Young Photographer: Getting started – Nov 2020

We hope students and club members are beginning to get ideas about suitable subjects to photograph for the “Wild Nature” competition.

Below are the basic rules followed by some advice and tips some of which will only apply to those using more complex cameras.

Basic Rules

By what date must I submit my entry?

The closing date is  February 20th 2021.

How do I choose what to photograph?

The Theme set for this Competition is Wild Nature.

The choice of what you photograph is entirely yours, but must be based on the Theme. Your interpretation of the Theme is an important part of the Competition..

What do I need to do?

 You should submit a Portfolio of 3 different printed photos, based on the above Theme. Prints can be Colour or Black & White and should be made on photographic inkjet paper, and not larger than A4 size including any optional mount.                

With each print you must supply a brief written note describing why you think the picture fits the title of the Theme. Doing this part is very important.  

What do I have to submit?

You must make sure you have included:

  1. Your 3 photos
  2. Your completed entry form with a parent/guardian signature. You can download a copy of the blank form here.
  3. Your short written explanations for each picture and how it fits with the “Wild Nature Theme.”
  4. Please also make sure you have written on the back of each photo your name and the name of your school or club or if you are not entering through a school or club – your name and address. We suggest you do this with a spirit based felt tipped pen, to prevent the writing showing through on the picture itself.
Where do I send the entries?

Some – but not all – schools and clubs may collect the entries and send them all together.

You may also send them individually.

In either case the address to use is: Rotarian Tim Bryce, 49 Spencer Court, Britannia Road, Banbury. OX16 5EZ

If possible please use a card backed envelope to stop photos getting bent.

Tips on taking a good photograph

These tips are aimed largely at older competitors using cameras with a wide range of settings on them but others may find them of interest.

Composing a good photo

This is a skill that comes with experience and practise but here are a few tips perhaps of what not to do, rather than what to do!

When you see the picture in your viewfinder try and avoid :-

  1. Putting the main subject right in the middle.
  2. Splitting the picture exactly in half with a strong vertical or horizontal line. (for example, a Telegraph Pole or the Horizon, for instance between the land and the sky.)
  3.  Having a tree or pole looking as if it’s growing out of a person’s head!
  4. Water looking as if it is going to flow out of the picture and Buildings looking as if they will fall over, because the camera or phone was not held vertical or horizontal

It is perfectly possible to correct the issues in 4 above, by reframing on the screen before printing or even after making the print by trimming off a certain amount of the edge of the print to square up the image.

Avoid Camera shake

Camera shake, blurring of the image, is caused by movement of the camera at the moment of shutter release. To avoid this very common problem:

  1. Always hold the camera firmly using two hands. A tripod can help in certain circumstances.
  2. Always squeeze the shutter release, rather than press it.  Be gentle, avoiding harsh movements and jabs.
  3. Some cameras have built in antivibration software. If you have it fair enough, but I would say do the above and you don’t need to rely on this technology.
Getting the right exposure

This means making sure the photo isn’t too dark or too light.                                                                                  Most modern cameras have a sophisticated built in automatic exposure system.

The camera automatically measures the strength of the light illuminating the object, decides on the Shutter speed (the length of time light is allowed to fall on the sensor or film) and opens or closes the Aperture (that is the small hole in the centre of the lens that can be made larger or smaller) in order to allow just the right amount of light to fall on the Sensor or Film. Lens apertures are calibrated and marked in F numbers, the smaller the number the larger the aperture, letting in larger amounts of light, the larger the number the smaller the aperture.

The big advantage of a Digital Camera is that immediately after taking your picture, you can view the result on a little screen on the camera. You can see if it is either too dark or too light and make adjustments before taking a second picture, and you can go on doing that until you get it right.

If working with film you don’t know you have got it right until the film is processed.

I order to make exposure adjustment you need to know how your particular camera system operates. Most digital cameras have a small LCD screen showing settings. Somewhere close by they have a control knob that adjusts the exposure in small increments and shows them on the screen. This is where I have to say you now need to read the instructions for your particular camera.

On most cameras, but possible not a Mobile Phone, you can choose to set the sensitivity of your cameras to light, increasing its ability to record images in much darker lighting conditions. The scale used in the photographic industry is shown as ASA or occasionally ISO. It is a universal measure so that all cameras and film manufacturers work to exactly the same standards. 50 ASA is a slow speed, or low sensitivity, 200 average, 400 accepted as high speed but speeds can go much higher.

You may also be able to adjust the brightness afterwards using computer software. Most Mobile/Smart Phones have useful built in software to make simple adjustments like brightness.

The shutter speed

Continuing with the camera set to automatic exposure. On most cameras you will find some alternative settings under the automatic mode, Aperture priority or Shutter speed priority. If you change to Aperture Priority you can fix the aperture setting and the shutter speed only will be used to change the exposure, similarly when Shutter Speed Priority is chosen only the aperture will be changed by the automatic system.

This is a very useful feature. Fast moving objects need a high or fast shutter speed to arrest or freeze movement which would otherwise blur the image.

Also if you want to make a subject stand out from the background, you can use Aperture priority, set your camera to use a large aperture F2.8 to 1.8 which will reduce the depth of focus, then carefully focus on the subject of interest in your picture and the background will not be in sharp focus and become blurred.


Most phones and cameras have a flash option that can be turned on or off. Obviously this is meant for situations where there is insufficient light to take a satisfactory picture. It is a harsh form of lighting and can produce harsh looking images with the problem that the flash cannot illuminate far off parts of the picture at the same level as the foreground, leading to black and sometimes totally black backgrounds.

However what we call “Fill-in” Flash can be very useful, where the subject in the foreground is in relative shade and the background fully lit. Using flash in this situation, lights your subject without having any influence on the well lit background.

Computer photographic software

There are many software programs designed to improve photographs. Many smartphones have this built-in or you may be able to transfer your photos to a computer and use commercial software such as Photoshop or free software like GIMP.

Such software often contains an ‘automatic smart-fix’ option to improve the brightness contrast, colours etc. You can use such software in the competition but it can be quite complicated to get the hang of and so make sure you have a safely stored copy of your image if you decide to give it a try.


There are 3 main ways you might obtain your prints.

  1. Taking your camera, smartphone or memory card to a shop such as Boots or Tesco.
  2. Uploading your chosen photos online to collect the prints from the shop or get them posted to you.
  3. Using a colour printer at home.

The two things you’ll have to decide upon are the size of the print (Maximum A4 210mm x 297mm) and the type of paper (glossy, lustre or matt.)

The type of paper surface is a personal choice. Glossy prints appear sharper and often have more saturated colour, but are slightly more prone to damage and finger prints.

Printing on non-photographic paper will not give the best results.

If you’re using your home printer:

Sometimes the first print is less than perfect. Sometimes a print comes out not quite the right colour or with an overall cast. These faults can be corrected but it is much easier if you work with a Computer programme like Photoshop etc.

Enjoy yourselves and keep learning.

Good luck – We look forward to seeing your work.


A few local photos

Below are a few photos taken by some of our not so youthful members of Banbury Rotary Club. We include them not because they are especially great photos but because – with a few exceptions –  they were obtained at or very close to home.




For full details and to register a school or club to take part visit:

Rotary Supporting Children in Need Raffle – Nov 2020

Rotary GB&I is supporting BBC Children in Need through the promotion of a prize draw hosted by Raffolux to win a F-Type Jaguar.

The national raffle is now live and open to anyone over the age of 18. The raffle will close at midnight on the 30th November. The draw will be announced, 3rd December 2020

This 2016 Jaguar F-Type in Santorini Black with a supercharged V6 engine could be yours to drive home this Christmas. With just 20,069 miles on the clock, the 340BHP sportscar boasts eight speed auto transmission and adaptive dynamic suspension.

Every ticket sold helps an amazing cause, as 92% of the net proceeds will be donated to BBC Children In Need, who strive to ensure that every child in the UK grows up safe, happy, and able to reach their full potential.

BBC Children in Need’s mission is to help ensure that every child in the UK is safe, happy, secure, and has the opportunities they need to reach their potential. We fund local charities and projects who help remove the barriers that are facing children and young people, so that they can thrive.

Club launches Young Photographer – Oct 2020

Our work with young people through schools and local clubs is really important to us but has been made impossible this year by the pandemic.

In seeking to retain our contact with the above the club has launched the Young Photographer Competition: something that can be done within the current Covid constraints that should not impose too  much of an additional burden on teachers or club leaders.

It may be taken up by schools, clubs or individuals and the details of how to enter can be found on our website here.

YoungPhotographer – Rules and Registering

This competition should preferably be entered through schools or youth clubs although entries can be submitted direct to the address at the bottom of this page.

Entries will be required as prints on photographic paper. (If you can’t do this at home it can be done, at stores such as Tesco or through various online photographic shops.)

The winning photo for each age group will also be required in a digital format to go forward to the district and national finals. (You can read the full Rules’ here.)

1. Schools or clubs should register an interest by:

You can register in less than a minute by completing the online form here

2. Young people can submit their application forms and photographs preferably

via the school or club or direct to the address below.


3. Winning photos in each age group will be submitted on to the district competition by


4.Winners of the district finals will be submitted on to the national competition by



Each entry will consist of

  • A properly completed application form including a parent or guardian signature and contact details
  • Three different prints of photos on the theme of ‘wild nature’
  • A brief statement about each photo making clear how it relates to the theme.

Entries (photographic prints, statements and an application form) should be sent to: Tim Bryce, 49 Spencer Court, Britannia Road, Banbury. OX16 5EZ.

Thankyou for your interest. 🙂

YOBOS ‘Lockdown Lookback’

If you like musicals – or if you’d just like to see some remarkably positive local young people performing – take a look at the Youth of the Banbury Operatic Society “Lockdown Look Back.”
It’s free to view but if you enjoy it you are encouraged to make a donation via “JustGiving.”  Money raised will go to YOBOS, Katharine House Hospice and Banbury Young Homelessness Project: all organisations that Banbury Rotary Club is happy to support

Go on! Cheer yourself up 🙂 Click here to visit the Lockdown Look Back

Alan’s Africa Update – July 2020

Members should have received Alan Wolstencroft’s latest ‘Alan’s Africa‘ update.

If you haven’t seen it you can grab the main 2019-20 developments here.

Rotary year 2019 – 2020

The Rotary year runs from July to June. As we approach the end of the year I thought I would summarise what has been achieved this year:

  • Installation of a gravity fed water system providing 4 taps , 2 flushing toilets & sinks benefitting 1,500 people
  • Built 3 school toilet blocks all with water harvesting & handwash stations
  • Water harvesting installed on a two classroom block
  • Converted an empty building into nursery classrooms
  • Installed a water system into a science laboratory & purchased science equipment
  • Purchased additional textbooks & library furniture
  • Set up a micro credit scheme for 3 ladies
  • Supported a community football Club including renovations to their hostel and day to day subsistence support
  • Support for 3 teenage/young adult orphans including Momoh & his carer & family
  • Sunny Girl project – supplying 350 girls with sanitary pads each month
  • Supported 83 school staff during Covid


So far this Rotary year £21,760 has been raised, with a few pledges still to come in, and £19,800 has already been sent to the projects. None of this would have been possible without the great support I receive from a vast network of supporters and to each and every one of you a BIG


THANK YOU for helping me to “Make A Real Difference”. Together we are “changing lives & making dreams a reality”

Since I first started working with my first school in January 2007 just over £264,700 has been raised. This has funded the building of:

  • 32 classrooms (23 with water harvesting & 9 with mains electricity)
  • 8 toilet blocks (6 with water harvesting and handwash stations)
  • Installation of a well, refurbishment of another & the gravity fed water system

Plus many refurbishment projects & other support

Still Active through the Lockdown

Many of our activities have ground to a halt during the Covid-19 lockdown and it remains unclear when large-scale, public-facing activities – especially indoor ones – will to be able restart.

In common with a lot of organisations much club contact has had to be online. Although less than perfect this has served to keep most members in touch and able to support each other and to participate in some activities useful to the community despite some members with personal vulnerabilities.

For example our school technology departments have been very active in helping to tackle local shortages Personal Protective Equipment and members of  Rotary Club have been phoning around local care homes and surgeries to ascertain the level of need for such equipment and feeding this information back to schools.

For more on this Topic see

Cheque to Children Heard and Seen

Today a cheque of almost £2600 was presented to Rod Diaz of charity Children Heard and Seen.
The cheques was part of proceeds from the 2019 Children Singing for Children Concerts which went towards supporting four different charities.
Children Heard and Seen is a charity which provides support and interventions for children with a parent in prison. The charity was set up in 2014, with a focus on reducing intergenerational offending, and mitigating the impacts of parental imprisonment for children and young people. This support is primarily across Oxfordshire, but also Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.

In 2019 we won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK to recognise the exceptional service within their communities.