Presentation About Contemporary Photography

Notes from Brian Rope’s recent and fascinating presentation on Contemporary Photography, reblogged.


Last week I gave a PowerPoint presentation to members of the Canberra Photographic Society about Contemporary Photography. I promised to make the contents of that presentation available online. Here they are.

  • It is a lot about today’s lifestyle and about knowing the reasons for our images and about conceptual photography
  • Series are about a number of works based on an idea but the works need to be contemporary not traditional
  • It is not about competition or honours. It is about challenging ourselves in our thinking and in our photography
  • It is where the artist/photographer has imbued their own personal expressions/feelings of the life around them and of their own life experiences, moods, feelings into an image or series of images

2016 Iris Award

Winner 2016 IRIS AWARD

First Impression © Chris Bowes

The IRIS Award is an international prize recognising new and outstanding portraiture in photographic art. The criteria for selection focuses on…

View original post 1,272 more words


The future of iphoneography by Brad Nichols

Brad Nichols gave an interesting presentation on Tuesday 10th April looking at the theme of alternative technologies – in other words, alternative to DSLR technologies. To accompany his presentation he provided the following links and information.

Brad has a regular blog, contributes often to other blogs and teaches photography-related courses at CIT.

This is my regular photography blog, many of the articles here have been internationally published on Petapixel, DIY photography and

This is my dedicated iPhoneography site, more specifically it looks at issue relating to iPhone DNG/Raw shooting

On instagram, search for the following pages:

Zerooneimaging.  This is my iPhone page, everything was shot on iPhone and much of it in RAW.

Bradnichol9186.  This is my regular Photography account on instagram

A short article that compares iPhone RAW with M4/3 under contrasty low light conditions.

A deep dive article that compares iPhone RAW with M4/3 raw across different focal lenghts, the phone is the iPhone X and the M4/3 camera the Olympus EM5 mk 2 with the 12-40mm pro grade lens attached.

I will post an article which is a summary of this evenings presentation on the iPhoneraw site in the next week or so.

Courses:  I run a lot of workshops at CIT Solutions the address for that is:

New: Auto Changes in Lightroom

Auto Button

The Auto button in Lightroom Develop module is now actually useful (as of Lightroom CC Classic 7.1 in 20 December 2017).



When you click the [Auto] button, Lightroom now applies artificial intelligence based on the practices of many photographers to make individual adjustments to each image.  This can provide a very useful basis for further adjustments.   It entirely comprises changes in the basic panel and does not include white balance, clarity, tone curve, sharpening and lens correction amongst others.



For example, here is a live music image.  Lights are flashing on and off and one is coming straight at the camera.  This is a difficult exposure situation because the appropriate level of exposure compensation can change moment by moment.  Here the image is significantly underexposed.



So we hit the [Auto] button.  Kaboom!  What a difference!  You can see over on the right, it’s not just that the exposure increases by over one and a half stops, most of the sliders in the Basic panel have changed too.  (Click for larger image if necessary).  How those sliders change will differ for each image.

Of course, the [Auto] button won’t always be right, you will usually need to modify some settings and you can always reverse it and start again.

And we’re finished with this image.  Wwe still need to apply lens corrections, sharpen, straighten, reduce the brightness of the “white” (actually blue) light, crop, maybe adjust some colours and in Photoshop, remove the microphone at top left and the mike stand at lower right.  Where the [Auto] button has got us to is impressive though.


Auto Button en masse

You don’t have to click [Auto] for each image, you can do it for a whole batch of images.

  • Select images in Grid mode in the Library module.
  • Switch to Develop module
  • At bottom right, click the little switch to the left of the [Sync] button to change it to the [Auto Sync] button
  • Click [Auto]
    • Auto changes are appled to all selected images
  • Important:  Click the little switch to the left of the [Auto Sync] button to change it back to the [Sync] button
    • If you don’t do that, any changes you subsequently make to an image in Develop will be applied to all selected images.


Other automated changes via Presets

If you’re going to use the [Auto] button, there are a few other changes you might want to automate:

  • Capture sharpening
  • Lens corrections
  • For Fuji cameras at least, perhaps Camera Calibration Profile

If you start with an unedited image you can make such changes and then save them to a Preset.


For capture sharpening, in the left column in the Develop module under Presets, select Sharpen – Faces or Sharpen – Scenic.

  • Note that this will not work for Fujifilm cameras with the X-Trans sensor.  See instead this article and create your own presets.


Almost always, you will want to check [Remove Chromatic Aberration] and [Enable Lens Corrections] in the Lens Corrections panel at the right in Develop.  (Probably the only exception is if you’re playing around with a fisheye lens and don’t want to use the lens profile).


Fuji cameras have a great selection of camera profiles in the Camera Calibration panel at the right in Develop.  You might want to select one as a default. You can always change it later, for individual images or en masse.  For Nikon, Canon and other brands, this may not be so useful.  Have a look, see what’s there and try the alternatives though.  It’s manufacturer specific and camera specific.


OK, you’ve got some default changes in an otherwise unedited image.  To save them as a preset, click the “+” sign at top right of the Presets panel (three images above).  Then, you can apply them to individual images or groups of images from the Presets Panel (under /User Presets).

To apply as an import preset, select your saved preset under Develop Settings in the Apply During Import panel at top right of the Import screen (The one of mine illustrated is called Nikon Scenic Import).


Auto button and previews

When you import images into Lightroom, you can select to build previews, which can be either Embedded and Sidecar Previews, Standard Previews or 1:1 Previews.  If you later click the Auto button for an image, or especially for all images you import, the image may change greatly as you see it in the Develop module but it will look as imported in the Library module because the previews have not changed.   So what you will need to do is regenerate the previews with the command Library/ Previews/ Build Standard-sized Previews or Library/ Previews/ Build 1:1 Previews.

Therefore, if you are going to run the Auto Button on all images yo import, there is no point building previews when you import.  You should run the presets on import, select all images (as shown above) and run the Auto Button, then build standard previews or 1:1 previews.




The Rationale behind the Revised Constitution – your approval needed

Apologies to all those members who find this stuff dry and boring. Please read on for just a little bit…

Your society is working towards creating a vibrant, creative and collaborative space for Canberra photographers of all shapes and sizes. Do do this we need some underpinnings – one of which is a constitution that reflects who we are and what we aspire to. Hence this post. You will be asked to vote on this proposed new constitution at the upcoming AGM.

 Explanatory Notes re Proposed New Constitution for the Canberra Photographic Society
The existing constitution is based on the model rules provided by the ACT government under the Associations Incorporation Act 1991. The Canberra Photographic Society has to comply with this act and other relevant acts and regulations governing community groups in the ACT. Our compliance is overseen by our Public Officer, Ian Marshall.
In order to have our governance mechanisms aligned with the goals of the society, the committee is seeking to update the Constitution. This task has been undertaken by
the Strategic Planning Subcommittee with legal input provided by Tony Burslem.
Rationale for change:
The most important proposed changes are around the Objects of the Society. These have been clarified and simplified with the intent to reflect who we are and what our goals are as a society (See clause 2)
We have clarified the definition of members (see clause 3 and 7) to allow honorary members and honorary life members (clause 16) to vote at general meetings. Our definition of honorary member (clause 15) has been expanded so it no longer refers to particular affiliations (such as the Australian Photographic Society) but is more generally inclusive.
Changes have also been made to clarify and facilitate administration of the
society, such as moving the closing date for payment of membership dues from 1 July to 1 March (clause 11) and making provision for electronic meetings (clause 28). We have also updated language to reflect the current use of electronic communications for membership applications (clause 8 and removal of the old Appendix 1) and the serving of notices (clause 50).
Changes are proposed that clarify the roles and responsibilities of members (clause 9)
and the committee (clause 19). Clauses around conflicts of interest (clause 29) and the declaration and recording of potential conflicts of interest (clauses 30, 31 and 32) have been added.
We have improved the definition of quorums for the committee meetings (clause 27(5)), for annual general meetings (clause 35(3)) and general meetings (clause 38(2)) so that they are more flexible and allow the society to dissolve itself if the membership dwindles to almost nothing. The calling of general meetings at the request (not requisition) of members now requires notice in writing of ten (not five) percent of members (clause 36). Only members may vote at general meetings (clause 42).
We have improved the procedures for the election of committee members (clause
22). We have introduced a requirement for nomination of members for election to the committee to be made in writing at least 24 hours ahead of the meeting and the requirement for all nominees to indicate their consent to being nominated.
The proxy form that was previously Appendix 2 now becomes Appendix 1.
What happens now?
Before the Proposed New Constitution can be adopted it must be accepted at a general meeting of members. In order to change the constitution we have to lodge with Access Canberra either a list of proposed changes or the amended constitution in its entirety. Because of the extent and complexity of the changes, we propose using the latter method. Thus we are putting the proposed amended constitution in its entirety to members.
The committee proposes that members vote regarding their acceptance or otherwise of the
Proposed New Constitution at the upcoming AGM on March 14th 2017.
Prior to this date, all members are encouraged to read the proposed document and
are welcome to make suggestions and comments to the committee so that any concerns can be addressed before the AGM.
The Proposed New Constitution is available (with additions highlighted) for comparison with our Existing Constitution on our website
Comments should be sent to

A Photoshop Workflow

In response to several requests for more technical information to be provided as part of Canberra Photographic Society activities, we have started a new technical session to be conducted at the start of each Workshop evening. Members will take it in turns to spend 15-20 minutes talking about a technical aspect of photography or image processing. I kicked off the series with a demonstration of a workflow (using Bridge and Photoshop) that I used to process one of my images from Bermagui.

I chose this image because it has some short-comings and I wanted to demonstrate how I could overcome some of these with processing. Obviously it is not possible, nor desirable, to “fix” bad images with processing, but I wanted to illustrate a couple of points. I find the image inherently amusing but the background is a bit distracting as it has a lot of color, structure and light areas. Also, there is a pelican in the foreground that could be seen as a distraction, so I am going to demonstrate how to “clone it out.” I want to draw attention to the main subject – namely the fish in the pelican’s beak.

Below is the original raw file that has been opened in Bridge. I have made some adjustments to the exposure and reduced the contrast. In Bridge I almost always go into the Lens Corrections tab (6th from left) and enable lens profile corrections (in the profile sub-tab) and tick remove chromatic aberration (in the color sub-tab). Most of the other adjustments (such as noise removal) I leave on the default values. 01_Pelican_Raw

Once I am happy with the raw processing in Bridge I click on the “Open Image” button at the bottom and this opens the image in Photoshop. 03_pelican_photoshop

Above you can see what the base layer looks like without all the adjustment layers (only the bottom layer has an eye symbol to its left). To illustrate my workflow I am going to step through turning on each layer so you can see the effect that it has on the image.


The first layer (above) corrects the color balance. I used the color picker tool (a pencil with a plus sign) and select an area that should be white or neutral grey. I then use a curves layer and adjust each of the colors so that the values for red, green and blue are the same. If they are 255,255,255 then I have adjusted the spot (and the highlights) to white – if the value is less then the spot is grey and I have adjusted the high mid-tones. You can see that this adjustment has removed a magenta cast from the image.


In this layer (above) I have removed the pelican on the left. I used the lasso tool to draw a rough outline around it and then went to the Edit tab at the top of the page and select Fill then Content-Aware to give a rough fill. I then used the clone tool to tidy up the fill, making sure that there are no repeated structures evident. I also built up the tip of the remaining pelican’s wing.



I then have several curves layers where I have progressively darkened the background and lightened the birds. I do this in steps so it gives a more subtle result and I use a different mask for each layer. I use a soft brush to make my masks and usually feather each mask also.


You can see here (above) the mask that I used to darken the background while not changing the birds. You can visualise the mask by going to the channels tab and clicking on the bottom channel, which is usually the mask. Don’t forget to turn the mask channel off before returning to the layers menu (unless you want to see the mask to make fine adjustments to it).


In this layer (above) I am working to give more emphasis to the pelican beaks. I start by changing the color balance and shifting it slightly to the magenta and red (from cyan and green respectively). The rest of the image is masked out so the changes only apply to the beaks. I then apply a hue-saturation layer where I gently increase the saturation in the reds and magentas. I almost always make saturation adjustments selectively and usually avoid increasing the global saturation. I have a second saturation adjustment layer where I have reduced the saturation in the blue and cyan. This often corrects a consequence of darkening (particularly for skies) as Photoshop has the unfortunate tendency to make darkened skies too saturated. Here I am removing color from the water to bring emphasis back to the pelican beaks. Often removing saturation in some colors is a more effective way of emphasising the remaining colors than just increasing those colors’ saturation.


In the next few layers I have lightened the black feathers in the wings to bring some structure back there. I also have a few more layers to reduce the contrast in the water even further. I now want to add more contrast and emphasis to the plumage of the birds. Here I am using a technique for adding structure called HiRaLoam. This is basically a sharpening tool, so I need to work on committed pixels. Most of my layers so far (except for the cloning layer) have been adjustment layers that are basically a set of instructions that tell photoshop what to do with the information from the layers below. A useful shortcut that I use when I need a committed layer (a requirement for sharpening) is to hold down the Control-Shift-Alt-E keys simultaneously. You will see a lot of other ways of doing this, but I have found this to be the quickest and simplest.

To perform the HiRaLoam adjustment I go to the Filter tab at the top of the page, select Sharpen, then Unsharp Mask. Then I use a high radius and a low amount (Amount 30, radius 30, threshold 2). There is nothing magical about these numbers and it sometimes takes a bit of trial and error to get the desired effect. Be sparing with this as it can produce halos (as can all sharpening techniques). I usually start with a black mask, and only add the effect sparingly where I want it, taking care to avoid any obvious edges.

Finally I have a couple more curves layers to get the overall brightness and contrast correct – sometimes it is useful just to use the Auto setting on the curves layer to see where photoshop thinks you should be. You can accept or reject or modify this at your discretion.

Obviously you want to be saving your photoshop file frequently as you go along. If you need to produce a small jpg version of your file my last step is to resize the image. Because photoshop doesn’t retain the detail in the masks at high resolution when it resizes, it is desirable to flatten your image before resizing. Note that this will compress all your workings and discard any layers that aren’t visible. You need to be very careful NOT to save this version of the photoshop file as you will then lose all your working. To resize the flattened image go to the Image tab at the top of the page and then Image Size. Enter the desired values and then save your file AS A JPG. When closing the file photoshop will ask if you want to save it – now say NO to avoid ending up with a low resolution, layerless .psd file. Below if the final version of the image (top). It isn’t markedly different from the original (below) as I like to keep a fairly light touch with photoshop work, but I leave you to judge if it is an improvement.






Thoughts on judging a photograph

At the Ted’s Hedda Morrison Print Portfolio Trophy night our guest judge David Paterson spoke about what he looks for as a judge in photography competitions. David is experienced as a judge with the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers. He also regularly enters work in State and National AIPP competitions. Here is a summary of David’s thoughts.

Judging a Photograph: What do I look for?

Composition and Image design – is the photo well composed and has thought been applied to the design of the image?

Exposure – is there detail in both the highlights and shadows? Does it have a good tonal range?

Focus – has the focus been placed in the areas and how well has this worked?

Colour/Tones – is the colour and/or tones correct?

Lighting – how well has the photographer used the light?

Posing and Styling – does the posing suit the photo?

Attention to detail – is there anything within the photo that should have been removed or not photographed in the first place?

Post Production – how well has the post production been handled? Sharpening?

Printing – is the print of a professional standard? Right choice of paper?

Presentation – how well has the photo been presented, matting?

Images that are more highly awarded may include…

Communication and Narrative – does the photo tell me a story and/or communicate the authour’s intent?

Imagination – thinking outside the square

Innovation – is this something new that gets me excited?

Visual and emotional impact – does this photo affect me emotionally?

Timing, anticipation – the decisive moment!

President’s Annual Report to 2016 AGM

CPS President, Helen McFadden, has asked me to publish this report to publicly record it in an accessible place. The first part illustrates the process, achievements and continuing work of our strategic direction. It may help to inform our discussions this year.

This report summarises and reflects upon the activities of the Canberra Photographic Society during 2015.

The CPS continues to develop its program based upon the direction set in our Strategic Plan which was adopted by the 2014 AGM. This plan was developed with a high level of consultation with and input by members during 2013. It helps to be able to sift through ideas and opportunities with a cohesive framework, focusing on the important things which contribute to progress in our objective to be a:

“mutually supportive and excellent photographic society through
(a)        helping the Society members achieve their photographic potential and
(b)        encouraging the Society and its members to interact with their community”

An example of the benefit of this approach is how the communications survey in 2014 resulted in the changes implemented in 2015 to: our email and membership list; regular eNews; website updating is user friendly; Facebook page, blog, and instagram all well viewed and well used. So much so, that now it all seems normal.

Following from this in 2015 we looked at how to more seamlessly handle our images for display and sharing and competitions. After investigations led by Matt James we successfully tested upload and display on a SmugMug gallery during the annual photochallenge. Ready for the start of 2016 we moved our competition upload to galleries on SmugMug. Many members have commented at how easily this works. There are other benefits in ease of administration which are becoming more obvious. This change has allowed us to change the method of competition display to using a tablet device, put in the hands of the judge. This uses the SmugMug app on the device and wireless communication with the projector.

All of these technology based methods will most likely change every five years or so as new products and services become available. This is not a problem or an obstacle. Photography is mostly very closely linked to these technologies.

The next two strategic objectives which we are working on are developing the structure for members to systematically improve their photographic skills and the long term integration of new members. The weekend workshops which have been held at Merimbula, thanks to Phil and Helen McFadden, have helped people to improve their photographic skills and to gain a sense of belonging to the CPS. Both of these areas need attention. Our Open Studio initiative may help with some of this.

As a part of our community engagement we will have a stall at the Connect and Participate Expo in Saturday 19th March at the Old Bus Depot, Kingston from 11am to 4pm. If you could talk to people about the CPS please volunteer for a couple of hours. There are 150 organisations and 8000 visitors expected, based on numbers from last year.

70th Anniversary Celebrations

2015 saw the CPS celebrate 70 years since its foundation in 1945. We enjoyed a well attended dinner at the Hellenic Club. Jim Mason was inducted as an Honorary Life Member. We were pleased that our other Honorary Life Member, Ian McGuiness, was present at the dinner and he was presented with a Life Member Medallion (which hadn’t been presented at his induction). Brian Rope spoke about the history of the CPS and Chris Holly spoke about the future of photography. Thanks to Alan Charlton and team for organising the event. Bruce Clark contributed with some large prints made by his father after a CPS photography night with models at the old Griffin centre. These provoked many comments!


In March 2015 we packed up the Different Views Exhibition at Telstra Tower and sent it To Bendigo for Easter with a Bendigo Camera Club exhibition. Different Views 2 is framed and ready to be hung on Thursday. It will incorporate images which present our views of Canberra and district and its Heritage listed sites (as a part of the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival) David Flannery will open the exhibition on Friday 11th March at 6pm.

Out There 2015, our members’ exhibition at the Watson Arts Centre, was an excellent showcase of our photographic interests. Congratulations to exhibitors and organisers for a great show.


Our integrated themes method of organising our annual program proved valuable in the second year of organising in this manner. Thanks to everyone who contributed to these each month. Each year our program includes a meeting for where we ask members to review how the program has gone during the year and to ask for suggestions and ideas for the next year. This has proved to be valuable for the committee to gauge how things are going in an organised discussion environment, as well as the consult about new ideas which we are planning to implement.


Major Awards 2016

Ted’s Hedda Morrison Print Portfolio –  Matt James

Highly Commended – Helen McFadden

Highly Commended – Dave Bassett

Bica Projected Image Portfolio – Judy Parker

Highly Commended – Brian Jones

Highly Commended – Jenny Varela



Annual Photochallenge

Best Portfolio – Leisa Condie

Best Image – Peter Powell

Print of the Year (colour) – Leo Sbirakos

Highly Commended    Brian Jones

Highly Commended –  Steven Shaw

Print of the Year (monochrome) – Brian Jones

Highly Commended    Murray Foote

Highly Commended    Murray Foote

Projected Image of the Year- Graeme Watson

Highly Commended – Jenny Varela

Highly Commended  – Sheila Lunter

2015 Photographer of the Year

Jointly awarded to:

Graeme Watson and Dave Bassett

2015 Russell Hunt Award

Ian Marshall


Committee Members, Office holders, and many other volunteers.

On behalf of the Canberra Photographic Society members I say THANK YOU to committee members, office holders and volunteers for your hard work during 2015. Your contribution is much appreciated !

Our monthly themes have been coordinated by different members according to their interest and availability. This method of organising the program has enabled a broader number of members to share their knowledge, to assist the society, and to spread the load beyond Program Director Helen McFadden. Thanks also to volunteers from outside the CPS who have volunteered their time to present information at our activity nights. I also record my thanks to all who make the competition night run smoothly.

Ten times each year local (and interstate) photographers volunteer their time to judge our competitions. It is a valuable gift to the CPS and its members. We appreciate the different insights and perspectives each judge has brought to our competitions in 2015. The CPS records its thanks to each of you. We note the passing of long time judge Bob Cooper last year, a number of CPS members attended his funeral.

Also CPS member and serving Auditor, Alan Pendergast died last year. We offered our condolences to his widow Gabi and their family. A number of CPS members attended his funeral.

It is always the case that members come and go for a variety of reasons, and members serve on the committee for a time then move on. So, a couple of movements to note:

Jim Mason has informed the me that he will not stand for the CPS committee in 2016. Thanks for your 30 years on continuous contribution to the CPS through the committee. Jim’s contribution was detailed in his Honorary Life member citation last year. Thank you Jim.

Brian Jones will also conclude his membership of the CPS committee. His contribution has included three years as President. He has also served as Vice President. He was involved in our strategic planning from its inception. He has also managed our relationships with our competition judges. Thanks Brian.


Ian Marshall

Canberra Photographic Society President

8th March 2016