Making an exhibition of myself

Richard Olpin pictured at the Broadwalk Arts Exhibition

For the next couple of weeks myself and some photographic chums from Bristol have taken over the space in Broadwalk Arts to exhibit some of our photos.

In addition to myself there are a fantastic selection of photos from the magic picture boxes of Maureen Arnaiz, Tanya Hazell, Tash Jones, Christine Lewis, Goncalo Martins, and Richard Williams.

It’s been quite an interesting experience so far, proper comedy setting up on sunday which mainly involved me faffing around for about three hours and then sorting everything out in about 10 minutes flat right at the end of the day.  Having popped back on monday morning to tidy up I had a sudden realisation of how I *should* have done things first time round. Suffice to say next time it’ll be a lot easier.

About half of the photos I’ve got on display were from my LRPS panel, the rest are a few I thought might be of interest to the locals including a few of my severn bridge shots etc.
When I got my confirmation letter from the Royal Society they sent a press release to send out to the local press so I asked my friend Gonzo (Goncalo Martins Photography) to take a few pics at the exhibition to send along with the release. Probably won’t be quite as pretentious as the one on the right here, but it’s fun all the same :)

Confirmation..

I think my postman must’ve been psychic this morning as no sooner had I said “hmm, I wonder when I’ll get my confirmation letter from the RPS” than the doorbell rang and it was Phil the postie with a mailer tube, addressed like so:

There’s my first clue on the address label :)

Inside was an official confirmation letter, certificate (complete with unfortunate typo on my surname) and a special RPS lapel badge to wear to official ‘suited & booted’ events too.

They also sent a proper press release for the local papers so I’ll send that out next week, though I’ll get one of my photographer friends from Bristol to take a few snaps when we set up for our exhibition at Broadwalk Arts next week (more on that in another post..)

All things digital..

Popped up to Highnam yesterday morning for the Gloucester area RPS meeting, which this time was mainly focused on a showing of the images from the RPS Digital Imaging Group print exhibition. I’d not really thought about joining any of the special interest groups up until now but as I’m a big fan of the digital workflow it seems like a good idea so I’m going to join that one this week.

I did take up the prints from my successful distinction last week and showed them to some of the members who were very complimentary about the standard of both the images and the presentation/print quality which was very encouraging, indeed I was encouraged by several people to start working towards my ‘A’ panel as soon as possible which was ace.   A couple of people were asking about my digital workflow and how much work I’d done on the mono conversions etc. so I thought I’d post a quick before/after example of one of the successful images from my panel here.

And by popular request, lots more examples of this type coming soon!

 

 

The man from the RPS, he say “Yes!”

Phew, am I glad that’s over!

So today I had my panel assessed by the Royal Photographic Society and I’m chuffed to bits to say that after a very nerve-wracking morning I was recommended for my LRPS distinction.

I’ve got to wait for my confirmation letter from the RPS council and when that arrives I’ll stick up a page with some more details of the process. The main thing is a review of your portfolio by a panel of expert judges, which comprises five Fellows of the Royal Society.

My panel consisted of a selection of some of my recent photos. They weren’t necessarily my favourite shots, but rather a selection which I felt showed an appropriate cross-section of my skills which is quite an important requirement of the L panel.

I don’t mind admitting I was bricking it about today!

It’s mad, I’ve done all sorts of scary things over the years ranging from all the crazy martial arts competitions to dangling off cliffs and throwing myself out of planes. None of them even came close to how nervous I was about this.  It didn’t help the fact that mine was the last panel assessed this morning. Each panel takes about 10-15 minutes for the assessment and there were 14 assessed before mine came up.  We were coming up to lunchtime and at that point they were about 50/50 on successful recommendations. It was about 1pm so I figured they were about to have a lunch break when the distinctions manager said ‘just one more before lunch..’ and then I saw my first image go up… Gulp.. “this is it”

After the longest 15 minutes of my life the chairman announced  that I was successful and they were going to recommend me for the distinction.

Cue one very happy chappy indeed.

I was really quite pleased with the feedback they gave me. They were pretty complimentary about the individual shots. The only area they had some small criticism was in the layout of the panel itself (i.e. which image goes where) which was the main thing I’d already identified as a weak point  and so I was very happy  that I was clearly thinking on the right lines and the actual quality of my photography was up to standard.  Interestingly, the one shot I thought was a bit weak was picked out as one they really liked!

[button link=”http://www.richardolpin.co.uk/my-lrps-panel/” color=”#000040″ text=”light”]View my successful LRPS panel[/button]

Nerves aside, it was a great experience and I’ve learned a huge amount from the panels I’ve seen over the past year or so and it’s given me a lot to think about for the future.

So, what’s next on the agenda?

Well the next step up the RPS ladder is the Associate level Distinction. I’ve got a lot to learn before I’m up to that standard but with what I know now I can see that’s going to be a fairly major project which is certainly going to take many months of work and hence it’s a good goal for next year.  It’s a very different mentality needed for the Associateship as it’s very much more an appraisal of your personal style rather than the predominantly technical assessment for the Licentiate award.  I think that I need to work on some more in-depth projects to get a feel for the area I’d like to specialise on for that one and then it will be a specific project in itself just for that panel. My early thoughts are that I may look at doing some documentary style street photography but anything’s possible. More news on that as I begin to form a plan.

Right now though I need a couple of days chillspace and to crack on with some projects for the day job!  Some of that will be web-stuf for the school so I may well be blogging about them here if they’re appropriate.

Watch this space..

Getting twitchy now..

So, only a few days to go until I present my panel to the Royal Photographic Society to be considered for the Licentiate Distinction.

I went down to Bath today to observe a distinctions advisory day where people bring their potential panels to show and to receive advice and feedback from some of the assessors who actually judge the disctinctions. I was really quite humbled by the standard of some of the images people had to show, some really amazing images.

I got some very useful tips on what the panels are looking for too and I must say I’m now feeling pretty nervous about my panel now. I know there are a few areas where I can definitely make improvements, but not in the next couple of days. I did order a couple of reprints yesterday which should be here in the morning but apart from that there’s nothing else I can really change at this stage which will make any difference so I’m going to take it along and see what feedback I get.

It’s all good experience and if I’m not successful this time I have a load of useful info on where I need to improve.

My proposed panel

(though it’s entirely likely to change before wednesday!)

Gadgets Galore…

Cracking day out today. I went up to the Gadget Show Live at the NEC. Five halls chock full of big boys toys. Everything from high-end audio kit, computing, robots, mobile tech through to quad bikes and video games.

Having blagged a trade day ticket was a real bonus as it was *really* quiet. No queuing for anything and we could just amble around and take a look at everything at a leisurely pace.  I feel sorry for all the poor sods who have to go on saturday when there will be 40,000 other people all fighting for a glimpse of the latest shiny stuff though.

Had a chance to meet up with Gavin Hoey for a quick chat and to watch his Adobe Elements presentation which was very interesting. It’s amazing how much they’re squeezing into Photoshop Elements now and at the absolute bargain price it’s selling for I wouldn’t hesistate to recommend that everyone buys it, even if they already own the full version as I do!

Quick summary:

  • Go on a trade day, it’s lovely
  • Photoshop Elements 9 is awesome
  • Lots and lots of new Android tablets on the market, all trying hard to be an iPad. Massive recurring theme throughout. They’re not an iPad!
  • Loads of 3D Tellies. Every one of them utterly failed to impress me. Really can’t see the point at all.
  • Loads of 3D racing setups, those were cool.
  • Colin can’t drive!
  • Duke Nukem Forever!
  • Gears of War 3 is ace.
  • Batmobile!
  • Oh, and did I mention, go on a trade-only day, it’s lovely.

Little Things..

So, tonight I thought I’d have a quiet night in and do a few flower Macros.

There was a particular shot I’d done a while back that I quite liked but which was really not good enough for my RPS panel so I thought I’d take another stab at it. Shouldn’t be a long job, or that’s what I thought until I imported a few test shots into Lightroom. The trouble is with Macro is the distinct lack of depth-of-field so I was stopped right down to f/25 at 1s exposure, focusing with macro rails and firing with an wired remote to avoid camera shake (I’ll post a setup shot later to illustrate). At that aperture you’ll see every imperfection and suffice to say the sensor dust that just wasn’t visible in normal use looked something like the surface of mars. So, time to break out the sensor swabs and give it a quick clean.

I know lots of people are twitchy about touching their sensor, and if you’re one of those then please leave it well alone and take your camera to a service centre and have them do it for you. It will probably only cost about £25 which is less than buying a set of swabs, However, if like me you’ve got a reasonably steady hand then honestly there’s really nothing to worry about. It’s a pretty painless operation and the solutions and swabs from Photographic Solutions are excellent.

For my Bristol chums, you can get the swabs and solutions from Bristol Cameras. You’ll need to make sure you get the right size for your camera, it’s usually the type-2 for cropped sensors and type 3 for full frame but if in doubt check on the website I linked above.

The above pic was *before* I cleaned the sensor, but what you can’t see there are the 100+ spots I’d already cleaned up in Lightroom.

I’ll post some more later :)

Ooh crikey…

.. I’ve just realised it’s only three weeks to go until I’ve got to present my panel to the Royal Society!

For those who don’t already know, I’ve applied to be considered for a Royal Society distinction. Just the first level or ‘Licentiateship’ for now. This first level is a pretty thorough assessment of your technical proficiency and involves the presentation of a panel of ten images which are then scrutinised by a panel of five expert judges, all of whom are themselves Fellows of the Royal Society. *gulp* I’d love to brazen it out and say I’m not worried but to be honest I’m bricking it!

I’ve spent most of this evening trying to narrow down my final selection and it’s a lot harder than I’d thought it would be when I first applied. It’s not so much the selection of individual shots that’s hard but more the way they need to sit together as a cohesive panel..

I figure the only way I’ll really nail it is to get a lot of the candidates printed up at the size I need them and narrow them down as finished prints. So, time to melt the plastic and just go for it.

I do own a mat cutter but having found my initial experiments to be quite frustrating I’ve also decided to let the experts deal with the cutting and so I’m getting my mounts cut to size by the people at http://www.picturelizard.co.uk. Works out cheaper that way too!

Pimp My Mac, Pt 2

Thought I’d better report in with an update on my Mac upgrades..

Last night I fitted the SSDs and copied over my boot drive. This is the result:

[youtube width=”480″ height=”390″ video_id=”f34rqrxean8″]

Sorry about the delay at the login prompt. That wasn’t the Mac, it was me forgetting to swipe my fingerprint!
As you can see, it’s launching applications as fast as I can physically click the mouse, and that was including some fairly significant things including Filemaker, Lightroom, Photoshop and Dreamweaver Cs5..
That’ll do nicely  :)

 

 

Pimp my Mac…

Thought it was about time for a spring-clean and an update to my Mac, and with a bit of a bonus in the bank from my recent dealings with the Daily Mail I thought I’d treat myself to an upgrade.

So, tonight I’ve just ordered a pair of fast 128Gb  SSDs and a hardware caddy with built in RAID controller to stripe them and make them even quicker for a super-quick 256Gb boot/system drive.. The plan is to do a clean install of Snow Leopard onto it and take a couple of days out to really optimise my Mac for performance. I’ll just re-install my essential apps initially and avoid all the cruft that’s accumulated over the years.

All my data, photos etc. are on a separate drive anyway so it’s a pretty painless operation and as I’m installing the SSDs in a spare bay I can leave the existing system disk untouched as a further level of backup (I’m already running time machine and regular DVDs) and then as/when I do discover anything I actually need it’s a piece of cake to transfer it.

Next on the agenda, 3 x 2TB drives in a RAID5 array for the data.

Ooh I do love the smell of new tech in the morning don’t you?