Competition: Open

Our first competition of 2021 was held via Zoom on Wednesday 20th January and judged by Simon Ray of Lytham St Annes Photographic Society. With two leagues (club and advanced) and separate competitions for colour and mono there were a huge amount of images covering just about every genre of photography, which made for a full evening though without our usual coffee break!

The winner of the advanced colour section was Russell Millner with his beautifully captured image of an ‘Arctic Tern in flight’. Dylan Reynolds’ cute pet jumping spider was runner up in his image ‘Sleepy Hollow’.

Nature themed images dominated the night, with Russell also winning the monochrome section with his evocative ‘Shaking in the Sun’. Runners up were Jo Knight with ‘The Stag’s Head’ and Simon Raven with ‘Mist on the Lake’.

Wildlife success continued in the club league, where the winner of the colour section was Robert Metcalf with his very well captured ‘Four Spotted Chaser’. Second place was shared between Kim Rigg’s ‘Over Kendal roof tops’ and Elaine Elrick’s ‘Looking at you, looking at me’.

Rounding off our outdoor themed winners was Ann Dallaway’s ‘Herdwick’ in the club monochrome section, with second place shared between Elaine Elrick’s ‘That Wanaka Tree’ and Alvina Labsvirs’ ‘Where To Now’.

Next week is our annual inter-club “battle” with Morecambe Camera Club. It’s a shame that, due to the pandemic, we can’t meet in person however the evening will proceed via Zoom, kicking off at our usual 7.30pm. Guests and new members are welcome – please see our Membership page for details of how to join in.

Success is in the details

It’s customary to wish everyone a Happy New Year, but I think it’s fair to say 2021 hasn’t gotten off to the best start as we dive back into lockdown due to Covid. It goes without saying that our Club meetings are having to continue via Zoom and it’s highly unlikely we will be able to meet in person before the end of the season in April.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Club members have been busy over the holidays learning new skills, producing excellent images and in the case of Dylan Reynolds winning medals!

Dylan loves macro photography and keeps both jumping spiders and mantids as pets, which he uses in his fabulous pictures. He is a member of The Fellowship of Photographers Association, from whom he has recently been awarded 2 silver medals for his insect macro images.

The FPA is a new free to join organisation for photographers of all capabilities and genres. They hold a monthly submission for work, from which they pick photographs worthy of special recognition. It’s not a competitive environment and images are given awards based on merit, which is a great way of recognizing individual talent.

Dylan’s recent success doesn’t end there, however. He uses a Laowa 100mm Macro x2 f2.8 lens for his insect photography and has made the final of the 2020 Photographer of the Year competition run by Venus Optics, the makers of Laowa lenses, with his jumping spider picture above. We wish Dylan lots of luck in the competition!

Our first Zoom club meeting of the year takes place on Wednesday 13th January at 7.30pm when Jo will be giving another tutorial on Photoshop covering curves, levels, dodging & burning and cutting out for composites. Guests and new members are welcome, with a half price offer on membership fees – see our Membership page for details.

Current members are reminded that images for our next Open competition need to be sent to Dave Nelson by Friday 8th January at the latest. Please make sure your images are the correct size and format for competitions – details are in the Members’ Area of our website.

We look forward to seeing everyone next week!

Happy Holidays

Covid scuppered our planned Christmas dinner dance on Wednesday 16th December, which marked the start of our month long Christmas break. Instead, we were forced to meet via Zoom for a glass of socially isolated fizz wearing dodgy festive jumpers and a variety of headgear.

Martin looked less than fetching in his Scotch bonnet and ginger wig, Amy’s ears had flopped and Jo had had to wrestle her antlers off the dog. It was a far cry from a roast turkey dinner served by a smiling waitress!

Having said all that, we were treated to some of Russell’s fabulous wildlife photographs while Jo whizzed through the images she’d used for both her CPAGB and DPAGB distinctions.

We now don’t meet again until Wednesday 13th January, where Jo will be giving a Zoom tutorial on various aspects of Photoshop, including curves and cutting out. None members are welcome to join us – head over to our membership page and choose the ‘attend as a guest’ button to book your place.

In the meantime, members are reminded that the hand-in deadline for our next competition is Friday 8th January.

We wish you all a very happy, and more importantly healthy, Christmas and we’ll see you in 2021.

Competition: Leading Lines

Our third club competition of the season was held on Wednesday 2nd December and judged by John Wiliams EFIAP/b, MPSA, DPAGB of Penrith & District Camera Club. A very experienced PAGB judge who has seen hundreds of thousands of images over his photography career John was nevertheless impressed with the quality of our images and admitted choosing the outright winners was a difficult task!

Two pictures were awarded 20 points in the Club Colour section: Going South by Ann Dallaway and Going Straight to Mount Cook by Elaine Elrick. Both photographs were an excellent representation of the leading lines theme and would have held their own in the Advanced league, so big congratulations to Elaine who was declared overall winner.

The Club Mono section was equally hard fought, with three images scoring 20 points: View from Under the Bridge by Elaine Elrick, Walk to the Pier by Kim Rigg and Wintry Road by Phil Drayton. Well done to Kim whose atmospheric Pier shot was overall winner.

The quality of images carried through to the Advanced League, with two photographs again being awarded 20 points: Bir Hakeim Bridge by Jeff Bagnall and Runaway by Jo Knight. I wouldn’t have liked to be the one to choose between these two very different pictures, so congratulations to Jo whose creative image just scraped the top spot.

Three photographs battled it out for first place in the Advanced Mono section: Glasgow Walkway by Dave Nelson, Beetham Tower by Maureen Smith and Walk to the Lighthouse by Simon Raven. Well done to Simon who was overall winner with his strong and dynamic Lighthouse picture.

Next week club members have the challenging task via Zoom of judging images sent to us from North Fylde Photographic Society. It’s always a joy to look at images from photographers outside of our own club and I’m sure it will be a fun and interesting night. Guests are welcome for a small fee – see our membership page for details and to book a Zoom place.

Guest speaker: Permajet

On Wednesday 25th November Club members were invited to link up via Zoom with Colin Hulley of Permajet for help and guidance to ‘Print with Confidence’. The in-depth presentation covered all aspects of colour management workflow, from calibrating monitors, through colour workspaces in editing software, to paper profiling, with the aim of helping photographers make successful prints.

I wish I’d heard this talk 7 years ago when I was just starting out on my own photography journey because I struggled for a good year with dark, muddy prints whose colours looked nothing like my screen. When I finally learned about colour calibrators and used a Datacolor Spyder I discovered my laptop screen had been set to a very cool temperature by the manufacturer and when this was corrected by the Spyder device the difference was like night and day!

As Colin explained, we also can’t print on paper the backlit images we see on our overly bright PC screens, so with the addition of turning down the brightness on my monitor and making sure I used the correct settings and ICC paper profile for my printer I was finally able to start printing more or less what I was seeing on my computer.

Permajet make a wide range of papers and the paper you use for printing makes a big difference to how your image appears. Some papers have a cool tone, for example, while others are much warmer. The choice of paper, therefore, makes a huge difference when printing things like portraits as skin colours will look different on a cool blue toned paper to a warm yellow toned paper.

I’m glad Colin mentioned, though, that no matter what you do prints will only be a close, not an exact, match to your computer image and you might need to tweek a little in Photoshop or Lightroom for the photograph to print out exactly as you’d like! Having a consistent colour management workflow, however, makes what can be the tricky process of printing so much easier. Our thanks to Permajet, and to Dylan for all his hard work in arranging the evening.

Our next Zoom meeting is a club competition with the theme of ‘Leading Lines’, judged by John Williams EFIAP/b, MPSA, DPAGB. Why not join us as a guest for what promises to be an entertaining night! Details on our membership page.

Competition: L&CPU club knockout

Having had individual success in the Federation annual competition during the summer, our Club decided for the first time to enter the L&CPU Club Knockout competition which was held via Zoom on Saturday 21st November.

The rules requested we send in 8 images, although only the first 7 would be used in the competition, the 8th image being held back in the case of a tie break. We had to send the images in the order we wished them to be shown, and the first 4 pictures had to be from 4 different authors although up to two images per author were allowed.

At the start of the event, all images were shown on screen before judging began and we noticed that 3 of our entries were missing. Our External Competitions Secretary queried this and we were told that as 160 images had been received for the competition only 4 per club would be shown. Apparently, the rules state that “the number of images used in the competition will depend on the number of clubs entered”, although as a club we had no clue how many other clubs had entered or that there was a 160 image cap. So we had some very disappointed photographers who had gone to the effort of sending in their images only for them not to be used 🙁.

Of the four images used in the competition, three were thrown out in the first round. However, Jeff Bagnall’s ‘Broken Politics’ saved the day getting through to the final round of 11 images which is a fantastic achievement considering the high standard and number of entries. The judge, Mike Sharples of Smethwick PS, was clearly impressed with Jeff’s photograph and it was solely down to his image that Kendal ended up in joint 8th place overall out of 41 clubs.

Broken Politics by Jeff Bagnall

I think it’s fair to say that our first forage into the Federation Club knockout was a learning curve in terms of how the event is run, but we’ll know for next year. Big congratulations, however, to Jeff on his very well deserved success and for representing the club 🙂.

Competition: Knock-out

Wednesday 18th November saw our annual Knock-out competition, where pairs of anonymous images are voted on by club members and each photograph is either kept or knocked-out until one winning picture remains.

It’s usually a night of fun & banter, glow-sticks and shout-outs, but this year Covid put paid to the usual frivolity and we had to make do with quietly putting our hands up to choose our favourite image (although there were still blatant offers of bribery 😆).

As the night wore on it became more and more difficult to choose from the remaining excellent pictures, particularly when they were very different to each other, but we eventually whittled the contenders down to two final images: ‘Lakeland November’ by Jeff Bagnall and ‘Displaying Black Kites’ by Jo Knight. It was a close battle, but congratulations to Jo who was chosen as the over-all winner.

Lakeland November by Jeff Bagnall
Displaying Black Kites by Jo Knight

Our thanks to Jeff for all his hard work in putting together the competition.

Next week the club are virtual visiting with Permajet where we are very much looking forward to Colin Hulley’s talk on ‘Printing with confidence’. Printing well, including getting our images to match on paper what we see on our screen, is something many photographer’s struggle with and I’m sure we’ll pick up lots of tips on how to better our printed pictures. Guests are welcome for a small fee – visit our membership page for details and to book your Zoom slot.

Guest Speaker: Nature Far & Near

Another great club night on Wednesday 11th November with guest Speaker Trevor Davenport of Southport Photographic Society and his talk ‘Nature Far & Near’. Trevor’s talk took in his travels to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park and closer to home on the Sefton Coast.

Yellowstone was a destination his son always wanted to visit due to his love of volcanos and alongside Trevor’s love of nature, dramatic landscapes & plant life we were treated to some magical images of the Teton mountains and vast areas of the National Park including its powerful Geysers, most famously Old Faithful, with Trevor often following in the footsteps of Ansel Adams. There were also some great wildlife images of Black Vultures, Brown & Grizzly bears (and their poo!), Elke, Coyote, Bobcat, Buffalo, Wolves not forgetting the menacing Moose. Overall Trevor’s images and his passion for Yellowstone and the Teton mountains was inspirational to us all.

Closer to home Trevor focused on the Sefton Coast and an 18 mile stretch of wonderful beaches, which happens to be the largest Dune area in England, showcasing fantastic wildlife, plant life and scenery. Many parts of this area get battered by the weather and Trevor and his team have made it their mission to give back and volunteer to help eradicate invasive species of plant life and where possible help repair areas being battered by the weather.

A great talk by Trevor who’s passion for photography was abundantly clear during the evening.

This Wednesday we have a lively night in store with our annual in-house knock out competition. It’s a real shame we can’t meet in person for this particular event, where there is usually lots of laughter and banter, but it will still be fun and we look forward to seeing everyone’s diverse images. Guests are welcome for a small fee – please see our membership page and click on ‘attend as a guest’.

Guest Speaker: Photography over 50

Gold medal winning Club member Russell Millner was our Zoom speaker for the evening on Wednesday 4th November when we were in for a real treat, with Russell taking us along on a fascinating journey from the frozen Arctic to the scorching wilderness plains.

Family of Bears on Baffin by Russell Millner

The vistas and wildlife he saw on his travels were stunning and Russell was hugely knowledgeable about everything he’d captured in his superb images. The time flew by and I for one was enthralled from start to finish. Our thanks to Russell for an entertaining and informative presentation.

Next week our guest speaker is Trevor Davenport with his talk on ‘Nature far and near’, including Yellowstone and the Sefton coast. Guests are welcome for a small fee – please see our Membership page for details.

Competition: Old, Broken or Decayed

Our first set subject Club competition of the new season took place via Zoom on Wednesday 28th October and was judged by commercial photographer Joanne Withers. The evening was split into colour and monochrome sections with two leagues – Club for beginners & intermediate, and Advanced for more experienced photographers.

It was fascinating to see different club members’ interpretation of the brief, with virtually all genres of photography represented over the evening. It was also heartening to have such a high level of participation in the competition.

The Advanced Mono section scored well with the judge, with four images being awarded the top mark of 20 points:
Barbed Wire at Sachenhauzen Concentration Camp by Russell Millner
Forgotten Friend by Dylan Reynolds
Skull by Simon Raven &
Old Micrometer by Jeff Bagnall, with warm congratulations to Jeff who scooped the title of overall winner 🙂.

The Advanced colour section also had four images scoring 20 points:
Going to Seed by Dave Nelson
Morris Minor by Jeff Bagnall
Broken Pencil by Dylan Reynolds &
Sunflower also by Dylan Reynolds
Dylan scored a hat-trick of twenty pointers on the night and also bagged the title of overall winner of the advanced colour competition. Apparently, Joanne’s cheque is in the post 😆.

There was a clear winner in the Club mono competition. Big congratulations to Ann Dallaway with her image of ‘Shavings’.

Shavings By Ann Dallaway

The Club colour section, however, was hard fought with no less than five pictures scoring top marks:
Trashed TukTuk by Alvina Labsvirs
Old Lime Kiln by Phil Drayton
Ghost House by Elaine Elrick
All Coiled up also by Elaine Elrick &
The Old Farmhouse by Ann Dallaway
Well done again to Ann, who pipped everyone to the post with her award of overall Club colour winner 🙂.

Club member Russell Millner is our speaker for the next Zoom Club meeting on Wednesday 4th November with his talk on ‘Photography over 50’. Fifty what, though, is the question. Fifty quid? Fifty frames per second? Fifty shades of grey? Join us as a guest to find out! Details on our membership page.