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Critique Night

It’s easy to become emotionally attached to the photographs we take and it can be difficult to view them objectively, so it’s always useful to have someone else look over them from a different perspective. On Wednesday 24th February we invited members to send in up to 2 images they were struggling with, which were critiqued by three of our more advanced members who offered suggestions on how the pictures might be improved.

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It’s often very simple things such as changing the angle from which the image was shot, cropping in post production, or edits like increasing contrast, cloning out distractions, or dodging & burning, which make a huge difference to photographs, although some pictures were suffering from less obvious issues like barrel distortion, converging verticals and dust on the sensor. Converting a picture to monochrome often brings a dramatic change. Our Chairman Gavin’s suggestion of adding a shark to Jeff’s fell tarn picture, it has to be said though, probably wasn’t that useful šŸ˜†.

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It can be difficult to have our images picked apart, so a big thank you to the brave members who offered up their pictures for critique. We hope the comments were helpful and that in offering suggestions on these particular photographs it helped other members to look more objectively at their own images and to learn and grow.

Next week our guest speaker for the night is Club member Dave Nelson, who is taking us ‘Around & About Scotland’s Western Isles’. As we’re all fed up to the back teeth of lockdown and being cooped up in the house, we are looking forward to going on a virtual trip to Scotland with Dave and his camera and dreaming about the day our confinement will end!

Members are reminded that next Friday (5th March) is the deadline for handing in images for the upcoming Panel competition to be held on 10th March, and also for handing in Macro images for the Club competition to be held on 17th March.

Competition: Food & Drink

Our penultimate Club competition of the season took place on Wednesday 17th February and was judged by Ken Ainscow of Lytham St Annes Photographic Society. Ken is a long standing friend of our Club and has judged for us many times over the years, with members all appreciating his skill and critique. Sadly for us this was to be his last judging as he is retiring from the circuit at the end of this season, however we do hope that he will visit us in other capacities in the future.

There were some cracking images and Ken stated more than once that he was impressed by the standard of the pictures on show. We began with the Club open colour section and our congratulations go to winner Kim Rigg with Fishy Encounter, while new member Cathy Cash was runner up with Pouring Pomegranates. Both Kim and Cathy are very new to photography, so it’s a joy to see their images doing so well.

Next to be judged was the Advanced open colour section, with several photographs scoring top marks. 19 points were awarded to Dylan Reynolds with Familiar Taste of Poison, Jeff Bagnall with Red Hot Chilli Pepper and Simon Raven with Fresh Apple. Once again Maureen Smith and Jo Knight battled it out for the top spot, with Maureen’s An Apple A Day and Jo’s two images Gravity and Repast all being awarded 20 points. Well done to Jo who’s light painted Gravity (not a composite she is at pains to add!) was announced as overall winner.

As there were so many images to get through we forewent our usual half time break, though I snuck off to raid the biscuit tin as all the pictures of delicious food had given me the raving munchies šŸ˜†.

The next section to be judged was Club monochrome where 19 points were awarded to Phil Drayton for Dissolving Skittles, while Kim Rigg’s Line Caught Mackeral was announced overall winner. Kim’s skills have come on in leaps and bounds this season and I’m sure all our members are delighted to see her hard work and dedication rewarded šŸ™‚.

An administrative glitch meant that Ken hadn’t seen or pre-scored the Advanced mono images, so he was very much put on the spot to judge blind which is a big ask. However he did an admirable job and commented on the strength of all the images shown. 19 points were awarded to Dave Nelson for Eggs, Maureen Smith for Love a Coffee and Jo Knight for Coffee with Milk. The top spot was fought over by Dylan Reynolds with The Core Explosion, Gavin Lowe with What’s Cooking and Jeff Bagnall with Egg. Our congratulations to Dylan whose image The Core Explosion was announced as overall winner.

Next week is critique night, with club members sending in images they need help with which will be viewed by 3 of our more experienced photographers who will offer advice on how the image could potentially be improved. The aim is to help members who are struggling with particular pictures, but we also hope the evening will act as a learning experience for all club members.

Fun competition

Wednesday 3rd March was a fun competition night at the club. Three images were given to all members and their mission, if they chose to accept it, was to edit each image to improve itā€¦we hoped!


As a club we are always looking at alternative ways to add something different to the programme and this challenge got individuals’ creative juices flowing, showing some great Photoshop & Lightroom skills.Ā 

The only rule was that there were no rules and we saw red & laser eyes, flames, additional animals, tight crops and bright colours alongside some more traditional edits. There was unfortunately no Dinosaurs on the evening but some great works of art!

Members scored the images and congratulations go to Dylan who was the overall Winner, with Gavin a very close second. Below are Dylan’s Kelpies and barn edits, alongside Gavin’s cow. A big thank you to the authors who supplied the original photos, I hope you are still talking to us!


This week we are in for a treat, with club friend Dave Bibby visiting via Zoom from North Fylde PS to talk about the ‘A to Z of Photography’. Guests are welcome for a small fee – please see our membership page to book a place.

Member’s Achievements: WPOTY

Huge congratulations to club member Russell Millner who has had no less than 4 images shortlisted for the 57th Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

WPOTY is the Natural History Museum’s annual competition and exhibition highlighting the unique and beautiful relationship between photography, science and art. What began in 1965 as a magazine competition with just 361 entries has blossomed into one of the world’s most prestigious photography awards, with over 45,000 entries each year, worldwide press attention and a touring exhibition seen by millions around the globe.

Entries to Wildlife Photographer of the Year are judged anonymously, with professional work being considered alongside that of amateurs, giving budding photographers a chance to have their work exhibited among the greats. Many of today’s most distinguished conservationists, photographers and film-makers launched their careers though the competition, including television presenter and naturalist Chris Packham, so it is a feat to have any image shortlisted let alone 4 images!

The winners are due to be announced in October and we wish Russell all the very best.

Competition: Inter-Club Battle

Wednesday 27th January saw our annual inter-club battle with Morecambe Camera Club. Due to the lockdown we were unable to meet in person, which is a real shame as these events are a rare opportunity to meet up with members from other Clubs, however the competition went ahead via Zoom and was judged by Nick Hilton DPAGB EFIAP BPE5* of Southport Photographic Society.

It was fabulous to see such a wide variety of styles and genres in both colour and mono represented in the competition, with 50 images submitted overall, so I think it’s fair to say some members were disappointed that nearly two thirds of the entries from both clubs scored 15 points or less despite receiving generally positive critique from the judge. There was also disappointed in our Club that images which had been awarded multiple gold medals in Salons and Federation competitions didn’t score highly. It can be quite confusing when a picture does well in some competitions but badly in others and as a beginner photographer it’s something I found utterly bewildering. However, judging is a difficult job (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!) and always subjective – it would be a dull world if we all liked the same things.

Congratulations to Morecambe who were the overall winners on the night (not said through gritted teeth, honest šŸ˜). For the second open competition in a row nature dominated the top spots, with all of the 18, 19 and 20 points awarded to wildlife images (sadly only one of which belonged to Kendal *sob*). There really were some cracking pictures and it was a delight to sit back with a brew and view so many inspiring photographs. We aim to try harder next year šŸ˜‰.

Next Wednesday is our annual Editing Competition, which each member being given 3 random pictures to ‘improve’ as they see fit. The only rule is that there are no rules, though we are under strict instructions to have fun and be creative! Both guests and new members are welcome at our Zoom meetings, with half price membership fees for the rest of the season. Please see our membership page for more information and to book your slot.

Members’ achievements: 29th FIAP Biennial

Congratulations to club member Jo Knight, whose image ‘Ophelia’ has been chosen to represent Great Britain in the global FIAP Colour Biennial.

According to the FIAP website, “Biennials are one of the most important events offered by FIAP. They are organized every two years in a different member country. Even years forĀ  Black andĀ WhiteĀ andĀ NatureĀ Biennials, odd years for theĀ ColourĀ Biennial.Ā 

Biennials have a very particular characteristic, different from the international contests. It is not only the quality of the individual work that counts, FIAP ask for coherent collections from member states looking at both inspiration and conception as well as execution and presentation.

The collection obtaining the highest score wins theĀ  World Cup. Individual prizes are also awarded to the best works regardless of the classification by federations.”

Ophelia by Jo Knight

When the call for entries went out by the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain, a photography friend encouraged Jo to send in some images. It’s something Jo had never considered before and she didn’t think in a million years she’d be selected. However, her success goes to show that it’s always worth a punt, no matter how slim you think your chances are!

Judging of the 29th FIAP Colour Biennial will take place in France and the results are expected in April.

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.