Battle with Catchlight Camera Club, October 7th 2020

On Wednesday 7th October Keswick Photographic Society entered into Battle with Catchlight Camera Club.  With a membership of 65 accomplished photographers and based in Belfast, Catchlight is the current champion club of both the Northern Ireland Photographic Association and of the Irish Photographic Federation. They have also excelled in the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain competitions for several years!

One of the few positive aspects of Covid-19 is that, conducting our meetings via Zoom, the usual obstacles of geographic distance have been removed. So, not only were we able to enter into competition with a Club located in Belfast but our judge for the evening, who lives in the New Forest, was able to conduct her assessment of our images from the comfort of her home. Sue Sibley is a judge of some renown with many photographic distinctions. She is the current President of Southampton Camera Club and Chairman of the Southampton International Exhibition.

Sue was provided with a total of 70 images sorted alphabetically by title of the image so she had no idea from which club the photographs originated. They represented the work of 60 different photographers thereby ensuring that the competition reflected the work of the whole membership of the two clubs.

It is not possible within the limitations of this article to describe the range of photographic genres included within the competition and the incredibly high quality of many of them. Suffice it to say that landscape, natural history, wildlife, both artistic and quirky creative compilations, portraits and the human form, photo journalism and travel images all made appearances.

Sue Sibley gave enthusiastic, incisive, well reasoned and very positive assessments of the images, often indicating how she felt the images could be improved for future competitions, though recognising that some were just brilliant as they were!  She had been asked to score images out of 20 so the maximum score for each club was 700.  We were not surprised to come second in this competition being a club with half the number of members, but we gave them a run for their money. The scores were 606 to Catchlight and 591 to Keswick; a very close call.  Catchlight were worthy winners having submitted some really excellent images right across the board. KPS members can feel very proud of themselves for competing so well against such illustrious company. Five of our entries received the top score of 20. It was a very successful evening all round.

Sue was invited to nominate the best image in four categories and she chose ‘Milky Way, Namibia’ by Keswick’s Richard Jakobson as the best landscape


and ‘Three Against One’ by Keswick’s Alan Walker for the best Nature image.


Catchlight’s Joanne McGuiness won the best Portrait category with ‘Sunflower’:


and Gerald Gribbon also from Catchlight won the Creative Image category and the overall winning image with “Butterfly Rescue”



Carmen Norman: Still Life Tutorial, September 30th 2020

Keswick Photographic Society continues to hold meetings via Zoom. Although it would not seem possible to give a practical demonstration via this medium on Wednesday 30th Carmen Norman, one of the Society’s members, did just that.


The topic for the evening was still life photography and, had we been able to hold a normal meeting, we would have taken our cameras with us and under Carmen’s expert tuition we would have attempted to produce our own images.  Although not quite the same as trying this out for ourselves, Carmen kept us amused by demonstrating from her own studio how to photograph a strawberry as she dropped it in to a glass of water. Her set up was very simple. She used a light tent with a black background with a couple of desk lamps as the light source and the glass of water was placed on a mirror to provide a reflection. As Carmen dropped the strawberry, she took several shots in quick succession using the motor drive on her camera. This ensured that she captured the strawberry in mid air as well as the splash as it entered the water.


She then demonstrated how she processed the images by first selecting two that she liked and then combining them using Photoshop software.  This enabled her to include the strawberry as it fell through the air, as well as the splash when it entered the water, in one image. She repeated the demonstration several times using different shaped glasses and lighting.

As well as the practical demonstration Carmen showed us a number of other still life images that she had taken using the same light source and tent. These included images showing flour being sprinkled over a cake, which had proved to be rather messy,


and another of a light bulb with sparklers in the background.  She encouraged members to have a go themselves at home, to experiment and above all to have fun.


The evening was very informative and entertaining and we look forward to seeing members’ own still life images inspired by Carmen’s talk at a future meeting.

Carmen runs landscape photography courses, workshops and photo walks in the Lake District and is an accomplished photographer. More information about Carmen, her work and the courses she runs can be found on her website