Hi there 🙂

So Wednesday’s club night kicked off with many predictions that we’d likely be done in an hour at most, given the limited number of images submitted for discussion .. how wrong we were!  What ensued was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, packed full of ideas and technique sharing, questions, opinions and plenty of good humour.  For me, running this format of evening virtually worked just as well (if not better) than when we hold it in the club hall .. perhaps members felt more comfortable sharing their opinions over the phone, or maybe the “refreshments of choice” helped lubricate tongues, but whatever the reason, we had some great discussions and somehow managed to fill almost the entire two hours, which was a great result 🙂

Thanks of course to everyone that joined in the discussions, but special thanks go to Dave S, Martin F and Alfred C for not only agreeing to talk about their submitted images, but for also being prepared to have other members critique them! We should also recognise Chris R and Brian C for their ongoing “behind the scenes” work to help make these evenings a reality!

I took three key messages away form the evening. Firstly, it would appear that we all agreed that a good image doesn’t necessarily need to have a focal point.  While our visiting judges have at times been heard bemoaning the “lack of somewhere for their eye to rest”, we all thoroughly enjoyed pausing for a while and just letting our eyes wander over Alfred’s superb “Rock Art” image.  Similar to when you lie in a field and stare at the clouds, the longer you look at this image the more you see. If you couldn’t make it on Wednesday, I strongly urge that you double click on the image below (that will make it bigger) and then allow yourself 5 minutes to really look at the patterns and see what you can see within them!

On reflection (and trying to be fair to our visiting judges!) perhaps the key issue here is that a judge has to form an opinion on an image pretty quickly (it needs “impact”) whereas on Wednesday we could pause and allow ourselves some time to enjoy it.  Either way, the discussion that this image provoked was thoroughly enjoyable and very entertaining (I do wonder what “refreshment of choice” Mandy B was enjoying!).

My second takeaway was that there’s often an even better or more interesting image hiding within the “raw” image captured by your camera.  We saw several examples of this, including Dave D’s “Country Gate”, Martin F’s “Mirror Image”, Alfred’s “Simon” and Mark B’s “Eastbourne Pier Abstract”.  These are all great example of how some relatively simple post-processing can materially improve an image (double click on each image below in turn to blow it up to full size, and then click on the left/right arrows on the image to switch between the before (first image) and after (second image) pictures).

“Country Gate” (source and final image) by Dave S

“Mirror Image” (source and final image) by Martin F

“Simon” (source and final image) by Alfred C

“Eastbourne Pier Abstract” (source and final image) by Mark B

My third and final key takeaway was a reminder that I really should get out more with my camera and take pictures of life around us locally.  Martin F’s excellent “Don’t Look Back” is a timely reminder that the opportunity to take street photography is all around us, and we don’t have to be able to get on an aeroplane to do it!  

“Don’t Look Back” by Martin F

On the theme of “not needing to get on a plane to take great pictures” I’d encourage anyone that is on Instagram to check out new member David J’s images (@davidsimonjames) for inspiration on what can be taken literally just around the corner from where you live. David has some really great work on his Instagram feed and I strongly recommend you take a look!

While on Instagram, other member’s with a presence (so also all very worth checking out!) include: @brianconnollyphotos, @beabeaphotography, @gray_snaps49, @D_J_Ashworth, @chrisrandall30, and @mark.bulle. If you’re on Instagram and would like to connect with other club members, please do say hi online .. equally if you’re not on Instagram but would like to learn more about it, please pop a comment in the box below this blog and someone will help you out 🙂

So in summary, a really great evening which I think everyone present found to be thoroughly enjoyable .. that said, I must admit to having left the evening none the wiser as to whether I should leave the gate open or closed 😉

Stay safe .. Mark.

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