All posts by ludshottpc

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

Club Dinner 2017

33 members attended the club dinner on 13 March, a very pleasant evening with good food and good company. We went to the Royal Exchange at Lindford, who provided us with a separate dining area and excellent service.

We might be a photographic club but no one brought a camera to this event! The photographs below are thanks to Jeff who took them on his iphone.

John Wichall in PAGB News

John features in the latest PAGB newsletter. If you have never looked at this newsletter now is a good time to click on this link:

Photographic Allience of Great Britain newsletter

If you would like to receive these newsletters on a regular basis go to the PAGB news website and sign up. All club members may do so as our club is affiliated to the PAGB.

John’s article is below, and was accompanied by 8 of John’s photographs.

My fascination with nature and love of nature photography have their origins in the inspiring wildlife programmes of the 1950’s and 1960’s. It didn’t matter whether it was Armand and Michaela Dennis on the plains of East Africa, Peter Scott telling us to “Look” or Jacques Cousteau who was “Diving to Adventure”, I dreamed of doing what they did and, I guess, the wish to capture the experience with a camera must have been buried somewhere pto Page 8 of 21, e-news 180. 01 Mar 2017 in my subconscious. Fast forward to the early 70’s and I at last got my hands on an SLR, my wife’s Practika, which I quickly discovered was fine for recording friends and family, but with only a 135mm lens was not a lot of use for capturing wildlife.
Though I up-graded my kit in the following years, wildlife photography continued to take a back seat to family, travel and landscapes, and that remained the situation until 2011 when I retired and decided to join my first camera club. Ludshott Photographic Club opened my eye to what was achievable. Although Ludshott is a small village club, it has always competed in events organised by the Surrey Photographic Association and enters the GB Cup annually. Whilst we cannot compete with the larger clubs, entering federation and national competitions gives our members the opportunity to compete against and see some of the best images produced by UK club photographers. I’ve found involvement with these competitions inspiring.
Ludshott has traditionally been strong in producing nature images, which encouraged me to develop my interest, but joining the club has also showed me that there were other genres that I could and should develop to get the most from my hobby. The club encourages members to aspire to PAGB or RPS distinction. I initially followed the RPS route, gaining ARPS with a Nature panel in 2015, which was based on the birds in my home county of Hampshire, and this provided a foundation for a successful submission for DPAGB in 2016.   John Wichall

Keith Hunt Trophy Success

Ludshott did well in the Keith Hunt Trophy Audio Visual Competition at Woking Photographic Society on 25 October.

The judge Bob Webzell ARPS EFIAP commented on each sequence after it was played, then announced the winners at the end of the evening.

The winning entry was “Shameless Fashion” by Clive Chater of Alton Cammera Club, a very modern looking production with excellent photographs that were perfectly timed to the music.

Second was “Haunted Houses” by Brian Marjoram, and Jose Peddy’s “A Flower Arranger’s Lament” was third. Congratulations Jose and Brian.

Two entries were awarded highly commended certificates , “Autumn” by Norman Horsham of Mid Thames AV Group, and “Cantiga de Santa Maria” by Phil Quarry of Kingston Camera Club.

As usual there was a mixture of AVs on show, and I thought it was an enjoyable evening in spite of the heat in the hall.

SPA Individual Entry Competition 2016

This competition was held in conjunction with the Surrey Photographic Association’s AGM on 15 October 2016. SIx members of our club entered the competition.

John Wichall ARPS DPAGB won the Open Prints section with “The Printers”. Well done John.


Kathleen Bird LRPS CPAGB received a Judges Medal in the Nature PDI Section with “Lucilia”. This medal was Bob Webzell’s choice.


Angus MacKay received 11 out of 15 for his 2 entries, and David Bird got a 12 out of 15 for “Oriental Poppy”.


External Competitions

2016/17 season
15th Oct  (Saturday)         SPA Annual General Meeting followed by Individual Print & PDI Competitions.
1:30 for 2:00pm at East Horsley Village Hall, KT24 6QT.

It is worth entering these competitions, or just attending, as it helps to improve your photography. If you are new to this and need help please ask.

19 Nov  (Saturday)    SPA Interclub Print Championship            1:30 for 2:00pm at East Horsley Village Hall, KT24 6QT.

This is a club competition, and the selection committee will be asking for your images before hand so that we can select our best prints for the Nature and Open sections.

21st November We are hosts to a Friendly Competition against Petersfield  Photographic Society.
The Judge is Don Morley from Reigate PS


31 January is the closing date for the PAGB  Great British Cup 2017

This is held at Pontefract and will be judged on 11/12/13 Feb 2017.
We have entered this competition for several years now. It is between all the clubs in the UK. We don’t come very high up the list, but it is interesting to see what does well, and they send us a CD of all the photographs entered. You are welcome to borrow it if you are inteested.


14th March       Rosebowl Challenge Trophy. This is an SPA Inter Club Competition and is run by Woking Photographic Society each year.

The  judge is Caroline Colegate ARPS APAGB and it is held at 7.30 for 8.00pm at the Parkview Centre, Woking GU21 5NZ.


13th May (Saturday)  SPA Inter Club PDI Competition
1:30 for 2:00pm at East Horsley Village Hall, KT24 6QT.

This is the PDI eqivelent of the Print Competition above on 19 November.

12 – 14  May 17          Yateley Camera Club Annual Exhibition and Yateley CC 8x8x8 competition at
The Tythings, Reading Road, Yateley GU46 7RP