Edinburgh Festival Success

Congratulations to members Alan Walker and Keith Snell who have their prints exhibited in the 157th Edinburgh International Exhibition of Photography which is a part of the Edinburgh Festival fringe event. Acceptance into this exhibition is particularly prestigious because only 11% of the submitted prints are accepted. Alan did especially well, having two prints accepted for exhibition. The Exhibition runs until 25th August at 68 Great King Street in Edinburgh and of course the rest of the Edinburgh Festival is going on at the same time. Also worth noting is that the Scottish Parliament building is hosting the 2019 World Press Photo awards, a free exhibition of some stunning photojournalism photographs which is well worth seeing

“Whose idea was it to shelter here” by Alan Walker:


“Tree Sprite” by Keith Snell:


“Fish Frenzy through the Ice” by Alan Walker


Drumburgh macro outing July 2019

On Friday July 26th Tony Walker yet again led a select but intrepid group into the depths of Drumburgh Moss. They braved the ferocity of the local cleggs to capture macro images of the local wildlife.

Emerald damselfly by Ken Rennie


Hoverfly by David Leighton


Golden Hoverfly by Ted Jordan


Cicadella viridis by Tony Marsh


Southern Hawker by Wendy Jordan




NCPF Annual Competitions Results

The Northern Counties Photographic Federation Annual Competitions are held in the spring of each year. These are competitions for individuals primarily,  though awards are also given for clubs. Yet again KPS did very well with this year, members winning several awards and the club winning the awards for best club entry of colour prints and best club entry of projected digital images. The individual awards were:

Best Mono print: “Wild Tiger Family” by Tony Marsh:


Best Landscape: “Misty Morning Paddle ” by Tom Stenhouse

















Best Nature Print: “Alert Brown Hare” by Carol Minks


Best Human Portrait PDI: “Christine in Mauve” by Julie Walker


Best Nature PDI: “Hare Washing” by David Woodthorpe:



Best Beginners PDI: “Retro in Rome” by David Leighton

Exhibition and Sale of Prints, May 11th and 12th, The Borrowdale Institute, Rosthwaite


We are holding an Exhibition and Sale of Keswick Photographic Society Members’ pictures at The Borrowdale Institute, Rosthwaite on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th May.  Doors open at 10am to 5pm both days.
There will be some fantastic mounted prints from worldwide Natural History to local landscapes.  It is free to enter. The sale of prints is to support and promote Keswick Photographic Society, currently one of the most successful photographic societies in the country, despite its modest size.  Visitors will get the opportunity to learn about the society as well as take away photographs at a fraction of their retail value.

Portfolio of the Year 2019

April 3rd saw us holding our members portfolio competition in which each of their three entries in each section (print and projected image) has to be a different photographic genre. This takes some of our members out of their usual comfort zone and provides a great variety of images. Our judge for this competition, Rob Hockney DPAGB, was from the far-flung reaches of the empire, namely North Cheshire, and was a very experienced judge from the Cheshire and Lancashire Photographic Union. The judgement of each image was made on a twenty-point scale and taking no account of the photographic genre depicted, the aggregation of the three scores by each photographer being assessed at the end as their portfolio score.

Rob set about his judging with 36 prints covering the diverse themes of natural history, landscape, urban scenes and portraiture and people. The images were taken in equally diverse locations, Kazakhstan, India and Japan perhaps being the furthest afield. Top scores of 20 were awarded to a beautiful monochrome study of a Scottish mountain hare by Julie Walker:


and an atmospheric seascape of breaking waves by Ken Rennie. Four scores of 19 were awarded: two to Ken Rennie for an informal portrait of a young girl in a lavender field and a group of snowdrops in the wild; to Tom Stenhouse for a delightful photograph of two very elegantly-dressed south-east asian ladies walking away from the viewer; and to Alan Walker for a wildlife image of three Dalmatian pelicans  fighting over fish in a break in the ice-covered water. Rob awarded 18 points to five prints: four of these were landscapes, including two by David Woodthorpe of Path to Frosty Morn in a wintery glade and a night-time urban landscape featuring the illuminated Squinty Bridge across the Clyde; The Lone Tree by Keith Snell was a solitary tree in a snowy landscape in Yellowstone Park; Glen Etive Waterfall in a Scottish glen was by Alan Walker; and John Macfarlane had an action photo of a Stellers Eagle landing talon-first in the snow.  The overall best of show print was Ken Rennie’s seascape:


He also took the Print Portfolio of the Year award for his three images, with David Woodthorpe and Alan and Julie Walker as the joint runners-up.

Forty-five images were submitted for judging in the digital section, covering a similar variety of subjects as the prints but with some still life and sports-oriented images too. Top scores of 20 were awarded to Keith Snell for an autumnal landscape shot of a raging torrent in Glen Orchy:

and to Ken Rennie for a studio-lit still life of a fruiting St John’s Wort. Rob awarded 19 points to just one image, that of an atmospheric landscape titled Derwent Mist Catbells by Heleen Franken-Gill in which the upper slopes of the mountain emerge mysteriously out of the lake cloaked in thick mist:


Two images were awarded 18 points: a wildlife image by Julie Walker of two Dalmatian pelicans, again Pelicans On Ice, but this time competing for a skating crab;


and a monochrome photograph by Alan Walker of a girl leaning backwards as she clears The High Jump. The overall best of show projected image was Ken Rennie’s still life of St John’s Wort, making it a double success for Ken in each section and showing that his renown in landscape photography is not the only genre he excels in:


However, the Projected Image Portfolio of the Year award was accorded to Julie Walker for her images of the pelicans together with a portrait of an ageing rock star in action (Still Rocking) and a winter landscape of elk does crossing the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park (Cold Morning On The River Snake). The joint runners-up were Alan Walker and Ken Rennie.

All the images entered in the Portfolio of the Year can be seen on our gallery pages:

2018-2019 Galleries

Annual Short Sets Competition, March 13th, 2019

This was the evening for our annual Short Sets competition.  This competition has two categories, Projected Digital Images (PDIs) and Audio Visual (AV) presentations.  There were ten competitors in total, six delivering PDIs and 4 producing AVs. Each competitor is allocated 10 minutes in which to deliver their presentation which can be on any theme. The entries are judged by the audience who, by secret ballot, collectively choose the best of each category.

Marilyn Woodthorpe’s opening presentation was a light hearted and candid look back at the society’s trip to the Falkirk Wheel, the Kelpies and Edinburgh, last April.  As well as records of the event, which also included Edinburgh Zoo and the Royal Yacht Britannia, there were a few cringe worthy, candid images of members in less than glorious poses:


This was followed by a much more sensitive (and sensible) offering by  David Leighton who produced some wonderful images of waterfalls in Yorkshire.  He had experimented with different angles, close-up distances and exposures to get the best effect of moving water through some iconic Yorkshire landscapes. He included some unusual night shots of the waterfalls which included spectacular lighting effects:

Carol Minks, not surprisingly, produced a very competent selection of pictures from a recent expedition to the western isles of British Columbia where she had sought out whales and bears.  Her photographs including some extreme close-ups of whales, revealed her experience in weather which varied from the warm and benign to the absolutely ghastly; and she had experienced some of this weather on rough seas whilst on a boat the size of a small dining table:


David Stephenson, who delivered the winning entry in this section chose to show us images from Iceland in Winter.  The stark and hostile weather conditions experienced by David were well documented showing snow to the first floor windows of his accommodation and clearing snow to free cars stuck in snowdrifts.  But he produced some stunning images of remote churches, waterfalls and winter landscapes both in colour and mono:


Keith Snell, one of the society’s  experts on nudes, photographically speaking, alluded to the comparisons between some of the world renowned artists’ approaches to nude portraiture and his own photographic attempts at capturing form, shape and beauty. Keith demonstrated the art of nude photography with particular reference to the creative use of light, or lack of light, to create the illusion of shape and form and to model symmetry:


Last but by no means least was Edward Richardson’s Beast!  His presentation entitled ‘Moving East with the Beast – To Venice in Snow’ portrayed, amongst other quite unusual vistas, the very unusual scenes of snow on the gondolas, in St. Mark’s Square and at the airport!  In fact his journey was seriously influenced by last year’s Beast from the East which almost succeeded in preventing him from travelling to Venice at all.  His final image taken on his last day in Venice showed a wonderful sunny, dry and warm day at the airport, which had, of course, arrived a week too late:


The first AV presentation was from Julie Walker and it was a stunning portrayal of bears in the wild. Entitled ‘Just Bears’ her presentation included bears from all corners of the world. There were Brown bears, Grizzly bears, Polar bears, bear cubs and she showed them in their natural environments playing, hunting, fishing or just being quietly menacing.   Richard Jakobson produced an incredibly entertaining mock-up of Test Match Special as he described the 2013 Village Cricket Championship at Lords, the home of cricket.  His local team, the Cleator village team, won sensationally and Richard created a really light hearted but very professional AV of the event.

The winning AV followed.  It was the work of Ken Rennie, a very accomplished landscape photographer who, on this occasion produced a collection of high key, minimalist seascapes from England, France, Scotland and Spain. The delicate and restrained colours of the sea, sand and sky in beautiful compositions were so easy on the eye proving a worthy winner on the night.

The final AV was from another well known and accomplished natural history photographer, Tony Marsh, whose presentation, ‘Tiger family morning’, followed a family of three cubs and their mother in the Indian state of Rajasthan as the cubs nuzzled, relaxed, cooled themselves in a stream and generally chilled out whilst the adult tiger, always alert, stalked, chased and ultimately successfully provided an antelope lunch for them all!

The standard of this year’s entries was very high and all were very entertaining, which was reflected in the scoring with all entries getting votes and the two winning entries just pipping others at the post.

Presentation by Morton Photographic Society, 20th March 2019

At this week’s meeting we were entertained by members of Morton Photographic Society from Carlisle.  This was an opportunity for their members to demonstrate the variety and quality of their work and to show images that might not otherwise receive a public airing. During the evening we enjoyed a range of subject matter from various locations as well as different styles of presentation including stills, slide shows and audio visuals prepared  by both experienced and novice photographers.

John Reed kicked the evening off with a presentation simply titled “Cumbria”. He showed a collection of beautiful and atmospheric landscape images, all taken over the last three years.  He included shots taken at a variety of locations in Cumbria and at different times of year and he presented both monochrome and colour images:




Richard Speirs followed with a presentation titled “A Sense of Place”. Richard too focused on the Lake District with landscapes taken at several of his favourite locations throughout the year.  He also demonstrated how an image could be improved by tweaking it during processing and he explained how he added elements such as light and mist. The quality of both presentations served to remind us of the  potential that exists for wonderful images so close to home. The  first half concluded with an audio visual presentation titled “Route 66” prepared  by Ian Gregory. This dealt with the history of the A66 and took us along its route from the east to the west coast stopping at some of the highlights along the way including Brough and Appleby.

There was more variety in the second half with Gerald Chamberlin presenting several slide shows on different subjects. The first of these focused on classic cars which he had photographed in various stages of decay. A number of images of cars, or parts of cars, taken in woodland illustrated Gerald’s ability to produce unusual and artistic work .  The subject of his next presentation was infrared photography and he showed a number of images taken in Scandinavia.


Finally he presented some of his intricate composite images, explaining briefly how he had achieved them. We then enjoyed some still  images of Iceland, a popular destination for many photographers,  taken in snowy and sometimes blizzard conditions by Fred Bell. A further set of his images taken at the South Lakes Zoo demonstrated that you do not have to travel to distant lands in order to photograph exotic animals such as tigers and snow leopards. This was followed by an entertaining audio visual presentation prepared by Gilly Linton of a recent trip to St Kilda which featured towering cliffs, lovely seascapes and abandoned buildings. The final presentation, another AV, had been prepared by Steve Jeffery. Steve is a keen mountaineer and adventurer and  could not attend the meeting because he is apparently currently kayaking in the Antarctic.  His presentation of stunning scenery in the Himalayas and other mountainous regions vividly illustrated his love of adventure and wild places. Altogether it was a very enjoyable evening.

4th Open Competition, March 6th, 2019

Tonight we held our last open competition of the season. Our judge, Jack Bamford, as well as being an ex member of Keswick Photographic Society, is an experienced and well respected national and international judge and his critique of the images was full of positive comments and helpful tips. He also commented on the overall high standard of images produced by the Society, particularly in the prints section.

The evening was divided in to two halves;  prints and digital images. There were 32 prints for Jack to judge.  A high proportion of these were nature images, many taken locally but some from further afield including a tiger from India, a jaguar from South America, vultures from Bulgaria, an Iberian Lynx from Spain  and a Great Grey Owl from Finland. There were an equal number of landscapes, most taken locally.

The overall winner of the print section was Ken Rennie with a beautiful image taken in Borrowdale titled “Break through”:


Jack commented “this print is what landscape photography is all about” and he praised the level of detail in the print, the beauty of the light and the overall print quality.  Ronnie Gilbert also achieved the maximum score of  20 for his image of an Iberian Lynx:


A third score of 20 was awarded to Carol Minks for her image titled “Golden Eagle and Fox”:


Two scores of 19 were awarded; one to Alan Walker for a monochrome image titled “The Story Teller”:


and the other to Julie Walker for a monochrome image of three white galloping horses titled “Out of the Mist:


Jack also awarded a score of 18 for six prints. These were “Jaguar on River Bank at Dawn” by Ronnie Gilbert, “Moss Force” by Carmen Norman, “Great Grey Owl, Finland” by Carol Minks, “Late Evening Sycamore Gap” by Tom Stenhouse and “Wild Tiger Cub” and “On the Lookout”, a Kingfisher, both by Tony Marsh.

Forty images were submitted for judging in the digital section. Landscape and nature images again predominated. Many of these were taken locally but we were also transported to the Forbidden City in China, Venice, the Arctic, South America and Alaska. The overall winner was Ronnie Gilbert for his image titled “Golden Eagle Pair Displaying”:


Scores of 20 were also awarded to Gordon Train for his image of a Spotted Fly Catcher:


Alan Walker for his image of a Grizzly Bear with a fish titled “A Successful Catch”:


and David Woodthorpe for his image of a Sedge Warbler.


It was a good evening for Ronnie as he scored 18 for his second image which was of a Toucan.  It was also a good evening for Carole Minks who was awarded 19 for her image titled “Ringed Plover Calling”:


and 18 for “Blackbird and Berry Feast”.  Another 19 was awarded to Tony Marsh for his “Female Blackbird with Red Berries”. Alan Walker achieved 18 with his image of a ballerina in a derelict building titled “Contrast”. Scores of 18 were also  awarded to Keith Snell for “Giant Kingfisher with Catch”, and two to Julie Walker for an image of a Polar Bear and her cub titled “A Tender Moment” and also for “Waiting for the First Bus”.

Julie Walker

“Three Way Battle” February 20th, 2019

The meeting on the 20th  of February took the form of a “fun” competition between ourselves, Carlisle and Penrith & District Camera Clubs; our annual “Three Way Battle”. Each club provides 15 digital images from 15 different photographers and is an excellent showcase of the breadth of talent in each club. Scoring our images was Richard Speirs, an extremely experienced and well-respected judge, both locally and nationally.

Richard started by congratulating us on the quality of the images saying that he had found no poor images with every one having photographic merit. He then proceeded to comment on each of the forty-five images generously pointing out all that he found good about each one but also giving advice about how some of the images could be improved, whether by different cropping or adjustment of the light in bright or shadowy areas and colour balance.

Scores on the night ranged between 14 and 20 and Keswick did very well with three of the four 20 scores, featuring work by Alan Walker an exciting close up of a Grizzly Bear with a Salmon in its mouth and water cascading all around it:


David Woodthorpe with a sparkling photograph of an all-white Scottish Mountain Hare grooming itself with its impressively furry back feet :


and Ronnie Gilbert with a colourful Aracari, ( a small Toucan) leaning along a wonderfully twisty branch or vine, the tip of its beak a few inches away from an airborne fly, all perfectly in focus:


Ronnie’s photograph was judged to be the best of the competition and Keswick also topped the final score tally, especially pleasing as fifteen members contributed to our success.

A few days later a rather more serious competition between the fifty member clubs of the Northern Counties Photographic Federation which covers the North East of England as well as Cumbria, was held with separate sections for projected images and prints. Keswick was first in both of these categories with an image “Forest Ballerinas” by Julie Walker being crowned “best projected image in show”:


and Ronnie Gilbert being only one of two to score full marks with a print of his aforementioned Acari and Fly. This is a significant achievement, not least because this is the third time in as many years that Keswick has come top in both sections.

Tony Marsh

Set Subject Competition: “People in Motion” 13th February, 2019

Tonight we held our second set subject competition of the season. The subject for this competition was “People in Motion” which was set by the judge Tom Stenhouse. Tom is a long standing member of Keswick Photographic Society and has been judging club competitions locally for several years.

The set subject competitions are fun evenings intended to assist members to improve their photography by providing constructive feedback on their images. Tom’s critique of the images included an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each image as well as helpful tips on how they might be improved. He emphasised the need for at least some element of the image to be sharp. He felt that this particularly applied to people’s heads and faces.

There were 47 entries in total. A variety of techniques were demonstrated including the use of high shutter speeds to freeze action, slow shutter speeds to blur action and panning.   There were also some imaginative surreal entries.

Most images portrayed sport, dance or street scenes. Cycling proved particularly popular with a number of images taken during  road races including the Tour of Britain. Football, horse racing and surfing were also popular subjects as well as local sports events.    A few images were taken abroad  including street scenes in Vietnam, horse riders in Mongolia and rodeo in the USA.

As this was a fun evening, rather than giving individual scores, Tom divided the images in to three categories.  He placed ten images in the highest scoring category. These included two images by Ronnie Gilbert, two by Julie Walker and one each from Marilyn Woodthorpe,  Alan Walker, David Rayment, Tony Marsh, Carmen Norman and Wendy Jordan. The overall winner was Alan Walker with his image titled “Steeplechase”.


Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday 27th February. This will be a practical evening of still life photography led by Carmen Norman. Participants should bring their cameras along.