As our memories of last week’s Bokeh contest blurred into the distance, it was time for an Open PDI competition. Tonight’s judge was David Mendus, who was full of praise for the high standard of our entries, at both levels – no image was graded lower than 7. David explained that his key questions of each image were: ‘Was it worth recording?’ and ‘Have I seen what you saw?’ We much appreciated his warm and constructive critique.

The winning entry at Level 1 was ‘Sweet Chestnut’ by Julia Hiscock. The judge described this as ‘superb photography… it really made something work that rarely does… it’s so far ahead of anyone else’s I’ve seen’.

Julia said afterwards:

“I wish I could say that it was my technical knowledge that helped me win but I’m afraid it was pure luck. I was out walking in the Ranmore Common area and the spikey green husks of the chestnuts scattered on the ground caught my eye.  I chose the best looking husk and matched it with the shiniest chestnuts  – et voila!

“I took the photo with a Panasonic Lumix TZ90 compact (on automatic setting I’m afraid) and didn’t make any changes to the image.  Had I tried to use my DSLR camera I suspect I wouldn’t have got such a good result! – more practice needed.

“My favourite subject matter is anything related to the countryside – landscape, flora, fauna.”

The winning entry at Level 2 was ‘Waterworlds’ by Martin Faiers.The judge described this as ‘a superb piece of photography… the water drops are beautifully represented… and it captures the girl at the right moment… the face is fully part of the action’.

Martin said afterwards:

“This image was taken at the fountains that operate outside the Royal Festival Hall each summer.  I was drawn initially by the strong figures moving within the water and the lighting, and it was only later that I realised how well the other elements in the picture fall into place.

“The image was taken on my smartphone camera – isn’t technology wonderful these days!!   It received minimal post-production treatment as is the case with the majority of my photographic work.

“My favourite photographic subjects include people-based street scenes that contain strong story lines, often involving humour, irony, or illustrating the gap between the haves and the have-nots.  I also enjoy monochromatic land or seascapes with strong textures and moods.”

It was intriguing that both of tonight’s winners hadn’t used high end cameras and had done little or no post production – proof maybe that it’s the photographer’s eye that’s essential to making brilliant photos!

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