The Art and Science of Lighting for Photography Part 2 by Tony McMaster

On Wednesday 26th February 2020, Dunchurch Photographic Society were provided with a follow up practical session to a presentation given in November by Tony McMaster. The evening was held at his photographic studio and built upon the previous demonstration of practical lighting for photography.

During the first half of the evening, Tony reminded the members of how different lighting levels, flash and depth of field (aperture control) influences the appearance of a photograph. Of particular interest was how Tony was able to show that the usual ambient lighting of the studio could remain on and not have a negative impact on the photograph being taken. In essence, the same results could be achieved whether the ambient lighting was on or off – such is the wonder of physics. 

Tony gave an in-depth run through of the equipment being used, including offering guidance on how to create similar results on a modest budget. He worked with setting up a portrait shot using a very patient model named Becca and demonstrated the different effects that variables such as camera height in relation to the subject can have, along with the power output of the lighting being used. 

The remainder of the first half was turned over to the members who were invited to work with Becca and practice some portraiture. Taking it in turns, Tony provided a number of flash trigger units for members to use in order to trigger the flash equipment. 

After a very organised tea break, Tony continued his presentation and talked the members through setting up a still life photograph using various bits and pieces on a make-shift table. I say ‘make-shift’ because it was made up of builder’s style trestles, with a simple bit of plywood laid on top, covered with material. 

As Tony took us through the ‘story’ of the photographic scene being set up, he explained how to use a grey background to bounce different coloured flash lighting, which later provided an amazing effect in the final photographs. He also provided a reminder to the members about how diffused lighting works, with side lighting being diffused through draftsman’s art paper.

The principle that Tony shared with us was working from ‘back to front’. By that, he was explaining that he starts this kind of work by illuminating the background first, then gradually working through towards the foreground before capturing the final photograph. 

Throughout the evening, Tony was shooting ‘tethered,’ so the outputs from his camera were being displayed on a large portable monitor. That way, the changes Tony made to the camera settings and the lighting arrangement could easily be seen by the audience.

As in the first half, once Tony had demonstrated the shot using his own camera, the floor was handed over to the DPS members who took turns practising with the arranged lighting and the still life subject. It was interesting to see members not only look for the simple ‘head on’ shot of the scene that was created, with some members opting for opportunities to find alternative angles, which resulted in very different lighting effects as a result. Such is the imagination and creativity of the DPS members! 

As Chairman of the Society, I am truly grateful to Tony McMaster for not only sharing the benefits of his expertise in delivering two fantastic presentations for us, but also for being kind enough host an evening at his studio. The opportunity to do things like this as a Club are all too rare, and so the chance to undertake some photography in a real studio is not to be taken for granted. On behalf of all of the members who were able to make it to the session, many thanks Tony – not only to you, but also your team – not least, Becca, our model for the evening.

Remember folks – make sure you understand the square inverse law!

Report compiled by David J. Bray (Chairman). 

Chernobyl by David J. Bray

On Wednesday 12 February 2020, our Society Chairman, David Bray, gave a presentation on his visit last year to the deserted city Pripyat in Ukraine and to the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant that was the site of possibly the worst nuclear power disaster in history.

Problems at the power plant began on Saturday 26 April 1986 when No.4 reactor caught fire eventually spreading radioactive fallout across Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and much of Europe. The city of Pripyat had to be completely evacuated along with all inhabitants within an eventual exclusion zone extending to a radius of 30km.

David gave us a fascinating account of the circumstances leading to the accident and details of its aftermath. He also recounted his own visit to the area with amazing photographs of the abandoned city showing how it is gradually being reclaimed by nature. His photographs included the iconic Ferris Wheel, poignant images of children’s toys and clothing in an abandoned nursery and a telling image of gas masks presumably left behind by the so-called Liquidators who risked all, and in many cases gave their lives, to clean up the area.

Chernobyl Gas Masks by David J. Bray

We all enjoyed a superb presentation by David who even ate lunch in the canteen of the stricken power plant; we hope with no lasting ill effects! On this score David assured us that the visit resulted in a very small radiation dose. However, I note that it didn’t stop him throwing away a new pair of boots immediately after his visit!

Eric Tatham (Committee Member)

Results of Merit 3 Competition

Here are the results of the Merit 3 Competition held on 19th February 2020 and judged by Brian Pere. The theme this year was ‘Wood’.

Print Competition – Advanced Category

First place

Table Under the Trees by Terry Mann

Second place

Bottomless by Rosemary Gibbs

Third place

The Old Dunny by Ken Monk

Highly Commended

Chainsaw Ash Vision by Rosemary Gibbs

Commended (in alphabetical order by title)

Ent by Eric Tatham

Jetty or Bird Perch by Jean Sutton

Print Competition – Novice Category

First place

Rock-a-Bye Baby by Steven Farmer

Second place

Wood You Lend a Hand by Steven Farmer

Third place

Tools for Wood by Patrick Joyce

Highly commended

Living in a Wood by David Cunnane


That’s How It’s Done by David Inman

Projected Image Competition – Advanced Category

First place

McAllister’s Apples by Rosemary Gibbs

Second place

Norwegian Wood by David Bray

Third place

Stumps by Terry Mann

Highly Commended

Exposed Hut at Ramberg by David Bray

Commended (in alphabetical order by title)

Coloured Pencils by Ken Monk

Wood Leaf Ball by Ken Garside

Projected Image Competition – Novice Category

First place

Wood in a Wood by David Cunnane

Second place

If You Come Down to the Woods Today by Michael Bryan

Third place

Consumed by the Inferno by David Ralph

Highly Commended

Pegasus and Friends by David Inman

Commended (in alphabetical order by title)

Caber Tosser by Patrick Joyce

Speeding through the Trees by Steven Farmer