Ian Brash CPAGB BPE2* unfortunately was unable to judge the first of our competitions of the season due to a family emergency and we send him our regards and good wishes. Thankfully, the prospect of having to postpone the competition was averted when club member David Harford LRPS, an experienced and long-standing SPA judge, very kindly offered to judge the competition for us as he had not entered it himself. You saved the night David – thank you.
David began by saying that he knows Ian very well but that his style of judging was different from Ian’s. To David, what the image conveys is more important than its technical quality. I agree with that. Photography is about communicating an idea; technical quality matters only if it diverts our attention significantly from the idea.
There were 33 images in total and it was decided to combine the Standard and Advanced groups into a single class.
After the initial run-through, David said that he was really impressed by the quality of the images overall and, true to his word, offered a commentary based on his personal response to each image. He said he was attracted by simplicity in an image but said that this can be difficult to achieve in some genres like street photography. I often deliberately make a picture busy believing a viewer would enjoy exploring the picture space for interesting details. It could be where I am going wrong. Busy or simple? Please leave a comment if you have an opinion.
David’s overall winner was Fox’s night-time encounter by Mandy. He thought this was a gorgeous picture, full of detail and a wonderful symmetry. A local fox befriended David so he admitted to a soft spot for foxes but I am sure that he would not have allowed prejudice to cloud his judgement!
Also given a 10 was another of Mandy’s nature shots, Juvenile Robin, caught in flight at a fast shutter speed. David mentioned some advice given in a recent talk by wildlife photographer Nick Rogers, that is to deliberately underexpose this type of shot as it allows the use of a faster shutter speed. The underexposure can be corrected during processing.
The third 10 was awarded to Alfred for Reader another image exemplifying simplicity of composition, message and colour palette.
David scored two images 9.5.
One for Mandy’s third nature shot of a Grey Wagtail. I don’t think I’m giving any secrets away by saying that you need two things to take the kind of wildlife pictures Mandy is good at, 1. The Patience of Job 2. Sacksful of wildlife food.
The second 9.5 was awarded to Alfred for End of the day, another simple well-composed image with beautiful reflections and colour.
You have a lifetime’s experience of photography David and it showed. Thank you again for stepping in and giving us such a wonderful evening.