Amersham Beyond Group - 24th May 2023

Meeting Notes on Creative Photography and Photo-Art
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Amersham Beyond Group - 24th May 2023

Post by spb » Fri May 26, 2023 8:58 am

All our Challenge images can be seen at Amersham Beyond Group on Flickr.

For APS Members only, the images are also available for viewing and commenting on Facebook here.

The current Challenges are;



… and the latest Challenge,


Picking a suitable image and then getting the right balance of film grain in an image proved to be the challenge for many who attempted this one.

Simple images without too much detail proved to be most suitable as were images that had a vintage feel. Low-fi grunge-textured images were also good candidates where the grain added more grit and distortion. In a very busy image, the grain was either lost or too much of an added distraction. In an image that is clean, crisp and sharp it doesn’t really help either.

There are many techniques to add simulated grain and lots of online tutorials. These often highlight the risks of creating an overall grey mush, a general softness or a lack of contrast which can arise from inappropriate use of grain filters.

Last month’s notes listed many of the ways to add grain in Photoshop and other apps and also referenced two tutorials that demonstrate some simple techniques very well. I highly recommend them. In particular they demonstrate that simulated film grain is most realistic if not added evenly to the entire image and often the lightest and darkest areas are best left mostly clean.

Here is a link to last month’s notes again;

The next Challenge is


I have suggested 38 Challenges to date. Now it’s time to try something creative and new for yourself. If you need inspiration maybe try a past Challenge that you missed or take an idea from websites with lists of creative projects. There are loads online – here are just 177!

25+ Creative Photography Ideas and Techniques to try in 2022
52 Photography Projects: a great technique to try every week of the year
100+ Creative Photography Ideas

Submit one to six images on the chosen theme with filenames as follows;

#39 CHOSEN THEME 1 by Freda Bloggs.jpg
#39 CHOSEN THEME 2 by Freda Bloggs.jpg


Ken has been experimenting with the new Beta Adobe Firefly and has been getting interesting results.

Adobe have also introduced Generative AI Fill to the latest version of Photoshop (24.5). My limited experience has not been very positive and I will only be using it in small areas of an image at the moment.

Many will have read of the winning image in the Sony World Photography Awards that was produced by AI. The photographer Boris Eldagsen refused the award and to give him his due, he has developed a multi-stage process for generating text to produce images that he wants from the AI. In the debate about whether this should be called Photography at all, I liked the suggestion that it could be re-named Promptography!

Samsung have admitted that if you take a picture of the moon with some of their phone cameras they replace the blurry result with a better image obtained online. With hidden software compensating for lens imperfections and creative modes it’s getting harder and harder to take responsibility for your own image. With more than a little irony you have more control of the end result with a sophisticated DSLR than with a simple phone camera.


This was the last meeting of the 2022/3 season and the next season will begin on Thursday 5th October.


Adobe Subscription ‘Fraud’. I received an email that fraudulent activity had been detected on my Adobe account and that my subscription had been cancelled with immediate effect. Sure-enough Photoshop wouldn’t load until I crossed their palm with silver. When I checked, my Creative Cloud subscription had indeed expired but I should have been enjoying a two month free extension courtesy of Flickr. It turns out that this is only for new customers and I was no longer entitled to it. Rather than simply inform me and ask me to renew, I was apparently involved in a ‘fraud’. This was easily remedied by paying for the annual subscription but because of the lack of any warning I had to buy it at full price instead of benefitting from the occasional online offers as usual.

In the Amazon scam that I described last month I was charged twice after an expensive item was stolen during delivery. The eventual refund was very grudgingly given.

As a loyal customer of both Amazon and Adobe (the latter for nearly 30 years!) this sort of treatment is tone-deaf and reminds me that we can’t fight the algorithm that controls our relationship with them.

Cheers, Steve

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