Our first print competition of the season was judged by Graeme Wales LRPS CPAGB who is fairly new to the SPA’s judging panel. Graeme began by describing how he first got into photography in his teens when his Dad helped turn their bathroom into a makeshift darkroom. Many of us of that vintage will have similar stories to tell. I remember jamming myself in the cupboard under the stairs to load film into a developing tank and using my mum’s casserole dishes as makeshift developing trays. What drew us was the magic of watching our images appear under a safelight, and that magic is there to this day as we watch our print emerge slowly from the slot in our inkjet printer.
For Graeme, the print was the ultimate output of the photographic process. It is the product that fixes the story. He said it differs from a PDI which can be fiddled with and modified forever. He explained that any comments he made on our pictures were only his opinion and he urged us to take them with a pinch of salt.
We all kind of know that and realise we should aim chiefly to please ourselves and not take too much notice of what a judge says. However, when you’ve put your heart into a picture and are feeling pretty chuffed at how it has turned out, it does take some of the magic out of it all when it gets dished by a judge, doesn’t it?
There were 19 prints entered and they were judged all as one class.
Our two winning images this evening were both of grey herons. The overall winner, the 10+ was awarded to Chris R for Waiting, so congratulations to him.
Graeme said this was a superb quality print with the light on the heron allowing it to stand clearly from the background. The composition was perfect leading the eye to the main subject.
Congratulations too to Mandy awarded 10 for Grey Heron with Perch.
Beautiful backlighting giving the subject a three-dimensional feel and highlighting the recently caught fish, with nice zig-zag reflections in the foreground.
There were two prints awarded 9.5. One, again from Mandy with Sparrow feeding fledgling Greenfinch.
Graeme complemented the composition of this picture, especially the details in the extended wing of the fledgling. According to the RSPB, it is not uncommon for birds to mistakenly offer food to begging youngsters of other species.
Brian was awarded the second 9.5 for Dorset Woodland.
Graeme thought this was an ‘intentional camera movement’ shot that worked well because of the interesting blue/green detail in the foreground and soft trees in the background.
Two prints were awarded 9. One to Alfred for Sundown Poole Harbour.
An atmospheric sunset with nicely textured layering and two figures dragging surf boards perfectly placed in the frame.
The second 9 went to Dave S for A Welcome Sight,
Another atmospheric image given on old-time style treatment with soft muted colours.
A great start to the season’s print competitions so well done to everyone who entered. And a big thank you to Graeme for his time and helpful commentary.