Competitions galore for photographers

Lone Tree, Malham, by Mark Harrison
Lone Tree, Malham, by Mark Harrison

Morpeth Camera Club

On March 20 Morpeth Camera Club hosted the Annual Seven-Way Interclub PDI Category competition.

Dawn On Laguzoi, in the Dolomites in Italy, by Steve McDonald.

Dawn On Laguzoi, in the Dolomites in Italy, by Steve McDonald.

Each of the seven clubs in the Northern area had to enter ten images, with not less than one and no more than two, in the categories Landscape, Interiors, Portraits, Still Life, Flora and Fauna, and Fantasy, Myth, Legend or Religion.

The aim of the competition is to encourage members to photograph a range of subjects throughout the season and produce a collective club entry.

Images are expected to be of a high standard and are judged with less tolerance for faults. Morpeth invited Stephen Fowler, of Ryton Camera Club, to judge the competition and he commented on all 60 entries.

He was to give his opinion as to whether the work fitted the category, discuss the interest or feeling of the subject matter, and award a mark out of 30. It was clear that he had studied the images in great detail and his assessment and observations were consistent.

The scores for each club’s individual images were added together and in a very good competition Alnwick gained first place, with Blyth second and Morpeth third.

Two images were awarded the maximum 30 marks — Bamburgh Ripples by David Burn and Lily the Pink by Margaret Whittaker, both of Alnwick.

The full result was: 1 Alnwick and District Camera Club 257 pts; 2 Blyth Photographic Society 250 pts; 3 Morpeth Camera Club 249 pts; 4 Cambois Camera Club 247 pts; 5 Ashington Camera Club 244 pts; 6 Amble Photo Group 240 pts. Wooler Camera Club did not submit an entry.

The winning set of ten images were then projected whilst everyone enjoyed refreshments and a buffet supper provided by Morpeth members. It was very pleasing to have such a good turn-out for an interclub competition and a big thank you to everyone who contributed.

• Morpeth Camera Club was pleased to welcome David Stout to judge the annual Bates Landscape projected digital competition.

Before he commenced his reviews, David, a close friend of our late Life President Vince Rooker, conveyed his condolences, saying that he was truly missed and was an inspiration to all.

Quoting the renowned photographer and member of the Photographic Society of America Eric Kissa, whose motto was “Crop ‘til it hurts”, he said that if some elements of a photograph do not enhance the scene, crop them out, adding that he would use this criteria in judging.

Among the 51 images submitted by 17 members were photographs of Derwent Reservoir, the Cheviots, Alnmouth, Tweeddale, the Lake District, Edinburgh, night time cityscapes, seascapes, local beauty spots, snow scenes, valleys, mountains and waterfalls.

David said there was a high standard and some images were near misses — ones that nearly made the grade, such as a view of Alnmouth from St Cuthbert’s Cross, a perfectly mirrored image in Wastwater, a Las Palmas townscape, snowy Dove Crag in warm evening light, a sunset over Cullercoats arch, a minimalistic, sepia-toned copse of skeletal trees and a farmhouse.

He judged the photographs from his own perspective and how he would have presented them.

Highly Commended were Derwentwater Panorama by Stephanie Robson, which David admired for its letterbox format, light, dominant horizon, ripple effect and for keeping all the elements to a minimum; Tre Cime di Lavaredo by Steve McDonald, the Dolomites in snow with warm light highlighting the peaks against the winter landscape; Parliament Plains, Iceland by Chris Earl, in which the judge admired the snow detail, reflected sky, balance and landscape panorama; and Setting Sun on Sussex Barn by Roseanne Robinson for its quality of reflection, which the judge said was well controlled.

In fifth place was Iceland Waterfall by Chris Earl, admired for its good skies, no burn out, curved foreground adding depth, and beautiful winter landscape. Fourth was Paul Appleby for a monochromatic scene of a squall over Coquet Island, with a classic lead-in of the jetty, balanced by the lighthouse beneath magnificent stormy skies.

Lone Tree, Malham, by Mark Harrison was third. David said it had “a sky to die for” and he was drawn to the lone, dramatic tree set amid limestone pavements in spectacular light. Second, with Wharnley Burn Autumn Colour, was Mark again. David praised its strong lead-in of autumn leaves to an S-shaped cascade, with beautiful technique to capture a starburst of sun through the leaves. The judge described Mark’s image as technically spot-on.

The winner of the 2018 Bates Cup Landscape Competition was Steve McDonald, with Dawn on Lagazuoi, Dolomites, Italy. An alpine chalet surrounded by banks of cloud, it was a very early shot captured just before sunrise, with jagged rocks emerging from low cloud, giving the illusion of islands in the sea.

The shape and dominance of the ski centre with a sole light catching the eye saw the exposure described as excellent.

The judge said this entry was taken by a determined and dedicated photographer, which resulted in the epitome of landscape photography.

Club Chairman Mark Harrison thanked David for his considered opinions and kind comments, resulting in an informative and entertaining evening at the club, after which coffee was enjoyed.