Not a good night for Storrington CC

Meeting Report

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.

An evening on the far side of the workflow - Printing.

Meeting Report

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 website so 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?

A great final meeting in 2014

Meeting Report

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,

Very much about the sky

Meeting Report

Big Sky by Martin TomesMy 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!

Sussex Photographic Federation PDI Championships 2014

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.

An aggressive diagonal

Meeting Report

WindblownWe 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.

Faces and stories

Meeting Report

An amateur 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).

Winners of the Regnum Print Competition

Meeting Report

There's a breathless hush in the close tonight,

Ten to make and the match to win ....

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. 

Overlooking the landscape

Meeting Report

Broadway Tower by Martin TomesIt 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!

We 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 from me!

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 17s.

Beautifully Captured

Meeting Report

Dewy Dandilion by Derek GrievePaul 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.

Ray 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.

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