Our outing at Taronga Zoo

What is the collective noun for a group of photographers, anyone know?

Here was a chance for LCCP members to put into practice all those fantastic tips that Jacci Schipp-Benz gave us when she did her presentation last year on ‘Photographing Wild Animals’.

We had a fabulous turn out of 14 enthusiastic photographers and after a quick coffee pitstop, Jacci marched us off to our first location, the all new Tiger Trek.

Wow, what a great addition to the zoo and what a treat it was to spend what must have easily been 45 minutes patiently photographing three beautiful Sumatran Tigers. We were also the first group through which was perfect timing. We then made a quick dash across to the Elephant tower for a birds eye view of these amazing animals. 

We visited a wide variety of animals and judging by the rapid fire of our cameras we must have collectively taken 100's of photos. I can't wait to see some awesome images at future Evaluation Nights.

We start them young at LCCP. Little Aston at just 4 years and his first Nikon.

A big thank you to Kirstin Sercombe for coordinating this event, it was such a shame you were unable to join us due to a nasty virus. A thank you to our fabulous President Diane McKenzie for stepping in to rally the troops in Kirstin's absence.

And a special thank you to Jacci Schipp-Benz herding us through Taronga Zoo!

Oh What a Night !

Impossible (c) Adam Williams 

Last night members of LCCP were treated to what several described as the best night in years, with a presentation by AIPP Master of Landscape Photography, Adam Williams.

Adam presented the members with a brief history of his life in photography, forming an interesting and thought provoking insight to his image making.  Adam has his ego well under control and was generous with his explanations of his inspirations and influences.  Adam also took us through his insights into creating images, with an emphasis on not being afraid to fail.

Adam is running a series of workshops, starting in Sydney on the 7th April with "Workshop of Wizardry" at Dee Why RSL.  Adam also runs online courses and details can be found below.  All in all, a wonderful night, with inspirational images and an open discussion of Adam's life story and passions. Check out all his courses here.

Lane Cove Theatre Company - Rehearsal Photo Shoot

Recently some of our members had the opportunity to attend the dress rehearsal for a theatre production by the Lane Cove theatre Company. This was a chance to photograph a genre that is normally difficult for amateur photographers because of copyright issues.

If they are pleased with the results we could be invited to photograph future productions thus giving more members the opportunity to take theatre photographs.

Some examples of the results of the exercise are shown below.

Images courtesy of Almitra Hill, Michael Stevens and Jim Crew.

Evaluation Night #1

Flower for Diane (c) Steve Mullarkey 2018

Our first Evaluation night for 2018 was a great success, with a wide variety of creative and intriguing images on show, several from new members and several from members who are new to printing. 

Our in-house Evaluator gave each image some worthwhile and constructive comments, with additional input from the members present.  As usual, some images created a variety of opinion and discussion, with alternative processing and compositions suggested for the photographer to consider.   Congratulations to all who participated in the night.

Mark Kelly Fine Art Presentation

 Windswept © Mark Kelly

Windswept © Mark Kelly

Last Thursday night, we had the pleasure of welcoming Southern Highlands based fine art photographer, Mark Kelly.  Mark gave us an inspiring and informative discussion on what is art and how these principles are applied to creating images.

I want my images to make you feel something, see something, remind you of something. Everyone is unique
— Mark Kelly

A take home point from the presentation was that you can't make beautiful images unless you get off your lounge chair and get out into the world.  Often we are finding it difficult to decide what or where to start "capturing data", so just making a start on anything that catches your eye can be a catalyst for finding that elusive inspiration.  Mark is a master printer, sharing Lane Cove's passion for putting images onto beautiful fine art papers, many of which were on show on the night.

To visit Mark's website, click here, and a copy of his presentation can be found here.

Gallery Crawl

Intrepid members of Lane Cove Creative Photography braved the hot and humid conditions on Saturday for a gallery crawl "par excellence".  Commencing at the Australian Centre for Photography in Oxford Street, we browsed amongst the images from students that ranged from the mundane, the insane and the extraordinary.  Much debate was had amongst the members on the meaning and messages in the images.

The group then decamped for the short trek to the UNSW Galleries in Paddington, where several exhibitions awaited us.  The most powerful and thought provoking images were from the "in your Dreams" series by 14 international photographers, who examined the ever widening gulf between the rich and poor.  An added bonus was the series "Tell", an exhibition exploring Aboriginal and Torres Islander life and culture.

After a well earned lunch, punctuated by a spectacular (but no injuries recorded) incident with a scooter and a Taxi, those with some stamina left headed to the Art Gallery of NSW to view the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition.  Of those that made the trip to the Art Gallery, we were rewarded with a Tour De Force of the iconic images from this master of Photography.  We highly recommend all of the exhibitions to all who could not make it on the day.  Everyone  who came on our "crawl" went home inspired and invigorated.  A huge Thank You to Margaret Miller for organising the day.  

Portfolio Night No 1 - Wow!

 The ideas were burning bright tonight

The ideas were burning bright tonight

Despite a late change to the program giving members just one week to prepare for our first Portfolio night we had a cracking turn out. With 18 Portfolios already underway the ideas stretched from architectural history to people and space, refraction and bird poop. Yes, thats right, bird poop. You had to be there to appreciate it!

We are also delighted to have Alfonso Calero as our mentor and coach for 2018 who will provide positive and constructive feedback to all members during club nights and via email. 

For those that don't know Alfonzo, he is a professional photographer based in Sydney, Australia. and over the past 15-20 years, Alfonso has photographed everyone from politicians to artists and everything from exquisite food to amazing landscapes.

If you're still looking for inspiration, Alfonso has provided 10 superb links to international photographic awards sites that are well worth a look.

  1. Neutral Density Awards
  2. Colour Awards
  3. World Photo Organisation
  4. Monochrome Awards
  5. Emerging Photography Awards
  6. Photo District News
  7. Prix de la Photographie
  8. National Geographic
  9. The Pano Awards
  10. The Smithsonian Magazine

2018 Begins Here | Image Evaluation by the one and only Jim Crew

Our first night of the year kicked off with a very large bang, with an exceptional presentation by Jim Crew on the Evaluation of Images, with some additional details and outline of our major project for the year - the Portfolio. 

Lane Cove Creative Photography has, for several years led the way forward for enthusiastic amateur photographers.  Our emphasis on evaluation and discussion of images is critical for advancing our understanding of the communication inherent in all images. 

Having a clear understanding of what a photograph is communicating helps us to understand what the photographer is trying to say with their image.  As photographers we have strategies available to assist us with our image making, so that our resolved image becomes an effective statement.  

Part of the process of evaluating an image is understanding the fundamental difference between the "Subject"  (what the is is about) and the "Subject Matter", or "Content" of the image - the elements used by the photographer to illustrate the subject.  Comprehensive notes on the process can be found on the support page, as well as detailed guidelines to help members get to work on their portfolio project for 2018      

What is the Subject ?  What is the idea being communicated ?  (c) Jim Crew 2018


Annual General Meeting and Special Presentation Thursday 16th November

Our AGM started with a brief formal meeting where the existing committee was re elected for another year, a great vote of confidence in the hard working members who have helped make LCCP one of the leading amateur photographic groups in Sydney.

As part of the AGM proceedings, our ever hard working Secretary, David Edmonds was made a Life Member by popular assent of the members and Committee.  David has held the Secretary's position for over 10 years and his dedication and commitment to the club has been outstanding.  Well done David.

Mauve Flower taken with a self made lens - (c) Jim Crew 2017

Following the AGM we were treated to not one, but two special presentations.

Michael Stevens demonstrated the simple Artist's easel he has made as a temporary display stand for his many finished prints.  Using the easel, you can display your prints for a brief time with a simple way to change them around without having to frame and fix prints to a wall.

Our second Presentation was in two parts.  Jim Crew demonstrated a home made lens he has made using an old set of bellows, some PVC waste pipe, a few "aperture" plates and a single lens element.  An example is shown above.  Jim demonstrated how the simple lens can be used as a creative tool in image making.  Obviously Jim has too much time on his hands, but for those with a desire to experiment, making a simple lens can be a lot of fun.

The second part of Jim's presentation centred around the use of Photographic language.  Using several examples of the photographic language terms and a brief outline of Gestalt Theory we were presented with example images and the audience was asked to identify the language used.  An interesting and thought provoking night that everyone enjoyed.

Outing to Woolwich Dock

Reflections (c) Michael Smyth 2017

Saturday 11th November was the date for our breakfast and outing to Woolwich dock, just a short stone's throw from our meeting rooms.  The morning started off with a sunny and clear day, not a given this year and well received by all.  We started with a sumptious breakfast at the Ironwood Cafe, followed by a leisurely walk to the dock area and beyond.  All who attended enjoyed the early summer weather and the casual stroll around the waterfront.  Sydney has many interesting historical areas that are worthwhile exploring and thanks to Margaret Miller for her fine work in organising the day.

The Gala Night of Portfolios

Last Thursday night we held our annual Gala Night of Portfolios.  Members who have participated in the Portfolio project this year all presented their work in a "gallery" type exhibition.  We were fortunate to have professional artist Robyn Ross to make some comments on the work and discuss the thoughts, ideas and execution of the work with the authors.  

This year we again broke our own record of work on show, with a total of 30 Portfolios on view, comprising audio visuals, slide shows, books and of course the majority being a series of mounted prints.  A selection of the portfolios presented can be found on our Portfolio page, or click HERE to go directly to the page.

From the Series "Tunnel Vision" by Kirstin Sercombe (c) 2017

Photographing Wild Animals - Presentation by Jacci Schipp-Benz

 Sun Bear (c) Jacci Schipp-Benz 2017

Sun Bear (c) Jacci Schipp-Benz 2017

This week we had a long awaited presentation by our member Jacci Schipp-Benz.  Jacci is a passionate animal lover, she has about a 100 pets (perhaps a slight exaggeration) and has spent years volunteering at Taronga Zoo.  Her passion extends to photographing zoo animals in such a way that they don't look captive and she tries to capture something of the personality of her subjects.  In other words, create a portrait of the various animals she is photographing.

Jacci's tips for making animal portraits in zoos and wildlife parks:

- Become a member – go as often as you like,

- Focus on a different animal group each time not try and get around the whole zoo

- Get there before opening - less people, have a coffee and get to the animal you selected before anyone else does :-)

- Go on overcast days – colours pop more, the light acts like a large soft box, no harsh shadow/highlights from enclosures - less people

- Animals are fed early morning, mid to late afternoon so that's when they are most active

- You can shoot through scratched finger printed reflected glass:

- Use a rubber lens hood against the glass at an angle and adjust to minimise reflections

- Scratches and fingerprints become unnoticeable as depth of field is sharp on animal , not on glass (shoot with a wide aperture)

-You can also shoot through cage bars and wires

- Rest the front of your lens parallel on the cage, focus on subject

- The cage becomes unnoticeable as depth of field is sharp on the animal , not on the cage

- Wait until the animal is closer as this is always a better shot than at a distance and cropping. 

- Stand still with camera to face and watch through the lens moving it around to follow the animal

- Shoot with the animal's eyes looking at the camera..... mostly 

- Images look better sharp from eyes to nose

- Catch lights in their eyes, makes the image more emotive 

- Research the animal and its behaviours

And the last tip, be patient.  Great shots come to those who take the time to wait for the magic moment.

To see more of Jacci's Images, go to www.vision.images.com.au or click HERE...

 Elephant photographed at Taronga Zoo (c) Jacci Schipp-Benz

Elephant photographed at Taronga Zoo (c) Jacci Schipp-Benz

New updates to Lightroom and Photoshop

PS Splash screen.jpg

Adobe has released new versions of Lightroom and Photoshop and each of these is a major upgrade that requires installation of a new full version.  To make matters more confusing, there are now two versions of Lightroom - Now called Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC.

For those who are still using the fully paid for version of Lightroom (Version 6) the news is that there will no longer be an option to purchase a new standalone version of the software.  The coming upgrade will be the last ever.

Does this mean the end of civilisation as we know it ? 

Not quite, but in an age when the major players are all moving to subscription based models, this was probably inevitable.  We think that most photographers will eventually move to the subscription Photography plan that remains at $14.29 per month, or $171.48 per year.  This plan now includes 20 Gb of online storage, for those who want to use this facility, however many of us have very large files that would eat up this space in no time, so its not much of an option for storage.  Realistically, $171.48 per year is little to pay for software that is continually being upgraded and fully supported.

Lightroom now comes as two versions, most people who keep their images stored locally will remain with Lightroom Classic,  with Lightroom CC designed for people who need to have their image files accessed from several devices including mobile phones and tablets.  For those of us that have large image collections, this is going to be a difficult choice, particularly with our below par internet speeds.  We recommend using Lightroom Classic for most users.


For those who will be upgrading, the new versions are available from the CC panel, where you can also still download and install older versions.  Once the new versions have installed, you will need to move your NIK filters from the old version of Photoshop to the new version.  We have tried this on 3 different installations and it has worked successfully (on Windows machines at least).  The method of copying the NIKsoftware is outlined below.  (Note: we don't recommend using NIK directly from Lightroom as it does not allow for use as a Smart object or as a separate layer with Blend Modes and Opacity adjustments).

Note to all users of the NIK collection:  After installation of the new version you will need to move your NIK plug in to the new version of Photoshop.  You do not need to reinstall NIK ! In fact  if you have created your own presets and recipes, it is important that you do NOT reinstall NIK as you will probably lose your presets.

For Windows users, to copy your NIK plug ins to the new version of Photoshop you need to do the following.  Note - do not start Photoshop CC2018 before completing these steps:

1.  Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder containing the old Photoshop program.  It should be found on your C Drive here:  C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CC2017.

2.  Go to the folder called "Plug Ins" and select the folder called "Google"  Copy this folder (Right Mouse click and choose "Copy").

3.  Next go to the folder containing the new version of Photoshop, which will be visible under the Adobe folder and will be called Adobe Photoshop cc 2018 ( C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CC2018.  Next open up the main folder and select the folder called "Plug Ins".  

4.  Next Paste the Google folder you copied in step 2 into this "Plug Ins folder".  This folder will already contain a folder called "Generator".   Now close Windows Explorer and you are all done.

If you launch Photoshop from a shortcut on your menu bar, you will need to create a new shortcut.  The program icon should appear at the top of the Start menu (Windows 10). Right mouse click on the Photoshop icon, then choose "More" and select "Pin to Taskbar" 

For Mac users we are advised that the source path for the Plug Ins folder is :  Mac HD/Applications/Adobe Photoshop CC 2018/Plug-ins/Google.    As always, these recommendations are given with all care and no responsibility.  If you are unsure what to do, seek help from an expert.  Please also note that with the coming Mac OS upgrade, it will only allow 64 bit programs to run, so Nik will not work.

For further information on the updates, go to Adobe or DPreview where there are details and demonstrations of the new features.

Evaluation Night October 5th

 Floral Skeleton (c) 2017 Margaret Miller

Floral Skeleton (c) 2017 Margaret Miller

Another Evaluation night for our members and visitors was held on October 5th.  This night the mentors were Jim Crew and Michael Smyth, with lots of valuable input from members and some lively discussion.  Once again there was a great variety of creative work on display, with a positive atmosphere of cooperation and mutual appreciation of the efforts and thought put into the works.

Presentation by John Swainston on Architectural Forms

 Chichester Cathedral (c) John Swainston 2017

Chichester Cathedral (c) John Swainston 2017

Last evening we had  another very special night, with an interesting and passionate presentation on photographing architectural forms by John Swainston.  John has been involved in the photographic industry for nearly 50 years and continues his passion for photography as a board member of the A.I.P.P. and acts on the advisory board of Head On.  John's personal passion is architecture, especially the cathedrals of England and the images and discussion of his approach was fascinating.  John completed his presentation with a personal view of where photography is heading, based on a perspective from within the industry.  In an era when over 4.5 Billion people carry a camera (smartphone) with them at all times, it is interesting to see if and how we can make a difference with our photography. 

The Portfolio Process 2017

Each year members of Lane Cove Creative work towards our annual Gala Night of Portfolios.  A portfolio is a collection of images - usually 6 or more that speak to a theme or concept.  During the course of the year we hold regular night where we can discuss the work in progress and assist the participants refine their vision and image making.  Last Thursday night was the final preparation for our Gala Presentation on November 2nd.  Judging by the work in progress, we will have another bumper year of creative and expressive work.  Here are a few examples of work in progress.  

"A Not To Be Missed" exhibition - Journeys into the Wild - Images by Peter Dombrovskis

Commencing on the 21st September at the National Library of Australia and running until the 30th January 2018 is an exhibition of 70 images from the late Peter Dombrovskis.  See the National Library website for further details of click HERE to go to the link on the Phototutor website.

 Morning Mist, Rock Island bend, Franklin River 1980 or 1981 by Peter Dombrovskis.

Morning Mist, Rock Island bend, Franklin River 1980 or 1981 by Peter Dombrovskis.

Challenge 2 - Self Portraiture

(c) Lucie Loane

This week we had our second challenge for the year - Self Portraiture.  This followed on from the presentation earlier in the year by Almitra Hill where she demonstrated some ideas and techniques.  One again we had a wide variety of creative and intriguing images from the members.  From a scary multiple reflection series to some revealing images that spoke to the photographer's interests and backgrounds, plus some personal insights, we had a wide mix of creative image making on display.  We also had the pleasure of welcoming some new visitors and old friends who came along on the night.