News - 2018/19

Print League, Round 3. Judge Paul Burwood (Field End CC) 10th January 2019

It is a rare occasion, possibly unique, when an image quite clearly is the winner of the night long before the judge has pontificated. So it was at the 3rd Print round when Dean Tyler’s print "Together Alone" was put up on the display boards. Only occasionally does one see an image of this quality. Perfection both from close up and possibly even more so from the back of the room. Wonderful light – no actually a rather dull day, colossal amounts of complex work in photo shop, no pretty much as it came out of the camera. What a huge encouragement for us all to shoot more landscape but more of this anon.

Paul Burwood was a new judge to us. In fact he is a new judge to pretty much everyone having only started in earnest at the beginning of 2018. Could be he was a tiny bit nervous and stiff however the finished result – i.e. the points and the positions no one could argue with and he certainly did come over with a few nice observations including the idea of using a lower shutter speed on David Butler’s Lowry-esque image of the concourse at Waterloo station. This would, he thought, have blurred most of the action and left the few individuals that might have been stationery watching the departure board, sharp by contrast.

He had a relatively small entry of thirty two prints to deal with and his technique of running through them scoring 17 down to a sensible 14 and holding back the rest - nearly half the entry - worked well. In effect this created a second round where we could all see them again. John Jennings' "Marilyn" was the only entry to escape this, being awarded an 18 on the first run through. Thirteen others came up for a second inspection. Jeremy’s "Burnt and Battered" Brighton Pier and his "Trees Trapped in Travertine", a material Paul knew and I had never heard of, Chris Gilbert’s "Flam, Norway", and David Butler’s shot straight up the outside of "One World Trade Centre" all received 18s as did John Jennings rather saucy but attractive "Oops" along with Peter Winter’s different sort of bird "Spoonbill."

So far so good. With the remaining seven prints all displayed together on the top of the right hand stand we quickly realised that all three of Dean Tyler’s were still in the running! Even more interesting after three others were eliminated with19s, once again Peter Winter and his "Leopard", Connie Fitzgerald’s very cleanly captured "Summer Bee", and "Money Plant Flowers" from Chris Gilbert, a subtle rendition of a very rarely seen bloom on one of our most popular indoor plants.

This left four images and only one of them wasn’t Dean’s. This was an atmospheric townscape of a colourful village on Portugal’s part of the Douro River "Along the Douro River" which Chris Gilbert had snapped whilst actually sailing past it. It and the other three from Dean were all awarded 20s. So Dean Tyler had scored a maximum of 60 points which is not something done very often: the question was would he also finish up with the top three places?

It didn’t quite happen. His "Surf Cycle" receding wave beach shot was pipped by Chris’s "Douro". However all evening the magnificent "Together Alone" had sat on the stand defying anyone to even come close. It is an incredible image taken over a lake on a dull day with a single tree in leaf curving through the foreground, filling the sky, but not overlapping the hills on either side. A lone white swan floats majestically bang on the third on the right. Especially from some way back there is a overwhelming sense that one’s eye is being drawn to a pinpoint in the centre where horizon, hill sides and tree all coincide. There couldn’t have been a person in the room that did not agree that this was the picture of the night with Dean’s "Winter Silhouettes" being 2nd.

A fine and dramatic finish and I said at the start strong encouragement to the landscape photographer that lurks in us all.

Winning Images

The John Woodworth Trophy. Judge Alan Taberer (ImageZ) 3rd January 2019

The first evening back after Christmas was a departure and judging from the copious quantities of images entered, a popular one. It was a clever and interesting formula as well as a highly appropriate commemoration for one of our most popular members John Woodworth from whom we were separated last year.

Each individual was allowed their usual three PDI entries but one had to be a Landscape, one had to be of People or a Portrait and one had to be a Monochrome. The event attracted fifty three images (short of the fifty four as one author had only entered two). The competition was split into three sections with all the scores being added up at the end to decide a winner. Alan Taberer who had helped us out earlier in the year with a short notice booking when a judge fell ill, had been booked for this for some time. I had asked him deliberately as I felt he had the flexibility to be able to handle this slightly unconventional arrangement and some presence befitting of an important occasion.

John had been lost not long ago and was universally popular and is genuinely missed. The idea for the subjects came from examining his favourite categories. These three seemed to emerge through his very all-round canon of work.

Right away Alan set the correct benchmark for score range by awarding an image which didn’t really comply with the landscape definition a 13. However the author should not be chastised too harshly as a shot of a large house in twilight illuminated by thousands of Christmas lights was most seasonal. There was also to be another 13 later. Happily this meant that people that got 15, and there were quite a few, were nowhere near bottom as indeed it should be. He maintained this steady hand right through the evening too. No kink in the scores after the tea break which is so often the case

In the Landscape section Jacqui Taylor, David Butler, Sue Anderson and Fiona Gurr’s entries were held back. Fiona’s great elongated and informative shot, thanks to the foreground detail, of the “Golden Gate Bridge” was awarded 18, David Butler’s “New England Light House” a 19 as was Sue Anderson’s very clean “Brisbane” cityscape. Winner of this section was then Jacqui Taylor’s “Cappodocia”. A popular angle on these iconic Turkish cave dwellings. The judge was not aware that the caves were inhabited until a voice from the audience, a first time visitor to the club, Seyhan Jones, piped up gently. Turned out she was actually Turkish and knew this area well. Good interruption, hope she joins.

The second section was devoted to Monochrome. Four held back this time. A very inventive close up shot of a roof detail “Lead flashing” by Barbara Novell scored 18. Terry Day’s “Peaceful Summer’s Day” a shot with a very comfortable country feel benefitting from some of Terry’s ‘magic fluence’ a 19. Also a19 for Connie Fitzgerald’s wittily captioned “Lines in a Book”. A photograph of the edges of a collection of open hard bound volumes. You don’t have to go to the other side of the World to take pictures like this – many are waiting for you in your living room. Top of the shop on this occasion was Graham Hutchinson’s captivating portrait of “Tony” Such a startled expression and with all the details sharp in every bit of his impressive white beard. Cleary the best Monochrome.

There were a number of previously seen portrait type shots evident in the People section. “Bejeweled” by Chris Gilbert and “Cigar Lady” from Fiona Gurr both excellent and received 18s. Chris Anderson produced a intriguing mirror shot “Selfies”. He was clearly in it as was his wife Sue. The important thing was that he had removed some of the edges to the various distorting mirrors so the picture asked the viewer to examine more closely. Very Alice Through The Looking Glass and a 17. Of the three Alan held back, two used graffiti or poster backgrounds to heighten their effect. Sue Anderson (again) capturing an individual passing a complex array of graffiti/posters all of which demanded attention. She scored a 19. Sue Hipperson and Connie Fitzgerald both were awarded 20s. Connie’s image of a group of people negotiating three different sets of revolving doors improved still further by a soft surreal treatment. Sue Hipperson had managed to catch an entertainingly dressed fellow below a poster of Bob Dylan looking slightly disapprovingly at him. A case of the poster looking at the person.

When scores from the three categories were totalled, done speedily by Jeremy, Connie had won with 56, Sue Anderson a close second 54 and a four way tie for 3rd between Graham Hutchinson, Sue Hipperson, Chris Gilbert and Jacqui Taylor all with 52.

The very attractive John Woodworth Trophy was duly awarded by his wife who then gave a genuine sounding speech that explained to us how John had been very taken up with photography but she had never realised quite why and how much fun a club evening could be. She was going straight home to put batteries in her camera! Result I think and a great way to cap the celebration of the life and works of such an excellent fellow as John. Although we will never have anyone like him again his event will doubtless be much enjoyed for years to come.

Winning Images

Christmas Social 13 December 2018

An excellent, and well-attended, social! Many thanks to Barbara, Martin and Chris for all their hard work in organising it, and to the Sunshine Ukulele Band for the musical entertainment.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Projected Image League, Round 3. Judge Damon Guy (Marlow CC) 6th December 2018

With both our joint chairmen unwell it was left to the old team of Rod and Maggie Fricker to step in and host our third PDI round. No one would have guessed they didn’t do this every week it was such a comfortable and seamless performance.

Norman Marshall should be mentioned immediately: having submitted images for almost everything this year, he had his best ever PDI result with a 17 for his “In Bloom” and a 19 for “Water Lilies” after it was held back. We can always expect a wide variety of images from Norman, an enthusiastic photographer, even though we might draw a veil over his slightly less successful “Acrobatic Partridge”!

With an entry of more than forty there was scope to extend the scores down to 12 or 13. As it was, a dozen or so were grouped in the 15-16 range and none lower. With so little separation authors get poor perspective on how they rate amongst their peers, which after all is what competition is supposed to be about. The lower places are just as important, if not more so, than the top handful of winners. There wasn’t just a handful of them either: no less than a dozen were held back. After low scoring at the start including Chris Gilbert’s excellent “Flambeau” squeezing only a 17, we wondered what was coming.

There would obviously have to be many19s and 20s but to be fair I thought Damon was spot on with his top three and their order. However before that there were eight 19s. "Allium” and “The Departed” from Connie Fitzgerald, “Red Kite” by Fiona Gurr, the aforementioned “Water Lilies” from Norman, and the excellent “Tiger Ranthambore” from Jacqui Taylor (made all the more moving by the inclusion of the animal’s wet and upturned paw) were joined by an atmospheric storm-lit landscape, “Rain Approaching” from Barbara Nowell and Chris's third entry “Dew Covered Clematis” looking much like an elaborate item of priceless jewellery.

So from his selection of five 20s, Damon Guy left John Jennings’ “In the Mirror” portrait and another one from Chris “Sea Shell Medley” tying at 4th. Third was Dean Tyler’s “Isolation”, a study of the island in Derwent Water taken from the beach at Keswick, John came second with a wonderful portrait of a lady trumpet player “Melody” and the winner was a clever street shot by Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell of the new BBC Building highlighting the complementary blues and oranges of the lighting further enhanced, as is usually the case, by the wet paving. “Auntie” was a stand-out shot which the author had either tilted slightly or left tilted. Whichever, it was a very brave move to show it thus, but one which definitely worked and could have been that tiny extra component that gave him the win.

So as mentioned at the start the order of the top images was perfectly acceptable but a wider spread would illustrate the tangible difference in quality and hence better help the authors. It’s what improves the breed.

Winning Images

NW Fed Round 3 at Harrow. Judge: Amanda Wright (Ealing & HH PS) 4th December 2018

Unfortunately we did not manage to progress to the semi-final of the NW Fed this year. As a consolation though, we did collect a couple more stars last night, with Peter Winter’s print “Jay with Hazel Nut” and Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell's PDI “Hat and Hands”.

Results
 Park StreetHarrowHemel Hempstead
Projected Images 899585
Prints 889188
Total for Round 3 177186173
Brought Forward 220215210
Totals after 3 Rounds576581558

 
Full results here

NW Fed Round 2 at Park Street. Judge: Cat Humphries (Croxley CC) 29th November 2018

Another new judge for us and another very enjoyable night. We were ranged against Harrow and Hemel Hempstead in the third event in the first round for a place in the semi finals. It was good to see Harrow represented by the Julia Wainwright and her husband. Those that attended the Visions event the week before will recall Julia scoring two 20s and a 19 and still not winning, being pipped in the tie break by Teresa Hehir. It was also more than fortunate Julia came along as she brought Hemel Hempstead’s prints!

We had none of us heard Cat Humphries judge before. She has been on the circuit for little more than a year. From the start it was clear that she could do the job. Very knowledgeable and enthusiastic without ever being dogmatic or bossy.

It was expected the final result would be close. Park Street was very consistent in the PDIs whereas Harrow had an unlucky 15 ('Sweet Chestnut' by Judith Gimber) which might have deserved better, but compensated with two twenties. Hemel Hempstead on the other hand struggled a bit with their best only a 19 ('Isis' by John Humphries) and then an early 15 ('Allium Buds' by Ian Shaw). Ian used to judge for us: the reason we have not seen him of late is that following minor eye surgery, although he can see photographs fine, he doesn’t feel confident driving in the dark – a pity.) Hemel also scored two 16s which let them down.

Of the top projected images Harrow’s very talented Dave Martin impressed Cat with his ‘Resting Chalkhill Blues’ butterflies (19) and highly artistic ‘Spring Pasque Flower’ (20). Julia Wainwright backing this with her ‘Juvenile Avocet with Flies’ another 20. The judge here was so right to explain the importance of the title. The proliferation of small back dots could have been mistaken for specks on the sensor and it’s always worth making sure judges knows what they are looking at! The only other PDi held back was the already mentioned ‘Iris’ by Hemel Hempstead’s John Humphrey (19). At the end of the first half (the PDIs) Harrow and ourselves were close at 91 and 88 respectively but Hemel well off the pace with 83 total.

After tea the prints and almost the reverse. Hemel had three of their five held back! Two from Harrow were also held back. For us Chris Gilbert scored an immediate 20 with his ‘Wild Carrot Seed Head’. Although generally scoring slightly higher the prints collected fewer 20s and Harrow slipped away a bit at this stage. Achieving two 20s 'Frozen in Flight’ by Avril Candler – a sensational capture of a humming bird and 'Wild Fox of Zandvoort' by Julia Wainwright they also had two 16s – bottom score for a print on this night. More consistency again from us with the previously mention 20 by Chris Gilbert aided by 'Wren Singing' by Peter Winter (19) 'Man at the Market' by Terry Day (18) supported by a couple of 17s from John & Connie. Very solid, well done the selector. I was discussing this scoring business with Peter Prosser not long ago and we worked out if you could go through life achieving only 17s you would win a whole lot of comps not to mention annual leagues.

However Hemel were not finished. Their prints did best of all. 'Artemis Fauna' a most tasteful artistic nude from Rob Harley scoring their only 20 but backed up by another from him, an imaginative silhouette taken at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club and John Humphrey’s strong if somewhat bleached-out 'London Skyline.' They both collected 19. 'Wave', once again from John Humphrey, was scored an 18. A very big total of 92.

That round went to Hemel Hempstead by a point over us, with Harrow two points lower. All very close. The final scores equated to a slim victory for Harrow with 180, Park Street 179 and Hemel Hempstead 175. Possibly the star of the show being our judge Cat Humphries, who simply could not have done it better.

Results
 Park StreetHarrowHemel Hempstead
Projected Images 889183
Prints 918992
Total for Round 2 179180175
Brought Forward 220215210
Totals after 2 Rounds399395385

Full results here

Talk: ‘Stay longer - See more’ by Steve Brabner 22nd November 2018

Steve had been to our club before but not for quite a time. On that last occasion he had given a talk about his exploits on his trusty Harley Davidson. This he explained had now gone but his trips are none the less just as interesting. He had realised how useful it was when contemplating a photographic study of an area to take ones time and not rush it. This talk focused on two one month long trips. One to New York and the other to French Polynesia or Tahiti as it’s major island is more commonly known.

For New York, a city he clearly loved and had indeed lived in for a short while back in the ‘90s, he and his wife booked an apartment for a month, an idea he thoroughly recommends. They then explored the lesser know areas deliberately avoiding Times Square simply because it is always full of tourists! With the use of the occasional map Steve was able to teach us a great deal about the geography and where exactly all these iconic buildings actually stood relative to one another. We all must have thought we had known a bit about this city but I for one learned more from Steve in less than an hour than I ever knew before.

His interesting observation about the acoustics for instance. All that concrete and brick creating canyons for the sounds – already considerable – to echo and reverberate and become even more intense. All part of the city experience that Steve and his wife have grown to love. He was also quick to defend any idea that NY was in anyway dangerous to the visitor. He saw no evidence for this and at all times felt comfortable walking around day or night.

Photographically, as well as the great pictures, from and of, tall buildings various and atmospheric images of behind the scenes city life Steve had managed a wonderful shot of the Manhattan skyline from the craft that takes trips around the island – as it is indeed an island. Long exposures not easy from moving boats as we know. He admitted he took quite few before finalising on this best one to show us. A unique perspective on a city we all now know better and are more likely to visit as a consequence. However the evening was anything but over.

The second half might in some ways have been still more stunning. A few years ago he had splashed out on a month long trip to the French Polynesian Islands. Having been a colony of the French for so long the majority of the tourists that there were, were indeed French. Everyone else spoke perfect English but not the tourists! Tahiti was the first stop after a seven hour flight from the west coast of the United States. Staying in some first class luxury beach side cottages they explored both this island but also Mo’orea close by to the north west – just a short boat trip. Further time was spent on the more popular tourist island of Bora Bora where the first of the geologically marvellous circular barrier reefs were to be seen. Bora Bora is the site of a long since dead and collapsed volcano. The circular land part of it being what was left of the rim – just a few meters above the sea. The reef protecting it being some kilometre or so further out in the Pacific Ocean. Many such features are the norm. in this part of the world. Indeed on a detailed map the area looks much like a collection of lakes within the Ocean rather than islands at all. However Bora Bora is unique in having it’s granite core still prominent in the very centre of the lagoon. Hence the accommodations, many that stand in the lagoon itself, facing inward towards the best scenery. The silver white beaches giving shallow light blue water in all directions.

Here they were able to swim from their accommodation and thanks to some glass flooring to the cabin, look straight down into the water from indoors. Having mentioned that they were celebrating their wedding anniversary, paid off handsomely when a slight booking glitch on exactly what ‘hut’ they were to have meant that the management felt obliged to compensate them with free evening meals for their entire stay. This was a tidy sum bearing in mind a typical meal at that time of day would be in the region of £90 for two!

After a week’s stay there and a short trip to see Huahine-Iti to the east they travelled a few hours by air to the Ranagiroa Atoll in the north east. The largest of a group of six or seven such atolls in that area. An incredible circular strip of land containing a lagoon some 70 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide. Once again the entire system being protected by a barrier reef which gave a unique perspective for photographs. Many of these Steve took had been given a narrow white border. Inside this, the foreground landscape was separated from the distance and the sky by what on first glance looked like another similar white line drawn across the image on the third. However on closer inspection this line was natural - formed by the white breaking waves on the distant barrier reef! A most striking presentation and quite contrary to convention.

Their stay on Ranagiroa was centred on Avatoru in the North but whilst there they were taken by very fast boat to Pink Sands at Moto Tevaron in the South, the other end of the atoll. This necessitated being at full speed in a small open skiff for something like an hour and a half and of course this stretch of water, enclosed though it is, was still large enough to get quite choppy. The ride was exhilarating especially when the pirate like captain and his mate explained how shallow the water and how hard and sharp the coral they were skimming over was! Steve still reckoned this destination was the closest to what he would consider to be his idyllic Pacific island retreat.

At a narrow spot where the open Pacific could get through a small gap in the reef they held surfing competitions. Judges and photographers alike we able to stand on dry land but still very close to the huge rolling breakers. One of Steve’s pictures looked to all the world as if he had been out there on a board with them he was so close to the action.

It had been a delightful travelogue accompanied by sensation images. Plenty of questions after the talk but the two that were really eating away at the audience but out of politeness were not asked were:- How a man that appeared to be in his 50s could possibly have been celebrating his 40th Wedding anniversary a few years ago? Had he got married at 10? And, just how much did the Tahiti trip cost? Well the fact is that that ‘young’ guy is 67! And the French Polynesian trip would have cost the best part of £15,000 even a few years ago! Steve is quick to point out that they did go for the most luxurious options. It can be done much cheaper.

Steve has another presentation entitled Taking and Making Images – his journey through photography since the 70s. I for one will be looking forward to hearing that. A very enjoyable and informative night – it felt I had actually been there.

XRR Visions 21st November 2018

XRR Camera Club has run Visions for 34 years, and I think it remains a unique competition in the Chilterns Federation. Entry is open to individuals who upload 3 PDIs, but then clubs can select 3 members who have entered to represent the club. This year 113 people entered, and the format for the evening is designed to cater for such numbers. Each of your entries goes into a separate round, with the entrant nominating one image for the 3rd "tiebreaker" round. The judge scores the first two rounds in advance and they are shown as AVs, each image coming up followed by title, author and score. Round 3 is judged "live" with commentary in the usual way, albeit somewhat faster than we are used to!

This year's judge was Paul Radden LRPS DPAGB EFIAP PSA2*and scores ranged from 12 to 20 with a quite impressive distribution of the number of images with each of the scores. However, it must be said that over half of the 20s were wildlife (same with the 19s) and so-called creative images didn't get much support.

Park Street entrants were Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell, Jacqui Taylor and John Jennings (chosen as the club team), Dave and Sue Hipperson and Connie Fitzgerald. Park Street team came a very respectable 6th of 16 clubs with 152. Amersham won on tiebreak, with Harrow and Maidenhead also scoring 158. We beat, amongst others, Harpenden, Watford and New City, so a very decent result. Jeremy was joint 14th, our leading individual.

As ever, this is a great opportunity to see a good number of our fellow photographers and their images and hats off to XRR for running it.

People Cups - Judge: Michael Lurie (Pinner CC) 15 November 2018

Another new judge for us, Michael Lurie, until recently the Chairman of Pinner Camera Club and judging for only a short while. However the impression he gave was of someone confident in both photography and critiquing. With a relaxed manner, a pleasant demeanour and a friendly delivery this was clearly going to be a comfortable evening.

It was our annual ‘People’ competition. Slightly less well entered numerically than of late and it has to be said the general standard was not quite up to our usual level either. With both prints and projected pictures to examine, thirty projected and fourteen prints, the workload was perfect for someone who clearly had plenty to say. After all this is still far more than at a typical North West Fed. elimination round where we see only thirty six, eighteen of each, prints and projected.

Of the PDIs Michael held back seven. However during the judging he had already awarded an 18 to John Jennings’ ‘Nikki’s Hat’. Then a slight fluff on behalf of us the organisation. The tea break was called before Michael was able to finalise the winners from the finalists. This meant that some dramatic momentum was lost but much worse than that the thumbnails were left projected and above them the authors' names! Oh please don’t do this. To be fair we judges have a way of automatically shutting out this sort of information and most of the time the authors' names will not be known to us personally anyway. The problem is that if they are, then we do, with all the will in the world, tend to compensate in the other direction. Almost as bad.

Anyway Michael was well on top of all this and after tea zipped through the thumbnails. Fiona Gurr’s ‘Boardwalk’- visitors streaming across a man made walkway in Yellowstone - received an 18, as did Sue Hipperson’s ‘A Tip of the Cap’, a picture taken at a recent ‘studio’ session night. He was right about the rather assertive right hand. Rosemary Wenzerul scored a 19 with her ‘Taking a Break’.

This left him with three, which he awarded 20s. They came up on the screen with the author’s names again. That really was a pity – it mattered much more now. Sue Hipperson’s ‘Too Much Partying’ a very young lad asleep on a couch still grasping the evil beverage that had done him all the damage was 3rd. No Photoshop, just Physical-Shop: she put the bottle in his hand while he was unconscious. Talk about planting evidence! Dave Hipperson’s simple out-door, natural but diffused winter light shot of his friend Spencer was 2nd, Spencer being one of those people of whom it is practically impossible to get a bad portrait. Quite properly however John Jennings' lovely ‘Ecce’ studio shot stole the show to win the Projected trophy.

Still plenty of time for the prints. Five were held back, Chris Gilbert’s delicate 'Tarrot Reader' scoring 19 as did Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell’s ‘Byzantine Fashion’. In third place was once again John Jennings, this time with an atmospheric and well composed ‘Drinking Alone’, a simple image that said so much. Then in 2nd place Terry Day’s very sharp ‘Having a Break’ street shot. Once again John topped the list with another one of his multiple flash/long exposures, in this case 8 seconds, of a dancer leaping on stage.

OK so your reporter was 2nd, his wife Sue was 3rd so the judge must be alright. Actually that is not how it is. To obtain a fair final result many things are involved, the score allocated to the first image being one of them. It sets the level for the entire contest. Michael got this right, (judging mine down to a 16 – absolutely right for the standard on the night). Then he was able to see that there was a wide spread of quality in the projected contest and scored down to 13. Actually Leo’s ‘Projecting My Thoughts’ would probably have not had my vote for the last place there but at least there was a last place. At the previous event we had no less than ten people tied at the bottom. Not helpful. Michael was quite firm with his opinions but explained them clearly and was happy to differentiate between images he didn’t like because of their content and images that were poorly composed, taken or badly presented. This is much more difficult to do ‘on the hoof’ than it might appear. Agreed he did occasionally stray into suggestions about pixilation and sharpening that were probably best left un-said as they didn’t exist, but as a judge with only a year or two of experience I would think he is on course for being one of our very best.

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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