Wildlife Photography (and GDPR & ICE)

Trees We started with some good pictures of trees, and Bernard was pleased to see that Tony H has recovered his judgement in picking out good pictures (i.e. Bernard’s).

GDPR and ICE We discussed the impact of the General Data Protection Regulations coming into effect on 25 May and the effect this has on the way the group is run. A consequence is that the way that e-mails from the Group Leader are sent out has changed and until he is sure that teething problems have been overcome he is sending out a follow up e-mail the old way to check that the first e-mail has been received! The next edition of PreView has an article about GDPR by John C.

Because of GDPR our Group Leaders will no longer be holding ICE details (these are contact details for people to be contacted In Case of Emergency). This is unfortunate. However if you have a mobile phone you can include these details on it in a way that can be seen even when the phone is locked. Wendover U3A has a page explaining how this can be done – follow this link

Wildlife photography Most of the rest of the meeting was used for a presentation by Chris Roberts on wildlife photography, explaining how he got into this area and how he goes about it (e.g. hanging off the front of a narrowboat). Clearly his knowledge of nature and wildlife was a great asset in knowing where and how to look for subjects. There is no point in trying to photograph a butterfly in flight. He has also taken photographs at ‘Hide Days’ such as those run by Nature Photography Hides .  These cost around £100 or so and so if you are looking for suggestions of what people can give you for Christmas or a birthday . . .  Chris then showed a number of examples of his work, which raised quite a few comments and questions. Many thanks again to Chris.

Gadget Of the Day Bernard showed off his UV Filter which screws on to the front of his lens. He doesn’t use as a filter (it has virtually no impact as a filter on digital cameras) but to protect his lens. It costs perhaps £10 but if it gets scratched that is £10 lost rather than £100’s for a good lens.

Hoya 58mm UV(C) Digital HMC Screw-in Filter

Next two meetings The subject for prints at the May meeting is Flowers. Hopefully with good weather about to hit us there will actually be some flowers to photograph and nobody has to fall back on the way “flower” is used in cryptic crossword clues, meaning a river (i.e. something that flows). Our June outing will be to Benson Lock.

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Coach trip to Myddleton House and Capel Manor Gardens

The cold, damp and gloomy weather of March and the beginning of April had thankfully disappeared and we enjoyed a dry and fine day for our visit to two wonderful but very different gardens in Enfield.  Myddleton House is the former home of E.H. Bowles, the famous gardener, and is a lovely, natural and informal garden.  Most of us took a short, guided tour and we were delighted by the masses of spring flowers.  The alpine meadow and the rockery carpeted in the dazzling blue of thousands of scilla  were beautiful.  After two hours and a coffee, we boarded the coach again for a very short journey round the corner to Capel Manor Gardens.  Capel Manor is London’s Horticultural College and it was buzzing with students just returned from their Easter break.  The large site was full of the most interesting and stunning show gardens and at this time of the year, fabulous displays of spring flowers including many different varieties of daffodils and narcissi and beautiful tulips in dazzling colours.  There was so much to see, not only the gardens but also lakes, a maze, an amphitheatre and an animal park with meerkats, alpacas, birds and small animals. Luckily there were plenty of seats, a large restaurant and a well-stocked garden shop to help us revive our flagging energy levels. A fantastic day rounded off with a trouble-free journey to return to Princes Risborough by 5.00pm.

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Main Meeting “Beyond the Edelweiss” Talk by Bernard Foot

At our April main meeting, we were treated to a wonderful talk given by one of our members, Bernard Foot.  Bernard’ talk, ”Behind the Edelweiss”, described the dark history behind Austria in the first half of the twentieth century and how it fashioned our modern world.  With an excellent slide presentation, we were taken through the fall of the Austro Hungarian Empire after WWI, the collapse of the Austrian Republic, the rise of the Nazis and the Anschluss and the consequences of Austria’s alignment with Germany in WWII.  A fascinating, illuminating story highlighted with memorable insights into Bernard’s personal links with Austria.

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Walking – March 2018

Long Walk 7th  March led by Jenny & David Brown

West Wycombe to Risborough, 9 miles

This was a linear walk in good weather with light cloud and sunshine. Our party of 11 took public transport to West Wycombe where we began the walk with a stiff climb up to the Dashwood Mausoleum and St Lawrence church. From this viewpoint we had excellent and far reaching views along the valleys and ridges, which continued throughout the walk.

The route then progressed along the ridge and down to Bradenham. From here we walked up the west ridge through open fields, bridle paths and woods to Lacey Green, for lunch at the Black Horse pub. Following excellent and good value food and drink, four of the group finished their walk and caught the bus back to Risborough, whilst the remaining seven walkers continued for another 3 miles back to Risborough via Pyrton Springs and the Ridgeway.

A refreshing Spring walk which was very welcome after all the heavy snow and icy conditions of the previous week. Continue reading Walking – March 2018

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Table Tennis – free taster session!

Opportunity to form second Table Tennis group

The table tennis group has been very successful recently and we are considering having an additional group on a Tuesday between 4.30pm until 6.30pm at the Lower Hall of the Baptist Church in Princes Risborough.
We are therefore having a free session on Tuesday the 10th April and are inviting anyone to come along who has played before, and has some idea of the rules but may be a little rusty, to join us for a few games with a view to joining the group.
Irene Maynard
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March meeting – Talk by Billy Stott “Travels of a Horticultural Student”.

We welcomed local nurseryman, Billy Stott, to our March meeting.  Billy gave us a very interesting talk about the nurseries, farms and gardens both in the UK and abroad that he visited as part of his studies for a Degree in Commercial Horticulture.  It was fascinating and illuminating to learn how plants were raised on a large commercial scale and how robots and machines could do the seed sowing, potting, feeding and watering of thousands of plants in a very short space of time. Members had the opportunity to buy spring plants including snowdrops from Billy and shrubs that he had raised in his newly opened nursery in Stokenchurch.  We wish him lots of luck with his new venture.

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Abstract Photographs and Composition

Another interesting collection of prints today, on the theme of “Abstract”. They generated quite a lot of discussion, and it was fascinating to see how everyone had a different take on the theme.

In the admin. session we discussed whether the skills session in July should be a presentation on the use of Picassa, which has recently been made available for Windows 10. We agreed that, rather than having one person doing a presentation/demo of Picassa, we would have Picassa installed on the laptop and individuals would contribute by showing what they did with the software.

In “Talking About GoD”, we had two Gadgets of the Day:

  •  an eyepiece blanking plate for use on DSLRs. For Canon cameras, this is provided as part of the strap, and is a small rectangle of rubbery plastic. This is used by removing the eyepiece surround from the viewfinder and fitting the blanking plate to cover up the eyepiece. This should be done when the camera is used without the photographer peering through the viewfinder – e.g. when the camera is on a tripod: it prevents light getting in through the viewfinder and upsetting the auto exposure mechanism.
  •  a small stand-alone flashgun which is triggered wirelessly by the flash of the main flashgun on the camera. It can be used to provide fill-in light to prevent strong shadows or to give modelling highlights on hair, etc. (Most flashguns today have this capability of being triggered wirelessly, but the point about the gadget was that it was very small and could be rested on any surface.)

The Skills Session covered composition, and looked at some 8 different guidelines for helping us in composing better pictures. The information used in the presentation can be found in an article in the “More on Photography” page.

In the Photos-on-a-Memory-Stick session we had a special theme – taking a few old photographs from the area and comparing them with new photographs that we took, to see how things have (or have not) changed. This session resulted in a lot of interest and discussion – definitely something we should do again in the future.

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March main meeting – Wildlife on our doorstep

Our speaker at the March main meeting was Tom Way, a young, dynamic, award-winning wildlife photographer.  Tom gave a fantastic talk on wildlife that we can find on our doorstep and  illustrated it with his fabulous photographs.  Beautiful images of foxes, puffins, kingfishers, birds of prey, deer, water voles and other British wildlife were accompanied by Tom’s accounts of the joys, and challenges when trying to find his subjects and to take the best shots.  With hints on how he created his meaningful and wonderful shots, Tom enthralled us all with his passion and dedication for wildlife as well as his artistic skills.  The ensuing long question and answer session showed how much the audience appreciated his presentation.  I am sure that everyone will be very pleased that Tom has agreed to make a return visit in 2019.

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Learning Together