held on Wednesday 27 October 2021

Judged by Eddie Lord

This week the club held our first monochrome PDI competition of the club year.  This took place simultaneously in the hall as is traditional and over Zoom as we have become accustomed to since early last year.  Some club members attended in person and some via Zoom.  On this occasion Eddie Lord, our judge, also attended via Zoom, a new permutation for all concerned.

I feel Chris R is owed a particular round of thanks for undertaking this additional challenge, as well as a special mention for Brian C who acted as Master of Ceremonies throughout the evening.

The club received 17 entries in the Standard Class, and 33 entries in the Advanced Class

Standard Class

Our Standard Class entries covered a wide range of genres and styles, and the most commonly repeated comments from the judge are listed below:-

  • Looking for a wide range of tonalities in the image as a general rule, unless the image subject specifically precludes that
  • Looking for deep blacks and bright whites where that is appropriate
  • Looking for detail in those blacks and whites, so not burnt out or oversaturated at the extremes
  • Many images would have been helped by a simple key line to clearly show the limits of the frame when projected against a dark screen. This is particularly a factor when images have dark edges or corners. A minimal 2px key line would suffice, either in a contrasting bright white or mid-grey for monochrome images.

Many helpful comments were offered on the submitted images and six were held back for a second review.

We finished the evening with two images scoring 9½ points and two 10 points.

The first to score 9½ points was ‘Mountain View’ which was judged to be a lovely view, handled nicely, and overall a pleasant presentation.  This image is reproduced below.

Photocraft Camera Club - Mountain View by Barbara A
Mountain View by Barbara A

The second to record a 9½  score was ‘Alley Spider’, judged to have great focus where required, and with an unusually strong vignette which nevertheless works well.  This image is reproduced below.

Photocraft Camera Club - Alley Spider by Barbara A
Alley Spider by Barbara A

The first image to score 10 was ‘Then There Were Three’, judged to be both a good observation and a simple idea, with side lighting that works well.  Our judge felt that the dark stripe on the left edge of the image would have been better removed either by cloning out or other wizardry in post processing. This image is reproduced below.

Photocraft Camera Club - Then There Were Three by Kevin B
Standard Class – Highly Commended Then There Were Three by Kevin B

The final 10, and our overall winner on the evening, was ‘Little Oak’ by Kevin B.  This was described by the judge as an intriguing image and whilst being very dark it worked well with good texture and a shape that spread effectively from the centre. Overall a presentation that looks good and has an effective key line defining the frame. This image is also reproduced below.

Photocraft Camera Club - Little Oak by Kevin B
Standard Class – Winner Little Oak by Kevin B

Both 10 scores were submitted by Kevin B, who should be congratulated on a doubly successful evening, as should Barbara A who achieved both 9½ scores.

Advanced Class

Our 33 Advanced Class entries covered a wide range of genres and styles, and the most commonly repeated comments from the judge are listed below:-

  • Good key line, or lack thereof; grey key lines usually received a particular mention
  • Good texture and tonality often commended
  • Viewpoint, perspective and composition often discussed ( including use of diagonals or triangles within the frame) and approved in a significant proportion of the entries

Interestingly one image titled ‘Her profile image’ by Roshan R received an unusual comment.  This was an image of a bright subject against a dark background, and was submitted without a key line. All other similar images had attracted the advice to add a key line, but this image was judged to work well  against the dark screen without the added edge boundary  It is not reproduced here as it would be printed against a white background so the added ‘screen space’ would not be apparent. A case of rules are made to be broken it appears.

Many helpful comments were offered on the submitted images and ten were held back for a second review.

We finished the evening with three images scoring 9½ points and four scoring 10 points.

The three images scoring 9½ points were ‘Ouse Valley Viaduct’ by Chris R,  ‘High Rise’ by Alfred C, and ‘Polesden Lacey’ by David P.

The first of the images scoring 10 points on the evening was ‘London Bridge Station’ by Roshan R. The judge commended this picture for the unusual viewpoint, quite different to most images, with lots to look at, good tonality and a significant contribution from the dark sky in the centre of the frame. This image is reproduced below.

Photocraft Camera Club - London bridge station by Roshan R
Advanced Class – Highly Commended ~ London Bridge Station by Roshan R

The next 10 point image was ‘Fern’ by David S, the only monochromatic picture on the evening presented with a strong colour base.  The judge was attracted to the strong swirl effect achieved within the picture.  This image is reproduced below.

Photocraft Camera Club - Fern by Dave S
Advanced Class – Highly Commended ~ Fern by Dave S

A further 10 points was scored by David S with his image ‘Window Box’.  This image was judged to be unusual, almost abstract. Even if the judge was not sure what he was looking at he liked the picture.  This image is reproduced below.

Photocraft Camera Club - Window Box by Dave S
Advanced Class – Highly Commended ~ Window Box by Dave S

The last 10 point image was ’Sago Palm unfurling leaf’ by David P.  Our judge opened his comments by describing it as a superb image, with good shape and image quality. That was effectively the end of his comments, other than to nominate this image as the overall winner on the evening.  This image is reproduced below.

Photocraft Camera Club - Sago Palm unfurling leaf by David P
Advanced Class – Winner ~ Sago Palm unfurling leaf by David P

Following the evening of judging David P has opened a new discussion on the Photography Talk forum on the club website, discussing the subject of the photographers’ intent in preparing an image for competition. This is contrasted with the judges’ comments which can take an alternative viewpoint to that intent.  An interesting discussion that could run for some time I think.

Many thanks to Eddie Lord for judging this competition, and for his forbearance in handling the challenges of such a task via Zoom.  He delivered a string of gentle but specific advice on possible improvements or alternative presentations throughout the evening, adding to our appreciation of what judges are looking for in all images.

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