Photography News 10

Photography news NEWS PREVIEWS TESTS CAMERA CLUBS INTERVIEWS ADVICE COMPETITIONS FREE Issue 10 22 July – 18 August 2014

Your FREE newspaper packed with the latest news, views and stories from the world of photography D810 images are the ‘best ever’ Nikon’s new high-resolutionmaster is unveiled

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Bringing you all the hottest photographic news Tamron, Fujifilm& Manfrotto launches pluswinners from clubs nationwide

The best image quality in Nikon’s history is the promise from the new high-resolution full-frame D810, which replaces the D800 and D800E. At its heart of the camera is a new 36.3-megapixel sensor, which provides little increase in resolution but has been newly developed and features no optical low- pass filter. It also offers a wider ISO sensitivity range of 64- 12,800, expandable to 32-51,200, than its predecessors and is combined with the same EXPEED 4 processor as found in the D4 s . Picture Control 2.0 offers improved in-camera processing before and after capture, incorporating a new clarity setting. Improvements to the 51-point autofocus system see better algorithms and the addition of Group Area AF mode for improved background isolation. Top speed is a faster five frames-per-second at full-resolution and seven frames-per-second in DX crop mode, and changes to the shutter/mirror box mechanism make the viewfinder image steadier and reduce sound and vibration. There’s also Raw Size S recording, which captures 12-bit uncompressed Nikon Raw files that are half the size for a smooth workflow. The D810 is on sale now, with a price of £2699.99.

How PN readers & staff fared on a marathon shoot Ahardday’snight: thestoryofour 24-houradventure CSCs fromSamsung, Fujifilm, Canon& Sony fight it out

See page 3 to see what we found out about the D810’s image quality at the camera’s launch. INDETAIL

Mini tests on Tamron, Nissin & Gitzo: page 28

π To find out more, go to www.nikon.co.uk.

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All about image quality Photography News was at the high-profile launch of the Nikon D810 to find out more about the big claims of image quality

NEWS INBRIEF GETYOUR QUATTRONOW The Sigma Quattro dp2 is now available, with a price of £899.99. Sigma has redesigned every aspect of the camera, including the body, for a unique look, and the camera includes the Foveon X3 Quattro direct image sensor with multiple layers. The dp2 has a high- performance 30mm f/2.8 fixed lens, offering the 35mm equivalent to a 45mm lens. www.sigma-imaging. co.uk TESTOUT PERMAJET PermaJet has launched new test packs that include a range of papers, including the new Smooth Pearl, Smooth Gloss and FB Gold Silk papers. The selection allows you to try a variety of finishes. The Digital Photo Range includes 30x A4 sheets, while the FB Baryta includes 14x A4 sheets.

Words by Ian Fyfe

there might be issues with moiré,” explained Iddon, “but the reality is, that situation doesn’t occur much, and if it does, there’s software that can easily rectify it. So the benefits of no optical low-pass filter far outweigh any potential negatives, and the D810 is just sticking strong to the best image quality.” Of course, the true test of the improvements to image quality in the D810 is in use, and D800E-using Nikon Ambassador John Wright had been using the camera before its unveiling. Speaking to us at the launch in his Motel Studios in Shoreditch, London, he was clearly convinced that the upgrade is worthwhile. “I think Nikon is right to be shouting about the sensor and the best quality Nikon image ever, because it genuinely surprised me and it is a better image,” he said. “And it’s improved on the D800E’s image quality that I was completely happy with.” We can’t wait to see the results for ourselves, and we’ll have a test of the D810 in a future issue.

When the D800 and D800E were launched, they brought a revolution in imaging, raising affordable DSLR resolution close to the level of medium-format. Nikon seemed to have the image quality box well and truly ticked, but that hasn’t stopped them striving for even better with the D810. “It’s all about image quality at this level of camera,” said Simon Iddon, Nikon UK Group product manager, speaking to Photography News , “and the most important feature of the D810 is the step up in image quality. With the combination of the EXPEED 4 processor, the new image sensor, no optical low-pass filter and Picture Control, the results are stunning.” Previously, the D800 series offered a choice – the D800 with a conventional optical low-pass filter, or the D800E with a modified filter to counteract the softening effect of a conventional one and offer more resolution. There’s just one D810 model with no optical low-pass filter at all. “There were some thoughts that with the modified optical low-pass filter in the D800E,

Both cost just £11.95. www.permajet.com

ABOVE Simon Iddon with the Nikon D810 at its launch at Nikon Ambassador John Wright’s Motel Studios.

A trio of Tamrons Superzooms for different sensor sizes

Swiftly following the recent launch of the Tamron 16-300mm superzoom (tested in this issue), a 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 for full-frame DSLRs spearheads a triplet of new Tamron superzoom lenses, with Micro Four Thirds and Canon EOS M users also in luck. The full-frame superzoom includes Tamron’s Piezo Drive ultrasonic autofocus motor system for almost silent and fast operation, alongside Vibration Control to keep things steady throughout the focal range. It’s available now in Canon, Nikon and Sony fit, with a price of £619. The Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 also offers Micro Four Thirds users the 35mm

equivalent focal range of 28-300mm. It includes one Low Dispersion glass element, two Anomalous Dispersion glass elements, two Molded Glass Aspherical elements and one Hybrid Aspherical element, all controlling aberrations for the highest image quality. A stepping motor provides fast and quiet autofocusing, and the lens weighs just 285g. It’s available now at £389. Completing the range of three new lenses is Tamron’s 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 lens with a Canon EOS M mount, adding to the existing Sony E-mount model. This provides a zoom range equivalent to 27-300mm. You can buy the new lens now for £389.

π To find out more, go to www.intro2020.co.uk.

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Latest photography news

Manfrottoadds to tripod ranges

NEWS INBRIEF AUTUMN WORKSHOP IN THE LAKE DISTRICT Strobix Photography is offering a residential workshop set in the heart of the Lake District. The base for the weekend is a stunning country house in the village of Ireby and will run 26-28 September. The weekend, run by Steve Jane, will consist of a mixture of theory and practical workshops, allowing you to put techniques discussed at the base into practice in some of the most breathtaking scenery the UK has to offer. www.strobix photography.co.uk/ workshops SONYA7 s PRICE Pricing and availability of the Sony A7 s has been confirmed. It will be available from the end of July 2014, with a price of £2100. It’s available to pre-order now from the Sony website. www.sony.co.uk

Anewfluid head for video and photo, and the brand new compact tripod series

Manfrotto’s new XPRO Fluid Head has been designed for photographers who want to make the most of their DSLR’s video capabilities. It offers versatility, in that it’s the only lightweight video head with a fluidity selector – this allows you to control the tilt movement by switching between hard fluidity for slow tilt movement, and soft fluidity for fast tilt movements. It also uses the most common photographic quick release plate in the world, so there’s no need to switch when changing between photography and video – this makes set-up quicker, and saves on cost. The XPRO Fluid Head is also

portable, and is made of aluminium and Adapto, a rigid and resistant polymer, so it weighs only 700g but has the ability to support up to 4kg. The head is available now for £119.95. Manfrotto has also unveiled its new Compact Range of tripods andmonopods. These are designed for new photographers who realise the importance of a stable support, while also allowing enthusiasts to achieve precise and shake-free images. The Compact Light weighs just 800g, and is designed to suit compact system cameras, with an integrated ball head with quick wheel for easy mounting. The

Compact Action features a joystick style head with a Photo-Movie selector and smart circular quick release plate. The Compact Advanced tripod is designed for entry-level DSLRs with standard lenses up to 200mm, with a high-performance three- way head, collapsible handle and five leg sections that ensure maximum portability. There are also Compact and Compact Advanced Monopods. The range is available in a variety of colours, on sale now with prices starting from £19.95.

π To find out more, go to www.manfrotto.co.uk.

First weather-resistant Fuji lens

SAVE £ 1 . 00 on Issue 47 of Advanced Photographer Voucher valid from 31 July-27 August. At WHSmith only* To The Customer: Simply cut out this coupon and hand it to your WHS High Street retailer to claim your copy of Advanced Photographer for £3.95 instead of the usual £4.95. This coupon can be used as part payment for the issue of Advanced Photographer on sale from 31 July 2014 to 27 August 2014. Only one coupon can be used against each item purchased. No cash alternative is available. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer. To the WHS Retailer: Please accept this voucher as part payment of one copy of Advanced Photographer on sale between 31 July 2014 to 27 August 2014. This voucher is worth £1 plus a 2p handling allowance. The offer is valid to the consumer up to 27 August 2014 and must be returned to your clearing house to arrive no later than 27 August 2014. As your shop belongs to a multiple group, please handle in the usual way. This voucher is not redeemable against any other item and is only valid in the UK. Offer subject to availability and whilst stocks last *ThisofferissubjecttoavailabilityandisredeemableatWHSmithHighStreet Storesonly.ExcludesOutletStores,WHSmithOnline, ‘BooksbyWHSmith’ atSelfridges,Harrods,ArnottsandFenwicksstores,WHSmith ‘Local’andall TravelStoresincludingthoseatairports,railwaysstations,motorwayservice stations,gardencentres,hospitalsandworkplaces.

Fujifilm has launched its first weather-resistant XF lens, an 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 that offers a 35mm equivalent focal range of 27-206mm. Sealing on 20 different areas of the barrel ensures resistance to sudden rain and dust while a ventilator prevents dust particles and moisture entering. The construction includes four aspherical lens elements and two Extra-lowDispersion elements, while Multi-layer HT-EBC coating reduces flare and ghosting. The lens also includes an inner focusing mechanism with silent operation and maximum focusing time of 0.1sec, as well as what’s claimed to be the world’s most advanced 5-stop image stabilisation mechanism.

π To find out more, go to www.fujifilm.co.uk.

Wildworkshops

Award-winning photographer George S Blonsky with Geopictorial in Greece is offering wildlife and landscape photography workshops. These offer the chance to explore some of the remotest parts of Greece and the Balkans while photographing wildlife such as the endangered Dalmatian pelicans on Lake Kernini and brown bears in Florina, or inspiring landscapes including the Orthodox monasteries of Meteora and the deepest gorge in Europe at Vikos. Groups are just four or less, ensuring exclusive guidance and tuition.

DO NOT MINT RETURN

π To find out more, go to www.photographyworkshops.eu.

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The popular Lowepro Toploader Zoom AW has been redesigned. It’s now lighter without sacrificing any of the protection, while there are brand new zips with redesigned pulls that are easier to grip, even in wet conditions. The interior is light grey for better visibility, there’s a new mesh pocket, built-in key fob and an All Weather Cover for protection. It’s available in three sizes, accommodating DSLRs with 18-55mm, 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses attached, ranging in price from £30 to £45. LOWEPRO, CAMERA, ACTION If you use action cams such as the GoPro, then Lowepro also has new cases for you – the Dashpoint AVC 1 and 2. These have a lightweight composite shell and are high-impact resistant. They also have a built-in grab handle and dual zips, while inside there are removable dividers and an organisation panel. The two sizes take one or two action cameras, and cost £26 and £30 respectively. Learn Photoshop in the lakes This November, Lakeland Photographic Holidays is offering a Photoshop for Photographers workshop. The four days include three full days of practical Photoshop tuition, with the fourth spent photographing the Lake District landscapes. The workshop will be led by photographer and author John Gravett, and accommodation is provided in the Lakeland village of Braithwaite. It starts on 22 November 2014, and costs £795 per person, with everything but alcoholic drinks included. π To find out more, go to www.lowepro.com.

NEWS INBRIEF BENRO’S BAGSOF COLOUR Benro has a new range of colourful bags. The Hyacinth range features two sizes of bag, the BRHY10 at £38 and the BRHY20 at £43, made from water-repellent nylon and available in blue, pink, grey and black. www.kenro.co.uk Lee Filters has responded to the explosion of GoPro users by introducing the Lee Bug, a compact and robust filter holder compatible with the GoPro HERO3 and 3+, widening the creative scope of these action cameras. Two kits are available: the Action Kit, which contains a holder, glass polariser, and the Underwater Kit, which contains a holder, blue water filter and green water filter. The kits are priced at £45 and £53 respectively. www.leefilters.com three-stop ND filter, graduated filter and LEE FORGOPRO Think Tank’s Airport series of roller cases has a new addition in the Roller Derby. With four dual wheel sets, it’s designed to improve international carry-on requirements, and can take two DSLRs with multiple lenses and flashguns. It also has two interior pockets for a 15in laptop, a tablet and has a tripod mount. www.snapperstuff.com manoeuvrability and meets many ROLLWITH THINKTANK

Become an Olympus Protégé Olympus Protégés is a competition to find the UK’s best amateur photographers, with the chance to work with big-named photographers. Entrants simply need to select the category they would like to master – fashion, music, animals or landscape – and submit the photo they’re most proud of with a message supporting why they should be chosen. Protégés will be selected from the entrants, and will then work with mentors to explore their chosen genre: Mick Hutson for music, Mark Cargill for landscape, Lindsay Dobson for animal portraiture and Damian McGillicuddy for fashion.

You can find out more about this and Lakeland Photographic Holiday’s other courses on its brand new website. This has been redevloped to provide more detailed information on each workshop and the location, and you can see live availability.

π To find out more, visit www.olympusproteges.co.uk

π To find out more, go to www.lakelandphotohols.com.

Advanced Photographer magazine has an exclusive hands-on location shoot using the amazing medium-format Pentax 645Z on Friday 17 October in the Lake District. October may seem a long way off, but if you like the idea of trying out Pentax’s new sensation on location with experts from Pentax and Advanced Photographer, put the date in your diary now. Save the Date

The 645Z has a resolution of 51.4 megapixels, top ISO of 204,800, autofocusing is fast and accurate and the magnesium alloy body is dust and weatherproof. Full details of how you can win this unique opportunity will be announced in the next issue of Advanced Photographer , out 28 August.

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Camera clubs

Tell us your club’s latest news, email: clubnews@photography-news.co.uk

Camera club news If your club has any news that you want to share with the rest of the world, this is the page for it. Your story might be about your club’s success in a contest, or a member’s personal achievement; it could be about a group outing you had recently or when the annual exhibition is on show. Any news is eligible for inclusion, so club publicity officers please take note of the submission guidelines and get your stories in

HOWTO SUBMIT

Allow plenty of time. Photography News comes out (roughly) around the third week of the month. For the next issue, we need words and pictures by 7 August. Write your story on a Word document (400 words maximum) and attach it to an email to clubnews@ photography-news.co.uk. In the story please include contact details of the club, exhibition or event – website, meeting time, opening times, whatever is relevant to the story. Images: Yes please, and attach these to the email too. Images should be JPEGs, 2000 pixels on the longest dimension and any colour space. If the story is an exhibition or event, please send a picture from the exhibition (not the publicity poster), the winning image or one of the event. If the picture includes people please identify on the Word document. Deadline for the next issue: 7 August.

It’saknockout 21 clubs contested the Ted Colman ‘rather different’ Knockout Competition recently at Rochdale & District Camera Club. Judging the event was Tony Pioli FRPS

Imagesof Banbury

ENTERHERE There’s £5000 of Canon kit to be won in this year’s EEF/ Lombard annual Make it Britain photography contest. The EEF is the manufacturers’ organisation with over 6000 members nationwide comprising companies of all sizes. www.eef.org.uk/photo NEWS INBRIEF

ABOVE As it looks now.

ABOVE Banbury Cake Shop built 1638 demolished 1967.

example, no photo of the old Banbury Cake Shop in Parsons Street. “Some members had their own suitable images and they donated on the premise that their copyright was maintained. This idea caught on quickly and soon donations of all kinds were made. Donated images are scanned and returned to their owners and to date we have over 1500 images. “The project is ticking over nicely with new images being added every week. Also, we have developed a circle of knowledgeable Banburians who help us with some of the older photos. “The Images of Banbury collection is a valuable resource of interest to schools and other organisations. I’ve put together several presentations, with recorded comments, to show local groups. A popular show is A Walk Around Banbury, showing the enormous changes that have taken place since the 1960s. We get a great deal of information about the photos this way and havemademany friends.” .

Alan Sargeant has been in touch about a long-term project run by his club, Banbury Camera Club, and it’s an idea worth considering by all clubs. “Back in the sixties one of Banbury CC’s members, Ernie Lester, became concerned about the destruction of many of Banbury’s old buildings; he persuaded the club that it would be a worthwhile project to record anything in danger of disappearing. By 1965 a set of slides had been produced and was being shown with recorded commentary to local clubs. Over the years, members have added to the original set. In 2006 it became clear that the project needed to be revived and overhauled. “We received a grant from the National Lottery to undertake this task. We bought a good quality laptop, digital projector, screen, projector trolley, 35mm film and slide scanner, and photo-enhancing software. “I volunteered to start work on the project. Every slide, negative and print was scanned at high resolution. “Later we noticed that the collection had some shortcomings. There was, for

SHOOTTHEPATH

The South West Coast Path (SWCP) competition is now open for entries. You’ve got until 31 December to get your entries in and the 12 winning entries will be featured in the SWCP 2016 calendar – the winner gets printed on the cover. This year’s judge is landscape pro David Noton. For details of how to enter and prizes, go to the website. www.southwestcoast path.com/photo- competition

Each club submitted a bank of 13 images and then prior to the event selected four images from this bank to be shown in round one. The images were marked and at the end of the round the six lowest scoring clubs were eliminated. These were: Oldham CC, Whitworth PS, N Manchester CC, Davyhulme CC, Padiham & District PS and Todmorden PS. What makes this competition different is that the scores from each round are not carried forward and the images can each only be used once. The remaining clubs selected four images for round two and this round the seven lowest scorers went out: Bolton PS, Huddersfield P&I Club, Rochdale & District CC, Swinton & District PS, Rochdale PS, Accrington CC and Bacup CC. The last eight clubs then selected four images from their bank. At the end of this round the top two clubs compete for the trophy. The clubs who went out were: Bury PS, Blackburn & District

ABOVE Mike Heaton CPAGB AFIAP (left) receiving the Ted Colman Memorial Trophy from the judge, Tony Pioli FRPS of Chapel CC.

π To find out more, go to www. banburycameraclub.org.uk.

CC, Preston PS, Leigh & District CC, Atherton & District APS and Chorley PS. The last two clubs were South Lancs Imaging Club and Oldham PS and each had one image left. These were: Studying by Mike Heaton of SLIC and Cement Factory at Dawn by Matt Aspden of Oldham PS. Tony chose Studying as the winner.

RPS Print Exhibition

Over 6600 images were submitted to the RPS International Print Exhibition from 1727 photographers in 72 countries but for the exhibition just 100 images were selected. The five award winners came from Germany, the USA and the UK. They are on show until 28 August, at the Greenwich Heritage Centre, London.

π To find out more go to www.rps.org/IPE157

π To find out more, go to www.rochdalecameraclub.org.uk.

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Camera clubs

Tell us your club’s latest news, email: clubnews@photography-news.co.uk

Parkwinner As the season came to a close at Park Street Camera Club, awards were made for the best projected image of the year. For this special evening Paul Mitchell FRPS from Amersham Club was invited to select from an entry of more than 50, all of which had scored highly during the year. horizon until one realises that she has had the courage to turn the image over and the majority of it is actually the reflection. In its original colour form this greatly enhances the saturation and detail in the ‘sky’ as well as allowing us to see more of the foliage. However the reason for the surreal effect is simply that there is a reed bed with a tree in it in the mid-foreground which is pretty well impossible to detect unless you invert the image back to the original.

BognorRegisPhoto Exhibition2014

Paul’s eventual choice was very popular with the members, as Stocker Lake Reflection (image right) was clearly amongst the best pictures of the year, but also the author Rosemary Wenzerul, a popular member, had been unable to attend the last few club nights as she was looking after her unwell husband Derek, also a member. The image had already won a PDI competition. It catches attention by way of the slightly surreal effect of an unclear

Once again it illustrates how easily we are fooled. We see what we expect to see. Very clever, and in his judging summary, Paul was subtle enough to not even mention the inversion.

π To find out more, go to www. parkstreetcameraclub.com.

Bognor Regis Camera Club’s 2014 Photography Exhibition takes place 4-9 August – every day, 10am- 4pm at the Recital Hall, Sudley Road, Bognor Regis PO21 1ER. Entrance is free and over 200 prints will be on show plus a continuous projected show of images from over 50 members. Contact chairman Rob de Ruiter on01243267642, rob@deruiter.me.uk, or secretary Bill Brooks: secretary@bognorregiscameraclub.org.uk for further information, or visit the website.

π To find out more about the exhibition, go tow www.bognorregiscameraclub.org.uk.

We at Photography News love to knowwhat you think – whether that’s about the stories we feature, your club, the latest developments in technology or photography in general. If you have an opinion or even a rant, please drop us an email at opinion@photography-news.co.uk Feedback

What excellent science fromMrMcNab. I love hismetaphor on chopping up theMona Lisa andmaking amosaicwith it! Would the result still be a painting? He says no and so do I! I think the whole issue revolves around the practicability of streaming the indexed camera file and the synthesised picture inside the framework of all levels of competition. If access to the original camera file can tell us all we need then surely we are home and dry on this. All types of imagery are great and nothing should be discouraged but I think it is essential if we are to keep the grass routes interest alive, that we ensure the pure ‘indexed’ picture has somewhere to compete. Look at the comments in PN Issue 8 and at the highest level – The Edinburgh Exhibition. Public reaction: ‘Too much Photoshop’. It’s vital we don’t appear to be excluding all but the computer super-literate. Let’s get busy drafting a workable, practical rule. Well done Ian McNab for suggesting the beginnings of a way. DaveHipperson

Much has beenwritten in your excellent PN over the last issues on judges and judging, all very valid and at times seriously emotive. There is however a somewhat lighter side to this aspect of our hobby, allowme to explain. The local flower arranging club hold an exhibition for their members on a seasonal basis, which I am asked to photograph and there’s a photographic competition which I judge. The competition usually has an Open section and a Set subject which means almost anyone can enter. And while the rules state ‘No entry to be larger than 10x8in, mounted or unmounted’ I have been presented with 30 or so images which have simply been taken down from a wall and entered including the frame and several years of dust! But you need to forget the high standard of photographic club competition and apply common sense, because there is no assessment of the images as would be done normally. I will talk any entrant through his/ her picture/s, and there is a surprising amount of interest in what is said, and you are soon on

dangerous ground when talk gets round to ‘what is the best camera for me’! Bert Broadbent Referring to IanMcNab’s Speakers’ Corner in Issue 8 of your excellent newspaper, manipulated photographs have been common since themediawas invented. The work of Rejlander, Uelsmann et al has always been considered legitimate photography. What about blurred long exposures, deliberate camera movement, as these do not pass the ‘index’ test? What about traditional darkroom manipulation? How far is too far? Who decides? I sense that your contributor is disturbed by how little apparent skill is now needed to change a photograph. But howmight one measure degrees of skill (what’s easy for you may be hard for me, and to realise a polished manipulate image in Photoshop requires immense skill)? It’s a can of worms, don’t let’s be hasty! Let’s not legislate yet, but allow an answer to emerge from practice. Not a neat answer in a complex

world, but perhaps the most pragmatic. Stefan Shillington

In response to Brian Law’s article on the validity of photographs of others’ artwork: Paintings on a spare piece of wall are not something you can drop into the back of a van and hang up at your next house. It exists in one place, sometimes for years. A photograph of street art shows how that piece fits in its surroundings and what the painter had to do. Should pictures of street art be in a competition? I think so. It’s up to the judges to decide on howmuch photography talent is used. The bland photograph used in your article tells no story: where is it? Was it difficult to paint in that location; is it in the middle of nowhere or city centre? Bring in the surrounding area, the right time of day, a good view and a photograph of street art can show the viewer where it sits in the gritty urban world, and potentially the lengths it

took to paint it. Daniel Stinton

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Profile

INTERVIEW

National MediaMuseum

As the curator of photography and photographic technology at the National Media Museum in Bradford, Colin Harding has the mammoth task of collecting, sorting and displaying all sorts of photographic curios

Is the museum still looking for photographic objects for its collection? If so, what in particular are you looking for? Even though the collection is so extensive, there are still some gaps that I would love to be able to fill. For example, in the Kodak collection we have examples of practically every camera that Kodak ever made. However we don’t have a Cone Kodak camera – a very rare camera made in 1898. If any of your readers has one, I’d love to hear from them. What are someof themore extraordinary items you’ve discovered within the collection? The collection is a constant source of surprises. The more you know, the more you realise how much there is still left to discover. For example, a photograph with a frame made from plaited human hair – you wouldn’t expect to find that. You’ve curated a number of special exhibitions in the past, do you have any in the pipeline? It’s been a pleasure to work on exhibitions with subjects ranging from the origins of colour photography (The Dawn of Colour: Celebrating the Centenary of the Autochrome, 2007) to Don McCullin’s photos of England and the English (Don McCullin: In England, 2009). I’m afraid I can’t tell you what I’m working on right now, other than to say it’s an equally exciting show for anyone with even a passing interest in photography. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? Even after nearly 30 years, working with such a fantastic collection still gives me a frisson of excitement. I feel very lucky and very privileged that it has been an important part of my life for so long.

retail, web and IT staff, and the learning team, to name a few…

Tell us about your history with the National Media Museum (NMM). I’ve been at the National Media Museum since 1985. My role involves looking after the National Photography Collection and Photographic Technology Collection. YEARS IN THE PHOTO INDUSTRY: 33 CURRENT LOCATION: Bradford LAST PICTURE TAKEN: My daughter’s graduation HOBBIES: Gardening WHEN YOUWERE YOUNGER, WHAT DID YOUWANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREWUP? An architect DOGS OR CATS? Cats TOAST OR CEREAL? Toast EMAIL OR PHONE CALL? Phone call BIOGRAPHY Can you give our readers a bit of background to the NMM? The museum opened in 1983 and at the time was called the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television. It was created through a partnership between the Science Museum and Bradford Metropolitan District Council. In 2006, the museum became the National Media Museum and today there are eight floors of galleries and exhibition spaces, three cinemas, plus national collections of more than threemillion items includingphotographs, photographic technology, TV technology and cinematography. Currently around half a million people a year visit us. The museum is part of the Science Museum Group, which is primarily funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. We also raise money for specific projects. For example, the principal donors and sponsors for Media Space, a collaboration between the Science Museum and the National Media Museum, are Michael and Jane Wilson, the Dana and Albert R Broccoli Foundation and Virgin Media. We’ve also received support from organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and the Royal Photographic Society for acquisitions and displays. How many people are involved in the running of the NMM? There are around 100 full-time and part-time members of staff at the museum, including front of house, curators, archivists, a conservator, the team running the cinema operation, exhibition organiser,

No parent shouldhave

The museum has an impressive collection, but how does it acquire these artefacts? We receive many offers of material for the collection, from a single Brownie camera to photographers’ complete archives. All offers are carefully considered and discussed at regular meetings. We link our collecting to aspects of our exhibitions and public programmes, and like to work in partnership with photographers wherever possible. Does the museum have to conserve the collection in a particular way? We place great stress on preventative conservation: storing items in the best possible environmental conditions to safeguard them for future generations to enjoy. Objects are stored in a purpose-built archive with strictly regulated conditions. Does the NMM have much interaction with camera clubs? We value the work of specialist groups and societies and often host visits and meetings. I am regularly invited by clubs to give talks on the work of the National Media Museum and its collections. Do you get many visitors who view and research your photographic collections, at the Insight: Collections and Research Centre? We get a very wide range of visitors to Insight from all over the world. At the moment, we dedicate one week each month to giving researchers access to the collections. Visitors vary from internationally acclaimed scholars and photographers, to people who are simply researching their family trees. As far as we’re concerned, all our visitors are equally important. Do you have a personal favourite item within the collection? No parent should have a favourite – especially when you have millions to choose from. However, I have always had a soft spot for the Thompson Revolver Camera dating from 1862 that I managed to acquire at auction over 20 years ago. The Revolver Camera is in the form of a handgun, but, instead of bullets, the brass cylinder that forms the body of the camera would hold a circular glass plate. After each exposure, the back of this cylinder was rotated 90°. In this way, four successive ‘shots’ could be taken before it needed to be reloaded. The wooden pistol grip allowed the camera to be held steady with one hand, leaving the other free to operate the controls.

a favourite – especially whenyouhave millions to choose from. However I have always had a soft spot for the Thompson Revolver Camera

π To find out more, go to www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk.

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12

Opinion

BEFORE THE JUDGE AndrewPepper

Digital image competitions have replaced slide competitions in many camera clubs and for many the learning curve has been steep. In 2014, have we smoothed out all the bumps yet?

MEET THE JUDGE AndrewPepper: Andrew started taking photographs as a student with a Praktica LLC in 1978. After starting work in datacommunications he moved on to Minolta Dynax before buying a Nikon D100 in 1993. He currently uses a D300. Home club: Mill Camera Group (Stock, Essex) www.millcamera group.org.uk Years in photography: 30 Favourite camera: Nikon D300 Favourite lens: Nikon 10.5mm fisheye Favourite photo accessory: Lambency Flash Diffuser Favourite subject: Cricket Favourite photographers: Angus McBean, Bill Brandt Awardswon: I’m an LRPS

Words by Andrew Pepper

Unexpected sparks – in a goodway

editing software makes monochrome easy and most cameras have a black & white mode. The result is we now have an annual monochrome competition with strong entries frommost members. The best unexpected sparks are when clubs think of uses for FFP that have never occurred to me. For years, I’ve been trying to think of a way to electronically score print competitions; the best I’d come up with was to use a webcam to photograph each print as it was put up for scoring, which even I could see was crazy. Then a projectionist casually mentioned to me that they’d been using FFP to score their print competitions for some time; his club told members to email a JPEG of their print to the projectionist before the meetings. These were loaded into FFP and it was easy to give each image a score as the corresponding print was judged. I wish I’d thought of that. So are we there yet? I think we might be close; there are still members who struggle with setting the metadata – but we had members who struggled with putting the dots on 35mm slide mounts.

slides; why should it be hard with a computer? I was also thinking about competitions that used two projectors – we couldn’t afford a second, so would we have to abandon some competitions? It struck me that in a new digital era, it was ridiculous that we should have to give up some of the flexibility and functionality of slides. At this stage, I decided to try writing a program designed specifically to run camera club competitions. The result was Film Free Projection (FFP) and we’ve been using FFP for our competitions since early 2006. It’s designed to run on a laptop connected to a digital projector. This means there are two monitors – the laptop screen and the projector. The operator controls FFP using the laptop, and all that appears on the projected screen are the images. We can see this in the image (right). To project any image, I click on it with the mouse, or use the laptop cursor keys to move up and down. Things do get better In the days of Windows XP, connecting the second screen was something of a dark art. Since 2006, Windows has had three major updates and now when you connect a projector to a laptop, Windows automatically detects it and asks what you want to do. Better yet, it remembers what you did and does the same next time. Plug the projector into the laptop, and it works – believe me, that makes the projectionist’s life much less stressful. Coupled with that, things have become easier for members. Digital images have areas to store metadata – exposure time, aperture, ISO settings and so on – but there are also areas to store the author, title and subject of the image. Setting the author and title was slightly awkward in Windows XP. Since Windows Vista, it’s become much simpler: the image metadata can be seen and edited in Explorer. Like Windows, but without the same level of publicity, FFP has had three major updates since comeback with digital competitions? In the days of film, monochrome images in our club competitions were becoming rare; few members had a darkroom to produce their own prints and black & white slides required special, rather expensive, film. I remember a small gasp going around the room when a black & white slide appeared on the screen. Now image As Samuel Johnson said, “Our brightest blazes are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.” And moving to digital has provided some real surprises for me. A few years ago, a club asked me whether FFP could run a knockout competition. “Of course not,” was my first thought, but once I’d understood what was needed – and the complications of some images getting a bye from the first round – it wasn’t too hard to add. I didn’t think much more about this until a couple of years later when I spotted a knockout competition had been added to our own syllabus; I’d been away and someone had seen the option in the menu. The members enjoyed it and it’s become a regular competition. And who predicted monochrome making a

Nearly ten years ago, our local camera group received a lottery grant to buy a digital projector and laptop. With a background in IT, I volunteered to choose the equipment and software to move us into the digital age. So, in November 2005, I was unpacking our brand new Canon XEED Projector and Windows XP laptop. Running a digital image competition with unfamiliar equipment at that time wasn’t ideal: everything was new. On our first ‘digital’ evening, each member brought a CD of images. Unfortunately, I hadn’t taken into account the time it took to load each CD and copy the images. 20 minutes after the due start time I was slightly wild eyed and copying the last CD. Having an interested audience didn’t help. For the first trial competition, I used PowerPoint. This worked reasonably well for projecting a series of images, and I worked out a way to hold back images so they could be scored at the end. Of course, PowerPoint couldn’t score a competition or shuffle the images, but it was presentation software so wouldn’t be expected to. I started looking for software to run camera club competitions. The programs I looked at fell into two camps: presentation software and media management software. I tried half a dozen packages, running imaginary competitions using a laptop connected to a monitor that acted as the projector. As I dutifully typed up my impressions for the camera group’s website, I grew dissatisfied – most programs could run a basic competition, but some things I had to do were awkward. For example, once I’d loaded the images for a competition, I wanted to shuffle them into a random order. But I also wanted some images to stay put during a shuffle; if I had a title image saying ‘The End’ I wanted it to stay at the end. This kind of thing was easy with conventional

In a newdigital era, it was ridiculous that we shouldhave to give up some of the flexibility and functionality of slides

Mywebsite: www.filmfree projection.co.uk

2006. The current version (3.3) has a range of Judges’ Aids, which show the shooting information and can crop, rotate, flip, lighten or darken the projected image. FFP supports six different competition types and has a configurable scoring system to cope with most club scoring schemes. When I started planning the scoring software, I started researching what clubs used – I asked members of other clubs and visiting judges, and looked at club websites. I was surprised at the diversity. Now it’s gone beyond that and I’ve become convinced that no two camera clubs have identical schemes. And some are so complicated that I wonder how the clubs in question managed to score competitions before computers. It was only after around a year of feedback and improvements that I became reasonably confident that FFP covered pretty much every angle.

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13

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π To find out more, go to www.manfrotto.co.uk.

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Issue 10 | Photography News

14

Opinion

SPEAKERS’ CORNER

More pigeonholes? With the lines between photography and graphic design getting more andmore blurred, DennisWorrall reckons it’s time for new categories in contests and salons

PDIs that we are seeing in the open exhibitions. The wealth of plug-ins for Photoshop and other image-editing software packages has changed the face of photography greatly. A lot of photographers could now be called graphic artists, as sometimes their pictures have only a small percentage of photographic content in them. I was surprised in a recent international here in the Midlands, where so many prints were oversharpened and had too much contrast, and some components that had been imported into the original were poorly done and far too obvious (except to the judges!) – the edge effects looked too cut out and clearly visible. This is up to the judges to sort out, but I’m advocating a new section in exhibitions for highly manipulated or creative images, leaving work that has only received a little tidying up in a separate section. To my mind, the judges would prefer this approach, since the mix of little-altered and highly manipulated work is a difficult thing to compare fairly. The same judges could do the judging on the same day and enjoy the freedom to pick the best from each section, with the same scoring – five for real ale, two for lager. It would to a large degree depend on the entrants entering the appropriate section, and I feel that the judges should be allowed to move work to another section if they thought it was in the wrong one. Some time ago, a similar thing happened with nature photographers, who in some exhibitions were placed in the open sections. When the nature group were given their own section, it proved to be a very popular move I am a member of Smethwick PS, which is a very large club, probably the biggest in the UK, and has been very successful for many years. The members work hard and have a great sense of humour, which all clubs should have. The change that I and many others are advocating would be good, and it is not intended to penalise anyone. It would be a change for the better, and I hope it will be taken on board – if it is successful, great, but if not it will not do any harm to our photography. I am emigrating as quickly as possible, certainly before this article is published.

Words by Dennis Worrall FRPS

Recent discussions on the judging methods used or preferred by photo clubs or exhibition organisers have generated a great deal of discussion among photographers. This is good, as it has made people aware of howmuch work judges put into their efforts to not just award marks but also help members improve their work, which is very important. I started to enter work at a club many years ago. They were not outstanding pictures, which you would expect as a beginner, but some of the judges in those days were very harsh in their comments – if you know many old codgers like me, ask them and be surprised. One of my landscape efforts was swept aside with the comment that the clouds in the sky looked like smoke signals. Not very encouraging, but I persevered and eventually became a judge myself. My own experience across a large range of photographs over a long period has made me a little reticent regarding the appreciation of one image over another. Sometimes there is one image that stands out clearly as the winner, but on many occasions in large club exhibitions, I find that I have a collection of six or seven prints or PDIs from which to choose a winner. This then comes down to personal choice, but how do you compare an excellent landscape or action shot with a very good portrait? This is very difficult for a judge by himself.

This is why I prefer judging with two other respected judges using an electronic scoring machine that scores from two to five. This creates a conglomeration of scores, but they do form into a coherent mass. High scores, ie. 3x5 = 15, usually pick themselves, with the judges only having to fight over — sorry, I mean discuss — the merits of the very best pics. This does make for a good balanced selection of work with the best one coming to the top: fine by me, as long as it’s one I like. Things have changed a great deal in recent years with digital capture moving on at a terrific pace, and we are faced with new challenges. I found it astonishing how quickly film and film cameras were displaced by digital capture. The cameras are still improving and, of course, this means much better quality images. We no longer work in the dark with chemicals in a tray to produce images, although I still look at my monochrome prints with admiration and a certain amount of sadness at the passing of this process, the quality of which is still hard to beat. It was with this medium that I gained my fellowship of the RPS and to my great pleasure I was elected as a member of the London Salon, which has an annual exhibition that travels around the country and is well worth visiting. The members are all top photographers and very friendly, although my first print in the exhibition was not on the wall at the opening and I found it in the gents’ toilet. When I brought it out, Bob Moore Hon FRPS and Alan Jackson FRPS stood outside grinning from ear to ear and strongly denying any wrongdoing, but good humour should also be a strong point in all clubs – it’s not a war zone. A discussion that I’d like to start is about the large number of highly manipulated prints and

A lot of photographers couldnowbe called graphic artists, as sometimes their pictures have only a small percentage of photographic content

π To find out more about Smethwick Photographic Society, go to www.smethwickphotographic.co.uk.

Should he stay or should he go? Is Dennis wrong about the need for new categories, in which case he should start packing? Are we too quick to pigeonhole? Or is he right and we need more categories? Let us know where you stand at opinion@photography-news.co.uk. WHATDOYOUTHINK?

LEFT Martha with pet chicken. ABOVE Traveller girl.

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