KPS 2nd Open Competition 15th November 2017

Keswick Photographic Society’s Second Open Competition was held on 15th November. The judge for the evening was Jack Bamford, DPAGB, AFIAP, APAGB. Jack is a Northern Counties Photographic Federation judge and, prior to moving away from the area, used to be a member of the Society. The competition entries consisted of forty-eight prints and sixty-nine projected digital images which Jack, during the previous ten days, had been studying and then awarding scores out of twenty.

The evening commenced with the prints. Jack discussed each image, commenting on the good points and, in some cases, suggesting where improvements could be made and then he announced the image score. A total of seven prints received top scores of twenty, reflecting the high quality of the work submitted. The overall winning print was ‘Waiting’ by Alan Walker. This beautifully printed image featured a wistful and sad-looking lady sitting on a window seat and leaning against a stack of suitcases. Another of Alan’s prints entitled ‘Red Deer Stag in Snow’ was also awarded a top score of twenty. The five other prints achieving top scores were: ‘3 Trees + 1’ by Ken Rennie, ‘Waiting for Mother in the Rain’ by Ronnie Gilbert, ‘Whimbrel’ by Carol Minks, ‘Little Owl Peekaboo’ by Keith Snell and ‘Fear in the Subway’ by Julie Walker. Just one point behind the top prints were five prints which received scores of nineteen and these were: ‘At the Water Hole’ by Keith Snell, ‘Red Necked Phalarope’ by Carol Minks, ‘Golden Hour at Winskill Stones’ by Ken Rennie, Male Kingfisher with Minnow’ by Marilyn Woodthorpe and ‘Red Squirrel with Heather’ by Ronnie Gilbert. Another six images achieved very good scores of eighteen and these were by Julie Walker, Alan Walker, Tony Marsh, John Macfarlane, Ken Rennie and David Woodthorpe.

After a break for tea and biscuits, and the chance to view the winning prints in greater detail, the second half of the evening was devoted to the projected image entries. Again a number of images achieved the top score and, within these, Jack chose ‘Redwing Singing in the Rain’ as his overall winner. This delightful image featured a redwing perched on a branch and singing with great gusto despite the rain. The bird was pin-sharp but the background rendered expertly out of focus. Four other images scored twenty and these were: ‘Steph in Red’ and ‘Green Parrot Snake’, both by Julie Walker, ‘Osprey Take Off’ by Ronnie Gilbert and ‘Watendlath Fell’ by Ken Rennie. Five images received scores of nineteen and these were: ‘Dance of the Crane’ and ‘Waiting for the Ice’, both by John Macfarlane, ‘I Look Up to Him’ by Alan Walker, ‘Brittany’ by Ken Rennie and ‘Get Off its Mine’ by Tom Stenhouse. Ten projected images were awarded scores of eighteen and these were by Ronnie Gilbert (2 images), Alan Walker (2 images), Carol Minks (2 images), Wendy Jordan, Ken Rennie, Keith Snell and Julie Walker.

Keith Snell, the Society’s chairman thanked the judge for all his hard work judging the images. Our meetings take place at The Friends Meeting House, Elliott Park, Keswick, CA12 5NZ on Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm. You will be most welcome to join us.

(Tricia Rayment)


“Paint to Pixels” 8th November 2017

The meeting this week was something completely different in that it focused on paintings of the old masters, albeit with a photographic slant. Our member John Macfarlane LRPS DPAGB AFIAP EPSA concentrated on one famous painting, that by JMW Turner of ‘Buttermere Lake with Part of Cromackwater’ painted in 1898. This subject had been inspired by the renowned landscape photographer Joe Cornish who references it in his talks on photographic composition and who was in the audience on this occasion. John gave the background to the painting by explaining that Turner had been on an extended painting tour of northern England in the summer of 1897. Indeed John had examined Turner’s original leather-bound sketch books from this trip at the Tate Britain gallery as part of his detailed research. He explained that Turner was directed to the Buttermere valley, from Keswick were he was staying, by the many contemporary guidebooks but especially by the detailed hand-drawn map published by Peter Crosthwaite (who founded the Keswick Museum). This map of the Buttermere valley was annotated with recommended ‘viewing stations’ and, illustrated by his own photographs, John identified the specific viewpoint as Hause Point on Rannerdale Knotts where Turner had produced the original sketches for his painting.

A notable feature of the very atmospheric painting, one of the first in Turner’s iconic later style, was a striking rainbow across Buttermere at the junction of the Buttermere valley and the valley from Ennerdale which runs below Floutern Cop. Using retrospective meteorological almanac data and resorting to aerial photography from a microlite, John established that the conditions on the day of Turner’s sketching could indeed  have produced the rainbow that Turner painted, with sunlight coming down the Floutern valley during showery weather in the Buttermere valley. However, Turner was known to sometimes add in rainbows at the painting stage so this remains as plausible conjecture. John introduced a modern-day take on this by precirculating his own photograph of Buttermere taken from the Turner viewing point and inviting members to create an interpretation of Turner’s painting using Photoshop or other post-processing software. The striking recreation by  Richard Jakobson was judged by the audience to be the most effective and versions by Brad Cheek, David Woodthorpe and Julie Walker were also highly regarded.

After the break the fine art theme was continued with ‘Learning From The Masters’ by Carmen Norman LRPS. Carmen has been influenced by paintings ever since she was given a copy of ‘Art Treasures of The World’ as a child. The book has had a profound influence on her approach to landscape photography. She showed paintings by many famous landscape painters, particularly Constable and Turner, and revealed how their compositions adhered to the classical divisions of the golden section as exemplified by the Fibonacci sequence or the photographic ‘rule of thirds’ approximation. The intersection of thirds is an area where the eye seeks elements of pictorial significance. For each classical painting, Carmen showed a matching photograph from her own portfolio capturing a similar mood and composition. Her exceptional images both delighted and instructed and the audience were enthusiastic in their appreciation, as they had been for John Macfarlane’s highly entertaining and scholarly presentation.

Western Area Battle Saturday 4th November 2017

The Western Area Battle is an annual competition between 8 Photographic Societies.

Carlisle, Copeland, Dumfries, Keswick, Morton, Penrith, West Cumbria and Workington. Each Photographic Society has to present 6 prints and 6 PDI’s.

The competition is marked by an external judge and on this occasion it was Leo Palmer FRPS, APAGB, FPSA, GMPSA from Hexham Camera Club.

Leo started the afternoon with a talk about his travels, projects, concepts and themes. He tends to concentrate on producing six images for each project and showed some interesting examples on landscapes from Yellowstone National Park, India, Nepal and Spain. Others were of Street Life, Candid (inspired by Henri Cartier-Bresson), Surrealism, Mannequins and Bromoils.

The second half of his presentation was a series of A-V’s lasting 2 to 5 minutes each and collectively lasted for 45 minutes. The material was mainly of his travel photography.

Thanks to Penrith CC, our hosts for the day, for organising the event, providing an excellent buffet and venue at the Penrith Players Theatre.

After the buffet each image was presented and Leo gave comments of varying lengths. Scores were given, added accumulatively, resulting in a very close outcome.


Carl   Cope  Dumf  Kesw  Mort  Penr  W.Cum  Work

73         86        98        98        88      83         71          83


Carl  Cope  Dumf  Kesw  Mort  Penr  W.Cum   Work

97         87       103      103        97      96         92        97


170     173       201      201       185    179      163       180


7th       6th       1st=      1st=      3rd     5th       8th       4th

Best print was given to Penrith for “Soft Light on Ullswater”  by John Williams

Best PDI was given to Carlisle for “Evening Storm”

I am sure most of the attendees think their images could have scored better but that will always be the case and once again Dumfries and Keswick are top of the pile which is a pretty consistent performance year on year.

“Personal Prints with a BIG Difference” Wednesday 1st November 2017

“Personal Prints with a BIG Difference” by Howard Tate MA (Phot), ARPS, AFIAP

We were entertained on Wednesday evening by Howard Tate who is an ex president of the Yorkshire Photographic Union and the current Vice President of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain. He is responsible for organising the GB Trophies competition for prints and the GB Cups competition for digital images for the PAGB.

It is no exaggeration to say that Howard produces huge prints as demonstrated during his talk. He treated us to a selection of his A1 and A2 images as well as some very large linear panoramas which he had produced for his masters degree in photography. He has travelled widely and his images included a selection from Hong Kong, where he lived and worked for a while, Dubai, where his daughter lives, Vietnam, the USA and Europe as well some from the UK.

Howard’s entertaining talk was full of humorous tales and helpful tips. He described how many of his photos are taken in, or from, bars as he often holidays with friends who are non photographers. He said that this is where his friends spend much of their time so he has no choice but to photograph from here. He showed an image of a particularly seedy bar in the USA near Palm Springs that none of his companions would enter although once inside he was made to feel very welcome by the locals.

Howard explained that he likes to undertake specific projects. One of these was to photograph trees in the desert. This involved driving his car as far as he could in to the desert and then setting out on foot with his camera gear and step ladder, roughly a ten mile round trip. The step ladder was required to achieve the desired viewpoint although more recently he has used a drone. On one such occasion he encountered a group of wealthy locals who were clearly astonished to find a mad Englishman walking alone in the desert without water. They subsequently invited him to join them for a picnic which turned out to be on rather a grand scale.

Many of Howard’s photographs are of people and he pointed out that you do not need to travel outside the UK in order to produce social documentaries.  He also likes to take landscapes and has a particular interest in architectural photography too. He showed us some very dramatic images of Glen Coe taken in poor weather and said that, as far as he is concerned, these are the only conditions suitable for landscape photography. Blue skies and sunshine are totally unsuitable. He showed us an image taken inside The Sage in Gateshead as an example of his architectural work. Clearly Howard is prepared to go to some lengths to achieve his images. In this case he climbed over a barrier designed to keep the public out to achieve his desired viewpoint.

Howard encouraged questions and audience participation throughout his talk  which added to our enjoyment and resulted in a very entertaining and lively evening.

Our meetings take place at the Friends Meeting House, Elliot Park, Keswick, CA12 5NZ on Wednesday evenings at 7.30 p.m. You will be most welcome to join us.

Julie Walker

Latest PAGB Competition Results

Keswick again did well in the latest PAGB competition. We missed coming first equal in the plate competition by just one mark!

Notably two of our entries both received silver medals for colour prints: Alan Walker for “Green Parrot Snake”:





and Ken Rennie for “Dornoch Point”:





Member’s Night October 25th 2017

A photographic competition devoted to the subject of ‘Water’ formed the basis of the meeting on Wednesday 25th October. The judge was Alan Walker, MPAGB, ARPS, MPSA, EFIAP, a member of the Society. Alan regularly judges competitions for other photographic clubs and is a certified Northern Counties Photographic Federation judge so members were assured of having an expert giving the critique of their images. The real purpose of the evening was a chance for members to submit pictures in a more relaxed way since the marks awarded did not go towards the season’s photographic league. It also gave members the opportunity to see how they could ‘improve’ their photography. Since not all members of the Society produce prints, the competition was confined to projected digital images (PDIs) and members could enter up to three images each.

Alan had received the thirty-six anonymous PDI entries from twelve members a few days prior to the meeting. On the evening, Alan gave his critique commenting on each image, giving constructive criticism where necessary and awarding a mark. Alan gave helpful advice on composition, choice of viewpoint, depth of field, exposure, shutter speed, cropping and relevance to the subject. Alan pointed out the difficulty of getting exposure correct with areas of white water and he emphasised that when entering a ‘set subject’ competition it is important to keep to the chosen set subject and to make sure that it is the most important element in the picture. The images submitted all featured water in some form or another, including waterfalls, water droplets, calm sea, crashing waves, rivers, lakes and frozen water and these sometimes combined with other elements such as reflections, people, animals, plants or man-made structures.

Four images received a top score of twenty and three of these were by Tony Marsh. Tony’s images were ‘Water Fight’, depicting three gannets tussling over a fish in swirling water, ‘Water and Grass’, a lovely image of part of a waterfall taken with a slow shutter speed and ‘Dew on Swollen-thighed Beetle’ a superb close-up image of a strikingly coloured beetle resting on a hairy leaf, both beetle and leaf being covered by a myriad of tiny water droplets. 

The fourth image to achieve a top score was ‘The Last Drop’ by Ken Rennie and it was chosen as the overall winning image by the judge. This atmospheric image taken with a slow shutter speed featured water cascading down over delicately lit rocks into a pool at the bottom of a waterfall.

Four images achieved a score of nineteen: ‘Reflected Solway Sunset’ and ‘Breaking Wave’ both by Keith Snell, ‘Slavonian Grebe Drying Off’ by Carol Minks and ‘Ullswater Boat House’ by Tom Stenhouse. Scores of eighteen were awarded to six images: ‘Ice and Water’ by Carol Minks, ‘At Nichol End’ by Aline Hopkins, ‘Surging Water’ and ‘Evening Light’ both by Ken Rennie, ‘Wet Feet’ by Stephen Harris and ‘Aira Force’ by Michael Rowlinson

Keith Snell, the Society’s chairman thanked Alan for his hard work judging the images and for his constructive comments.

The full gallery of submitted images can be viewed here

Shooting Stars

Keswick Photography Society welcomed Stephen Cheatley this week, an astronomer and astro-photographer from Blackpool.
Stephen spoke about his start in astronomy and how he has progressed through the years. Astronomy includes the sun, the moon, the stars and deep space and Stephen spoke about capturing images in all areas.
His work has taken him all over the world and he proved very knowledgeable about the night sky and the constellations.
During his talk, Stephen explained to us the techniques he used to capture images, from star trails, where he would shoot the night sky for a couple of hours, to photo stacking, which ensures he gets the best quality images.   He spoke about his use of a telescope to create images from deep space, with some very impressive images of far off constellations showing amazing colour and detail.

Stephen demonstrated the use of a star tracking device for his tripod which allows a much longer exposure to be taken of the night sky, the device matches the movement of the stars so you don’t get any blur in the long exposures, just very sharp and detailed images. He shared with us details of how to create a star trail image, where you take a number of 30 second pictures, it could be hundreds, and use special software to stack all the images to create one image which shows the movement of the stars int he night sky.  The same technique was used to create a superb image of the International Spacing Station passing through the night sky.
It was an excellent and very informative talk, the time flew by.

KPS 1st Open Competition

Keswick Photographic Society’s First Open Competition of the new season was held on 4th October. During the 2017-18 season, there will be another three Open Competitions with each competition being divided into two sections: prints and projected images. Members are allowed to enter up to three prints and three projected images for each competition. The points accrued in the competitions all go towards the Society’s league. In April, a trophy will be awarded to the member achieving the most points in the print section of the league and, similarly, there will be a trophy awarded for the top position in the projected images section. In addition, there will be a trophy for the photographer achieving the top mark when the scores for the prints and projected images are combined. Importantly, the competitions also provide an opportunity for members to show their images and also to gain advice on how to improve their work and develop their photography.

The judge for the First Open Competition was David Stout, DPAGB, EFIAP, PPSA, a Northern Counties Photographic Federation judge. David had travelled all the way from Ryton near Newcastle to judge the competition entries which had been delivered to him ten days prior to the meeting. There were forty-five prints and fifty-nine projected images. David stated that he was really pleased to be judging a competition at Keswick since the Society has been doing extremely well in high-profile external competitions and is currently regarded very highly by the Northern Counties Photographic Federation. He commented that he was not disappointed when he saw the images which were of a very high standard and that this was reflected in the large number of images awarded high marks.

The images were given a score out of twenty and David 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 after a break for tea and biscuits the projected digital images were considered. In the print section almost one-quarter of the prints comprised nature photographs and the proportion increased to just over a third for the projected images. However most other genres of photography were represented including landscape, portraiture, travel, photojournalism, creative and still life. The majority of the images were in colour but mono photography (black and white) also featured.

The overall winning print with a score of twenty was ‘Bonelli’s Eagle Plucking Pigeon’ by Ronnie Gilbert. This superb pin-sharp print showing ‘nature in the raw’ was chosen by the judge as his top print. Four other prints achieved top scores of twenty and these were: ‘Little Egret with Stickleback’ by Carol Minks, ‘Reeds in Snow, Okunikko’ by Tom Stenhouse, ‘A Different Approach’ by David Woodthorpe and ‘Give us a Kiss Mum’ by Alan Walker. A number of prints received scores of nineteen and these were: ‘The Sunset’ by Carmen Norman, ‘Drinking Bison’ and ‘Red Throated Diver Landing’ both by Carol Minks, ‘Old Chapel Lucignano’ by Alan Walker and ‘At the Water’s Edge’ by Ken Rennie. Following on closely with scores of eighteen were images by Julie Walker, Ken Rennie, Ronnie Gilbert, Marilyn Woodthorpe, Tom Stenhouse and Marcus Mackay.

The overall winner of the projected images section was ‘Eye on Tewet Tarn’ by Ken Rennie. This was a beautiful dawn image looking across Tewet Tarn. One other projected image also achieved a top score of twenty and this was ‘Wren and Lichen’ by Tony Marsh. This featured a delightful jaunty-looking wren perched on a lichen-covered fence post. As with the prints, a number of projected images received scores of nineteen and these were: ‘Alaskan Brown Bear’ and ‘Buzkashi Horseman Mongolia’ both by Ronnie Gilbert, ‘Leopard Stalking in the Shadows’ by Alan Walker, ‘Three in a Row’ by Ken Rennie, ‘Bison Bull Resting’ and ‘Calling Snipe’ both by Carol Minks, ‘Singing Robin’ by Tricia Rayment and ‘Fatherly Love’ by Julie Walker. Images with scores of eighteen were awarded to Julie Walker, Marcus Mackay, Ronnie Gilbert, David Woodthorpe, Tony Marsh, David Rayment and Alan Walker.

David Woodthorpe thanked the judge for all his hard work judging the images. The next meeting of the Society on Wednesday October 18th is entitled ‘A Square Mile’ and will be a presentation by Phil Buckle. Our meetings take place at The Friends Meeting House, Elliott Park, Keswick, CA12 5NZ on Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm. You will be most welcome to join us.

(Tricia Rayment)

Celebrate the seasons & Time Frames

“Celebrate the Seasons and Time Frames” by Tim Fuller from Twynholm, Dumfries and Galloway.

Tim Fuller is a professional photographer based in Twynholm in Dumfries and Galloway. During the first part of his talk Tim described the influences that have shaped his photography. As a student in Newcastle in the 1980’s he found inspiration in the urban and industrial scenery around him. He was also a frequent visitor to the Side Gallery where he found Don McCullin’s work of particular interest. Tim’s fascination with the natural world developed when he moved to Kielder in Northumberland where he was inspired by the scenery on his journey to work and the wildlife around his home.

Tim described how in developing his photographic business, “Wild-scapes”, it had been important to take a unique approach. His photographs are largely as taken without the computer manipulation that is so popular now. This can make life difficult as he does not believe in removing unwanted elements from his images so he has to work hard to ensure that the originals taken in camera are as near perfect as possible. None of his images are set up or taken in a studio. Humour also plays an important role in his images. He also advised that images which appeal to children tend to sell well.

Tim showed us a wide variety of images including wildlife, landscapes, manmade structures and seascapes. While many of these had been taken in the UK he also showed images from further afield including New Zealand and Australia. In the second half of his presentation Tim showed us images from his current exhibition.

Our next meeting will be on 11th October when Stephen Cheatley from Blackpool will give a talk on his astronomical photography using a telescope. His work can be viewed at

Julie Walker

Members night – Three Members’ Experience and Enlightenment

This was our first members’ evening of the season and didn’t disappoint. Three members Tony Marsh, Alan and Julie Walker presented “Macro Nature Photography’, “What A Judge is Looking For” and “Creative Photography”.

Alan Walker opened with tips on why a judge might criticise an image or as Alan named it “Judge Bait”! Believe it or not these are often simple mistakes that the photographer cannot see because the overall image is very good. However, in a competition with an abundance of good images, a fault has to be found in order to justify the judges’ selection for first, second or third position.

Essentially one must get the basics right in camera; good exposure, use of the histogram to provide information on over or under exposure, avoid backgrounds which divert attention and if a distraction exists, remove it in post processing especially sensor dust spots. With landscapes make sure the horizon is level and use the “rule of thirds”. Finally, correct the white balance to avoid colour casts.

For portraits and people light up the eyes and place the eyes on one of the thirds, certainly don’t crop parts of people and do give the subject sufficient space within the image.  Portrait images in colour can be enhanced by changing the image to black and white. Refrain from over processing the image with plug-ins or sharpening. Story telling in an image is important but not without the technical quality.

Standards continue to rise in photography; for example, historically a kingfisher on its perch would have been a winner 10 years ago, then it had to be holding a fish in its mouth, next it needed to be  emerging from the water with a fish and water splashing, now underwater images are essential to produce the “WOW” factor.

Exploding out of the Water by Alan Walker

It is paramount that one enjoys photography as every image has its own value whether it wins a competition or not.

Julie Walker gave an excellent succinct presentation on creative photography. It was the best I have seen being understandable and simple to follow. This is not always the case as the “expert” frequently leads one down the road of complex methods and techniques which are impossible to remember.

Waiting by Julie Walker

She explained the use of post processing with Photoshop, a computer based “Darkroom” and the application of layers to create a composite image when two separate images are blended together to make a unique visual creation. Subsequently, she showed how texturing  adds atmosphere to an image and how to create textures by taking pictures of household wall tiles or wallpaper and applying them in layers.  The addition of a layer mask offers the flexibility to view one layer through another permitting the freedom of artistic creation.

After the interval Tony Marsh gave a description of the lenses and flash accessories he uses for macro photography in nature. He described how his image quality had improved with much  practice and by making mistakes!  His field craft knowledge has also been enhanced.

Lace fly by Tony Marsh

The images ranged from 1:1 ratio to 5:1, with this amount of magnification the detail obtained was spellbinding.  The sequence was of butterflies, moths, damsel flies, beetles, bugs, mushrooms and ferns – all of which can be found in most back gardens.

One of the major problems with macro photography is a narrow depth of field which means that the amount of subject in focus can be just a millimetre.  To improve this, flash can be employed which also permits hand holding as insects don’t stay still for long and a photographer needs to be mobile and unhindered by a tripod.  Tony reinforced the same rules from “Judge Bait” which become more critical with magnification.