The Magazine of the Marlborough Camera Club
Editor - Trevor Dennis
1 Ashford Grove, Rapaura RD3, Blenheim.
Trevor.Dennis@xtra.co.nz — 03 570 5064, 021 984 883
Web site: www.marlboroughcameraclub.org.nz/
Last month I intended to start placing an enhanced version of Photo News on the Club’s
flickr group. Unfortunately that turned out to be over ambitious with the forever grow-
ing constraints on my free time. I apologise to anyone disappointed. Our flickr Group
continues to grow however, and 16 Club members have now joined and are showing
their work on the Group pages.
This years Seddon Shield seems to have rushed out of nowhere and taken some of us by
surprise. There is still time to enter, but you’ll have to be quick. There are details on the
back cover, and entry forms on our website.
Marlborough Camera Club Meetings
The next two Club meetings are going to be very special. Steve Austin, from the Marl-
borough Museum, is coming on 12th June to give the results of the ‘Blast from the Past’
competition that he kindly judged for us, and will be giving a talk afterwards. Steve is
an interesting person and highly knowledgeable about local history. The Museum now
has a very professional website at www.marlboroughmuseum.org.nz and Steve keeps a
blog linked from that site.
The July 10th meeting will be equally interesting with one of my favourite Kiwi Pho-
tographers, Ron Willems, coming to give the results of the Open competition that he
will be judging for us, and Ron will also be giving a talk. Ron is not just a great pho-
tographer, but also a skilful and innovative user of Photoshop. You can see his work at
Both these meetings should not be missed.
I understand the last Club Field Trip to Lake Rotoroa was enjoyed by all who went on
it, and I have seen some very nice photographs taken on the day. These trips offer a
wonderful learning opportunity. Volunteers to write a trip report for future Field Trips
would be much appreciated. Trevor
The Fourth Dimension
For me, a photograph can have four dimensions. The two obvious
physical dimensions are the width and the height which constrain the
image to the page or screen. Some photographers are sufficiently
gifted to introduce a third dimension – depth. This is a pure illusion,
and the photographer has managed to draw our eyes to features which make us think
that the flat surface is three-dimensional. A small number of photographers though can
give a photograph a dimension which has nothing to do with physical parameters.
These people endow their images with a metaphysical dimension – they can engage us
with their work by touching our very soul.
Growing up in Britain during the war and through the grim post-war period, I was cap-
tivated by the Picture Post images shot by Bert Hardy, Bill Brandt and Frank Cappa.
Later I discovered Cartier-Bresson and Ansel Adams. These photographers could
make a picture that would stop you in your tracks: Their work radiated emotion and
demanded your undivided attention.
There is an oft-told story of the great photographer Yousef Karsh. He took a series of
photographs of the master cellist Pablo Casals at Cuxa Abbey. Casals was playing in a
bare, stone-walled room with a shaft of light from a high window illuminating him.
The best shot was displayed in an exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Art. Every
morning an elderly gentleman visited the museum and stood for ages in front of the
picture. A puzzled curator eventually went up to the man and said “Why do you come
here every day and stare at that photograph?” The old man replied “Hush, hush, can’t
you see, I am listening to the music”.
I would give my eye-teeth to be able to take a photograph with that sort of impact.
June12th Sue Clifford & Dick Campbell
July 10th Mary Russell & Rachel Marfell
August 14th Gordon Walker & Peter Bargh
PHOTOGRAPHY # 52 - OPEN SUBJECT – WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
By Roger Thwaites.
It is always a bit of a mystery to know what an OPEN subject should be, but to put it
quite simply, it can be any photographic subject of your choosing. Your particular
choice of open subject could include any of the following: Portraits, Nature, Landscape/
Seascape, Architecture, Abstract, Still life, Photojournalism, Pictorial/Documentary,
and many more. Because of the diverse range of subjects available in Open category
competitions, it is more difficult to succeed, and that may be because there is a seem-
ingly “uneven” playing field between the different subjects. This means that we need to
produce outstanding photos to be in the hunt, and it takes a photo with that special “X”
factor, to be noticed over all the other entries. Generally, photos of this calibre, display
a unique quality and vibrance, which comes to life through the imagination and creative
compositional skill of the photographer. Certainly, having good technique skills is part
of the equation also.
Photos that have a distinctive look about them, and which have impact and create lots of
viewer interest, will capture the viewer’s attention every time, and will create enduring
memories of them. These are the kind of photos that you can put up on your wall and
never tire from looking at them. eg. – Andris Apse landscapes.
Photography tends to follow the fashion trends sometimes, and this is particularly so
with digital images. With so many computer-generated “manipulation” tools available,
it is easy to change a photo from the original composition to something quite different,
and while this is a lot of fun, the end result may not be the type of picture that you
would keep on your wall for very long. But,….in saying that, the Open Subject cate-
gory, very often, is the only category that caters for this type of competition work. The
important thing with digital manipulation, is to ensure that the picture has some sort of
“reality” factor that the viewer can identify with, otherwise people viewing you picture,
could justifiably see it as computer-generated graphics which have little meaning to
them (And remember, if they see it this way, then it is on the cards that the judges most
likely will also).
Because Open Subject categories allow for such a big diversity of photos, judges look
for other qualities like: Lighting Techniques, Sharp Focus, Correct exposure, Colour
Harmony, Composition, Flow and Balance, and distracting features, to help them with
their selections. So, what this means for the competition entrants is that, they need to be
a bit more discerning about how they create their Open Subject pictures, with special
emphasis on trying to produce something different.
Remember: The OPEN category might be the most popular category to enter, but it is
also the most difficult, to succeed in.
P.S. - Practical Photography Magazine (March’08 Issue), Cites the POSITION OF
THE MONTH as being : “THE TRIPOD SQUAT” (Probably refers to Natural History
photographers stooping over their tripods in an effort to photograph a low-lying fungus
specimen!)….They even give a Latin name for the phenomena: “Lowus levelus squati-
cus” ! Roger
The Photographer’s Unrequited Friend
There is no more maligned an item of photographic equipment among the serious amateur
than the flash-gun. Competition judges routinely reject any image where they detect its
use, and those same serious amateurs hold forth evangelistically on the sanctity of avail-
able light. And yet no professional photographer would leave lighting entirely to chance,
and make do with whatever light just happens to be at hand.
The trick with flash is that, for the most part, it should not be obvious one was used, and
while that degree of control takes some practice, it is getting much easier with modern
equipment, (Canon E-TTL and Nikon i-TTL) and the rewards for ‘getting it right’ can be
My own greatest use of flash is in ‘High Speed Sync’ mode (HSS). This causes the flash to
pulse throughout the shutter opening period, instead of the usual single flash. The down-
side is a drastic reduction in effective output and range, but the advantage is that it can be
used at any shutter speed. I’ll say that again... with high speed sync you can use a flash
regardless of shutter speed – up to about 1/8000th in most cases.
Although power output is compromised with HSS, serendipity lends us a helping hand. I
generally use HSS for fill when photographing near field people and sports, where I would
want to control DoF, so would be using large apertures. I would also tend to use mid to
high ISO settings to keep shutter speeds high, and both these conditions work favourably
to maximise the range of your flash. My Canon 580EX2 will give 4 to 5 metres of fill at
f2.8 and ISO400. The resulting images not only have reduced shadows, but have better
colour and are much crisper.
It is important to understand that the exposure control of a modern automatic flash operates
separately, and independently, from the camera’s exposure metering. When you take a
picture a low power pre-flash determines the range of any near field objects, and after tak-
ing aperture and ISO into account, the flash power is set to correctly illuminate them. In-
creasing camera exposure to compensate for a backlit subject, for instance, would make
some, but much less difference than you might expect to how the flash would expose the
near field object. It takes practice to balance the near field flash lit objects with the back-
ground, which is achieved by using AEC (Automatic Exposure Compensation) to set cam-
era exposure, and FEC (Flash Exposure Compensation). For the most part, you can use the
default automatic settings, but for best results learn to interpret the image as seen on the
camera’s LCD, and fine tune using FEC.
Although a flash is designed to give an even spread of light, it is always going to be
stronger at its centre and fall off toward the edges, and this can be used creatively. If light-
ing something at an angle, tilting the flash head away from it will feather its output so that
the weaker edge of the beam illuminates the near field, and stronger central beam the far
field. The result is an evenly illuminated object.
Using the flash as a spotlight on near field objects can be pleasing and dramatic. The obvi-
ous way to do this would be to manually adjust the flash zoom head to a narrow beam, but
that is going to produce a hard edged light. It can be nicer to tilt the head and spill most of
the light into the sky, for instance, and use the soft edge of the beam so that the light
gradually falls away from the subject. This might be to emphasis a person’s head and
shoulders, while letting their lower body merge into a darker background. You would cer-
tainly need to use some FEC for best results.
Taking your camera and flash indoors presents a whole new set of problems, and if you
were shooting something like a wedding going from full outdoor daylight, through twilight
and into indoor near dark, you will need to constantly adjust your settings to keep track of
conditions. My strategy is, when outside in bright light, to use Aperture Priority and HSS,
opening the aperture, and increasing the ISO as the light level drops. You would need to
constantly adjust FEC through this period.
When the shutter speeds drops below normal sync speed the flash will automatically
change from HSS to normal mode. As the light drops still further, your ISO is set as high
as you are comfortable with, the aperture is wide open, and the shutter speed too slow to
avoid camera shake, it is time to change strategy and go to full manual. Set shutter speed to
whatever will stop any action and avoid camera shake, and the aperture wide open. The
flash will then automatically expose for near field objects, but the background will be un-
Fill flash causes minimal shadows and modelling on a subject’s face, so can safely be di-
rected straight at your subject. That is no longer the case when we move indoors, and di-
rect flash should be avoided at all costs. Fortunately automatic flash metering does not
care what route the light takes to get to the subject, so bounce away.
No self respecting landscape photographer shoots with the sun high in the sky, so if you
are going to use bounced flash, a ceiling should be your last resort. Use a side wall if possi-
ble, and if you can balance the available light from a window on the opposite side of the
room, then so much the better. If you must use the ceiling then aim the flash straight up.
Angling it at 45 degrees towards your subject will still produce some of the harsh effects of
direct flash, (the subject shouldn’t be able to see _any_ part of the flash tube). You would
also be placing the effective light source nearer to directly above your subject, which
would cause ugly shadows in eye sockets etc. I actually bounce the flash behind me and
over my shoulder.
The really interesting way to use a flash is off-camera. I now carry three ETTL flash
heads, plus infrared and radio triggers, and while still learning to make best use of them, I
have been pleased with my early results. This is what I shall cover in next month’s Photo
News, so until then... Trevor
June Picton — Sunday 22nd, Architecture — the subject for the Club’s
July Seddon Shield - Takaka Saturday 26th to Sunday 27th
August Lochmara Lodge — Sunday 24th, Natural History (TBC)
Book Review: The Moment it Clicks - by Joe McNally
David Hobby is the creator of the phenomenal www.strobist.com — an Internet
blog dedicated to the use of off-camera flash. David is a successful photojournalist
who dedicates a lot of his spare time sharing his hard earned knowledge and experi-
ence via his blog, but he claims to be amply rewarded by the wealth of ideas he
gets from the many thousands of readers and participants. He also promotes a few
books as essential sources of photographic information — including Light Science
& Magic by Fil Hunter, which we reviewed in PhotoNews back in March — but
top of his list of ‘must have’ books is Joe McNally’s ‘The Moment it Clicks’
Joe McNally is way up there in contemporary photographer terms, and has been
shooting for the likes of Life Magazine and National Geographic for the last thirty
years. Like David Hobby, he is also happy to share his knowledge, and his own
blog, accessed via www.joemcnally.com , makes wonderful reading.
‘The Moment it Clicks’ is not unlike an Internet blog in design. Every turn of the
page reveals an amazing image accompanied by Joe’s thoughts behind that image;
what was involved in setting it up, and how it was lit. The book is loosely sec-
tioned by topic — like lighting tips, equipment, the nature of light, and how to
modify it — but essentially stays with the theme of an image and an explanation.
But what made this book so useful to me were the ideas. It is jam packed full of
easy to use, but highly effective tips on lighting and setup: ideas that excite and
motivate you to go out and take better pictures, and there can surely be no better
recommendation than that. Trevor
I have recently been turning my hand at making greetings cards, so when I learned
of a friend being airlifted to Wellington hospital by air-ambulance following a
nasty accident, I decided to send her a card with a Marlborough scene to remind her
of home. Out came a pile of old photos, but choosing just the right one became
difficult, so I looked for ideas in a Marlborough travel guide. I settled on a plan to
slice some landscape photos up, and make a picture from three different scenes of
The size had to be just right to fit inside the frame of the card, so I made a template
on some heavy paper; trimmed the photos to fit, and placed them inside the tem-
plate using magic dots. So far so good.
I then took the finished photos to Topshots to have a print taken from the original
design. That gave me a panelled photo to attach to the card. The finished photos
were of the Wither Hills in summer; the Richmond Ranges with a vineyard in the
foreground, and the beach at Cape Campbell. The finished print looked pretty
good, and Lisa at Topshots told me it was a triptych, which was a new word for me.
Without realizing it I had created a triptych by using up photos that were just re-
cord shots. I found it really creative and fun to do, so members try it sometime —
it’s a good way to put those old photos into something useful. The print looks best
as a matt finish. Maybe a subject for the competition calendar
one month? Aileen Douglas
Results of the ‘Silhouette’ Competition
Judged by Jan Aliah
‘A’ Grade Prints
Honours Mary Russell Wither Hills Sunset
Russell Jackson River Fog
Owen Dunn Steaming Ahead
Merit Roger Thwaites Orchid Profiles
Owen Dunne Twilight Time
‘B’ Grade Prints
Honours Trevor Dennis Rosé
Anna Angus The Climber
Anna Angus Finish of the Day
Merit Liz Davidson Mount Vernon Trig - Wither Hills
Harry Mathews Pinelands
Gordon Walker No Stress
Competition Secretary Corner
What a fantastic effort for 'Blast for the Past' entries. We have had a record of entries
or this calendar year with a total of 50 prints (20 'A Grade',30 'B Grade'), 10 'A
Grade' slides and 2 'B Grade' slides, so well done everyone! Steve Austin of the
Marlborough Museum is our Judge and he will present his comments and grading at
the June meeting.
Entries to be handed in at the meeting include 'Creative Mounting' for members
judging on the night, and 'Open' to be handed in for judging. Tracey
NEXT MEETING: Thursday 12th June 2008 at the St.
Mary’s Parish Centre, Francis Street, Blenheim at 7.30pm
Results of - ‘Blast from the Past’
Hand In - ‘Open’
A talk by Steve Austin from the Marlborough Museum.
LANGWOODS Just arrived Canon 450D. Call soon and inspect the
outstanding features of this new model.
FINE PHOTOS Come and enjoy the print quality that more and
people are discovering from our new Noritsu printer. Baulk print
discounts available and hot new deals available every week.
TOPSHOTS PHOTOLAB Canon 400D SLR 18-55mm IS
plus 55-250mm IS, Canon Case, 2GB Card for $1499
Canon 30D SLR for $1450 with a FREE Pixma MP470 Printer
Seddon Shield — Takaka 26th & 27th July
Entry forms, rules etc. on the Club website.
The deadline for entries is Friday 27th June, so be quick.
PSNZ SOUTHERN REGIONAL 2008
Hosted by the Rangiora Photographic Society
When - 10th to 12th October 2008
Where - Rangiora