Mashonaland Photographic Society

MPS holds competitions on the third Tuesday of every month except December. Beginners through to advanced photographers are most welcome.

Members may enter a total of three images a month, split into Open Category and/or Set Subjects which range from Still Life to Action, Portraits, Macro, Abstract and Landscapes.

For more information SMS 0783 138 150 with the words ‘MPS’, include your name and email address and
we’ll get back to you.

Winners of June 2020 Competition
‘Open’ Category & Set Subject ‘Upside Down’

Winner of  ‘Open’ Category
‘Quelea Wallpaper’  by George Fleet

How I got the shot…

This photograph was shot at Kavinga last September. A very good Safari lodge on the west side of the Ruckomechi River bordering onto Mana Pools.

The camp feeds its own water hole and has a drip water feed and feeding point for small birds that are continually flitting in and out but not easy to pick any one out to photograph. On this day the Quelea were flying in and out settling in the surrounding bushes and soaring away again in their spectacular aerial displays.

You never get to see these birds settled for more than a few seconds and never in a position for either a good view of even one with binos or the camera. Had an opportunist and reflex action and panned the flock flying in and around. On viewing the results, I was very surprised to find one photo with a good spread of focus and flying poses that filled the screen. Was intrigued how they looked en-masse.

Cropped it to an appropriate frame appearance within the broad scope of the original and adjusted light and a touch of colour. The result I found pleasing and very interesting. That is why, when in the bush areas, one is always looking for something a little different and off the beaten track, I guess.

Camera: Canon 7D Mk 2
Lens: Sigma 150-600mm

Parameters: Speed 1/2500th sec,
Focal length 300mm / ISO Auto at 800
Aperture 6.3 / Auto White Balance
Auto focus set to Image stabilised and on A I Servo.

Winner of Set Subject ‘Upside Down’
‘Armoured Ground Cricket’  by  Chris Collyer

How I got the shot…

I was so pleased when Wingate Golf Course opened up again, having been restricted to foraging for photographs at home and in my garden, courtesy of Covid 19. Also, I had joined the members of Matabeleland Photographic Society in their photo challenge; this was a great fun and helped in keeping my skills honed during the lockdown.

I was a wee bit peeved as the Green Keeper at the golf course had been very heavy handed in my absence with the mowers and had cut all the huge islands of veldt grass, which are a happy hunting ground for me! I however managed to find some untouched insect habitat and set about looking for suitable subjects.

Being winter, things were very quiet but I came across several large armoured ground crickets. One on a dead Mexican Daisy flower head ….. it is really surprising how many creatures I find on these flowers no matter their state, whether dead or alive.

As usual I took many photos – some with the light and some against, trying many settings and locations with some in monochrome and in colour.

The late afternoon sun was particularly good that day with the distant trees making a good blurred,
dark background.

I chose this photograph as it best exemplified the Set Subject ‘Upside Down’. The composition is pleasing in that the creature is facing downwards so its long feelers are a good lead-in-line which the eye follows up to the prehistoric looking cricket. The backlight illuminates both insect and flower.

In Post Production I added blacks and contrast which made the background totally black, making the subject pop.

Camera: Canon 7DM2
Lens: Canon 100mm F2, 8 L Macro

F/Stop: F11 / ISO: 400 / White balance: Auto
Focal length: 100mm / Exposure 1/250th sec
Built-in flash

Photographs provided by Mashonaland Photographic Society

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