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The Making of a BellyFest Calendar

Yes bellies were exposed and a few other things too, but fortunately they did not get included in the calendar this year!

I went along to the last two shoots of the calendar where all the members turned out to support their club over weekends throughout the year. The boxing shoot was on a Sunday and was a continuation of the morning shoot at the allotments, where Caerau ShedForce grow fresh vegetables for their regular meals on a Friday (more Faggots & Peas please).

The allotment shoot included some inappropriate abuse of a poor courgette, that was innocently watching on a nearby table, again these shots were omitted from the final product.

The boxing shots were at a local gym and I can tell you, it wasn't warm in there. The participants were heroes, first covered with oil, then dowsed in water to get the sweat effects.

The final shoot at the mining monument and was set for 9:00am on a Saturday, again all turned up on time. A coach was hired and a professional drone pilot was there to get the front and rear cover shots and other shots for the video. It was well organised and the whole shoot took just one hour, as Phil (Scenic Gallery Photography) and Chris (Colour Black Productions) were already set-up before we all got there.

People I have shown the calendar to are really surprised at the quality, this is due to the two talented members, who are local professionals with many years of experience, they went beyond the call of duty to photograph and video this spectacle of manflesh.

A big thanks to Phil and Chris and to all those Caerau Shed members for making me feel welcome on those final shoots.

Support Caerau Men's Shed - buy a calendar for £7.25 here at the Scenic Gallery website.

Flora Photo Challenge

Ok Chaps, ShedQuarters Photo Challenge 2.0 is here at last. It took a tad longer to finalise the Urban Landscape Challenge than expected, but hey, we're in no hurry.

So.... the challenge is flora, that means all plant life, not just the flower on a potted plant, although that can be very interesting as you will see below. Try and keep your hands steady by leaning on something, and take the photos in good light, this will add to sharpness, detail and colour. This is not a high tech camera challenge, two of the last winning photos were taken with an iPhone and a pocket camera. One of the best was taken with a very basic phone.

Also, the photos must be recent, photos you have taken for this challenge, not archive photos you have dragged up from the depths of your hard drive. Please don't strip the metadata when using photo editors (don't worry, this is a deliberate setting), these will not be accepted.

I would like people from other clubs to send their photos too, your best 4 only. The prize, at the moment, will be limited to the best from ShedQuarters, but we hope to expand this, with the co-operation of other club organisers.

If you have submitted 4 photos but take a better one or two, just email me the new photos and I will swap your chosen rejects out.

You have time, we are extending the deadline to the end of November, so get those Autumn colours while you can.

Happy shooting.....

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Firstly, I would like to thank all the entrants of the challenge, we had a few that had never used a camera and most who had never entered a themed challenge. This was our first photo challenge and we hope to have many more in the future.

I was particularly impressed with Garfield's Maesteg town centre entry (first time using an SLR) and Colin J's patterns of a bridge entry, which he took on a very simple phone. The winner, for me was Les' lines entry (iPhone), which was runner-up, pipped to the post by the technical spec of a Pentax, rather than any skill or artistry of the operator (me).

Other notable efforts were by Pete (Nikon bridge) and some arty sepia photos from Phil (phone) our Photo Club leader.

Best photos were decided by the club members vote a few weeks ago. Photo of the winners, Phil (left) presented Mark (centre) and Les (right) with their vouchers, thanks Phil.

1st Prize, a £15 Tesco voucher was won by Mark (me) for a long night exposure (15 seconds) of Port Talbot Steel Works, from Broom Hill. It was a windy night and I took about 8 exposures, one came out sharp.

2nd Prize, a £10 Tesco voucher was won by Les, for his iPhone photo of telephone lines and washing lines, he took this from a friend's garden, I believe.

3rd Prize, a £5 Tesco voucher was won by me again, thanks chaps! It was a photo of the blue building on the sea front of Porthcawl taken with a Nikon S9700 pocket camera.

All of the Challenge photos can be seen below:

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Maesteg Ukulele Club & ShedQuarters Go Buskulele-ing

On Saturday the 30th September, the Buskuleles of Usk hosted their second annual Usk Ukulele Festival at the Conservative Club, Usk. Many bands from all over South and Mid Wales were present and each played a 20 minute slot.

The Buskuleles had laid on some delicious homemade grub, including scones with jam and clotted cream, yummy! There were cakes of all shapes and sizes and all good enough to add a few inches to the waist for the weekend, or longer.

The bands were varied and showed some great talent, they proved what could be done with a relatively simple to play instrument. I never thought I would hear Johny B Goode played on the uke, and with the duck walk to boot, superb.

Thanks for a great afternoon of entertainment and education, from all at Maesteg Ukulele Club and ShedQuarters Men's Shed, Maesteg.

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John Hanson came and talked to us about the “Tools For Self Reliance” scheme which recycles old tools, sends them poorer countries and helps people learn a skills and earn money to be self reliant.

He also brought in a model steam ship which was extremely interesting. He fired it up and ran it for us, thanks John. See the photos and video below:

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Men's Sheds Play Elvis at Porthcawl Festival Bridgend 2017

It was a beautiful warm Saturday September 23rd when a few ukulele players got together to play at the Elvis Festival at Porthcawl, Bridgend.

Men's Sheds Squirrel's Nest Bridgend and Shedquarters Maesteg were much appreciated at the festival. They started playing along the esplanade, away from the large P.A. systems and the crowd were soon joining in. After only 20 minutes of playing, they were discovered by the MC of the Dog Show and ushered to the arena to play, to get the crowd warmed up before the show.

Later they had Elvis dancing in front of them and a karaoke singer, who may have been a little inebriated, as she introduced herself by asking, "where's your f****ng coinage pot?". Anyway, the crowd seemed to enjoy it!

If you want to learn the uke or any other instrument, come along to ShedQuarters on a Thursday, we are a friendly bunch. If you already play an instrument and want to join in, come along.

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Listen to our new Podcast for September: