Drumburgh Moss Photoshoot

A small group of us headed out to Drumburgh Moss nature reserve on July 30th on our annual Macro field trip. The trip was timed to coincide with the likely emergence of Black Darter Dragonflies, in which we were not disappointed but there were lots of other insects to peer at and photograph ranging from Damselflies, Butterflies, Moths, Spiders and Shieldbugs not to mention the diminutive but amazing insectivorous Sundew plants. The weather was pleasant and the vegetation had freshened up after some much needed rain.
Black Darter by Alan Walker
Copulating Emerald Damselflies by Tony Marsh
More images from the outing can be seen in the gallery:

Final PSA-PID Competition of the season

The results have come through for the final round of this season’s Photographic Society of America PID-Group B competition. KPS came first out of 19 clubs in the May competition and joint first in Group B in the end of season standings. We will be promoted to Group A next season. Three of our images received Honours Awards in the May competition:

Col de Bavella by Ken Rennie

The Story of the Fox and Vole by Alan Walker

and Deadvlei Milky Way by Richard Jakobson

“Only Mono” Competition

KPS for the first time entered the “Only Mono” print competition held on May 12th. This a competition for mono print images only with 4 mounted prints entered from each club.

The results have recently been published and we came second. The submitted images were

Lone Tree and Bison – Keith Snell

Dornoch Point – Ken Rennie

After The Snowfall – Julie Walker

The She Warrior – Alan Walker

PSA Nature Division End of Season Results

After our club’s promotion to Class A of the Nature Division (the “Premier League”) of the PSA (Photographic Society of America), the end of season results have been published. Keswick Photographic Society came 4th out of the 32 clubs in the A league. A really creditable performance which again emphasises the strength of nature photography within our club.

Details and scores will be posted to the members section.

Keswick Photographic Society Trip to Edinburgh 17th – 19th April 2018

Early in the morning of Tuesday 17th April, 14 intrepid travellers, all members of Keswick Photographic Society, set off from Keswick in pouring rain and howling wind for a three day club visit to Edinburgh.  As we headed up the M6, with heavy spray on the windscreen obliterating the view, I was concerned about our prospects for surviving this weather let alone enjoying an adventure. Some of our members have still not moved from Leica, Nikon or Sony cameras to Canon, so I was fearful for their equipment too!
Fortunately, I had ordered perfect weather and by the time we reached Falkirk, the rain had stopped and confidence in my planning skills had been restored.  We all enjoyed the experience of The Falkirk Wheel trip on this quite unique apparatus which lifts canal boats up 30 metres from the Forth and Clyde Canal to the Union Canal. Previously this operation took a whole day to navigate through the staircase of 11 locks.
It is just a few miles to drive to The Helix eco-park where we had a delightful lunch in the visitor centre.  This was eagerly followed by a photographic exercise around the very impressive Kelpies.  By this time we were experiencing glorious weather which presented interesting skies for the many ‘snaps!’  We later made our way to the hotel in Leith where a number of us strolled along the shoreline before meeting up for dinner and a ‘few’ social
drinks to round off a perfect day.
After breakfast on Day 2 we all visited the Royal Yacht Britannia.  This is Scotland’s premier visitor attraction and with good cause.  The vessel is impressively maintained.  It is in an excellent location which has been significantly developed over the last few years to capture the interests of the tourist and shopper alike. The tour itself is complemented by a very good individual audio system and even the on-board tea room served excellent snacks and meals.  The group was appropriately lectured about looking both ways before crossing the busy Edinburgh streets and they spread out into the city centre to enjoy the many sights and attractions on offer, including the Royal Mile, The Castle, Scott’s Monument, Arthur’s Seat and much more.  Thankfully everyone made it back to the hotel in time for our planned dinner appointment at the Loch Fynne restaurant a short distance away. It was a brilliant meal and another very enjoyable social occasion for us all, which after all, is what the trip was about.
On Day 3 as we checked out of the hotel the group could have been forgiven for making their way back to Keswick but with the weather behaving much better than most of our party there was a reluctance to abandon this beautiful city just yet.  Though the day was unplanned, at least ten of us found ourselves being entertained by Meerkats, Pandas, Scottish Wild Cats and Gelada Baboons in Edinburgh zoo. This facility has changed dramatically over the years and now, to its credit, focuses principally on the preservation of endangered species.
By late afternoon most of us managed to escape from the premises unchallenged which rounded off what we all felt had been a really good social event, where photography quite properly was secondary to the main purpose; having FUN!
David Woodthorpe

Portfolio of the Year Competition: April 11th 2018

Keswick Photographic Society’s annual Portfolio of the Year competition was held on Wednesday 11th April. This was the final internal competition of the season and it was judged by Gerald Chamberlin DPAGB, EFIAP, from Morton Photographic Society in Carlisle and a Northern Counties Photographic Federation judge. The competition was divided into two sections: Prints and Digital Projected Images. Within each section, members enter 3 images, each in a different photographic genre. Entries are marked out of twenty and an award is given to the member achieving the highest combined score in each section. Fifteen members entered the competition, giving a total of forty-five prints and forty-five digital projected images for scoring.


The print entries were the first to be judged and included the following photographic genres: natural history, landscapes, weather, creative, sport, the hand of man, transport, people, portraits, abstracts and patterns, Before awarding a mark, Gerald discussed each image, in some cases suggesting where improvements could be made. The winner of the print section of the Portfolio of the Year competition was Alan Walker with a superb total score of fifty-eight out of a possible sixty. Two of Alan’s prints achieved top scores and these were: ‘The Story of the Fox and the Vole’ and ‘Back Stage before the Farewell Gig’:

In joint second place with scores of fifty-four were Julie Walker and David Woodthorpe and in joint third place were Ronnie Gilbert and Keith Snell with scores of fifty-two. In addition to Alan’s two top scoring prints, notable prints which achieved scores of nineteen were ‘Young Grizzly in Clover’ by Ronnie Gilbert:

‘Siberian Jay’ by Tony Marsh:

‘Autumn Beauty’ by Julie Walker and ‘Hare Brakes’ by David Woodthorpe:

After a break for refreshments, including some delicious cakes cooked by Marilyn Woodthorpe, the second half of the evening was devoted to the projected image entries. As with the prints, there was a wide range of photographic genres represented. The joint winners of the digital projected image section of the Portfolio of the Year competition were Richard Jakobson and Julie Walker, both of whom only dropped four points to achieve excellent scores of fifty-six. One of Richard’s projected images, entitled ‘Power on the Horizon, received a top score of twenty. This showed a very dramatic view of distant wind turbines out at sea under a threatening stormy sky:

In second place with a score of fifty-five was Alan Walker, closely followed by Ronnie Gilbert and David Woodthorpe in joint third place with scores of fifty-four. Within the projected images section, an image by Rosamund Macfarlane, entitled ‘Backlit Puffin’ was awarded a top score of twenty:

Seven other images received scores of nineteen. These were ‘Langdale’ by Julian Carnell:

‘Eagle Hunter and His Eagle’ by Ronnie Gilbert, ‘Deadvlei Milky Way’ by Richard Jakobson,  ‘Girl with Tattoos in the Red Hat’ by Alan Walker and ‘Sprinting Hare’ by David Woodthorpe, ‘Dreaming of Leaving’ and ‘Buachaille Etive Mor’ both by Julie Walker:

David Rayment thanked the judge for all his hard work judging the images.

This was the final indoor meeting of the season, although there is a three-day Society outing to Edinburgh taking place this week. Our next season begins on Wednesday 5th September at The Friends Meeting House, Elliott Park, Keswick, CA12. You will be most welcome to join us.

Tricia Rayment

David Stout “Casablanca to California” 4th April 2018

For tonight’s meeting we welcomed back David Stout EFIAP PPSA DPAGB of Whickham Photographic Club, Gateshead. David, who judged one of our internal competitions at the start of the season, was revisiting to give a projected digital presentation titled “From Casablanca to California”. This was a photographic tour over two continents from North African Morocco to the North American states of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Nevada and California.

This proved to be travel photography of the highest order with exquisite images of very varied subject matter, brought to life by an engaging and entertaining commentary. Each photograph conveyed the uniqueness of the location and gave a visual insight into the character of the place. This was achieved by showing the inhabitants, whom David had persuaded to be photographed, and the urban or rural environment which defined life in the areas visited.

In Morocco he showed us the architectural splendour of the royal palaces as well as street scenes which revealed the practices of the people in everyday life. Interspersed with the scenery, he captured insightful portraits of the inhabitants.

A Berber elder tribesman or a young girl dressed in a traditional niqab. As David explained, his success in securing these candid portraits, normally so difficult to get agreement for, was down to a courteous approach combined with a few words of local dialect and a good deal of brass-necked charm! The landscape covered everything from desert scenes to the complex environment of a tannery with its myriad of processing wells.

Moving across the Atlantic to the USA brought a huge contrast in the imagery on show but with the same photographic attention to the details of place and peoples. We were taken on a road trip extraordinaire as we moved southwards from the volcanic and mountainous national parks of Yellowstone and Grand Teton, through the mystical rock formations of the Bryce and Antelope canyonlands, to the desert dunes of Death Valley and the iconic mountain scenery of Yosemite in California.

Our journey through this rural spectacular was mixed with the urban splendour of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, the glitzy excesses of  the Las Vegas strip, the eerieness of gold-mining ghost town Bodie  and in David’s final destination, San Francisco, the starkness of the Alcatraz island prison and of course the Golden Gate bridge. All of these destinations were illuminated by the quality and the perspective of our visitor’s photography and his revealing and witty anectdotes which brought them to life. His photographic tour de force was greeted with enthusiastic thanks by the members at the end of the evening.

Although our formal meetings of the season are now ended, we will report on our informal photographic club sojourn to Edinburgh and district on 17-19th April. This will be followed by  an exhibition of photographic prints of our members at the Northern Photographic and Video Show to be held at the Rheged Centre, Penrith, on the weekend of 12-13th May. Attendees are most welcome to visit us at our stand, where members will be happy to provide advice on photographic equipment and techniques and to talk about our activities and the attractions of membership of the Society.  The next season will start at 7.30 on Wednesday 5th September at our venue of the Friends Meeting House, Elliot Park, Keswick, CA12 5NZ. This will be the AGM of the Society together with a social evening with buffet to welcome new and continuing members and, as always, visitors are most welcome to join us.

Short Sets Competition: 28th March 2018

Keswick Photographic Society’s annual Short Sets Competition was held on 28th March. This competition, which is open to any member of the Society, is divided into two sections: Still Images and Audio-Visual. Submissions have to be on a particular theme chosen by the author and must be no longer than ten minutes in duration.  The evening was organised by David Woodthorpe, a Society member, and the entries were judged on the evening by the audience, each entry being given a score out of twenty.

The meeting commenced with the Still Images of which there were five entries.

First to be presented was a set of images by Marilyn Woodthorpe featuring the city of Berlin. The presentation featured buildings in Berlin, including the Chancellery, the Reichstag with its glass dome and Berlin Cathedral. Other places of interest included the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, remnants of the Berlin wall, Checkpoint Charlie and the modern steel and glass skyscrapers constructed on sites once occupied by the Berlin wall, hence their very narrow dimensions.

The second presentation was by Carole Waterhouse and entitled ‘Harris via Skye’. Carole interspersed coastal and inland images of the beautiful Harris and Lewis scenery with images taken visiting art galleries and seeing weavers at work on their looms. Carole also featured man-made structures she had seen, namely the ancient Callanish Standing Stones, Dun Carloway Broch and the traditional straw-roofed blackhouses.

The third presentation was by Tony Marsh and entitled ‘Moorland Wildlife’. Tony showed images of birds, moths, dragonflies and plants, all taken on the moors of Northern England and the Scottish Borders. Sixteen bird species were featured, the photos including red grouse amongst purple heather, black grouse displaying at a lek, the aerobatic display flight of a male hen harrier and a snipe drumming as it power dives.

David Woodthorpe presented the fourth set of still images entitled ‘Grantown on Spey’. These consisted of a set of snowy images, many featuring the antics of a white-coated mountain hare in its natural habitat on a snowy mountainside. Backlit photos revealed the long whiskers of the hare and David was able to photograph the animal sitting in its snowy hollow and grooming itself as well as running towards him, seemingly completely unperturbed by his presence! He also included pictures of the local birdlife, in particular the crested tit and the very tame coal tits.

The final presentation was by Stephen Harris and simply entitled ‘Signs’. Stephen showed a set of images featuring strange, amusing and sometimes confusing words written on road signs, buildings, shop doors, fences, walls and memorials. For example, one such sign read ‘In bad weather no guarantee of a return journey can be given’. He also included images of amusing doctored road signs seen in Florence.

After a break for tea and biscuits, the second half of the evening was devoted to the audio-visual (AV) entries. There were four entries and each one featured a large number of still images set to music.

The first to be shown was ‘Mist in the Landscape’ by Ken Rennie. This was a collection of atmospheric and ethereal images of misty landscapes, featuring lakes, seashores, mountains and woods, photographed mainly in Cumbria but also including images from Scotland, the French Alps, Corsica and as far away as New Zealand.

The second presentation was by Julie Walker and entitled ‘Bosque del Apache’ which is the name of a wildlife refuge in southern New Mexico. In winter the wetlands of Bosque del Apache attract huge flocks of sandhill cranes and snow geese that roost in the wetlands but fly to local fields during the day. The images in Julie’s AV were all taken in the wetlands and featured these two bird species.

The third AV was by Keith Snell and its title ‘The Ice was Here, The Ice was There’ was taken from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Keith chose this title because his images featured both the Antarctic and Iceland which lies very close to the Arctic Circle and has the largest glacier in Europe. There were many evocative images of snowy landscapes, impressive glaciers, intricately shaped icebergs and delicately coloured ice.

The final AV was ‘As Time Goes By’ compiled by Richard Jakobson. This featured seven time lapse sequences taken from various mountain and seashore locations in West Cumbria. Many of the sequences went from sunset through the night and finished at dawn. Clouds flowed swiftly across the sky, mist cleared from the landscape, stars and the Milky Way followed a course across the sky, car headlights shone and torches flashed on the mountain path leading to Scafell Pike.

Before announcing the winner of each section, David Woodthorpe thanked all the authors for their hard work and commented on the very high standard of all the entries. In first place in the Still Images was David Woodthorpe with his presentation of ‘Grantown on Spey’ and the winner in the AV section was Richard Jakobson with ‘As Time Goes By’

Carol and Tony Dilger: “A talk on the wild side” 14th March 2018

The meeting was a presentation of African wildlife photography from professional photographers and tour leaders Tony and Carol Dilger (www.tonydilger.co.uk). We were treated not only to some suberb animal photography but, refreshingly, to an informative and highly entertaining commentary of the stories behind the pictures.

Tony and Carol lead regular safaris to Africa every year, based around places that they know intimately: the South African Kruger National Park and the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. These are two contrasting regions both in terms of landscape and in terms of the variety of animal species that live there. The Kruger is perhaps the better known of these safari venues and we were treated to spectacular images of so much more variety than just the ‘Big Five’ of lions, leopard, elephants, buffalo and rhinoceros (White and the near extinct Black). We also got giraffe, cheetahs, monkeys, baboons, wild dogs, hyenas and a range of antelope, not in static poses but engaged in their natural behaviours. We learnt the term ‘pronking’ for the leaping of imapala, designed to exhibit their agility to predators and thereby deter their attentions. Of the Big Five, the ferocious mating behaviour of the lions was perhaps the most spectacular, although a series of images of the stealth positions of a leopard hunting its prey was a more intriguing spectacle to witness at close quarters.

Of course the plight of the rhino in being driven to near extinction by poaching was something that the Dilgers were keen to illustrate in their presentation. The geopolitical overlap of the Kruger park with impoverished Mozambique to the East is a major driver of this iniquitous trade.

In the Botswana part of the Kalahari, the dust and sand of the desert environment contributed to some wonderfully atmospheric images of the animals there. Springbok replace impala as the resident antelope and there are meerkats, foxes (Bat-eared and Cape varieties), Eagle Owls and Brown Hyena that are also characteristic of the region. Perhaps most strikingly the Desert has its own breed of lion – the Black-maned Lion – which, as well as the mane colouration, is larger and more muscular than its counterpart elsewhere in Africa. These lions need to be fitter because of the larger territories they need to patrol in the desert where their prey is less dense and competition with other prides is more intense. The Dilgers amazed and amused us with an anecdote about their encounter with a pair of the lions. Normally asleep under shady trees in the daytime sun, these two animals sauntered over to use the rear and the front of the vehicle as sleeping places. An unfortunate battery failure at this point lent a certain frisson to the situation, given that the vehicle could no longer move and nor could the electric windows be closed. All was well in the end when, after some hours, a passing vehicle came to the rescue with jump leads and darkness encouraged the lions to take off.

The evening finished with a short film of stunning landscapes of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland that Tony and Carol visited in the mobile home that is now their permanent UK residence. This is a location for another of the tours that they lead, when they are not giving inspirational presentations of the kind that we applauded enthusiastically tonight.

Keith Snell

KPS 4th Open Competition March 7th 2018

Our 4th Open Competition was judged by John Williams DPAGB EFIAP/b MPSA who made constructive comments about each of the images and gave helpful advice on how they could be improved. His comments were often delivered with humour which led to a highly entertaining evening.

John was particularly complimentary about the quality of the prints submitted which he felt were of great credit to a small club such as Keswick. He thought they would stand up well in competition against  images from some of the larger and better known clubs in the UK. Overall the images demonstrated Keswick’s particular strengths in landscape and natural history but images of other genres also did well.

In the print section Ken Rennie, who specialises in landscapes, was the overall winner with “Katie Morag Sets Sail”, an artistic impression of a seascape including a boat in the distance.

Ken had a particularly good night as his other two prints also achieved high scores. Watendlath Beck scored 20 and Winter Falls 19. Two of Ken’s digital images also did well. “Three in a Row”, another waterfall,  scored 20 and Walltown Crags scored 19.

Ronnie  Gilbert, a long standing Society member and respected wildlife photographer, was the overall winner in the digital section with his “Grizzly Bear Out of the Mist”, an image taken in Alaska of a young grizzly bear emerging from the mist.

Ronnie’s other digital images also did well.  “Sparrow Hawk in Flight” achieved  another 20, and “Pine Martin” was  awarded 19. He also had a successful night with his prints  “Two Young Bears Sparring” and “Otter Pair in Evening Light” both achieving scores of 19.

Alan Walker did well in the print section with a variety of subjects. “Don’t Leave Me” and “Repent of Your Sins” both scored 20 while  “Black Browed Albatross Courtship” was awarded 19.

Alan had success in the digital section too with “Ivory Flame” which also received maximum marks.

Richard Jakobson entered a beautiful night shot of the Milky Way in the digital section. A score of 20 was awarded in recognition of the difficulty and effort required to produce such an image.

Richard was also awarded high scores for his print “Desert Scene” (18) and  his digital image “The Screes” (18) taken at Wastwater.

David Woodthorpe also had a successful evening . His print “Jay Landing” scored 20  and another print “Hairs on End”, a portrait of a Mountain Hare, was awarded 18.

He also scored 18 with “Sparrow Hawk and Sudden Gust “. In the digital section David achieved 19 with “Oops”, an image of the Red Arrows.

Keith Snell was awarded high marks for prints  taken in Yellowstone earlier this year. “Lone Tree and Bison” was awarded 19, “Frosted Trees” scored 18  and “Swans in a Snowstorm” also scored 18.

In the digital section  his “Bison Stand Off” was awarded 19.

High marks were also awarded to Carol Minks for her digital images  “Black Tailed Godwit”  (19) and “Jay in a Bluebell Wood” (18).

Her print ” Young Moose” also scored 18 .

Other prints that scored well included “Butterfly” (18) and “Patel” (18) both by Carol Waterhouse

“Rufous Collared Sparrow” (18) by Tom Stenhouse ,

“Derwent Water Rainbow” (18) by Tony Marsh

and “Walking on Water” (18) by Julie Walker.

In the digital section Wendy Jordan was awarded 19 for “Shy”

and Ted Jordan was awarded 18 for ” Maid in Venice”.

Other high scoring digital  images included “Farmyard Stoat” (18) by Tony Marsh,  “Tumbledown” (18) by Roy Knowles,

“Aira Force” (18) by Michael Rowlinson

and “Lioness and Cubs” (18), “Red Eyed Tree Frog on Petal (18)

and “Glen Etive” (19) all by Julie Walker.

New members entered several images and  it was encouraging to see Julian Carnell achieving success with his digital image “Nice Groyne” which was awarded 18.

In total there were  42 prints and 70 digital images to judge, a difficult task to achieve in the time available. John rose to the challenge by keeping his comments short and to the point.  This made for a very informative and enjoyable evening. It also allowed him to finish on time enabling him to return home before the A66 was closed for the night.

Julie Walker