Stratford Photo Group: Blog en-us (C) Stratford Photo Group [email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) Wed, 22 May 2024 11:20:00 GMT Wed, 22 May 2024 11:20:00 GMT Stratford Photo Group: Blog 120 80 Stratford upon Avon Photo Challenge for 21052024 The photo challenge in the two weeks up to the AGM on 21st. May 2024 was to take ten pictures around Stratford as follows:

  • Butterfly Farm Arches
  • Henley Street from Jester
  • Birthplace Exterior
  • Holy Trinity from the Rec
  • RST from Tramway Bridge
  • Tramway Bridge from RST Terrace
  • Tramway Bridge from RST Balcony
  • Guild Chapel towards the Altar
  • Guild Chapel towards the Organ
  • Pragnell Security Guard

Seven members managed to fulfil the challenge (with the odd image missing due to weather or time constraints), and a very interesting set of photos was displayed, showing how very different takes on the same subject can turn up very different pictures.

RST from Tramway Bridge by Phil WelchRST from Tramway Bridge by Phil Welch

RST from Tramway Bridge by Phil Welch

The RST from Tramway Bridge by David P HowardThe RST from Tramway Bridge by David P Howard

RST from Tramway Bridge by David P Howard

The full set of images is here.


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog challenge club competition field trip photography stratford photo group Wed, 22 May 2024 11:13:15 GMT
Field Trip to S.E. Davis & Son Ltd. on 25th April 2023 On Tuesday 25th April, four of us went on a field trip to S.E. Davis & Son Ltd., at Astwood Bank between Alcester and Redditch.

They have a large collection of vintage earth moving machinery and associated items of heritage equipment,

The weather was dry and sunny. and after a chilly start, warmed up quite nicely to ideal photography conditions.

Due to the kind generosity of the owners, we were allowed the run of the place for a couple of hours, to photograph whatever we liked, (wearing Hi-Viz jackets).

Volvo © David P HowardVolvo © David P Howard

Volvo © David P Howard

RSM03143 © Michael Robertson-SmithRSM03143 © Michael Robertson-Smith

Photo © Michael Robertson-Smith

SED008 1600 © PHIL WELCHSED008 1600 © PHIL WELCH

Photo © Phil Welch

SED009 © Cliff ArmstrongSED009 © Cliff Armstrong

Photo © Cliff Armstrong

A successful trip all round, and a pleasant way to spend a few hours.

Thanks to our hosts at S.E. Davis & Son Ltd.

A full gallery of images can be seen here.


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) club field trip photography S.E. Davis & Son Ltd. stratford photo group Thu, 27 Apr 2023 14:19:23 GMT
Victory in Banbury Battle 2023 On Tuesday 18th April 2023 we held the Annual Battle between SPG and Banbury Camera Club. This year SPG were the hosts.

The format was 12 Prints and 12 DPIs per club, to be judged by Martin Cooper LRPS.

The print section came first, and SPG edged out a lead, which steadily grew to a solid win by the end, of Banbury 198 to SPG 212. Notable prints were "The Backs" by David P Howard, scoring 20 points, and "F35 Climbing Fast" by Steve Hubbard, also scoring 20 points.

After the break and a chat, the DPI section came second. It was neck and neck for the first few rounds, but then SPG pulled ahead with a solid run of very good images, to finish Banbury 196 to SPG 220, making the final score Banbury 394 to SPG 432. Notable DPIs were "Focus" and "Synchro Gannets" both by Steve Hubbard scoring 20 points each and also "Weston Super Mare" by Phil Welch scoring 20 points.

Focus by Steve Hubbard

Synchro Gannets by Steve Hubbard

Weston Super Mare by Phil Welch


The final results sheets can be found here: Prints and DPIs


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) banbury camera club blog club competition photography stratford photo group Wed, 19 Apr 2023 08:50:28 GMT
Creative Field Trip 12th Mar 2023 On the morning of Sunday 12th March, eight members met up with our tutor, Andy Page, for a creative field trip along the riverside in Stratford.

The weather was quite reasonable, with occasional sunshine, around 9C.

Ready to set offReady to set off

The meet up at 10.30am.

We set out and practised the various intentional camera movement techniques, along with some double exposures with white balance changes. Andy guided us with some hints and tips.

Then you move the camera like thisThen you move the camera like this

Andy offering guidance.

Tree RingsTree Rings

Example of intentional rotation about the lens axis.


Example of double exposure with white balance changes.

A good couple of hours were spent trying to get to grips with our camera settings, and generally talking all things photographic.

Thanks to Andy Page for his help and guidance.

A gallery of images taken on the day can be found here.



[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club creative double exposure field trip ICM photography Sun, 12 Mar 2023 15:39:33 GMT
Annual Battle with Leamington Spa PS On Tuesday 7th March, the annual battle between Stratford PG and Leamington Spa PS was held at the Bishopton Centre.

12 prints and 12 dpis from each club were adjudicated by Phil Cooling.

Leamington won the prints section 218 to 199, but Stratford won the dpis by 211 to 210.

Overall the spoils went to Leamington this year, by 428 to 410.

Synchro Ganets by Steve Hubbard scored 20 for SPG in the dpis.

Well done Leamington, see you again next year...

The final print scores are here and the final dpi scores are here

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) competition interclub leamington spa ps photography stratford photo group Wed, 08 Mar 2023 10:23:23 GMT
Congratulations to John Jurics on achieving his LRPS Distinction A week ago on 22nd February 2023, one of our newer members, John Jurics, achieved his LRPS Distinction with a panel of ten print images.

Panel LayoutPanel Layout

This is the layout of John's prints.

Very well done John from everybody in the club for a fine achievement.

The Image Gallery for the ten images is here

Also John has written his own account of the journey which can be found in the Tutorials & Guides, item 27 here

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) John Jurics LRPS photography prints stratford photo group Mon, 27 Feb 2023 16:46:22 GMT
SPG Stand at Bishopton Community Open Day 11th February 2023 SPG had a stand at the open day on 11th February manned by Phil Welch and David P Howard.

A print stand was filled with various prints and a powerpoint presentation was run on a monitor. Leaflets were given out to anyone who was interested.

SPG Stand at Bishopton Open Day © David P HowardSPG Stand at Bishopton Open Day © David P Howard

Several people expressed an interest, although it looked like most people had come for the free coffee and cake, and a warm.

SPG Stand at Bishopton Open Day 2 © David P HowardSPG Stand at Bishopton Open Day 2 © David P Howard

Most of the regular community centre users had turned up, and the hall was full and noisy most of the time.

Fire Engine at Bishopton Open Day © David P HowardFire Engine at Bishopton Open Day © David P Howard

Several firefighters had come with a Fire Engine, which was parked out in the car park, and attracted a fair bit of interest.

Only time will tell if any of the enquiries turn into new members...

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) bishopton community centre blog photography stratford photo group Sat, 11 Feb 2023 17:30:48 GMT
Malcolm Ranieri Memorial Treasure Hunt Competition 07 February 2023 On Tuesday 7th February the club held the annual Treasure Hunt competition in memory of past member Malcolm Ranieri.

Members were invited to submit eight images which best interpreted the following categories. Amusing and quirky images were welcomed.

1 Anyscape, 2 Water, 3 Street, 4 Creative or Abstract, 5 Creature, 6 Architecture. 7 Plant, 8 Transport

A total of ten entries were received, and our own Ian Bailey LRPS CPAGB, gave us a very good and considered commentary on each image, saying what he liked or disliked, and whether or not the brief had been met.

After all the images had been viewed, Ian declared Phil Welch the winner, and presented him with the fabulous winner's trophy to hold for one year.

4 Creative©Phil Welch4 Creative©Phil Welch

4 Creative or Abstract © Phil Welch

The full winning portfolio can be seen here.


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition malcolm ranieri photography stratford photo group treasure hunt Wed, 08 Feb 2023 09:38:09 GMT
Match That! Competition at Evesham Town Hall 19th Dec 22 The first post-pandemic, annual, Match That! competition took place last night at Evesham Town Hall between Droitwich Camera Club, Stratford Photo Group and the hosts, Vale of Evesham Camera Club.

VECC were generous hosts, laying on a Xmas spread for us all, and providing top class facilities.

Match That image 001 © John JuricsMatch That image 001 © John Jurics

© John Jurics

The judge/master of ceremonies was John Haines who despite a few questionable decisions made the evening most enjoyable with his humour and good natured banter.

After a hard fought competition, Droitwich came out worthy winners on 44 points, with some stunning images. Evesham were second on 35 points and Stratford trailed into third place with 30 points.

Despite the result, a good time was had by all, and thanks go to our hosts VECC for such a warm welcome.

Match That image 015 © Michael Robertson-SmithMatch That image 015 © Michael Robertson-Smith

© Michael Robertson-Smith

Next year it is Stratford's turn to host, and another chance to compete...

The SPG selection of member's images can be seen here.


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition droitwich camera club Match That! photography stratford photo group vale of evesham camera club Tue, 20 Dec 2022 10:32:09 GMT
Chedham's Yard Field Trip 14th Dec 2022 A small group led by David P Howard went to Chedham's Yard in Wellesbourne for a photo session with a blacksmith at his forge, and a wood turner at his lathe. A complete gallery of images can be seen here.

The day was cold and frosty, but we received a very warm welcome from the staff of volunteers, who kept us plied with hot beverages and slices of cake, and lit the wood burner stove in the resource room so we could have the occasional warm.

At the Forge 4 © Michael Robertson-SmithAt the Forge 4 © Michael Robertson-Smith

© Michael Robertson-Smith

The blacksmith did an excellent job of providing masses of sparks for us to photograph, and shutter timings of around 1/8 or 1/10 of a second seemed to work best to capture the showers of bright sparks.

Wood Turner © David P HowardWood Turner © David P Howard

© David P Howard

The wood turner cut a few lengths of wood for us but the photos were not as dramatic as those of the blacksmith.

Thanks to the hard working volunteers at Chedham's Yard for an interesting morning and a unique set of photographic challenges for us to tackle. All in attendance agreed that it was great fun and well worth braving the cold for.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog chedham's yard club field trip photography stratford photo group wellesbourne Sun, 18 Dec 2022 11:52:56 GMT
Ettington Roundabout Orchid Field Trip June 2022 Three of the most common, indigenous, uk orchids can be found on and around the roundabout at Ettington where the A429  (Moreton in Marsh road) crosses the A422 (Banbury road). In the construction of this stretch of road a lot of ground was disturbed which is chalky alkaline (lias) clay. These conditions suit orchids well and they can be found here in abundance.

Common spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsia) County flower of the Isle of Wight. Grows well on chalky alkaline soils around roads and motorways. It can grow to 60 cm tall but most of the ones at Ettington are rather smaller than this at 20-40cm.

spotted orchid © Dick Priorspotted orchid © Dick Prior

Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis). In common with the spotted and Bee orchids, it grows best on disturbed chalky alkaline clay soils. Flowers can vary from white through to deep magenta and will grow to around 20 cm.

pyramidal orchid © Dick Priorpyramidal orchid © Dick Prior

Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) Smallest and least common orchid at Ettington. As it does not have the ‘right’ bee to pollinate it, so it is usually self-pollinating. The flower is in the shape and appearance of a bee and emits a scent similar to the bees and is furry like the bees that would pollinate it. The flowers are quite small and the ‘spikes’ are around 20 cm tall.

bee orchid © Dick Priorbee orchid © Dick Prior

The trip was organised and guided by Dick Prior and a gallery of photos can be seen here.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club field trip orchids photography stratford photo group Thu, 30 Jun 2022 13:58:59 GMT
Malcolm Ranieri Memorial Treasure Hunt Competition 09 February 2021 On Tuesday 9th February the club held the annual Treasure Hunt competition in memory of past member Malcolm Ranieri.

This year due to Covid 19, the competition was held over Zoom for the first time.

Members were invited to submit eight images which best interpreted the following categories:

1 Dereliction, 2 Water, 3 Street, 4 Abstract, 5 Creature, 6 Architecture, 7 Plant, 8 Transport
The judge for the night was our own Ian Bailey LRPS CPAGB, who had a preview look at the images submitted, and then marked them on the night out of 20.
Ian gave us a very good and considered commentary, saying what he liked about each image, and how well (or not) it had met the brief.
After all the marks were in, first place went to Dick Prior, who was virtually presented the famous gold and silver trophy to hold for a year. Dick said that he had in mind an ideal place to display it.
1 Dereliction © Dick Prior1 Dereliction © Dick Prior
1. Dereliction © Dick Prior
Cliff Armstrong finished a close second, with David P Howard in third place. All the scores can be seen here.
Dick's winning portfolio can be seen here.
Dick Prior with the Gold and Silver Trophy
[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) club competition Malcolm Ranieri photography stratford photo group treasure hunt Wed, 10 Feb 2021 15:17:32 GMT
Audio Visuals Night 26 Jan 2021 The annual SPG AV night was held on Tuesday 26 Jan 2021 over Zoom for the first time. Despite a number of technical hitches, several AVs were shared by various members.

Norway Title Page © Ian BaileyNorway Title Page © Ian Bailey

Ian Bailey showed us an AV on his trip to Norway, and also one about his trip to Peru.

Peru Title Page © Ian BaileyPeru Title Page © Ian Bailey

Cliff and Michael entertained us with two very different takes on the same fire event at Compton Verney.

Doug gave us a very thought provoking insight into the pitfalls of going for an ARPS distinction, with a happy ending.

Mike shared with us his enjoyment of model railway engineering, with his Tiverton Junction layout.

Finally a few images were shared by two or three members to round off the evening.

An enjoyable session, and a lesson in the limitations of Zoom for sharing videos.

All the videos and images shared can be streamed and viewed here

(The first five videos do not show as thumbnails because they all start from black and fade up. The thumbnail is taken from the first frame - which is all black in these cases)

David P Howard, webmaster



[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) AV blog club photography stratford photo group Wed, 27 Jan 2021 10:41:33 GMT
3 Way Competition with Evesham and Studley, 23rd November 2020 On Monday evening the annual 3 Way Competition between Stratford, Vale of  Evesham and Studley took place, this year hosted on Zoom by Evesham with DPIs only.

The judge was Anne Sutcliffe FRPS EFIAP PPSA who, having had the opportunity to assess the images before the evening, gave a considered critique of each image. The result was that SPG finished in joint second place scoring a total of 256, the same as Studley. Vale of Evesham won with a score of 267.

Special mention and congratulations should go to Doug Watson ARPS with "Dark Thoughts", Phil Welch LRPS with "City by Night" and Paul Tomlinson with "Weaver" who all scored 20.

Our next club event will be Merit 2 on 8th December, so search your images for that stunning picture you overlooked before!

Best wishes


Dark Thoughts © Doug WatsonDark Thoughts © Doug Watson

   Dark Thoughts © Doug Watson

City By Night © Phil WelchCity By Night © Phil Welch

   City by Night © Phil Welch

Weaver © Paul TomlinsonWeaver © Paul Tomlinson

   Weaver © Paul Tomlinson

The full results can be found here

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) 3 Way blog club competition photography stratford photo group Studley VECC Tue, 24 Nov 2020 16:30:03 GMT
Mono Interest Evening 271020 The club held its latest Mono Interest Evening by Zoom on Tuesday 27th Oct.

00 Welcome to SPG Mono Interest Group © Dick Prior00 Welcome to SPG Mono Interest Group © Dick Prior

Photo: Welcome to SPG Mono Interest Group © Dick Prior

Eight members showed a selection of mono images, some finished, some works in progress, some discussion pieces.

A lively chat ensued, and there was much discussion of camera settings, exposures, conversions and treatments.

Several members had been on lock-down walks around their local areas, and demonstrated that interesting mono images can be produced from the most mundane subjects with the right photographer's eye present.

David showed us a smartphone image from Charlecote, demonstrating that you don't always need to have your main camera with you to capture subjects of opportunity.

01 Bridge over the Dene at Charlecote © David P Howard01 Bridge over the Dene at Charlecote © David P Howard

Photo: Bridge over Dene at Charlecote © David P Howard

Stuart showed us one of his recent film images using 120 roll film, and promised more of the same in the future.

Canal on Film © Stuart ThomasCanal on Film © Stuart Thomas

Photo: Canal on Film © Stuart Thomas

All in all a very entertaining and informative session, showing that mono is very much alive and well.

All the mono images used during the evening can be viewed here.

David P Howard, Webmaster.




[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club mono mono interest group monochrome photography stratford photo group Wed, 28 Oct 2020 09:59:45 GMT
Annual Battle with Leamington Spa Photographic Society 10 March 2020 Last week we took part in our annual battle with Leamington Spa Photographic Society. Leamington has a significantly larger membership than us and has beaten us for as long as I can remember.

The format consisted of 15 prints and 15 projected images from each club. The judge was Dave Tucker DPAGB EFIAP/s BPE3.

After the print section we were 1 point ahead with LSPS on 256 and SPG on 257.

Bateleur Eagle © Mary KirkbyBateleur Eagle © Mary Kirkby

Batelur Eagle © Mary Kirkby scored 20 points

When the DPIs came up we forged ahead with LSPS on 255 and SPG on 263. The final scores were LSPS 511 and SPG 520.

Trying to Wake the Houshold © Mike TrothTrying to Wake the Houshold © Mike Troth

Trying to Wake the Household © Mike Troth scored 20 points

I think Leamington went into deep shock! Well done to everyone who had an image included and thank you to the members who came along to support us on the night.

The full score sheet can be viewed here.

Cliff Armstrong


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) battle club competition leamington spa photographic society photography stratford photo group Wed, 18 Mar 2020 10:04:08 GMT
Match That! Competition, 6th January 2020 On Tuesday evening a group of intrepid SPG members travelled to Droitwich to do battle with Droitwich and Evesham camera clubs in the annual Match That! competition.

Ostensibly this is a light-hearted competition with much banter and ribbing aimed at the judge, but this does hide an edge of competitiveness!

Terry Livesey, the judge, did an excellent job with good humour and the result was.......WE WON!! Something that has not happened before in living memory.

The scores were Droitwich 37, Evesham 37, Stratford 41.

Match That Contact Sheet 06012020Match That Contact Sheet 06012020

This was our selection of images for use in the competition.

Thanks to everyone who submitted images, our selection and projection teams and supporters on the night.

Something to live up to next time when we again do battle, at Evesham on December 21st. 2020.

Cliff Armstrong.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) competition Droitwich Evesham interclub Match That! photography stratford photo group Wed, 08 Jan 2020 10:57:34 GMT
Birmingham Xmas Market Night Shoot Six intrepid photographers from Stratford Photo Group braved the cold, November night air on Tuesday 19th, to travel to the Birmingham Xmas Market for a field trip and night shoot.

Frankfurt Christmas Market © Phil WelchFrankfurt Christmas Market © Phil Welch

Present were Paul Tomlinson, Phil Welch, David Howard, Michael Robertson-Smith, Dick Prior and Mary Kirkby. We left Stratford on the 15:03 for Snow Hill and came back on the 18:28. Quite long enough to get thoroughly cold wandering about.

A whole range of images were captured including market scenes, street scenes, big wheel, canal, buildings, etc. etc.

Brindley Place Reflections © David P HowardBrindley Place Reflections © David P Howard

A set of images from all participants can be seen at Birmingham Night Shoot 191119 and these will be shown as a slide show at the critique session next Tuesday 26th Nov.

All were agreed that it was an interesting evening, and although cold it was nice and dry for us which was a bonus.

Frankfurter Rippchen © Dick PriorFrankfurter Rippchen © Dick Prior

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) Birmingham blog club field trip market photography stratford photo group Xmas Thu, 21 Nov 2019 19:54:31 GMT
Stratford Photo Group Exhibition Draw Winner During the recent Stratford Photo Group 73rd. Annual Exhibition, visitors were invited to vote for their favourite print by entering into a draw, the winner of which would receive a copy of their chosen print.

The draw was made at the club meeting on 24 September and Ian Bailey LRPS CPAGB, author of the winning print “Risoyenna Channel, Norway”, duly provided a mounted copy of his print.

The winner of the draw, Richard Thomas, a Stratford-upon-Avon resident, was presented with his prize on 21st October.

Winner Richard Thomas © Michael Robertson-SmithWinner Richard Thomas © Michael Robertson-Smith

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog competition exhibition photography prints stratford photo group winner Mon, 28 Oct 2019 15:02:41 GMT
Stratford Photo Group 73rd Annual Exhibition The 73rd annual exhibition of the Stratford Photo Group opened on Monday 2nd September 2019 in the upstairs gallery at Stratford Library on Henley Street, and runs until Monday 16th September.

A total of 73 images are on display, one for each of the years the club has been in existence, authored by 20 club members. There is a special selection of pictures taken in and around Stratford, whereas the rest come from all over the world.

Entry to the exhibition is free, and there is also a free competition to win a mounted copy of your favourite print.

The exhibition catalogue can be found here.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club exhibition photography prints Stratford Library stratford photo group Tue, 03 Sep 2019 15:42:34 GMT
AGM and Presentation of Annual Awards The Annual Awards Presentation took place on Tuesday 4th. June 2019, after a well attended AGM. The trophies and certificates were presented by the Chairman, Stewart Band, to members who had won the various competitions held throughout the previous season.

Trophy Winners 2019 © David P HowardTrophy Winners 2019 © David P Howard

The main award winners, from left to right, Paul Thomas, Doug Watson, Mary Kirkby, Dick Prior, Jill Dyson-Orme and Derek Walton.

A special award of the AH Coleman Shield was made to David P Howard for his outstanding contribution to the club during the previous season, as webmaster, dpi comp. sec., and keeper of the kit.

The Chairman wished all members a good holiday season, to come back refreshed in September with lots of great images.

(The details of all the awards can be found here.)


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) agm annual awards blog club competition photography stratford photo group Wed, 05 Jun 2019 08:26:35 GMT
Annual Cups Competition 28 May 2019 The competitive efforts of the year are now behind us following last Tuesday's Annual Cups competition. Michael Krier ARPS MA from Cheltenham again proved a capable judge passing comment and marking 48 prints and 79 DPIs. He was hoping to finish by 10.00 pm but we kept him going until just before 10.15pm. As usual his comments were positive about almost every image and regardless of genre, he gave a fair and helpful critique.  Michael, like many previous judges, found it challenging to award the top marks, as the quality of entries was particularly high. He had judged two other Annual Cups recently and thought that our entries were on a par with those he had seen at Smethwick and at Beacon.

I Must Fly © Doug Watson - Best print of 2019I Must Fly © Doug Watson - Best print of 2019

He awarded Print of the Year to Doug Watson LRPS CPAGB EFIAP with a lightly toned Mono image " I Must Fly".


Go at 2nd © Dick Prior - PDI of the year 2019Go at 2nd © Dick Prior - PDI of the year 2019

He awarded DPI of the Year to Dick Prior ARPS EFIAP/g BPE5* with "Go at 2nd".


The full results of the combined print competition can be seen here.

The full results of the combined dpi competition can be seen here.


I hope to see you all at the AGM at the clubhouse on Tuesday 4th. June at 7.30pm for the Presentation of Awards.


Your Chairman,


Stewart Band


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) annual cups blog club competition photography prints stratford photo group Sun, 02 Jun 2019 09:52:12 GMT
Midphot 2019 Awards for Stratford Photo Group Members The Midphot 2019 56th. Annual Exhibition of the Midland Counties Photographic Federation was held on Tuesday 20th. March 2019. There was close to a record entry of 4139 images from 63 clubs in the Midland Region.

Stratford Photo Group members entered the competition as they usually do each year, and this year there were successful contributions from Cliff Armstrong, Jill Dyson-Orme, Mary Kirby and Dick Prior. In total there were 15 of our images on show, with 5 getting awards.

Mary Kirkby Best Nature PrintMary Kirkby Best Nature Print

Top of the class this year was Mary Kirkby ARPS EFIAP who was presented with the trophy for Best Nature Print 2019 for "Fleeing Zebra". Mary also received the Sandie Cox's Selectors Medal for "Elephants Chilling Out", MCPF Ribbon for "Madagascan Common Tenrec", and MCPF Ribbon for "Sheep Carcass Tug of War".

Dick Prior HC Colour PrintDick Prior HC Colour Print

Dick Prior received a Highly Commended for "Disney Concert Hall LA".

Well done to all SPG members who were successful. It was probably our best year for awards at Midphot.

Dick Prior


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition mcpf Midphot 2019 photography prints stratford photo group Fri, 22 Mar 2019 16:39:29 GMT
Malcolm Ranieri Memorial Treasure Hunt Competition 19 March 2019 On Tuesday 19 March 2019 the club held the Annual Treasure Hunt Competition. This competition was created by Malcolm Ranieri, a long time and much loved member of the club who sadly passed away last year. The competition is now held in his memory.

Members were invited to bring along eight images on a memory stick which in their estimation best interpreted the categories selected for the year. This year's categories were:

1 Dereliction, 2 Water, 3 Street, 4 Abstract, 5 Creature, 6 Architecture, 7 Plant, 8 Transport

The judge trying to fill Malcolm's boots was our own Ian Bailey LRPS, CPAGB, who had the unenviable job of deciding between 16 top quality entries from: Cliff Armstrong, Stewart Band, Mike Dain, John Edwards, Amy Freeman, David P Howard, Mary Kirkby, Dick Prior, John Roach, Ruth Roach, Michael Robertson-Smith, Stuart Thomas, Doug Watson, Phil Welch, Derek Wood, Heather Wood.

After viewing all the entries and having a further look at the thumbnails Ian commented how the standard was high and how all the entries had interpreted the brief, albeit some in most creative ways. He finally gave the nod to the set from Phil Welch who was presented with the valuable and coveted gold and silver trophy to hold for one year.

Phil Welch with the Treasure Hunt Trophy © David P HowardPhil Welch with the Treasure Hunt Trophy © David P Howard

Phil's winning set of images can be seen here.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition Malcolm Ranieri Phil Welch photography stratford photo group treasure hunt Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:47:04 GMT
Interclub Competition vs Leamington Spa PS on 12 March 2019 Last Tuesday we were expecting a small team from Leamington Spa PS to visit us, but were overwhelmed by a large platoon of 20+!

The task ahead for Judge Graham Walton DPAGB of Arden PG and Shirley PS, well known to both teams, was to award marks out of 20 for 12 Print and 12 PDI entries from each club.

Each team was allowed a maximum of 2 Prints and 2 PDI's per author.

Last Year we lost by 29 points overall (by 23 points on the Prints, and by 6 points on the PDI's), and vowed


Well did we? - Yes we did! - This time only 13 points behind!

The final results were:

Prints  - Stratford PG 196 Leamington Spa PS 203

PDI's - Stratford PG 197 Leamington Spa PS 203

The full results can be found here.

Where are my Coaches? © Andrew DowWhere are my Coaches? © Andrew Dow Our top scorers in the PDIs were Andrew Dow - 20 marks - with "Where are my Coaches?" - a cracking mono shot of a solo locomotive on a curve surrounded by steam, with the driver looking out.

Derek Walton - 18 marks - with "Tree Pipit Singing" - a very competent colour shot of a bird with its beak open singing, on a hawthorn branch.

Michael Robertson-Smith - also 18 marks - with "Trigger" - a high contrast impactful mono interpretation of a horse's head.

The Harpist © Michael Robertson-Smith - 1st= & Print of the YearThe Harpist © Michael Robertson-Smith - 1st= & Print of the Year Our top scorers in the Prints were Michael Robertson-Smith - 19 marks - with "The Harpist" - our 2018 Exhibition publicity shot.

Michael Robertson-Smith - 18 marks - with "Fishnets and Stilettos" - a mono street photograph revealing the author's powers of observation, and capable printing.

Doug Watson - 18 marks - with "I Must Fly" - an artistic super subtly toned mono image of two nude dancers.

Dick Prior - also 18 marks - with "LA Curves and Textures" - a superb shot of the architectural features of the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.


We have promised to beat Leamington next year, so despite their numbers - WE CAN DO IT! - David and Goliath and all that!

Thanks to all who submitted images, and to the selection committee for their wisdom!

Stewart Band, Chairman

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition interclub leamington spa PS monochrome photography prints stratford photo group Fri, 15 Mar 2019 12:01:45 GMT
Annual Cups Panels Competition 26th. Feb 2019 The Annual Cups Panels Competition was held at the clubhouse on Tuesday 26th. February 2019.

The judge for the evening was Michael Krier MA (Photography) from Cheltenham CC, who judged an entry of 32 Panels including 6 Novice, a total of 96 prints in all.

He said that above all he was looking for consistency between images in each panel in terms of colour and tonal balance, panel design and arrangement. He encouraged members to think critically about the arrangement of images in the set of 3 to provide maximum impact, and read through. A linking story was considered to be a great benefit.

Michael had previously judged our panels competition in 2017. Again he was inspirational, enthusiastic and positive about all genres, notably about creative images. He is still the same! He will be judging our main Annual Cups Competition in May 2019.

Hobbiton © John Roach 1stHobbiton © John Roach 1st The winning panel in the Advanced Colour section was "Hobbiton" by John Roach. The judge liked the excellent print quality and tonal / colour balance between the images and the linking of the subject matter.

The winning panel in the Novice Colour section was an attractive triptych entitled "A Collection of Flowers" by Dave Millington.

The winning panel in the Advanced Mono section was "Ethiopian Tribeswomen" by Mary Kirkby. The judge particularly liked the excellent print quality and the matching of subjects.

The winning panel in the Novice Mono section was "Artworks by the Lake" from Mike Dain, shot at Compton Verney.

The winner in the Advanced Nature section was Mary Kirkby with "Preening Lilac Breasted Rollers", three images with different expressions and superb colour and printing quality.

The winner in the Advanced Creative section was "Georgia" by Michael Robertson-Smith. Three excellent portraits of model Georgia augmented with a bleed-in, imported background.

The overall winner in the Advanced sections was Dick Prior with 30 points, second Mary Kirkby with 13 points and third John Roach with 7 points.

The overall winner in the Novice sections was Mike Dain with 13 points, second Dave Millington with 7 points.

The full list of entries, results and leader boards can be found here.

Thanks to all the entrants for their amazing efforts.

Stewart Band, Chairman


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition panels photography prints stratford photo group Wed, 13 Mar 2019 17:16:50 GMT
Match That! Competition 11th December 2018 The annual, pre-xmas competition between Stratford Photo Group, Droitwich Camera Club and Vale of Evesham Camera Club took place on 11th Dec 2018. The hosts this year were Stratford, in temporary accommodation at Foundation House due to floor repairs at the normal Bishopton Club House.

Match That Selection SPG Dec 18Match That Selection SPG Dec 18

The Stratford Photo Group Selections

A good turn out from all three clubs ensured a lively and entertaining evening's competition, supervised by Judge Dave Tucker EFIAP CPAGB DPAGB BPE3*. There was the usual humorous barracking and comments from the audience, but Dave was not put off (too much), and maintained reasonable order throughout.

A good spread of refreshments was laid on at half time, when old acquaintances were renewed.

The tempo increased during the second half when it became harder to find matching images and thinking outside the box was required by competitors and judge alike.

After a close run competition, Droitwich triumphed with 44 points, Stratford were second with 34 points and Evesham third with 29 points.

Everyone agreed that a good time had been had by all, and that we were all looking forward to competing again next year.


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition droitwich evesham photography stratford photo group Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:56:33 GMT
Studio Workshop with Flash 27th. November 2018 On Tuesday 27th November the club hosted the professional actress and model Georgia Annable for a studio flash workshop.

Flash Workshop 271118 © David P HowardFlash Workshop 271118 © David P Howard The programme was as follows:

7.45 Welcome, and Tutorial on Lighting with Speedlites and Studio Flash Units

8.05 Part 1 - Lighting Set Ups  - Depending on numbers attending - we will have at least One Studio Set up and a couple of On/Off  Camera Flash set ups - we can photograph each other whilst waiting to photograph the model - this will give insight into the effects of different methods of lighting a subject and background Bring - Camera, ideally short telephoto e.g. full frame 85-100mm or long standard lenses. APS-C 50-60mm.  A 24-70mm full frame zoom or 16-85mm APS-C would be useful for full length shots. Tripod. Flash, cable release/ and if you have one an RF type remote trigger unit. Flash modifiers if you have any e.g. barn doors, gels, snoots, reflectors etc If you any special background that you have and would like to bring, then please do!

9.00 Break for the Model!

9.15 Part 2 - Continued

10.00 Review and Finish

The members who attended had the opportunity to use a variety of equipment and to take some good shots of a very competent model for their portfolios.


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club flash Georgia Annable photography stratford photo group studio workshop Wed, 28 Nov 2018 10:08:04 GMT
3 Way Competition Against Evesham and Studley on Wednesday 14th November The annual 3 way competition between Stratford, Evesham and Studley was held on Wednesday 14th November, hosted this year by Studley. Eight prints and eight DPIs were submitted by each club. The judge Michael Crier MA ARPS had the hard job of adjudicating. No entry from any club received less than 16 marks, as the standard was considered to be very high.

The competition was, as usual, very close, but Evesham finally prevailed with Stratford in second place. The final scores were:

1st. Evesham 289 (Prints 144, DPIs 145), 2nd. Stratford 287 (Prints 141, DPIs 146), 3rd. Studley 274 (Prints 137, DPIs 137)

The individual entries and scores for Stratford were:

1 The Conductor Cliff Armstrong 19
2 Just an Old Lamp Paolo Lubrano 16
3 Rainy Day in the City Phil Welch 17
4 Worcester Cathedral Phil Welch 17
5 Fishnets and Stilettos Michael Robertson-Smith 20
6 Snake Charmer Rajasthan Mary Kirkby 18
7 Wreck at Crow Point Stewart Band 16
8 Disney Concert Hall LA Dick Prior 18
1 Coastal Walk Stewart Band 17
2 Out to Grass David P Howard 17
3 Eau Sauvage Jill Dyson-Orme 20
4 Plane Seeds Michael Robertson-Smith 18
5 Old Jack Phil Welch 19
6 Snow Bunting Derek Walton 18
7 Street Artist Phil Welch 17
8 Alone Dick Prior 20

Eau Sauvage © Jill Dyson OrmeEau Sauvage © Jill Dyson Orme

               Eau Sauvage by Jill Dyson-Orme - 20 marks


Alone © Dick PriorAlone © Dick Prior

Alone by Dick Prior - 20 marks

Fishnets and Stilettos © Michael Robertson-SmithFishnets and Stilettos © Michael Robertson-Smith

Fishnets and Stilettos by Michael Robertson-Smith - 20 Marks

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition interclub photography stratford photo group Sun, 18 Nov 2018 11:11:02 GMT
Malcolm Edward Ranieri FRPS MPAGB BPE5* AFIAP, 15th. Dec 1945 - 12th. Oct 2018 A number of Stratford Photo Club members, past and present, attended Malcolm's funeral on 1st Nov at Oakley Woods Crematorium, to pay our last respects in the company of over two hundred of Malcolm's other friends, predominately transport and railway enthusiasts.

The funeral cortège was most fittingly led by a traction engine, a 1920 Garrett Tractor no. 33981, KE 7124, with which Malcolm would have been very familiar.

The Humanist service ended with the Dr Who theme music, reflecting one of Malcolm's other passions, for science fiction. A fitting send off for a well loved and popular man.

Malcolm was born on 15th December 1945, and lived his early life on a farm in Haselor, with his brother Chris. He went to Alcester Grammar School and following A levels, joined the accounting department of the local government offices in Stratford. He rose to the position of leading Audit Teams in both Leamington Spa and Stratford, retiring at 50 to pursue his love of Steam Railways and Photography. He was a frequent visitor to The Severn Valley Railway, and travelled widely to the Isle of Man, East Germany, the Ukraine, USA and South Africa where he captured dramatic images of steam trains in action. His work demonstrated a distinctive style, which led to his obtaining the Distinction of ARPS in the Travel Category with a Cibachrome printed Panel of 15 Railway Prints. This was followed by his obtaining the RPS highest Distinction of FRPS with a similarly produced Panel of 20 Railway Prints. Malcolm achieved the much coveted Masters Certificate MPAGB by the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain with a Panel of 20 Prints.

Malcolm's primary interest was in railway photography but developed a strong interest in other forms of transport, including vintage traction engines, buses and lorries, becoming a correspondent and feature writer for "Old Glory" the vintage transport magazine. He had appeared in a "Lensman" feature in "Steam Magazine" about his photography, and had over a dozen books published. He was a volunteer at the Severn Valley Railway, and the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Steam Railway where he became Senior Stationmaster at Toddington. He also had a passion for motor cycling, classical music, and Doctor Who! - and had in recent years successfully diversified his photographic portfolio to include re-enactments and nude photography.

Malcolm was appointed a Honorary Lifetime member of Stratford Photo Group in 2017, having made a valuable contribution to the club over a period of 40 years, serving on the committee for over 30 years, and fulfilling the role of Chairman for a 5 year period. Malcolm was a highly respected Judge and Lecturer in the Midland Counties Photographic Federation, with the ability to critique images in a fair and equable manner, enabling people to improve their photography.

Above all Malcolm was a thoroughly decent person with a strong sense of common humanity, and was willing to help others in many ways. We will miss him.

Malcolm's final entry into a club competition, made a few days days before he died, was a typical scene for which he was renowned; a steam train in full motion. "7802 at Bewdley South" came third.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club funeral garrett ke 7124 malcolm ranieri obituary photography stratford photo group Sat, 03 Nov 2018 12:53:42 GMT
Midphot Panels Exhibition 2018 by Dick Prior Midphot Panels Exhibition 2018

Most of you will be aware that we are affiliated to the Midlands Counties Photographic Federation (MCPF) which in turn represents us at National level with the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB). Both organizations hold exhibitions for their members each year and for us this is Midphot.

In the past there has been a small section of Midphot for creative panels but this was felt to be too constrained by the demands of the other sections. Consequently the decision was taken to hold an annual Panels Midphot exhibition in October, separate from the main Midphot exhibition in March.

Stratford made a good show at this inaugural exhibition which ran from the 13th to 20th October 2018, with successful panels from Stewart Band, Malcolm Ranieri, myself and life member Ian Bailey. I was fortunate enough to get the best panel trophy (the Barbara and Ray Porter Trophy) at this inaugural event.

Barbara & Ray Porter TrophyBarbara & Ray Porter TrophyBarbara & Ray Porter Trophy Trophy Winner - Dick PriorTrophy Winner - Dick Prior
Barbara & Ray Porter Trophy Trophy Winner - Dick Prior
Aerialist © Malcolm Ranieri
California Dreaming © Dick Prior
Me and my Owl © Dick Prior
Railway at Night © Malcolm Ranieri
Wreck at Crow Point © Stewart Band

At the AGM this year a commitment was made to retain our own panels exhibition and this decision had the full approval of the meeting. Panels are an interesting and challenging aspect of photography and have the added advantage that they can also lead to a panel of 10 pictures for an LRPS distinction. Panels are a group of pictures which are related in some way and present a balanced view. This view can be extended to tell a story.

Panels should form part of the long term aims of all serious photographers. These can be either purely personal or as part of a longer term project. Either way it is my view that they broaden the enjoyment we all get from photography. Our own panels exhibition has 4 sections: Colour, monochrome, nature and creative. Don’t wait ‘till spring before putting one together, start now. Look for a subject and take 3 – 10 pictures to illustrate it then look how they relate to each other and can be arranged in a pleasing, pictorial fashion.

Should you want further help and advice on this subject I can be contacted on [email protected]

Dick Prior

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition mcpf midphot panels photography prints stratford photo group Mon, 15 Oct 2018 16:45:15 GMT
SPG Season Starts With A Cracking Merit 1 Competition  

Summer Plumage Dunlin © Derek WaltonSummer Plumage Dunlin © Derek Walton

Derek Walton's 1st in the DPIs with "Summer Plumage Dunlin"


There was a good turnout for our first Merit Competition last Tuesday, when John Haines of Great Barr CC judged the competition using the new formula of 2 Prints and 2 PDI's per member. John is well known to us having judged a number of Merit competitions, and giving a commentary on our 70th Annual Exhibition 2 years ago. His style is to use humour, and encourage entrants whether beginners or advanced, to look carefully at the compositional elements, consider what message is being intended, and pay attention to detail, in terms of tonal range, depth of field and sharpness.


There were 3 entrants (6 print entries) in the Beginners Prints section with Paul Thomas jumping into the lead with an attractive sunset scene entitled "Maldivian Fishermen", followed by Ruth Roach with an excellent image of "Lake Gunn" in New Zealand, and John Vining in 3rd place with "Ecstasy".


John was very complimentary about the high standard of work that he always sees at Stratford, and that we give him a "hard task" selecting the best work. He chose Derek Walton's superb image of a "Little Egret Taking Off" for 1st place out of 22 entries from 11 advanced print entrants, Paolo Lubrano 2nd with "Just an Old Lamp" - simple but very effective, and Jill Dyson-Orme in 3rd with "Beautiful Demoiselle"- a reward for spending the summer chasing dragonflies!


Cliff gained an HC with a shot of "Broadway Towers" taken on infra-red film, scanned and printed digitally - Good Boy! Phil Welch also gained an HC with "Rainy Day in the City" a atmospheric mono which won the Exhibition Selection Award after being drawn out of the raffle bag by John Haines - Phil now has the joy of producing a mounted print for the winner! Paolo struck again with an HC called "Simplicity" - I'm beginning to get the drift.


That makes Paolo Lubrano 1st, Derek Walton 2nd, and Jill Dyson-Orme 3rd.


In the DPI section only 2 Novice entrants Paul Thomas and Ruth Roach took part, Paul gaining 1st and 2nd with cracking shots "Dead Tree Monument Valley " and Light Ray Antelope Canyon - he's been to the USA this summer! Ruth Roach took a leaf from Wordsworth with "Lonely as a Cloud" in 3rd place.


There were 30 entries from 15 entrants in the Advanced DPI section with wild life photographer Derek Walton trouncing the competition with a superb image of a "Summer Plumage Dunlin" , with John Edwards in 2nd place with a shot of a man in the Wolf Run mud championships "Should've Worn Goggles"  - he should've seen that coming! Malcolm will be chuffed with his 3rd place entry "7802 at Bewdley South".


HC's went to Dick with Oakland Bay Bridge, Doug with "Dream in the Sun" a nice nude study, and David P Howard with a stunning shot of "Concord G-BOAF" lit up in blue.


This leaves Derek Walton in 1st place, John Edwards 2nd, and Malcolm Ranieri 3rd


As they say "ALL TO PLAY FOR!"

Stewart Band

Chairman SPG

Results of Novice Prints

Results of Advanced Prints

Results of Novice DPIs

Results of Advanced DPIs

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition dpi photography prints stratford photo group Sun, 14 Oct 2018 08:55:08 GMT
Birmingham Trip 19 April 2018 Birmingham Trip 190418 no 6 © Stewart BandBirmingham Trip 190418 no 6 © Stewart Band

Six of us went to Brum; Malcolm, Dick, Michael, Paolo, Andrew, and myself. The forecast was for hot weather promising 24C, only weeks after the Beast of the East - Fortunately no-one came in their shorts!

We caught the 8.26am train from Stratford and arrived at Moor Street Station ready for action. Having been several times before, we decided to do a few different things - the Custard Factory in Digbeth, passing the old cast iron block of urinals under the railway bridge where Malcolm and Doug had been photographing a young lady  only a few weeks previously!

When heading towards the Custard Factory, we came across a guy in a workshop " renovating" car parts - the place was overrun with wiper motors, steering wheels, lights, body panels, and mountains of dust everywhere. Seeing our curiosity he invited us in to take a look - we did - unbelievable place. He being Italian got on well with Paolo! On leaving the workshop we suddenly saw a model being photographed with a Barbie Doll against a wall. Another bout of curiosity and shutter snapping!

The Custard Factory yielded a few more snaps, before venturing to the Grand Union Canal, where more routine shots were available. The day was getting hotter and folks were wanting lunch at 11.30am having been up so early!  Rather than walk miles along the canal we ventured into Central Birmingham via Millenium Point where a multitude of young people were sunning themselves whilst looking intently at their mobile phones! Malcolm and Andrew disappeared into a Car Park looking for an angle on the Old Curzon Street Station facade. Lunch came at Moor Street Station and we agreed to venture down to Stephenson Street to view the Grand Central Station reflections. En-route we fortuitously came across "Key Infiniti" a group of street performers - more snapping! The reflections didn't yield a lot this time but again the hand of fortune came our way,  and we came across some street leapers jumping 12 feet in the air off concrete planters packed with cactii!! Not seen that before!

So come along on our trips - you never know what you're going to see!!

Your Chairman


(A gallery of images from the day can be seen here)


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) birmingham blog club field trip photography stratford photo group Tue, 19 Jun 2018 13:39:07 GMT
MCPF Championships 21st. April 2018 by Stewart Band Four of us, Dick, Mary, Michael and myself, had an early start arriving just before 9am for the MCPF Championships at Braunstone ( Leicester) on Saturday, to participate in the Print & PDI competitions. The competition is hosted by Leicester Forest CC, and over 100 people were there from various clubs. Alex (the Aussie) from Permajet, who lives in Leicester was there, selling paper at 20% discount!


Twenty six out of the Federation's 117 clubs took part - each club submitting an entry of 15 images for Round 1 of both Print and PDI sections. After adjudication by 3 Judges, marking out of 5 marks each (total 15 max) the top 8 clubs in each contest go through to Round 2 where a further 15 images are chosen by the clubs, some of which may already have been used in Round 1 (no guarantee that the same mark will be given!)


So how did we do?


PDI's - Round 1 -157- Position 19/24- joint with Duston CC

Our top scorers were:

Doug's Mono Nude - Sentinel 13

Malcolm - Steaming Well 12

Dick - Embrace 11

Derek Walton - Mountain Hare 11

The rest were 10's and 9's


We were just 1 point below arch rivals Leamington PS


Round 1 Winners: Smethwick 190, Cannock 187, Arden 185


After Round 2 the overall PDI leaders were:

Smethwick 326, Arden 318, Cannock 317, Wrekin Arts 316.

Smethwick and Arden automatically go through to the PAGB championships at Warwick University.

Steaming Well © Malcolm RanieriSteaming Well © Malcolm Ranieri


Worcester Cathedral © Phil WelchWorcester Cathedral © Phil Welch Small Copper © Jill OrmeSmall Copper © Jill Orme

Prints - Position Round 1 - 169 - 11/22 Joint with Lichfield CC

Our top scorers were:

Cliff - Northern Lights 13

Mary - Male Gelada Baboon 13

Jill - Small Copper 12

Malcolm -  Homeward Bound 12

Malcolm - Great Central Departure 12

Phil - Worcester Cathedral 12

Dick - Embrace 12


We did better with prints as usual, so not too far off the mark, but still did not get through to Round 2.


Round 1 winners: Smethwick 203, Arden 191, Wrekin 187 and Cannock 178


After Round 2 the overall Print Leaders were: Smethwick 346, Arden 321, Wrekin Arts 320,

Burton - on - Trent and Cannock joint 302.

Smethwick and Arden again automatically go through to the PAGB championships in Blackburn.

The images that gained the best marks tended to be nature, and high impact sports e.g. Olympic activities. There seemed to be a lot of motorcycle and jet ski images, but I think the judges became tired of them as we certainly did!


Landscapes struggled to get better than 12 or 13, and Hollie and Fredau those famous models kept appearing in differing stages of undress!


I think to be more successful we will need to have targeted outings and activities focused on competition point-gaining shots.

Food for thought!

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition mcpf photography prints stratford photo group Tue, 24 Apr 2018 09:45:00 GMT
Interclub Competition vs Banbury 17th April 2018 The annual interclub competition with Banbury took place last night at the clubhouse. As usual the competition was close, with SPG leading by 18 points at the break. This lead was pegged back slightly by the end, with SPG winning overall by 16 points.

John Haines from Great Barr acted as Judge and provided a helpful commentary on the 24 prints from each Club. He drew attention to elements of composition, storytelling power & ways of emphasising the message, tonal balance, & attention to detail. As usual his style was relaxed and humorous – Good Job!

It was pleasing to see new member Suzanne James score 15 for ”Monk at Angkor Wat”, a score ahead of quite a few experienced workers from both teams!

Our top scoring entries were

Round 1

20 Mother Wildebeeste with Newborn – Mary Kirkby

19 Great Central Departure -Malcolm Ranieri

17 Worcester Cathedral -  Phil Welch

17 Miss Palmer - Dick Prior

17 Homeward Bound - Malcolm Ranieri

Round 2

18 The Guardian - Mary Kirkby

18 Hand Off - Dick Prior

Great Central Departure © Malcolm RanieriGreat Central Departure © Malcolm Ranieri

All the rest were 16 and under , but we had only 3 scores below 15, whereas  Banbury had 10, but the lowest score of the night went to Banbury with 12.

The only disappointment was the turnout at the meeting from our members - 11; Banbury fielded 4 – so that’s 15 – a few biscuits back in the box then!

The full results can be found here.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) banbury blog club competition interclub photography prints stratford photo group Wed, 18 Apr 2018 16:24:42 GMT
Malcolm's Annual Treasure Hunt Competition Malcolm's Annual Treasure Hunt Competition was judged on 3rd April 2018. The challenge for this year's competition was to produce a series of ten images, all taken within the space of one day; one 24 hour period from midnight to midnight. Full rules can be found here.

Turnout this year was high, with no less than thirteen entries being received. The competition was close with all entrants meeting the criteria and producing high quality selections.

Malcolm viewed the entries during an entertaining evening and said that three were very close in his opinion, but the deserving winner was Michael Robertson-Smith with his selection taken on April 1st 2018 in and around Stratford-upon-Avon.

Fishnets and Stilettos © Michael Robertson-SmithFishnets and Stilettos © Michael Robertson-Smith

Malcolm presented Michael with the coveted gold and silver trophy to be held for one year. Michael's winning set of images can be seen here.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) Wed, 04 Apr 2018 13:15:52 GMT
Interclub Competition With Leamington 6th March 2018 We now have the fully verified results from the Leamington Interclub competition.

As you may already know: Overall, Leamington beat us by 373 points to 344 points. In Prints that was 190 to our 167 and in PDI's 183 to our 177, so we were better with PDI's than Prints.

The Judge was Warren Alani ARPS DPAGB AFIAP BPE4* so he had plenty of "knowledge" on which to base his judgements - pity he picked the wrong team! His basis for marking was 65% for composition and technical competence  and the remaining 35% for the impact and the appeal of the image to him as a Judge. Overall his comments were fair with quite a lot of waffle included!

So what can we Learn from the Experience?

As always, images that have previously been successful don't always get good marks - no surprises there.

Our best mark of the night for SPG was for Dick's Mono DPI - The Loneliness of Old Age, which scored 17 points, and our best Print score was again one of Dick's Monos - Embrace - (Rugby pic) - scoring 16 points.

Overall we gained a fair number of good to average marks from both new and previous work, but the more exceptional ones went to Leamington.

The Lesson - We Must do Better!!

Stewart Band, Chairman.


Results of the Print Competition.







Shyly Smiling

Mary Kirkby




Homeward Bound

Malcolm Ranieri




Worcester Cathedral

Phil Welch




The Conductor

Cliff Armstrong




Storm Approaching

Brian Cole




The Open Door

Mary Kirkby




Small Copper

Jill Orme




Art Critics

Michael Robertson-Smith




Shackleton Stalled

Stewart Band





Dick Prior




Great Central Departure

Malcolm Ranieri





Dick Prior









Results of the Projected Images Competition.







Coastal Walk

Stewart Band




Corn Bunting Singing

Derek Walton




Chequered Skipper

Derek Walton




Helen Flapper Style

Malcolm Ranieri




Loneliness of Old Age

Dick Prior




Painting the Gulls

David Howard




Peacock Queen

Dick Prior




Polar Bear Mother with Cubs

Heather Wood




Resting Hyena

Mary Kirkby




Swing Lee Low

John Edwards




This Way

Stewart Band




Holy Trinity – Stratford

Phil Welch










[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition interclub leamington photography stratford photo group Wed, 04 Apr 2018 10:49:49 GMT
Visit to LumeJet Stratford Photo Group members were invited to visit LumeJet, on Tuesday 7th November 2017. LumeJet are a young company based in Whitley, Coventry. They opened the factory only 2 years ago, after a period of 15 years development of a new way of printing digital images.
SPG Members during LumeJet visit © Suveena BaliSPG Members during LumeJet visit © Suveena Bali
Since digital took off, the main way of getting images printed was via inkjet systems, where coloured inks are sprayed, with great accuracy, onto specially formulated papers. There are a number of issues with this process, including the cost of inks/papers and the limitation in how small the dots can be made, to increase the resolution and fine detail of the print.

The process and technology that LumeJet have developed turns the process on its head and goes back to the days of printing on photographic paper processed in chemicals. This is a well understood, stable and cost effective process.
LumeJet’s L.Type print process recreates the care, personal attention and quality of the traditional darkroom experience for the modern age. Created with their unique, patented photonic technology, the L.Type print is ultra-high-resolution 400 PPI (Pixels Per Inch) true continuous tone, considered to be better than 4,000 dpi quality from an ink-based printer. This allows them to achieve images that truly show no digital patterning at all.
We were welcomed by Dr Trevor Elworthy, the founder and managing director of the company. He explained the various stages of development the technology had gone through. Starting with the design of the printhead, which takes a digital image, converts it to RGB light, and it then "fires" it with great accuracy onto photographic paper. Having successfully productionised the printhead, the next challenge was to build the print machine which would house it. This brought significant new engineering problems, to ensure that the printhead could be moved across the photographic paper with micron precision. All within a tightly controlled climate.
Greg, the financial director, talked about the significant investment that had gone into developing the technology and getting to the stage where they now had a complete print facility, able to take digital images and output high quality prints, to a standard significantly higher than any other system, at a reasonable price. He talked about the business case and the future marketing of the products. They are marketing it as a high end product where receiving your print or photobook is an event to be anticipated, similar to the experience of opening an iPhone® box. 

We then got to see the immaculately clean production environment, where Jordan demonstrated how the LumeJet technology was used to produce prints and photobooks in a variety of sizes, but all at outstanding quality and attention to detail.
Trevor then gave us an insight into some of their future technology plans, including details not yet released, of their next generation printhead.
Finally, the moment we had all been waiting for, Suveena Bali presented each attendee with a free A3 print, of an image they had submitted in advance, on Fuji DPII Matte stock paper. Wow! Everyone was genuinely impressed with the quality, fine detail and colour accuracy in the prints. It was definitely a "wonderful experience".
Overall SPG members were privileged to visit LumeJet and enjoyed a brilliant evening. We would like to thank the LumeJet team for their hospitality and generosity.
We wish them every success for the future.
Peter Gilbert
LumeJet visit © Michael Robertson-SmithLumeJet visit © Michael Robertson-Smith LumeJet visit © Michael Robertson-SmithLumeJet visit © Michael Robertson-Smith
LumeJet visit © Michael Robertson-SmithLumeJet visit © Michael Robertson-Smith LumeJet visit © Michael Robertson-SmithLumeJet visit © Michael Robertson-Smith
LumeJet visit © Michael Robertson-SmithLumeJet visit © Michael Robertson-Smith LumeJet visit © Michael Robertson-SmithLumeJet visit © Michael Robertson-Smith

General views of the factory during our group visit by Michael Robertson-Smith.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club l-type lumejet photography prints stratford photo group Thu, 09 Nov 2017 14:12:45 GMT
Annual Exhibition Winners
Our Annual Exhibition, held at Stratford Arts House from 13 to 31 July 2017, was again a great success.

Visitor numbers were up on last year with 126 visitors voting for their favourite print. Three of the most popular prints were from the two RPS Distinctions Panels on display. Another print in the main exhibition, "Pair of Lilac-breasted Rollers" by Mary Kirkby, got 7 votes.

Elephant Family at Sunset © Mary KirkbyElephant Family at Sunset © Mary Kirkby View over the Avon © Phil WelchView over the Avon © Phil Welch Tranquillity © Phil WelchTranquillity © Phil Welch

"Elephant Family at Sunset" by Mary Kirkby,

ARPS Panel   9 Votes

"View over the Avon" by Phil Welch.

LRPS Panel    8 Votes

"Tranquillity" by Phil Welch.

LRPS Panel    6 Votes


Visitors to the exhibition cast votes for a wide range of the prints on display:  53 of the 98 images on display received at least one vote in the “Nominate Your Favourite” poll.

Of the 53 prints receiving a vote, 10 were by members in the Beginners section and 43 in the Advanced section.

The full results can be found here.


Two visitors won a mounted copy of their favourite print in the draw.

The School Run © Stewart BandThe School Run © Stewart Band

"The School Run" by Stewart Band LRPS

was won by Bill McGillivray.


"Breather for the Crew" by Malcolm Ranieri FRPS

was won by Chris Barr.

Breather for the Crew © Malcolm RanieriBreather for the Crew © Malcolm Ranieri


Stewart Band visited Bill and his wife Barbara who live in Wendover.

They are professional musicians and enjoy visiting Stratford and going to the theatre.

Bill said he had never won anything in a draw before, so perhaps his luck had now changed.


Chris Barr (left) and Malcolm Ranieri (right)

Malcolm Ranieri went to Avon Support Ltd to present his print to Chris Barr.

Chris had visited the exhibition on a photographic walk around Stratford with Graham from Avon Support.


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) annual exhibition blog club photography prints results stratford photo group Sun, 10 Sep 2017 14:00:49 GMT
New SPG season starts soon….. Welford CC v Alcester & Ragley CC 12-08-2017Welford CC v Alcester & Ragley CC 12-08-2017

It’s not long now until the start of the new season at Stratford Photo Group. We hope you have had a happy and productive summer out with your camera.

Our first meeting is on 5th September and you get a chance to show what you’ve been up to, please bring up to 6 images on a usb stick and you can tell us all about them.

The workshop on 12th September, is a new adventure for SPG, giving new and existing members the opportunity to bring their camera to the club and get some advice on settings from experienced members. There’ll also be information about the club and this year’s programme.

This season we will be bringing some new and exciting speakers to SPG, starting with Harish Chavda, on 19th September, a professional sports photographer from Birmingham. Harish will show some of his images from athletics, boxing, equestrian, rugby, water sports etc. and from venues including the Olympics. He will also give some hints and tips on how you can improve your sports photography.

Following on from the successful visit to Permajet last March, you will have the opportunity to visit Lumejet on 7th November. For those who attend not only will you get an introduction to their innovative and high quality L.type printing process and a visit around their factory, but also a free personal print (of one of your images) printed up to A3 size.

We will continue to have the usual mix of fortnightly workshops at Wellesbourne (Thursday afternoons) and Merit competitions, with the first one starting in October.

This year we will have a new Christmas celebration evening (19th December) which will include a new themed image event. We’ll publish more details of this soon.

For full details of this year’s programme please visit the monthly programme pages or download the summary pdf file for a view of the whole year’s programme.

So, whether you are a potential new member or a returner from last year we look forward to welcoming you to SPG starting on Tuesday 5th September at Bishopton Community Centre.


Peter Gilbert

Programme Secretary, Stratford Photo Group

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club photography programme Sat, 26 Aug 2017 09:56:46 GMT
I’m not a natural history photographer! by Dick Prior I’m not a natural history photographer but I do enjoy my photography and will have a go at any photography challenge (at least once!). I’m not the most patient of people so the idea of sitting in a hide waiting for hours for the right picture to present itself goes very much against the grain. However, when we get a long spell of dry sunny weather that coincides with a time when there are a lot of flowers out, the opportunity is too good to turn down.

I started entering International Photo Exhibitions in 2007 (RPS International Projected Images Exhibition). In that time I have had in excess of 2000 acceptances with over 350 different images.  Just 70 of these have been with 14 ‘Nature’ pictures – 3 birds, 9 insects, 1 fungus and 1 mammal.

My approach is simple. I go armed with one of the most advanced DSLR’s as regards sharpness and noise reduction, a Nikon D810, and don’t use a tripod (except for the 1 toadstool picture). As the D810 is so good on ‘noise’, I use this to let me hand hold all my insect pictures. Typically I’ve used shutter speeds between 1/250 and 1/500 to minimise camera shake and freeze any motion, and apertures of f16 or f22 to maximise the depth of field. At f22 and a distance of 30cm you get about 1cm of depth of field. The D810 will give almost noiseless images up to ISO 3200 and, using the noise reduction features of Camera Raw, will produce good results at a further 2-3 stops. In fine sunny weather this lets me get 70% of my pictures at under ISO 6400. Coupled with this is my trusty Tamron SP90 macro lens which will produce 1:1 images (ie image on sensor is the same size as the object being photographed) at a good level of quality. The design has remained largely unchanged since 2000 and is my 2nd oldest lens having been fitted to 3 of my previous bodies. It is ‘basic’, no VR/IS, slow Auto Focus and a maximum aperture of f2.8 but a minimum one of f40. There are a lot of these out there on the 2nd hand market and you can pick up good examples at around £250 and older ones a lot cheaper (£400 new on Amazon). Image quality, as can be seen from my pictures, is good, but according to the media not the best. It is worth also pointing out that the trend these days is to use longer focal lengths (105mm to 140mm) and lenses with some form of vibration reduction for macro work. Another point also is that it makes a good portrait lens as well.

My hunting ground starts outside my front door where the butterflies and hover flies gather on my Buddleia. This year I’ve photographed a Comma, Painted Ladies and Red Admirals.

Comma Painted Lady Red Admiral

There are also many different hover flies and, having spent a lot of time on Google Images, I’ve found very few bees other than solitary Bumble and Carder bees but the hover flies do mimic their stinging relatives and just recently I’ve managed to get a shot of a Hornet Mimic Hover Fly.

Hornet Mimic Hover Fly


Down by the River Dene there are areas of meadow as well as areas which are mowed once a year by the Environment Agency. Here there are plenty of meadow flowers at this time of the year to attract insects. Right now there are a lot of red soldier beetles which Google tells me are common, veracious predators of other similar sized insects. They are often found as mating pairs and as a result are also known as the Hogweed Bonking Beetle. They can be found on flowers such as thistles and are quite photogenic.

Soldier Beetle Soldier Beetle


Also found here are many varieties of butterflies which, in the warm weather, are quite difficult to get good pictures of but I’ve managed to get some snaps of Skippers, Gatekeepers and Ringlets.

Small Skipper Gatekeeper Ringlet

Other small insects I’ve managed to get pictures of are shield bugs, and the bright, iridescent green, thick legged flower beetles.

Shield Bug Male Thick Legged Flower Beetle


Also the recent rise in the number of Harlequin Ladybirds can be seen. These are Asian in origin and have a large variation in appearance. They were introduced in Europe as a biological means of controlling aphids, something they are very good at, however they do seem to be replacing indigenous ladybirds at the same time.

Harlequin Ladybird Harlequin Ladybird


We see in photography a lot of natural history pictures of large mammals and birds but perhaps not so many pictures at the macro end of the range. Composition is always a challenge, and these days, has become a key feature with Nature images in exhibitions. Certainly you will learn a lot about depth of field and composition by having a go at macro photography.


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club field trip macro nature photography stratford photo group Wed, 12 Jul 2017 20:32:59 GMT
SPG Win in Interclub Competition with Banbury Camera Club 08 May 2017 The annual interclub print competition between Stratford Photo Group and Banbury Camera Club took place yesterday evening, hosted by Banbury, at their excellent facilities at Chenderit School in Middleton Cheney.

From left to right: Naomi Saul, Andrew Spackman and Stewart Band.

Twenty four prints were submitted by each club, to be judged by Naomi Saul.

The overall standard was high, and by the interval Banbury were narrowly ahead by 203 marks to 200, with "I'm Watching" by Diana Gamble (BCC) and "Conflict or Courting" by Chris Baldwin (BCC) getting the top marks of 20.

The standard was raised even higher in the second half, with no less than four prints being awarded top marks: "Breather for the Crew" by Malcolm Ranieri (SPG), "Alpha Male Gelada Baboon with Females" by Mary Kirkby (SPG), "Let me up" by Chris Baldwin (BCC) and "Suckling Baby Elephant" by Mary Kirkby (SPG).

The contest was tight right to the end, with Stratford Photo Group finally coming out winners by 413 marks to 399.

Andrew Spackman (Banbury Chairman) thanked the judge, Naomi Saul, for her fair and comprehensive comments, and said that it had been an enjoyable evening. The score was now one all, and it was all to play for next time.

Stewart Band replied for the visitors and thanked the judge for her fine adjudicating and the Banbury club for their hospitality.

The full results can be found here.


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) banbury camera club blog club competition photography stratford photo group Tue, 09 May 2017 10:19:08 GMT
Photography in Oakley Wood 2017 by Dick Prior Bluebells in Oakley Wood:

Oakley Wood 2 © Dick PriorOakley Wood 2 © Dick Prior There are a number of areas in Oakley Wood to photograph the bluebells but one of the best of them is the area around what is known as ‘The Fort’.

Time of Day/Lighting

All kinds of light have their advantage here but strong contrasty light is perhaps the most difficult to manage. Soft light is more straight forward.


Take a tripod. I’m not a great user of tripods but here, where accurate focusing and control of the depth of field are important aspects, a tripod or camera support will be very useful.

Lens Choice

Wide angle – will give you a large swathe of the bluebell carpet but at the same time may reduce their impact.

Telezoom – Shortens the perspective and will give the impression of lots more flowers than there are.

Macro – Best choice for showing individual flowers.

Oakley Wood 5 © Dick PriorOakley Wood 5 © Dick Prior Fisheye – Gives a ‘different’ perspective and an unusual viewpoint.

You can get interesting results with almost any lens but on the whole, close up lenses used to isolate individual flowers works well.


It is not a ‘point and shoot’ exercise. The challenge is to get a simple uncluttered composition. ‘Tidying up’ is acceptable so long as no extra damage results. Try different angles and try to compare high and low viewpoints. The best pictures will be the ones that are a bit different from the obvious.


Shoot in RAW and ‘shoot to the right ie. Make sure you are getting good detail in the dark areas. Be careful to not overexpose as this will result in loss of information in the burnt out areas.

White Balance

Modern cameras work well in ‘Auto White Balance’ and contrary to common belief amongst some less enlightened judges, the colour will vary from pale violet through blue to strong purples. However, if there is strong sunlight setting the white balance to ‘sunny’ will help to keep the colour ‘true’.

Get Creative

Change the viewpoint regularly. Try moving the camera vertically or horizontally whilst shooting at low speed (try 1/8th to 1/15th sec).

Don’t forget that other things are going on in the wood at the same time so don’t miss opportunities because you are too engrossed in bluebells.

The gallery with members' photos of the wood is here.

Details of the outdoor field trip workshop on Sunday 30th. April 2017 at 11:00 am is here.

Dick Prior

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) Oakley Wood blog bluebells club field trip photography stratford photo group workshop Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:59:24 GMT
MidPhot Awards for Mary Kirkby Mary Kirkby was recently presented with the David Moore Trophy for the Best Mammal Print in MidPhot 2017, for her picture of "Alpha Male Gelada Baboon with Females".

Here Mary is being presented with the David Moore trophy by MCPF Immediate Past-President Ian Bailey.

Mary seen here holding her winning image and trophy, also won MCPF Ribbons for "Lion Brothers" and "Hyena with Baby Warthog Kill". In addition she got a further four acceptances.

Well done Mary!

Other SPG photographers with acceptances were Dick Prior with three Mono and three Colour prints, and Stewart Band with one Mono print.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) David Moore Trophy Mary Kirkby blog club competition mcpf photography prints stratford photo group Thu, 13 Apr 2017 13:52:27 GMT
Malcolm's Annual Treasure Hunt Competition Malcolm's Annual Treasure Hunt Competition was judged on 4th April 2017. The challenge for this year's competition was to produce a series of twelve images, all taken within the space of one day; one 24 hour period from midnight to midnight. Full rules can be found here.

Turnout this year was high, with no less than thirteen entries being received. The competition was close with all entrants meeting the criteria and producing high quality selections.

Malcolm viewed the entries during an entertaining evening and said that three were very close in his opinion, but the deserving winner was Dick Prior with his selection taken on December 31st 2016 in and around Aldeburgh and Southwold.

4 Aldeburgh beach © Dick Prior4 Aldeburgh beach © Dick Prior Malcolm presented Dick with the coveted gold and silver trophy to be held for one year. Dick's winning set of images can be seen here.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition photography stratford photo group treasure hunt Thu, 13 Apr 2017 13:25:55 GMT
Why not start the New Year by taking your interest in Photography a step further? This year, at Stratford Photo Group, we have a new training programme aimed at new and less experienced photographers. You will be able to get help understanding your camera and how to improve your photo taking skills. In addition you can learn how to edit your images to make them look their best.

Starting at our first meeting of the year at Bishopton Community Centre, on Tuesday 10th January 2017, we have our Merit 2 Prints competition. This gives members the opportunity to show off their best images and get feedback from a professionally qualified judge. The following week (17th January) we have the Merit 2 Projected images competition which is the same except it’s projected rather than printed images.

On 24th January 2017, we welcome Peter Preece, an acclaimed Wildlife Photographer to the club to give his talk “Every picture tells a  story”. As well as seeing his stunning pictures you can also pick up some hints and tips on how to take them yourself.

In the following months we have talks from two Fellows of the Royal Photographic Society (Anne Sutcliffe and Margaret Salisbury); workshops on RAW conversion, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and choosing photo papers and field trips to photograph the Birmingham canals, the fungi at Oakley Woods and the orchids at Ettington. The culmination of our year is the Annual Cups Competition in May and the Exhibition at the Stratford Artshouse in the summer.

If you’re free on a Thursday afternoon, we have a series of fortnightly meetings at Wellesbourne Village Hall which give you the opportunity to get feedback on your images and learn photo editing techniques.

We are a friendly club, with a mix of different photographic interests and you’ll find we are happy to help you with your hobby.

If you are interested why not come and join us on a Tuesday evening at Bishopton Community Centre and see if this is for you? Details can be found here. You can find full details of our Programme here.

Happy New Year from Stratford Photo Group.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club photography stratford photo group Sat, 07 Jan 2017 16:52:27 GMT
Members Workshop Evening 13 December 2016 The well attended workshop evening on Tuesday 13 December was held in two parts.

Before the break, Michael Robertson-Smith gave us some insights into the various ways to process images without using Photoshop. He started off with the free program Gimp, showing how it could do most of the usual things one would expect from Photoshop, but for free.

He moved on to demonstrate Corel PaintShop Pro X8. The latest version is Corel PaintShop Pro X9 which currently costs £59.99

Finally he demonstrated the use of ON1 Photo 10 to produce creative images. The process is explained in this tutorial.

ON1 Photo Raw 2017 is available from at a price of $99.99

After the break Derek Wood gave us an introduction to Audio Visual techniques with his demonstration of the use of PicturesToExe software to produce a short AV about Lacock.

He described the various ways that images can be dissolved into one another and the critical timing techniques involved. He also introduced us to the complex art of laying down sound tracks and fading in and out in time with the images.

Questions were asked about copyright issues, particularly the use of pre-recorded music to provide sound tracks.

It appears that this can be a complicated area and further information can be found from:

Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB)


The Film and Video Institute


David P Howard


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) AV blog club photography processing raw stratford photo group Fri, 16 Dec 2016 15:38:39 GMT
Interclub Battle SPG vs Evesham vs Studley 15 Nov 2016 The annual 3-way battle between SPG, Evesham and Studley took place at Bishopton Clubhouse on Tuesday 15 November 2016.

There was a good turn out from all three clubs, and the atmosphere was buzzing and friendly.

Bob Train LRPS CPAGB judged the competition, and provided a good level of thoughtful comment and constructive criticism throughout.

The evening started with the Print competition. Eight images from each club were presented, a total of twenty four. Only two photos gained the full 20 marks, Memories of Passing Strangers by Dick Prior for SPG, and Ashok Mocked by His Sister by Paul Jay for Evesham.

At the end of the print section the scores were close with Evesham ahead on 144, closely followed by SPG on 142 and Studley on 134.

A break for coffee and biscuits allowed lively conversation between members of the three clubs.


Whoops © Peter Harris - HCWhoops © Peter Harris - HC


The evening was completed with the Digital Projected Images competition. Again eight images from each club were projected, a total of twenty four. This time three images were awarded top marks of 20, Whoops by Peter Harris of SPG, Walking The Dog by John Kellett of Evesham, and Clean Sweep by Mary Kirkby of SPG.

The results were again very close with Evesham just ahead on 142, followed by SPG on 140 and Studley on 138. This sealed Evesham's victory with the final combined scores of Evesham first with 286, SPG second with 282 and Studley third with 272.

Stewart Band on behalf of SPG congratulated Evesham on their win, and thanked them and Studley for their contribution to an entertaining evening. He also thanked Bob Train for his impartial and competent judging.


David P Howard


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition evesham photography prints stratford photo group studley Fri, 18 Nov 2016 11:00:19 GMT
Fungi Walk in Oakley Woods 6th November 2016 Six intrepid members made their way to Oakley Woods, on a cold but sunny November morning, on a Fungi Walk.

Led by Dick Prior, the group comprising Stewart Band, Ken Bound, John Hobson, David Howard and Derek Walton set out with a variety of cameras and macro lenses, tripods, flash units, reflectors and lights to capture the delights of the local flora.

Although the weather, being recently quite dry, was not too promising for promoting fungi growth, quite a few interesting specimens were found. With the help of David's folding secateurs to remove brambles, and some general "gardening", several clumps were exposed to allow tripod access.

Fungi in Oakley Woods 5 © Dick PriorFungi in Oakley Woods 5 © Dick Prior The members generally were a bit rusty as to the detailed workings of some of their equipment, particularly setting up tripods for low level work, but with some help and encouragement from the others, gear was set up, and an orderly queue formed for the choice spot.

Several different techniques were employed including the use of ambient light, single and multiple flash units, ring flash, reflector cards and led light units.

Fungi in Oakley Woods 3 © Dick PriorFungi in Oakley Woods 3 © Dick Prior

All participants managed to take some good shots and they all contributed to the photo gallery.


by David Howard



[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) Sun, 06 Nov 2016 16:26:24 GMT
Mono Interest Group Presentation The Mono Interest Group showed a variety of projected images at the Club meeting on Tuesday 25th. October 2016.  Of particular interest to the audience were the range of conversion processes used and the different images resulting from four members converting each other’s RAW files.

From three bracketed landscape images, the following interpretations were presented along with a description of the processes employed:


Lightroom 6 Corel PaintShop Pro X9 ON1 Photo 10

Capture 1 Pro

Silver Efex Pro


Here is a list of the software used on the images shown during the session:


Photoshop Elements 11

Latest version is Elements 15

Costs £64.81  Free Trial

Photoshop CC

Costs £102.30/year  Free Trial

Bundled with Lightroom 6

Lightroom 6

Costs £102.30/year  Free Trial

Bundled with Photoshop CC

Silver Efex Pro

Nik Collection is Free

Corel PaintShop Pro X9

Costs £47.99  Free Trial

Capture 1 Pro 9

Costs Euro 279 + VAT

ON1 Photo 10

Latest version is ON1 RAW

Costs $119.99  Free Trial

HDR Projects 2

Costs $69.00  Free Trial

Free download available

Photomatix 5.1.3  (HDR)

Costs £72.00  Free Trial


If you are interested in exploring any of these software programmes, let me know at the next meeting and I will put you in touch with a user.

Michael Robertson-Smith

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club monochrome photography stratford photo group Sat, 29 Oct 2016 15:30:17 GMT
Stratford Photo Group: A Personal View by Michael Robertson-Smith D750 My photographic journey started in the early ‘60s when my mother gave me her No. 1 Pocket Kodak, which I still have. I purchased an Olympus OM1 in 1973 and a succession of Olympus point and shoot cameras followed.  I went digital with a Nikon Coolpix 4500 in 2002 and was a happy snapper for years.  Having acquired a decent DSLR in September 2014, I spent three months getting to grips with the basics (so many buttons!) and then I joined SPG in January 2015 as a beginner with the intention of improving my photography.

As I start my third season as a member of SPG, having won the Harding Trophy for the most points gained in last season’s internal Merit, Panels and Annual Cups competitions and now in the advanced section, I am pleased with my progress:  my photography has certainly become more focused and I am finding my metier but still have much room for improvement.  A number of my images feature on the website.

From my perspective, SPG is a deep well of expertise that is freely and enthusiastically given if requested. Whether it is advice on camera settings, composition, technique or processing images, there is at least one member able and willing to help.  All one needs to do is ask!  For me, the most useful learning comes from putting up images at the internal competitions, on the online SPG-Critique Forum (a Google Group for registered SPG members) and the Wellesbourne workshops.  It is through these interactions that I have been able to gauge which members I turn to for specific advice and whose advice I value:  these colleagues know who they are.  The wide range of external speakers is also a great source of inspiration.

Photography is, however, a very individual pursuit in terms of subject, composition and treatment and, whilst we all aspire to technical competence, artistic content is an expression of personal vision.  Consequently, my stunning image, perhaps lauded by family and friends, may not resonate as strongly with other SPG members or judges who have a more developed critiquing ability!  Nevertheless, I will continue to put up images and invite comments because there is always something to be learnt from the observations of members and judges.

I enjoy the camaraderie and social element to SPG as well:  meeting like-minded enthusiasts on club nights to talk about our diverse photographic interests is rewarding and sparks ideas for kit, locations, software and images.  It’s a truism but, to get the most out of membership of SPG, you need to be an active participant in the club’s activities and seek to influence the club’s programme so that it supports your personal objectives.  After all, it is the members and their aspirations that make SPG what it is:  the best small club in the Midlands.

Michael Robertson-Smith

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club photography stratford photo group Thu, 01 Sep 2016 09:54:46 GMT
Annual Photographic Exhibition 2016 - Visitors' Favourite Image

Congratulations to Mary Kirkby, winner of the Visitors’ Favourite Image with her striking print Clean Sweep and to Derek Wood, who came second with Sunbeams.

The winner of the draw for the winning print was Carolin Valle from Girona in Catalonia, Spain.  A mounted and signed print has been sent to Carolin who is delighted to have won.

Our thanks to all the visitors to our first exhibition at the ArtsHouse in Stratford-upon-Avon, particularly those who participated in selecting their favourite print.  We are also indebted to the ArtsHouse staff for their enthusiastic help and support.


Michael Robertson-Smith





[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) Artshouse blog club exhibition photography prints stratford photo group Thu, 01 Sep 2016 09:14:38 GMT
Memories of Passing Strangers by Dick Prior ‘Memories of Passing Strangers’

Welsh International 2016 FIAP Gold Medal for Best Picture in the Experimental Section

The Welsh international is one of the biggest international photo exhibitions in the country. Although the full statistics are not yet available, each year the experimental/creative section has seen over 1500 images from over 400 people from more than 50 countries. To get the award for best in section represents my highest achievement so far in exhibition photography.

Memories of Passing Strangers © Dick PriorMemories of Passing Strangers © Dick Prior


The story of the picture is quite a long one. The original picture was part of a series taken during a project I was doing in 2012. The basic idea behind the project was to express my feelings about being a lone observer in a crowd and so I deliberately set about taking slow shutter speed pictures of people moving against plain backgrounds in busy places. The purpose of the slow shutter was to show the individuals without identifying features, whilst keeping enough information for the viewer to see some purpose in their actions. In 2012/3 I used 4 out of 160 exposures from visits to the British Museum taken in January and July, to enter Internationals and National BPE exhibitions. Between them they gained 10 international acceptances and 17 in BPE before I moved on to other creative projects.

In December having gained EFIAP/b I worked out that I needed 50 new, quality pictures to progress to EFIAP Silver. Consequently, I spent a lot of spare time going through my back catalogue re–examining the pictures from 2012. So 42 months after taking the pictures, I found a further 12 that I felt had potential and amongst these was ‘Memories of Passing Strangers’.

Technical Issues: The original picture was taken in the central court of the British Museum on 19 July 2012, with a Nikon D300 (DX) body mounted on a small camera support and triggered remotely. The lens used was a Sigma 12-24mm at 24 mm, 1/8th second at f29, ISO100.

It was not actually processed until December 2015. Much of the processing was in Camera Raw. The background was a pale yellow and the ambient light was green (from the glass roof) so the first adjustment was to the white balance. I used the white balance tool selecting the wall and this rendered the background in grey. Next I increased the exposure by 2 stops and the vibrance and saturation by +15 and +23 respectively.

The image was then opened in Photoshop where I used the sponge tool to selectively increase the saturation of the colours in the clothes and then the sharpen tool. The final adjustment was to selectively apply a 4 pixel Gaussian blur to remove any unwanted ‘artefacts’ in the picture. It was then cropped square and saved.

Much of the ‘creativity’ was in the taking stage and as explained above, most of the processing was in Camera Raw but this does fit into the ‘Altered Reality’ (aka Creative or Experimental) sections of exhibitions? However, there are not a lot of creative sections around and so this year it also got entered in Open Colour sections as well. Before the Welsh Salon, it had gained 8 acceptances with higher marks in Creative sections than in Open Colour. When it came to the Welsh Salon it gained 15/15. This would not be the only picture to get the top mark as a 15 indicates it should receive an award. There will be about 10 awards in the section and most of these would also get the top mark but the winner is selected by agreement of the 3 judges.

Perhaps the main lesson that comes from this is ‘be very careful about what you send to the recycle bin’. You should note that as you become more experienced and develop both a better ‘eye’ for a picture and more advanced Photoshop skills, pictures that were previously beyond help suddenly have potential.

At present I have what I consider 3 of my best pictures on the wall at home, this one will join them. These are not my most successful but are ones that represent my ‘style’ of photography.


Dick Prior

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) Dick Prior FIAP FIAP Gold Medal Welsh International 2016 best picture blog club competition photography stratford photo group Sat, 13 Aug 2016 11:20:47 GMT
Can you take the LRPS Challenge? by Dick Prior What is the challenge?

You have just 10 pictures to prove that you are a competent and skilled photographer.

Avon near the RST © Dick PriorAvon near the RST © Dick Prior

How does this differ from normal club photography?

With these 10 pictures you need to show variety in both approach and technique but not necessarily in subject matter. Nevertheless a variety of subjects makes it easier to demonstrate different techniques and repeating similar types of images will count against you.

At the same time the panel is expected to show creativity (personal input) and high technical standard. Overprocessing such as oversharpening, obvious HDR or careless montaging will count against you.

As you have to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of your subject and an ability in a range of photo skills, it is well that you set about composing your image with this in mind.

What are the criteria of competence?

These are divided up into 5 areas.


Editing, selecting and sequencing to show a variety of approaches within a cohesive display. Repetition of similar images should be avoided.

Camera technique.

Choice of viewpoint and lighting appropriate to the subject. Suitable and accurate focus and exposure. Suitable depth of field. Choice of appropriate shutter speeds. Highlight and shadow detail, density and correct colour rendition.

Processing technique.

Absence of processing faults. Appropriate choice of materials for the subject. Evidence of tonal control. Good image finishing. Attention to masking and colour management.

Visual awareness.

An understanding of light and its effect on mood and texture. Composition, design and cropping of images. Appropriate use of masking and manipulation. Awareness of appropriate backgrounds and viewpoints.


Show personal input, and an understanding and empathy with the subject. Show communication of mood, ideas and narrative as appropriate. Selection of the appropriate medium to assist communication. Show evidence of imagination and creativity, and ability to capture the decisive moment.

Are any of these more important than the others?

Short answer is no and your panel will fail if you fail to meet any one of these criteria. However, it is fair to say that some are more commonly failed than others.

Is there a check list of must do items?

No, but remember variety, variety, variety.

The best advice is to plan what you are going to use before you start. You may have most of your 10 images ‘in the bank’ but remember these also have to fit together in a balanced panel as well so in reality you will almost certainly need far more than 10 pictures (maybe as many as 30).

Below is a list of some items that you could keep in mind at the planning stage:


Placing your point of interest on the intersection of two thirds worked for the Greeks in 500BCE and still is very effective. However sometimes a central position is ‘strong’ and often useful in portraits;


High or low as a change from 5 feet 8 inches above the ground will add impact.

Depth of field.

Shoot wide open to deliberately blur background and show that you are in control of DOF.

Shutter speed.

Use high speed to freeze the action or slow speed to emphasise movement.


Try and shoot when the light is interesting, which is rarely in the middle of the day, so try mornings and late afternoon and evenings.


Don’t forget the rules of quality and composition. It’s not a good picture just because it’s a puffin or colourful flower.

Think about an ‘appropriate’ mono. It’s important to realise that monochrome is not just a picture without colour. The absence of colour should enhance the impact of the picture rather than diminish it.

Do I have to go somewhere ‘special’ to get my pictures?

In the words of Saint Margaret No, No, No! We have an ideal venue on our doorstep. Here are 10 pictures I took over a period of a couple of hours recently. They are not a panel yet, but it does show you do not need to go far to get your pictures. Do this a few times and you will have your panel.

What do I do when I’ve got my pictures?

Take the pleasure in having achieved 10 pictures that demonstrate that you are a good photographer and go on the RPS website and book an advisory day.


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) LRPS blog club panel photography stratford photo group Thu, 30 Jun 2016 13:58:17 GMT
Annual General Meeting and Award Ceremony Stratford Photo Group’s Annual General Meeting and Award Ceremony took place at the club house on the evening of 7th June 2016.

Annual Awards 2016 © David P HowardAnnual Awards 2016 © David P Howard

Cup Winners, L-R, Michael Robertson-Smith, Mary Kirkby, Dick Prior, Stewart Band, Doug Watson.


The Chairman, Stewart Band reported that the club was in good health in terms of its Programme, Technology, Website and a core of Enthusiastic Members.

He went on to say about his Chairmanship, that he started the year with an aim to build on the strong foundation that he inherited from Dick's Chairmanship, and set an objective to attract more members at all levels. That would enhance the club's financial position thereby enabling a more ambitious programme, an annual exhibition to be staged, and positioning Stratford as a Centre for Photographic Excellence.

He noted that the club and its members had many competition successes to their credit. He thanked all the hard working members of the committee for their efforts and dedication over the previous season. He commented that we had had a good run of success on the photographic excellence objective but less success on recruiting and retaining new members.

Stewart said that the committee had acknowledged the issue, and had a plan to encourage beginners to join and improve their photography. This included transfer of several of the Thursday afternoon, Wellesbourne workshop / critique sessions to the clubhouse on unoccupied Tuesday evenings, where sessions would be run by both Dick and other Committee and Club members. There would be more field trips and the introduction of a Mentoring Programme. The website had been improved to better convey the benefits of club membership to prospective members, and publicity had been increased.

The Chairman concluded by saying the next challenge for the club was to make a success of the forthcoming Exhibition at The Arts House 18th July- 1st August which coincided with the club’s 70th year.

After the AGM business was concluded, Stewart presented the Cups and Awards to all those members who had excelled in the various competitions throughout the year.

Read the minutes of the AGM here.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) AGM blog club competition cups photography stratford photo group Tue, 14 Jun 2016 09:57:52 GMT
Mary Kirkby - My Photographic Journey When I retired, my main occupations, apart from my job which I loved, had been housework, gardening and anything outdoors, I decided now was the time for a new challenge and a new hobby.  My husband suggested photography to fit in with my love of nature and the outdoors and bought me my first camera….a basic Nikon D40.  This was to be the beginning of my journey into photography.  I had no computer skills as such and being an idealist, the images I took with the camera were to be my final photographs…..anything produced on a computer were not true photographs in my opinion!  My next step was to find a camera club, and a friend who was already a member of one, took me along with her. And so began my learning curve. 

Mary Kirkby Article ImageMary Kirkby Article Image

The club was, in essence, a small non-competitive social club but with the occasional visiting speaker and workshops. But it did not offer me the tuition and the challenge to progress which I was after.  Another friend found Stratford Photo Group (SPG) on the internet. He had past experience of larger photographic clubs, which he found could be unwelcoming and unsympathetic to beginners. Nevertheless we went along as prospective members and immediately were made to feel very welcome. We joined the beginners section the following week. That was three years ago and I haven’t looked back since!  The club was delighted to learn that my special interest was Wildlife as this broadened even further the scope of membership interest which already covered a wide sphere of photography from mono to creative colour. At this time I also succumbed to my wanderlust and began travelling - especially to Africa, my second home. This offered wonderful opportunities to photograph wildlife.  Leopard and Cub © Mary Kirkby - HCLeopard and Cub © Mary Kirkby - HC

SPG meet on three out of four Tuesdays a month. I found their programme very much suited me as a complete beginner, giving me every encouragement to progress. This was the challenge I was looking for to improve my photography when I saw the standard offered by other members!   Although the club membership is predominantly male I have never felt intimidated by this - quite the contrary. I have received every encouragement from the Chairman, Members of the Committee and Advanced Section. I have been able to discuss freely my inhibitions regarding my lack of photographic skills and basic knowledge of the digital camera with all the buttons and what they did!   I feared it would be embarrassing to admit my confusion regarding my lack of understanding of ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed and their relationship with each other.  I need not have feared as I found I was not the only unknowledgeable beginner!

A valuable contribution to my progress was the critique sessions where members are encouraged to ask other member’s opinions and advice on images they have taken. Also the club competitions themselves where work is shown to visiting judges who give advice and encouragement on how to improve the style or composition of photographs put before them. It was some time before I had the courage to participate in a competition but what I learned about my own skills and the advice I received on how I could improve those skills has been immensely valuable to me. 

A natural progression on my photographic journey, having begun it with Nature and Wildlife, is to explore taking images of the people and the places I visit so expanding my ability to see ‘outside the box’.  Joining a camera club has enabled me to capture the picture I see in my mind. It has given me a working knowledge and the practical skills to capture that special image.

A Clean Sweep © Mary Kirkby - 1stA Clean Sweep © Mary Kirkby - 1st While I have not compromised my purist approach to photography, another part of my learning curve has been to recognise when and where to use the tools that Lightroom and to a lesser degree Photoshop have to offer. This I have also learned during my membership of SPG.

Joining SPG has given me the knowledge and confidence to share my work in National and International competitions with growing success. While the Club gives every encouragement to participate in these competitions there is absolutely no pressure to do so. Belonging to a club not only gives the opportunity to learn and expand on an interest, but also gives the enjoyment of being with like minded people; it is immensely rewarding.  I am certainly thoroughly enjoying my new challenge and my new hobby!!

Mary Kirkby

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) beginners blog club photography stratford photo group Tue, 24 May 2016 11:56:33 GMT
Malcolm's Treasure Hunt evening Tuesday 26th April 2016 was Malcolm's Treasure Hunt evening when club photographers brought their eight DPI images on themes of Malcolm's choosing.

This year's themes were: Dereliction, Canal Scene, City/Urban Landscape, Winter, Insect Portrait, Classic Car/Lorry/Bus/Motorcycle, Steam on Road or Rail, Sport In Action.

Competition was fierce, accompanied by the traditional barracking from the audience. Malcolm noted that most photographers had successfully interpreted the themes and that the standard was high.

After some deliberation, commenting that any one of five or six entries could have won, Malcolm gave the nod to David P Howard.

David P Howard with Treasure Hunt trophyDavid P Howard with Treasure Hunt trophy

David was presented with the coveted and valuable Gold and Silver Trophy, to be held for twelve months.

David's winning entries can be seen here.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition photography stratford photo group treasure hunt Wed, 27 Apr 2016 10:27:43 GMT
Caption Competition No 5 - Prize kindly donated by Maplin Caption Competition No 5 - Prize kindly donated by Maplin

Caption Competition No 5 © Peter GilbertCaption Competition No 5 © Peter Gilbert
Michael Robertson-Smith completed back to back wins in Caption Competitions, with his entry "I'm not gullible!".
Congratulations to Michael and many thanks to Sam at Maplin, on the Maybrook Estate, Birmingham Road, Stratford Upon Avon, who kindly donated this month's prize. The prize consists of a 64gb Maplin Pro USB 3.0 flash drive and a Maplin Pro 32gb Class 10 SDHC card.
If you need electronic supplies or technical help I'm sure Sam and the team at Maplin would be happy to help!
Peter Gilbert
[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition photography stratford photo group Wed, 13 Apr 2016 13:56:23 GMT
SPG successes in Midphot 2016 The club had some outstanding successes this year in the Midphot 2016 exhibition.

The highlights were an MCPF Ribbon awarded to Mary Kirkby for 'Leopard and Cub', and a Highly Commended awarded to Dick Prior for his Creative Panel 'We Seem Like Passing Strangers'.

Mary and Dick at MCPF © Stewart BandMary and Dick at MCPF © Stewart BandMary and Dick at MCPF Midphot 2016

Summary of the results:

Dick Prior

4 Mono Prints

3 Colour Prints

2 Projected Images

HC Creative Print Panel

Mary Kirkby

1 Mono Print

1 Colour Print

3 Nature Prints (Leopard and Cub 15 points and MCPF Ribbon)

1 Nature Projected Image

Malcolm Ranieri

2 Colour Prints

Andrew Leask

3 Projected Images

Phil Welch

1 Projected Image


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) Midphot 2016 blog club competition mcpf photography prints ribbon stratford photo group Mon, 21 Mar 2016 12:33:33 GMT
SPG win close Interclub battle with Leamington on 8th March 2016 Stratford Photo Group's reputation as a force to be reckoned with keeps growing!

At long last our warrior forces have defeated the local high barony of Leamington Spa in a tough battle using merely prints and synthetic digital images as weapons!

Deliberation of the warrior's tools was carried out by Judge John Lacey (with a few gongs), a man previously experienced by Stratford Members in the Merit 2 Print challenge. Of course the Stratford team did not altogether concur with the Judges comments especially as he didn't seem to get the Creative message! BUT the high quality Nature contributors from Stratford largely contributed to securing a resounding victory!

This is first victory this Century for our Small Club with only 34  members against Goliath Leamington with close on 80 - all with flash cameras (and egos and letters)!

For a moment we thought that Stratford were going to be mashed by the Judges trounce when he awarded a Leamington Print 20 1/2 marks (never seen before by me in 40 years of Club Photography! 






Notable performances from the Infantry:


Peter Preece - Female Kingfisher 20, and Banded Demoiselle 18

Phil Welch - Urban Traveller 18

Mary Kirkby - Female Leopard 17


Dick Prior - Peacock Dancers 20

Margaret Preece - Graphic Woman 18

Peter Preece - Heron 19

Mary Kirkby  - Baby’s Bathtime 17 Clean Sweep 17

Stewart Band  - Reflections 17

Thanks to all warriors - your shields and spears will need to be polished and honed in readiness for the forthcoming MCPF Championships!

Many thanks to Dick for selecting a good balanced portfolio.

Stewart Band


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition leamington spa photography stratford photo group Mon, 21 Mar 2016 11:19:35 GMT
Caption Competition No 4 – Prize Voucher from Permajet This month’s Caption Competition winner was chosen by Graham Walton, our judge for Merit 3 DPIs.

Having achieved a clean sweep with 1st, 2nd, 3rd and a Highly Commended, Michael Robertson-Smith also took the prize in the Caption Competition with his caption:-

“This way, he doesn't need to worry about picking up my poo.”

Michael wins a voucher from Permajet.

Permajet, based on the Black Hill Industrial Estate, Stratford upon Avon, offer a one-stop mail order and online facility, with over 2500 products, to satisfy all your imaging needs, whether darkroom or digital.

Joseph Reiner, the Marketing Manager at Permajet, kindly donated the prize and commented:-

“We are always happy to be involved with leading groups in Stratford and are happy to have provided this month’s prize for the caption competition. Anyone who wants to visit us is welcome to pop in as we are located just up the road!”

Peter Gilbert

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog caption club competition photography stratford photo group Thu, 25 Feb 2016 15:53:49 GMT
Everyone enjoyed a successful Chairman’s night at Stratford Photo Group Chairman's Challenge WinnersThe winning competitors, Cliff, Derek, Phil, Peter, Brian, Michael, chairman Stuart (crouching) and Heather, in front of the winning image, with their prizes. A group of SPG members gathered on Tuesday 9th February 2016 at the clubhouse to tackle the Chairman’s challenge. Stewart’s close friend Donald Trump requested photographs to help him with his application to turn Wellesbourne airfield into a Golf and leisure complex.

Two teams, the Nikonians and the Canonistas, were formed to take images for Donald and fierce competition ensued! After a longer than normal break for sustenance, generously supplied by Stewart from Donald’s campaign funds, the teams processed their images.

Stewart acted as judge and tension in the room was palpable, but after much debate, and more beverages, he declared a draw! To break the deadlock he then chose the winning image, which was created by the Nikonians! Stewart awarded prizes to all competitors.

Breaking news: Quote from our chairman Stewart Band “Donald was thrilled with the work of the SPG when he arrived at Wellesbourne”

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) SPG blog chairman club photography stratford photo group Wed, 10 Feb 2016 11:20:04 GMT
December Caption Competition – Prize £50 Voucher from Halo Print & Frame Bob Train LRPS was our judge for Merit 2 Prints and as well as doing an excellent job, he also chose the winner of last month’s caption competition.

The winner is Russ Thomas with his caption:-

“Okay chaps, line up for a headcount. If there's an even number of us, one of you won't be allowed into the photograph”

December 15 Caption Comp © Peter GilbertDecember 15 Caption Comp © Peter Gilbert

Russ wins a £50 voucher for Photo printing and Mounting from Halo Print & Frame.

David Curtlin, the manager at Halo Print & Frame, kindly donated the prize and commented:-

“Alongside our trade customers we have also been busy working with local photographers and artists. This provides some of our best work as we deal direct with the customer face to face working with them and imparting our knowledge to them to produce work to exacting standards but at a level that is importantly local and reliable.”

So if you need some prints for Merit 3 or the Panels competition why not get in touch? They are based at The Loft Studio on Blackhill Industrial Estate behind the Mercedes dealership.

Peter Gilbert

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) award blog caption club competition competitions group merit photo photography stratford winners Wed, 13 Jan 2016 10:30:50 GMT
SPG win 3 way Interclub at Studley 25th. November 2015

SPG win 3 way Interclub at Studley 25th. November 2015

Last night 10 of our keen members went to Studley to support the 2015 3 Way Studley - Evesham - Stratford Interclub Competition,  judged by Black Country Judge Peter Gennard MFIAP EFIAP/p. Each club submitted 8 PRINTS and 8 PDI's for adjudication.

Prints were judged before coffee when it seemed like a close call between Evesham and Stratford but the tension was relieved when Peter Gennard finally marked the displayed entries. Guess what?  WE WON THE PRINTS! but only just  - SPG 130, EVESHAM 128, STUDLEY 116

Our top scorers were Dick Prior with "A Boy and his Snake"- 20, and "Drummer "-19 followed by Mary Kirkby "Lioness with Playful Cubs" -18.

However it was going to get tough after a free coffee - that's what you get for travelling out into the wilderness! The competition "hotted up" with back footed home team Studley putting in a strong performance and emerging victorious with 135 points to our 126 and Evesham's 123.

Our top PDI scorers Peter Preece  "Kingfisher Catching Fish"-20, Dick Prior " Spirit of the Peacock" -19.



No room for complacency here!

Well done Team Stratford!

Good choices thanks Dick


Stewart Band

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog competition interclub photography stratford photo group Thu, 26 Nov 2015 14:09:27 GMT
LCE Leamington visit SPG LCE Leamington visit SPG

Tom Chandler, manager of London Camera Exchange Leamington, brought his team, Adam, Zac and Louis to SPG last night with a vast array of exciting photo gear.

He gave a talk about all that is new in the photographic world with examples of cameras from the Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Fuji and Olympus ranges. Accessories including tripods/LED lighting and camera bags were also demonstrated. The Manfrotto Digital Director connected to a Nikon D810 and 800mm f5.6 Sigma lens was also on show.

Mike the Northern Area Sales Manager from Sony, brought a range of Sony mirrorless/CSC cameras. He did a short presentation on where Sony are positioning themselves in the market to challenge Nikon/Canon with small innovative cameras with performance to match the big boys.

At the break Tom chose the winner of the November Caption Competition and generously donated the prize - a photographic goody bag including amongst other things a Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom, a Joby Convertible Neck Strap, a Hahnel 4 in 1 Camera Cleaning Kit and a Nikon 2016 Diary. The lucky winner was David Howard with his caption "It's OK for him with his Ploughman's lunch"

Many thanks to Tom, Adam, Zac and Louis. Special thanks to Mike who travelled down from Manchester.
If you are looking for some photo gear, you can be sure of a friendly welcome, good advice and competitive prices at LCE Leamington.
Peter Gilbert
[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) London Camera Exchange club photography stratford photo group Wed, 25 Nov 2015 16:38:53 GMT
FIAP Gold Medal awarded to Doug Watson Stratford Photo Group member Doug Watson has just been awarded the FIAP Gold Medal and Presidents Plaque in the 58th. Dum Dum Salon 2015 in Kolkata, India, for his image Happy Memories.

Happy Memories © Doug WatsonHappy Memories © Doug Watson

Doug was also awarded "Best Entrant of the Salon" with a total of five images accepted.


Georgia Mirror © Doug WatsonGeorgia Mirror © Doug Watson Red Dress © Doug WatsonRed Dress © Doug Watson
Dreamy Pause © Doug WatsonDreamy Pause © Doug Watson Wood Nymphs © Doug WatsonWood Nymphs © Doug Watson


Congratulations to Doug for this excellent achievement.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) 58th Dum Dum Salon 2015 FIAP Gold Medal blog club photography prints stratford photo group Thu, 08 Oct 2015 10:26:46 GMT
SPG Critique and SPG Mono Group Web Forums launched The club now has two new facilities, free to use by club members.

Two web forums have been developed, one for general use and one specifically for the use of the Mono Group.

A presentation was given at the clubhouse on Tuesday 29th. September by David P Howard, Webmaster, and it is reproduced here as a pdf.

The forums are for:

  • Posting images and asking for comments
  • Commenting on other member's images
  • Viewing and/or downloading images
  • Posting images in response
  • Discussing photographic techniques, equipment and settings


To use either or both of the forums, members must have a Google Account (free to operate) and have been added to the list of active members. Please contact David P Howard who will help and assist in getting you set up.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) club mono group photography stratford photo group web forum Mon, 05 Oct 2015 15:17:59 GMT
New Mono Interest Group to launch on 6th. October 2015 Stratford Photo Group launches its Mono Interest Group at 19.45 on Tuesday 6th. October at the Clubhouse.

The session will include presentations on:

  • What makes a good mono image?
  • A brief introduction to treating a mono image
  • Print versus DPI for mono images
  • Examples of mono images
  • The way forward for the Mono Interest Group

For further details contact Michael Robertson-Smith or read the flyer.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club mono monochrome photography stratford photo group Fri, 02 Oct 2015 09:39:21 GMT
The new 2015/16 season starts Tuesday 8th. September 2015 Autumn is nearly upon us and the new club photographic season is about to commence.

An exciting programme has been put together for your entertainment and elucidation.

This starts on Tuesday 8th. September at 7.30pm at the Clubhouse with a "Show and Tell" evening, or "What I got up to in the holidays". Bring a few images on a memory stick and share your experiences with fellow members.

A number of new and prospective members will be joining us and I am sure you will give them all a big SPG welcome, and not leave them standing alone looking lost.

The treasurer will be on hand to extract your subscriptions, so don't forget to bring your cash or cheque book. Fees for this year are £40.00

Hope to see you all on Tuesday.

David Howard


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club photography season stratford photo group Mon, 07 Sep 2015 16:05:40 GMT
FIAP Distinctions Awarded FIAP Distinctions awarded - report by Dick Prior

Trish Harding and Dick Prior

Last week I received 2 envelopes in the post from FIAP. One of them had a hand written label addressed to me containing John Harding’s EFIAP/b certificate sent to me to deliver personally to his widow Trish and the other was my EFIAP certificate. Stewart and I visited her on Wednesday (3 June) to present her with John’s Award on behalf of the PAGB and FIAP.

To get this John had to gain over 400 acceptances with a minimum of 100 different works and 4 awards in 3 different countries. He had also very nearly satisfied the criteria for EFIAP/s but sadly could not apply for that before next year.

Trish is very thankful for all the messages and support that she has received from SPG at this difficult time. The Harding family are to donate a trophy in John’s name to be awarded for the first time at the AGM 2016. She has donated a large number of print frames (many pre used but in good condition) to the club for the use of members so if you would like some they are available at £1 per frame.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog EFIAP FIAP photography stratford photo group Tue, 09 Jun 2015 09:40:18 GMT
Outstanding Photofolio 2015 Successes SPG Successes in Photofolio 2015 by Dick Prior

We entered 15 PDIs and had 5 accepted (33%).

We entered 15 Colour prints and had 9 accepted (60%).

We entered 15 Mono prints and had 4 accepted (27%).

This was overall a 40% acceptance rate, which was an outstanding result against a probable average in the region of 25-30%. This shows that the results of the MCPF Championships and Midphot were not flukes. We are an outstanding club for colour prints.

It is fitting that John Harding’s last act for the club was to gain a Certificate of Merit. Consequently ‘In Remembrance’ will form part of the MCPF Travelling Portfolio and will visit most of the Midland’s clubs next season.

Results in full:

John Harding:

Clay Pipe (12) pdi

In Remembrance (14) Colour Print Certificate of Merit


Mary Kirkby:

Lioness With Playful Cubs (12) Colour Print

Leopard With Oribi Kill (12) Colour Print

The Thinker – Zanzibar (12) Mono Print


Andrew Leask:

Wistful (12) pdi


Malcolm Ranieri:

Steam Sunset (12) pdi


Dick Prior:

Peacock Dancers (12) pdi

A Boy and his Snake (12) Colour Print

Peacock Dance (12) Colour Print

Spirit of the Peacock Dance (13) Mono Print

Bird Fanciers (12) Mono Print


Doug Watson:

Through The Glass Darkly (12) pdi

New Life (12) Colour Print

Wood Nymphs (12) Colour Print

Keep Behind Me (12) Colour Print


Phil Welch:

Old West (12) Colour Print


Cliff Armstrong:

Night Pier (12) Mono Print

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition mcpf photofolio photography prints stratford photo group Tue, 12 May 2015 08:29:30 GMT
John E. Harding LRPS BPE3* EFIAP/s 22nd November 1948 - 3rd May 2015 It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that John passed away this weekend following a massive heart attack. John was a friend to many of us and a considerate colleague to all at SPG.

Affectionately known to some as ‘The Prof.’ (John was a Professor of Engineering in a previous life) he epitomised to me what the SPG membership are: enthusiastic, passionate and committed to his hobby. He was prepared to share his enthusiasm with fellow members and did a number of talks to the club on his style of photography.

John joined us in 2009 and made an immediate impact by winning all three of the novice Merit Competitions in the prints and coming second overall in the projected images and so was swiftly promoted to the advanced section.

By 2011 he was probably the most prolific member of the club, not only supporting the club competitions but achieving success in external competitions all over the world. In one inter club competition that year his ‘Stretch Limo’ got 17 with ‘Reichstag Dome’ and The Jetty both getting 20 points. Reichstag Dome, possibly his most successful image, went on to get acceptances and medals all over the world.

He gained his LRPS and has been working on a submission for his ARPS (with his Victorian series). This June he was due to be awarded his EFIAP/s (silver, the 4th tier of FIAP international Distinctions), which only needed official ratification from FIAP HQ. John has already this season won the Merit Print section and the Colour and Mono Panels Cups and without doubt would have given us all a hard time in the annual cups at the end of the month.

John was a big man in the best of ways who will be greatly missed and leave a large gap in the lives of those who knew him. The committee are currently in discussion as to what would be an appropriate way to ensure he is remembered in the club for many years to come, so suggestions to Dick Prior or Stewart Band please.


Dick Prior (SPG Chair and Proud to have been a colleague and a friend of John)


John's funeral will be held on Monday 18th. May 2015 at 2.00 pm at

Banbury Crematorium

Hardwick Hill

Southam Road

Banbury OX16 1ST

(Here is the Order of Service)

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club john e harding photography stratford photo group Tue, 05 May 2015 08:16:01 GMT
SPG are the MCPF Small Club Champions 2015 in Prints and DPIs Stratford Photo Group scoops the Small Club Award for both Prints and DPIs at the MCPF Championships 25th April 2015

Representing our club, Dick Prior and Mary Kirkby went to Braunstone on Saturday to attend the Midland Counties Photographic Federation Championships for 2015.

SPG came top of the Small Clubs section in both Prints and DPIs, a very fine achievement for such a small club, and one for which we should be duly proud.

Dick's full report can be read here as a pdf.

The full score sheets for DPIs Round 1, Prints Round 1 and Prints Round 2 are also available as pdfs.

All our winning entries can be viewed as a Gallery.


[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition mcpf photography prints stratford photo group Sun, 26 Apr 2015 11:18:00 GMT
Studio Challenge at the Clubhouse 28th. April 2015 Studio Team Challenge led by Stewart Band.

Come along to the Studio Team Challenge evening, 7.30 pm at the Clubhouse next Tuesday 28th. April 2015. At last an opportunity to actually bring your cameras along to a club meeting. Bring a close focus lens and a supplementary flash if you wish.

Members will be divided up into teams of 4 to 5, and after a short tutorial, set a challenge brief to photograph some objects using the lighting set ups provided. Each team will select their best image from each set up for a final grand adjudication, with massive prizes (only kidding!)

The set ups will be quite different and will require some imagination to get the best results. Bring your own objects to stimulate further interest.

To speed up the processing of images, each team needs a laptop and photo processing software. Perhaps anyone willing to bring one could email Stewart Band beforehand?

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog challenge club competition photography stratford photo group studio Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:10:05 GMT
Cotswold Salon 2015 - Monochrome Print Competition Malcolm Ranieri reminds us that entries open shortly for the Cotswold Salon 2015 monochrome prints competition. Full details can be found here.

Malcolm will be collecting together entries from SPG members, and will take them to a collection point at Winchcombe sometime around 18th. May 2015. Anyone who wishes to avail themselves of this kind offer, please contact Malcolm in person or by email to make arrangements.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) Cotswold blog club competition monochrome photography prints salon stratford photo group Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:14:05 GMT
A Most Successful Annual Cups Panels Competition Annual Cups Panels Competition. Assessor Graham Walton DPAGB 15th April 2015.

This year’s Panels Competition was judged by Graham Walton DPAGB of Shirley Photographic Society. Graham was faced with an impressive 49 panels (147 individual prints) but handled the challenge calmly and efficiently. Indeed he recently judged a panels Competition for a neighbouring club with more than twice our membership where he was asked to assess a quarter of this number. The consensus was that he gave a clear analysis of the requirements of a successful panel and applied the criteria consistently but sensitively to each of the panels he was presented with. Consequently his assessments were felt to be fair and accurate.

There were 7 more entries than last year but one less in each of the Creative and Mono sections but almost double the number of Colour panels at 14. The Quality of the entry in the Colour section was outstanding and it was clear that at least half of the colour panels could achieve acceptances in the Great Barr Open Panels Exhibition.

Congratulations go to John Harding who won the Advanced Colour (Victorians) and Monochrome (Victorian Street Scene) sections and getting best print in both as well. A Special mention goes to Andrew Leask who came 6th overall and was the best Beginner in the Colour Panels with his ‘A Tragedy in Three Acts’. Mary Kirkby won the Nature section with her delightful ‘Playtime’ and Dick won the Creative section with ‘Something Wicked’.

A very special mention goes to Michael Robertson-Smith who was the only person on the night who had an entry in each of the 4 sections and won 3 of them in the Beginners category (Nature, Creative and Monochrome).

Dick Prior

(Full results are here)

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club competition panels photography stratford photo group Wed, 15 Apr 2015 09:09:45 GMT
More Canals than Venice - Field Trip to Birmingham 23rd April 2015 On Thursday 23rd April, Malcolm Ranieri will lead a photographic field trip to Birmingham to explore the canal network. There are many photographic opportunities from the picturesque, industrial, derelict, city life, people, to wildlife (no not the locals).

The group will depart from Stratford upon Avon Station at 8.26am, arriving at Birmingham Snow Hill at 9.20am. From there it is a short walk towards the Jewellery Quarter and the canal network. Bring outdoor clothing, stout walking boots, packed lunch and camera gear.

Return time is flexible; the trains run hourly.

The trip will depend on there being a reasonable weather forecast for the day. If you email Malcolm and express an interest, he will send out a go/no go message the evening beforehand.

(A Gallery of images was created after the walk, and can be seen here.)

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) birmingham blog canals club field trip photography stratford photo group Mon, 13 Apr 2015 11:45:14 GMT
SPG Annual Cups Panels Competition Tuesday 14th. April 2015 Last call for entries to this year's Panels Competition on 14th. April.

You can bring your entries on the night, but you must email Malcolm Ranieri with your Titles by 6:00 pm on Sunday 12th. April. (Entries are now closed)

  • Detailed competition rules here. A 'How-To' guide by Dick Prior here.
  • Come and see the new photo viewing stand in full action.
  • Have a go yourself; awards in both Novice and Advanced sections.
  • Colour, Monochrome, Nature and Creative. Up to three panels in each section.
[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) club competition panels photography prints stratford photo group Wed, 08 Apr 2015 08:37:16 GMT
The 66th. Midland Salon - Entries Close 20th. April 2015 Dick Prior reminds us that entries close for the 66th. Midland Salon in 14 days time on 20th. April 2015. There are sections for:

  • Open Colour Prints
  • Open Monochrome Prints
  • Open Colour Projected Images
  • Open Monochrome Projected Images
  • Nature Projected Images
  • Creative Projected Images

Further details can be found here.

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club midland salon photography stratford photo group Mon, 06 Apr 2015 21:20:27 GMT
MCPF Photofolio 2015 Dick Prior reports on the entry details for the MCPF Photofolio 2015 competition which can be found here.

This is a club entry rather than an individual one by members where we can enter 15 Colour Prints, 15 Mono Prints and 15 projected images. The maximum number of images that can come from any one author in each of the sections is 4.

Clearly selection for this will be based largely on performance in the MCPF Championships but as we have less than 15 mono pictures in our portfolio we will need a few more.
One important extra rule is No work shown at a public exhibition before Jan 2013 can be submitted.
[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club mcpf photofolio photography stratford photo group Sat, 04 Apr 2015 17:19:20 GMT
Merit Print Competitions - Get Your Digital Copies Sent In Call for digital copies of Merit Print Competitions award winners.

To complete the award winner's galleries for the Merit Print Competitions, we are missing a number of digital copies of images.

If any of the following members are able to provide digital copies, that would be great.

  • Merit 1 Prints Novice: John Edwards, Andrew Leask, Dawn Breeze, Fred Reeve.
  • Merit 1 Prints Advanced: Derek Wood, Mary Kirkby, Cliff Armstrong, Heather Wood, Irene Jutton.
  • Merit 2 Prints Novice: Andrew Dow, Fred Reeve, Dawn Breeze, John Edwards.
  • Merit 2 Prints Advanced: Derek Wood, Cliff Armstrong, Heather Wood, Mary Kirkby
  • Merit 3 Prints Novice: Fred Reeve, Andrew Leask, John Edwards, Dawn Breeze.
  • Merit 3 Prints Advanced: Dave Buckland, Heather Wood, Derek Wood, Mary Kirkby.

If you have forgotten which of your prints gained awards you can refer to the results sheets on the Prints Competition tab.

Image format 2000 pixels long side, up to 1.5MB, sRGB.

Please name the files like: Road to Nowhere_David P Howard_M2A_C.jpg

Email to [email protected]

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) award winners blog club digital images galleries merit competitions photography stratford photo group Sat, 04 Apr 2015 10:59:00 GMT
An Evening With Charlie Waite Stewart Band informs us that Charlie Waite is doing a talk locally about landscape photography.

Cheltenham Camera Club on Saturday 9th. May 2015, 7.30pm, £12.00 .

Whitchurch Photographic Society on Tuesday 15th. September 2015, 7.30pm, £12.50

[email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) cheltenham camera club landscape stratford photo group waite whitchurch photographic society Fri, 03 Apr 2015 17:05:16 GMT
Stratford Photo Group Launches New Look Website
  • Stratford Photo Group launches its new look website to improve your experience and to act as a focal point for club information and activities.

    • Up to the minute programme details to keep you informed about upcoming talks and lectures so you don't miss a thing.


    • All the results of club competitions and photo galleries of all the award winners in both novice and advanced categories.


    • Links to lots of newsletters, both internal and external, to keep you up to date with what's happening in the photo world.


    • Links to your own external websites where the more adventurous of you display your talents.


    • New members' galleries facility where you can showcase a selection of your work, like a mini website.


    • New blog feature, where current news and events can be shared.


    There will be a short presentation during the club evening on Tuesday 7th. April about the new website. Have a good look round before then, and if you have any questions just ask.

    See you all next Tuesday.

    David Howard



    [email protected] (Stratford Photo Group) blog club galleries new website newsletters photography programme stratford photo group Fri, 03 Apr 2015 16:44:36 GMT