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Balance and story-telling key to success

Bowing in the Breeze, by Pat Wood.
Bowing in the Breeze, by Pat Wood.

Morpeth Camera Club

The club was pleased to welcome Jim Welsh, of Blyth Photographic Society, to judge its second Open Projected Digital Image (PDI) competition.

Jim said he had enjoyed viewing the 66 entries. He was looking for balance and although it didn’t always apply, the rule of thirds usually resulted in a more appealing picture.

An open competition gives the photographer freedom to express their interests and pull something unexpected out of the hat, resulting in an exciting mix of subject matter.

The evening opened with a savannah sunrise and acacia perfectly placed, with a steam train, which Jim said evoked memories of his childhood. A rusting tractor in overgrown vegetation, night loading at Blyth with spotlights reflected in the river, abstract floral patterns, and an Arctic tern flying towards the camera followed.

Symmetrical roofs in Edinburgh National History Museum with seemingly miniaturised people, open-mouthed hippos, African children, a study of a lime, and a red umbrella through a rain-spotted window were also included, along with geometric patterns in cityscapes and a sepia scene of Woodhorn reflected in a miner’s lamp.

There was detritus in rocks at Lynemouth, shimmering water droplets from the tail of a whale, a 360-degree shot of Byker Wall, and a stunning shot of Hạ Long Bay in Vietnam.

Body Sculpture, an almost monochromatic angular life study of a girl, backlit golden flowers, and detail of hands on a loom were included.

Jim enjoyed the story-telling quality of the images and suggested cropping alternatives, adding words of caution concerning manipulation techniques.

Highly commended awards went to Steve McDonald for Ground Effect, an owl in flight; Nuthatch by Mark Harrison, with subtle tones of plumage; The Fly-By by Brian Morris, geese in flight; and Puzzling Staircase by Glyn Trueman, a symmetrical abstract.

Jim awarded fifth place to Steve McDonald for Sycamore Gap, an alternate view in sepia tones with snow, which gave texture and character. Fourth was Alan Barker with Private Fishing, a reflected heron next to a warning sign.

Third was Peter Hetherington with Winter Wonderland, a snow scene, which conjured up the sensation of a cold winter’s day. Mark Harrison’s 7 Sisters, Copt Hill Sunset came second. Jim said the whole picture almost jumped off the screen, describing it as a first class landscape shot.

The winner was Pat Wood with Bowing in the Breeze, a group of Fractalius flower heads, which Jim enjoyed for its beautifully lit textures.

Jim provided considered appraisal, punctuated with humorous anecdotes, resulting in an informative and entertaining evening. Chairman Mark Harrison thanked him for his comments.