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..

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!