Some pictures from the Annual Dinner - 23 June 2016
A good time was had by 44 Members and guests at the Annual Dinner, held once again at the OA's Sports Club, and there were lots of cups and awards for our guest of honour, Stan McCartin, to present.
PRINT OF THE YEAR PSCC. Judge: Peter Prosser - 16 June 2016
The evening started on a high with news from Sue Anderson that we had won the interclub event held by Potters Bar the week before. The victory was achieved by the simple expedient of having the best images and, judging by the margin, a whopping seven points ahead of the next club, the best by quite a long way. So congratulations are due to the authors John Woodworth, Chris Gilbert, Helen Winter, Fiona Gurr, Jeremy Mitchell, Rosemary Wenzerul and John Jennings. However it should not be forgotten that these images had to be selected by someone. Sue A. had done this and clearly done it well. It is never easy. She would have had to have selected from a set number of authors and thus knew the personalities behind the pictures. When you are a judge or selector this is pretty much the last thing you want to know particularly if they are your club mates! The Potters Bar Trophy which she presented to the club should surely be hers for the year.
So to the main event. Peter Prosser was on hand to decide the best print of the year and had just over 60 to work through. It was quite a challenge logistically handing and displaying that number. Peter held back about a third of them and then went through these further eliminating. The mood and demeanour of the judge can have a considerable bearing on the overall success of an evening even before the positions are determined. One certainly got the impression that Peter enjoyed this process and was looking hard and seeing plenty particularly on the artistic side.
Dean Tyler, Terry Day and Connie Fitzgerald all had four each of their images held back along with two of John Jennings' and numerous others. Peter was quite right when he explained how difficult it was to select at this final stage as of course our pictures had come from events throughout the year many on different themes. It was a very mixed field of subjects. In the circumstances it was appropriate that he should insist on commending no less than eight. However the top five were from just two authors! 'Canary Wharf' and 'Silo' both highly commended were Terry Day's and John Jennings took both 3rd and 2nd place with 'Remembrance' and 'Curls'.
John's 'Curls' was a full on, pretty well perfectly lit portrait which had stood out from the other images all evening. Striking compositions such as this of a lady with an excellent face and bronze tight curled hair can often do this in the company of a mixed entry of prints. However at the end Peter had to decide on whether it or a very clever composite by Terry 'Rope Factory - Chatham Dockyard' should be the top print. He went with Terry's Rope Factory. Terry has been entertaining us with this interesting style of photography for some time and tonight he had been rewarded by a judge that was connected enough to want to really look into the pictures. If you get a chance and didn't see them for long enough on the night I would recommend a really careful look at both 'Rope Factory' and Terry's highly commended 'Silos'. Particularly 'Silos'. Just don't ask me how it does it!
POTTERS BAR TROPHY 2016
The Potters Bar Trophy competition took place this year on 13th June. Six clubs took part, entering 8 images each; Potters Bar, Loughton, St Albans, Southgate, Enfield and Park Street and as was to be expected, the standard was very high. Roger Winter the judge awarded points between 13 and 20, awarding five '20's in all, and four of these went to Park Street members, "Down to the last Three" by Fiona Gurr, St Paul's Impression' by Chris Gilbert, 'Svalbard Northern Lights' by Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell, and John Woodworth's 'Waiting for the Guests'. Helen Winter's 'Getting ready to hunt' was close behind with 19, while our other three images by Rosemary Wenzerul, John Woodworth and John Jennings, scored 17 each. These excellent marks meant that Park Street took the Trophy this year, seven points ahead of Potters Bar who came second. Congratulations to all of our team, what a great result!
Projected Image Of The Year 2015-6. Judge: Paul Mitchell FRPS (Amersham PS) - 9th June 2016
56 images were projected and on the first showing Paul surmised that it was going to be tough for he was looking for the 'best of the best'. No scores were needed; nevertheless he was forced to ponder long and hard before deciding 'in' or 'out', before holding 13 back for final awards.
A second long hard look reduced that number to 6 and decision time resulted in 3 highly commended and 3 places. The first HC was awarded to Jeremy Fraser- Mitchell's 'Skogarfoss', a solitary bird in flight set against a striking background of a misty waterfall. Fiona Gurr's 'People in a Purple Passage' depicted a receding underground tunnel, softly lit in mauve, punctuated with two perfectly located figures, one at each end, beautifully composed. Fiona's second contender, 'Liberated' showed a gazebo inhabited by a lady, suitably attired and scaled to match that of the structure. It was not to be Fiona's triumphal evening after all, when Paul announced his final placings. In third position came Connie Fitzgerald's 'Too And Fro', a cleverly contrived triptych, of three birds in flight, beaten into second place by John Woodworth's superbly lit 'Scottish Lake'.
This left Connie's 'Boys on The Beach' to take the trophy, a seemingly innocent middle distance shot of eight boys strung out along an anonymous strand but nicely worked on to produce an attractive Loweryesque result. Well done Connie! Unfortunately she was on holiday in Ireland and unable to receive the cup and she also missed out on a master-class in Paul's judging. Thank you Paul!
Members' Evening - 2nd June 2016
As a break from the competitions a collection of Park Street members presented a series of short but informative pieces at our first meeting of June.
Martin Wise had discovered some useful software which will do much of the job of Photoshop. Martin reminded us that Adobe's products are getting very expensive and in some cases available only on monthly rental from the 'Cloud'. The PhotoPlus supplied by Serif for less than £60 and the Starter Edition is free; for Mac users Affinity Photo does the same job. Once purchased it's yours, no one can take it away or alter it behind your back! Martin uses the former in conjunction with his FastStone Image Viewer. All these are available on free trial.
In his lifelong quest to get us all submitting AVs. Rod Fricker showed a portion of a video dedicated to understanding and using the Audacity suite for audio editing. Rod has, on numerous occasions, admitted that it is much easier to fit the picture images to a finished piece of background music/commentary rather than the other way around. Hence a basic understanding of Audacity could be very useful and if nothing else Rod's presentation illustrated perfectly how an explanation of almost everything is covered somewhere on an instructional video. One only has to poke around a bit. Furthermore you can keep running it over and over, and pause it while you catch up.
John Jennings has been sending submissions in to British Photographic Exhibitions and has unsurprisingly received some acceptances. He explained how their system worked and how over a period of time one can accrue enough points to be awarded B.P.E distinctions. He also pointed out how useful the system was, as although the same image could not be used again in the same exhibition, as there are something like twenty each year, it could appear again in a different one. Hence John has used our club events and comments from visiting judges to adjust some of his work and try them again with success.
The successful 'Panel of Three' event held a week or two ago had re-kindled a dormant interest in this genre for Dave Hipperson. He explained that he had had a good time competing in this class while he was in the Harrow club. Indeed that club have a well developed event, the John King Trophy, that they hold every year for Panels and Montages and subsequently have produced some classy material. Dave had been lucky enough to obtain some samples of this from John Draper, Stan McCartin and Dave Martin and showed them. He also demonstrated his quite straight forward technique for creating montages himself and put the beginnings of a simple one together right there and then and also circulated a couple of successful prints on the same theme. Dave admitted that this was the very first time he had attempted to operate a laptop 'in public' as it were. Everyone there could connect with how much more difficult it is when people are watching! Despite a momentary hitch with a misbehaving mouse, fixed by wife Sue, the presentation went alright.
To round off the evening John came back and showed how all and any level of instructional videos are available on the internet. To illustrate the point he chose a relatively straight forward task. A video by an enthusiastic American who, as our Vice Chairman pointed out afterwards, sounded engagingly like Kermit the Frog, explaining how to remove an unwanted face in the background of a group shot. Using a vast array of what he referred to as basic and old fashioned tools and applying them with the dexterity of a brain surgeon he removed the face in a few minutes. A function that could quite possibly have been tackled more simply and in a tenth of the time with the cloning tool alone. Such are Americans - never use one when of anything when a thousand will do. We were left wondering what might have been the outcome had he resorted to complex and new fangled tools!
Altogether a thoroughly entertaining and enlightening evening with all the 'acts' dovetailing in one after another and with the minimum of delay or hitches. A refreshing change from competition nights where everyone has to be on their best behaviour and keep quiet.
Photographer of the Year 2015-16
With all the regular competitions complete, we now know the identiy of this year's Photographer of the Year, and for the second year in succession, the winner is Connie, with Chris Gilbert barely a whisker behind.
Fun Competition: "Panel of Three". Judge: Stan McCartin LRPS CPAGB APAGB (Harrow CC). 12 May 2016
Somewhat of a departure for Park Street. One of the last competition evenings of year Rod and Maggie had had the bright idea of switching the traditional 'Match That' event to a panel of three PDI competition. This was particularly appropriate as we had already booked Stan McCartin to judge the night. Stan has had considerable experience with this format through his association with Harrow Camera Club who run an annual event for such compositions.
Compositions they were too as despite this being a first time try out no less than thirteen put forward entries in many and varied styles, but of a universally high standard. Indeed Rod Fricker himself was heard to remark before the event that the entire entry was far more creative than he was expecting!
With just thirteen main images to inspect, even though the individual shots were also examined separately, Stan had time to show us some previously successful ideas of his own including some excellent triptych ideas. Your reporter can vouch for their authenticity as I recall a number of them when I was at Harrow a few years ago. He explained that their small prints competition was born in the days of film when the contestants were allowed to submit twelve exposures all on the same roll. The Club would process them and return en-prints to the members on the night of the event and right there and then they had to construct a panel or really rather more correctly a montage. There was much cutting and pasting in real time and space! Great fun. It was then that they (HCC) obtained the services of the most wonderful and now sadly late Peter Jackman to judge the competition. It was partly his influence, I believe, that led to the development of the contest into "The Panel of Small Prints" which it is today. This is a print event but of course can be produced on the computer digitally thus giving the contestant enormous scope for creative work. Some of the montages HCC have produced are an absolute joy with the very imaginative John Draper often winning and more recently I believe Dave Martin. Works from both of them are well worth searching out.
We were limited to just three images although I notice some contestants (including me) included a fourth as background! There wasn't a duff entry amongst them and Stan was on his usually amusing form with his comments. One single image from Chris Anderson attracted particular interest as part of his 'Circles' entry. It was a huge ring of lights in a cathedral which someone said quite rightly looked like a giant ring flash or possibly a portal into another world. Most appropriate in that setting.
Connie Fitzgerald's delicate triptych of petals was highly commended. A summertime study of canal life by myself came third. (I have to own up to having had some experience with this format before of course so I should probably have done better!) Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell's study of ice worked very well indeed particularly the formal fine rules around the individual images. Rod Fricker presented a comparatively traditional study of three portrait cameos. Three ladies performing in a stage presentation that he was lighting at the time. Stan was particularly taken with their expressions and was able to read into them quite a story. Skilled observation on his part. Rod's win was universally popular despite the entire competition being his idea! Another excellent PSCC evening. Hopefully we will repeat the process next year.
Two Talks by PSCC Members- 2nd May 2016
The Early Years of Photography 1800-1924 by Terry Day LRPS
Terry had previously presented this talk to Borehamwood's U3A History Group. Given the severe time-limit Terry successfully traversed a large time-scale starting with Niepce and Daguerre's coating silver copper plate with wet chemicals and exposing them to light - not an easy task yet producing credibly good results. By 1841 Fox-Talbot was producing Calotype negatives and salt print processes which reduced the time scale to seconds. Together, these two can be regarded as the true pioneers of photography.
However, while the Calotype process was adequate for architectural subjects it was less so for portraiture and the collodion process using glass plate negatives had by 1851 replaced the Daguerrotype and Calotype processes, 1843 saw the first paper print made from a negative and from then on development concentrated on lenses, first for portrait making eg the Zeiss Tessar and by Leica in 1864. In 1858 Roger Fenton photographed the Crimean War and in 1871 dry plate processing was introduced.
In 1885 The Camera Club was opened in Kensington, and Pictorial Photography was born. Not long afterwards roll film and a camera for the masses appeared, courtesy of Eastman in 1884. The year 1900 saw the Kodak Brownie on the scene, 1912 the breast pocket Kodak, beloved by WW1 troops in the trenches, and 1925 saw the introduction of the Leica 35mm.
Terry hopes that at some time in the future he will be given the opportunity to deliver part 2 of his talk and I am sure that we would all go along with that.
Trek to Everest Base Camp by John Woodworth
After the break, John Woodworth related his epic trek to the Everest base camp in 2014. John walked in aid of a charity and probably had little idea of the privations that he would encounter for the 12 days and nights of the trek. To begin with, the short flight by a very minor Nepalese commercial airline was hair-raising to say the least, involving handbrake take-off and landing techniques on an impossibly short landing strip dug from the side of a mountain.
Having survived that, with a constant lack of oxygen to breathe, temperatures below freezing, no washing or shaving, life just below the death zone at 20,000 ft was always dangerous. The path to their destination was undulating and the walk lightened occasionally by the discovery of a 'teashop' en route. Water taken into your tent at night soon froze solid and sleep was difficult. The path changed to a very coarse and rugged landscape. Ice falls, hallucination, terrifying rope bridges crossing ravines and the constant fear of avalanches with death never far away seemed to be the keynote.
No sooner had the outward journey been completed than John was faced with a five or six day walk back to the start. The one lighter relief was the happiness of the many children found along the way. John characteristically illustrated his walk with some superb landscape photography which he obligingly decided not to enter into our landscape competition.
A truly wonderful talk.
LAST ROUND OF 'PHOTOGRAPHY NEWS' CAMERA CLUB OF THE YEAR CONTEST.
We did much better. Only four points off the lead however it has to be realised that the scoring system seems a little odd. For instance the winning club only achieved 85 points we got 81. That's less than a point per image between us and them and only an average of 17 for the winning club! I will endeavour to determine just how they are scoring this simply for all our interests sake.
In the mean time the images I used last time for 'The Power of Nature' are here and the winners from Parkwood Camera Club are of course printed in the current issue of PN. My thanks to all in PSCC who submitted images. It's always more difficult to do selections when one knows the personalities behind the images. We can look forward with interest to which one of the five round winning clubs comes top in the final. In the mean time I will keep you posted as to developments on the competition for next season. I have a suspicion there may be some changes as entries - that is numbers of clubs competing - were not high for that last round.
Print League - Round 4. Judge: Kevin Day (Stoke Poges CC) - 28th April 2016
or ... An Evening with Kevin Day
If I were asked to take a potential member to their first ever experience of a photographic competition or perhaps wanted to impress a friend who had never seen a good club competition in action, as it were, then my choice would be to take them to see Kevin Day. It's more than just the order and the scores - that's a given. There is something else about his level of involvement, the enthusiasm and as Connie Fitzgerald put it once when describing another judge - his authenticity.
Last Thursday night he got to judge the last of our print league events. As entries were not huge - just 30 - he was able to spend plenty of time on each one and that's good because he had a lot to tell us. He is the Chairman of Stoke Poges and a photographer by trade but doesn't let that spoil his feel for the club competition environment.
From the start he was impressed with our generally high standard - a trait of Park Street of which we can be proud - and little wonder he held back a third of the entry for another look. That resulted in five authors being awarded 20. The two that didn't place, but were obviously very close, were both still life: Connie's "Tamarillo" and David Butler's well titled "Precision", a subtly lit picture of a micrometer. Dean Tyler's minimalist beach shot "Time and Tide" and John Jennings' very atmospheric "Remembrance" being the runners up, the latter showing many of the influences of the excellent Colin Harrison's work. The top image - Ron Brown's portrait of a "Hobby in Heather" definitely appealed to his artistic side. Certainly not the run of the mill natural history shot - something very much more. This then clinched the Print League for Ron after many fine examples of natural history from him through the year.
Perhaps the highlight of the night however came after Kevin had carefully examined a picture from Terry Day of a canal bank scene. He liked it and explained how important it was that the image ran comfortably from left to right. He explained that it would not have worked so well had the image flowed the other way. Then just before he scored it he amazed us with his observational skills when he explained that the original had indeed run in the opposite direction and Terry had flipped it. He had deduced this from a miniscule piece of writing on a canal bank notice -- No Mooring or gnirooM oN as it appeared in the picture! Terry, in the front row, could not control a spontaneous outburst of. "Oh b****r!" Everyone fell about. Great comic timing and Terry still got a 17.
Print League 2015-16
|Author||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Round 5||Total|
Competition: Open Digital Images Round 5. Judged: Martin Patten (Watford CC) - 21 April 2016
41 images were submitted, a lowish number but typical of a final round in which members who are not in contention for the top spot elect to keep their powder dry for next season. As it was, our judge had sufficient time to analyse our work and congratulate us on the breadth of our photography which he thought was really good.
Seven were held back: John Jennings' 'The Prisoner' and Sue Hipperson's 'Red Kite' each scored 18, whilst Fiona Gurr's 'Rainbow Collection' and Connie Fitzgerald's 'Robin' scored 19. Fiona's image was different, being a collection of everyday domestic objects arranged in rainbow order on the table. Was it art or photography Martin mused? The colour palette certainly worked. Connie's triptych of a robin in flight was adjudged its equal. The one on the right was a winner in its own right, his only criticism was the over-bright white border.
Her 'Ugly Fruit', another Connie original, needed a border in Martin's opinion but nevertheless deserved a 20 and was placed third. John Woodworth's 'Emirates Cable Car', taken low down to benefit from the brilliant blue-patterned building in the background was 2nd to John Jennings' portrait of 'Faith', which rightly scored on being very well composed, sympathetically lit with excellently coloured skintones. Well done John!
The considered opinion was that the judge was one of the best we had seen this season.
Projected Image Photographer of the Year
Congratualtions to Fiona Gurr, winner of the PDI league, and to Chris, Connie and John for pushing her so close.
Talk: An Eye on The Hebrides by Ruari Cumming ARPS - 14 April 2016
Ruari has promoted The Hebrides for overseas visitors for the past 25 years and he returns most May and June when the weather is best to fine-tune his highly professional presentations. On this occasion he used 950 digital images, skilfully manipulated and tastefully set to music.
Starting out from the south-west he left Loch Fyne to head for Tarbert in Argyll, then around Kintyre to Islay before heading for the tiny islands of Oronsay and Colonsay, his favourite destination. From Oban he took the ferry to Mull to see the magical village of Tobermory, followed by Tiree and Coll.
Resorting to the Caledonian Macbrayne ferry once again (the island-hopper fare is good value), you leave Mallaig for Skye where the Cuillins are a must. It's a short hop across to Uist taking in Eriksay and then the long road north to Harris with its footprint-free beaches to Tarbert where everywhere is closed on Sundays. The islands are magical places, well worth visiting if not quite as often as Ruari but he certainly succeeded in selling the idea to his audience on this occasion.
External Competition: Rosebowl Final. Judge - Richard Walton FRPS MPAGB EFIAP - 17th April 2016
The Rosebowl 2015-16 has now been decided. Just 12 points separated Harrow (1st, 144) from Hemel Hempstead and Windsor (==11th, 132). Park Street came 9th with 135, in close company with Whitchurch Hill (7th, 137), Field End (8th, 136), and Ealing & Ham House (10th, 134)
The judge from Kent said that overall this was one of the best competitions he'd ever seen in his long career as a judge - and this was reflected in the marks. Ten images (out of 96) got the maximum 20. One of these was ours!
Our eight images were:
Some general points:
The Rosebowl final was preceded by an excellent and inspiring talk on "Creative Photography" by John Humphrey FRPS (Hemel Hempstead PS). (Ironically his two images in the Rosebowl didn't score very well - not creative enough!)
17 images in the Rosebowl Final (out of 96) were what I would describe as "creative". 30 images were Wildlife, 20 were Portrait or "people", 14 were Landscape. 19 (including the previous) were Monochrome.
Competition: The Landscape Cups. Judge: Terry Coffey - 7th April 2016
Terry Coffey has judged at Park Street quite a few times in the past. We ask him back because he is consistently good at the job and always appears comfortable and relaxed, and a relaxed judge will invariably do the best work. That was lucky as he had a lot of it to do, with some seventy two images split between the prints and projected categories. There is always a slight issue with set subject events but Park Street's definition of a 'Landscape' image is very wide. Despite that a number of authors still managed to stray outside the lines but thankfully our judge was on to most of them pretty quickly.
He opened the evening reminding us of the intrinsic, but hard to define, difference between a technically competent photograph and a potential competition winner. This was good to have rolled out again as it is easy to forget, particularly with this subject, that a photo competition is not so much about the subject as how the photographer has interpreted it and what they have added themselves. What element of 'zing', humour or story line has the author been able introduced by their view point or lighting choice. Or what have they spotted in the original scene to make us stop and look? Terry Coffey knew what he was looking for.
He then changed the usual format slightly by critiquing all the images before he went through them again giving the marks. This worked particularly well when it came to the print section which he had studied diligently during the tea interval even to the point of making notes! It is reassuring for everyone, winners and losers alike, to feel that a judge is really taking notice. Furthermore his comments were invariably encouraging and helpful.
He was quite rightly captivated by Terry Day's excellent monochrome pictures all taken quite close to home. Indeed, but for a little bit of cropping to one of the three submissions Mr Day could have made the grand slam of three 20s on one night! Just two and an 18 had to do, but his winning image 'The Field' perfectly illustrated how a shot of what was essentially 'the ground' if handled with sympathy, an artistic eye and his trade mark gentle touch in the computer can steal the show. No need to go to the Grand Canyon. Magnificent!
Often judges joke about having seen so many of the same views. Tuscany, Dungeness, the Millenium Bridge and so forth. This night by complete coincidence we had two absolutely identical takes on a shot of the river Wye by different authors and at different times. They could have been super-imposed on one another. However in no way was this anything but enlightening as one image had the perfect light and the other didn't and it brought home forcibly just how important patience or good luck are in capturing contest winning landscape shots. The difference in the two was certainly not lost on our judge with one scoring three more points than the other. Indeed the more striking of the two images (Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell's) could easily have won the night.
Dean Tyler almost repeated Terry's sweep in the prints. His 'Durdle Dor' was both striking and sensitive but to my mind eclipsed by the imaginatively lit 'Great Staple Tor - Dartmoor'. Both justly received 20s as did Connie Fitzgerald's 'Heavy Cloud at Beachy Head.' This was clever in it's simplicity and powerful message. The edge of the cliff, the threatening cloud, the tiny lone figure. We don't need any words to tell us the rest of the story - terrifying! All in one photograph.
Despite the excitement and excellent images on display the star of the night was perhaps not any one individual but the entire club. Despite some notable absentees there were still nearly forty people in attendance and from the off there was a palpable feeling that this was a friendly club returning from a short Easter break, wanting to talk and ready for some photographic competition. A team of five Fiona Gurr, Connie Fitzgerald, Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell, Terry Day and David Butler delivered a professional performance to ensure everything run smoothly after Rod had assembled the print stands and of course Maggie did the MC-ing. We must all remember that these last two will be retiring very soon and someone needs to step forward to replace them otherwise all the great work they have done will slip quickly away.
In a year I visit many of the clubs in the CACC group. They are all great fun, they are all different in their approach. However if I was asked to recommend to anyone starting out what club they should join then it would have to be Park Street closely followed by Watford. We are very lucky.
Competition: Wildlife Cups. Judge: Andy Sands - 17 March 2016
44 PDIs were entered, alongside 30 prints - a tall order for Andy who was coping with a cold and a bout of shingles. As sympathetic to the task as ever, he chose to hold just six images back. Terry Day's "You Down There", Jacqueline Taylor's "Three Toed Sloth" and Connie Fitzgerald's "Great Tit in Flight" were each awarded 19 and the remaining three, Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell's "Great Crested Grebes", Fiona Gurr's "Jumping Spider" and Connie's "Too and Fro" were deservedly given 20 each. Congratulations to Connie.
The range of size in subjects entered for the print competition was remarkable, from a family of elephants down to two snails mating. Again, the variety of world wide locations which our members had captured was amazing and combined to make an impressive mini exhibition. Just five were held back: Ron Brown's "Night Owl" and David Butler's "Christmas Robin" each scored 19. The three remaining prints each received well earned 20s: John Jennings's third placed Triptych of three young starlings and runner-up Connie's ladybird were bettered only by Peter Winter's "Juvenile Male Kingfisher". Well done Peter!
Once again, the combination of our members' making an effort to compete, coupled with Andy's humour and his consummate skill in nurturing our wildlife abilities, resulted in a highly enjoyable and instructive evening.
External Competition: NW Fed Final - 27th February 2016
The final of the NWFed competition was held on Saturday afternoon at Amersham between Wycombe and Field End.
Field End beat Wycombe convincingly with the final scores of 171 (FE) to 166 (WY). The high standard, particularly in the Print section was inspiring and it is always worth a visit to these competitions to see the work of other clubs within the CACC.
Whilst Park Street never made it to the semi-finals we did have 4 "starred" images all from Chris Gilbert and Fiona Gurr - we had a little bit of excitement when Fiona's "Down to the Last Three" and "Lonely Commuter" were both held back for final consideration as projected image of the year but alas they were cut from the shortlist at the final reckoning.
Nonetheless, a very interesting afternoon - dates are already selected for the 2016/2017 competition and I am hopeful that next time we have every chance of making it to the final.
External Competition: Rosebowl - Round 3 - 23rd February 2016
Park Street contested Round 3 of the Rosebowl at Marlow CC, the other clubs involved being Oxford and Witney. The Judge was Micki Aston and she had a very tough time marking as the standard was so very high, she held back 21 images to start with, slightly over the third! The two stars went to two of the other clubs, Marlow and Oxford.
The outcome was an extremely close thing; Park Street was 1st with 273, Oxford PS and Witney came joint 2nd with 272 and Marlow were 4th with 266. Nail-biting to the last!
Congratulations especially to those from our club whose images were selected, namely Chris Gilbert, Connie Fitzgerald, John Woodworth, David Butler, Fiona Gurr, Ron Brown, Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell, and also of course to Jeremy for his selection.
We have qualified for the Rosebowl Finals !!!! (10th out of 12 qualifiers). The win at Marlow last week was crucial - a joint 1st would not have sufficed.
Our qualifying route was:
|R2||Joint second (2.5 points)|
|R3||First (5 points)|
Total 10.5 points (the 12th qualifier scored 10 points)
Print League - Round 4. Judge: Paul de Sylva APAGB (Hemel Hempstead CC) - 18th February 2016
33 Prints were entered - a comfortable task ahead for such an experienced judge as Paul, who reflected that the two display boards of prints surrounding Rod's professional-looking illuminated print stand would make a fine exhibition as it stood, quite a compliment to our print workers!
Paul held 8 back, then promptly gave scores of 18 to 4 prints, fine photos as they were in each case. Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell scored 19 for his beautiful landscape 'Old John Hill', and 20 went to Ron Brown's 'Ouch', a delightful portrait of a harvest mouse surmounting a painful-looking teasel bettered only by Chris Gilbert's 'Curved in Isolation' a dark wind-blown tree taken on his summer holiday in Alaska , only to be pipped by Ron Brown's 'So Sad', a chained mother elephant and her calf taken on holiday in Nepal before such practice was banned. Well done Ron for having two in the last four.
Paul's parting advice to us was ' keep taking photos, and not just to please the judge'.
External Competition: 8-way Print Battle at St Albans - 16th February 2016
This year's 8-way print battle at St Albans was distinguished by having 9 clubs competing, each presenting 8 prints for judge Kevin Herbert's comments. In my opinion his comments were sound, but there were some sharp intakes of breath at the range of marks, which ran from 10 to 20. Hard but fair in my view.
Seven images, coming from 4 clubs, were awarded 20s, including Peter Winter's "Kingfishers Mating" and Ron Brown's "Heron Gull".
Considering the range of marks used, the competition was remarkably tight, with Wycombe winning (again) by a single point from New City and St Albans in joint second place. XRR were only another point adrift, with Hertford one more and Park Street in 6th place, still only 5 points short of the winning total. Watford were 7th and Croxley and Leighton Buzzard trailed slightly in 8th and 9th place.
Our images were:
|Bottle and Two Glasses||Sue Hipperson||10|
|Kingfishers Mating||Peter Winter||20|
|Asking Directions||Terry Day||17|
|Lone Fisherman, Rhossilli||Dean Tyler||13|
|Woman With Striped Hat||Chris Gilbert||15|
|Heron Gull||Ron Brown||20|
|See Through||Connie Fitzgerald||14|
And the club scores (by my reckoning) were:
The excellent winning image was called "Off To Work" and was by Stuart Brocklebank of XRR.
Members' Evening, 4th February 2016
Following on from the Creative Cups Competition a week ago, five authors nobly agreed to explain to club members how they had achieved their success.
First on was FIONA GURR who described herself deprecatingly as 'a jack of all trades' but nonetheless happy to try something more creative. She took as her example a successful image familiar to club members, namely a lion's head superimposed on to a dandelion which had gone to seed. To start, she took a 14 image stack of the dandelion before cleaning the image up with the erasure tool to reveal the lion's face below. All this she had gleaned from a YouTube lesson, and the result was striking. Likewise her dramatic and very effective red rose covered in dew was achieved courtesy of another YouTube tutorial.
TERRY DAY'S recent success in combining an image of Hertford College Oxford and the Radcliffe Camera was equally impressive.
CHRIS GILBERT, not known for revealing his secrets easily, produced a video combining Photoshop with his favourite software Topaz.
CONNIE FITZGERALD'S City of Staples was not nearly as technical. She firstly demonstrated her 'studio' in her utility room at home and explained how she had acquired so many staples following an office load of stationery being cleared out. She stood lots of these on end, lit them as subtly as she could, cutting off the reflected image and inserting a blood moon - all seemingly very simple but strikingly effective without venturing outside.
JOHN WOODWORTH used two pictures to illustrate the point that rather ordinary shots can be improved. The first one, a view of The Old Man of Storr, was made a lot more punchy by turning it into monochrome and fine tuning it. Likewise an unlikely shot of a man's dirty hands was lightened, vignetted, given a square format and given more contrast transforming the image into a winning one.
Finally JEREMY FRASER -MITCHELL captured the aurora borealis, using his 10mm lens and HDR. An eclipse of the Sun (in March 2015)? and a polar bear were added to the mix, producing a lab sourced A4 print which has done well in competition. His well-known Godzilla proves what HDR can pull out of an unlikely location shot, emphasising that we can all have fun and use our cameras and computers to good effect.
Should our members be brave enough to put their heads above again, we have an enlightening and thoroughly worthwhile evening in the programme.
External Friendly Competition: Match That at Hemel Hempstead. Judge: Barbara Lyddiatt (Chalfont and Gerrards Cross CC) - 8th February 2016
Quite a few of us went along to Hemel Hempstead Club on Monday night (8thFeb) to compete against the host club plus Watford. The venue was in the Old Town Hall Theatre - very impressive. The fact that we emerged on top by a comfortable margin of four points was not a little to do with the advanced work that your team put in.
First thanks to the authors that submitted - eventually we had plenty to choose from. Your contest team spent an afternoon selecting the most appropriate 48. Rod re-coded them so that the team could communicate quickly on the night and we re-convened only the afternoon of the day before the contest for a run-through and double check everyone knew what they were supposed to be doing.
On the night the front line were Rod (projector) John J. (Lap Top computer) and Dave H (Random Leaping About). Behind them - literally sitting behind them - Maggie F and Sue H supplying further advice and scoring. Vital as it turned out as it was realised at the end of the evening they were the only persons doing any scoring! So they saved the whole night for everyone even before Park Street went about winning!
A further pleasant surprise was that despite a last minute substitute judge (John Credland had pulled out at the last minute) it was Barbara Lyddiatt. The thing is, Barbara has considerable experience of this genre of competition and she handled the considerable banter admirably. The matching issue was of course only a part of the eventual result. Quality was equally important. We had earmarked a number of images that would be difficult for the other clubs to match but equally we had included a number of high quality images that would score well on that count even if they didn't match anything. That is the trick. Towards the end of the event the clever use of a couple of these good images that despite not being very good matches were probably responsible for our win.
It would be fair to say that our experience of Hemel Hempstead's interpretation of "Match That" rules gave us much food for thought for the next time we run a similar event!
Park Street and Watford were invited to Hemel Hempstead for a friendly Match That competition last night. The instructions were to take 48 images, of which 24 would be used over 8 rounds. In each round each club in turn would lead with its choice of image and the other 2 clubs would have 60 seconds in which to choose and show their response (each club took its own laptop and projector). The lead image was marked out of 5 for photographic merit, as was each responding image, as well as a mark out of 5 for the quality of the match to the lead image.
A great deal of heckling took place, very little of which appeared to have any effect on the judge, but respectful silence it was not!
Our team comprised Rod Fricker (honorary projectionist), Dave Hipperson and myself on the night, ably supported by several other club members. The 48 images were pre-selected from a remarkable body of work provided by a considerable spread of authors (I think 17 in all). In the event, 10 rounds were played, by which time Hemel, who had apparently not given themselves the same instructions as they gave to us, were running out of images, having only taken 36.
It was a noisy, chaotic evening and a lot of fun, and Park Street went home champions having scored 147 to Watford's 143 and Hemel's 115.
Competition: - Creative Cups - Judge: Sarah Sands - 28 January 2016
A MATCHING PAIR FOR CHRIS GILBERT
Thirty-five PDIs were projected from 12 members - a good entry for this competition. Every one fitted the competition title and six were held back. Sue Hipperson's The Window Cleaner Calls scored 20, as did Connie Fitzgerald's Rapid. Chris Gilbert's Nightmare was placed fourth and Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell's Seventy-eight Degrees North was placed third. Fiona Gurr's Liberated was runner up to Chris Gilbert's Marbles, a skilfully arranged collection which was extremely well lit and one which Sarah claimed that she would happily hang on her wall.
Twenty-two prints were presented: Chris Gilbert's Delicate Rose and Connie's Skyline both achieved 19 and six maximum 20s followed. Without being placed were Connie's See Through, Jeremy's The Old Master and John Jennings's Tree Spirit; in third place came Terry Day's Millennium Bridge. Runner-up went to Paul Winslow with his Peek a Boo, a very creative print, and the trophy went to Chris Gilbert's Impatiens Arguta, a hugely pictorial portrait of this popular Busy Lizzie plant.
Well done Chris for winning both sections of the competition.
NB This competition does not count towards the Photographer of the Year award.
Talk: - "London From the Rooftops" - James Burns - 21 January 2016
James is a professional photographer with a difference - he carries his gear around on his bike and is a very early riser. His personal transport largely determines the geographic limits of his favourite subject and he is obsessive about tracking the passage of the sun and moon across the London skyline insofar that they affect the lighting on the buildings.
As a result he has assembled an eclectic collection of stunning roofscapes whose qualities of light are becoming his trademark. Besides calculating when the sun will appear on the skyline behind St Paul's Cathedral seen from his vantage point overlooking Marble Arch, he will re-visit the site several times to secure the perfect shot - perhaps one fit to grace his annual calendar. Familiar landmarks like the London Eye, The Barbican, Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, Oxford Street, Battersea Power Station, The Shard, Thames Bridges, are some of those caught on camera. Gaining access to his favourite viewpoints isn't always easy. Many are on private property and may need all sorts of reasons, mainly on the right side of the law, all the better if he can get a contract to work for them, but James is truly dedicated, even quite obsessive about getting the right shot.
He recorded 2015 month by month and left us gasping at some of the brilliant reflections on sites such as Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland and Tower 42 taken from the Heron Tower, Holborn's Space House, Centre Point, and St. George's Tower.
Time-lapse photography has been another focus of his work recently e.g tracking the passage of the Sun or Moon over 24 hours, catching the changing patterns of light on a landscape. This was a spectacular show of landscapes with a difference - a joy to behold.
Thank you James.
Open Prints Competition, Round 3 - Judge: Alan Colgrave ARPS (Harrow CC) - 14 January 2016
59 out of 60! That's DEAN TYLER
Every so often one of our members has a field day. I believe the previous one was Connie Fitzgerald but this evening was one that Dean will remember for some time. His early rising certainly paid off . Thirty-two prints were put up and Alan was granted ample time to appraise them. The final reckoning produced 4 twenties: in 4th place Ron Brown's Golden Eagle was Highly Commended, Dean Tyler's letterboxed Lone Fisherman Rhossili was placed third, runner-up was Connie Fitzgerald's Bottles and Dean's Red Dawn at Corfe was placed first, having been instantly awarded 20 on first showing. All three of his prints were caught in the early hours of the morning, which should serve as an example to all of us!
The fact that all 32 entries gained 16 or better indicated that the judge's opinion was that the standard was generally very high.
Projected Image Competition, Round 3 - Judge: Mark Buckley-Sharp ARPS CPAGB APAGB (Harrow CC) - 7 January 2016
In the absence of Ian Shaw, originally booked, Mark Buckley-Sharp kindly stood in to judge the competition. It was well supported, with 51 images projected, roughly 14 fewer than round 2 and not entirely unexpected. Mark was afforded the 'luxury' of time to reflect before committing himself to a mark out of 20. He gave every impression of being in a generous mood, freed from any adverse opinions by his admirable wife and critic Judy, unfortunately hors de combat on this occasion.
No fewer than 18 images achieved 18 or better. Fiona Gurr's almost perfectly symmetrical view below 'Keeping an Eye on the Business' was awarded a well-deserved 19, closely bettered by John Woodworth's exceptionally fine rendition of that well known Scottish castle at twilight awarded 20 and again by a whisker Terry Day's beautifully lit clematis flower. Well done Terry! Such was the quality of their images that Rosemary Wenzerul's Dandelion, Helen Winter's (a wonderful shot of lionesses in the Masai Mara) and Chris Gilbert's Chester Cathedral deserved better on another night. However, it all made for a very pleasant evening marred only by paying our respects to our valued member Santokh who died earlier.
The last club meeting of 2015 was the Christmas Social, which was very well attended by members and their partners. By the usual miracle, the usual instruction to bring a plate of food, sweet or savory, resulted in the usual well balanced, and generous, selection.
Entertainment this year was provided by a jazz duo, John Lepley and Jack Jennings, and by the members' lusty singing of a selection of Christmas Carols.
It has been a very successful first term in respect of the quality of our images in competitions, successes in external competitions and some very enjoyable talks. We return to the business of the league competitions on January 7th.
In the meantime, it just remains to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a Good New Year.
External Competition: Rosebowl, Round 2 at Park Street - Judge: Paul da Slva APAGB (Hemel Hempstead CC) - 3 December 2015
Here are the results of last night's Rosebowl competition between ourselves, Whitchurch Hill, Imagez and Princes Risborough. We came joint second, but I felt we were pretty hard done by on some of our images - we could so easily have come first.
We will almost certainly need a win in the last qualifying round if we are to make the final - at least we still have a chance!
|1st||Whitchurch Hill Camera Club||261|
|2nd=||Park Street Camera Club||258|
|4th||Princes Risborough Photographic Society||257|
Our individual results were as follows:
|PAST PRESENT AND FUCHSIA||Chris Gilbert||16|
|DUNNOCK FLIGHTPATH||Connie Fitzgerald||19|
|WAITING FOR THE GUESTS||John Woodworth||18|
|BLOOD MOON OVER CITY OF STAPLES||Connie Fitzgerald||18|
|THE OLD MAN OF STORR||John Woodworth||19|
|LONELY COMMUTER||Fiona Gurr||16|
|BLUE POOL||Connie Fitzgerald||14|
|COMMON BLUE||Chris Gilbert||20||Well done Chris!|
|DANDY LION||Fiona Gurr||18|
|WHEN GULLS ATTACK||Ron Brown||18|
|LOOK INTO THE KITCHEN||Chris Gilbert||16|
|BRADDA HEAD, ISLE OF MAN||Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell||16|
|WORKERS HANDS||John Woodworth||19|
External Competition: NW Fed, Round 3 at Field End CC. - 2 December 2015
It is with great regret that I must report that the final battle for Park Street CC in the NWF Competition took place last night at Field End PS. Despite a valiant fight by our members the final score read as follows. Field End PS 183, Watford CC 177 and Park street CC 176. This means that the aggregate score for Field End PS was the highest and they therefore go forward to the next round. We must retire to lick our wounds and start planning for the next NWF Competition in late 2016.
Present at last night's competition were Connie Fitzgerald, Fiona Gurr, Ken Liversidge, Helen & Peter Winter and yours truly. The judge was Amanda Wright and whilst at times she sounded like Sarah ("I'm enjoying this picture") Sands, I think the consensus of opinion by our members present was that she probably arrived at the correct result.
I would like to thank all members who allowed Connie (PDIs) and myself (Prints) to use their images in this competition. We enter these competitions hoping we will win aware that the judges may not always be appreciative of the work they are viewing. Members should not take the scores they are awarded to heart. It is not unusual for two judges to award totally different points for the same image. What is very noticeable is the great improvement in the club's work in recent years. We have seen this reflected by our winning other competitions so we should not be downhearted by the results of this one.
I am sure that members whose images were used last night would like to know what points they were awarded so I list them below.
|Round like a Circle in a Spiral||17||Ron Brown|
|Canary Wharf||17||Terry Day|
|Olympic Ghosts||17||John Jennings|
|Kingfishers Mating||18||Peter Winter|
|Woman with Striped Hat||20||Chris Gilbert|
|Red Gerbera||18||Connie Fitzgerald|
|Blood Moon Over City of Staples||18||Connie Fitzgerald|
|Paper Folds||15||Chris Gilbert|
|Down to the Last Three||20||*||Fiona Gurr|
Congratulations to Fiona and Chris who both gained 20s for two of their images and Fiona was also awarded a star along with her 20 points.
External Competition: NW Fed, Round 2 at Watford CC. - 26 November 2015
A small crowd consisting of Connie, Dean and myself from PSCC saw us storm into first place alongside Watford CC. Final scores were PSCC 181, Watford CC 181 and Field End PS 180. The next and final competition for our group takes place at Field End next Wednesday, 2nd December, when the scores being so close we have everything to play for.
Tonight our prints scored 87, Watford CC 93 and Field End PS 89. For PDIs we scored 94, Watford CC 88 and Field End PS 91. We did particularly well with the PDIs getting 2 20's, and 2 19's. Plus 2 stars. For your information individual scores below.
|No Fishing||18||Connie Fitzgerald|
|Wedged Wood||18||Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell|
|A Lifeless Landscape||17||Derek Dixon|
|Goldfinch Scrap||17||Santokh Sanotra|
|September Sunrise||17||Dean Tyler|
|Lonely Commuter||20||*||Fiona Gurr|
|Blue Pool||19||Connie Fitzgerald|
|An Apple||19||Connie Fitzgerald|
|Faith in Darkness||16||John Jennings|
|An English Summer's Day||20||*||Chris Gilbert|
I should add that with regards to the prints we thought the Judge was not consistent with her scoring and felt we should have had 2or 3 more points, but ever was it thus.
Talk: Diane Partington (Banbury CC):- PHOTO RESTORATION - 19 November 2015
Diane kindly deputised for Colin Southgate whose wife was being called in to hospital for an operation. Diane discovered photo restoration eight years ago and 'adores it'. Photoshop has been around for 25 years now and she would be lost without it. She approaches each assignment like this:
She first scans the damaged print ( 300 DPI for larger ones) all the negatives and transparencies together being careful not to overdo the saturation and to make it convincing.
Her progress through layers and masks was familiar stuff to most members present. It was interesting to follow her progress through examples, particularly the soldier in khaki uniform. This was the first time for many years that the Club had witnessed such a hands-on session. She emphasised that there is so much that you can do, given a good deal of patience on your part. Diane teaches and does presentations similar to the one we were fortunate to witness on this occasion. It was a real pleasure to be present.
PARK STREET's PERFORMANCE at XRR VISIONS 2015.
Park Street had a team of three and numerous individual entries in the recent VISIONS 2015 event hosted by XRR Photographic Society. After our recent run of successes this has to be seen as a bit of a set back with some of our very good images getting suprizingly low scores. Of course it is always the judges fault but on this occasion he did seem to have a predilection towards images that showed technically competence in favour of story and feeling. Hence natural history, and often some quite conventional shots which might have been better seen as illustrations in high quality journals and magazines. At least it was Andy Sands who benefitted and cleaned up individually with an astonishing three 20s - a maximum possible score. Although Andy is a member of the host club it should be remembered the judge would not have known this and being from outside our area (he came from Cambridge) would probably not have seen any of Andy's images before.
He was no great fan of too much post production either especially if it showed. Thankfully he missed it when judging Sue Hipperson's "You looking at me?" (right) and her 18 was the highest score any of us attained. When one appreciates that one team member Connie scored a 14 from an image that had achieved a 20 in very similar company a few months before you will appreciate the mystery. Top team member was Terry Day despite hampering himself by showing his very creative composites - just the type of image the judge wasn't really going for! Sunsets really got a hammering too!
This is no criticism of the judge Barrie Hatten (PGAB). We all accept that some people see images differently to us. He certainly seemed to score some quite dull pictures high and more exciting ones low but it had to be said he had a friendly and enthusiastic manner right through the evening rarely repeating any irritating phrases and never sounding anything but constructive. Your reporter can't remember a time when he came bottom before - and still enjoyed it so much. I thanked him personally at the end and congratulated the winning Club which for the second year running was Harrow. That bit wasn't so easy!
XRR run this event every year and there is no selection process. Any member of any CaCC club can submit three images (same size as our projected size 1400 x1050) first come first served. They reckon they can handle 100 contestants - this year they got 82 so room for some more of you and I am sure they would stretch it if they got over 100 anyway. Our team was chosen by our selectors after the individual entries were in and once again they did the best job and got the highest scorers - well done.
External Competition News: NW London Federation Round 1 - 12 November 2015
Paul de Silva (Hemel Hempstead PS) was the appointed judge for the evening and Watford CC and Field End PS joined Park Street in a contest comprising digital projected images (DPIs) and prints. Bearing in mind that the images submitted were the best half-dozen that each club has produced this year, it was likely that the judge's marks out of 20 would be closer than usual and so it was - PSCC 101, Field End 103, and Watford 104.
The result of the Print Competition followed much the same pattern - PSCC 101, Watford 104 and Field End 107. Overall totals were PSCC 202, Watford 208 and Field End 210. Congratulations Field End, whose marginally better prints saw them overtaking Watford in the final reckoning,
Few present would quarrel with the marking by a very experienced judge or indeed fail to agree that we had enjoyed some high quality photography on the night.
Park Street came third, some might say last! - Field End images were very good. We had a good turn out and our judge, Paul De Sylva, was constructive, honest and a tiny bit harsh but in a good way - a very well respected judging.
|Starred Projected images|
|It can be a hard life||Trevor Hyde||Field End|
|A long way to climb||Terri Adcock||Watford|
|Starred Print images|
|Daisy Aged 3||Charlotte Dwyer||Watford|
|Up, up and away||Catherine Allen||Field End|
Our highest scoring images of the evening were Chris Gilbert's Snake Charmer (19) and David Butler's Lavender Bee (19), both held back. Next was John Jennings' Moonlight Becomes Her (18)
|Terry Day||At the Fair||15|
|Maggie Fricker||Shapes of old and new||16|
|Sue Hipperson||Before the whisk||15|
|Fiona Gurr||Love Coffee||16|
|John Woodworth||Waiting for the guests||17|
|Dean Tyler||September sunrise||17|
|Chris Gilbert||St Pauls Impression||17|
Round two at Watford camera club, 26th November.
External Competition News: Rosebowl Round 1 - 3 November 2015
Park Street came second in the first round of the Rosebowl competition, which is for camera clubs in the Chilterns area. Although we beat Henley and Chesham convincingly, we were pipped by just 3 marks (in 15 images each) by Wycombe. Scoresheet
External Competition News: The Bedfordshire Invitation Trophy - Judge: Stan McCartin - 2 November 2015
The Bedfordshire Invitation took place at Shillington (Barton-Le-Clay) last night. Sue and Chris Anderson went along and the Trophy went to.................................. (pause of 10 secs as in 'Strictly').....PARK STREET CAMERA CLUB!! (resounding applause)
Yes, out of 15 clubs we were top with an amazing 98/100, followed extremely closely by the runners-up Harpenden, who scored 97/100. The rest of the clubs scored in a range starting from 73 upwards.Stan scored with marks ranging between 13 to 20 and awarded a total of 13 x 20's. Best image of the evening (The Grierson Shield) went to a member of Harpenden, Torben Cox.
Our 5 images scored as follows:
|John Woodworth||Waiting for the Guests||20|
|Connie Fitzgerald||Blood moon over the city of Staples||20|
|Chris Gilbert||Look into the kitchen||19|
It wasn't necessary to show our tie-breaker which was to have been Fiona Gurr's Crocus
Congratulations to John, Connie and Chris G. for your amazing images. What a good start we are having to the competition season!.
Incidentally, out of interest you might like to know that the competition's been going since 1970, and the only other time we won it was in 2009. In 2008 the Grierson Shield went to John Woodworth and in 2003 to our former member Alan Partington.
Park Street Inter-Club Landscape Competition - Judge: Barbara Lyddiatt (Gerrards Cross PS) - 22 October 2015
Eleven clubs competed, each submitting six images with a reserve in the event of a tie-break. After the run through Barbara declared that it was not going to be easy to select a winner, given the overall strength of the 66 images already seen. However, she did her customary workmanlike task of commenting on each one, leaving the marking until the last. Almost without exception the images fitted the 'landscape' remit, though several abandoned the old adage of being two thirds land in favour of seascapes, skyscapes and cityscapes.
Seven were held back and three missed the next cut, each being awarded 19, namely Alan Colgrave's Mount FitzGerald, Ian Duffield's Crummock Water and L Forder's Chess Valley Mist. The final four proved difficult for the judge to separate such were their qualities but eventually all of them were awarded 20. John Draper's Stormy Weather, a remarkable shot of Brighton's West Pier, which might have won any other competition, Chris Potter's Manhattan Blues, a very different landscape with a pair of binoculars occupying the foreground, Connie Fitzgerald's striking cityscape entitled Metropolis and the overall winner, Paul Johnson's Corfe Castle in the Mist - one of several misty images much favoured by current judges but a fine shot nonetheless - and due reward for a photographer who rises before dawn to capture such a scene. Congratulations Paul!
Harrow CC were a trifle unlucky not to come out top given that two of their six images reached the ultimate viewing. Final marking was incredibly close: Park Street 105, Potters Bar 104, Harrow 103, Wycombe and Watford 102, Harpenden and Northfields each on 100, Croxley on 99, St Albans 98, Hemel 95 and XRR 94. Above all it was a pleasure to see so many great 'scapes' in one evening, made better by a judge whose decisions were widely respected.
Full results are here.
Competition: Open Prints judged by Chris Drury LRPS (St. Albans P.S. ) – Thursday 8 October
30 Prints were entered. Chris, a professional photographer with his own business which includes weddings, manages to pursue his personal interests in Landscape and Nature Photography. He held six pictures back for further scrutiny on the easel. Dean Tyler's early morning foray to Warbarrow Bay in Dorset resulted in a lovely shot of the sun's rays peeking through cloud, scoring 19. David Butler's Yellowstone Park shot 'Engulfed in Travertine', also on 19, left just 4 very evenly matched images.
John Jennings's 'Curls', a portrait of a subject set against a black background was judged very good and placed fourth, highly commended on 20. Terry Day's 'Asking Directions', a fine example of street photography, gained another 20. Chris Gilbert's splendid rendition of the Margerie Glacier in Alaska was another well earned 20 but the evening's trophy went to Ron Brown's still life ' Round Like a Circle in a Spiral', an image of good shapes and great contrast. Our congratulations go to him for an uncharacteristic piece of work from him.
Chairman Maggie congratulated Chris on a job well done.
Linda Bembridge Exhibition - 16th October to 8th November
Anyone who enjoyed the talk last May by Linda Bembridge (formerly Linda Sharp) entitled "Mostly Landscapes" may like to know that she has an exhibition of her work, together with four other photographers, at Stoke Mandeville. Click here for more details.
Competition: Open: Round 2 Judge: Aussie Thomson (IMAGEZ) - 1st October 2015
61 Images were entered. Our judge, accompanied by his young daughter was keen on single pixel borders and very free with his constructive advice on improving our photographs. Only ten of the 61 images achieved fewer than 16 marks, a score that some years ago was reserved for a really good image.
No fewer than seven twenties were awarded. Chris Gilbert's 'Bridal Falls' was technically perfect, Jeremy Abington's 'No Honey Here' was a scaringly close picture of working bees. Connie Fitzgerald's 'Boys on the Beach' was characteristic of her more recent beachscapes. Fiona Gurr's 'People in a Purple Passage' had a nicely lit background with a well located figure and placed fourth. Connie's 'Dunnock in Flight' showing three birds well caught and presented as a triptych was awarded third place. John Jennings went one better with his beautifully subdued nude 'Blue and Gold' which would have made a popular winner but Aussie preferred Jeremy Fraser- Mitchell's splendid autumnal landscape 'Brada, Isle of Man' for the top spot on the night. Congratulations Jeremy!
Aussie wished us well with our external competitions this season and most of us went home happy
Talk: An Evening with Andy by Andy Sands (XRR) - 24 September 2015
Andy made a decision to take insects, with some spiders, as his main targets this year, alongside building works and garden construction. Photographing living things almost too small to view with the naked eye and presenting them on screen would require building on his talk of a year ago when using his stacking techniques in macro-photography.
First, grow some fleabane and/or wild parsnip in your garden - the perfect background for visiting insects to land on. Visit a nature reserve like the Warburg Reserve near Henley. Be prepared to get down low - parallel with the insects you are trying to photograph - set your camera to 400-800 ISO, set to flash and use a soft box. Remember that recently cut timber attracts beetles; Bison Hill near Whipsnade is a likely location.
Andy is keen on wasps. In particular, Mason wasps are very interesting, as are potter wasps which literally mould clay pots. Oxshott Heath in Surrey is another excellent site for honey bees and ivy bees; Thursley Common in Surrey is another good site. Andy's photo stacking techniques, which can include thirty images of one plant or spider making up an impressive composite image, are amazing. His success is undoubtedly due in part to his total dedication to the task in hand from using the most appropriate photographic equipment, often at an expense well beyond the average user, being sufficiently patient to travel to the best locations and being prepared to return to them. He is then willing to sit or stand for a long time to catch the right moment and then to tweak the results sufficiently to achieve the desired effect. All of this takes him well beyond the average club standard. Aren't we fortunate in having him visit our Club year after year with another collection of his latest images?
Annual Exhibition in St Albans Library - 28 September 2015
Thirty four prints are being displayed in the library in St Albans for the next two weeks in the club's annual exhibition, representing a wide range of our print workers. The display looks excellent and is well worth a look if you are in the area. Thanks are due to Derek Dixon and Dave Hipperson for putting it up. A list of the prints and authors is here.
First Print Competition: Judge - Alan Taberer. 17 September 2015)
The first print competition of the new season was as expected well entered with nearly 40 forty images on display. As is usually at Park Street the general level was really very high with every picture having great merit in one way or another. The judge was Alan Taberer who can be relied upon for kind criticism over a sensible scoring range. Your reporter had momentarily forgotten his face but realised immediately who he was when he began talking. You can really hear Alan - even when he is speaking and not facing you.
He has an interesting technique. He doesn't examine the prints before the contest as many of us judges feel happiest doing but on the other hand takes a very close interest in each one when it is brought before him. This means he does spend quite a bit of time facing the print and away from the audience. The magic is he has such a voice that his comments can still be heard clearly by everyone.
He made some interesting observations but more than that often talked quite a lot about his own experiences when dealing with the situations that some of the authors on display had obviously been through. Then his Tour de Force. Somehow he got onto the subject of the Indian Rope Trick. He admits he has been around a bit and has been in India and seen this performed live. So when he started to explain how the trick was done suddenly the entire club were leaving forward and listening! So he stopped at the crucial moment - didn't tell us and carried on with the judging. Great theatre!
Of the six images that he held to the end, half were Connie Fitzgerald's. It was obvious he favoured the artistic/creative approach and was very taken with her 'Crashing Waterfall' and Terry Day's interesting take on Canary Wharf. However between them came another of Connie's, a distinctly scientific/text book style 'Semi-glazed Cherries'. We were left wondering just where she gets the ideas from. This is much more than straightforward photography.
Oh and the Indian Rope Trick? He came back to that at the end and actually told us how it is done. If you weren't there and want to know you will have to make sure you come along next time he judges at Park Street which hopefully won't be too long.
Competition: Open Round 1 Projected Images – Judge: Chris Forster DPAGB – 10 September 2015
65 images were entered and 11 were held back. In third place John Woodworth's 'Lighting of a Fag' scored 19. Runner up was Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell's 'Svalberd Northern Lights', surely one of the best of this subject but denied a 20 because the judge considered it taken in too much daylight (a problem in the Land of the Midnight Sun). The winner came from Chris Gilbert - his St Paul's Impression being a further example of Chris's ability to tweak a conventional image into something more pictorial, creating a highly acceptable work of art in its own right. Well done Chris.
Our judge does not belong to a club, preferring to give talks, judge, compete and simply enjoy his photography. On the night some considered his marking to be severe. Admittedly, the marks were on the low side but one member even thought them verging on the cruel side; to others he was 'spot on' with his comments and his marks.