News - 2018/19

Print League, Round 2. Judge: Rojer Weightman (Stoke Poges) 8th November 2018

After a rather short notice cancellation by the original judge booked for this night - Colin Southgate - we were fortunate to obtain the services of Rojer Weightman. Rojer came from the Stoke Poges club, the same one as Kevin Day. However unlike Kevin he is relatively new to judging having been at it now for only 18 months or so. Along with Kevin he is one of the leading lights at Stoke Poges specializing mainly in still life. However you could not have guessed his preference from his approach to our prints.

We could show him only 24. That’s a mere eight contestants from a club of over 40 members. Rojer then compensated nicely by taking each entry at leisure and diverting occasionally into some interesting stories not the least of which was of when he spent a good few weeks in Antarctic without a camera (!) counting penguins. Sensibly he held a good many back (seven) for a chance to have another think about them.

Peter Winter’s ‘Pair of Little Owls’ got an 18 straight off and he was right when he thought that looking quickly at the image, excellent in detail though it was, one could be forgiven for thinking for a moment that it was one rather squashed owl. Very cute none the less. ‘Port Nanven Mono’ from Dean Tyler also got 18. Rojer admired the high quality but suggested that the idea was not so new. The 19s were Terry Day’s ‘Luminaire London 2018’ an excellent capture over wet paving of one of the more impressive installations from this Spring’s lighting shows in London. The other two both belonged to Jeremy. ‘Svalbard Scenery’ a well composed and eerily lit shot of the famous polar area of Norway well inside the Arctic circle. Indeed the most northerly inhabited place on earth. Chilly! Then staying with the icy feel ‘A Boy’s Own Adventure’ also by Jeremy which gave Rojer much more trouble. This turned out to be a photograph of a diorama in a Norwegian museum of an arctic adventure of theirs over the North Pole some centuries ago. Everyone was relieved to discover that Jeremy just could have been old enough to have actually been there. The finished work looked most convincing having none of the usually disadvantages inherent in model photography.

John Jennings had again strived to explain his technique with the title ‘1 Click & 3 pops.’ But I am still not sure whether Rojer got it immediately. His comment that the outer dancers were obviously not mirror images of each other suggested his understanding was not perfect. To explain. One dancer - long exposure. John flashes, in the polite sense of course, three times, throughout a complex dancing manoeuvre so three figures appear in the one picture. He’s done it before. We understand but some judges don’t quite because after all they only have a limited time. However Rojer rose above his possible confusion and enjoyed the image. It came 3rd with a 20. Chris Gilbert produced a powerful effect with strong light through a multi facetted paperweight. The impact being increased by the choice of a finely chequered material on which it was standing. ‘Paper Weight’ – another 20 and 2nd place.

The winner was the impressive ‘Stripped Back to Basics’ by Dean Tyler. This was a clever composition of a winter tree against a snow landscape but with just enough extra detail to give context despite the huge amount of ‘negative’ white snow space in the foreground. Very brave and definitely the correct crop despite there being almost no detail in that foreground snow! A worthy winner but it was close between the top three.

The quality was high and that somewhat mitigates for Rojer’s rather close marking. There certainly was differentiation to be had between the 10 prints that scored 16 and came equal bottom. Rojer was possibly treading a bit too gently. Wonderful to have so many of the club present however – the highest attendance for a long time.

Members Evening 1st November 2018

What have: Neutral Density, Lions and Tigers, charter flights around Bricket Wood and precision water splashes got in common? The answer is that they formed the subjects of the four excellent, and very different, presentations by club members last night.

Dean Tyler opened the evening with a clear explanation of the use of neutral density filters, both graduated and plain. Grads come in different strengths and with sharper or softer graduation, the plain filters come as Little Stopper, Big Stopper and Super Stopper with an effective strength of 5, 10 and 15 stops respectively. Since each stop doubles the required shutter opening duration, if you start with an un-filtered shutter speed of 1/60th second, the Little Stopper takes that to 1/2 second, the Big Stopper to 17 seconds and the Super Stopper to 9 minutes. In lower light needing a 1 second exposure, the Super Stopper takes this to over 9 hours! It is the intelligent use of these filters that enable Dean to produce the beautiful effects in clouds and waves we are so familiar with.

Jacqui Taylor followed with 3 of the most impressive sets of safari pictures I have seen in a long while. The first set were from a 10 day stay in the Masai Mara with countless beautiful images of lions, leopards and cheetahs, elephant, rhino, hippopotamus, zebra and wildebeest, with more than a sprinkling of beautiful birds. We then moved to Ranthambore National Park, a vast wildlife reserve in Rajasthan, northern India. It is a former royal hunting ground and home to tigers, leopards and marsh crocodiles, again superbly documented by Jacqui. Then it was back to Africa, this time to Laikipia, Kenya where we were once again treated to stunning images (Jacqui is on first name terms with a rhino called Wai Wai).

After tea, it was a compete change: instead of roaming the world, David Butler described how groups of volunteers were treated to flights that never left the ground in Bricket Wood. He described 4 instances from his job of environmental testing at BRE (formerly Building Research), the first of which involved bringing part of an Airbus 300 wide-body airliner round the M25 and hiding it in a shed, entertaining the crew and passengers with a flight simulator and projected images of passing clouds while measuring their reaction to a variety of carefully controlled temperatures and humidity. The ruse was even taken as far as fitting noise and vibration creators in the structure! After this, the sight of an underground train carriage replacing the jet seemed almost normal, even with a partial population of mannequins. Job No. 3 was to validate the concept of using a stack of rocks - yes really - to help maintain more even temperatures in the National Library of Israel. Finally, who knew that trader desks in the City of London have to be water cooled, although David tactfully suggested that this was due to the enormous amount of electronics involved rather than the over-excitability of the traders.

Last but by no means least, Ron Brown described his new toy, a "Miops Smartphone Controllable Water Drop Kit with Mounting Holder", with yet another set of beautiful and very different pictures. There is plenty of science behind this, the Worthington jet effect is in itself remarkable, and there is endless scope for experimentation with the addition of detergent, food colouring, milk and xanthan gum, not to mentioned coloured gels, different backgrounds and of course, infinite variations in drop size and timing. One source of inspiration is Corrie White, and to understand why, take a look at her website ,

To sum up, a very varied and fascinating evening, and our grateful thanks are due to the 4 speakers and to Leo for organising it.

Talk "London Light, London Life" by Chris Shepherd 25 October 2018

Chris had been to us before, a year or so ago. On that occasion he enlighten us as to how really good images could be found quite close to home if you looked hard enough. This time his talk explored the possibilities of taking pictures in central London. This was an appealing subject for most of us as we all do some of that from time to time. Long ago he had realised that if he was to improve his photography he would have to do a lot more of it. However there were only so many hours in the day so he set about utilising one of them in particular. His lunch hour. Working as he does in the city of London he was ideally placed to experiment with his camera everyday and on interesting subjects. He showed us the results.

Of course many of his images featured the grand architecture found in the area. Venues new, old, over and even under ground but just as much, he showed us the potential of tiny details which might be missed. He was also of the opinion that every picture doesn’t always have to be a competition winner, reminding us that the images that we hold in the highest regard now, such as those of Cartier-Bresson and so forth, were never taken for the benefit of a judge. They were record shots for the author himself! A principal always worth remembering whatever you are taking.

He explained a few pieces of equipment he enjoys using including the rather quirky lens baby attachment which allows one to focus on a small area in an image to give an extreme depth of field effect but in a more controllable way. He too has realised the benefit of the new and highly compact camera systems on the market and always carries something which will easily fit into a pocket and hence becomes less obtrusive both to shy members of the public and the often present security guards.

On this subject he was quite right when he explained the limit of their authority. This extends to the edges of their (private) property but no further. This may be a few yards out from a building depending on how it is structured but there are usually tell-tale signs like lines or studs in the road or overhanging balconies and such. (Remember those alfresco dining areas are almost always the property of the adjacent restaurant. You can be asked to desist there too.)

Up at the top of the Heron Tower - one of his favourite vantage points - the unwritten rule is that you can snap away as long as you have bought a drink. He warned that drink prices are pretty much as sky high as the building but thought it was still worth it. It still works out cheaper and less formal (no booking) than the Shard and without the annoying slopping glass to shoot through as the Heron Tower has a free open to the air viewing platform. He was also a fan of a similar facility on the new building attached to the Tate Modern. (I too can confirm that this is well worth a visit.) Twenty or so stories high, 360 degree views and no charge at all plus the attractions of the basement in the same building. Just as useful for photography but for entirely different reasons.

Bearing in mind his theme, a subject that had infinite possibilities, it was astonishing that Chris could time his presentation so accurately. One of those evenings so captivating you never looked at the clock. He ended just short enough of 10pm to allow a few questions. Those that were there are already looking forward to his next visit. Don’t miss it.

NW Fed at Hemel Hempstead. Judge Lloyd Moore CPAGB BPE1 (Watford CC) - 22nd October 2018

Good News! We stated our NW Fed season with a resounding win over Hemel Hempstead (our hosts) and Harrow. If I'm not mistaken, the scores were Hemel 209, Harrow 201, Park Street 220. Harrow had a starred image in the PDI section, another of Julia Wainwright's wonderful safari images, this time of 2 Cheetah cubs play-fighting, and Rob Harley had a lovely nude print similarly rewarded for Hemel. Park Street took the other two starred images (which thus qualify automatically for finals day) with Peter Winter's fine print "Jay Rain-Bathing" and Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell's Dead Horse Point Panorama, which glowed beautifully in the morning light in his PDI.

LLoyd Moore took us through the images with confidence and skill, and I hope we shall see him at Park Street next year. One decision was a little controversial: he identified Connie's lovely image of 3 Amazon Tree Frogs as a studio shot (he spotted the catch-light reflections of the studio lights in their eyes) and marked it rather harshly down accordingly on the assumption that it was a commercial set-up. The problem I have with this is that he really doesn't know - and could not possibly know - whether any of the others were set up for the photographers. Come to that, he doesn't know whether Connie, inspired by Andy Sands, bred her own frogs and built her own set to photograph them in. It is a dangerous way to go, however understandable.

Our full results:

PRINTS    
Jay Rain-BathingPeter WinterHeld20    Starred
Dunwich PrioryDean Tyler 18 
OversharpeningChris GilbertHeld19 
The StorytellerJohn JenningsHeld18 
Cold MorningChris Gilbert 18 
Red SquirrelPeter WinterHeld19 
PDIs    
Porth NanvenDean TylerHeld     19 
Blue ZoomJohn JenningsHeld19 
Amazon Tree FrogsConnie Fitzgerald 15 
Apple MusicSue Hipperson 17 
I Have My Eye on YouTerry Day 18 
Dead Horse Point Panorama     Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell     Held20Starred

2018 Interclub Landscape Competition. Judge Kevin Day (Stoke Poges) - 18th October

Once again we were treated to an exceptional set of landscape photographs, and a most enjoyable analysis and judging by Kevin Day. Having been somewhat frustrated in the past by images which did not comply with the definition which we send out to each invited club, and which was read to the audience by Chairman Miranda Steward, it was good to see that Kevin took this duty seriously and was consistent in his identification of non-compliant images. These got firmly marked down, though Kevin was at pains to point out that some of them would have been real contenders in an open competition.

Thirteen images were held back, all scoring 19 or 20, and then the 20s were considered again for selection of the Best Image, which was awarded to the beautiful "Wave at Landeyjahofn" by Chris Potter of Northfields. This image, and the other 20's, can be seen here.

PlaceAuthor and ClubTitle
1Chris Potter , Northfields CCWave at Landeyjahofn
2=Raymond Denis , Northfields CCPamir Mountains
2=Graham Adamson , Potters Bar PS        Scalpay Light House
2=Mark Burstow , Tring CCGhosts on the Beach
2=Martin Patten, Watford CCFrozen New York
2=Stuart Brocklebank , XRR PSTeesdale

 

PlaceClubScore
1Watford CC109
2Northfields CC        108
3=St Albans CC106
3=Tring CC106
5=Wycombe PS105
5=PSCC105
5=Harpenden PS105
8XRR PS104
9=Harrow CC102
9=HHPS102
11Croxley CC101
12Potters Bar PS98

Full score sheet here

Projected Image League, Round 2. Judge Kathy Chantler ARPS (ImageZ) 10th October 2018

It’s always interesting to have a judge come to us who has not been before. All the more so when they are relatively new to the job. We left our second PDI round in the hands of Kathy Chantler: Kathy, an ARPS, is also Chairman of the ImageZ club but has only been judging a year or so.

The evening was a great success not just from the point of view of the final result but the entire tone of the proceedings. Much in the same way that Kevin Day seems to fit into our club when he visits, so did Kathy. Positive, informative, accurate, observant and often amusing she worked through the forty or so images without a trace of negative in her comments. Indeed she admitted to me that she rather dislikes giving very low scores in case they discourage a newcomer. To that end the final list might have been a little tight with nothing dropping below 15, but the best shots at the top end were unarguable.

Throughout the evening she held back everything that was going to get an 18 or above, apart from "The Fall" by John Jennings and David Butler’s "Old Boats". They both got 18 straight away. This left her ten images to deal with. After a little jiggery-pokery Jeremy was able to show us them all as thumbnails. (Take it from me this is a very helpful facility for the judge when they are making their final selections and quite the fairest way for the competitors too. Not all clubs can do it.)

Connie’s smashing close up of a lions open mouth "Big Yawn" was anything but boring and received an 18 as did Fiona’s shot from on high "Crossroads". Chris Gilbert’s stylish and well titled architectural image enlivening by the suspended window cleaners "Semi-detached" also received an 18 as did Dave Hipperson’s close up on a rusting boat entitled "Hawsers". This somewhat mysteriously also received a commendation which must have vexed the authors of the next two images which received 19s! They were Jeremy’s "East Gill Force" a beautifully handled waterfall shot, and Sue Hipperson’s floral close-up "Geranium Burst." Jacqui Taylor’s "Five Male Cheetah Coalition" (very sharp) was effectively 4th with an HC attached to the 19. In third place Connie again, this time with a natural history close front view of a "Skipper" butterfly also 19. The top two were both 20s, Jacqui once again, with her "Long Eared Owl" the bird blending seamlessly into the top of the post on which it was standing. A rear shot but with the cooperative creature having turned its head 180 degrees to face the camera just at the right moment!

The winning image was really the stand-out of the night. Entitled "The Original Selfie" it portrayed a lady artist at work on a portrait of an attractive woman. We could see both the developing painting and the model clearly until one realised it was the same lady doing the painting as sitting for it. Beautifully executed technically and thanks to John Jennings' choice of model a most attractive scenario altogether. Not just this night’s winner but one of the most accomplished images we have been shown this year.

However overall score award for the evening went to Jacqui Taylor dropping only 4 points, three of them on her "Red Eyed Tree Frog" followed by John Jennings impressive best two let down slightly by his cleverly titled "Follow the Monet" which only received a 16. Kathy Chantler had done a first class job and doubtless we will be seeing her return to Park Street in due course.

Winning Images

Print League, Round 1. Judge Mark Buckley-Sharp ARPS CPAGB APAGB (Harrow) 27th September 2018

Our new "joint" Chairman Miranda Steward reminded us even before this competition began that she was looking for club members that might be able to take on judging roles. In his usual professional way our judge for the evening Mark Buckley-Sharp (Chairman of the CACC and actually responsible for selecting judges to work in our association) quickly picked up on this and gave us a concise explanation of what a judge needs to be and be able to do. His little talk was a master class in itself. The element making the most impact, apart from the importance of keeping the audience interested and in some case actually awake, was that a judge is there to put the images in order. Sometimes with PDIs this might involve him having to hold in his mind upwards of 70 projected images from a run through so he can remember their relative merit when they appear in front of him for scores. You try it!

However tonight he had less pressure. We presented him with only two dozen printed images and therefore he was able to give each a very fair crack on the whip. In judging circles Mark is often considered to be rather over technical in his critiques. If I had ever thought this then tonight would have gone a long way to dispelling the suggestion. What he most certainly is, is very perceptive and more importantly, able to verbalise those observations clearly and often with a perfectly balanced degree of humour. The cases in point on this night including two images from Terry Day that he quickly recognised as from the same author – in itself a difficult and often dangerous undertaking as one can so easily be wrong. Mark was not wrong. He was not quite comfortable nor happy with the effects Terry had applied to two of his images. We of course know Terry’s style well and have become accustomed to it and enjoy it. However there was no dismissal with a comment such as “I don’t like these sort of effects.” On the contrary, although Mark admitted to not having seen this technique before he was happy to make some suggestions as to improvements but most importantly of all actively encouraged the author to continue perfecting the style without using that dismissive phrase of “a work in progress.” A 17 and 18 resulted. Similarly he spotted a connection between two of Chris Gilbert’s pictures. A Cotswold Village and a very striking local tree “Reaching Out”. Chris had applied a gentle somewhat Wenzerulian squiggle effect to these two. They looked great but Mark thought they may have looked even better without the filter. However he was quite happy when viewing them from a little more distance. Chris scored an 18 &19 and better was to come!

Mark had another diplomatic trick up his sleeve too. Unlike so many of us judges that are too quick to suggest alternative crops he was at pains to point out that he wanted to enjoy the images chosen at the crop that the author wanted to show us. Then he judged it on those terms. All along one got the impression that here was someone thinking and thinking hard and doing it on our behalf. Not just ticking off the boxes and going through the motions.

He held back five. These included the very first print he had been shown. Chris Gilbert’s “Wallflower”. He explained at the time that it was important that he was careful to set the level right at the beginning otherwise following images may suffer. Dean Tyler had submitted three great landscapes. Another perspective on Southwold Pier was awarded a mere 18 but his ‘Hard and Soft” and “The Outcast’ were both held back. As were Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell’s “Longyearbyen” and Peter Winters’ “Jay”.

Earlier, Peter’s extraordinary shot of four feeding “Young Squirrels” had been dismissed with a 16! This was perfection both technically and naturally. Here was where our judge might have let his personal preferences rule his head. He is a known hater of squirrels (as am I). I am sure he was trying to be impartial but it didn’t happen. This super sharp shot was worth much more than a 16. Another of Peter’s his “Young Starlings” showed us three squabbling birds beautifully backlit and was looking like it could have been a winner until both Mark and presumably all of us too realised that the high intensity light on the easel was showing up a deficiency. There were a couple of distant but too distinct patches of bright light distracting us above the shoulders of the central bird. He was right. The more you looked the greater intrusion they became. Such a pity. Only an18.

So from those held back Peter Winter scored a 19 with his perfectly sharp feeding “Jay” with equally clear prey and interesting colour as did Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell with his “Longyearbyen”. This was a striking image of a line of Polar dwellings enhanced by the wind blown snow and the general feeling of isolation. Great subtle colours too. It could so easily have won. Dean Tyler’s “The Outcast” a magical impression of a wintery lone tree was third of the 20s. Second was another of Dean’s, this time “Hard & Soft”, an interesting beach study of beach rocks and water that could have just as easily been animal or even man made. Finally the winner was that very first print Mark had been shown – Chris Gilbert’s “Wallflower”. Thus illustrating perfectly how important it is for the judge to go carefully at the start even to the extent of holding back images genuinely for another look and not just for dramatic effect. My advice would be to try to put something in next time Mark comes to judge particularly if you haven’t entered before. You will be assured of getting a fair hearing and you will learn a lot.

Winning Images

Talk by Andy Sands 22nd September 2018

Andy Sands has an uncanny knack of being able to disseminate technical, botanical information to an audience in such a way as to ensure that they go away having learned something new every time. His delivery is so confident and his recall of the names of the species he shows us so accurate that at times it borders on the astonishing. Live, unscripted and word perfect! This night his two part presentation brought us an extended talk on Trees and Woodland and in the second half diverted to his more familiar birds and insects.

We learned much about ancient woodland and how to recognise it. The small leafed Lime tree for instance. If that’s growing then it’s probably ancient woodland you are standing in. He went on to explain how he had been duped by his parents, when, as a child walking in the woods, had been told that the mysterious deep hollows in the ground were craters from German bombs. He wondered why the Germans had been so keen to destroy our woodland eventually discovering that these depressions were actually ancient saw pits where the men tending the trees back in the middle ages would saw up logs longitudinally and needed a pit so that one man could saw from the top and another from the bottom, hanging on the other end of the saw. Furthermore those intriguing banks of earth a yard or so high which we so often see with old trees growing from them were the original boundaries of ancient woodland. I had always thought that they were abandoned Stone Age fortifications!

His explanations of the art of coppicing revealed that such regular human control, sadly much less in evidence now, encouraged all manner of growth both arboreal and animal. The habit of fencing off coppiced areas rendered them safer for certain ground nesting birds like the Woodcock and also deterred animals such as deer and even sheep from eating the new shoots. He managed to show us the camouflage effect that a Woodcock can induce when incubating its eggs and chicks. A classic case of a photograph of leaf litter on the ground until you realised you could see one single tiny eye right in the centre of the picture. Heaven knows how Andy found it. His explanations also ranged across methods of pollination that allowed him to show us some of his legendary insect shots. He explained how some species of woodland arrange their male and female components in such a way such that the lightest of breezes can do the job but also leapt to the defence of the universally hated mosquito explaining that it was the only insect that pollinates the cocoa plant and without it we would have no chocolate.

The second half of his talk concerned his recent exploits. Some sensational images of a Skylark in flight and a hunting bird nesting in a stone wall right adjacent to a tiny road deep in the country. The difficulty he had had getting a comfortable hide position for this latter had been considerable and he had asked the farmer of an adjacent field just the other side of the road if he could set up his gear there. No problem until the cattle in the field became inquisitive and wanted to join in and help. The farmer was once again most accommodating and moved them somewhere else. Many and varied features on the new super light weight Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mk2 camera array he was using had allowed very rapid deployment to capture the Skylark, photo stacking to enhance pictures of butterflies and insects and in this nesting case he remembered there was a video facility. Andy was thus able to show us a short clip of the parent bird feeding its chicks in real close up.

At another time he had been assisted by a grouse moor warden that he knows well to locate a Merlin nest in the North of England. (Andy has permission to photograph these birds on their nest – they are very rare.) The warden explained the nest was easy to find just off a road on the top of the moor. The road turned out to be terrifyingly steep and hardly a track. Even his 4x4 grounded occasionally on the hazardous ascent of some 6 miles to the parking spot! Furthermore by ‘close’ the warden meant a further 2 ½ mile walk over peat bog! Andy had to go a number of times and erect a hide then move it slightly closer day by day. After a week he got some magnificent shots of the chicks and also the adult bird close by. He was about to get the ‘money shot’ of the bird feeding the chicks when on the final day he retuned to find no action. An empty nest and a dead Merlin lying beside it. It and its family having been predated by a stoat. Andy pulled no punches with the shot of the dead bird. Ouch - tough stuff! Then he lightened the atmosphere beautifully as only Andy could, by explaining that as he wished to waste nothing (and after there had been a full enquiry into the bird’s death and everyone was satisfied as to the cause he and the warden set to to trap the guilty party which they did successfully) Andy knowing of an accomplished taxidermist in the area arranged to have this beautiful bird re-built. At the time of writing this Sarah doesn’t know that her house is about to be gifted a stuffed, even though doubtlessly wonderful, Merlin!

Another highly professional performance by Andy. When it ended I presumed he had finished early as I had lost track of time entirely. I looked at my watch and it was exactly 10pm! A new visitor to the club and potential member was heard to mutter something about … “it all being better than David Attenborough” as he left. Thanks again Andy.

Projected Image League, Round 1. Judge Alan Taberer (ImageZ) 13th September 2018

The first competition night of the year but hardly a huge entry - only sixteen authors represented from a club of more than forty. General standard of the images was fine however and they covered a wide diversity of subjects as always. Our judge for the night, Alan Taberer, had stood in quite late in the day when our original booking Allan Thompson became impossible to contact. At the time of writing we are still unclear of what has happened to him but in the advent of any catastrophic circumstances we wish him the very best.

As we are all too well aware judges tastes vary and from the scoring it was clear that Alan has some suspicion with over-worked effects and prefers the cleanly executed original shot and with a preference for wildlife. Judges favourite subjects should not be obvious to the audience but it is very difficult to be completely impartial. During the evening he did mention that he thought everyone should try judging just to appreciate these problems and pitfalls even though I am sure few of us could every measure up to his sensationally clear delivery style. He certainly made a great competition of it by maintaining both a wide scoring range and an informative and often amusing commentary. He was most observant and always accentuated the positive leaving any criticisms as very minor issues.

With scoring down to 13 and nearly half the entry in the 15-16s to score 17 or over was quite an achievement. He held six images back. Of these Miranda Steward’s very close-up crocodile shot ‘A Close Encounter’ and Dave Hipperson’s ‘Two Doors Down’ received 18s. Terry Day’s unusual monochrome street image ‘Three Legs are Better Than One, or Two’ was awarded 19 leaving the remaining three all with 20s. These were 3rd - Rosemary Wenzerul’s ‘My Cold Wet Nose’ a very sharp close-up of a dog’s nose and muzzle that exuded character even without an eye in the picture! Then 2nd Jacqui Taylor’s action image of a squabbling group of ‘Wild Dogs.’ The winning shot being a very tightly cropped and splendidly sharp outdoor monochrome portrait by Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell of an English infantryman from the Waterloo period appropriately entitled ‘Death To The French.’

Continuing the military theme some images that should be mentioned in despatches and that possibly went somewhat un-rewarded included a most creative and thought provoking composite from our Joint Chairman Leo Southern ‘Fight for Freedom’ which I hope we will be seeing again. Barbara Nowell’s ‘Children’s Help Needed’. A line of brightly coloured kids wheelbarrows and watering cans – well seen and needing only a few tiny tweaks to have been a winner and right at the end of the evening Fiona Gurr’s excellent ‘Big Waterfall, Tiny People.’ A towering waterfall rendered all the more impressive by the inclusion of a scattering of brightly dressed but minute tourists to give a scale to the image. Rosemary gave her close-up of a cactus the familiar "Wenzerul Wiggle" treatment often so effective on her landscapes. Particularly clever here as I don't think the judge realised it had been worked on, surely the sign of a gifted technician.

The final score sheet attests to the fact that nearly everyone feels they have to enter three images. Not doing so has of course a bearing on the final league positions at the end of the year but when these are published it is also made clear how many pictures any one author has entered. It should not be thought of as mandatory to always have to enter three. There are many club members – actually over half of you – that have very interesting photographs in their collections and on their phones that we never see. My vision of the perfect club night would be not so much the number of images shown but to see forty authors represented. It’s not just about competition and you all know that no one ever laughs and we don’t use judges that are rude. Give it a go.

Winning Images

Opening Night: Holiday Snaps 6th September 2018

Considering we were still actually in the holiday period for the age demographic of most members, we had a good attendance at our annual Holiday Snaps night. Dave Hipperson frightened everyone by standing up at the start and explaining (for the few that hadn’t been at the AGM a couple of months previous) that the club was now under new management. Thankfully not his! He and Sue had however taken over the job of Programme Sec. and to this end circulated a small survey asking for feedback on judge popularity. Thanks to the enthusiastic take-up on this it has provided invaluable information. In the absence of Miranda Steward, Joint Chairman Leo Southern handled the rest of the evening. For a man that had professed to have little experience of public speaking he made a perfectly adequate job of it including the most difficult bit – the half time break refreshment order. He also reminded us that it would help if a few more people came along a little before time to help with assembling equipment and putting out the chairs as well as staying behind at the end to tidy up. He went on to explain that Miranda was positively looking for people that would like a crack at judging. Feel free to approach either her or Dave H on this.

With Jeremy at the controls of the computer we were then treated to many and various holiday images from numerous club members. Barbara had discovered Peregrine Falcons nesting on the spire of Norwich Cathedral – a tricky subject. Rod Fricker had a huge array of interesting images from his recent visit to Macedonia. The country is itself somewhat of an enigma being currently in territorial conflict with it’s southern neighbour Greece and squeezed between the northern part of that country and Serbia and Bulgaria. Much of Rod & Maggie’s activities centred on Skopje the capital in the north and thanks to his knowledgeable and enthusiastic commentary Rod’s sixty or so images gave us a feel for various aspects of this rather undiscovered country. This included learning that they are using red double-decker buses bought from the UK and in Rods pictures they looked perfectly at home and rather reassuring.

Jacqui presented us with a varied collection of natural history pictures from Africa of which the stand out shots were very definitely of giraffes many of which she had captured performing the most extraordinary antics in the name of play fighting plus some very evocative images of the same animals at rest, often attractively reflected in pools of water. Clearly the Giraffe is an under-rated subject for photography

Terry had submitted a collection of montages made up from pictures taken at motor races he had visited during the Summer. This encouraged mostly the male members of the audience to attempt recognising various antique marques and argue about who was right! With no one present to say one way or the other, as the author was, on this night, still recovering from eye surgery, the dispute remained unresolved.

Jeremy showed us some striking images he had taken from the 'Celebration of St Alban'. Huge-headed colourful puppets commemorating the Roman execution of St Alban in the seventh century, paraded the streets up to the Cathedral where the deed had taken place. Indeed the cathedral was built to commemorate this very execution as soon as the Romans under Emperor Constantine had retreated.

Jeremy filled the rest of the evening successfully with a foretaste of the images from which he was selecting Rose Bowl entries. First comp night is next week Open PDIs and it is entirely possible, for various reasons, that we may have two judges – but I hope not. Oh, I so hope not!

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