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Please take some time to have a look around the site.

If you would like more information about the society or are interested in joining, just click on our ‘Contact’ page and send us an email.

We meet on the 2nd and last Tuesdays of each month at the Cedric Alexander Hall, 5 Devonshire Pl, Taradale at 7:00 pm from January to November.

Whether you are wanting to learn how to use your point and shoot camera better; are totally into your craft and want to improve your techniques; or want to enter our monthly competitions, you are most welcome to come along, introduce yourself and see what we get up to.

Nearly another year gone

So with the end of the club year approaching, and preparations underway for the Christmas party and end of year prizes to be awarded, we have ( as has been the case for the last few years ) some closely fought battles in both the A Grade and B Grade yearly points tables.  It is always heartening to see photographers develop their skills and knowledge throughout the year, both in A Grade and B Grade, and I think the value of these monthly judging competitions prove themselves every year.

It has been another big year behind the scenes at the Club with lots of little changes, and some not so little changes, happening and lots of big things are planned for next year already.

One of the major events that will be happening in Jan / Feb 2019 is a Club exhibition at Creative Arts Napier.  This has taken a bit of pulling together and hopefully we will get a wide range of prints and images to display, both as a promotion / celebration of what our little Club can achieve, but also hopefully to have our members who have never seen their work in print and hanging on a wall encouraged to keep pursuing the craft of photography with a goal of getting more images for the next exhibition.

As always if you are looking to find out about Hawke’s Bay Photographic Society and maybe joining you are welcome to come to our Club meetings which we hold on the last Tuesday of the month ( except December ), or drop an email to hbphotographic@gmail.com and we will send you some information. We currently have 52 members but are always looking for more!

Andrew Caldwell

Mid year – Presidents thoughts

It only seems like a few weeks ago it was New Year, and here we are just past the shortest day of the year, AGM has been and mid-year dinner fast approaching.

I also can’t quite believe that nearly a year ago I managed to get myself elected as President of the HBPS, and step into the rather large shoes of those that had gone before me. And as always things haven’t always gone smoothly in that year, but overall I am pretty happy with some of the changes that I, and the Committee, have managed to implement in that time. Some of the changes are small, some are boring admin things that the club members don’t ever get to hear about, and some of the changes have been quite fundamental to the way the Club runs.

Of those changes I am most pleased with the way that the introduction of the mid-month workshop meetings have gone, the support that they have received from the Club members, and the way that ( in my humble opinion ) the quality of the images submitted by both A grade and B Grade has improved over that time as a result. Also this has allowed the end of the month Club meetings to become a little more relaxed without the pressure to include some level of hands on / tutorials into the already limited time frame.

The 2018/19 year promises to bring a few more tweaks to the way the Club runs, but I will always ensure the you are all kept informed of any plans we have.



Welcome to the start of a new year – and hopefully lots of new adventures in photography.

2017 really showed the diversity of the talent among members – with lots of learning off each other and the occasional “how did they do that moment.”

No doubt some of you got some new photography goodies for Christmas and are already trying them out.

The first set subject for the year I hear is challenging some people. We’re not used to being the subject – particularly those of us not from the “selfie” generation who I suspect are much more confident in this aspect of photography.

There’s a couple of documentaries on Vivian Maier well worth watching. Her photos were discovered in a storage locker shortly before her death and provide not just some stunning photography but some outstanding history as well.

She oft took self-portraits in a street scene environment and this link may provide some inspiration to you.


While we are talking about set subjects just note a slight change to the order for September and October. These two subjects have been reversed to fit in with the judges availability.

This year when you label your entries we would also ask that you label them for the month submitted – rather than for the month presented back to the meeting. The committee feels this is simpler to understand.

The first entries for the year would now be labelled January. The results will be presented to the February meeting.

Congratulations again to those who moved up to A grade at the end of the year. For those still a little nervous about the jump just remember you got there because you produced some really good photos. Like all of us you’ll develop further as the year progresses.

Was pleased to find that the website reached 20,000 views towards the end of the year. When it first started it was averaging 10 to 12 people a day looking at it. It’s now up to 20 to 30 a day. Most popular time is 9:00 am on a Monday.

All the best for the year ahead.


At the first committee meeting for the new committee we had a bit of a discussion about how do we tell if the society is healthy and how do we measure progress.

As much of our meeting is taken up with revealing the results of judging certain aspects would indicate things are in a good space.

Obviously people entering photos would be one of those – you can’t judge un-entered photos.

The second would be that we can see the quality improving.

So having a look behind the scenes we can see that both entry volumes are increasing and more honours are awarded.

This is a good reflection on you all as members. It takes a bit of confidence to enter your work and to get a judgement on it, a score and feedback.

Well done.

Jane will be working with a small group of newer members over several months to help build the both the confidence enter and the skill to improve.

We’ve also decided to have a second meeting each month to practice and learn specific skills. This will start this year – more details as we work out the practicalities.

With the move to use NZIPP accredited judges and the use of digital prints it has been decided to no longer accept prints for our monthly society competition.

This decision wasn’t taken lightly and we still want to see your photos in print form.

We are going to raise the awareness and lift the importance of our print competitions throughout the year to compensate for this. The print medium is still very important.

It was very nice seeing the wide range of prints at the mid-year function.

Thanks to Rosemary for organising and Stu for judging.

B grade results:

1st    A Bleak Day At North Piha – Vivienne W

2nd    Pretty Pencils – Sherryl N

3rd    Cadillac – Lester O

A grade results:

1st   Curtsy Ballerina – Rebecca M

2nd    Calm After The Storm – Liz C

3rd    Hill On Fire – Bruce C

Well done to all who entered. It was quite obvious from the discussions as people looked at the prints that everyone had their favourites and had fun guessing, often wrongly whose picture was whose.

The competition was worth it for those discussions alone.

I really liked the puffin with his mouth full of fish.

On a final note for this month I’d like to refresh the random banners that appear on the website.

If people wish to highlight some of their photography, with a widish panoramic type shot then that’s be cool. It’s a slightly different style that some might be used to but it’s also quite a good way of experimenting with a different crop of an existing photo.

No more than 3 each and email them to the competition email address with banner 1 (or 2 or 3) followed by your name.

They should be cropped and sized to 2000 pixels across x 500 pixels high to keep a consistent sizing. Have fun.

Judges comments

I missed last meeting due to an eye operation (yay I can see again) but people must have enjoyed the judges comments because I’ve been asked to add them to the website.

Bruce Shanks was the judge and he’s kindly given permission for his comments to be added.

I found an overall very good standard of images, within this competition.
Some of the things which we don’t stress enough today about images is, does the photographer have a story to tell ?
More often images appear to be an exercise, of trying to emulate a successful type of image that one has seen elsewhere, or searching for a formulae to success, rather than finding a story to advance
A lot of great images, are preconceived. i.e. they are thought about, and constructed from a blank canvas ( formerly piece of unexposed film , now free-space on a capture card. Things to consider for a successful image; are good lighting, understanding of depth of field, and composition, and the importance of using the space available, to great advantage.


When I learnt to judge, way back in 1959 at Tauranga and District Photographic Society, we judged on a points basis:

30 Points for Conception

Did the photographer have a story to present.

40 points for how the image w
as constructed, put together,(known as composition), consisting of shapes, placement of objects, balance of tones, light and shade, lines of view, darker at the base, lighter at the top etc.

25 points Photographic Technique

mainly over ridden today by the camera manufacturer’s in-camera software

5 points for presentation, mounting, matting, outlining, titling etc.
Of course that was in the days before, light meters, rangefinders, SLRs etc although the TLR (Twin lens Reflex) were fairly common ( Rollei’s etc) did have focus, on a screen, but an inverted image.
A good tip is to flip your image, and view the reversed image often, weaknesses will be seen, in this mirrored image, often it may be a stronger image, but be careful of writing, watches on the wrong wrist, and other, give away factors.
Try always to have a focal point, for the viewers eye to linger on.
Study the guidelines of composition, at the least.

Google “Rule of thirds” , “Golden ratio” or “Golden mean” or Fibonnaci number, spirals, and golden section.


Other forms of composition worth study, are balance, S curves, Triangles.


We pooh pooh construction of our image to our detriment, and an understanding of the balance and harmony between colours is a useful skill for the exhibition photographer to master.

In the knowledge basket section of the society website is a section on composition which gives guidance to some of the compositional considerations Bruce Shanks talks about.


Welcome to 2017

2017 has started and it’s nice to see another art form occurring around town – namely all the murals being painted for Pangeaseed’s Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans project.

This is the second project in Napier and the murals are pretty cool.

Occasionally people submit photos of others art for judging and often this results in a not achieved, even when the artwork is very beautiful.

The thing to consider when photographing anther’s artwork is how to add value. What difference has your photography added to the original art-work.

It’s your photography skills being judged, not the beauty of the artwork itself.

An example of this would be this image. This was captured at the moment the artist, Faith47, was signing her name after she had completed the mural.

Without the artist and the capture of that unique point in time it simply would have been a photograph of her mural.

So it’s not impossible to include others artwork in your submissions – you just need to consider what part you have played in creating the overall image.

Next years set subjects

Next years set subjects

Thanks for all the suggestions for next year. Certainly more suggestions than months available by a long way.

Final selection is thus:
Jan  – Orange
Feb – Kiwi Summer
March – Repetition
April – Very rural
May – Broken
June – Architecture
July – Weather
August – In the distance
September – Negative space
October – Frozen in time (Fast shutter speed)
Christmas Party – “X”

I’ll add a page to the website with this and meeting dates during the week.

So new members know – you don’t have to take the photo in the month of the competition. You can use both existing photos or take them well in advance.

Some people have been known to do a little chart up and tick them off as suitable opportunities appear.


Ahhh judging. Like it or love it in any artistic endeavour people will judge your work.

With photography though we actually ask people to do this. So a couple of perspectives from past elders wiser than ourselves.

Perspective 1.

It can be somewhat humbling to have that photograph that you so love put as grist to the mill. But grist to the mill it is.

For those not familiar with the saying grist is the corn that is taken to the mill and turned into flour. And so it is with judging.

You take your photo to the judge who views it from their own perspective and turns it into something else.

What you do with the resulting (flour) is up to you. There’s endless possibilities. You can throw it in the air, or you can bake a cake, you can say I still prefer the corn I bought here originally, you can add some water to it and make a sticky paste.

Whatever you do your photo will never be the same again.

Perspective 2.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. —Matthew 7:1

This is a not well understood quote from Jesus. Taken in isolation it suggests judging is not a good thing and that you should excuse bad photography in others lest you have bad photos of your own.

This lack of understanding is mainly because the context of the next verse is missing.

Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. — Matthew 7:1-2

Now this is a much more positive affirmation of judging that says you must judge with care and diligence but also maintain personal standards.

This I guess is where the judges, whether I like the feedback or not, do a very good job. Their judging is backed up by comments that give you an insight into the standards they are judging on.

So what have I learned from the judging of some of my photos.

1. I have a strong emotional attachment to my own work. This may be because of who is in it, the circumstances in which I took it, the skills I developed in taking it or editing it.

The judges have none of that. The emotion for the judges must come solely from the photo itself.

BTW you can’t separate emotion from decision-making – there’s no such thing as pure objectivity. That’s a topic for another day.

2.  The set subject must be the main subject in the photo.

This I think is a good example of missing this fundamental point. The set subject was white and my photo had lots of white. The judges comment was that “it is not really white.” Told a good story apparently, but not really white.


Set subject “White”

My initial reaction was “What do you mean it’s not white?”

Took me a while to get over this. Surprisingly it was the same judge’s comment on another entry that made the penny drop.

The judge said that that person had made the effort to create a photo in which the subject was white.

I got it. If I’m going to enter something in the set subject category I need to make sure that the main subject of the photo is the set subject. This gets a little harder when the topic is an adjective, verb or adverb. Much easier to do when it is a noun .

3. Not everyone sees what you see.

I think we all know this deep down. We have a commonality in photography that brings us together but each of us has a uniqueness that allows us to create our own art. The diversity on show in our club is delightful and wonderful and any other superlative you wish to use.

A judge cannot have all of our own unique perspectives. It’s obvious when we look at each others pictures that we as individuals don’t always get someone else’s picture. This one of mine illustrates how you can see something obvious that isn’t so.



This to me is so obviously a macro of a mushroom with the photographic title a play on the term “meat of a mushroom”. I’d grown up with this term. Wikipedia confirms it wasn’t just a family tradition.

“Though neither meat nor vegetable, mushrooms are known as the “meat” of the vegetable world.”

So I tick off my checklist:
nice macro – check
Interesting concept – check
clever clogs title – check
All is go.

Judge thought it was a technical demonstration and that the title simply stated what the subject was.

My initial reaction was the  “What do you mean it’s not white?” reaction.

I’ve since talked to several others in the society and few of them could tell what it was either.

I’m not upset at them and I can’t be upset at the judge either. That peer feedback was most useful for me. I learned to get more perspectives and to trust the feedback.

So yeah I’m getting to love the judging cause it gives me opportunities to think about my photography and how I can improve what I present up for judging.

We’ve got good judges and you should read the comments, not only on your own photos but on others as well. Seek peer feedback if you’re still uncertain. Someone else may be able to give you a good steer.