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