Still no grant yet, but plenty of talent in the club
This Thursday our Zoom get together was led by Jill Toman, who gave us a great presentation on the basics of Landscape Photography, illustrated by a selection of excellent photos from her own collection and others she knows that exemplify her main points. The CHALLENGE for the coming week will be based upon that instructional and highly enjoyable session, which was followed with a shorter session that around five members returned to and chatted over.

The Sperring Grant for which we applied, has been a long time replying – understandably with the current situation I suppose. I finally heard from them , and whilst currently they are not awarding any money to us for our project (which of course focused upon bringing the wider community together at a time when social distancing is a must!) they were very positive, and encouraging over the ideas in the bid , and urge us to re-submit when the focus is more achievable. I shall put it on hold until then.

Now for the comments on the BLACK AND WHITE CHALLENGE :

Jenny says: Some interesting images and treatments- love the fact that people have used viewpoint to good effect and Flat Lay ideas!!

Janice: I like all three but The Moat is stunning with great exposure and fabulous reflections. Wonder if you use a polariser? The Jig saw is really well observed and makes a good subject in B and W. Exposure on Radstock Museum nicely done and well spotted pattern . The sky is plain but OK I would like a bit less cut off at the top .
Geoff: I really like flowers in B and W I know some judges don’t . This Lily is lovely as is the glass capture which is never easy with lights and reflections. I just find the dark shadow on the large bud slightly distracting. LockDown is very topical, very dramatic from B and W and viewpoint which I like Good tonal range too. I am in awe of what you do in PhotoShop- Skyscape is SO dramatic in terms of the sky and the clouds.
Jill: of the two Hedges I prefer #1. Great contrast against the black which I tend to favour. The glass is great and not floating in the dark- I can just see the line! I do like the shadow and the vignetting in the other one but for me #1 wins. Back to your favourite Church! That is just a great B and W – it has everything as far as I can see!
Jane R: Not Beads is really clever but if not beads what? very striking with great shadow and composition Love it as a graphic image. Cheeky Chappie is a good exposure and full range of tones with great sharpness. I particularly like the Coffee one but is it black and white? I am unsure as there seems to me to be a blueish tinge -is it one of the mugs? Again nicely graphic.
Graham:My favourite is the Tugs from years ago I love the grainy background and the composition. Your Treeline is a nice graphic image but a shame there were no clouds to bereak up the sky.Bewitched has captured the tree well and has got a nice sky! Full tonal range also I’d say.
Suzanne Your Cathedral is lovely I like the viewpoint and the line that leads the eye left to right. Nice detail. I find the Pet’s Corner a bit cluttered although I like the textures you captured. Maybe needs a bit of separation?
Diana: as ever your wildlife image is spot on Great contrast and sharp focus on the Bellied Chaser. Again I do like flowers in B and W and the Flag Iris is a lovely shape. Nice contrast. My favourite is the Feather on the Leaf for the contrast and the textures captured. You usually say I crop mine to much- here I wish the leaf tip was in the frame is all!
Tony: Your garden ornament makes my eyes go funny but I like the shapes , form and shadows Well spotted. The Tough old tree tells a story and the viewpoint is great .. I know the Church well and have often thought it warranted a picture . I wonder if it would have been possible to get more detail in the walls?
Rex: got to love a dog like Buster! Nice portrait and good eye detail like his expression and as he is black it would have been a challenge. Not sure what the highlighted form is bottom left but it tends to draw my eye. Your Clouds are lovely against the sky Exposed well I feel and nice in B and W
Jane L: Your dragonfly is nicely positioned in the frame but maybe a little dark underneath- difficult because lightening that might blow out other areas. The bird hiding is a good capture and you really cannot do any “gardening” in terms of the grasses which detract a bit My favourite is the reflections on the pond in the wood. My sort of image- did you consider using a polariser? Might be a good use of one.
Pamela: Is that your horse?. I like the up-closeness and the eye contact which suggests a warm relationship,and the white against the wooden stable is good contrast. I might have got in a tad closer to avoid cutting him off below the shoulder but he might have licked the camera ! Good to see you used the viewpoint picture of the trees I think it works well. My favourite is your White Flowers. Great POV, great DOF, love the clouds and the foreground detail in the Cow Parsley.

Jill says
Janice’s Moat is the easy winner for me of all these shots. The beautiful reflections give foreground interest and the main buttress of the moat is on the third. I like “contrasty” B&W’s so personally would have darkened the sky a bit but it is a great picture and a great one for the landscape challenge!
The Jigsaw is a good idea, well executed
Texture - I find the two vertical bright bits on either side of the lock distracting and take my eye away from the focal point of the picture
Rapids – Would have benefited from a slower shutter speed
Grasses – I find the heavily “bokehed” background distracts from the grad as does the whole line on the right which could have easily been cloned out.
Love all 3 of his contrasty shots
Really like the Rural Sundowner but a shame about the barbed wire! Pets Corner and the Viewpoint of Wells Cathedral are both well done typical Suzanne shots!
Feathers is great with good details in both the feather and the leaf. The same with the Flag Iris
Well done for getting the Dragonfly. The body and wings look sharper than the head. It is always difficult to get it all really sharp. Hiding from Mum is sharp where it need to be. Well done!
Coffee and Milk would have been great but it doesn’t look a true B&W to me. It has a definite mauve tinge which is a shame. Love the Beads though!
Farrington Gurney Church has a good lead in line but the sky needs darkening down. It looks as though there is detail there. Garden Ornament is an interesting well executed shot with a great shadow.
Love the White Flowers – good foreground detail and a great sky
Love Buster – great catchlight in the eye. Almost as lovable as Tony’s spaniel of a few weeks ago!

Pamela says:
Janice. The moat is good but my favourite is jigsaw. It's an interesting and original idea.
Jenny. I like the light on grasses and the simplicity of the composition but I would prefer a softer background.
Geoff. The sky in sky scape is very dramatic but my favourite is lily. It's artistic and eye-catching.
Jill. I love the contrast in my hedge 1. The composition works well.
Jane R. Both coffee and milk, and beads are dramatic but my choice is beads. It's unusual and I think the contrast works well.
Graham. Bewitched is my favourite. A wonderful, wise old tree. It reminds me of childhood and talking to trees (still do actually).
Suzanne. I think the pathos of Pets corner stands out. I feel there are stories hiding there.
Diana.When I first saw Iris I wondered if the white was too dominant but I don't think so. I really love it. A flower with attitude.
Rex. Lovely Buster. Lovely face. I find the background a little cluttered and it takes away from Buster who deserves the whole shot for himself.
Tony. Tough old trees is my choice but I would crop some of the foreground - but then I'm into cropping.
Jane. L. I'm in awe of people taking insects but it's a pity the dragonfly's face isn't sharper. I like Hiding. The bird's expression tells it all.

Jane L says :
I'm sorry if I've gone OTT this week but I really enjoyed visiting and revisiting the images with differing thoughts. Here are today's.
Rex’s Buster lends itself to black and white given the nature of his coat and colour (dog not man). The image is punchy with plenty of texture and detail. I like the less conventional angle and background providing context.
Jane R’s beads and mugs are great: imaginative deliveries of the brief, well composed and executed, and using genuine black and white objects rather than colour subjects!
Geoff’s lily is a very strong image, masses of detail in the flower, simple vase lighting, high contrast, love it. His lockdown doesn’t really work for me: the sun is too bright and distracting and the gate falls between abstract and silhouette. It does not have enough elements to hold my interest. Personally, I think the dark sky in skyscape is too much, despite nice light and cloud patterns underneath.
Pamela’s ox-eye daisies is a great photo and subject for b&w with a stand out foreground and lead-in to the distant joining of trees. The cloudy sky is the final touch to balance the image and demonstrates how our recent blue skies can stymie interest. Sharp throughout. The upward glance from the viewpoint challenge works well in b&w. What better than a white horse portrait? Good detail, the eye contact and the way I feel he/she is about to nudge out of the picture.
The shadow in Tony’s garden sculpture is nice and crisp and I like the thought put into the positioning and angles. The paving background comes across as a little grey to make the best of a graphic composition. I like the fallen tree and waving foreground but feel there is too much of the latter when the tree is the interest. Farrington Gurney church could be punchier. The path leads in well but could be cropped in imv without losing effect to make more of the building and contrast in the trees.
Jenny’s rapids is well composed and exposed and it captures the essence of a cool, bubbling brook. I find myself wondering if the central cascade should carry more blur or be sharp rather than “in between”. I’m not sure there is strong enough focus and/or contrast in “texture” but like the concept. I feel the grass is not strong enough in the overall image but nice light.
Graham’s skyline lacks drama for me given there needs to be some reason for opting for a b&w treatment such as strong contrast, long shadows etc. The rhs bushes are a bit distracting. Who wouldn’t like the tugs as a subject and great exposure? I don't think the background buildings are horizontal.
Diana’s feather has great detail and I like the “still life” element although feel the need to see the end of the leaf. In comparison, the iris doesn’t capture my interest. My reaction is it ‘s too bright and don’t feel the b&w adds anything.
There are umpteenth pictures of the Bishop’s Palace moat so Janice’s picture is original using the viewpoint and symmetry well. The museum is a good image and perspective. There are clouds there - could they be enhanced? Really like the New York jigsaw treatment. The even-ness of the exposure and detail lends itself well. The composition and view captures the city’s character perfectly (happy memory circa early 90s).
The foreground in Suzanne’s sundowner is too dark for me. There are catchlights and detail there to be explored and I like the cow parsley frame so would a vertical crop work? Past pets captures the mood, sharp detail and works well in b&w. Nice cathedral perspective. Could the top rhs sky be lightened to improve building separation?
The sharp detail and sky treatment comes out well in Jill's church, but I prefer the colour versions. I love the simplicity, plant choice, treatment and lighting of the hedges. Hedge 2 is my preference. The faint surface/background line in hedge 1 bothers me because the vase is on the slide...