In the past I haven’t been that enthusiastic about taking serious images with a mobile phone – but with the introduction now of some very good Apps to improve / manipulate images, things seem to be changing! With an free afternoon in London last week, I took the following shots and put them through the App – ‘Enlight’.
One of my personal ambitions has always been to obtain a Licentiateship Distinction (LRPS) from the Royal Photographic Society. Anyone can apply – it is open to anyone, whether you are a member of the Society or not. There are three levels of Distinction and the LRPS is usually the starting point. The other Distinctions are the Associateship (ARPS) and the Fellowship (FRPS).
To obtain the LRPS, you need to show that you have good technical skills as well as the visual ability to compose and control your work as a means of communication. When you are awarded any one of the three Distinctions you are entitled to use the letters LRPS / ARPS or FRPS after your name.
When I applied for an application form at the beginning of 2010, I was strongly advised to read the relevant sections of the RPS Handbook which gives you all the requirements as well as tips and usual information to guide you towards a
successful submission. Many applicants find it useful to also attend one of the Distinctions Advisory Days which are organised around the UK. These are led by Panel members who will show successful examples and comment on any work you bring with you on the day. Applicants are also encouraged to attend an Assessment Panel meeting for LRPS or Associateship: open to both members and non-members who want to watch, whether or not your own work is being assessed. The dates, locations and where to obtain tickets are published in the (monthly) RPS Journal and on the website. All evidence must of course be your own work (and you will, therefore, normally own the copyright) but you can have work commercially processed.
Your submission should be of a consistent standard throughout and you should be starting to develop your own personal style. The way you present your portfolio (of 10 images) is equally important – the Panels expect a high standard of presentation. Many applicants fail because they may have 8-9 really excellent images but have added in a slightly sub standard one to ‘make up the numbers’. Similarly, if you have even one shot that clearly shows technical faults or poor composition, this will be noticed by the Panel, and you are likely to be unsuccessful. One of the most difficult things I found was to select which images I should include in my portfolio and in which order they should be shown. Before submitting my images I sought advice from my wife and a friend (who also holds an ARPS). Both suggested revisions in respect of my planned submission, for which I was very grateful.
You have a choice of submitting your images either as mounted prints or a CD with digital files on. I choose the latter (which was risky as generally print entries tend to fare better on Assessment Days). Digital files must be no larger than 1400 pixels wide and 1050 pixels high with one dimension (width or height) at its maximum. The PPI setting is not relevant. If you submit prints, the suggested sizes are between 10” x 8” and “20 x 16”.
Then comes the nerve racking experience…the day of the judging.
I had my assessment at the RPS headquarters, Fenton House in Bath on the 15th April 2010. It was an early start for me that day as proceedings started at 10 am sharp.
Submissions are assessed by a Panel of four or five Fellows of the Society and a Chairman. Applications are assessed one at a time, anonymously (only the Chairman has your application form) and the first time your evidence is seen by the Panel is when it is presented at the meeting.
For print submissions, they are displayed in two or three rows and the Panel members view them from their (front row) seats before getting up to have a closer look. For digital images and slides, submissions are projected twice. The Licentiateship Panel members each complete a marking sheet, which is based using a criteria:
· Presentation (overall presentation of the portfolio)
· Technique (camera work)
· Technique (technical quality)
· Seeing (visual awareness)
· Thinking (communication)
The overall impression should be cohesive with sufficient variety of approach even with a narrow range of subjects. Repetition of similar images should be avoided. Also avoid at your peril, images that show a large amount of white sky, burnt out areas, poor focusing, unimaginative composition and, generally, pretty ‘chocolate box’ scenes. They are looking out for original, artistic, thought provoking images combined with good composition, great lighting & colours. I know rules are there to be broken, but I really wouldn’t advise it for these assessments!
As part of the assessment, the Chairman asks a Panel member to comment on each application and announces the result. i.e., whether or not it is being recommended to Council for the Distinction. If you are successful, then your name is announced – usually to a round of applause, which makes it all rather worthwhile.
Graham Skingley LRPS
On the way to take some pictures of the nearly completed Shard skyscraper at London Bridge yesterday, we went through Green Park. It was a glorious sunny autumn day and the park was alight with wonderful shades of golden brown and yellow leaves. I have never known a November day to be so warm and with the sun so strong. What strange weather we are having….lets hope it continues!
A number of networking sites now offer you the opportunity to back-up and save your files on-line; some also include a file-sharing service. Dropbox is considered by many to be the simplest and the best.
Dropbox works on Windows, Mac and Linux systems and lets you access your files from any computer. You can also work with your files via the web. There are free apps available for iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android devices.
Dropbox synchronizes files automatically whenever you make a change, but only updates the elements that have altered. This lets you store different or earlier versions of the same file. You get 2GB of storage for free but you can upgrade to 50GB for £6.40 per month, or £100GB for £12.82. The sharing facility shows all your shared folders, both past and present, as well as any folders shared by friends that you’re linked to.
Invite friends to join Dropbox and you’ll get 250MB of bonus space for everyone who signs up, up to a maximum of 8GB.
If you use a computer at work and sometimes need to complete a project or task at home, it will no longer be necessary to load up your work file to a flash drive to take home, or to send yourself an email with an attachment. Providing that the very small Dropbox programme has been loaded on to your home computer too, you can access the required work file immediately. Once you have updated / edited the file at home and saved it on Dropbox, your work file will also be synchronised as if by magic. http://www.dropbox.com
This picture of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London was taken a few years ago. Being quite old it wasn’t a digital image but taken on an Olympus S.L.R 35mm camera. I didn’t notice at the time, but if you look closely at the cloud formation (just under the top plinth – to the right) you may be able to make out an eerie image of “Nelson’s” head, complete with ‘period’ hat on. An illusion with the clouds perhaps?, or something more sinister or surreal ??
I belong to an excellent, friendly and enthusiastic photography club (Colour Circles) where you can share your images with other members and they in return will offer constructive comments on your work /images. There is also a monthly competition. It’s a good way to improve your photography, have your own work regularly seen and assessed by others and make friends with other like minded people. We have separate ‘groups’ for colour print*, slide*, and ‘on-line’ digital images. (* monthly postal portfolios).
If anyone is interested in joining or would like further details, please let me know and I will forward you full details via email.