Annual Short Sets Competition, March 13th, 2019

This was the evening for our annual Short Sets competition.  This competition has two categories, Projected Digital Images (PDIs) and Audio Visual (AV) presentations.  There were ten competitors in total, six delivering PDIs and 4 producing AVs. Each competitor is allocated 10 minutes in which to deliver their presentation which can be on any theme. The entries are judged by the audience who, by secret ballot, collectively choose the best of each category.

Marilyn Woodthorpe’s opening presentation was a light hearted and candid look back at the society’s trip to the Falkirk Wheel, the Kelpies and Edinburgh, last April.  As well as records of the event, which also included Edinburgh Zoo and the Royal Yacht Britannia, there were a few cringe worthy, candid images of members in less than glorious poses:


This was followed by a much more sensitive (and sensible) offering by  David Leighton who produced some wonderful images of waterfalls in Yorkshire.  He had experimented with different angles, close-up distances and exposures to get the best effect of moving water through some iconic Yorkshire landscapes. He included some unusual night shots of the waterfalls which included spectacular lighting effects:

Carol Minks, not surprisingly, produced a very competent selection of pictures from a recent expedition to the western isles of British Columbia where she had sought out whales and bears.  Her photographs including some extreme close-ups of whales, revealed her experience in weather which varied from the warm and benign to the absolutely ghastly; and she had experienced some of this weather on rough seas whilst on a boat the size of a small dining table:


David Stephenson, who delivered the winning entry in this section chose to show us images from Iceland in Winter.  The stark and hostile weather conditions experienced by David were well documented showing snow to the first floor windows of his accommodation and clearing snow to free cars stuck in snowdrifts.  But he produced some stunning images of remote churches, waterfalls and winter landscapes both in colour and mono:


Keith Snell, one of the society’s  experts on nudes, photographically speaking, alluded to the comparisons between some of the world renowned artists’ approaches to nude portraiture and his own photographic attempts at capturing form, shape and beauty. Keith demonstrated the art of nude photography with particular reference to the creative use of light, or lack of light, to create the illusion of shape and form and to model symmetry:


Last but by no means least was Edward Richardson’s Beast!  His presentation entitled ‘Moving East with the Beast – To Venice in Snow’ portrayed, amongst other quite unusual vistas, the very unusual scenes of snow on the gondolas, in St. Mark’s Square and at the airport!  In fact his journey was seriously influenced by last year’s Beast from the East which almost succeeded in preventing him from travelling to Venice at all.  His final image taken on his last day in Venice showed a wonderful sunny, dry and warm day at the airport, which had, of course, arrived a week too late:


The first AV presentation was from Julie Walker and it was a stunning portrayal of bears in the wild. Entitled ‘Just Bears’ her presentation included bears from all corners of the world. There were Brown bears, Grizzly bears, Polar bears, bear cubs and she showed them in their natural environments playing, hunting, fishing or just being quietly menacing.   Richard Jakobson produced an incredibly entertaining mock-up of Test Match Special as he described the 2013 Village Cricket Championship at Lords, the home of cricket.  His local team, the Cleator village team, won sensationally and Richard created a really light hearted but very professional AV of the event.

The winning AV followed.  It was the work of Ken Rennie, a very accomplished landscape photographer who, on this occasion produced a collection of high key, minimalist seascapes from England, France, Scotland and Spain. The delicate and restrained colours of the sea, sand and sky in beautiful compositions were so easy on the eye proving a worthy winner on the night.

The final AV was from another well known and accomplished natural history photographer, Tony Marsh, whose presentation, ‘Tiger family morning’, followed a family of three cubs and their mother in the Indian state of Rajasthan as the cubs nuzzled, relaxed, cooled themselves in a stream and generally chilled out whilst the adult tiger, always alert, stalked, chased and ultimately successfully provided an antelope lunch for them all!

The standard of this year’s entries was very high and all were very entertaining, which was reflected in the scoring with all entries getting votes and the two winning entries just pipping others at the post.