PG visits Bumble Hole Foods

Roger Tyler came up trumps again for organising another enjoyable outing for the Practical Group. This time we visited the local egg processing facility on the edge of Bromsgrove.

The group was warmly welcomed by Andrew Hewston of Bumble Hole Foods who gave an overview of the Company followed by a very interesting tour of the factory. On the way round, Andrew explained the function of the various processes and allowed plenty of photographic opportunities of the various operations and machines. Quite a different photographic experience for the group.

Whilst thanking Andrew, Bridget and team for their hospitality, Roger then presented the Company with an image taken during his earlier visit which, coincidently, had won the club’s monthly open competition the previous night.

All in All, a cracking morning out! (sorry – just couldn’t resist it.)

Linda Allen – Publicity Office

The Practical Group in Birmingham

Click on image or full detail

On Sunday 22nd January, 15 BPS members gathered under the auspices of The Practical Group in Birmingham city centre with the intention of photographing architectural features both old and new.  We assembled at the forecourt of Grand Central, taking advantage of the reflections afforded by the mirrored cladding.  A demand for coffee prevailed over enthusiasm for photography and we retired from the cold to restore ourselves not only with beverages but also the sins of sticky cakes.  A walk to the Great Western Arcade allowed some street photography and experiment with bracketing of exposures.  Our final location was the financial quarter with its modern buildings.

Despite the cold, members learned, shared kit, enjoyed an exchange of wit and banter and even learned a few things about each other.  What better way to spend a dreary winter Sunday?  Suggestions on a self-addressed postcard please, to arrive no later than next Thursday.”

Roger Tyler

Fungi’s to be with

Following last month’s trip to the Junction 6 Motocross Track, November’s Practical Group activity involved nearly the opposite conditions: close-up photography of fungi where tripods, small apertures, flash and patience were required.

A reconnoitre of the churchyard at Belbroughton two days prior to the latest Practical Group outing, showed some good signs that the fungi were producing their fruiting heads after a snap of cold weather. The grounds man was dutifully blowing leaves from the paths. Sadly, when an intrepid nine BPS members turned up on Saturday afternoon, all the leaves had been carefully raked into piles – and with them all the mushrooms! We made the best of the situation, finding a few lingering specimens and at least one of us rejoicing that they had seen their first Fly Agaric albeit a rather imperfect one. But we exchanged ideas, had a good laugh at Mike’s antique jokes, put the world and BPS to rights and even took a few photographs.

It seems to me that, having “organised” the Practical Group for a year or two now, these excursions are rarely wasted; there’s always something you learn and the company always enjoyable.

Roger Tyler 15th November 2016

Hi Roger

Thank you for p.g today…my very first Fly Algeric..I was a eaten specimen but it is my first, and I’m chuffed…thank you I’m so glad I went….


Motocross day out

Participants in the Practical Group on Saturday last had an excellent afternoon of photographing noisy, smelly, dirty, fast and exciting motorbikes being thrown around the Junction 6 motocross practice track.  The bright conditions allowed low ISOs, fast shutters and for colours to show up at their best.   I hope those who took part gained plenty from the experience and I saw a good number learning from what others were attempting, particularly in terms of viewpoint and position.  The Practical Group has it’s own Flickr site:

and all who participate are allowed to upload 8 photographs from each PG session.

I hope you will look at the latest batch and that Saturday’s group will feel free to post a selection of their work.

Mr T

Excellent afternoon Roger, enjoyed it immensely, my first time attempting to photograph this genre, needless to say many images not up to scratch, but have a few keepers……..

What’s the procedure for accessing the flickr group?
Mal Ogden

Hi Roger

Brilliant afternoon, thank you for organising.

I can’t believe how many pics I took!

Looking through them quickly I realise I have tried to zoom in too close on many occasions, so have chopped off parts of the riders.  Definitely want to try again!

Have found a genre that I thoroughly enjoyed having a go at, and look forward to trying it again sometime.

See you tomorrow.
Julie J

Hi Roger.

Many thanks for organising Saturday afternoon practical group.

I had a great time, took loads of photos, some will be binned, one or two may be useful.

I enjoyed meeting group members, had a bit of a laugh along the way and picked up a few good tips too.

See you Tuesday evening.

Sue Vernon.


Great Witley Church

On Saturday 17th January, the Practical Group met at Great Witley Church to make (mainly) interior images of the baroque decoration.  Such embellishment is unusual in British churches and we are fortunate in have an example close by.   The range of member abilities was a nice spread from expert through improvers to relative beginners although some graduates of the recent BPS instructional courses seem to have a very firm grounding in the craft.

I found the situation challenging as it was difficult to find a perspective that was different from the conventional wide-angle, all-encompassing shot.  Low down and close-up seemed to give some hope.  Others focussed on the ecclesiastical artefacts to be found and the volunteer custodian allowed us access to the gallery.  The acoustics being excellent, I was tempted to burst into one of the energetic hymns, known as West Gallery (from whence they were sung) that were supressed by the Victorians,  but re-considered in the light of the suffering already in the world!

I think we all drew as much from the social interactions as from the sharing of photographic observations and skills.

Examples of our endeavours are on:

Next practical Group excursion is on 22nd February – to the Avoncroft Museum of Buildings for the Waking the Windmill event.  You could join us.

The “Rat Pack” at the Artrix

For the fourth year running BPS were invited to photograph The Rat Pack when they performed at The Artrix on 11th January.

We always view this as a great opportunity for the club members as generally, of course, you are not allowed to photograph in a theatre.

As well as the “tribute” artists taking the parts of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davies Jnr there were dancers, backing singers and an orchestra together with a lot of projected images.

The main challenge for the photographers related to light. We cannot use flash so have to rely on the theatre lighting which is constantly changing and creates extremes from very bright coloured light where the floodlights illuminate the artists to very dark areas beyond the lights. In many instances the range of light is beyond what even the best modern cameras can handle.  Certainly post processing is essential and those taking in RAW get a lot of benefit. Where the coloured lights cause difficulty, converting to monochrome can also help.

With two performances we were able to involve a dozen members most of whom had not done anything like this before, so it was a really worthwhile learning exercise.

Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the challenge and all our photos have now been sent to the performers.

Hopefully we will be invited again next year when others can also have a go.

Nigel Taylor

To view larger image, click on picture.

The Rat Pack 2015 08

The Rat Pack 2015 15

The Rat Pack 2015 18

The Rat Pack 2015 34

The Rat Pack 2015 41



The Practical Group try motocross

On Sunday 14th December, the BPS Practical Group met at the APEX Motocross practice track at Junction 6 of the M5. Whilst the weather was not perfect, six of us got to grips with dull conditions and the muddy track to produce some pretty decent images (which can be seen on BPS website soon or the Practical Group Flickr site by clicking here:). If you have a problem with the link try the Practical Group Flickr site:

Members were forced to balance ISO sensitivity with shutter speed and depth of field to produce correctly exposed, sharp and well-composed images of the riders – who were presumably also learning to cope with adverse conditions! One of our number even grovelled in the mud to get that low-angle shot that might win the next club competition!

Participants discovered buttons on their cameras that they didn’t know existed e.g. predictive focus and high speed consecutive shooting.

Just as important was the exchange of ideas and social interaction that these excursions engender.

This is a venue to which we will return in the summer when we can hope for better lighting conditions and warmer weather.

In January we will visit the baroque church at Great Whitley. Time and date to be announced shortly.

Roger L. Tyler

Practical Group

The BPS Practical Group was set up in January 2014. It is open to any member who brings a camera and is prepared to share with the rest of the group.

We have had four excursions so far. The first, arranged at short notice to the new Library in Birmingham, was attended by three of us and provided some really good interior shots.

The snowdrops at Hanbury Church provided the attraction for an afternoon excursion in February and the churchwarden generously gave us access to the church belltower. Nice creative shots in the oblique sunlight.

Our third trip was to the Devil’s Spittleful near Bewdley. There were seven or eight of us who made good efforts with shots of the Severn Valley Railway and the heathland landscape.

The trip to Birminham’s Jewellery Quarter last Sunday was simply great. Ten of us gathered for a three-stop tour reconnoitred by Malcolm Landon and we wandered the area gaining ideas and inspiration from each other. As an experiment, those who were willing posed for the others and this proved not only to be successful but generated a wealth of good-natured banter.

After a pause for refreshment at Urban Coffee (recommended), we migrated to the cemetery with its catacombs. Plenty of opportunity to experiment – with the spring sunshine lighting up coloured umbrellas amid the gravestones.

As soon as the bluebells are at their best, we will run an evening trip to the woods in either Chaddesley or Dordale aimed at catching the oblique light as the sun sets. Perhaps the Dodford Inn will provide a mellow end to the day.

On May 8th we plan a mid-week visit to the Stow Horse Fair.

See a selection of recent images on