Focus Groups: NatMAT

Thanks to Judith for putting this together for us recently – looks like the NatMAT group has been a hive of activity!

Themes and Fieldtrips

What has the Nature – Macro – Astro – Timelapse (NatMAT) focus group been doing??

Well, we started with a chat and found out we were keen on photographing pretty much anything ‘outside’, taking part in field trips, and learning from our colleagues. So with those things in mind we set up a field trip to the Botanic Gardens.

The aim was to take some macro images. We had a beautiful afternoon of sunshine with nearly a dozen of us finding bees, weevils, flowers (especially yellow flowers!), yellow and black bugs, and some fungi. These images got critiqued at our next face-to-face meeting, and we learnt good ideas from each other.

Then COVID-19 came along and turned the world upside down!

Nature-Macro pivoted to online! We decided to meet once a week (Sunday evening) using the DPS Zoom room, sharing images based on a theme.

We started with ‘My Garden Inhabitants’ which showed up some skills within our group. We’ve challenged ourselves with birds, water, focus stacking (after Ged shared some techniques for focus stacking), fungi, insects (after a DPS presentation on insect photography), ‘creative nature’ (after some ideas from Tulipa), astro/stars, and always open.

As soon as we moved to level 1 Nature-Macro scheduled a field trip!!

In mid July another dozen or so of us arrived at Yellowhead, Broad Bay, again on a stunningly clear beautiful afternoon with a low tide. We enjoyed a wonderful slow stroll around the point with images of birds, krill, harbour, sky, boats, and lots of the cliff face. All supported with lots of chat, catching up, and friendships – new and old.

Our club colleagues from the Astro-Timelapse focus group opted to come along and join in. As the group size expanded, so did our name!!

More recently, we’ve learnt from Karen about the different twilights, and the transition from light to dark. We’ve challenged ourselves to use that learning with astro and twilight themes. More trips and themes have included Purakanui, birds in flight, green, weather, asymmetry, black and white, and Aramoana.

This week we’re working on spring images, thinking about other things we’d like to do, and hoping for a nice enough weekend to visit Aramoana. If any of this sounds like you, please come along – DPS Zoom room, Sunday, 7:30pm.

Here are some of the images that we’ve taken and shared and learnt from:

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  • Judith

What’s On: October 2020

Image by Melanie Dick

Now that things are looking a bit more normal back at Level 1, here are the plans for this month. As before, if we need to go back to Level 2, all face-to-face meetings will be postponed or moved to Zoom when possible. Hopefully there should be something here for everyone!

7:30pm, Sun 4 Oct  Nature/Macro/Astro/Timelapse focus group meeting   Zoom  
7:30pm, Mon 5 Oct  View Finder #4: Maarten Rots, Abstract Architecture   Zoom  
7:30pm, Mon 12 Oct  Club meeting: Graeme Warman – Food Photography  Projected Image Of The Month: Sport Action and Open Appraisers: Chris Hewitt & Ken Trevathan  Mornington Presbyterian Community Centre, 16 Maryhill Tce  
10am, Sun 18 OctProjects/Sets focus group photo walkStreet Art Challenge and ArchitectureQueens Gardens
7:30pm, Mon 19 Oct  Focus group meetings   Zoom and various  
7:30pm, Mon 26 Oct  Club meeting: Projected Image Exhibition, Mini workshop on reflectors, external lighting and white balance   Mornington Presbyterian Community Centre, 16 Maryhill Tce  

Please email me at if you have anything to add to our calendar.

– Nicola

Intro to the 2020-21 DPS Council

We had an excellent turnout for our AGM earlier this week, and once again, were lucky enough to have a good, healthy Council elected.  As Gary mentioned at the meeting, a very big welcome to Judith Swan who is our newest Councillor, and many thanks to the Councillors who stepped down at the AGM: Glenn Symon, Ita Daniels, Brian Treanor, Jenny Longstaff, Antonio de Souza, and Simone Jackson who finished earlier in the year.

As not everyone was able to attend the meeting, and as we’ve had a few new members join over the lockdown months, this seems like a good time to briefly introduce the newly elected Council.  Without further ado, they are:

PatronsIan Wyllie and Phil Hollard 
President (and Immediate Past Pres)Gary
Print SecretaryTulipa
Projected Image SecretaryMelanie
AV SecretaryAnastasia Labudina 
Field Trip SecretaryRoss
Social Media SecretaryNicola
CouncillorsAlan Coppin, Bob Dagg, Judith Swan 

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to email the relevant person above, or talk to them at a meeting – they’re a friendly bunch, and frequently know the answers to most things!

– Nicola

Focus groups: Projects and Sets by Noelle Bennett

Thinking back to those heady days before our lives were turned upside-down – you know, the days before the word COVID had become part of our everyday vocabulary – I remember the excitement I felt when I heard about the inception of the Projects and Sets Special Interest Group and its plan to use Zoom for the meetings. How awesome was that! Well, it was pretty awesome for somebody like me, who is a rather far flung member of the DPS (we relocated to Picton in 2018). Zoom meetings will seem really old hat now, but back when the group started, they certainly weren’t the norm.


Beginning with something of a blank page, and having been told that basically we had free reign to do anything (that was possibly a rather dangerous statement!), there was always going to be an element of thinking outside the box – hence the decision to use Zoom. As David Steer so succinctly put it (and as we now probably all appreciate) using Zoom would give us the flexibility to meet when we wanted to because there would be no need to go up to Mornington – or in my case, not join in at all. Because of Zoom, we could even have guest appraisers or advisers.


The idea was for everybody in the group to produce a ‘set’ which could be displayed in an exhibition of some sort and which could also be part of a larger collaboration set. We would work towards this by producing sets with an increasing number of images in them. And each month we would decide on different subject matter to use. All of this would be liberally interspersed with photo walks and photo weekends (which, sadly, didn’t convert to Zoom).


I’m sure that for David it has, at times, felt like trying to herd a group of somewhat recalcitrant teenagers, coaxing and cajoling us into producing our monthly images of subject matter that possibly wouldn’t have been our first choice to photograph. Our first subject of food springs instantly to my mind – love eating it, not a fan of photographing it! But what a phenomenal journey it’s been and what a long way we’ve come. As I mentioned, our first sets were of food (six images). We then moved on to an open theme but the images had to have a connection and/or tell a story. Again, we stayed with six images. Next were black and white sets (again six images), followed by phone images (only three images this time, much to my relief – had another bout of recalcitrant teenager with this subject). In all cases, we needed to try and make the images work as sets – in other words, there needed to be a flow between the images; they needed to ‘work’ together. And believe me, that is much harder than it sounds!


Right from the outset, just about all the members of the group had said they were interested in working towards producing Honours sets. The most recent sets were put together as a starting point for whichever Honours the individuals are working towards and which therefore required either ten or twelve images. We were very fortunate in having an appraisal of each of the sets done via Zoom by Graham Dainty, who was a member of the PSNZ Honours Board for ten years. That feedback has been invaluable to us all and it was actually really helpful being able to hear the feedback on each others work, along with what did and didn’t work and why. Having the opportunity to ask questions of Graham and thereby tap into his amazing knowledge was simply awesome.


So thank you David for your patience and foresight. And thank you to all the members of the Projects and Sets Special Interest Group for making these meetings such a positive and fun learning environment.


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An update from the Dunedin Photographic Society council.


Council met tonight and decided that all meetings will be held using our zoom facility until we return to COVID Level 1 .
This decision means that we will be meeting this coming Monday via zoom.
The link for the zoom meetings is on the Dunedin Photographic Society website ( The password was emailed to all the DPS members by the President.
David Steer has offered to support anyone who is unsure or having difficulty accessing zoom. Please contact David directly by e-mail.


  • We were scheduled to have a print competition on Monday but this will no longer be possible. We will instead hold a projected Image of the month competition. The theme for this will be OPEN.
    You will receive an email with the link for entering images.
  • Our speaker on Monday will be Ita Daniels who will share images from her trip to China.
  • The Honours / Project focus group will share progress on developing sets for honours consideration.


At our recent meeting I shared the decision to develop a mentoring system. Mentoring fits with the ethos of supporting each other to learn. The initial impetus for this was to provide a way for members to gain feedback around images that were not accepted for competitions as often judges comment only on accepted images. However the mentoring relationship is negotiable and has the potential to offer much more.
If you would like to access mentor support please contact Gary McClintock by email.


We have our AGM scheduled for Monday 28 September.
If you are interested in being on council please contact a member of council.
We appreciate that it is unsettling to have so much change in our programme however council remains committed to protecting the wellbeing of all members, families and our communities.
The success of zoom meetings depends, in part, on the participation of members. Please make every effort to get on to our zoom meetings.
Stay well
nga mihi

2020 Projected Image Exhibition Results

Our first “face-to-face” meeting since the COVID-19 Lockdown was the viewing of the 2020 Projected Image Exhibition. The full results are available here as PDF download and the slideshow of images can be seen below.

Thanks to Chris Parkin APSNZ and Roger Thwaites APSNZ for making the selection of images and providing feedback on their selection.

Congratulations to David Steer APSNZ for his Open Champion Image – Plumb, and to Noelle Bennett LPSNZ for her Natural History Champion Image – Green chiton.

Plumb, David Steer APSNZ
Green chiton, Noelle Bennett LPSNZ

Update from the President

We have now been doing our online Zoom meetings for the last two months and have had members who live as far away as Nelson joining in meetings. While it has been a successful medium for many, I do acknowledge that Zoom has not worked for all members, so I hope this update newsletter helps fill the gap in some way.

At this stage, we do not have a date when we see our meetings at the church hall or practical sessions starting again, so Zoom meetings will continue for the next while. 

Images from the Bubble

Each week members have had the opportunity to share up to 4 images taken during the week. Some weeks we have had close to 80 images with a wide range of subjects. Here is a selection of images from the 36 members who participated.

PSNZ Sony National Exhibition 2020

Congratulations to the following members who were successful in the PSNZ Sony National Exhibition 2020.

Open Prints

  • Kate Burton: 4 acceptances
  • Ita Daniels: 2 acceptances
  • David Steer: 2 acceptances
  • Gordon Speed: 1 acceptance

Open Projected Image

  • Glenda Rees 1 acceptance

Nature Prints

  • Gary McClintock: Gold Medal and 1 acceptance
  • Glenda Rees: 2 acceptances

Nature Projected Image

  • Glenda Rees: Gold Medal and 2 acceptances
  • Noelle Bennett: Silver Medal

Unfortunately due to COVID 19, there was no exhibition of the images but you can view the online catalogue here.


Nicola Wilhelmsen

Nicola has shared her knowledge with the society a number of times now. She is a professional photographer based in Dunedin. Nicola shared the development of two images that she has submitted for a fun lockdown challenge hosted by NZIPP. It was helpful seeing how she refined her concept and images, as well as seeing some of the technical issues around lighting. Nicola posts on Instagram as nicolafromthehelm

Sam Purdie

Ross met Sam one night while out photographing insects at Woodhaugh Gardens, when he stopped and offered to show Ross where he could find stick insects. They swapped details and the result of that encounter was an interesting talk by Sam where he presented a recipe for finding insects and then some tips on photographing. Sam posts on Instagram as samanimalman

Nick Beadle

Nick runs a window cleaning business in Dunedin, See Through Windows Ltd. He shared his journey from watching one of his employees taking pictures on his phone through to now dividing his time between window cleaning and a growing photography career. Nick posts on Instagram so just search for seethroughwindowsltd

Future Plans

We will look to resume face to face meetings as soon as this is possible. However, we are aware that there may be some members who will continue to manage their health risk by not attending physical meetings. We have also seen that Zoom has enabled some of our more distant members to be involved.  Between now and the end of the year, Council has decided to continue with one regular Zoom meeting per month. This meeting will involve presentations by overseas speakers.

As a taster, our first overseas speaker will be this week, Monday 25 May 7.30pm – Zoom Room, Julian Elliott. He will present a talk Mongolia – From the landscape to eagle hunters: take a journey across Mongolia from the famous Steppe landscape to the eagle hunters of the Altai region in western Mongolia.

Look forward to seeing you all in the Zoom Room on Monday.
Gary McClintock
President, DPS