January and February – A macro fest!

Well to kick start the New Year we decided to have a close look at macro and close up photography. In January, Mick Govan gave a presentation and demonstration looking at the differences between Close-up and Macro, the techniques and equipment that can be used for both and some of the subjects that work best with this type of photography.

The session started with a clear example of the difference between an actual macro lens capability and lenses that claim to be macro, but are actually just close up. With the Queen playing a star role during this particular part of the evening!

Several demonstrations highlighted the techniques, equipment and lighting that can be used for this kind of photography along with some of the problems that can be encountered, particularly managing depth of field.

A demonstration of how to overcome depth of field problems by using focus stacking and combining the photographs in software generated quite a bit of interest and discussion.

We followed this up with a workshop for the February meeting where we all had chance to have a go at this genre of photography with a variety of subjects and lighting setups. Although the rather bouncy floor of the room proved to be something of a challenge when trying to hold a steady focus, everyone had a go and some interesting compositions and lighting techniques started to emerge.

Although this kind of photography was new to many of the members and was clearly out of their comfort zone, support from Valerie, Dave, Kevin, Martin, Caroline and Mick was helping everyone to have a go and enjoy the session. We ended the evening looking forward to March when we could start to review some of the results.

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Festive Greetings from Ockbrook

Members entered into the Christmas spirit this month, enjoying an evening of celebration, feasting and the annual festive quiz, along with some fabulous images for our black and white themed Contrast.
Congratulations to Lesley Wright for winning this year’s Members vote for ‘Christmas Best In Show’ with her wonderful festive image.

© Lesley Wright

Ockbrook Members would like to take the opportunity of thanking you all for your support and to wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year.

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It’s Never a Simple Black and White Choice!

A great turn out for October’s OBIC session followed along from the previous month’s practical session and put the spotlight on the use of black and white photography. The session was facilitated by Valerie, Mick and Kevin and encouraged discussion in small groups around:
  • Pre-visualising black and white
  • Manipulating black and white
  • Reviewing black and white.
Members learnt how some of the best known professionals use black and white to great effect, with a look at images from some superb books. The highly skilled will see the image in black and white and even take the photo in that format. Most of the rest of us will probably convert a colour image into black and white using software, but there are several options for fine tuning that simple conversion. You can have fun editing in fine detail or use pre-sets to suggest effects for you. And finally what works in colour may work better in black and white and/or vice versa; we reviewed members submitted images replicated in colour and black and white and selected which format suited the content best. Three images were unanimously voted as working best in black and white and one image split the group equally in half. The rest seemed to depend on the viewer but also what the photographer was trying to communicate and we concluded that several different subjects work well, and emotions, texture, agelessness and focus can all be enhanced using black and white.
Members joined in the fun by dressing in black and white which in itself just showed that there are dozens of variations of both ’tones’ showing that whilst there are thousands of clouds, there are also a wide variety of variations of black and white and every shade in between.
Thanks for all the contributions both by the facilitators and the members. Enjoy looking at your images.

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Members Gallery – Gone in a Flash!

Well it seemed like our February meeting did go in a flash, which is appropriate given that flash photography was our theme this month.

We started the evening with a super tutorial from Dave King, going through the basics of flash photography, the pitfalls and the best techniques to use to avoid them. This was applied to on-camera pop-up flash as well as the ‘Speedlight’ type of flash gun.

I was volunteered as model for the evening, which was always going to be a challenge for Dave, but to give him credit he persisted, despite this handicap.

One of the items we demonstrated was the difference that a flash diffuser can make to an image. So part 2 of the evening was a Blue Peter style make session to build a flash diffuser for either pop-up or Speedlight flashgun. The design specs for this are in our Members Only page and Dave will be adding his flash tutorial as soon as he can.

Hopefully, the evening went some way to demystifying the use of flash and will encourage some of you to give it a go.

And so, on that note, why don’t you have a crack at photographing something (person, still life or whatever) using flash and send me a copy of your image at


We’ll have a look at your images at the March meeting. lf you use a homemade flash diffuser to create your image, even better, so make sure you let me know.

Look forward to seeing you all, along with your pictures, on the 6th March.