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This is Peter and Maureen Scargill's Spanish website. We live in Galera in Andalusia (for clarity, that is the English spelling - Mid-Spain they spell it Andalucia and pronounce it "And-a-loo-thee-a").

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Posts Tagged ‘Galera photo club’

An Evening of Photography

Last night was my first visit of the year to the (very friendly) Galera Photo club – and what a pleasant evening.

Some time ago I received a request via email to take and submit photos on the subject of “A Walk in the Park” for the next meeting. Simple enough, I thought. Though I’d read enough to realise that the park in question was in nearby Baza, I had no idea which park in particular they were talking about.

Despite missing the organised park tour thanks to my rubbish memory, I took it upon myself to trundle along to Alameda park in Baza before the Monday judging meeting last night, armed with phone and camera and came back with a shed-load of photos only to then realise that I had no idea what the judging criteria were. In the end i only liked one of my many photos and while reasonably well exposed, it wasn’t that hot on one of the declared criteria – a subject. Who would have thought I’d wander into a popular park mid-day to find no people, no dogs, nothing of any great interest.  As it happens, had I been more on the ball, I could have made something of the various kids rides etc. but that never occurred to me at the time.

Unsubmitted photo of Alameda Park in Baza

Luckily, despite having decided to keep a low-profile at the meeting, when I arrived (early), the very first thing that happened was that I was cornered and asked to be the judge for the night. Just as well I wasn’t itching to show off a photo.. and so much for the “low profile”.

I’m wary about judging the photographic work of others… with only one winner, the judge is guaranteed to annoy everyone BUT the winner. Happily, they’re a cheerful and forgiving lot down at the club (the meeting was held in the excellent Hotel Galera with owner Jack providing coffee). My choice of winning photo scored (imho) on a combination of techniques they’d been learning about in previous meeting (composition, focus, exposure) and a sudden urge to reward hard-to-repeat photos. While there were many decent entries which included static items such as the tree in my own (above) un-submitted photo, the winner had chosen a bunch of elderly gentlemen and one lady in a unique park-bench opportunity.  At that point I was glad I’d left my photo out of the mix.

I’m fanatical about photo exposure and hence I have a tendency to concentrate on techniques such as HDR (high dynamic range)  which, though commendable, has not yet been covered at the club and hence could not be factored into  the judging. As it happens, another popular trick in photography, “rule of thirds” wasn’t discussed until last night so that might’ve been another reason to keep my pictures out of the mix had I thought of it, In short, a good night, excellent weather, great, friendly company and of course some of us ended up at “La Posa” bar to finish off the night.

If anyone is even remotely interested, I started my photographic journey some 54 years ago with an inexpensive camera and a friendly local chemist where I could buy all the chemicals I needed to do the whole DIY processing thing (imagine that today, firstly “high street pharmacies” don’t supply chemicals and imagine the “terrorist” implications of buying highly flammable, basic tools of the photo-lab” toolbox) all of which gave me a great start so long ago.

I went from DIY low-budget photo-snapping and processing through several expensive cameras plus decent enlarger to a complete void until the dawn of the digital camera camera age and then onto the smartphone age. Recently I sold my Nikon P900 83x zoom SLR and today my phone is, largely, my camera of choice, boasting a decent camera and tools to do all of the tricks I used to spend hours on in the lab (otherwise known as my dad’s garage) and far more besides. All that is missing is a decent telephoto lens and I have a small Panasonic camera for that. 

Despite owning Photoshop and several other PC-based photo packages, my tool of choice has for some time been the free Google-developed “Snapseed” app which I transfer from one Android phone to another. Insanely powerful, this package gives me everything I need to brighten up otherwise dull photos. On the odd occasion I get the urge to “cartoon-ify” a photo, another favourite app is “Prisma”.   Of course, depending on your needs, there are many photo apps for both Android and IOS, some are excellent, few of note are free, some are utter rubbish even after upgrading to the paid versions, hence my choices.

I’m looking forward to other photo-opportunities this summer as the weather picks up and hopefully meeting up with other members of the local photo club. With luck I might even convince Maureen to join in on the odd occasion.