The evening of our third Open Competition was judged by Richard Speirs DPAGB, APAGB, BPE2. Richard is recognised as one of the top judges in the Northern Counties and he did not disappoint. He judged using constructive criticism, advice and a sense of humour; he even had the courage to involve the members in deciding whether his advice was good or not. However despite the opinion of the audience, he didn’t alter the scores!
These competition evenings can be long with many images to get through, on this occasion there were 36 prints and 59 digital images. It was impressive to see that more of our new members had entered, thus braving exposure to comments that might be less than favourable. Fortunately, Richard always gave the good points first followed by the improvements, so first timers were in good hands, as the blows of negativity were softened by kindly suggestions.
The prints’ section had some excellent entries, overall the lowest score was 15. Two members scored 20 points; Carol Minks with a wonderful image of a “Juvenile Sparrowhawk” looking very coy in the rain and John Macfarlane displayed an equally impressive image of a sea otter eating a baby octopus, entitled “Chewy”. The striking thing about the latter image was that the otter was in complete harmony with the background, both in terms of colour and texture. The judge is asked prior to the competition to give first place should there be a tie and it was Carol who received this accolade.
Five members received scores of 19 points; Rosamund Macfarlane with “Puffin drying off”, Tony Marsh with “Blue Tit and Lichen”, Carol Minks with both “Male Stonechat on Gorse” and “Black Tailed Godwit”, Ken Rennie with “Solway Watercolour” and Alan Walker with “Fighting Barn Owls”.
A score of 18 was obtained by eight members; Ronnie Gilbert with “Red Squirrel in morning light”, Keith Snell with “Birds in Flight”, Rosamund Macfarlane with “Puffin Portrait”, Marilyn Woodthorpe with “Eggstacy,” Tom Stenhouse with “Fish Feeding Frenzy”, Julie Walker with “Red Stag in Snow”, Tony Marsh with “Caerlaverlock Rainbow” and David Woodthorpe with “Drizzle on a Squirrel”.
The digital image section was equally competitive with a tie for the top position of 20 points by Julie Walker’s “Crested Tit” and Ronnie Gilbert’s “Male Sparrowhawk with Prey” which Richard described as “stunning” giving him first place.
Ronnie Gilbert’s “Running Hare” and “Red legged Partridge” together with Ken Rennie’s “Safe Haven” were awarded 19 points. Both Alan Walker’s “Bald Eagle in the Rain” and “Wild Rocker” as well as David Woodthorpe’s “Wren on Bracket Fungus”, Tony Marsh’s “Portinscale Kingfisher” and Rosalind Macfarlane’s “Bearded-Tit doing the Splits” (an eye-watering image!) all scored 18 points.
With nearly twice as many digital images as prints Richard, using no accompanying notes, always appeared calm and collected and the evening finished exactly on time. Timing is a difficult thing to master being the hallmark of an excellent judge.
Once again it is the familiar names that appeared amongst the high scorers; as the saying goes “the cream always rises to the top”. Unfortunately, not all the images can appear in this article nor be described in great detail but the standard of the two winners gives an indication of the excellence displayed.
Meetings take place at The Friends Meting House, Elliot Park, Keswick CA12 5NZ on Wednesday evenings AT 7.30PM. The next meeting is on the 31st January a practical session on “Still Life”