Last week’s meeting – Projects Night!

Smoke PhotographyThe latest meeting of the Society comprised four tutorials from members.

John Aldred demonstrated how to use Photoshop CS5 Extended to produce a finished image of multiple fireworks. Images taken in the RAW format at the November 2012 firework spectacular were used to illustrate the method of using a base layer and then placing individual images into the final picture. John showed how to change the colour hues of the fireworks and to choose the correctly positioned images. As all images were taken using a tripod the layers were in correct register. Additionally John instructed members how to resize images for competitions.

Mike Atkinson held a practical demonstration on how to cut a mitred mount. This involved correct marking out of the mountboard to include the borders required and then accurately cutting the mount. The photograph was then adhered to the backing board and the mitred mount attached. Mike had brought along different examples of finished mounts and emphasised the advantages of making a hinged mount which could be reused.

Nick Dagger explained Smoke Photography. Cameras should be set somewhere between f/8 and f/11, 1/160th second and ISO 100. Using a black background and flash Nick recommended to take plenty of photographs as the smoke can produce many surprising shapes. An additional lamp was used to provide a focus point. RAW format and manual focus provided the best images. Afterwards Nick used the computer the process images taken by converting to black and white and then opening in Photoshop and adjusting the images to personal taste by adding colour tints with RGB colour. Members who had brought cameras took images which they could manipulate on their home computers. Each member was given instructions on how to repeat the exercise at home.

Christian Cable demonstrated how to create your own bokeh lens hood. Christian started by asking members to photograph a series of coloured lights as out of focus as possible so that they became colourful rounded blobs. The idea of the custom bokeh hood was to make a new shape in the centre of a black paper hood such as a small diamond, heart, triangle or snowflake. Using the widest aperture possible and manual focus photograph the lights again with the newly created lens hood over the lens. This time the points of light adopt the shape of the design cut into the temporary lens hood. Often these out of focus backgrounds can provide pleasing patterns and can be used effectively with other in focus foreground subjects. Christian illustrated these effects in a guide presented to each member who took part in the practical evening.

The vote of thanks to Christian, John, Mike and Nick was given by Society President, Sally Anderson for a most interesting, instructive and fun evening.