2nd Open Competition, Nov 28th, 2018

For this week’s members competition of images taken in the British Isles, we were pleased to welcome John Williams from Penrith Camera Club to do the judging. As an experienced judge of club, national and international competitions, we were expecting an informed and perceptive critique of our images and we were not to be disappointed. John not only  gave a thorough analysis of our photographic achievements and shortcomings but also offered considered and informative advice on how our images could be improved upon both at the taking stage and in their further processing. His scoring of the images was considered accurate and justified and he was enthusiastically thanked by the membership at the end of the evening.

The judging started with photographic prints, many of which were commended for the quality of the printing and for the judicious choice of printing paper used, which can markedly enhance the presentation of an image. The subject matter was as always quite varied and the top scores of 20 were awarded to a stunning landscape by John Macfarlane (StormApproaching Suilven),

 

Creative portrait studies by Julie Walker (Proud Hunter)

 

and Alan Walker (A Dark and Sinister Night),and sensitive wildlife images by Keith Snell (Fallow Deer in Velvet)

and Carol Minks (Alert Brown Hare).

The runners-up, with a 19 score, showed a similar range, with and landscapes by Ken Rennie (Evening Light);

 

and Richard Jakobson (Reflected Gold);

 

and a dramatic image of birds of prey by Ronnie Gilbert (Dispute Over Mouse);

The overall Print of Show accolade was given to Carol Minks’ portrait of a hare.

After the break it was the turn of the more numerous projected digital images to be judged. The numbers were enhanced by most welcome entries by newcomers to the club, with many achieving very creditable scores. The range of images gaining top scores of 20 covered landscapes by Ken Rennie (Glen Orchy)

 

and a creative landscape by Julie Walker (Storm Approaching – cunningly combining a Walney Island lighthouse with Luskentye beach);

 

a full-body portrait by Julie Walker (Looking Out)

 

and a wildlife image by Tony Marsh (Kingfisher With Prey);

 

The overall Digital Image of Show was awarded to Julie Walker for Storm Approaching.

At the weekend the awards day for the Annuals competition of the Northern Counties Photographic Federation had been held in Newcastle. Keswick Photographic Society was awarded trophies for first place club entries in the Projected Digital Images and Monochrome Prints sections, for the second year in succession. The Weir Trophy for best colour print was awarded to Ken Rennie (Fairy Pools) and the Pinkney trophy for the best monochrome portrait was awarded to Alan Walker (Repent Your Sins). Congratulations to all members who submitted entries for these competitions and contributed to our success.

“Design in Mind” by Rod Ireland, November 21st 2018

The evening’s talk was given by Rod Ireland and was a change to the advertised subject. Rod is a professional photographer who lives in Askham near Penrith. He runs landscape photography courses, workshops and trips, both locally and further afield. As would be expected from a photographer who has achieved success in a number of prestigious competitions, including Landscape Photographer of the Year and the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year, he entertained us with a superb collection of images. He is passionate about  photographing the varied landscapes  of the  British Isles and this, combined with his love of the outdoors, was noticeable throughout the evening.

Rod’s theme for the evening was his own personal journey of discovery into the elements of design. As with many photographers, his own approach until recently had been largely intuitive rather structured. More recently he has studied in detail the principles behind a well designed image. Rod now looks at six key elements. These are: lines and edges, two dimensional shapes, three dimensional form, colour, pattern, and, finally, texture. During the evening he went through these six principles in detail, illustrating each with a selection of his own images taken from various locations in the British Isles.

Rod started with lines and explained how different types of lines can create various moods.

Jagged lines for example can create unease and tension, while straight vertical lines, such as trees, can create a feeling of peacefulness.  Rod showed examples of images he had taken using lines as the main element including trees, fences, walls, jetties, shafts of light and steps. These were simple, but striking, images and they demonstrated that often less is more.

Rod took the same approach with shape, showing once again that the combination of simple two dimensional shapes can create powerful images. He also pointed out the importance of negative space which photographers often overlook.

In moving on to the third element, form, Rod explained that directional light is the key to understanding the three dimensional aspects of shapes.

After the tea break Rod went on to talk about colour, patterns and texture. He again illustrated each of these with simple images that were based around just one element from which other distractions had been eliminated.

When looking at texture he again emphasised the importance of directional light.

Finally, Rod showed a number of images where several, or in some cases, all these elements had been successfully combined.

This was the first time Rod had given this particular talk, but it was a polished performance delivered with both clarity and humour. Rod invited participation from the audience and there were numerous questions and comments which reflected the high level of interest in his work. It was a most entertaining evening and both experienced members of the audience and those less experienced learned something from Rod. I will certainly look at my approach to photography in a new light.

Alan Walker

External Competition Results

The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain hold a club competition for prints  every November,  the PAGB Open Trophy and PAGB Nature Trophy. In the Open category we came joint 6th with Dumfries out of 19 clubs and in the Nature category 5th out of 15 clubs competing. Some of the images from the winning clubs can be seen here:

Open

Nature

We have also had the results of the season’s 1st round of competitions in the Nature Division of the Photographic Society of America. We were promoted to the top league in the nature division this season (no end of season playoff involved!). We came a very creditable 4th out of 30 clubs in the first round. Of particular note were honourable mentions for Tom Stenhouse and Alan Walker for “Gannet Makes a Catch” and “Steller Sea Eagle Face Off” respectively.

Reflex Camera Club Visit, November 14th 2018

For this week’s meeting we were pleased to welcome some members of the Bristol-based Reflex Camera Club. They were spending the week photographing around Keswick and agreed to come along and show us some projected digital images from their club members. Their chairman, Maurice Thompson MBE, started off by showing us images of the club’s activities including studio portraiture and still life sessions in their meeting hall as well as models photographed on location in bars, stately homes and ancient monuments. There were also macro photographs of creepy crawlies taken in their hall and fighter planes taken at a local viewpoint where the photographer was at eye level with the aircraft on their training manoeuvres. Maurice continued by showng images of his own and from other club members who were not present for this Lake District outing.

We were then given short presentations of images by those members present, which proved to be very diverse and thoroughly enjoyable. Examples included landscapes of Machu Picchu in Peru, the Hobbit village in New Zealand where the Lord of the Rings films were made, the annual hot-air balloon festival in Bristol, the gardens of Stourhead and beach scenes local to Bristol and further afield.

Portraiture and people, both posed and candid, featured frequently and perhaps the most striking was an extremely creative series of selfie images in which the photographer was reproduced in various multiple guises and poses in the same image – a plane filled with himself as all the passengers and titled ‘I Wonder Who Is Flying The Plane’ illustrated the humour behind this approach. More familiar to the Keswick Society members were wildlife images of native bird species; less familiar were photos of pet rats! Alison Davies showed us a series of images of her many cocker spaniels (especially Otis, Tilly and Bazil) in various situations, including on the shores of Derwentwater

 

and which had featured in popular magazines and had won her numerous lucrative prizes.

Julie Kaye’s images took us under the seas to feature not only exotic colourful fish but also abandoned wrecks and their cargo on the seabed. All superbly photographed with her sophisticated underwater equipment.

 

 

After the break some members of Keswick Society showed the visiting club samples of our photography. Richard Jakobson led off with photos of Morocco, each one shown in colour and in monochrome and demonstrating how each format could be superior depending upon the subject matter.

 

Keith Snell followed on with landscape prints taken using intentional  camera motion or mutiexposure techniques to create impressionistic effects.

 

Finally Ken Rennie showed landscape images which were based around minimalist compositions, demonstrating that less can definitely mean more in photographic artistry.

“Hard Work” Print Competition, November 7th 2018

November’s first meeting was a competition for members who had submitted printed images on the theme of “Hard at Work”. This theme had been chosen by our Chairman, Keith Snell who also took on the task of critiquing and scoring the images.

At the outset Keith said how much he had enjoyed viewing the breadth of subject and the quality of the images. He then explained that he had judged the images based on their photographic quality and also on how well they expressed the idea of “Hard at Work”. He had been fairly liberal when assessing the latter but admitted his liberal stance was a little tested at times!

A total of 23 images were submitted with a range of interpretations of the theme including portraits of various professions “hard at work”, several images clearly with an ironic slant on the theme, street scenes in various locations, images of wildlife working hard and some photo journalistic action shots.

Keith had clearly taken time and effort to review the images and was able to offer for each one submitted advice on what may have improved the photograph and what he found particularly pleasing. He also fulfilled an educational remit in advising the audience of the details of some of the more obscure professions depicted. eg a “scudder” being a leather worker who cleans the hides after they have been tanned.

The images were scored out of 20 and three received top marks; “Hard Day’s Night”

 

and “Charcoal Maker” by Alan Walker

 

and “The Caulker” by Richard Jakobson.

 

Keith was impressed by the exceptional composition of “Hard Day’s Night” with a sharply silhouetted figure and the arching fluid separated from the background but echoing its curve. He liked the subdued toning of “The Charcoal Maker” which emphasised the workers distinctive face. “The Caulker” showed a boatyard worker sealing the cracks between the planks of a wooden hull. Keith thought that the backlighting was effective but the image still managed to show the details in the workers face.

Other high scoring images included “Under Pressure” by Ed Richardson

 

“The Jewellery Shop” by Tony Marsh ;

 

and “Clean Sweep” by David Rayment;

 

Images of all the submitted prints can be viewed on our gallery page:

Hard Work Gallery

At the end of the meeting Keith presented this year’s “Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Service” to Tom Stenhouse. This was made in recognition of Tom’s hard work and dedication over recent years as Programme Secretary. He brought new ideas and enthusiasm to the role and was unstinting in his commitment to ensuring every meeting was set up and ran smoothly.  Keith’s thanks was echoed by the subsequent applause from the members present.

“Unremarkable Scenes” by Lizzie Shepherd, October 31st 2018

For our last meeting of October we welcomed Lizzie Shepherd, a professional landscape photographer from North Yorkshire, who spoke to us about her journey in photography to find a new inspiration

Lizzie explained how she wanted to find compelling subjects without having the need to travel. Her talk was called Unremarkable Scenes, but unremarkable it was not!

She wanted to find something new, to experiment and be playful and not too formulaic, to find a revelation and see things differently. When showing her stunning images, she explained how she wanted to find continuity through the image, using light, the shadows, reflections, shapes, angles, patterns and varying her depth of field. She found on her journey that she is very drawn to diagonals and verticals which add a great movement through an image.

Lizzie told us that it’s not always about the light, amazing images can be created on rainy dull days. They can be more evocative with the soft light.

She looks for patterns on a big scale and repetition through the image. With blocks of colour and space so the viewer has to work their way around and image. The images have a graphic cleanliness and demonstrate how a busy image, a chaotic scene, can have simple elements of minimalism but there is a definite structure within an image.

Lizzie wants to make sense if an image and looks for scenes where colour can offer a warm and cold contrast or where there are harmonious colours complimentary to each other. She continued to explain how the absence of colour simplifies a busy scene, showing us images that demonstrated her findings.

When creating an image Lizzie want to create intriguing stories and puzzles, placing objects to create a visual puzzle. Scenes that can suggest more than one thing and keep the viewer looking, creating tricks of eye, showing us an image of a reflection of a that had been turned upside down. She described this as Pareidolia – seeing objects or scenes within an image. It certainly made you consider the image longer.

Through the talk we were shown visually stunning and creative images that had great mood and emotion, energy and depth, power and restfulness. Where composition leads to mood and curves and shapes lead the eye. Lizzie has a real ability to capture the sense of a place.

The journey Lizzie start five years ago has left her seeing things she wouldn’t usually see, and she hopes to continue to improve, to try new things and of course to enjoy it.

Sports Photography by Bob Given, October 24th 2018

The night’s talk was presented by Bob Given from Northern Ireland. Bob lives in Belfast and he belongs to the Catchlight Camera Club which is the current FIAP (International Federation of Photographic Art) World Cup holder in photography. The club is also the current Irish Champion .

Bob was given his first camera at the age of 21 and he has been taking photographs ever since. He has been a sports photographer for more than 40 years and is currently employed by Northern Ireland Athletics to photograph their events. Bob used to play rugby but unfortunately had to give up due to injury. He became a rugby referee instead and served for 22 seasons.

Bob showed around 200 images during the evening  which covered a wide range of sports including athletics, cricket, American football, netball, table tennis, baseball, cage fighting (otherwise known as mixed martial arts), Australian rules football and of course rugby. He entertained the audience with humorous accounts of his personal experiences as well as giving practical advice. His love of sport, particularly rugby, was apparent throughout.

 

While Bob’s superb and prize winning images made sports photography look easy, he made it clear that it is not and that there are many pitfalls to be avoided.  The first of these is simply in choosing and gaining access to a good  position to take images,  both to achieve the best angle for shooting  the action, but also to avoid distracting backgrounds. Bob pointed out that in a number of sports the low level of lighting could be a problem and in others, for example cricket, considerable  patience is required in order to achieve just one or two quality shots.

Bob pointed out that it is useful to have a good knowledge of the sport you are photographing. Choosing the right moment to press the shutter is critical. His advice was “if you see it in the viewfinder you’ve missed the shot”. Anticipation is crucial and Bob’s many years as a rugby referee enables him to predict what will happen next. He also advised that it is essential to ensure you prepare for the event in advance and have the right equipment, particularly lenses, with you.  Even he had been caught out with the wrong lens on the odd occasion! Post processing is also important and Bob explained how he goes about this.

 

Bob’s expertise is not limited to sports photography and he brought along the twenty prints that comprised his successful Master’s panel. This demonstrated his proficiency in other fields of photography, particularly people and portraiture. His prints illustrated the exacting standards that are required to achieve a Master ‘s distinction with the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain, the highest award that can be achieved.

Bob gave us a most enjoyable an entertaining evening on a subject that was quite different to previous talks.

Julie Walker

More of Bob’s work can be seen at: https://www.facebook.com/bobgivenphotography/

“Hot and Cold” with Alan and Julie Walker, October 17th 2018

As we have come to expect, we travelled widely with the Walkers, encompassing the length of South America, from the heat of the Atacama desert(at 15,000 feet in the rain shadow of the Andes it is the driest place on earth), down to chilly Tierra del Fuego, across the Beagle Channel from Ushuaia to the Falklands, South Georgia & the Antarctic peninsula.  It almost goes without saying that the photography was superb, but I was particularly struck by their pictures taken with wide angle lenses, that put the wildlife most dramatically in the context of its wild environment.

The terracotta waters of the famous Iguazu falls in Paraguay were five times their normal volume due to flooding & videos took us right into the tumbling cataracts of water.  It was definitely an amazing place to experiment with long shutter speeds, to produce silky jets of water, despite the major problems of photographing in the spray of 400,000 cubic feet of water tumbling over the falls each second.

The Atacama by way of contrast receives less than 1 mm of rainfall per annum & the aquamarine salt pans attract three species of flamingo – the rare Andean, the Chilean & James flamingos which have pink legs.

El Niňo had left its mark & in places had resulted in unusual wild flower displays.  As travel photographers we have to accept what weather conditions prevail at the time of our visit, however well planned, & sometimes things work in our favour!  The mountains were barren but beautiful volcanoes (some still active) which were coloured by iron, copper, lithium, tin, gold & silver. The Valley of the Moon is used by NASA to test moon landings.  The geysers & thermal features of the area are unprotected – so you need to watch your step rather than end up in boiling mud!

We had a quick foray into Buenos Aires for some street photography & to dance the tango with professionals – available for hire

– before moving further south & departing on a Russian “spy” ship for Antarctica.  The Walkers had a lot of bad weather, & their advice was to avoid cyclones!  In the Falkland Islands, which have a population of 3000 people & a million penguins, they saw the beautiful black- browed albatross, the argumentative rock-hopper penguins and the indigenous Cobbs wren.

Cruising further south to South Georgia, the sight of the panorama of Jason Cove with its 180,000 pairs of King Penguins was astounding.

I wished I had been there to absorb the sounds of the birds as well, but possibly not the overwhelming smell!

There were photographs of the overall scene, close-ups

& fascinating abstract art of the penguins’ feather details. There were also remarkable pictures of elephant seal beach master fighting – males can weigh 3 tons, be 20 feet long & are 6 times larger than the poor female.

In the Southern Ocean, amongst 40-foot waves, despite being very cold & very wet, the Walkers took full advantage of the fabulous opportunity to photograph the icebergs,

whales breaching & beautiful birds in the context of the rough seas.

It was an exciting trip, exceptionally well captured by Alan & Julie & it made for an exciting & enjoyable evening.

Rosamund Macfarlane

KPS 1st Open Competition, October 3rd 2018

The judge for our First Open Competition was Tony Potter, ARPS, EFIAP/p, APSA, GMPSA, DPAGB, APAGB, a Northern Counties Photographic Federation judge from West Cumbria.  The 38 prints and 44 projected digital images had been delivered to the judge beforehand and Tony arrived on the evening having awarded a score out of twenty for every print and projected image. Tony discussed each image, commenting on the good points and, in some cases, suggesting where improvements could be made.

The first half of the evening was devoted to the print entries and Tony commented that the prints, in particular, were of a very high standard and that this was reflected in the large number of images awarded a top score. Both prints entered by Julie Walker achieved a top score of twenty and four other Society members were awarded top scores for one of their prints. The winning prints were: ‘Horses Emerging from the Forest’ by Julie Walker:

 

‘Forest Maidens’ by Julie Walker:

 

‘The Beast from the East’ by Roland Harries:

‘Brown Hare’ by Carol Minks:

 

‘Hockney by the Sea’ by Ken Rennie:

 

and ‘The Laird’ by Alan Walker:

 

At the end of the print judging, Tony selected his personal overall winning print and this was ‘Hockney by the Sea’ by Ken Rennie.

Two prints scored nineteen points and these were: ‘Off Street Parking’ by Roland Harries:

and ‘Misty Great Bay’ by David Woodthorpe:

Another print by David Woodthorpe, entitled ‘Chinese Bridge’, was awarded eighteen points:

 

Prints by two other members also achieved scores of eighteen and these were: ‘On Reflection’ by Richard Jakobson:

 

and ‘Great Grey Owl Hunting’ by Carol Minks:

 

After a break Tony then reviewed the projected digital images. Of these six received a top score : ‘Teenage Tantrums’ by Keith Snell:

 

‘The Widow, rural Mongolia’ by John Macfarlane:

 

‘Spring Growth’ by Ken Rennie:

 

‘Christine in Mauve’ by Julie Walker:

 

‘No Trespassers’ by Alan Walker:

 

and ‘Puffin Returning to Sea’ by Tricia Rayment:

 

Tony selected ‘Teenage Tantrum’ by Keith Snell as his overall winning projected digital image.

Three projected images received scores of nineteen and these were: ‘Carnival Time’ by Ted Jordan:

 

‘Evening Light’ by Richard Jakobson:

 

and ‘Under Warnscale Beck’ by John Macfarlane:

 

 

Images with scores of eighteen were ‘At Full Pelt’ by David Woodthorpe:

 

‘Reed Bunting with Damselfly’ by David Woodthorpe:

 

 

‘Never to Fly Again by Michael Rowlinson:

 

‘I Told You It Was Slippy’ by Keith Snell:

 

‘The Happy Window’ by Carol Minks:

 

‘Face Off’ by Alan Walker:

 

and ‘Phalarope Hunting for Food’ by Tricia Rayment:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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