Portraits present a winter challenge

Pop Up by Sue Dawson.
Pop Up by Sue Dawson.
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Morpeth Camera Club

One of the duties as Vice Chairman is to set three photographic tasks, one each for Autumn, Winter and Spring, and on Tuesday, February 16, Mark Harrison announced the results of his Winter Challenge on the theme of Portraits.

The aims of these challenges are to encourage members to extend their photographic skills and knowledge by trying new techniques and to take on a subject which they have not previously attempted.

Those members who choose to take up the challenge can respond with four images, which should meet the criteria of being freshly produced, rather than adapting existing images in their portfolios.

Authors are required to write a description of their images, describe what they were trying to achieve when they took them, the techniques they used in capturing and processing, explain what they had learned and the improvements they could make.

But the main objectives of these challenges, Mark emphasised, are to enjoy the process, have fun, learn and progress.

Dave Bisset opened the evening with a strong monochrome portrait, the black background emphasising the expressive eyes, skin textures and hair detail.

Then there was Sheila, an image manipulated to resemble a pen and ink drawing, which drew attention to deep shadows and highlights.

And in a portrait of Alex, a very cute child peering into the camera, Dave had retained the colour of the face and converted the background to black and white.

Finally, there was Josh, an impressive image produced by the layering of multi shots of a boy on a playground slide.

Karen Jackson followed with a lovely portrait of her granddaughter, centre focussed to highlight the eyes, with peripheral blur to add softness.

There was also a reflected image of a child in a bright pink coat looking into a mirror, a 50’s inspired image of a girl using a pencil sketch filter, and a candid shot of a child smiling through a glass aquarium, framed by colourful coral.

Next up was Sue Dawson with an innovative combination of image and numerals in black and lime green, producing a futuristic matrix effect.

Brotherly Love was a stark mono image of a boy and girl with highlighted faces, while Pop Up was an original combination of images of a girl among autumn leaves, dancing on an open book.

And finally, there was an expressive shot of two boys looking sheepishly at each other, entitled Who ate all the Pies?

Glyn Trueman came next with a glowing image of a boy and girl blowing out birthday candles.

He also presented a Beamish railway worker in monochrome, with a colour popped red oil can, and steam in the background.

His picture 90 Today was a portrait of his mother, with superimposed vignettes of her as a child and a young woman.

And Having Fun was a photo booth-type shot of costumed ladies wearing enormous colourful sunglasses in lime green and pink.

Davy Bolam submitted a cartoon-like portrait with stretched, grotesque features.

There was also a Che Guevara inspired image of a Biker Chick, a near monochrome, very highly textured image of a girl with hair blowing in the wind, and a creation of shapes and tones.

He also submitted a moody portrait of his daughter, using special effects of antique solarisation and Nik effects.

Peter Wood and Pat Downs contributed to the evening with a collection of photographs, mainly of club members out on shoots.

A before and after session, using the Fractalis, Fine Touch and age control applications, using swirling effects, elongations and distortions, resulted in a very humorous response from the audience.

Mark followed with a few examples of his own work, which illustrated his take on the challenge, using paintbrush treatments and kaleidoscope effects in rainbow colours.

There was an atmospheric, menacing portrait of a hooded man, a moody image of a girl behind bars, and a back-lit night time shot of a girl on the Infinity Bridge.

Mark commented that he was impressed by the strong monochrome and colourful images, good light reflections in the eyes, the controlled use of blur, the ability to capture expressions and good use of low light, which resulted in some original images that showed quality and creativity.

Members had obviously taken care to wait and take advantage of opportunities to take interesting shots.

An enjoyable evening with interaction, comments and good humour concluded with Mark selecting members’ images that appealed to him most.

These included Pop Up by Sue Dawson, Biker Chick by Davy Bolam, Happy Birthday by Glyn Trueman, Josh by Dave Bisset and Brotherly Love by Sue Dawson.

For further information regarding the club, its programme and gallery please visit our website at www.morpethcameraclub.co.uk

If you have an interest in photography, would like some advice about your new camera, or just like looking at pictures, why not come along and have a chat with some of our members.

Please note that anyone is welcome to attend three meetings with no obligation to join the club. There is, however, a small cover charge for attending.