A FAR FROM MONOTONOUS MONOCHROME EVENING – 1ST MAY 2024

by May 2, 2024

And so to the last of our Monochrome themed evenings for this season. Having enjoyed a guest speaker, put up with a rather disjointed editing session and shown off our PDI work, tonight it was all about the prints.

David A was our entertaining host, channelling his comedic skills under mounting pressure. He kept order all round t’room and deserves a big thank you for keeping things running smoothly.

We had a final total of 22 prints on display for the evening and as is the norm, we saw a wide variety of work plus some interesting use of toning to add more to the mono.

After some discussion on the night, we chose not to have a vote for the most popular print and I think we did the right thing. With lots of insights from the photographers and some fascinating input from Stephen C, who dropped in for a while, the mounting pressure meant we also sort of run out of time. But, as I am sure all present will concur, this was a very entertaining evening.

For good order, I will now show two images from each member alongside some background to how it was taken and edited. In the order of members as their first image came up, we start here:

Greek Cemetery – Alfred C

Alfred took us to the Greek Cemetery at West Norwood. A fascinating place with over 65 listed monuments! Members of the Anglo-Greek Community purchased an enclosure there in 1842, thus establishing the Greek Orthodox Necropolis. Alfred worked on what he described as a “bald sky” and made his usual dodge and burn edits to add contrast, with a final added tint to the sky and top left.

Harbour Arm Lighthouse – Brian C

My travels were to Folkestone and the Harbour Arm Lighthouse. There is a lot to photograph at Folkestone and this was my first trip there. It was a bright morning and the lighthouse is at the end of the Harbour Arm, with a champagne and ale bar at the bottom! I felt this one would work in mono and used a new Tony Kuyper plug-in for Photoshop called Magic Mixer. This is predominantly for mono conversion and after a few random efforts, this one came up. My main struggle was to get everything upright. One day I will know the differences between skew, warp, distort, etc!

Nature’s Artwork – David M

David M stayed at the seaside and we were at Birling Gap, from our recent photo morning there, when sunrise and low tide were close enough! The outgoing tide left many of these wonderful sand sculptures and David simply converted to mono, added some texture and brought up the shadows.

Play Nice – Paul S

Paul S – our Man of Film – was in his favourite stomping ground around Brick Lane/Shoreditch for this attention getting print. With his customary charm and natural approach, Paul saw this lady standing next to her car – a red Nissan Micra, obvs – and asked if he could take her picture. This is the best of the three he took and it works so well. Some outfit for a Micra driver!

Collared Dove – Mandy B

We then went along to a familiar place, Mandy B’s garden and this great image. With the perfect backlight and dark background, the sharpness and detail of the dove jumps off the print. Seems these birds are not that common so far this year. By the way, it was taken as one shot with focus tracking; something I must try one day.

Crofter’s Cottage – Martin D

Martin D went into the Scottish countryside and gave us this image. A typical day of weather meant he felt the colour version did not really work so he converted and made sure he had a true black point. Use of linear graduated filters at top and bottom pushes us to look at the main subjects of the image and the tree adds a good balance.

Getting in Practice – Dave S

Well, it didn’t need a big leap to guess who gave us this creation! Dave S shared with us that he had entered the colour version into Epsom for a fun competition but was told the sardines were the wrong colour! Hence, we have the delight of this mono version. When asked about how he had replicated the font to change the writing on the tin, he said it was more by luck than judgement. The fish were copied, pasted and flipped where needed to create the effect. Oh, and they’re not actually sardines! (those are too difficult to train 😊.)

Low Gear – David P

David P made sure we went to one more country with this image, taken on the quite steep road that ascends the Great Orme in North Wales. The rather skewed (is that the right word?) angle of the car against the reverse camber of the road adds to the white lines leading us through the image. it is assumed David was not walking up the road when he took this but had stopped his car along the way.

Charcoal Seller Rajasthan – Alfred C

Alfred’s second print comes to us from an image originally taken with a film camera, using a chromogenic mono film that uses dye technology which means it can be processed like a colour film. (No, me neither.) This proved to be an image with a story as Alfred recalled being ushered along to this spot and almost pleaded with to take a photograph. The location is in Jaipur, India and practically everything was set up for this image. it’s like they were ready with the scene and just waiting for the photographer to turn up. At some later time, Alfred was flicking through an issue of Amateur Photographer and on the back was an image that had just won a prestigious award. It was practically identical to this! The production team in Jaipur can clearly work their magic.

Windows but no Gates – Brian C

My second image is also from Folkestone and it is the rather imposing Grand Burstin Hotel. This was a familiar sight to many members and for me, it just screamed to be a monochrome image. It was taken in rather strong afternoon sun and I did a fair bit of dodging and burning once again. This time, the attempts to make sure all the lines are straight was not as hard to do and I think it works well in mono.

Juxtaposition – David M

David M once more went into his images from our club walks and gave us this great and different view of the shiny “new” Shard poking above one the main walls of the “old” Tower of London. All agreed this was well seen.

Something needs to change quickly – Paul S

Paul S found this subject changing her outfit outside an old Watneys pub and once again, simply asked if he could take her photo. Her husband is just behind Paul. To get her right where it has the most impact, Paul just asked her to move a few times till she was in the place he felt worked. Paul admitted that his old camera helps get the attention of most of his subjects as they seem to respect his craft when it is clear the camera is not just a tool for taking loads of images to share.

One Moment Divine – Mandy B

Guessing who presented this one took a while and Mandy B surprised us with this perfect moment. On holiday, she saw the couple riding along the beach when they just stopped, dropped the bikes and got close! David P admitted his plan was to have it called “Discarded Bike”.

British Racing Green – Martin D

Martin D took this one at a classic car day and felt it just “too crowded” in colour. To get that 3D effect, he cut and lifted the front of the car onto a new layer and added a shadow. With some colour toning from Nik Analog Effects to replicate an old film style, this is one to really look into and enjoy.

Ghost – Dave S

Dave S was back again and did you recognise the woman from some of Dave’s previous work? His main job on this one, taken at Arundel Castle, was to remove all the modern-day paraphernalia such as lights and wiring.

Seated Figure – David P

To close, we have this seated figure taken at the Barnes Wetlands Centre. No one was quite sure if this was a real person, based on the rather strange appearance but David assured us she did move as she watched some schoolchildren enjoy a demonstration. It was taken in infrared and warmed up to give that final look.

I hope all will agree that we had a very good evening and shared lots of insights, facts and tips on making and mounting our prints. Thanks to all who entered their work and to all who came along to enjoy the night.

I’m off to place a bulk order for mid grey mounts. Bye for now.

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