All posts by ludshottpc

Jim Henson Trophy 13 march 2017

On 13 March 2017 the second Jim Henson AV competition took place. The hall was full, and the 17 Audio Visual shows were well received. There was a mixture of documentaries, humorous stories and photo harmony, making an entertaining evening.

Our thanks go to the Judge Gerald Kitiyakara LRPS who commented fully on each sequence.

The trophy went to Brian Marjoram LRPS for his winning entry “Haunted Houses”.

Other results were –
Second: Three Scottish Border Churches
by Norman Horsham CPAGB
Third: The Perfect Husband by Graham Sergeant FRPS

Highly Commended
The View by Kathleen Bird LRPS CPAGB
Top Gear by Graham Sergeant FRPS
Purple Rain by Roger McCallum

Commended –
The Password by Kathleen Bird LRPS CPAGB
Cantiga de Santa Maria by Philip Quarry
The Fan Dance by Derek Tanner

Unfortunately Roger McCullam and Graham Sergeant were not present so their photos do not appear.

Judges recruitment drive

SPA Judges & Lecturer’s Committee – Bulletin

To: All SPA Members, Clubs, & Judges

Dear Members,

This is a quick bulletin from the SPA Judges & Lecturers Committee to give you a few updates that may be of interest.

Firstly, for those of you who do not know us, as perhaps you are new members, we have the role to support the judging function within the SPA member clubs.

Amongst other things we seek out new judges, train & assess them, and then support them throughout their tenure as a judge.

You can see what we do on the SPA website, under the Judges & Lecturers.

We wanted to let you know that we are actively seeking new judges at the moment. We have a number of club members who have put their name forward as we will be running at least one introductory session over the next few months followed by some training and then a training and assessment day a bit later in 2018.

This year by popular request we have introduced a continual development programme to support judges in their role to help keep them current and to refresh their technique & knowledge. To date this has been well received and will continue with input from all the judges.

We would very much like to encourage any club member to review the criteria and if interested to apply through the website or drop one of our team a note.

Warm regards

Steve Kingswell

Judges Committee

Rosemary Wilman –

Steve Kingswell –

Martin Faiers –


Keith Hunt AV Competition 2017

On Tuesday 24 October we entered this competition at Woking Camera Club. We entered 2 AVs,  Flora of South Africa by Kathleen Bird, and Valencia and its Secret by Harold Russell, which received a Hioghly Commended from the judge, Walter Benzie HonFRPS. Congratulations Harold.

Other results were
Winner – Northern Botswana by Jean Hoyle
Second – Two Scottish Border Churches by Norman Horsham CPAGB
Third – Coventry Cathedral by Mike Reed CPAGB

Jack Salway’s garden 15 August 2017

The club visit to this tropical garden was well attended. Jack was most welcoming, allowing us to use his “shed” to make tea and coffee, and to roam around his garden all day. So many of the plants are exotic, growing to a good height in many cases, which gave the garden the feel of a jungle, especially as it was a hot day.  Look at the photos taken by some of the members who visited to get an idea of this  unusual place.

View photos

BBC Gardeners World video of the garden 3:17 mins

Jack’s welcome to us below




Summer Walk 19 July 2017

Brian Marjoram  led our annual summer walk from Watts Gallery Car park to Loseley House and gardens on a pleasant July Wednesday. The walk is about 4 miles with some gentle inclines, and the 6 members who did it had an easy amble in the slightly damp weather. Yvonne and Ken met us for coffee at the Loseley cafe, and afterwards we had a guided tour of the gardens by Doris.

The sandwiches at the cafe were somewhat criticised, but otherwise the outing was successful, with excellent tea and cake on our return to Watts Gallery.

More Photos

Best of year 2017

Best PDI of the Year 2016/17

First                       Serval Cat by Yvonne Lindup
Second                 That’s a Big One by Sheila Orford
Third                     Follow my Leader by Davida Cole

First                      Where did all the years go? by Andy Mason
Second  =           Hippo by Grant Dawkins
Second =            La Sagrada Familia by Ian Rae
Third                    Lady in Waiting Common Blue by Ruth Green

First                        Where’s the coach? by John Price
Second                 The Proposal by John Wichall ARPS DPAGB
Third  =                 Do I know you? by Angus McKay
Third    =               Old Chapel in Arizona by Brian Marjoram LRPS
Third    =               Angie by Brian Thomas
Third    =               Nuthatc h by John Price ARPS


Best PDI of the Year 2016/17 Trophy winner –

 Yvonne Lindup won the trophy, a great achievement for a beginner. Unfortunately she wasn’t present so  President Phil Peddy ARPS APAGB presented  her husband Ken with the trophy for the Best PDI of the  Year award for “Serval Cat”.


Best PRINT of the Year 2016/17

First                      Rush Hour by Andy Mason
Second               Yukon River Rapids by Bob Cole
Third                    Deja Vu by Andy Mayson

First                     Cutty Sark at Greenwich by Ian Rae
Second =           Sky Points by Ian Rae
Second =           African Darter by Andy Mayson

First                     Short Eared Owl by John Wichall ARPS DPAGB
Second               Temptress by Brian Thomas
Third =                Midhurst before the storm by Paul Crook
Thied =               At the rut by John Wichall ARPS DPAGB


President Phil Peddy ARPS APAGB presented John Wichall ARPS DPAGB  with the Best Print of the  Year awarded for  “Short eared owl”.

Congratulations to Bob Cole who won the Robbie Morgan Trophy for the most improved beginner of 2016/17.

Surrey Photographic Association PDI Competition 13 May 2017

 Congratulations to Godalming Photographic Club – winners of both the Open section {222 points) and Nature section (118 points).

Joint runners-up – Open – Bookham Camera Club & Windlesham & Camberley Camera Club
Joint runners-up – Nature – Bookham Camera Club & Richmond & Twickenham Photographic Society

 Open results

Ludshott Photographic Club did not do well in the Open Section. We were joint 13th with an average of only 9.65, which suggests quite a number of low scores. The images are judged out of 15.

Nature results

We came joint 3rd in the Nature section with an average of just over 11 out of 15, a very good result.

Congratulations to Kathleen Bird LRPS CPAGB for winning a judge’s medal. This was awarded by judge  Chris Palmer FRPS DPAGB APAGB EFIAP for “Lucilia Species”, a picture of a green fly taken at Wisley RHS gardens.

Alex Hare’s seminar

“Landscapes – Creation to Completion” 
by Alex Hare

Saturday, 25th March 2017

Alex has a profound understanding of what it takes to create stunning landscapes, and he shared his knowledge and enthusiasm with us in a fascinating talk.

In the morning  he talked about the various aspects of outdoor photography and landscapes, covering technique, composition and lighting, including illustrations which give a sense of scale from a single viewpoint.

The afternoon session can be summed up as “Post Production”. There was a discussion on software choices and their various merits, between 8 and 16 bit images, the merits of RAW files and other technical issues.

Thank you Alex for an interesting and informative day, I am sure everyone went home better informed and inspired.

Close up and Macro by David Bird

There is a technical difference between Close-Up and Macro Photography but for practical purposes the techniques are similar.  Close-Up very commonly involves a single exposure usually (but not always) employing a stopped down lens to accommodate the required depth of field.  Indeed it is sometimes desirable to limit the depth of field for emphasis.  True Macro, on the other hand, limits the available depth of field considerably.  Stopping down and the use of a small sensor camera go some way to alleviate the problem but full control of depth of field requires a number of differentially focused images which are then combined to produce a single image.  This technique allows a much enhanced depth of field which is totally under the control of the photographer.  While this note contains points relevant to single exposure photography the emphasis is upon stacking.

Do s and Don’t s

Use a Tripod – The stacking software has a job to do aligning all the images before it can stack them.  Don’t make its job harder.

Set Camera and Lens to manual focus

Arrange background – although you will be using a limited depth of field it is still best to use either a plain background or a pre-planned out-of-focus background.  I have an A3 print of some foliage that I photographed deliberately out of focus.

Plan your light  – Even if you have plentiful daylight, small details may well be difficult to resolve either because they are shaded or they are exposed to direct light where relief is lost.  A light source from the side will help to detail relief.  But beware of reflections from your background, again a light source from the side works best.  If you are using natural light, beware days with a strong wind and cumulus cloud – your light will vary to an amazing degree.

White balance – You may well be using multiple light sources.  If you have a white background it will turn grey if your white balance is wrong.

Use RAW and batch process your images in the RAW converter of your choice.  Make the stacking software’s job as easy as possible.

Focusing – Opinions are divided on the subject of focusing rails.  Adrian Davies recommends them but Zerene has an opposite opinion.  It might be significant that Adrian had not heard of focus peaking.  I have tried both a rail and manual focus adjustments using focus peaking.  I find the latter very much easier and effective.  If your camera will focus peak – use it.

Focusing again –  It might not be significant but if your end results are disappointing remember that the optical viewfinder and the live view screen use technically different methods.  The optical viewfinder uses ‘Phase Detection’ the live view ‘Contrast Detection’.  They can, and sometimes do, have different focus points.  My best results have been with the live view and focus peaking.

Aperture – Your depth of field will be minimal anyway so use the aperture at which your lens performs best.

ISO –  Modern cameras are increasingly tolerant of high ISO.  Don’t be tempted.  Use the lowest ISO that your camera has available.  Stacking software will stack digital noise as well!  I have processed a stack that produced a horribly grainy resulting image.  I blamed the stacking software and then Lightroom before discovering that I had inadvertently left the camera set to ISO 1600.  Ordinarily my camera will produce an image at ISO 1600 which exhibits neither visible luminance nor chrominance.  But a sequence of such images ruined the stack.

Take your time – You won’t be taking snaps.  I recon on an hour per stack.

Range of focus – Start at either the front or back ensuring that your first and last exposure bracket the full range of desired sharp focus.  Ensure that the images that you present to the stacking software are all in focusing order.  If there is an image out of order the software will produce a composite image that you won’t want to use!  The easiest mistake to make (I still do it regularly) is to forget that, whether you use a rail or manually re-focus, the actual area covered will vary slightly from frame to frame.  Make sure that everything that you want in the final image is covered in each frame; the stacking software will produce a stacked image that is a common sub-set of the sequence of frames.  In other words, you will only get that which is in each and every frame.

Be prepared to take a lot of exposures – I take at least 9 exposures per stack, usually a lot more and I have used up to sixty.  If you are photographing true Macro and not just close-up you may need hundreds of exposures.

Shutter release – Don’t use manual shutter release; you will spoil the shot with camera shake.  If you have a remote shutter release; use it.  If you haven’t a remote then use the self timer although this will add to the session time.  Before I bought my remote shutter release I was using the self timer; at the end of the photoshoot I calculated that I had spent three quarters of an hour waiting for the camera!

Stacking software –  If you are braver than me you can use Photoshop to stack; I haven’t tried it.  If you are serious about this genre of photography you will end up using either Helicon or Zerene Stacker.  There is, still available on the internet, free software produced by David Hadley.  I used to use this but had problems with later versions and as far as I know, Hadley stopped updating his program in about 2010.  I use Zerene, I have not tried Helicon and I have heard (though cannot verify) that Zerene are enjoying an increasing market share.  I won’t go into detailed use of the software here but am happy to help anyone who is interested in following this subject further.

Finally –  Although stacking pre-supposes a static subject.  Make sure that it is static.  I have photographed sequences of flowers where my subjects slowly wilted.  The sequence was more suitable for time lapse than stacking.  Make sure that your subjects stay still; secure them in position if necessary.  Try to maintain privacy; people moving, opening doors or currents of air can ruin your set.  BANISH THE CAT!

David Bird 14/07/2016