2016 11 - Competition 2

27th November 2016
Retford & District Photographic Society - Press Release - Joy Allison
8th November 2016
Images by Alan Burkwood, Jayne Mair and Ben Searson

Open Competition

The second competition of the year attracted a very strong entry in both numbers and quality. Our judge for the evening was Vin Scothern, our second visitor from Nottingham and Notts club in as many weeks. This is his first judging season and he was given plenty to consider.

As always the competition as divided into three classes - colour prints, monochrome prints and digitally projected images (DPIs). They were judged in that order. Vin was consistent in his remarks and we soon learned that he is impressed by clear detail in all areas of images and has a fondness for letterbox shaped crops to focus the attention when the key elements of an image follows a line. The suggestion he made most was that entries might benefit from areas at the top, bottom or both which add little to the overall impression, should be cropped off.
We were justifiably proud of frequent comments on how strong the entries were and it was clear Vin was having difficulty reducing the large pile of prints to a shortlist for his final selection. He was particularly taken with the strength of the nature entries and felt he could not hold them all back for the final judging.

The entry of forty colour/prints was reduced to seven, five of which were natural history. Surprisingly despite the overall strength of the nature shots in this class, the winner's accolade of 20 points was shared between the two others. The first was an action shot from Russell Nye showing the Brownlee brothers competing in a triathlon which included another of Vin's favourite elements - motion blur showing the speed of the cycle wheels. The joint winner was Jayne Mair with the final entry of the class which was a glorious, tranquil shot of a Norfolk windmill at sunset which Vin felt had been captured at exactly the right time.

The monochrome class followed and members were generally congratulated on the quality of their conversion from colour to black and white. No-one was picked up on colour casts and again Vin was impressed with the excellent handling of the exposures and detail where it was important.

There was a very wide range of subjects in this class including landscapes, cars, portraits and sculpture. Vin drew attention to the importance of interest in the sky in monochrome as well as in the colour classes. Some people had used processing software to create artistic effects and the overall standard in the class was very even.

Eventually just three of the twenty six entries were short listed and Russell Nye was rewarded with another score of 20 for his Greymare Rocks and Dunstanburgh Castle. Des Lloyd came second with an unusually successful mono image of a Wild Little Owl nestling on a log and Joyce Bell was third with a well observed picnic beside vintage Rolls Royce.

We have a new software system written by one of our members which simplifies the process of submitting digital images and it seems to have tempted more members to have a go as the DPIs formed the largest class with 44 entries. Vin picked up on the colour palettes portrayed and appreciated images where the background complemented the focal element. He also enjoyed strong lines leading the eye into the image, interesting angles and key points carefully separated from their surroundings by wise choice of the viewpoint.

Once again in this open class, where members were not constrained by a specific topic, there was a wide range of content. We saw aircraft, landscapes, animals and birds, cars and a steam train as well as both colour and mono. One member impressed Vin with an unusual entry and was rewarded with an extra mark. He had once heard a judge say that an image of a puffin with a beak full of sand eels would have been marked higher if all the eels had been facing the same way. This entry was the first he had seen where the photographer had achieved this ideal!

Short-listing from the quality entry in front of him posed Vin with quite a challenge. He held back eight of the forty four for a further look and final marking.

President Alan Burkwood emerged as the winner with a beautiful long exposure entitled 'Falling Tide' and also joint third for his 'Thames Clyde Express'. Mike Vickers came second with one of his brilliant bird shots entitled 'Prepare to Dive', along with Ben Searson with his motor racing photo from Le Mans 24hr. John Smith shared third with Alan along with Russell Nye, rounding off a very successful evening for him as well.