Tools not Rules - Caroline Preece
Last Sunday’s enjoyment…
The Western Region was treated to an amazing talk on “TOOLS NOT RULES”. Caroline Preece managed to have her audience participate with a poignant question analysing responses. The effect of our choices empowering us to shoot not only what we see but what we feel… teaching us that a strong image is “ABOUT” something not “OF” something. She introduced many elements that produce outstanding images and mentioning composition, simplification, importance of message, contrast, and intensity only touch the surface of our learning experience.
Entertaining and educational; A talk filled with tips, motivation and inspiration enhanced with amazing photos.
You can view a recording of this talk here
"A Shot In The Dark" with Mike Kwasniak FRPS
"Travellers' Tales" - Sue O'Connell ARPS/Peter Brisley ARPS
On Sunday 13 March we were privileged to hear Travellers’ Tales from
Sue O’Connell FIPF EFIAP d/3 DPAGB ABPE ARPS and husband
Peter Brisley EFIAP, DPAGB BPE 2 ARPS
The Western Region was party to a fascinating talk filled with stunning photographs, accompanied by factual, interesting stories. Sue & Peter’s passion for travel and photography came across so clearly that it became an inspiration for all to reach for higher levels of how we capture images. Not only did we have the privilege of sharing photographs and stories, but were entertained with numerous video sequences of images, telling their own story, enhanced and heightened with cleverly chosen, captivating music. Glimpses of countries visited definitely whetted many an appetite for future travel.
Sue's simple but wise words “planning for travel yes, but keeping your eyes open for the unusual and unexpected with photography”, reiterating the importance of spotting hidden gems, not by chance but by looking and seeing.
Photographs were in both colour and monochrome. Peter’s preference is black and white and he showed images where his post production techniques produced stunning effects. He also loved story telling through both triptychs and longer series of images.
The morning was a diverse presentation by two photographers each with their own distinct approach to the subject matter, giving us a true insight into so many different travel experiences and cultural rituals. Thank you for such a rich, perfect presentation on all levels.
Creative Abstract Photography with Mary Louise Ravese
Thank you to all who attended our latest presentation Sunday 13th February afternoon. It was wonderful to have so many new faces from all corners of the globe.
Many thanks for the complimentary comments made to Mary Louise at the end of the presentation, also for the stimulating questions raised.
Mary Louise provided an interesting and informative presentation on Creative Abstract Photograph giving us a process for reaching our creative potential. The presentation was in the format of questions eg: “What is Creative Photography?” and these were answered through text, clear explanation and photographic images. Mary Louise explained the techniques and cameras she uses and whether the abstract was created or found; we become more aware of details, cause & effect involving colour, shapes and textures. Subject materials which lend themselves to Abstract Photography were demonstrated using architecture, nature and man made items. Editing was by the use of both light room and photo shop but often directly in camera.
Remember: “think outside the box”. Images can be found anywhere, everywhere all year round. Creative photography can help to improve the photographer’s eye, exercise compositional design skills, help us get to know ourselves and put us in touch with our own personal style.
For further information go the Mary Louise’s website https://shop.BellaVistaPhotography.com or if you want to follow Mary Louise on social media: Instagram: @bellavistaphotoart Facebook: bellavistaphoto
Western Region AGM with Charlie Waite
January 2022 - AGM and friends
Thanks to Kate Constance for a very efficient completion of statutory business - a record time we think!
It was good to hear Tracy Marshall-Grant describe her career to date - she certainly has the profile to raise that of the RPS in the circles it needs to. It was even better to hear the initiatives Tracy has planned to support the strategic plan:
develop partnerships (especially those with potential financial support for the society)
new activities to increase engagement with photographers
new activities to increase engagement and recognition for members and volunteers
We wish Tracy every success in the challenges she is taking on for the benefit of us all.
Our keynote speaker, Charlie Waite FRPS, held us spellbound, firstly with his thoughts on some principles of photography from historical greats such as Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson, then with illustrations of how he put those into practice. Charlie encouraged us all to feel a physical enjoyment while trying to create the images we crave, whether we feel a photographic session is successful or not.
He then gave us pointers as to how we can immerse ourselves in our picture creation; Unravelling images to appreciate their full content and impact; Attend & intend - survey what you are seeing and visualise the image you wish to capture. Sometimes even when this isn't fully achieved consciously, the process and habit of doing so often means you succeed in a slightly different way than planned; Look for relationships - both congruency and juxtapositions in patterns, features, lines and subjects so often work together to create images that give their viewers immediate satisfaction – even before unravelling!
To learn more about Charlie's UK Landscape Photographer of the Year competition or his Light & Land photography tours and workshops visit the relevant website:
It was a wonderful way to start our photographic year.
2021 Christmas Show & Tell
21 members participated in a session displaying a terrific range of images across a wide spectrum of genres.
October 2021: "The Russians Are Coming" with Tony Bramley FRPS
“The Russians are coming!”
Let’s hear it for Eureka Moments!
Tony Bramley gave us a stunning presentation of how his own eureka moment started him along the path of feeling he could look at his photography with a new freedom to receiving the RPS Fellowship of the Year award in 2016 – with a panel that is as unique as it is visually stimulating.
Tony shared the process of Abstraction, Destruction and Creativity he uses to transform donor images to his final artworks, removing the familiar appearance whilst utilising the geometric forms that catch his eye in the original image.
His work certainly fulfils the principle behind the Tate definition of abstract art: “Art that does not represent an accurate depiction of visual reality.
Fabulous work, fabulously presented. Tony’s presentation will undoubtedly inspire many of those watching to embark on their own exploration of abstraction in photography.
If you'd like to see Tony's work, attend one of his workshops or just learn more about Suprematism in Art use the following links
September 2021: "By the Sea" with Robert Harvey ARPS
On Sunday 13 September we were privileged to a marvellous talk accompanied by incredible photos with the topic “By the Sea”, by Robert Harvey ARPS. We had people join us from France, India, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Canada and United States and of course from every corner of UK. Robert explained the process of his precise planning, generously sharing locations, conditions, timing of days and season, all with consideration of high and low tides. We were also instructed on equipment, settings, composition; all the information needed to motivate us to achieve outstanding images.
August 2021 - "Help!"
This session was conceived to address some of the issues that members find challenging in all things photographic.
We opened with a video presentation by Richard Olpin LRPS, who was unable to appear live to deliver his content on the capabilities and use of Adobe Lightroom and of Adobe Photoshop. Many thanks for ensuring we got your input despite unforeseen circumstances.
Ken Skehan ARPS then demonstrated one of the many ways to work on developing parts of an image rather than the whole, using 'Lazy Loops' to select an area and adjustment layers to fine tune its appearance.
Doug King demonstrated exactly how he uses Affinity Photo editing software, this time using masks and brushes to process the desired changes to be made to an image.
The session finished with a comprehensive look with Andrew Stevens at how back-up technology through software and hardware can protect the precious images you have created. When we consider how much investment we make in kit to produce those images, the cost of these highly developed systems to ensure they are never can be put into context.
We finished with an announcement that the Western Region is in the process of developing an ongoing channel for members to pose questions about camera equipment, shooting images, post-processing, back-up or any other area of photography they'd like help and advice on to be answered by a fellow members and/or a panel of experts. More to come on that soon.
We hope those who attended found the subjects covered and practical demonstrations of use.
July 2021: Humanitarian Vision with Jim Holmes
In a brilliant presentation by Jim Holmes, he shared with us not only photos but his philosophies and approach to his work documenting humanitarian issues around the world... ‘From emergencies to recoveries’… “be the witness of the world around and not the casual observer”.
Evidence was obvious of the love he has of his photography. He is so visually switched aware, perfecting the use of visual literacy. His stories were rich in content converting words into images, building a narrative through a series of beautiful, capturing and endearing photographs.
You can benefit from more of Jim Holmes inspiration by visiting his web site or joining his Face book group
June 2021: Working In The Dark with Mike Kwasniak ARPS
A trip to the theatre should always bring anticipation of drama, skill, atmosphere, passion and above all entertainment. All of those had a part to play in our trip to the theatre with Mike, along with a good dose of humour. Stunning images taken in often very challenging circumstances showed how successfully Mike has made his own art of capturing and conveying the mood of the actors and shows he photographs. All of which is used in publicity that creates the anticipation for future audiences - and to entertain us greatly.
“The World of Sports Photography" with Mark Pain
May 2021: It was absolutely apparent from Mark’s talk that stunning professional sports photography is not just a matter of having accredited access. Mark’s visualisation of the images he wanted to capture often meant seeking opportunities to get himself into positions others don’t. Physical, technical and mental preparation allow him to completely focus on Capturing The Moment once the action starts. It also gives him the chance to explore his equipment’s full capabilities, try new ideas and add to his repertoire by learning from them when they don’t work.
An inspiring morning of stunning imagery and lessons that transfer readily to all genres of photography.
My Photographic Experiences in India” with David Bathard FRPS
April 2021: David took us on a memorable trip to India. He not only shared his images but presented to us photo-essays throughout the sequencing with panels of images filling his screen with 15-20 photos. With these he demonstrated to us his concept of travel photography, summarizing his personal experience of that region. His talent for engaging with his subjects was evident with each photo and his warm approach allowed us to share his personal experience. The interaction with persons present who had also visited India embellished our experience.
A sincere thank you David for presenting to us groups of images that beautifully illustrated your love of not only photography but also of India and its people.
Audio Visual Masterclass with Ian Bateman FRPS
March 2021: A superb session from Ian, with detailed instruction - but never too complicated - on how to create the marvellous AVs he showed us, using software he has clearly spent many years mastering. If anybody felt AV was just too difficult, Ian's easy manner will surely have inspired many of us to have a go at developing our AV skills. The extensive range of topics upon which Ian has created his masterpieces was brilliantly illustrated, with music, pace and tone of each entirely appropriate to the subjects. You can see examples of his work on his website: http://www.ibateman.co.uk/ian/av-sequences.htmlIan's session for us can also be viewed here
Under Tuscan Skies with Ashley Franklin ARPS
February 2021: Stunning landscapes go with the territory in Val d'Orcia, but it's the passion and enthusiasm Ashley has for the region that shines through in his presentation. The detail and descriptions of hilltop towns, rolling farmland, cuisine and culture combine with fantastic images to almost transport you to this magnificent area of Italy and certainly made plenty of our viewers want to travel there. Which they can do with Ashley's expert guidance as he runs annual workshops in Val d'Orcia that sound the most idyllic week. https://www.ashleyfranklin.co.uk/tuscany-workshop
Western Region AGM (and friends)
January 2021: Over 250 participants from around the world were treated to incredible photography, a world renowned photographer and high profile guests. If you did not have the opportunity of attending our January meeting you can view the recording: https://youtu.be/l_1fD6q7ED4
After the mercifully brief business of Western Region’s AGM was completed, our new Chief Executive Officer Evan Dawson outlined his strategy; Ian Bateman FRPS demonstrated what top level audio-visual sequences are all about (Ian is our featured presenter for Western Region’s March meeting); Ffnally, using successful panels to demonstrate, Peter Hayes FRPS and Stewart Wall ARPS explained what assessors look for at Licentiate, Associate and Fellowship levels; world-renowned Landscape photographer Joe Cornish Hon FRPS kindly joined us to offer Landscape photographers his expertise and insight; Max Robinson FRPS concluded a fascinating morning by showing us Film genre successes at all three Distinction levels.
Iñaki Hernández-Lasa FRPS, FIPF, AFIAP in search of the "genius loci"
Showing examples of his architectural photography, Iñaki explored the ideas and methods that underpin his evolving style. This was a discussion as much about approach and attitude as technique and equipment, as he encouraged conceptualisation, visualisation, planning ahead and, importantly, patience in capturing the image that best delivers the intended interpretation of the scene.
Within ideas of visualisation, he illustrated his thoughts on colour psychology, the geometries of composition and the play of light on surfaces. The resulting abstractions seem to run in opposition to current injunctions that photographs need to offer a narrative, as many of Iñaki’s images were pure form which could be enjoyed as sensual, aesthetic objects in their own right. It brought to mind a quotation by Le Corbusier: ‘Architecture is the learned game…of forms assembled in light,’ which is a fair summary of the presentation itself.
Our thanks to Iñaki for a stimulating and thought-provoking talk.
Paul Kirby Western Region, Secretary
October 2020 “Mastering Mountain Photography” with Alex Nail
Accolades keep coming in with appreciation of Alex’s ‘stories, images and advice being excellent’, ‘Photos mesmerising’. We were made conscious of choosing the right spot for balanced compositions with comparisons of alternate choices. Bad weather is never a deterrent for Alex – and often a bonus, adding drama to already wonderful scenes. He shared with us post processing and was able to show us time lapse pieces which were amazing.
We were whisked to mountain tops with not only an accomplished photographer but the experienced climber. Tips of world travelling through Google Earth to find exciting and unexplored areas was just the start of long range planning from maps to food, camera and survival supplies.
So sorry if you have missed this experience, Alex’s addiction and dedication to his photography was compelling. His photographs can be viewed on his website and if anyone has dreamed of capturing landscape photography on another level you might have the opportunity of doing so on a special photo trip with Alex.
20 September 2020 - “The Galapagos ~ The Enchanted Isles” with Jane Rees
Jane’s love of nature and wild life came through strongly in a superb presentation where she gave personalities to species met during her different encounters. The quality and details of her photographs was amazing as she admitted to not using a telephoto lens but chose to climb over rocks and ravines facing the challenges of rough terrain, moving water and harsh lighting conditions to get close and intimate with her subjects.
Her endearing images of courting ceremonies, feeding of young newborns, and playful behaviour of youngsters were all enjoyable. Jane also provided such fine descriptions of the surroundings, the actual name of species and plants making the entire talk extremely educational
Rediscovering our Forgotten Heritage with Matt Emmett
Matt Emmett gave an extraordinary presentation charting his journey from Urbex photography of abandoned buildings to becoming the Architectural Photographer of the Year and the historic Photographer of the Year, as well as becoming a Pentax Brand Ambassador.
Matt's research into the subjects of his photographs added a rich level of detail to his fascinating and adventurous stories and images, introducing us to a world of photography that most of us had never considered.
He concluded with some demonstration of Photoshop techniques that elevate his images to award winning levels.
We had so many messages about this event we are booking Matt for his follow-up presentation in 2021.
Getting Out of your Comfort Zone with Richard Olpin - 9 August
Mr. ‘Maverick’ shared with us his personal experiences introducing us to many of his ‘hidden’ locations and several of his beautiful models.
His words were not necessarily new to many of the photographers attending but they were strong reminders of what we already know and sometimes forget to follow. Reminding us that we should shop worrying what other people think in order to build up our self confidence and to photograph what we enjoy, rang true for many ears.
Richard also taught us to be satisfied with the equipment we own reminding us that the vest camera is the one you’ve got in your hand. Thank you so much Richard.
Adventures in Siberia with Pam Jones LRPS
On Sunday 25 July Pam Jones’ talk about her adventures in Siberia gave everyone listening the shivers. Pam braved temperatures of between -11 and -50°C to experience the culture and history of the city of Irkutsk, followed by what was clearly a genuine adventure driving across part of the ice-bound Lake Baikal.
The entire talk demonstrated the indomitable will of human beings to triumph over adversity.
From the early exiles banished by the Soviet authorities to a frozen wasteland, who not only survived appalling conditions but created a community that thrived to become the city of 580,000 people it is today; to the modern-day local tour guides who ‘read’ the ice to ensure visitors can safely experience the unique opportunity to drive on, walk on and photograph an extraordinary natural phenomenon, which enabled Pam to educate us all with her words and images how life is managed in the extremes of weather the region endures and to show its ethereal beauty.
It was no easy ride for the visiting photographers either, as the stories of dressing in multiple layers, Pam’s frozen digits and a shot of a frostbitten nose for one of the group made very apparent.
Thanks Pam, for sharing your Adventures in Siberia in a way that really brought to life what was quite clearly the sort of experience many of us would baulk at enduring for the sake of our art.
5 July 2020 - Transform photos into fine art
For our first of two talks in July, Michelle Whitmore ARPS demonstrated in real time how to use a range of filters within Photoshop and other applications to transform everyday images into fine art creations.
Michelle's easy to follow descriptions, along with regular recaps to give listeners the opportunity to capture any parts they missed, were all delivered in her cheerful and confident manner.
Many commented how illuminating the session was. We have no doubt that a good number of the many people who joined the talk will - as Michelle encouraged us all to do what she does - 'play around with these filters until you create something you like'.
Michelle also showed us to the detailed and very precise processes she uses to create Fine Art Prints from her love of flowers, transforming them into period style dresses in appropriate room settings that are simply beautiful images. You can view these - and buy limited edition prints - on Michelle's website https://michellewhitmore.co.uk/art-gallery/
Small is Beautiful
On Sunday June 7th the Western Region was treated to an exceptional presentation “Small is Beautiful” by Robert Harvey.
With expert photographs of wild life and flowers, often taken in his own garden, we were not only given the inspiration and motivation to take advantage of our immediate surroundings but also given a huge range of tips on how to approach our subject, which settings were best, which equipment we would need …. even which month of the year and what time of the day is the prime time to capture the best photograph.
May 2020 'My Photographic Journey - started on Mount Everest!'
On May 10th the Western Region was treated to a marvellous talk by Ken Skehan on the topic “My Photography Journey ~ Started on Mount Everest”. Over 60 members registered and were able to enjoy, via Zoom, an amazing story of how the trip changed Ken’s life, while viewing great Photographs.
Ken shared with us the motivation for his trip to Mount Everest along with the challenges faced and rewards. Brought to us in a heart-warming fashion that made us both wish we were there and be thankful that we were not. The trek to Base Camp at 17,500 feet took us along narrow trails, across shaky bridges, past housing construction Napalese style (no machines) and suffering the fearsome altitude sickness. Read more about it on our website
From the beginning of not knowing that a DSLR needed a CF card to the successful publication of his book, our interest was drawn into tales of soliciting free equipment, gaining commercial sponsorships and involvement travelling the world with high profile companies. He shared secrets of how he attracted business as well as how & where to raise funds selling your images. Ken’s enthusiasm and determination of promoting himself proved once and for all that with the right attitude you can make a living with your photography… along the way also receiving his ARPS distinction. His generosity does not end with his sharing his knowledge but carries over in his support of many of his chosen charities.
Anyone who missed hearing Ken should take the time to look at his website. www.throughthelensphotgraphy.net You will be treated to inspirational photography.
Thank you Ken for a magnificent, interesting and entertaining presentation
February 2020 - What Makes Judges Tick
Thirty plus souls braved Storm Ciara to attend February’s regional event.
In the first part of the meeting Sue O’Connell FIPF, ARPS, ERAP/d1, DPAGB, BPE5*, an accredited PAGB judge and member of the WCPF Judge Training team, gave us her insight on what judges are looking for when assessing an image - good points as well as areas for improvement. Using a selection of her own images Sue demonstrated how preparation for taking a shot, in-camera techniques and post-production can all work to produce great images.
A group session followed where attendees who brought along prints had the opportunity for them to be reviewed by their peers acting as judges. Very good fun and some invaluable feedback for those who showed prints.