen on a walk near my house.  The cows had just been let out after milking and clustered on a new area of forage just a few days after 'social isolating' began.  Taken on my iPhone, converted to B&W and processed in Silver efex pro

Starling attacks squirrel

A couple of days ago a squirrel tried to raid the starlings nest built in a hole made by a woodpecker a couple of years ago in an electricity pole at the end of my garden.  The 'battle' went on for a couple of hours with the squirrel trying to get to the hole and the two starling continually mobbing it.

It was fascinating behaviour to watch.  The squirrel was defending itself, rushing up and down the pole and protected its head by covering it with its tail.  Taken with Canon 5D Mk3, 100-400mm lens + 1.4 extender.


Madagascar Stick Insect-Wendy
Garden to Fork-Pam
‘Feed Me Horace’ (little Shop of Horrors)-Chris Edgecombe
Damsel Flies-Mike Nicholls
Panther Chameleon-Mark Tatchell


Macro & Close-up Competition

Our "virtual" club got off to a cracking start with judge, Sara Harpley, agreeing to evaluate the images externally.

The event was well supported with 31 entries from 16 photographers.

The results were:

First             Wendy Jackson          Madagascan Stick Insect

Second        Sarah Simpson         Chrysanthemum

Third            Pam Watts                 Garden to Fork



Chris Edgecombe      Feed me, Seymour

Mike Nicholls             Damsel Flies

Mark Tatchell             Panther Chameleon


All the images were circulated to members, together with brief notes from each photographer comprising technical data and notes of interest. This is not something that is ever available on club competition nights so was a welcome bonus.

Sara gave excellent feedback on all the images which was constructive and consistent so greatly appreciated.

Hopefully, with plenty of time on our hands in the coming weeks, we will be able to put into practice some of her suggestions and ideas.

Meanwhile, many congratulations to all the winners, particularly Wendy Jackson who is a new member of the club: great to see her gain success at the first attempt!


Macro & Close-up Competition

Our annual Macro & Close-up competition is still going ahead - please be sure to submit a maximum of 2 digital entries no later than Tuesday 31st March to the usual email address.

The images will be appraised remotely by the same external judge as previously announced, so you had all better dot your i's and cross your T's for this one!

All the usual competition rules apply:

Images should be resized to:

1920 pixels wide maximum

1200 pixels high maximum

sRGB colour space

You can find a resizing guide here.

For each image please include a title, PLUS, in addition we feel that it will be of interest to everyone to include a brief statement on the camera settings, details of any lighting method used, any special techniques used and any post production techniques used. Please include this information with your image submission.

Last years winners are on the right to whet your appetite 😀


Fire Wood - Jay Warnes
Kaffir Lily - Sarah Simpson
Ticking - Roger Gibson


Challenge 14

This is a great idea to keep us all thinking creatively whilst polishing up on our camera craft during the current lockdown.

We would like as many members as possible to submit an image every fortnight, showing us your new ideas and techniques to help keep us all on our toes and active.

The image should follow the normal competition rules, but can be of any subject. A few words from each photographer about how and why the image was taken would also be appreciated!

All images will be showcased on this page, so  stay safe and keep shooting!


SBA Camera Club