OPS Weekly Newsletter 14 January 2024 

OPS Weekly Newsletter 14 January 2024 


  • Tuesday 16 Jan we will not be a Band Hall but out and about in Oxford taking photos. Meet at 7.30 at Wetherspoons Swan and Castle, Castle Street, Oxford, OX1 1AY. Weather expected to be good but cold. Bring camera and warm clothes.
  • Next month we have another exhibition at the Westgate Library. More details to follow soon.


  1. Last meeting – Wildlife Photography Part 3 – My month in the Falkland Islands with Tracey Lund 

Tracey used to be a telecommunications network engineer in Hull until she was offered a redundancy package, which she gratefully accepted. Now she runs her own photography business specialising in natural history tours and workshops. See here for details. She must be doing well as there are not many spaces left on her many tours.


Tracey had spent several weeks in the Falkland Isles and came back with 90,000 photos which she says she has culled, and now has a mere 49,000 keepers. Despite being a multi-award-winning wildlife photographer, she is first and foremost an wildlife lover. For Tracey the experience of seeing and being amongst the wildlife far outweighs the photography.


Her Falklands trip took two years of planning and began close-by at Brize Norton on an uncomfortable Ministry of Defence plane. It took 18 hours to get there and was the worst flight of her life.


The first destination was a place called Darwin which is next to Goose Green of Falklands War fame. It’s the only place on the Falklands where you can see hares, which are not as timid and skittish as the hares back home, and you can get relatively very close to them.


Next on the itinerary was Saunders Island in the northwest of the Falklands. Accommodation was a Porta-Cabin strapped to the ground by cables to withstand the powerful storms the islands are subject to. There be penguins on Saunders Island – all the five breeding pairs of penguins – king, gentoo, rockhopper, macaroni and magellanic penguins. The gentoo penguins come very close and are inquisitive as do the king penguins. She had great shots of gentoo penguins in a howling wind which blew the sand around them producing great out of focus fore and background. The magellanic penguins were wary as they thought she was an elephant seal – this was a running joke in her presentation. She was also partial to rockhopper penguins and their chicks who she describes as big fat fluffy adorable things.


She also took great shots of other Falklands birds, beside the penguins. At a place called The Neck there was a massive colony of albatrosses which are great in the air but poor landers and not very good parents. If a chick falls off the nest the parents become very confused and do not recognise it and therefore do not feed it. There was also nearby a colony of imperial cormorants whose youngsters she says are and like pterodactyls.


Next visit was to The Rookery, again on Saunders Island, to see another albatross colony where she got some excellent close-ups of the birds, then off to the less than romantically called Carcass Island, and another Porta-Cabin.


Carcass Island has lots of ground nesting birds. Tracey got shots of Cobbs’s wren, a very inquisitive tussac bird, ground tyrant, austral thrush, long-tailed meadowlark, striated caracara, crested caracara and the one she really wanted to see: the black-crowned night heron. They also had elephant seals play fighting in the shallows of the beach and a sea lion who was stopping off for a while. Finally, there was a boat trip to West Point Island to photograph the very photogenic black browed albatross.


The next flight was a 90 minute one to Weddell Island in the far southwest of the archipelago. Flight times are dependent upon the weather, and they managed to arrive before a large storm came in. Tracey had come to see the Patagonian grey fox. As the name suggests this is an introduced species and the new owner of the island, a sheep and cattle farmer, is not too pleased about their presence. They make great subjects for photographs though.


It was then off to one of Tracey’s favourite islands – Sea Lion Island which is in the southeast. Some 95 percent of the Falklands elephant seals live here and there are orcas to be seen in the sea and young gentoo penguins that look as though they are dressed in jumpers several sizes to large for them. There she saw rockhopper penguins trying to climb up steep cliff as huge waves came crashing in.


Next island was Bleaker Island – bleak by name, and in a torrential rainstorm, bleak by nature. It has a large colony of imperial cormorants and its fair share of rockhopper penguins plus upland geese and the white tufted grebe.


It was then back to the capital Stanley and immediately to Volunteer Island, a privately owned nature reserve with the largest colony of breeding king penguins where she photographed the hatching of a chick from start to finish, a seven-hour process. She also had a wonderful shot of three adult king penguins walking across a featureless beach in single file like wandering minstrels in their Sunday best.


Finally, a boat journey to Kidney Island to see large numbers of sooty shearwaters flying out to sea then back at dusk. It was then back to Stanley and the flight back to Brize Norton.


Tracey was enthused by the experience, and she has booked a visit for next year, January 2025. It is 25 days and you can reserve your place here.


Many thanks to Tracey for such an entertaining and enthusiastic presentation. This was part 3 of her wildlife photography talks, she has already put together part 4 and working on part 5, which I am sure we will be booked her for the next installment.


  1. Next week’s meeting Tuesday 16 January 2024: A Walk Around Oxford  

Tonight, we will be doing something different we will meet in Oxford at 19.30 at Wetherspoons Swan and Castle, Castle Street, Oxford, OX1 1AY with our cameras to take some night-time photography.


This evening is all about shooting the streets after dark – and this is a great time for some of your best street photography can be done during the hours of darkness and we should all aim to complete at least one night shooting project. Think neon lights, shop windows, reflections, car lights, bars, restaurants, people having fun, street lighting . . . there’s masses of material to explore.


There’s no reason that shooting in the dark should be any more difficult than daylight shooting – but, as well as the aesthetic issues, there are some different technical and practical considerations to take into account. For example, you’ll need to shoot at a very high ISO so there will inevitably be some grain – which can actually work quite well with monochrome shots. Your aperture will be pretty wide so don’t expect much in the way of depth-of-field – but that’s equally fine – use it to your creative advantage.


It’s probably best to avoid using flash as this could lead to unwanted confrontations – you want to be as discreet as possible. Also forget using a tripod – this will just get in the way and draw attention to what you’re doing.




  • Rather than shooting randomly, why not set yourself a theme? You could put together a short project based on a specific area (the town square, perhaps) or a type of person (taxi drivers, club doormen or late night revellers) or something really abstract and colourful.
  • Be a moth! Be attracted to good light sources and then wait for suitable subjects. For example, the pool of light created by a street lamp or shop window.
  • Forget autofocus and focus manually. AF isn’t always quite good enough and can be too slow.
  • Be prepared to shoot at high ISO – don’t be afraid to go to 6400 or even 12,800.
  • Use wide apertures to create stunning effects by throwing background lights out of focus.



  • Night shots should be dark! Don’t let your camera assume you want light shots – they need to look realistic.
  • Try shooting ion the rain. The effects of colourful lights on wet roads and pavements can be striking.
  • Another way to approach this subject would be to shoot the same scene (a busy corner or crossroads is great for this) at one hour intervals (not necessarily consecutive!) over a 24 hour period, showing how different the world can be as the light changes.
  • Look through the windows of pubs and bars and, if you see an interesting scene, walk in and grab a quick shot.
  • Wear dark clothes and stay in the shadows to be as invisible as possible (if people see what you’re up to their behaviour will change, potentially spoiling the shot you had lined-up).
  • Take care out there and always be mindful of your personal safety and the security of your gear. Travel light, only taking with you what you need (a small compact or mirrorless camera with one lens will be fine – you don’t need a bag full of bodies and glassware!).


  1. Upcoming meetings in January 


Tuesday 23 January: Show and Tell from the previous weeks “Walk around Oxford” 

Tonight we will hold the full evening to a show and tell for every photographer who attended the previous weeks trip into Oxford, for the walk about with our cameras.


10 minutes to each photographer and we should hopefully see some very diverse range of images from our talented photographers.


Tuesday 30 January: Digital Lecture TALKING PICTURES with Chris Palmer 

A welcome return to Chris Palmer who has been a favourite amongst our judges and now this evening he will be giving his talk called “Talking Pictures”


His talk alludes to the fact that he will be talking about his pictures but more importantly what are the pictures we view say back us/you the Viewer. The image should communicate with the viewer. He will discuss camera craft, and skills and the way he photographs when on location. He will cover Landscape, Urban, Monochrome, and beach photography.



  1. Films and exhibitions 



Directed by Paul Sng | UK | 2023 | 1h 30m

Ultimate Picture Palace

24 and 25 January 2024

Born in the northern coastal town of South Shields, Tish Murtha was driven by a fierce conviction to record the impact of Thatcher era de-industrialisation upon local communities. Her striking black and white photos would become a powerful record of a world decimated by a new and ruthless form of capitalism. In this deeply personal documentary, BIFA-winning director Paul Sng (Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché, Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle) crafts an intimate portrait of an artist whose work demands to be rediscovered and recognised.


Join us on Wednesday 24th January for a special Q&A screening with the film’s director, Paul Sng.



Ali, Brando … and baguettes: the atlas of great photography – in pictures 

A new exhibition celebrates the Atlas collection – and some of the 20th century’s most groundbreaking photographers.

Cornucopia is at Atlas Gallery, London until 20 January 2024



One Year! Photographs from the Miners’ Strike 1984/85 exhibition 

Four decades after the brutal industrial dispute, a new exhibition looks back at the photography that came to symbolise the British state’s abuse of power

Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol, 18 January to 31 March.



Best photography exhibitions to see in 2024 

One of the best ways to gain inspiration for your photography and exploring different styles is by experiencing and viewing the work of other photographers and artists. We’ve put together a selection of the best exhibitions on around the UK during 2024 to see photography; including exhibitions that present photographs alongside other disciplines.


Below, you’ll find the information you need including dates, location and ticket details to plan your trips.




  1. General photographic interest 


Getting intimate … Close-Up Photographer of the Year winners – in pictures 

Dedicated to revealing the hidden wonders of the world, the fifth Cupoty award attracted thousands of entries from 67 countries. Hungarian photographer Csaba Daróczi swept the board, winning overall first prize for his shot of a Eurasian nuthatch, and also winning the intimate landscape and butterflies categories



‘I was told my work wasn’t Black enough’: Joy Gregory on becoming hot property at last 

She once struggled for recognition. But now – with a floral tube map, a top award and a Heathrow underground commission involving asylum seekers – the British-Jamaican artist is finally getting her dues



Danger and dignity in some of the world’s vanishing trades – a photo essay 

From Egypt to Bangladesh, photographer Lucien Migné has documented the work of marginalised groups whose livelihoods have remained largely untouched by the modernisation of work




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