OPS Weekly Newsletter 5 November

  • Please start thinking about entries for our next Digital Projected Image competition which is on 14 November.


  1. Last week’s meeting – “The Art and Science of Studio Techniques” with Tony McMaster.


Tony came with some impressive kit to aid his presentation. 

Instead of using the projector he set up two monitors on stands so that we could see what he shot on his camera. His camera was tethered to his laptop and via Capture One software and the images were displayed on the monitors.

Besides his wife, who expertly helped set up the presentation, he also came with his model Polly – as in polycarbonate – who featured in Tony’s explanation of the science behind flash photography.

After a quick recap explanation of the aperture, shutter speed and sensitivity (ISO) to remind us of doubling and halving Tony got into how light works. When not obscured by clouds the Sun is a ‘hard’ light – it throws a strong shadow. This is because on Earth it is a ‘point of light’. Though the light source is massive – more than a 100 times the diameter of the Earth – its distance away from us is nearly 100 millions miles. 

The rule of thumb is that if a light source is five times its diameter away from the subject then it acts a point of light. Tony showed this using a flash with a fairly large soft box. The further it was away from Polly the harsher it got until it was a point of light.

We then were schooled in the importance of the ‘Inverse Square Law’ – no not another wheeze dreamt up by the current Home Secretary – but the rule that determines how much light falls off due to the distance it travels. 

If you double the distance your has to travel then the light drops off by a quarter of its intensity. Understanding this is important. If your light source is very close to your subject then the background will not get a great deal of relative light. If you move your light source is further away from the subject then the background will receive much more relative light. As we have ‘depth of field’ this is a sort of ‘depth of lumination’. 

Tony demonstrated this once again with the use of Polly and moving his lights nearer and further away from her. Each time change the light’s power to ensure correct exposure. The nearer the less ‘relative’ light fell onto the background, the further away the more ‘relative’ light fell on the background. For a much clearer explanation see links below:



Tony then set up some of the items we brought on a black perspex sheet and set up his background and lights so that we can all have a try at studio photography.

All in all an excellent evening where we learned a lot and did that rare thing on a camera club evening – we used our cameras.

  1. Next Tuesday’s meeting: GULAG: a journey into the darkness of Stalin’s Siberian prison with Barry Lewis

GULAG provides a rare glimpse into a dark corner of Soviet history. The fact that Vladimir Putin’s Russia has returned to Stalinist autocracy with those who oppose or protest being imprisoned gives this book of photographs and interviews from over 30 years ago a tragic relevance.


In the last months of Mikhail Gorbachev’s period of reform and his policy of ‘glasnost’ (openness), photographer Barry Lewis was allowed to explore, in 1991, the Gulag regions of north-eastern Siberia and speak with survivors.


“We have to squeeze everything out of a prisoner in the first three months – after that we don’t need him anymore.”

Camp commander Naftaly Frenkel, The Gulag Archipelago


  1. Upcoming meetings in November

Tuesday 14 November: Digital Image Competition 2

Judge is Chris Foster


Tuesday 21 November: Lightroom/Bridge file management and editing

With Brian Worsley


Tuesday 28 November: Living and working as a professional photographer in Namibia

Scott Hurd via zoom


  1. General photographic interest

Clutter-free images to calm the mind – in pictures

For nearly a decade, the photographer Marcus Cederberg has been on the lookout for interesting details in the buildings around him: geometric shapes, striking windows, vibrant colour palettes. ‘Sometimes, it frustrates my family and friends when I suddenly stop the car and run out to take a shot,’ he says. In the editing room, he singles out these details to create dreamlike, minimalist images depicting his native Sweden as well as his travels in places such as Dubai, Spain, the US and the Maldives. ‘Where many photographers hope to cram as much as they can into a frame, my approach is quite the opposite,’ he says.


Landscape Photographer of the Year 2023 – in pictures

The 16th Landscape Photographer of the Year has been announced, with Mik Dogherty as overall winner of the £10,000 prize for After the Fire. Showing the tangled reminder of what was once a beautiful and intimate wood, the image provokes a feeling of profound environmental alarm. Aaron Northwood was awarded the young landscape photographer title for his serene image The Wishing Tree.


The 2023 BirdLife Australia photography awards – in pictures

Mid-air fights, jabbering gang-gangs and villainous magpies are some of the 68 finalists from more than 6,000 entries in this year’s competition, with the winner to be announced in November. All proceeds go towards bird conservation across the country


Pup art: the 2023 Dog Photography awards – in pictures

Winning images were chosen in four categories: portrait and landscape, action, studio and dogs and people. This year’s competition received 1,440 entries from more than 50 countries. Prizes included £2,000 in cash, as well as photo equipment from competition partners


The female gaze: contemporary art through a woman’s lens – in pictures

Australian author Anita Selzer challenges societal norms in her latest book, The Female Gaze in Art and Photography, which showcases the work of 20 contemporary female artists and photographers from around the world. It looks at art with a female gaze, offering an empathetic representation of women, men and those who identify as LGBTQ+. The featured works address issues as diverse as love and loss, motherhood, gender, racial identity, relationships, migration and the climate crisis. Here is a selection



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