2016 01 - Panel of 3

24th January 2016
Retford & District Photographic Society - Press Release - Joy Allison
21st January 2016
Images by Des Lloyd, Geoff Stoddart, Alan Toms and John Heath

Panel of Three Competition

A full hall gathered for the club's 'panel of three' competition. The first three competitions of the year are for individual submissions, where the strength of one image is judged against the others in the class. This competition differs as each member submits three images which work together side by side as a panel.

Judge Toni Pioti from Buxton, making his first visit to Retford, had previewed the colour prints and declared himself impressed with the overall quality. As a natural history specialist himself and was particularly taken with the strength of the natural history entries, despite saying he was inclined to be more critical in the field he knows best.

Tony feels panel competitions are important as they help members to test themselves before submitting work for qualifications awarded based on panels of work. To be successful the images first and foremost must work together without one image dominating or letting down the others. They should be in the same tonal range and individually composed to work within the panel.

The colour prints were judged first, and there was a large entry of nineteen panels. The was subject matter varied tremendously, including boats, National Trust ladies, birds and flowers. There were also some more unfamiliar topics including underwater shots, orange beaks, a beach rescue and coal hole covers.

Tony commented in depth on each panel, pointing out shortcomings and particularly good features. He remarked that as a rule the less he says, the better he likes a set. Viewing the first few entries he felt that the images were too diverse and lacking overall cohesion as a panel. One stronger image took his attention away from the whole. The outer images should feature a subject which draws the eye towards the centre, and ideally this should have a diagonal emphasis to add dynamism and enhance movement.

We are advised to put the key feature of an image one third of the way into the frame, leaving room to one side. Tony felt it was important, in the case of a panel,that the subject in the outer images should sit on the outer third. This avoids the space beyond it being ignored as it adds nothing to the overall view. A number panels were picked up on this. When an author had achieved Tony's recommended balance he drew attention to the effect it created.
The most common cause of lower marks was failure to get the outer images quite right, and sometimes presenting the images in an order which may not have been the best. Tony kept back retained a total of four panels for the final judging. Seeing them all displayed on the stand, it was very clear that these all worked particularly well in their sets and gave strength to the points Tony had been making.

Despite individually being of superb quality, minor issues with one of the images relative to the others ranked John Heath's Crested Grebe and Geoff Stoddart's Captivating Motion joint second. The joint winners were a beautiful set of photos of The Secretive Water Vole by Des Lloyd, captured after much research and planning quite near his home and the entirely different, but very impressive, London Coal Hole Cover Plates presented by Alan Toms.

The nine entries were presented for the monochrome class. Tony had not previewed these and on seeing the first panel, Des' Wild Barn Owl, held them back. He remarked that this set perfectly demonstrated everything he had said throughout the previous class.

The second set told the story of a shoot and featured a layout with different cohesion. The images were individually good quality and their composition fitted the narrative sequence they portrayed rather than that required for themed shots. These were also held back.

This class had a considerable variety of transport subjects including Appleby Horse fair, classic car mascots, sixties cars and a wrecked Land Rover. The set comprising portraits of two young girls individually and separately was greeted by the comment 'Barn Owl watch out!' Tony felt the idea for the composition was brilliant and the lighting superb.

In the final judging 'The Shoot' by Alan Townsend was awarded second place while the 'Wild Barn Owl' by Des Lloyd and 'Close Friends' by Geoff Stoddart were joint winners.

The digitally projected class (DPI) attracted twelve entries. This is a slightly less natural way of showing a panel as the images are viewed individually then in a composite image. The layout of the composite is up to the author and few had shown them in a line as the prints are seen on the stand.

The good size of the image in the frame and the superb quality of the images in the first set featuring finches lead to its being held back. This was followed by another wide range of subjects including architectural features, steam trains, back packing, pears, stained glass, vintage aircraft, steam punk and natural history.

The steam trains and a panel featuring views of spiral staircases were also held back. Each was complimented for the quality of the images and the way they worked together in balance to create a pleasing effect. In the final analysis 'Cloaked in Steam' by Alan Burkwood ranked second second place, while Gee White's 'Sprials' and Geoff Stoddart's 'Adorable Finches' tied for first placefirst place.

Colour Print
20 points 'The Secretive Water Vole'. Des Lloyd
'London Coal Hole Cover Plates'. Alan Toms
19 points 'Crested Grebe'. John Heath
'Captivating Motion'. Geoff Stoddart
18 points 'Cornish Rescue'. Joyce Bell
'Harbour Lights'. Will Mair
'Residents of the Farne Islands'. Pat Oaks

Mono Print
20 points 'Close Friends'. Geoff Stoddart
'Wild Barn Owl'. Des Lloyd
19 Points 'The Shoot'. Alan Townsend
18 Points 'Sixties Classics'. Joyce Bell
'Autumn Falls'. Jayne Mair

Digitally Projected Images
20 Points 'Spirals'. Gee White
'Adorable Finches'. Geoff Stoddart
19 points 'Cloaked in Steam'. Alan Burkwood
18 points 'Rare Grouse'. Mike Vickers

Volunteer members are preparing to present an evening of their work on February 1st, giving people a chance to see the range of topics being tackled by those they meet each week. These evenings are a good chance to learn from each other and to share ideas.