Clubmen Characters

Clubmen Characters

No, this is not an article about those odd people who frequent sporting or licensed clubs playing sports or the poker machines, propping up the bar or feeding in the bistro. It is actually about some of the men who have been members of the Canberra Photographic Society (CPS) over the years – some are still members. Yes, photographic clubs have clubmen characters too!

Take Murray for starters. Now there is a real character. Murray hails from New Zealand. That makes him different for a start. He used to own and use a CAP 40 colour print processor and go bushwalking with a view camera. When he was CPS President he used to deliver delightful Presidential reports at annual meetings whilst stroking his long beard. He wore John Lennon glasses when he lost his contact lenses. And took pictures with a Widelux. Definitely a character.

EPSON MFP imageMurray Foote

I think this image of Murray and all the others below were taken by either Alan Chapple or Jim Mason on one CPS meeting night. Jim is 90% sure they were all taken by Alan.

What about Orlando? We were amused when he first showed us a picture and told us the exposure time was “two cups of coffee”. Who else would put their camera on the still warm bonnet of their car to photograph a tree lit by a street light when the temperature was close to freezing? We used to wonder if he realised cameras worked by daylight too. He became a complete expert on night imagery, had a one man exhibition of night photos and could even make night shots look like they were taken in daylight. Another bearded character he was.

EPSON MFP imageOrlando Luminere

Keith was the one who was most likely to enter into debate with the judges. When you’ve been involved with photography as long as he had, why shouldn’t you take the judges to task? “I know Mr Kodak has made it possible to record every colour of the rainbow, but do we have to have them all in the one image?” Keith was a most suitable subject for photographic character studies – grey hair and beard, glasses, pipe smoker, and a well-rounded figure. A good place to capture him was at the arts and crafts market at Gorman house when he was selling his own black and white prints. There was no such thing as colour in Keith’s photographic world!

EPSON MFP imageKeith Bogg

Fred was another bespectacled and bearded character who had been around the game for a long time. He really liked to stir up judges too. Montages of numerous postcard-sized commercial prints joined together to create an overall impression of a place. Or why not a laser copy print rather than one produced using an enlarger? Anything for a stir.

EPSON MFP imageFred Doutch (I think that’s right)

Ian, on the other hand to Keith, was a colour worker only. Didn’t sport a beard either. Graduated tobacco filters warmed his cool skies. Speed filters made static objects move. Trees and people were known to grow during Ian’s exposures. Statues of athletes began to perform like the real persons they represented. Bold black shadows created patterns over colourful flower beds when Ian’s camera or enlargers worked their montage magic!

EPSON MFP imageIan McInnes

Maurie managed to capture his images in both colour and monochrome. He loved the high country, especially when it was covered by snow. And he didn’t mind whether it was in Australia, Switzerland, France or wherever. He loved it and that love showed in his photographs of it. Told us he was working on a ten year project to document the Kosciusko National park region in all of its seasons. Hoped to publish a book about it one day. Lectured for us occasionally – quite esoteric and moved well. Wore a beard too!

EPSON MFP imageMaurie Weidemann

Bob’s main claim to fame was that he was the shortest, bearded member of the club. In terms of physical height that is. For some curious reason he was also interested in the Society’s history and was able to provide, or extract, odd snippets of information from our archives from time to time. Bob didn’t take as many photos as some of us and the unkind were known to make sarcastic remarks when a placing in the monthly competition revealed his camera had been used.

EPSON MFP imageBob Legge

Denis was a lawyer so I must be very, very careful with what I say about him. He didn’t have a beard, loved cats, had raced bicycles and had a habit of putting captions under some of his prints. Once he even did a photo series illustrating the adventures of a toy exploring parts of Canberra. Reminds me a little of that other member who photographs a spoon in odd places. I hope I’ve avoided a lawsuit.

EPSON MFP imageDenis Jessop

Trevor was another member, with a touch of what one might call rotundity. He liked to photograph cars and planes. Fast cars, fast planes. On display and static. Or doing their thing. Trevor only ever sported a moustache. Does anyone remember his surname?

EPSON MFP imageTrevor

Colin was a dentist. Not that that has anything to do with his photography. Except that he had been known to photograph the shadows of his dental equipment on the wall of his surgery. Actually Colin was quite keen on photographing shadows generally. Perhaps it came from having x-rayed shadows in teeth? Another clean shaven member.

EPSON MFP imageColin Rickard

I could go on for ever. There was another Peter and a couple more Johns. There was Ross, Bruce, Brendan and yours truly. I don’t know all the names to go with the images, so if you can help with identifying someone please let me know.

EPSON MFP imagePeter Dawson

EPSON MFP imageJohn Coen

EPSON MFP imageJohn (Jack) Clarke

EPSON MFP imageRoss Yarnold?

EPSON MFP imageBrendan Mulhall

(advice from Jack Clarke received in October 2019)

EPSON MFP imageAnd who was this?

EPSON MFP imageYours truly Brian Rope

As you can see all these men made quite good character studies when cameras are trained on them by other members. And, yes, I know we have women members too in the club – and none of them have beards. But, as they say, that’s another story.

Release of Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC

(News from the Ether)

There is a new version of Lightroom.  You can either purchase an upgrade to Lightrooom 6 or get it as Lightroom CC if you have a subscription.  New features include:

  • Panorama Merge (to DNG file)
  • HDR Merge (also to DNG file)
  • Filter Brush (partially remove the effects of another tool)
  • Face recognition (probably assigns ketywords)
  • Advanced video slideshows
  • Performance improvements (GPU processing)

Click here for more details from Nasim Mansurov.

Elements of Composition (for Landscape Photography)

When you are approaching the composition of a landscape remembering some of the following basic ideas will help you create a stronger image. Sometimes you may wish to ignore these elements to make a creative choice. To retain creative control, do this by design rather than by accident!

1. Tell a story

If you aim to tell a story, that will help you decide what to put into the frame and what to leave out. Think

  • What am I feeling?
  • What am I seeing, what do I want my viewer to see?

The main tools that assist with effective story telling are to:

  • Have some element of interest
  • Strive for visual balance
  • Control the way the eye moves in the image

2. Consider the following basics elements of an image:

  • Framing: Is it horizontal, vertical or a panorama? Bear in mind that a frame is an artifice – we don’t see in letter-boxes with hard edges. Our eyes behave differently when constrained by a frame, so how you frame is a critical component of your image. Consider using a frame within a frame (such as a doorway, foliage) for a stronger effect.
  • Visual balance within the frame. Landscapes generally work best if there is a foreground, a middleground and a back-ground. If your image is not satisfying to you, see if you are leaving out one of these elements, or if they are not balanced. Placing items of interest in accordance with the “rule of thirds” can also help make visually balanced images.

3. Learn how to control they way the eye of the viewer moves within your frame. Generally the eye moves:

  • To light areas
  • To areas with contrast and sharpness
  • Along lines
  • To colour – more to saturated and warm areas
  • To contrast
  • To eyes, human forms, animals and representations of human influence.

4. Include elements that the eye finds pleasing:

  • Patterns
  • Repetition
  • Symmetry
  • The odd one out in a pattern or repetition
  • Simplicity or complexity but not busy-ness and clutter

5. Avoid things that the eye finds displeasing:

  • Distractions – light areas in the wrong spot
  • Lines leading out of the frame
  • Cut edges and overlapping forms.

In order to reduce displeasing elements,

  • Always check your image and subject edges
  • Look for separation between elements.
The loneliness of the lighthouse keeper's wife

The loneliness of the lighthouse keeper’s wife

This image is an example of a frame within a frame. The door invites the viewer into the image. The colour of the sea attracts the eye. The door, rug and picket fence tell of domesticity. Although the scene is beautiful it is empty, hence the caption. This was taken at the lighthouse cottage at Green Cape. The lighthouse keeper’s wife had little company or support in raising her family through all weathers and in sickness and in health.

Boat at Fishpen Jetty

Boat at Fishpen Jetty

This image is an example of framing, leading lines and light. The early morning sun has just kissed the wooden jetty. This image is not that successful as the leading lines go nowhere. However, if there weren’t complete separation of the boat, it would certainly not be a successful image.

Laguna Blanca - Bolivian Altiplano

Laguna Blanca – Bolivian Altiplano

This image has a foreground, middle and back ground that all work well together to tell the story of isolation and a grand landscape. The human element adds to the story – they have obviously travelled without the benefit of roads. They are dwarfed by the landscape features.

Precarious Tree on Cliff at Oxer Lookout, Karijini

Precarious Tree on Cliff at Oxer Lookout, Karijini

This image shows the tree on one of the “line of thirds.”  The eye finds this off-centre approach appealing.

Greenland Fjord

Greenland Fjord

Another example of an image with a fore- middle- and background. The real subjects are the magnificent icebergs and interesting light on the clouds. However the human element in the foreground, and the extensive middle ground add to the sense of scale.

Tatio Geysers, Chilean Altiplano

Tatio Geysers, Chilean Altiplano

Another classical fore-, middle and background construction. Note that if the geyser steam had been curling the other way, the image would have been less successful.

Uyuni Salt Train

Uyuni Salt Train

Classical leading lines illustrate that, culturally, we tend to read lines from the bottom left of the image as the strongest lines. Other elements are balanced, with the central train flanked by two volcanoes (a trio of elements). The main subject is the most colourful element.

Knox Swimming Hole, Karijini, WA

Knox Swimming Hole, Karijini, WA

Leading lines and strong colour tell the story of an inviting and tranquil pool.

Judy on the Rocks: Merimbula

Judy on the Rocks: Merimbula

Strong colour and leading lines – as taken.

Judy on Rocks: Image Flipped

Judy on Rocks: Image Flipped

To my eye, this image reads much better as the strong lines coming in from the bottom left travel through the whole image before being turned back. They eye therefore travels around within the image, which it doesn’t do in the top version. The human form adds scale and interest.

A single cone in the vast salt lake of Uyuni after rain

A single cone in the vast salt lake of Uyuni after rain

As I was looking for this image, the thought running through my mind was “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” The single salt cone and snow-clad volcano hang in a sea of light.

Phil at Sani Pass, Lesotho

Phil at Sani Pass, Lesotho

Again I was looking for a simple image. Note that the cloud in the middle ground separating the fore and backgrounds is what makes the image. The human element adds interest. Without the cloud and the figure the image would be boring.

The vast salt flats of Uyuni, Bolivia

The vast salt flats of Uyuni, Bolivia

I was looking to simplify to tell the story of the vast open space, and to convey the feeling of being suspended in a blue bubble.

Bryce Canyon Rock Formation

Bryce Canyon Rock Formation

Interesting light can be the most important element in a successful landscape. Here the first rays of the sun light up and isolate a rock formation in a complex canyon.

The following images illustrate the use of repetition and patterns, and the effect of breaking a pattern (white railway trucks on a red train, a village in rice terraces).

Bridge over the Tigris, Turkey

Bridge over the Tigris, Turkey

RedUmbrella_MG_5041 copy

Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces and Traditional Village


Two boats at Merimbula

Uyuni Salt Train_IMG_1358

Salt train from Uyuni

Finally the following images illustrate the importance of separation. The pre-dawn light is soft and the silver bark gleams. There is no overlap between this tree and any other. This sometimes takes a bit of effort to find. In the wharf silhouette, the rocks of the foreground are just separated from the background by the water. Without the fishermen facing in to the scene, the image would be bland and boring.

Eucalypt in pre-dawn light, Karijini

Eucalypt in pre-dawn light, Karijini

Merimbula Wharf at Sunset

Merimbula Wharf at Sunset

Improved Nikon Repair Service

(News from the Ether)

I have sent several damaged or defective lenses or cameras to Nikon over the years.  This has meant an expensive postal exercise including insuring lenses for up to $2,000 and cameras for up to $5,000.

Now Nikon have changed the way this operates.  They provide a free service where a courier comes to your door and delivers the lens to Nikon for repair.  As well as being free, this is probably safer and more reliable.  A great improvement from my perspective.

The Great Bicentenary Photography Project

All around Australia in 1988 people celebrated in thousands of different ways. The images were there for the taking.

To help Aussies celebrate Australia’s Bicentenary our various levels of government poured many of our tax and rates dollars into a myriad of projects and events. Through one arrangement, known as the Local Government Initiative Grants Scheme. A group of Canberra Photographic Society (CPS) photographers were given an opportunity to record our city’s celebrations.

The Australian Bicentennial Authority and the ACT Administration funded the CPS project. Members of the CPS photographed as many as possible of the Bicentennial events in Canberra. The ACT Administration bought the film and paid for all processing. The CPS members shot the film and did much of the processing. They were not paid, except for the processing costs. But retained unencumbered rights to use and market their own pictures.

There were something like 500 endorsed or funded Bicentennial events and projects, and many other private celebrations, in Canberra.

At the small event end of the scale we had a lady who painted a fire hydrant outside her home in green and gold – only to become the immediate target of some protestors opposing the Bicentenary and some neighbours who didn’t like the end result. The major event, perhaps, was the visit by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to officially open our stunning new Parliament house. In between, there was everything from the establishment of a heritage trail around Lake Burley Griffin to a massed display of one million flowering bulbs and annuals in Commonwealth Park from 17 September to 9 October – the inaugural Floriade. There was even a photography convention, APSCON’88, conducted by the Australian Photographic Society.

Events photographed by the CPS members included the Street Machine Summernats, a Friendship Cycle Ride, several festivals, a visit by cadets of the Japanese Tall Ship (the Nippon Maru) and the unveiling of an enormous three part painting. Over 4000 images had been produced by early May 1988. Some had been published, some had been sold, copies had been requested by and given to politicians, and some had been entered with success in CPS competitions.

The major objective was for the ACT Administration to mount an exhibition of 100 prints in early 1989, at first in Canberra but, hopefully, to then go on a tour throughout Australia and, even, overseas.

By the end of 1988, six thousand images had been created by seventeen different CPS members during seventy different Bicentennial events, with some events covered by more than one of the photographers. Only one of the photographed events took place outside of Canberra. That was a voyage on the Young Endeavour sail training ship in Sydney harbour by a group of young Canberra people with disabilities or terminal illnesses.

One hundred of the images were selected for the exhibition, sixty seven in colour (half from negatives and half from transparencies) and thirty three in black and white. Forty of the images were printed for the exhibition by the photographers themselves. The others were printed by a professional laboratory. There was a concentration in the images on the people of Canberra participating in the celebrations, which happened to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the City of Canberra.

Of the seventeen CPS members who participated just one was not represented in the exhibition, which took place at the then Link Gallery in the Canberra Theatre Centre in March 1989.

Keith Bogg took 900 photographs at fifteen events. These included a senior Citizens Garden Party and Concert, the Australia Day Shooting Championships, the Multicultural Australia Day Jazz Festival, the launch of the History of Canberra and Lifeline’s Book Fair.

Jack Clarke took 324 photographs at 13 events, including Australia Day in the National Capital, the National Food and Wine Frolic and the recommissioning of the Paddle Steamer “Enterprise”. John Coen took 36 photos at just one event. Peter Dawson took 144 photos at the Royal Race Meeting. Fred Doutch took 360 photos at 10 events, including Lunch and All That Jazz, and the Official Opening of New Parliament House.

Murray Foote took 252 photos at five events, including the Canberra Festival and Versailles in Canberra. Murray was also involved in the Bicentenary in other ways. He produced colour images for the Bicentennial History of Australian Lighthouses “From Dusk to Dawn” and an exhibition of his prints from that project appeared at the Link Gallery (1988) and Parliament house (1989).

Trevor Gilbert and Denis Jessop each took 144 photos at two events. Bruce Harriott captured 360 images at four events. Bob Legge produced 72 images at the Great Australian Balloon Gathering. Ian McInnes captured 288 photos at three events, including Anzac Day and the Australian National Eisteddfod.

Brendan Mulhall took 360 photos at the National Capital Motathlon and the family fun run. Peter Paseka took 756 at nine events, Colin Rickard 72 at two events, Maurie Weidemann 432 at six events and Ross Yarnold 144 at four events.

I took more images than anyone – 1040 images at twenty eight events, including the Young Endeavour voyage on Sydney harbour on a wet and windy December day. Just a few of them are included below.  I was also involved in the Bicentennial in other ways; one being that I co-ordinated the community photography project “Personal Views” for the Australian Bicentennial Exhibition – and some of my own works were included in that touring exhibition.

1988.08.12 - Bob Hawke and. Cutting the Australopedia Cake

Cutting the cake at Launch of Australopedia by PM Hawke

1988.12.17 - Young Endeavour 2 - small

Young Canberrans with disabilities hauling on the rope on board the Young Endeavour on Sydney Harbour

1988.12.17 - Young Endeavour 3 - small

Proudly displaying his certificate of participation on the Young Endeavour voyage

1988 - Royal Flags 1 - small

Royal Visit “Flags” on display. (The “flags” were designed by yours truly and not well received. The protocol people strongly objected to pennants being flown from flagpoles, and some people thought they looked like the silks worn by jockeys! One of them was presented to me at my farewell from the public service!)

1988 - National Gathering 1 - small

Cross at National Gathering (of Christians)

1988 - Royal Race Meeting 1 - small

Media photographers lined up at the Royal Race Meeting

1988 - Royal Race Meeting 2 - cropped small

The Queen being escorted into the enclosure to present a trophy at the Royal Race Meeting

Our group of seventeen photographers were given a great opportunity to document the whole year of celebrations in our own city. CPS demonstrated the skills of its members when the 100 selected images were displayed in the Link Gallery exhibition, “Bicentennial celebrations in Canberra” in March 1989.


Cover of program for “Bicentennial celebrations in Canberra”

After the exhibition concluded the 100 prints were placed in safe storage by the ACT Administration. The hoped for touring exhibition did not eventuate, but it was intended that appropriate prints from the collection would be put on display again at appropriate future times and events. That has never happened. Even worse, enquiries suggest that the collection of prints has disappeared; certainly nobody within the ACT Administration seems able to ascertain what happened to them. At least I have my own negatives and transparencies.


– Brian Rope