A range of skills and a bit of multiplicity!
Last week's challenge got people learning new skills and had partners and friends either under pressure or kept them entertained! Do get the comments done and I shall add them below as they come in so keep checking. keeping the website up to date is pretty time consuming as you can probably imagine, so I have abandoned the BLOG on a Wednesday for now and hope you are OK with that.

It was good to have the group join in the weekly Zoom again on Thursday, and to know that members are still keen to keep the contact going through the summer months. As the lockdown eases it is good to increasingly arrange informal walks with socially appropriate numbers and distancing to ensure that the effects of social isolation are not too great, nor without an end in view. If anyone feels like a walk, please feel free to contact me so I can put you in touch with what is being arranged that I am involved in myself, or know about from others.

We are still hoping that meetings might be possible again from September but will need to wait and see. One of the things we were thinking of doing in the Summer months was a visit to Shepton Mallett Prison. It is apparently re opening for visits, all properly distanced etc. from June 20th so it may well be that we could arrange a date for anyone interested sometime in July. Google it and see what you think. Janice is looking into what is possible and we will keep you posted. Do let me know if you would want to be involved. Shepton is quite an interesting place anyway, especially the old bits and the gardens (Kilver Court and Collett Park) so we could extend the visit before or after the Prison bit and make quite an outing of it if people would like that. Something to think about anyway.

Here we go with the comments on last weeks PORTRAITS CHALLENGE:

Jenny says :
Janice: I absolutely love the Bad Hair Day- sharp as mustard , great colour and contrast and the title is brilliant – very you! Martin in the hat looks long suffering but I like the black and white just want a bit more space for that bottom cork and Martin’s lovely chin ! In Snuggling I feel the heat and your pain on the hottest day of the year ! lovely and sharp and well posed – what about your eyes though?
Graham: Stories, stories !- every picture tells one and your neighbour is well “caught”! I like the multiplicity in the karate picture apart from the cluttered background but it has given me an idea for cricket when it gets going again. I also like the shadowgraph on the doll- very effective and well arranged-now have a go on Iris- is she willing?
Suzanne: great portrait of Geoffrey- very “him” Nice sharp detail in his face and diagonal feel to it. The frog is very well waited for and I like the colour and the reflections. The ripple to the right intrigues me and I want the crop to not be quite so sharp there so I see more of that. I hope your sister likes her portrait! Love the way it is tightly cropped ,again a diagonal feel to it and her hair really frames her. I wondered if you lightened the shades a bit we might just get more detail in her eye? Then again it might blow out the highlight on the frame. Tricky.
Pamela:Sorry you did not join the meeting I like what you tried this week. The caught napping is a bit close on the crop – need to not clip the chair back and show more of his arm in other words move back a tad OR move in much loser and open right up to blur background. I want to know how you got the blur on the Vague Thoughts- plastic bag on lens perhaps? I like that The other one is VERY abstract but I can see what you were trying Again what was the process- I have one of Frank I will send you that you might try.
Ivy: Three nice portraits well exposed. Glad they liked them!
Jane L: Cellist is my favourite- love the composition and the light especially. 2 is well exposed with good eye contact and nice expression. I wonder if you could have got lower and looked up at her more- it totally changes the relationship sometimes.3 is again a pleasing shot with nice diagonal feel I like the reflections in the glasses and I might have made the crop square but be sure to leave space ahead of her still. Nice colour.
Bill: here you are as the Roman God Janus!!! I like what you have done and wonder how you did it . just feel that the right hand side is just a very tiny bit higher than the LHS so slightly misaligned for me. Your doll through the glass is very sinister !!! The Cat Portrait is lovely I like the exposure and the detail and the diagonal facial pose that echoes the wood pattern on the fence. Nice cat!
Jane R : I almost went for the pencil idea but I know how long it takes to align those wretched pencils- I know a couple slipped cos you said so! Focus on the model is good do it again with solid pencils anchored ! I wonder if also it might have even more impact if you arranged the coloured pencils as the colours appear on a colour wheel The Kisses idea is powerful, especially in silhouette-can you check the horizon is horizontal – I think it is just slightly not! I also like the topsy turvy and wonder what would happen if inverted? It just bothers me that I can see the actual feet as well as the reflection of feet in two but not three of the models. I know she was further behind but maybe not such a close crop at the top so actual feet of all are visible?
Jill: I find the giraffe very disturbing somehow! The tennis was good to do I think and pretty successful Is it something you will try again? Hope so. The dog is great and the focus etc gives you the nice highlight in the eyes and detail in the coat. It slightly bothers me that I cannot QUITE read the tag on his/her collar but minor detail.
Geoff: Like to see so many images of S- love black and white and the composition but slightly bothered by the pole coming out of her head in the right hand image ! Your Man in the Moon is an horrific image but well done !
Tony: I think we saw that same sheep near Priston! Like the title and the close up nature. Shame no catch light in eye. I am a sucker for your dog- very handsome pose . Not sure what aperture you were on but blurring out the background or finding a hedge to put him in front of would de-clutter a bit. Well done on multiplicity- again a new skill I gather it worked really well- fun isn’t it?

Pamela says:
Jenny. I love ‘Wistful’. I really want know what he’s
thinking. It’s so sharp and works so well in black and white. Slinky Me
made me laugh. I tried something with a slinky a few years ago and it
shot out through the window. I’m sure with a bit of tweaking the
government would commission you to supply a new and trendy mask. I
think the blue flowers and matching shirt in Busy make this an
interesting composition.
Janice. Bad Hair Day made me laugh and I want
your lovely red hat. Great setting and a photo to keep as a social
history record. Snuggling shows a beautifully knitted sweater and my
jealousy genes came to the fore. Did you knit it? The photo is good
too. My school holidays during my teens were spent in the Australian
outback, 50 miles from the nearest town, and I fully understand the
need for corks on a hat. I love the expression in his eye.
Graham. When
I saw Seeing Treble I wanted to shout keep your distance! Modelling a
Shadowgraph is intriguing and has turned what could have been an
ordinary picture into an interesting composition. Was Ann nude?
Your self portrait is fantastic. Very sharp, incredible viewpoint and I
love the fact that it is just your head against a dark background. Blue
Eyes is interesting and I love Cat. Wonderful detail.
Jane R. I like
the idea of the pencils and the lead into the eye is good but I am
trying to decide if I would prefer the pencils to be sharp as well.
Kisses is dramatic and the control is a reminder of these strange times
with no contact. Taken during ‘normal’ times I would think the
composition interesting but taken during thee times there is a sense of
poignancy. Is the horizon straight? Topsy Turvy. I love the colours
and the whole effect works well but I would have liked a bit more at
the top rather than chopping the feet off but I think overall it’s very
Jill. Tennis. A lesson in how to make an interesting composition
that doesn’t look staged. Are these three people or one person working
very hard? Earrings/dog.I absolutely love this. The dog’s expression
tells it all. Very sharp. A career in modelling on the horizon.
Watching you is certainly unusual and a bit weird. I feel I am being
judged but don’t know why.
Geoff. I like the reincarnations of Suzanne
in Abbey Roadish but I wonder if you meant to crucify her in the
leading one. Man in the Moon is fascinating and disturbing but I would
hesitate to hang it over the bed.
Ivy. Wonderful portraits. Very sharp
and you really have caught their expressions.
Jane L. Festival 1. I
like the way the light falls with half his face lit as well as his
hands. Festival 2. I like the contemplative expression but I think her
eyes should be sharper? Festival 3. For me, the intriguing thing here
is the reflection in her sunglasses. This adds an air of mystery and I
wonder what she’s thinking.
Tony. I can assure you that Lockdown hairdo
is doing better than I am. I like the angle and I love the dirty bit
under the nose! Serious Face. Here is your lovely dog again. Like the
photo you submitted in another challenge I think this handsome dog dog
deserves the whole photo to himself so I would like to see a blurred
background. Work, Rest, Play. I presume this is not a photo of
triplets? I like the 1/2/3 effect.
Suzanne. I think both Golden Hour
and What’s he.. are very good and I love the way the list falls. Both
sitters look relaxed and natural. Froggy. I think you have done very
well to get the reflection. Did you take any other showing more of the
frog? A series of frog in motion would be interesting.
Pamela on
Pamela. Caught napping. I do have other photos taken further away so I
shall look at them again and compare. I agree the background would be
better if blurred. Vague Thoughts taken through bubble wrap, as was the
abstract one. Yes, I would like to see your photo of Frank.

Janice says:
Jenny - Well done Frank for an excellent pose in Wistful. It works well in mono with a good tonal range. Busy in the Garden is cleverly done. I like the composition and Frank’s blue check shirt fits in nicely with the colour scheme. If I was a judge and I was nitpicking (like they do!!) I would like Frank, on the left hand side to be turned around so he wasn’t looking out of the image. Slinky is a fun idea. I wonder how many times it took to get it right!!
Graham- Nude Ann, I really like this fun image. It reminds me of the film Calendar Girls. You have caught her expression well. Great use of the shadows in Shadowgraph. Seeing treble is well timed just a shame about the busy background.
Bill – Cat Portrait is lovely, the eyes are beautiful. Good expression and nice light. I agree with Jenny re Bill by Bill about not being perfectly aligned, however it is still a very clever image.
Jane R – What a great idea The Kisses is especially during these socially distancing times. Topsy Turvy is another good idea. An abstract but with enough detail so we know what we are looking at. Portrait Pencils is my favourite of your three. What an attractive model she is, lovely eyes and lips.
Jill – Great use of thirds and threes in your Tennis image. The Giraffe feels quite sinister to me and so fits the title. In the Dog’s Earring image the dog is well positioned in the frame, a good pose with the head at this angle. What a lovely expression.
Pamela – Caught Napping, I had a friend who could nap for England so this made me smile. A lovely relaxed pose but I do agree with Jenny the crop is rather tight at the bottom. I find Who Are You just a bit too abstract although it does make ySUZANNE ou really study the image and it is thought proking. My favourite is Vague Thoughts, it’s very dream like and calming.
Geof – Man in the Moon is enough to give you nightmares, very well done though! Great title for Abbey Roadish and a great idea but as lovely as Suzanne is I just wanted to see four of her to mimic the Fab Four. I do realise that odd numbers usually work better but perhaps remove the one on the right hand side.
Ivy – Great portraiture all nicely sharp. My favourite is Eric, I know him well and I think you have captured his jolly personality. I do think the background in Janet needs some attention where the sky meets the bushes.
Jane L – The reflection in her sunglasses in Festival 3 adds another dimension to this image. My favourite is Festival 1. I love the lighting, composition and his concentration.
Tony – Lockdown Hairdo is a great title and crop. The close up works well, you can almost feel the texture of the hair. My Serious Face is good profile of your delightful dog. Although the background is nicely diffused it is still a bit distracting, perhaps darkening it may help. Great composition in Work, Rest & Play, I like the way it’s tiered.
Suzanne – Perfect crop in Enjoying the Golden Hour . The light enhances the textures of her hair and her expression looks very relaxed as if she is indeed enjoying the moment. Frog has nice colours and that lovely reflection. What’s He Looking At has captured Geoff well. It’s a strong, thought provoking pose and the light is lovely. Great texture in his hat, pin sharp and nicely out of focus background. An image to be proud of.

Suzanne'’S COMMENTS:
PAMELA – CAUGHT NAPPING - is a natural photograph-well composed with good lighting and one which I really like. For me, the only thing I would consider having a second look at is the bright bits etc, to the right of the hedge/shrub. Without them there are no distractions when viewing the sharp image of your napping man.
A good tip I was taught if unsure about a particular area of an image, was to turn and view it on all its sides. If that area always stands out, or just jars, it often means it shouldn’t be there. Knowing that doesn’t mean I always get it right or even notice there are bits in my image which need to go or be darkened! It’s a good tip for everybody though.
VAGUE THOUGHTS/ WHO ARE YOU? The former certainly makes you stop, stare and think and is quite different which I like. The latter makes you look right into the image to see if you can figure out the shapes in front of you. It’s similar to watching a film which might stop me sleeping!
JENNY – BUSY IN GARDEN – Did you buy the flowers to match the shirt or was it the other way round? I like this sharp, colourful image. Its composition was well thought out and your lead in lines along with the three well placed positions of the gardener at work make my eyes flow around your picture. WISTFUL – is a good subject choice for B/W and your model, certainly looks at ease in his role! Does the cluster of boka, above his head, improve the picture? SLINKY – I like the centre parts of your picture the best. I have never attempted any photography using a slinky but it does look fun so I must have a go.
JANE L – FESTIVALS 1/2/3 –1- my favourite - the male cellist is sharp with nice contrast. Good lighting and detail which highlights his concentration. 2- Great eye contact, but for me the performers hand in front of her face is what I notice first. Very difficult to press the shutter at the right time at a concert. Perhaps you may get the chance to photograph her again. 3- A happy pose with nice reflections in glasses but perhaps darken down her bright hair bobble. Good use of dark hedge as a backdrop.
JANICE -I love all three of your images, especially BAD HAIR DAY. Subject, position, colours, backdrop and your expression work for me. Tells a story. SNUGGLING IN -I don’t mind not seeing your eyes – it works as concentration is focused on that snuggle title, its pose and jumper. G.DAY a crisp, sharp B.W with great detail and positioning works for me.
JANE R- PORTRAIT PENCILS -Liked the idea and the eyes/lips which are sharp, but for me I would have preferred all the pencils sharp. THE KISSES – loved this picture- good positioning of the three girls and great lighting. Composition works well but is it worth having a play at cropping the bottom up to get rid of some of those natural highlights/shapes in the sand leaving just a bit of shadow area. The image of the girls might then appear even crisper. Just a thought. TOPSY TURVY – Lovely reflections and light.
JILL- DO YOU LIKE MY EAR-RING? Yes, I do plus the angle of this image. A dog with catch lights in his eyes that has a good sense of colour, what’s not to like! I AM WATCHING YOU- Dead centre with a white background this animal carving stands out. His eyes which don’t appear too friendly are sharply captured. I won’t hang it above my bed though! ANYONE FOR TENNIS - a good idea and composition (tennis players in the triangular shape) and my favourite of your three. I wondered if a letterbox shape might suit this image.
IVY- It’s good to see you entering this week’s challenge. ERIC, GERALD and JANET all look to be having a great time and enjoyed posing for the camera. All the images are bright and sharp and I bet they loved them.
GRAHAM- ANN next door- What a great neighbour you have. A fun picture, well spotted – oops, which made me laugh. SHADOWGRAPH – I like this strong graphic type image which for me, is what the shadows make this picture. Maybe clone out the brownish shape extending to halfway down on the rh side and darken down light bits beneath it. A sharp, colourful picture.
TONY- WORK, REST AND PLAY Love this one. Cleverly composed and tells a story. LOCKDOWN HAIRDO - Great detail in this picture, natural colours, good light and he fills the frame. He looks a little sad but you shouldn’t as you’ve captured a well seen and nicely composed image which I like a lot. MY SERIOUS FACE - What a wonderful coat, your dog has. Love his pose and I think you have captured your pets and his character well. Maybe the background could be a bit more out of focus for a judge but for me it’s the dog in his setting and I love it.
BILL - CAT- love the cat taken when dappled shade from the light coming though the background trellis further enhanced his colourful fur coat. Nice sharp eyes, good exposure and my favourite. BLUE EYES- although creative reminds me of scary film images and would probably keep me awake at night if it was on my wall. BILL BY BILL – You have been having a bit of fun this week Bill, but personally, I like the normal image of Bill the best.

Jane L says:
The interpretation of the “portrait” brief was quite broad and I found myself enjoying the less conventional images. Also, as one who struggles with even basic editing, I admire the post production skills demonstrated in several of the pics.
Apparently American Gothic is the USA’s most famous and parodied painting. I think Janice’s Bad Hair Day version is up there with the best. Great fun, topical and superbly executed!
Geoff’s Abbey Roadish is another smiley reworking. Nice pic of Suzanne, found myself wanting a series of poses but a bit of an ask in the circs. Might just be because it's up against the multi imagers. I am wondering if my camera has that function. All made me smile but particularly liked Jill’s tennis player. It gives a real sense of movement around the court like a genuine game!
Bill combines technique and a creative idea so well in both Blue Eyes and Bill On Bill. I particularly like the doll’s face because of the asymmetry of the distorted image. Good use of a crystal ball which is otherwise redundant in the current crisis I feel.
Jenny’s Wistful is a great viewpoint, plenty of detail and works well in b&w. Wonder if there is a tad too much tree at the top and was the out of focus hand deliberate? Love the idea and colour of Slinky. Cannot fault the lead in to the face and good framing around your glasses!
The shadow placement accentuating the doll’s facial contours in Graham’s Shadowgraph is clever. Pamela’s Caught Napping also has great detail but feel it’s cropped in too close, losing arm and chair. Suzanne’s pic of Geoff has interesting light and texture. That particular hat adds something! Just the right amount of background blur for me. The Paulton frogs are tricky critters when it comes to photographs. Love the full frontal and reflection symmetry. Feel the zoom has been pushed a bit too far and it’s not quite central in the frame; are there any more of the rhs ripples/foot to see?

My images are in memory of the live music events I used to attend and reliving now indoors (here Crossover Festival May 2019)!

Jane see below.
Note to Jane L: The multi images apart from Geoff's which was a different technique, were not done in camera although some cameras have multi EXPOSURE functions. This particular technique is called MULTIPLICITY and is done in the processing using a feature called photomerge. If you upgrade your Elements 7 to Elements 13 that you said you had it is very simple to do. You fix the camera and take three images of the person in a different place in each fixed scene. Back at the PC te photomerge feature talks you trough what to do. I have E 13 if you want a lesson !