2017 01 - Competition 4

18th February 2017
Retford & District Photographic Society - Press Release - Joy Allison
25th January 2017
Images by Dick Lewis, Des Lloyd, Barry Inman & Spike Walker

Panel of Three Competition

Our meeting opened with a report from President Alan Burkwood on our recent two way battle with Worksop Photographic Society. Unfortunately we had come second by 336/308. From the scores this was largely because a very fair judge liked the skilful work of a few of their members who are particularly accomplished and creating artistic images through extensive processing – an area in which we have no specialists.

This evening we had our own competition - for a panel of three photos. We were pleased to welcome judge Alan Rowsell attending at short notice to replace a sick colleague. Alan set the scene saying that panels are not easy and require a lot of thought. It is not enough to submit three great individual photos. They have to work together as a panel and either have a clear relationship between the three or tell a story - and preferably both. He marked accordingly and gave lower marks to images he thought fell down on their story.

The first class for colour prints had 16 entries. Alan viewed the whole panel at once with the three images on the print stand in the order requested by the author. We began with a trio of bearded tits - a difficult bird to photograph at all, let alone photograph well as they live among reads and seldom sit in an exposed position. The centre bird had a 'grumpy' expression and having detected a story Alan held this set back for the final marking. He also held back the next set which depicted an abandoned building from the outside, its door and the inside. Alan was impressed with the theme of a journey through the building. He marked the following few sets as he viewed them and each and fell down on story or the relative strengths of the images, although they also had good points. Alan complimented an imaginative panel comprising shots of model cars racing, but he did not rate it as highly as the first two panels.

A panel entitled 'Golden Frosty Morning' by Russell Nye really appealed to Alan. The colours were beautiful and he rated them all excellent photographs. He loved the colours and the story and felt that the presentation told a strong story. The panel really worked for him and the figures in it gave balance. This set was held back. Only one more set joined the collection - a stunning panel showing seal pups at Donna Nook by Barry Inman. Alan commented that he wished he had taken these images himself. Every aspect worked - the shading, the expressions, the story and the excellent quality of the images.

Each of the other panels entered were viewed and most achieved positive comments for the quality of one or more images. Our club standard has improved in recent years and judges rarely now comment that an image lacks the basic requirement of being sharply focussed. One or two individual images were judged slightly soft, but more received praise for handling difficult lighting well or for having one or two excellent images which were let down by another.

The four held back panels were compared and it was no surprise that Barry Inman was awarded the coveted 20 points for first place with his seal pups. Paul Lancaster's abandoned building entitled 'Needs some TLC' and Russell Nye's autumn scenes shared second place with 19 points and Des Lloyd's bearded tits came third with 18.

We moved straight on to the monochrome print class which had 9 entries. Having awarded 16 points to Andrew Paul for his images of street art which he was not sure told a story, Alan held back the next four panels. The next four each received praise for some elements. Alan wondered if monochrome was actually the best way of presenting at least one of Russell Nye's images of Cares Gorge in Spain. He commended Gee White for seeing the strangely shaped branches she had entitled 'Here Be Dragons' and he liked Des Lloyd's ‘Wild Little Owl’ images individually but he marked these panels before his final review.

Joyce Bell had submitted three strong images of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth which were well thought out, excellent images and worked well as a panel. Joyce scored 18 points in joint 3rd place. Also scoring 18 points was Alistair MacDonald’s panel entitled 'Yorkshire Arches' - a well seen group of images which moved through time from Whitby Abbey ending with a natural arch in a cliff.

Three well captured shots called 'Hares Looking at You' won Gerry Kemp 19 points for their expressions and the story they conveyed. The winner was Dick Lewis with a panel Alan said some might find controversial, but which he loved. It was a humerous compilation of two bespectacled dolls and a shop sign entitled 'Should Have Gone to Specsavers'. Alan felt humour in photography is a rare quality and these images had drawn a reaction from the audience as well as being very well captured.

The final class was for digitally projects images with 16 entries to be judged. Here each image is shown separately and then a composite image displays showing all three. This class includes both colour and monochrome images. Alan did not feel the first few panels were particularly strong but he was impressed by the images portraying the three elements of a three day event. They were good, sharp images and scored a great 18 points for first time entrant George Hodgson.

Ben Searson's monochrome images of the ‘Night Time Tube’ also scored 18 points. Alan praised the quality and the shapes observed. 19 points went to John Smith for some delightful shots of ‘Otters’. The story was enhanced by the animal having caught a clam, which it was holding in a paw. Alan liked the glint in its eye and the beautiful detail.

After much thought and deliberation, Alan found himself unable to make a decision between two very different panels. One was a beautiful set of ‘Wild Brown Hares’ from Des Lloyd which Alan declared were all exactly as they should be with the parts which should be sharp really crisp and the background out of focus to compliment the image. The expressions worked - especially the centre one which appeared to show a bashful look.

Sharing first place with Des was Spike Walker with a trio of images of seeds taken using a microscope. Alan was unaware of the technical process used in the capture but was impressed with the crisp detail and lovely shapes which flowed so well from one image to the next. Both were awarded 20 points.