All of our Challenge images can be seen at Amersham Beyond Group on Flickr.
For APS Members only, this month's images are also available for viewing and commenting on Facebook here.
Please spend time viewing and commenting on the images - this is our primary source of feedback at the moment. Authors are also encouraged to provide commentary on their creations.
We were back on Zoom this month due to concerns about the Omicron surge but will hopefully be able to experience meeting in the new Chiltern Lifestyle Centre within the next month or two.
The current Challenges are;
#26 ROYAL ACADEMY SUMMER EXHIBITION
and the latest;
We are gradually dropping our mental constraints and opening up to the freedoms inherent in The RA Summer Exhibition. The madder the better – it’s art!
For those considering an entry to the 2022 Summer Exhibition, the theme has now been announced. It is ‘Climate’. This may be climate as a global crisis or as an everyday experience (ie the weather). There is no need to adhere to the theme at all and most entries do not, although it might improve the chances of being shortlisted. Believe me, the entry bar is not set high – you only have to look at the 2021 Summer Exhibition Explorer to see that. The emphasis is more about conveying an emotional response than demonstrating any extreme level of craft. Sometimes my emotional response is to shout ‘WHAT? ARE YOU JOKING?’ especially when seeing some of the prices.
Details of how to enter are here and it’s open from 19th January until 2nd March. We should have a go. Two of our members were successful this year.
The Bokeh Challenge encouraged members to dust off their cameras over the Christmas period and experiment with wide apertures, selective focus and maybe longer lenses. As previously discovered, tabletop still-life can be trickier than we might expect, but excellent outdoors shots with a shallow plane of focus were also much in evidence.
The next Challenge is;
Photographers love picturesque decay – it’s a visual feature of certain countries, cultures and climates for us.
Our subject matter could be winter gardens, rust, peeling paint, dereliction etc but also societal decay such as graffiti, disorder, riot etc. Any interpretation is welcome. Illustrate the entropy of the universe whereby everything migrates from order to chaos over time.
The next meeting will be held on Thursday 3rd February 2022.
BACK OF BEYOND - DIARIES
Affinity Designer. Sue Lee has been experimenting with this powerful illustration and design software which can create both vector and raster-based images. The former are capable of infinite scaling without loss of quality, the latter are pixel-based like image editors. For it’s capabilities, this is inexpensive at £47.99 and is often further discounted. Serif has been the most successful company at mounting a challenge to Adobe in image editing, design and publishing, based on a non-subscription pricing model a strong feature set and more up-to-date software design.
Window File History Alternatives. You accidentally save and overwrite a file. Your application has no recovery option and because you didn’t actually delete it, it’s not in the recycle bin. It is lost and cannot be recovered. On a Mac there is Time Machine which keeps earlier versions which can be recovered. On Windows there is File History. Unfortunately there are multiple problems with File History. Firstly it has to be switched on and configured to save the folders that you might want to protect. Secondly it has a long-standing bug (since Windows 8) which means that when the storage location is full, older versions often can’t be deleted to free up space – your backups all have to be deleted before you can start again. Thirdly, File History is officially ‘deprecated’ by Microsoft which means that it will not be supported in the future, although the still-broken remains have been dragged forward into Windows 11.
So, with 0GB of 3.7GB free storage remaining on my NAS I have been looking for a replacement app which actually works. Whilst backup software options are plentiful, few provide ‘versioning’ which is the feature that makes Time Machine and File History so useful. From a fairly short list of free and paid backup apps I have chosen Ashampoo Backup Pro which is relatively inexpensive and often discounted (I paid £26). I am still testing it, but my initial feelings are that it is easy to use and effective at comprehensive file backup and recover. Usefully, it can also perform disk imaging by which a dead C: can be quickly recreated without having to reinstall all the software manually. Again the Windows solution to this problem is deprecated! It is amazing to me that Microsoft find this situation, which leaves users data completely unprotected, to be acceptable. If anyone is interested, contact me for my ongoing experiences with Ashampoo Backup Pro.
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