1st Open Competition, October 9th, 2019

This week’s meeting was the first internal competition of the season. Our judge for the evening was Jack Bamford, an old friend of the society who was one of our own members before moving to the middle East, i.e. Hexham. Jack is a very well-respected judge with experience at looking at the photographs produced by a large number of camera clubs around the North of England. He started by congratulating the society on the quality and consistency of the images, especially the prints, “not a bad print amongst them”. (Members can enter up to two prints and two digital images each

Scores were given from within the range of 12 to 20 and there were seven prints that received the mark of nineteen; Julie walker showed a creative composite of a ballet dancer sitting on a stone bench in front of a wall-trained rose. Almost monochrome, the picture had been treated to give it an ethereal softness.


Sue Rugg, an experienced photographer but a new member to our society, had two with a strong portrait of a characterful bearded man, rather bizarrely sporting a white mouse on his lapel


and a powerfully striking picture of a young woman arising from mud and water a “Warrior” obstacle races. Keith Snell’s picture entitled “Survival” was an isolated tree, spot lit by sunlight, deep down in the dark surroundings of the epic quarry at Hodge Close, a site near Coniston beloved by landscape photographers.


Alan Walker’s picture of a small family group of elephants had also received a highly effective and artistic treatment of high key, (pale and contrasty), monochrome.


Tony Marsh showed a Griffin Vulture coming into land with wings up and legs down like a plane’s undercarriage,


and Ken Rennie, our expert landscape photographer, a monochrome panorama of wet sands with the focal point a lighthouse small and way over to the left side of the horizon. A daring composition but one that works really well.


There were four scores of twenty, Tony Marsh with a pin sharp shot of a tiny Common Blue Damselfly,


another shot on wet sand and sea, this time by Ronnie Gilbert and featuring a horseman and four of those fantastic white horses of the Camargue all lit by glorious evening sunlight and reflected in the water,


Julie Walker’s shot was of a white coated mountain hare stretching high on its legs in the rain.


Lastly, and judged to be the best print of all was a hovering Arctic Tern, beautifully sharp but with just a hint of a sandy beach below and behind it. As Jack said “a picture that I could live with on the wall”, and this was by Tricia Rayment.


Of the Projected images five earnt a score of nineteen, Julie Walker with another creative composite picture, this time of a dancer in a diaphanous dress, superimposed on a full moon and with some skeletal trees in the background.


A kingfisher bursting from the water carrying not one but two tiny fish was by David Woodthorpe,


and Alan Walker had produced a Leopard stalking through grasses with a puff of breath visible with everything beautifully backlit by early morning light.


Ronnie Gilbert, reverted to his more normal natural history style with an exciting shot of a Wolverine, (a wonderful creature of Scandinavia, think of a cross between a stoat and a bear!),


and Sue Rugg’s charming picture of two young ragamuffin sisters, (taken at a re-enaction), was mostly subdued in colour but was balanced perfectly by a striding cockerel with a bright red comb.


The twenty scores were Ken Rennie’s landscape shot of a dramatic rock needle,


“Tree Sprite” was an artistic shot by Keith Snell of a naked model sat on a curved branch of a flowering Magnolia tree,


and the shot judged to be the best projected image was a Dalmatian Pelican reaching for a fish on ice. Taken very close up with a wide angle lens Alan Walker had managed to keep everything sharply in focus from the tip of its colourful bill to the snow covered mountains behind the birds outstretched wings.


Although I have described only nineteen of the eighty-two images we looked at I hope this has conveyed the breadth and depth of the photographic talent within the society. Jack’s commentary and advice given about each picture made this an educational evening as well as an enjoyable way for members to show each other some of their work.