It is 5am and I am awake from natural causes. I try to go to sleep again, but I start to mentally do my report on last night’s meeting; and so I decide to get up, arm myself with paper and pen, and start to write this!!
Last night it was our turn to hold our round of the Southern Fed. P.I. competition. We appointed the judge who was Carol Speight ARPS from Chichester CC, who lives in Billingshurst. Carol has been a judge for us in the past and was favoured by Chairman Chris as he got his first 20 from her.
The marks are out of 10 (with half marks) in this competition, which is a far better system than ours out of 20. Most of the marks given in our competitions are between 15 and 20, which means that 75% of the marks are rarely given. Only twice in my time at Storrington CC marks under 10 been given; and is it not better to be awarded 7 out of 10 rather than 14 out of 20??
Anyway, we are in Division Seven which has eight clubs competing, and each has entered eight images: so, 64 images to be judged.
I always like looking at other club’s images, and in fact any images from wherever, but it appears that not many club members share this concept as the event was very poorly attended.
To start 2015 we welcomed John Read, Managing Director of
Marrutt Ltd., to talk to us about all aspects of printing. John started the
evening as a session of “Photographers Anonymous”. He held an amusing (but alarming)
group therapy session which asked us to reveal how much we had invested in camera
equipment to feed our habit. On the basis of this he conjectured that a £500
investment in an ink jet printer of photographic quality was something of a
bargain. At the time I was persuaded that this was an entirely reasonable proposition
although I was quickly disabused of this when I got home!
John’s lectures are available on-line via the Marrutt
there is little point in repeating technical details here. In addition to being
highly knowledgeable John is a great enthusiast for high quality printing and
genuinely wants us all to produce prints of the high quality of those he was
showing round – especially if we use Marrutt products to do so.
To this end he invites his audience to confront received
wisdom of digital photography. For instance is it desirable, or necessary, to
manipulate accurate camera data to produce data to feed an accurate printer
when that manipulation is controlled on an inherently inaccurate monitor?
As I said as I started the report on our last year’s meeting, this last meeting before Christmas was always called 'The Chairman’s Evening’ until recently, and tonight was very definitely Chris’s evening. He had prepared a very good quiz, which was very informative to those of us who did not know some of the answers. It was about local ‘celebs’ and in addition to this, he made the most delicious fruit cake so far known to man. It was magnificent. Is there no end to our Chairman’s talents?
Praise must also go out to Daisy who arrived early to start preparing and heating the very tasty Mulled Wine. She was also responsible for getting a lot of the nibbles. And of course Audrey produced her usual delicious Mince Pies. Thanks to them and also to all the others who brought bits for us to eat.
We sat at tables of four, which had been set up by Dave Burton. I found myself sitting with my friends the MacWhirters and Janet.
Firstly, we all had our first try to solve the questions in the Quiz. I did know most of the answers, but the others made up for my ignorance. However, if Janet, our scribe, had agreed with two of my suggestions, we would have come out First equal; but instead we had to settle for Third,
fellow 365-er Malcolm Bull stepped into the breach when our booked
judge developed a sore throat and was concerned his voice might not
hold out, indeed he subsequently needed 2 days off work, so I guess
we have to let him off!
It was nice for SCC members to meet Malcolm without the moustache he was
growing for Movember when he last judged for us.
Throughout the evening, Malcolm had good control of what he felt was a Sussex
image, and he recommended we have a look at the work of Finn
Hopson for characteristic South Downs photography. He also
commented often that the photographer would have been better going
back at a different time of day or lighting conditions, to avoid the
flatter light of the middle of the day. After all, we live in Sussex,
so its not as if we have far to go!
Arriving early after
a couple of photo-a-day opportunities in the clear frosty dawn, I was
glad I had picked up a free coffee at Waitrose, as the tea and coffee
volunteers weren't ready to start selling, although to be fair it was
before “doors open time”. I stayed out of the way chatting to a
365 friend. Proceedings got under way fairly promptly with an
introduction from Ken Scott of what is the first exhibition style
inter-club competition in Sussex with the entries grouped into two
divisions, the Development and Open categories (probably the first in
the UK). It was apparently inspired by Ken's experience of judging
something similar in Ireland. The Development class was designed to
allow the entry of images from club members not normally in the
running for selection. The first running of the new format had caused
quite a bit of consternation in the SCC committee. Would we be able
to compete against the much larger clubs, such as Chichester? I
certainly feel we held our own, but more of that later.
We welcomed Tony Baverstock LRPS
last Thursday. His background is in landscape, still life and
infrared B&W photography. Having spent 25 years on the Surrey
judging circuit, this was his first in Sussex. He reminded us that
there was only one person we had to please, and that was not him, it
was ourself. Overall, he commented that we had so many gorgeous
prints, and he was impressed with the way they were mounted, saying
that this was the window through which you look at the images. He
often suggested a slight crop of parts of the image that weren't
adding to the overall effect.
The scores ranged from 15 to 20,
with 14 images being held back, and ultimately 25 gaining an 18 or
over, so I have a task and a half to write this one up! Tony was
aware that we have only one league of photographers, and was perhaps
being less harsh on us all as a result.
Peter Picthall scored an 18 for a
portrait of 'Blondie', which was beautifully sharp, and the model
seemed happy to pose for him as he was definitely looking at the
photographer from Portsmouth, Barry Day started out working in colour
slides, becoming an ARPS in 1987. Establishing a darkroom over 15
years ago, he began making monochrome prints for club competitions
and exhibitions, gaining a Credit distinction with the PAGB in 2001.
At this time he switched to digital monochrome, and adding colour in
2009. His main interest is “Faces and Places”. We were privileged
to see many of those faces, he knew the name of every one of them,
and each image came with a story.
The first part of
the evening covered how to find a model. We started with his fellow
magistrates, and progressed to the daughter of one of them. At 18,
she was just about to go off to university, and her parents wanted a
more formal portrait of her. We then heard the stories of several
other young adult women, from daughters of friends, to the daughter
of a photoshoot organiser, who Barry preferred to the models.
We then looked at a
monochrome image of Barry's granddaughter dressed as Alice, looking
at a doorway into a large tree-trunk, with her dress colour-popped.
When she saw the final print she was mystified as to where the door
had come from! (Old Portsmouth).
So it was at Midhurst on Wednesday when Storrington did battle with 9 other Sussex Clubs for the prestigious Regnum Print Shield. Midhurst were the hosts and had their priorities right, the home made cakes were excellent, the technology less so.
Our friend David Eastley LRPS was the judge so we were in safe hands. Things started well with a perfect 20 for Paul's Horse Love-in picture followed by another for Liz's Rudbeckia. Wow - we were in a clear lead after 2 rounds. But then a downer - David didn't like Daisy's Vietnam beach picture - all of the selection committee had loved it - and it was just a 12. We needed those cakes at half-time after that.
David was obviously fortified by his lemon drizzle cake and came back with 20 for Ian's picture of a fox drinking from a birdbath. We were on a swiss-roll by then and Di was awarded 20 for her flower picture, Cosmos.
was very interesting to have a different viewpoint on our images from
Lisa Beaney. She is a professional photographer who was invited to
judge for us after a chance meeting with Martin Tomes in a Steyning
pub! She specialises in wedding, portraiture, commercial and boudoir
photography. All in all though, it was an evening of post-processing,
whether it was something that added to the image, or was lacking!
had a wide spread of marks from 13 to 19, with no-one getting an
elusive 20. Her style of judging was different, but very helpful to
me, as she gave the mark first after a few moments quiet
deliberation, followed by her comments. This meant that I didn't have
to scribble so much on each image, so a big “thank-you” to Lisa
She held 12 images back, with these
scoring 17 to 19 points, with two others also scoring 17, so I will
work around these images for this report, starting with those two
Paul O'Toole joined us on 16th
October for our first print competition of the year. Coming from
Worthing Camera Club, he described himself as one of the “baby
judges” who have graduated from the Ken Scott judging academy. He
asked us to expect a wider range of marks (14-20 in practice), where
the message counts for 50-60%, the content 30-35% and technical
aspects just 15%. When asked how important the title was, he admitted
that it should be secondary to the image, but could be useful. Here
are some of his comments.
Foxlee managed a hat-trick of 18s over the evening. Up first was
'Amazing Space', an interior image of Lancing College Chapel. Paul
commented that this type of shot is technically very difficult to do,
and said this was beautifully taken (Ray tells me that a tripod is
essential, must remember mine for the photoshoot in five weeks). Next
came 'Fading Light', which looked like (and was) Bosham, with a nice
choice of foreground and people to give scale all in a sepia
monochrome. Finally Ray gave us 'Table for two', with a softness
giving a sense of elegance and lovely dappled light.
Would you like to know more? Take a look at our current programme to see what we get up to then either fill in our contact form, call our chairman Chris West on 01903 744571 or come along to our next camera club meeting.