How I Took That Shot – Ray O’Connell

This shot by Ray O'Connell took 1st place in Grade B in our recent 'Black and White' projected competition. This is how it came about:

My entry of “Rider falling from a horse” was taken during the club shoot at the Point to Point in Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork on 3rd Feb. 2019. It was a mixed cloudy/bright day and I was lucky to get some moody clouds during my shot which cut down somewhat the danger from highlights in the sky. Shooting fast-moving animals / objects I tend to use Shutter Priority mode (TV on my Canon) and you need to set a very fast shutter speed to freeze the action which can mean compromising on the depth of field as you
need to open the lens up more (small f-stops numbers) but this also can have the effect of making your subject jump out against the background. I used 1/1250sec for this shot on my Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 lens at 95mm, ISO 100 which gave me f3.2.

Positioning is very important so I stood on the track just past one of the jumps and side on to the approaching horses to catch them as they landed. Post-production in Lightroom I removed Chromatic Aberration / Enabled lens profile, increased blacks and shadows, brought down highlights and whites. After these changes, I then
converted the photo to B/W by using the Lightroom preset “B/W Low Contrast”. There was a rope extending from the pole to the edge of the photo behind the horse which I found distracting so removed this in Photoshop using the Spot healing brush.

 - Ray O'Connell


Black & White Competition – 05/03/2019

The second in the series of six member-competitions, as part of the Annual Photographer of the Year Awards, was held on 5th March last in an extremely well-attended meeting in the Midleton Park Hotel. A recording-breaking 35 entries were submitted in this Black White category. As part of the new policy to help develop member abilities by having external judges review / mark the entries, we were delighted to have the renowned Charlie O’Donovan give members his expert review. He congratulated the club for both the high number of entries and the high quality of the photographs

The following were the results of the competition:
Grade A: 1st – Finbarr O’Shea. Joint 2nd --  Andrew Corkbeg and Gráinne Davies. 3rd - Denis Barry
Grade B: 1st – Ray O’Connell, 2nd - Niall Sharkey, 3rd - Paul Stack
Grade C: 1st – Clara Mc Carthy. 2nd - Roseanne O’Donovan Joint 3rd -  Miriam Keogh and Sue Casey.

Click here to see the gallery of competition images. Enjoy!

Click here for the winners' photos.

Click here for all the results.

- Ray O'Connell



A Black & White Night – 02/02/2016


Eric Dunne-Magner at ECCG

Continuing with our scheme of theming the calendar months on a particular photography genre, we designated February to be our Black and White month and to get it off to a flying start, we invited two experts in the genre, Eric Dunne-Magner AIPF and Mark McGranaghan AIPF, of Cork Camera Group, to our Tuesday night meeting on 2/2/16 at The Midleton Park Hotel


Mark McGranaghan at ECCG

Showing a wide variety of shots from portraiture, travel, architecture and purely creative studio work, both men explained their workflows in detail while displaying their skills with Lightroom, Photoshop, Photomatix, HDR and associated plugins such as Nik Silver Effects Pro.

The talk certainly set the tempo for the month ahead which will be a challenge to those of us who find the genre daunting  and will certainly get most of us out of our comfort zone. No more a matter of simply hitting the 'B&W' button in Lightroom or its equivalent in other programs, we will now have to delve a little deeper and see what other tools and plugins can do for us to bring out the best in the images. A few intense processing sessions ahead, methinks!

Thanks to Eric and Mark for coming to our club and sharing their knowledge with us.

Download Mark's Black & White Conversion workflow here.