Welcome to the u3a Dacorum Photography Club Web Pages.
This is where we display the Presentations that were discussed in our Zoom Meetings.
Terry and I are conscious not to make any topic too long and to keep it varied, if you have an issue or a topic which you would like us to cover please let us know.
It is so important to see members own work and again we saw some inspirational imagery and well composed, thanks to all members so far who have done a showcase. It follows that we need 3 members each time to keep this up so that only means once or twice a year. Please come forward, everyone has an interest and we need to see these, it’s not a competition. So come on folks, email me so I can add you to the list. I am always available to consult of course.
Terry covered some good tips of using your smartphone to take pictures, which also works with tablets too, I see many people on holiday using these, obviously liking the big screen. If you want to pursue this more there are lots of tutorials on line.
Photography Club 1st Meeting 11/11/2020
This was the first meeting and we were feeling our way with timings. We did intend to have a 10 minute comfort break in the middle for Q&A but in the end we had to rush through the last topic. We hope you enjoyed the session and will join us on future meetings, same log in.
File management on the computer, how to organise and keep your images.
Here is the .pdf file which contains the details: Organise your Images
Please let me know if you would like to do a ‘Showcase’ to share your images with others and I will add you to the list, we would like to have a couple each month.
To ‘showcase’ we ask you to prepare 12 images only on any subject of your choice to reflect your style of photography. It can be 12 images of several locations on the same subject or 12 images all taken on the same day, but there should be a theme to it. When sharing the images we would like you to pace it to spend about 30 seconds on each image to comment and to answer any questions, making a total of no more than 6 minutes.
Now as I rushed the last bit, on the demonstration of copying, I thought I would attach some notes on the subject:
Copying old photos or paintings
Setting up to copy old photos or paintings often gives a superior result with DSLR to scanning (which suffers from reflections due to lighting angle, dirty glass and insufficient resolution on smaller subjects).
Principle of copying is to have even lighting from 30 – 45 deg angle to reduce reflections and minimise creases.
Using a mirror to aid setting up squarely to the subject.
Best lens is one which has macro facility and focal length from ‘normal’ to slightly ‘long’, avoid wide angle lenses. The lenses I use are 100 mm macro and a normal 50 mm (when the frame is tight) on a full frame DSLR.
At home, easy way to set up is with a tripod, set up on largest subject (picture) first, smaller subjects can be brought nearer to camera by lifting them on a box to save messing about with the tripod. If making a stand the usual thread for a camera is ¼ inch Whitworth. Could also improvise with a workbench.
Your lights could be anything as long as they are the same. If using natural light, set up not too close to a window and make a reflector using foil to even up lighting. Cut away a large box (like a soap powder) to stick foil on outside as a reflector. It stands up easy, you just need a weight on the inside to keep it upright. Test for even lighting by observing the shadows of a stick under camera.
Test shot with bright white paper for easy colour balancing. Use this to set custom white balance or for post work in RAW format.
Once you have a set up it’s easy to copy lots of pictures.
Photography Club meeting Wednesday 13th January 2021
Last meeting we looked at ‘tips for getting the best piccies on our mobile phones’.
Here is the .pdf file which contains the details:- SmartPhone Photography
Interesting too to know more about the EXIF data, I think we are all going to try checking out image file data now even images off the net with your web browser (Firefox, Chrome etc).
I started the tutorials on image retouching which I will progress as time goes by. Whatever software you use (Photoshop, GIMP, Elements, Affinity etc) you should be able to do these basic tasks and worth checking them out before the next meeting. Do it soon as it is the only way to learn, like riding a bike!
Find where layers are.
Duplicating the layer so you can keep original underneath, switching the layer on and off, the top layers are the ones you see most, like montaging bits of paper.
How to create and use a mask on a layer (or adjustment layer) to locally limit the layer effect, I used a gradient to a levels correction to lighten the foreground and keep the sky the same. Some software will automatically make a mask if you select the gradient tool to use on an adjustment layer, you always have to make sure you click on the layer you want to modify first before using any tools.
The ‘clone’ or ‘stamp’ tool to copy another piece of the image.
Difference between a hard and soft brush. Start with hard brush as repeated use of the soft brush, though good to blend in, can leave lots of donut shapes on your image.
The ‘healing’ tool which also clones but fades the edges to match in to surroundings. This is a magic tool but use carefully.
Now I know this can be a lot to take in but if you look at you own PC and have a play, when we return back to the subject you will be able to follow this better or ask questions. With these basic steps you will be able to be well on the way to image retouching.
Photography Club meeting Wednesday 10th February
Topics this meeting:
- A follow up by showing how to save and organise images off your phone onto your PC for archiving and editing. Here is the .pdf file which contains the details: Transfer SmartPhone Photos to PC-compressed
- An introduction to the editing software ‘Affinity’.
- A demonstration in converting your images to Black & White, adjusting them to achieve the correct tonal range.It would be helpful to us with the register by renaming yourself with your firstname and surname when you log in.
Photography Club Zoom meeting Wednesday 10th March .
Last meeting we looked at how to save and organise images off your phone onto your PC for archiving and editing.
Thanks all for tuning in to the last meeting, there were 38 of us armed with our cuppas and exchanging images and hints.
Topics this meeting:
A look at taking Close UP & Macro Photos of Flowers & Plants.
Here is the .pdf file Closeup & Macro
Time Lapse Photography using Smart Phone or Digital Camera.
Here is the .pdf file time-lapse intro
Using layers to make adjustments to jpeg files.
By adding an adjustment layer it enables you to switch them on and off (with the tick in Aff and the ‘eye’ in PS, see enc screen grabs)
It is best to over compensate rather than under as it’s easy to change the effect of each layer as a percentage afterwards. To do this click on the layer you wish to change so it is active and then alter the opacity slider. To go back and edit the layer double click on the square icon.
My most often used adjustments are:
Curves – drag the curve to lighten or darken
Colour Balance – options for ‘shadow’, ‘highlight’ and ‘midtones’ (the main one to use)
Selective Colour – if you have a particular colour you wish to change
Vibrance – overall tweaking of pastel shades, the saturation is for tweaking stronger colours
Lens filter/photo filter – to make more dramatic overall changes to colour balance
Levels– the most important one to get your highlights and shadows looking as you want them
Once you are happy with the result you can save it. Options:
- save as a ‘psd’ or ‘afphoto’ if you want to keep the layers
- or you can ‘export’/‘save as’ to another file type,
- and/or in a different folder or with a change in the name.
- My tip if you wish to keep the original is to ‘save as’ and just pop a suffix ‘a’ on the file name that way you have both images in the same place and can easily compare. This way you can also have different versions, just alter the layers and ‘save as’ with a ‘b’ suffix. You can ditch the one you don’t want later.
- flatten the file and just ‘save’ to replace the image you opened
Night shots using flash or torch.
See examples on a screen grab contact sheet enc. Tips:
Use a tripod or support if you can.
Adjust ISO for a suitable exposure time, manual settings are best.
Colour balance – suggest use ‘cloudy daylight’ for exteriors, auto for illuminations.
Switch ‘auto-focus’ off. Pre–focus using the numbers (distance) on the lens if it is hard to see through the camera.
LED torches are cooler colour balance compared to traditional torches which are warmer, but maybe fun to use a bit of both.
Wave the torch light about gently during exposure counting as you go, so after seeing your pre-view you can then adjust the timings on your next shot.
Holding the torch kept from the same spot will give a hard shadow, moving it about will give softer shadows.
Off camera flash most effective, you will need some way of triggering it or just fire it manually with the button on the rear of the flash whilst the shutter is open for many seconds.
Fill in flash is easy to do combined with night shots and for fun the camera can be moving to blur the background.
Next time we will have a refresh on ‘using the layers’ as I know it can be quite a bit to take in at once but in the meantime do have a go yourself to explore the settings, remember Affinity is still on a free trial so nothing to lose.
Hope this is all good revision for you folks.
Photography Club meeting Wednesday 14th April 2021
Topics this meeting:
John Larkin had another look at using Affinity and review of Curves, Levels & Colour Balance etc.
There were two Showcase Presentations which we all enjoyed, from our regular contributors.
We would like to see more Showcase Presentations each month, just choose 12 images that you wish to display and save them in your favourite Photo viewer software before sharing your Zoom Screen.
Drop an email to either John or Terry to let us know that you have a showcase that you want to share.
John’s second Presentation was about using Flash , either with the build in camera flash or a separate Flash Gun. His presentation is available as a pdf
Terry’s Presentation was about “Nature Photography Tips” and showed a selection of photos taken at some National Trust properties to illustrate various guidelines when taking Landscape or closeup views
Here are the .pdf files :
Photography Club meeting Wednesday 12th May 2021
Our thanks to Steve for his excellent stacking demo and to Tony, Gary and Trevor for a showcase each, very interesting they were to everyone.
For those with Affinity (still free to trial) and wish to play with Steve’s stacking set of images here is a link (though they will not be there for ever).
Here is a pdf of Steve’s Affinity Image Stacking presentation and also a quick précis of John’s Composition Notes.
And finally, we do hope to hold an outdoor meeting/workshop soon in the nice weather and with eased restrictions, many members thought this was a good idea so more about this later.
Showcase slots all free for next month, either new people or anyone wishing to do another please email me. These are great.
Photography Club meeting Wednesday June 2021
Steve took us through some steps in Affinity Photo to make your own montages.
If you missed it or need a refresher follow this video
Terry covered offered good advice in improving your landscapes and I covered panoramics in more detail than previous.
My short notes are:
‘Wide angle’ lens will accentuate the foreground and send the background proportionally smaller
‘Normal’ lens gives the same perspective as your eye.
Camera rotates about the front of the lens to avoid parallax
Rehearse the view, maintain camera level
Works best with camera with a normal lens in portrait mode
Overlap images 20 – 30%
Now looking ahead to July, by a majority of support, if the weather is good to us, we will be holding an outdoor ‘field’ meeting.
If the weather is not good we will be back on zoom. Details much nearer the time.
We also discussed meeting back at the St John’s Hall and we decided to make a decision at the tail end of summer.
Photography Club meeting JuLY 2021
Held at the Old Town Hall in Old Hemel High Street
Well I hope you all enjoyed the session, the weather was kind and considering it was the first meeting face to face (albeit outdoors) it went very well and after a good hour of tips and tricks members did start using their cameras and trying out what we had covered.
I am sure you won’t remember everything but hopefully you got to grips with a few things and gave you a bit more confidence in taking a portrait and also using a flash gun. Like riding a bike just have ago and practice.
For those of you thinking about buying a flashgun the suppliers I use to look at are
as well as the usual Curry’s and John Lewis etc. Avoid the really cheap ones as they lie about their performance!!
Make sure it is compatible with your camera so you will get the functions and try to go for a decent brand (own camera brand or Metz are good independent).
Some notes and the main features to look out for:
- GN (Guide Number) is an indication of output. A low number is perfect for all close ups and small groups and indoors at home. A high GN will be required for shots from greater distances, bounced or diffused lighting and in halls. The higher the GN the bigger the gun and more expensive. If you can try one out on your camera. A GN of around 40 gives a good range, my big ones are GN 60, but even one around GN 30 will be better than the pop up and reduce red-eye.
- Ability to tilt the gun up and rotate the head so you can bounce the gun off a wall or ceiling.
- Make sure it covers your lens range,
- A small clip on diffuser makes a good cheap accessory. If you can look for an extension cord too, maybe put on Xmas list as the family always don’t know what to get us!
- Recycling time will be fast on the more expensive guns, whatever the stated time is this may double as the batteries wear down.
- Use good batteries, Duracell Ultra are great and you can get good deals on line or at Costco. Carry a spare set with you.
- Small folding cheap reflector are good especially for closer work (we can do another session on this when we can find the right location). Now I find a white/silver or semi diffused silver the most versatile with a grip like https://www.wexphotovideo.com/lastolite-standard-trigrip-silverwhite-12309/?mkwid=svK2mMVid_dc&pcrid=310558797289&kword=&match=&plid=&product=12309&pgrid=62111518496&ptaid=aud-321738727162:pla-615135612887&gclid=Cj0KCQjwub-HBhCyARIsAPctr7x-EJ9uJnN1ckHUrJL_ql4RSMPQAZe_KrbZfbMveiLoiMGwMWB-XzQaAuf2EALw_wcB but can get really cheap ones on the internet and they are fine just won’t have a grip that’s all. If you like the warm tone for portraits in cloudy weather then go for ‘sunfire’ as it is not as yellow as ‘gold’ which can be too strong.
Photography Club meeting Wednesday 11th August 2021
Terry showed us how to put slide shows and presentations together with a slide show of his own.
Steve and I demonstrated a refresher on the basics in processing, cropping, saving your files both in Affinity and Photoshop (not infinity and beyond…) so noting how to do this on both bits of software will enable you to do this with any software as the principles are the same.
I keep getting asked to do this so here’s your chance to get to grips with it.
A look at the shots members took in the Old High Street.
Here is the link for Terry’s Slideshow maker presentation
Regards John & Terry