News from the Ether Feb 17

Some recent articles that may be of interest…

 

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Excursion to Binna Burra

The Canberra Photographic  Society is planning an excursion to Binna Burra, in Lamington National Park in Queensland, for three full days and four nights, arriving Monday 24th July and leaving in the morning of Friday 28th July.

This is a rainforest destination with Gondwanaland flora, wildlife, creeks and waterfalls and some great vistas.  There are lots of walks available ranging from short ones to long ones.  Here’s a PDF map of the walks.   Here’s a summary of the walks from the BinnaBurra Lodge site and here’s some more detailed information from Queensland National Parks.  Binna Burra means “where the Antarctic Beech trees grow” in the local Aboriginal language and the Lodge opened in 1933.

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Waterfall near Binna Burra, Infrared Colour Film, 10 Jan 1981.

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The main reason for the timing is that rainfall is low at this period.  It is also fairly cool, with mean temperatures ranging from 10°C to 23°C.  This also means there are no ticks or leeches.

The excursion is for financial members of the Canberra Photographic Society only (and their spouses).

There is a variety of accommodation available.

  • There are rooms in the lodge.  Casuarina rooms can be double or twin share and have shared bathroom facilities.  Acacia rooms can be queen, double or twin share and have ensuites and mountain or rainforest views.
  • There are sky lodges which are 1, 2 or 3 room apartments with king beds or twin share.  They are more modern and a better standard of accommodation and have impressive views.
    • The Photographic Society of Queensland recently booked a stay at Binna Burra and particularly wanted to be able to take advantage of the evening view from the Sky Lodges.
    • There is also the possibility of an extra person on a sofa bed in rooms and sky lodges.
  • Then there is camping.  You can have powered or unpowered sites or a Safari Tent for from 2 to 6 people which is provided with beds, vinyl floors, a fire pit and lighting but no power.  You can also hire linen for the safari tent.

There is also the possibility of hiring a conference room for a few hours to have a showing and discussion of photographs.

Camping costs are straightforward.  $28 per night for an unpowered site, $35 for powered and $105 for a safari tent, irrespective of the number of persons.

Room costs are more nebulous because we can book as a group and get a group discount and may all pay the same rate.  When I can tell them how many will be turning up, they will offer us some options and rates.  Ostensibly, a Casuarina room with two persons and breakfast and dinner included costs $130 per person per night, an Acacia room with two persons $185 and a 3-room sky lodge with 6 people $147.  It depends how many people we have and what we may receive as a group discount.  See update below.

There are two main ways to get there.  You can drive or you can fly.

  • Ride sharing might be a possibility for the drive option though it’s too long to do in one hit – probably around 12 hours.
  • Perhaps the most likely option is flying, to Brisbane or Gold Coast airports and Binna Burra Lodge will pick people up from those airports.  Canberra to Brisbane direct takes 1 hr 40 to 50 each way and costs from $321 return.   Canberra to Gold Coast takes 1 hr 30 to 40 each way if direct flights are available on that day and costs from $311 return.
    • Binna Burra Lodge will pick people up from either airport for a cost per person each way of between $175 (1 person) and $44 (4 persons), $49 (5 persons) or $41 (6 persons).
  • Going by train is a third option for pensioners, who can go free (though $10 for first class and maybe $100 for a sleeper).  Perhaps combined with a rental car.
    • The Lodge also picks people up from Nerang Station but the logistics of getting there from Canberra may be more trouble than it’s worth.  (Perhaps they’ll pick up from Brisbane Station too).

So the cost per person probably works out to between $900 and $1,230 for rooms and flying, less whatever discount we get.  (Of course, camping could be much cheaper).

In order to get the group discount, we need to have a group.  So please indicate if you are interested.  People can join later but may or may not get the group discount and the fewer who initially commit the less the discount will be.  Also, group rooms may be together which may not be possible for people joining later.

 

To reserve a place you will need to record the following details in a comment below or send me an email at zenophon@velocitynet.com.au .  Places are still available.  See update below.

  1. Name (singles) or Names (couples)
  2. Definite commitment or expression of interest
  3. Preference and availability for dates, whether that affects commitment and whether you prefer to include weekend dates
  4. Whether you prefer a room or intend to be camping and any preferences you have in either respect.

Even if you send an email, please record your name(s) in a comment below.  This will facilitate group discussions later on.

Update (28 March)

A group of us are going and most of us are staying in a four-bedroom house near the Binna Burra Lodge, Alcheringa.  This appears to offer more spacious and better quality accommodation than the sky lodges and at better value.

Currently we still have space for up to an additional two singles or a couple.  Cost will be $105 per person per night for one single or $200 for two singles or a couple.

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
History:
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 http://canberraphotosoc.weebly.com/cps-constitution.html.
Comments should be sent to committee@cpsaus.org.

The future of the Aggregate Competitions

At the recent workshop held to discuss the program for the CPS for next year, the question was raised as to whether we want to continue with the Annual Aggregate Competitions. Currently there is an A Grade Aggregate competition and a B Grade Aggregate competition with trophies and modest cash prizes for winners and runners-up.

Advantages of the removal of the Aggregate Competitions that were raised are that it could remove any feeling of disadvantage or disincentive for members who join part-way through the year or who miss a competition for whatever reason. It could also give us the freedom to be more flexible with the competition formats. Some see that Aggregate Competitions promote a competitive culture that is at odds with the sharing and learning culture to which we apsire and does not encourage creativity and risk-taking in image making. On the other hand, the Aggregate Competitions could be seen as providing a valuable incentive for sustained and ongoing participation over the year.

One suggested change, which has already been agreed to by the committee, is to rename the event our Exhibition Night, rather than the Competition night.

Members said they feel that having an external judge who provides comments and a score on submitted images is helpful and motivating and they wish to retain these. Thus the model being proposed is that we continue with the (renamed) Exhibition Nights where we retain A and B grade, scoring out of 5 and Image(s) of the Night. We plan to continue with the Comment Only category. Images scoring 4.5 and 5 would continue to be eligible for Gallery 9 and Images of the Night would continue to have a free entry into the Image of the Year competitions. We would also publish the scores for each image each month. The only change would be that we would not publish cumulative Aggregate Scores and not make awards to the photographers who achieve the highest aggregate scores each year. High achievement in all CPS Competitions would continue to be taken into consideration when deciding on the award of the Photographer of the Year.

In deciding this issue we need to consider the type of society we wish to be and if the Aggregate Competitions are consistent with our current goal to “help members achieve their photographic potential” through “sharing and learning.”

We wish to recognise and reward photographic excellence and achievements within the society. We will continue with the Photographer of the Year, the Russell Hunt Award for service to the Society, the Annual Photochallenge awards as well as the Image of the Year awards. We would like to consider some new awards and seek member input as to what these could be. For example, we could have awards for Student Photographer of the Year, Most Improved Photographer and so on.

The committee has agreed that the proposal to remove the Aggregate competitions while retaining other elements of the scoring system be discussed at upcoming Workshops (September 20th and October 18th) so that both supporters and opponents of the idea have a chance to have a say to other members. We will then run a poll from October 19th to 28th (responses to a dedicated email address monitored by a Returning Officer) where every financial member of the society will have a vote. The committee will then make a decision based on the results of the poll and the results will be announced at the November Competition Night on November 1st. This will give all Members an opportunity to have a voice and ample notice of the procedures for the Exhibition Nights for 2017.

A need from deep within

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Readers of this blog will know by now that Sebastian Salgado is one of my inspirations and a few months ago, while browsing in a local bookstore, I picked up a book called From my Land to the Planet written by him in collaboration with Isabella Francq that covers his life and his photography. It is the quote on the front of the book, visible in the picture above, that really resonated with me and prompted me to buy it.

I suspect, that this quote will speak to many of the blog’s readers. What started for me with the desire to finally replace my old film point and shoot and  buy my first DSLR some nine years ago, has turned into something I could barely have foreseen then. Like Salgado, I too love holding my camera and looking for images, feeding an insatiable hunger to take more and more photographs. And like many of us, I now own far too many cameras, lenses and particularly camera bags.

We are always on the look out for more pictures. We wake up when it is still night to head out to capture first light. We are late for dinner, because there is more evening light to capture. There are days I come home when the light is about to fade and I have to race to get one of my cameras to record another amazing sunset from my balcony. It is not the view that continues to astonish me, but the never-ending variety of colours in the sunset skies and the million ways of capturing this city.

It is more than merely recording the moment. It is somehow trying to capture that moment in time in the way that I saw it, trying to convey what took my breath away. Sometimes I succeed, more often I fail, but I’m slowly getting better at it and it never stops me to try again or to take more pictures. It’s been quite a journey so far and there is still a long road ahead. I’m not even sure where that road is leading, but I’m happy to be on it.

The quote on the front of the book is from the final paragraph in the book, after he has described his journey into and through photography – how it nearly destroyed him and how it resurrected him. But it is only part of the final paragraph, which also reads:

“My photography is not a form of activism, it is not even a profession. It is my life. (…) My photography is all of this and I cannot claim that the decisions that make me choose to go here or there are rational. It is a need that comes from deep inside me.”

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I would argue that is not always the case. Sometimes we need words like this to express why we do what we do.

Excursions to National Gallery of Australia

There will be two excursions to the National Gallery of Australia as part of our July theme The Art of the Print:

  • Sunday 24th July, 11am
  • Monday 25th July, 11am

We will meet at the main entrance on the lower ground floor (not the old main entrance on the first floor).  (The excursion on Sunday is for those who are working and the Monday one is for those who are not working because it is likely to be less crowded then).

There is an exhibition (American Portraits) of prints by Diane Arbus together with prints from several other socially incisive American portrait and street photographers in related veins, including Weegee, Walker Evans and Garry Winogrand.  It is on the second floor.  Diane Arbus said “the subject of the picture is more important than the picture” and yet was critically concerned with the presentation of her prints.

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Identical twins Cathleen and Colleen Wade, spotted by Arbus at a Christmas party for twins and triplets.

Just outside the exhibition there are a few nineteenth century Siamese prints at one end and at the other some surrealist images including one by André Kertész.  There are many other photographs scattered through the gallery on the first floor.  There is a whole wall of images including one by Max Dupain.  There are some photographic prints at the back of the “Black” exhibit in a far corner including one by Ansell Adams.  There are also photographic prints throughout the gallery presented as Art, so that you can only be sure they are photographs by looking closely at the labels.

So let us make this a collaborative learning experience.  As we wander round in small groups, we can discuss topics such as which prints impress us, what we see in them, what ideas they invoke,  how the printing contributes to the aesthetic and what ideas the prints give us for our own images and printing.

Then at 1pm we can gather in the Cafeteria in the lower ground floor for nibbles and conversation.

(The Gallery also currently has a (non-photographic) exhibition by Fiona Hall, Wrong Way Time, but this closes on July 10, well before our visits.)

 

 

Exporting Digital Images for CPS Competitions

This is for Lightroom users who enter Canberra Photographic Society competitions.

If you enter a  Projected Image or a Print competition, you will need to upload digital images to the CPS Smugmug site.  In order to do that, you will first need to export to a jpeg on your local drive.  I will show you how to do that with a Lightroom export preset that is largely automated so that you only need to update the image file name.

First, select an image in the Library tab in Lightroom,

  • then click the [Export] button at the bottom of the left pane.
    • (Alternatively, you can right click the image and select [Export…]).
  • The following screen will appear.

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Export

(Click on this image to see it larger in a separate tab)

Here I have clicked on my saved preset CPS Digital Export. All I have to do now is to update the file name and then click [Export].

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So how do we create the preset?  We start from a blank screen and fill it out as follows:

  • Export To:
    • Select [Hard Drive] from the drop down at the very top (probably the default)
  • Export Location
    • Export to [Specific Folder]
    • Click [Choose…] to specify what folder you want to use
  • File Naming
    • Check [Rename To:] and specify [Custom Name] from the dropdown
    • Specify a default filename in [Custom Text] such as “A_Open_XXX_MurrayF”
      • A_Open or B_Open.  Change later to A_Set or B_Set for specific files
      • I use XXX as a placeholder for a quick image description (eg “Eagle” or “Chameleon”)
      • Instead of MurrayF, use your name: first name plus first letter of surname
  • File Settings
    • Image Format = [JPEG]
    • Color Space = [sRGB] or [Adobe RGB (1998)]
    • Quality = 80 (or other value you may prefer)
    • Check [Limit File Size To:] and set it to [2048]K
  • Image Sizing
    • Check [Resize to Fit:] and select [Dimensions] from Dropdown
    • Specify [2048] x [1536] [pixels]
      • (This will work for both landscape (H) and portrait (V) format images)
    • Resolution 72 pixels per inch
  • Output Sharpening
    • Sharpen for Screen, Amount Standard (this will be default)
  • Watermarking
    • Leave unchecked

Now you have specified all the details; you just need to save the preset.

  • Below the preset area at the left, click [Add]
  • Specify the name for the preset (eg “CPS Digital Export”) and click [Create]

So now you have the preset, you don’t need to make any of those changes again apart from modifying the filename to suit.

Next time you need to export a digital file for a CPS competition:

  • Click [Export…]
    • This brings up the Export dialogue box
  • Select the preset you created
  • Modify the file name
  • Click [Export].