On Tuesday, September 30, the club held its annual A4 print competition where members brought along up to four black and white or colour prints (up to A4 size) for other members to judge and assess, before deciding on an overall winner.
More than 20 members brought along a total of 79 prints, which were displayed on stands to allow them to be looked at closely. Individual members were then asked to select the five photographs that he or she thought were the best and rank them in order of one to five in a secret ballot – members were not allowed to vote for their own images. The displayed images were generally of a high standard and included a very diverse range of subjects, including birds in flight, flowers, landscapes, flowers, planes, people and rocks. Some of the pictures were straight photographs, whereas others had been enhanced by varying amounts of computer manipulation. While the votes for the members’ favourite images were counted, club chairman Steve McDonald encouraged them to participate in discussions on many of the photographs, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses and suggesting how they might be improved. Comments were made by members who had extensive experience of judging competitions, as well as new and more experienced members of the club. The authors of the photographs were also given the opportunity to explain how and why they took their pictures and make comments. The suggestions for improving these images included adjusting the way they were framed, adjusting the composition using leading lines and altering the brightness of parts of them to emphasise points of interest and avoid distractions.
It was also pointed out that while judges in formal competitions are supposed to judge individual pictures on their merit, images of subjects that are photographed frequently such as well-known local landmarks are less likely to do well unless they are truly outstanding or markedly different from the traditional views. It was also emphasised that the conventional rules about what makes a good photograph are only guidelines and they should not be followed blindly, as there are occasions when an image can be improved by being unconventional.
After the discussions, vice-chairman Glyn Trueman announced the results of the competition. He stated that of the 79 prints submitted, 55 had been placed in at least one member’s top five.
As the results were announced, the chairman led a brief discussion on each of the images. The top photographs were as follows – first place: River Rock by Glyn Trueman (an image of a moss covered rock in a fast flowing river); second place: Snowdrop by Mark Harrison (a well-lit, black and white close up photograph of a solitary snowdrop); joint third place: Tree Amongst the Rocks by Steve McDonald (a black and white photograph of a rock formation and a tree at Brimham Rocks in North Yorkshire) and The Blacksmith by Paul Saint (a picture of a working blacksmith); fourth place: November Mists by Bob Turner (a misty autumnal scene showing a stream and reeds); fifth place: Desoto (1956) by Paul Saint (a dramatic black and white image of an American vintage car).
At the end of the meeting, Mr McDonald thanked everyone for their contributions to what had been a very enjoyable and successful evening.
For further information about the club, including its programme and gallery, visit www.morpethcameraclub.co.uk