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.

Due to the ongoing situation, physical get-togethers are on hold, but our monthly competitions are still going strong!  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 July 2020 Competition
Set Subject ‘On the Road Again’ & ‘Open’ Category

Winner of Set Subject ‘On the Road Again’
Terry Kaschula with her image “In a Blur

How I got the shot…

I must admit that car racing has not been of great interest to me in past years. Watching cars drive round in circles did not appeal to me at all. Taking photos back then bored me and they all looked the same; motionless cars on a track. But then … (dramatic pause) I was introduced to panning by a friend. Only then did I find car racing enjoyable.

It didn’t take much persuasion to get my hubby and son out at the track on a hot or windy day whenever there was drags, 3hr or even a new event that started up, Horses vs Bikes, just so that I could practice panning. I must admit it took loads of photos with many adjustments to camera settings, loads of waist twisting (reminds me of Chubby Checkers song ‘Let’s Twist Again’), deleting, zooming, more deleting, more adjustments of settings to get at least 5 somewhat decent shots.

Sometimes I would zoom in too much and then lose the vehicle as it sped past faster than I could follow it, or not zoom in enough so that I would have to crop the image a fair amount, loosing quality to the image. Chimping is a necessity but sadly the camera screen and the computer do not always show the photo in the same way. On many occasions I would get home pleased with my captures only to realise that the photos on the camera looked so much nicer than what showed up on the computer and no amount of post processing would get the vehicle crisp and clear. I would then have to wait a couple months until the next event. I did try panning shots of the traffic near a shopping centre but I felt rather conspicuous standing out in the open taking photos of passing cars. Although no one actually stopped and asked me what I was doing, I decided to keep the panning to the race track.

So, all this stems over probably about two to three years of practicing and many many photos taken and probably about 94% of them deleted. The day I took this particular shot I was just playing around and not paying too much attention to camera settings, etc and I didn’t take all that many photos either. The thought of going through loads of photos did not appeal to me on that day. I set my aperture to f/11 and shutter speed to 1/80sec. It was a sunny day so I set ISO to 200. I have an 18mm to 300mm lens and as we weren’t too far from the track, I only had to zoom in 122mm to fit the car comfortably in the frame. I photographed a few passing cars before number 69 came speeding past. At the end of the day I was pleased with the few photos I took and even more pleased when they even looked good on the computer.

I chose this particular shot as I liked the angle of the car, full on side view with a clear view of the driver and the background was a bit more blurred out than the other photos. In post processing, I cropped just a little and straightened the image. Lowered the highlights and lifted the shadows. Added a touch of contrast, clarity, and then vibrance to gently enhance the colours.

If you haven’t tried panning shots yet, you should. It adds a whole different element to photos.

Winner of ‘Open’ Category
Chris Collyer with “Revolutionary”

How I got the shot…

Still marooned at home due to the dreaded Covid 19 pandemic. I was looking for something to do photographically. On Google, I came across “Fun photographic things to do“ HaHa … so decided to try one in particular of a spinning wet tennis ball. It looked simple enough in the short video.

I found 2 tennis balls, really hairy ones, so it would retain lots of water. I filled a 20 litre bucket with water and situated it by a dark hedged with a good distance to be out of focus front
and back (Shallow Depth of Field).

Then … came the DIFFICULT part, getting the wife to impart some spin to the ball whilst not appearing in the frame … and not moving her arm too much. A quick lesson whereupon several arguments ensued, which lasted till the end of the session. Thirty seven years of marital bliss down the drain!

I took a couple of hundred frames with Shallow Depth of Field and a fast shutter speed to freeze the droplets. I also tried various speeds and settings. The camera was hand held and I tried to get the wife to spin the ball keeping her hand in one position so that I could maintain focus on the ball. The ball had to spin at 90 degrees to the camera to get the full effect of the spiralling drops. Of the many shots I took, I chose this one titled ‘Revolutionary’ because there was part of the arm and fingers visible which I think helped to tell the story. I also liked that the brand name was clearly visible on the ball.

Camera: CANON EOS 7D mk 2
Lens: CANON 70-200mm F2.8 L IS
Speed: 1/2500the sec / Focal Length: 200mm
F/Stop: 2.8 / ISO Auto: 1250
Focus: AF High speed shooting, on AI Servo, with Focus Tracking.
Natural light in the shade and hand held.

FOOT NOTE… I think this photograph could’ve won just because of the high degree of difficulty (WIFE) which is an element that the casual observer never sees, we should have a judging parameter called “Wife as Model“

JUST JOKING!!! …. Brenda, thanks for your help in creating a winning photograph. I am off now to change my dressings!

Photographs provided by Mashonaland Photographic Society

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