SSI Photography club

Minutes, November 9th 2016


Meeting called to order by Wendy Rosier, President


New members: Judy Brooks, Mark Hall. Welcome to you both!  Attending as a guest, and considering membership: Bob MacKie. Ruth Waldick, Pierre Mineau’s wife was also in attendance and she had such a good time chatting with members that she is considering joining as well.


Current shows by club members:

            Avril Kirby: Travels with Rennie, at Harbour House till end of November

            Jana Zachariou: Booth Bay, at Fernwood

            Bernadette Mertens-McAllister: Day of the Dead, at the Library

            Wendy Rosier: Country Grocer cafe, till end of November

            Larry Citra, Ross McLeod and Colton Prevost, at SSI Roasting Company, till                                            December 15th

            Bob Rogers at Salt Spring Gallery, till early December


Upcoming shows for members:

              Avril is organizing a show at Harbour House, Starting December 1st, with space for 15                     members. She now has a full show but invited members to be on a standby list in case of                 cancellations.


             Annual Artspring Lobby show starts January 1st.

Start Preparing. More information will be sent out Club-wide very soon.


Website updates: Information re the Black and White, and Macro photography groups is posted on the club website .


Upcoming events of interest to the club: November 17th at the Library, 6:30 PM. Photo show and talk on the Caribou/Chilcotin area by wildlife photographer Chris Harris.


Presentation: Underwater Photography, Pierre Mineau

Pierre gave a wonderful presentation of his new foray into the world of underwater photography. Images came primarily from a kayaking trip to Haida Gwaii last summer, as well as two dive trips, the first to Bonaire in the Caribbean, and the second to Indonesia a year ago, where he was on a diving expedition with a small group of experienced underwater photographers. Pierre’s background in Marine Biology drives much of his interest in this challenging area of photography, and resulted in some remarkable images. Following are a few key points from his talk.


Shallow water photography (eg in tidal pools, surface water, shallow snorkelling spots) is relatively easy. Inexpensive waterproof point and shoot cameras are readily available, or the more adventurous among us can fashion their own waterproof housing by using plastic protective coverings for their camera, shooting from inside a small aquarium that is partially submerged in water, etc. BC waters provide a wealth of colourful aquatic life.


Deep water photography poses a number of challenges:

-  the high pressures at depth require larger and more expensive housings to protect one’s camera,

-  the reds and yellows of the color spectrum disappear at depths below a few meters so what you      see is all in the blue/green color spectrum. Underwater lighting is needed to bring out the colors.  And even when using a flash what you see underwater is still blue/green. The colors only become  apparent when the images are downloaded onto your computer.

- The flash only illuminates what is closest to the camera, leaving the background still a poorly lit  blue/green. Strobe lights would be needed to get fuller illumination but that is impractical and  beyond the reach of most photographers. 

-  Rules of diving preclude holding onto the substrate, both for one’s own protection (dangerous  critters lurk in the crevices) and for the protection of the reef. This leaves one at the mercy of the  currents and your own buoyancy control which can easily move you away from the sea life you are  trying to capture. This is especially challenging with Macro photography.

- Diving comes with its own risks, including encountering dangerous creatures, running out of air,  getting “the bends”, losing track of ones diving group, etc ... all easy to do when distracted by  underwater sea life. 

- Bits and pieces of stuff floating in the water show up on your images as “Backscatter” (thousands of  tiny dots). It takes a lot of time and effort to erase these in your editing program. This problem can  be minimized by positioning your light so that you create a cone of darkness between you and your  subject

- Marine subjects are often well camouflaged and difficult to find.

- Macro photography requires a diopter in front of the lens if using a compact camera as Pierre is.

- Refraction underwater changes the apparent angle of your lens from a wide angle to something  closer to a 50 mm lens. i.e. there is about a 25% increase in apparent focal length when the lens is  placed behind a flat housing port.  Thus generally speaking you need to be using a wide angle lens.


Pierre showed some of the wild colours one can get when single images are put through an HDR program.


Night photography is also possible and comes with its own challenges. Both a flashlight or strobe (for focussing) and a flash are needed if photographing at night.


To get a sense of scale you may need another diver in the photograph. Otherwise it is impossible to determine the size of the creatures you are photographing.


Often the best underwater shots are taken with the camera pointing up towards the water surface, where the sun, or the blue of the sky may be visible. A different and also effective angle is with the camera pointing down into the depths where the background will be dark.


Thank you Pierre for an excellent discussion.


Next month’s meeting, December 14th, will be a Potluck Christmas Party. We will also be electing our new officers. The challenge for the slide show will be “Festive” with special Brownie points for images that are “Festively Underwater”


Respectively submitted

Gwen McDonald





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Comment by Avril Kirby on November 18, 2016 at 2:17pm

Thanks Gwen, very comprehensive minutes, well done.

Comment by Margaret C. Benmore on November 15, 2016 at 12:33am

Great job Gwen... you captured Pierre's presentation beautifully... it was fun wasn't it... 

August minutes

Pierre introduced the new team who will help shape the Club in the future.

Simon Henson

Larry Citra

Maggie Vancik

Roger Brooks

Maureen Milburn

Ellen Vesterdal

Justene Tedder

Plus returning executive members:

Pat Page

Kahsia Hartwell

Wendy Rosier

Anna McColm

This group will infuse some new energy and direction into the Club. Feedback from club members indicates that people would like more interactive educational activities (workshops, classes, small field trips etc.) and maybe a schedule of educational opportunities ahead of time so that people can plan to attend.

The Victoria Camera Club has an external speaker every month and are willing to share their list of speakers so we can participate, at a cost of $5 a person. The club has funds to cover this at the moment. This would require using the  Zoom format (which has worked so well during this Pandemic).

Club meetings will resume in October, giving this new group time to work out their ideas for new directions.

Some people are cautious about in person meetings (because of health issues) and others are ready and able to jump back in. Maybe in person meetings and Zoom meetings can co-exist. Something to talk about.

Maureen has offered to look into a monthly newsletter with, possibly, more coverage than the website offers such as emails, using facebook etc.

Avril would like to see an improved use of the website: more posts, more comments, more helpful critiquing. We might need a refresher course to remind us how to give constructive feedback.

Doug has a show about Covid in September at the library -  in the Community Program Room. He will give a talk on September 7th at Noon. This will be previously unseen material, not the triptychs we have seen on the website.

Photosynthesis has a virtual show coming up, starting on August 31st. Some club members also belong to this photography group.

There is no theme yet for the photography challenge in October but when that is decided it will be communicated to everyone.


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