The last competition of the year

Meeting Report

I nearly did not come to this meeting as I had a nasty tooth extraction on Tuesday and felt rubbish up to midday on Thursday.

I was immediately asked to do the write up as Audrey was AWOL and Chris was busy ‘up front’; no problem, I enjoy doing the write ups.

Tonight we had one of our very favourite judges who is very skilled and has been a judge at the RPS for years. Trevor Gellard FRPS (Trev from now on) has visited us on many occasions in the past going right back.  He had a place in our history for giving the lowest mark ever, nine to some poor soul, and tonight he broke another record by giving the largest number of twenties ever. Trev started off by going through the things he  would be looking out for in our work, over sharpening for instance, together with other ‘post processing’ faults and bad printing.

Digital Monochrome Photography

Meeting Report

Andy Beel FRPS is an acknowledged virtuoso in monochrome photography – folklore has it that he holds the world record for going from zero to FRPS so it was a coup to have him talk to us. In fact not only did we all enjoy his talk on Thursday evening but we also had a workshop on the Friday. I’m going to find it tricky to sort out a write-up between the two events. If anyone who only came to Thursday is mystified by anything here that’s because I’ll have muddled the Thursday with the Friday and you should have been there on the Friday as well!

My attitude to monochrome is slightly odd. I readily accept monochrome because it is familiar from holiday and press photographs from an early age so I am comfortable with the concept.  But even a “straightforward” monochrome photograph is a world away from the colour reality. Andy’s technique is to stretch the monochrome image far beyond a simple colour desaturation - and that is his art.  

Disaster turns out well

Meeting Report

Jurrasic coastI arrived at the football clubhouse a little later than usual to find a small band of members huddled together in the car park. Anne rushed forward to say that she might have put the wrong code in the security keypad and now they could not get in (rest assured Anne that would not happen), So I tried a couple of times as well to no avail. I then tried to ring the caretaker’s number which I had from some years back, but being Storrington no signal.

So I went round to the Sports centre to see if they would let me phone from there and maybe suggest another number. The duty Manager eventually emerged and gave me a number for the football club, and let me use their phone. So, firstly I tried the number that I had for the caretaker but as I got through I was told in each ear simultaneously that he had arrived here on other business.

He tried with his input number and after a while pronounced the system ‘down’.

Prior, and in the middle of all this, a red faced David Seddon announced that it was all his fault as he had failed to book the hall. If he had kept ’shtum’ he would have got away with that!

Better than last time

Meeting Report

The competition was held as usual at the Kings Centre, Burgess Hill which unlike its surroundings is a really nice hall.

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and frankly I would have been far happier elsewhere enjoying the wonderful weather.

However, we were shown some really great pictures, 210 if my maths are correct. The prints were all displayed nicely in an adjacent hall before the main event.

Southwick CC ran the event very well and we had three accessors: Alison Cawley ARPS DPAG EFIAP; Martin Fairs, and Caroline Colgate ARPS.

The competition has at last been modified and now there were six entries in each of the Open and the Development classes.

This year eighteen clubs took part and SCC had six members present, to watch proceedings, which is twice as many as last time.

Railway Photography – Trains in their Environment

Meeting Report

We were treated to some wonderful railway photography from Nick Gilliam - who had previously been a guest at the club as he lives just up the road in Ashington. Nick has had many of his photographs published in the national magazines devoted to steam railways – and this is no mean feat as Railway Photography is such a popular genre.

Nick uses a Mamiya rangefinder camera with an image size 6 by 7 centimetres – into this he loads rolls of Fujichrome Velvia 50 film a brand noted for its saturated colours. So large slides, vivid colours, and a powerful projector – wow! – what fantastic images that combination produces. Food for thought – these are the first film slides I’ve seen projected at the club although we’ve seen plenty of files which have been scanned from film images. The only comparable evening I remember was the “50 Years of the Monaco Grand Prix” but that relied on prints.

A good evening and a good result

Meeting Report

South Downs Trophy

We were recently invited to join in this 4 way competition with the camera clubs of Rottingdean ( our hosts) Southwick and Steyning and 4 of our members attended. Each club submitted 10 images which were shown and marked in random order – which made it difficult to work out where we stood as the evening progressed – rather like a 400 metre race where the leader is not revealed until the bend has unwound.

Trever Gellard FRPS was the judge – our best of year judge this season - and he is very hot on technical matters but much appreciates unusual, out of the ordinary images – and he does like a witty and apt title!

Southwick, Steyning and ourselves used the same set of photographs as were used in the Crouch Shield the previous Friday with a couple of extras to make up the set of 10 – Rottingdean are not in the Crouch competitions. 

Not so good this time

Meeting Report

Crouch Shield

The Crouch Projected Image competition was hosted by Steyning and held at The Henfield Hall, Henfield. Ten members of SCC attended.

The Judge was David Eastley and he started by pointing out that all the images that he was judging were the best from our respective clubs and therefore he was going to be very harsh in his marking to spread the marks: which he did from 13 to 20. The overall average mark was 17. He also pointed out that the authors worked of their images on their computers; David judged the images on his computer and now they are being shown on Steyning’s computer and projector and therefore there were going to be differences in rendering of the images. And so it proved to be with, David saying time and time again (mainly with B & W images) that this image was much darker on his computer. Sometimes this meant that this turned out better, but mainly not so well.

Eight clubs took part with each club submitting eight images, so 64 in total. We won the competition last year with a lot of very high marks but sadly we could not repeat that performance this year. Steyning and Chichester produced the most high marks both with three 20s (last year we got three 20s as well).

During the evening there were some outstanding natural history images with our Anne Nagle producing two of them.

The Old Order Changeth

Meeting Report

Swans Taking OffWe were pleased to welcome Mike Davison ARPS, an ex-member of our club, to judge the final round of this season’s competitions. We had open subject PIs preceded by prints with the set subject “Abstract”.

This is a surprisingly difficult set subject to pin down – Mike’s approach was to deduct marks if he could recognise the original subject of the photograph. He was helped in this by the titles some had given to the entries.  If the title is “Anemone” then that’s what the subject is and it’s a floral picture, not an abstract. Likewise “Abstract Landscape” is a landscape, not an abstract, whichever order the words appear in the title. The trick is to make the title as abstract as the photograph – a cryptic approach with a bit of lateral thought may be in order. But there again is the title important in awarding marks in a photography competition? Told you it is a surprisingly difficult set subject!

Varied Interpretations

Meeting Report

This members’ evening was the brainchild of David Seddon and it was he who supplied the 3 photographs which provided the sow’s ear to silk purse challenges of the evening. So thank you for all that David – pity you couldn’t be there to witness the mayhem which ensued.

First up was a Dungeness shot taken though a hole in a typically dilapidated shed, revealing an equally distressed piece of machinery but with another opening in the far wall with a rather wishy-washy sky in view.  Most of us took this up as an artistic challenge, some using colour to bring out strong rust colours in the machinery, others using monochrome to bring out textures in the grain of the weathered shed boarding. All of these were successful to some degree but it was Audrey who really put the photograph in its place by introducing the face of a donkey peering through the far window – a most effective way of dealing with lack of detail in the sky and providing a good laugh too.

Ripples and a Tulip

Meeting Report

Tulip by Liz BarberChairman for the evening Paul Hayward, welcomed Paul O’Toole from Worthing on a return visit as our judge for the evening. Paul presented as a judge with an easy going manner, humour and discernment with comments from which we could all learn and enjoy our photography. He was appreciative of those photographers who had gone out on a limb to try new ideas and techniques. Paul commented that the marks that he gave would reward such efforts. He was very free with his tips on digital improvements.

Twenty four prints were entered from 12 members and the marks reflected the high standard of work and print that was on offer, notably 14 of the 24 entries obtained 18-20, well done.

Two prints obtained top marks of twenty, “Worm’s head sunset” by Martin Tomes received much praise, given the subject was so often exhibited and seen as easy, but this print was outstanding with its technical quality and wonderful palette of colours, well done Martin.

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