At last, here we were at our new venue, the spanking new Community Centre at St Patrick’s Church. What a contrast to the sombre, draughty echo-chamber of St Elpheges. I took a few snaps at the start and you can see how quickly everyone felt comfortable and at home within minutes of sitting down.
Brian began by outlining the facilities that are available to us there, a few of which are not yet up and running. Then Steve Crawley said a few words welcoming us and giving some background to the project. It has been 30 years since the idea of a new centre was mooted. So, a long gestation period giving plenty of time to get it right. The finance came partly from the sale of a house belonging to the church but mostly from very generous donations by local people. A remarkable example of what a local community can achieve with enough determination. He said that Photocraft, along with the Jive Club, are the first groups to use the facility – so we are making history folks!
The room housed the club comfortably, but Steve said that larger rooms were available should our numbers increase significantly.
The rest of the evening was devoted to reviewing entries for our Panel of Three Competition. The idea was to display three images as a panel on a single PDI. Each member could enter up to three panels and the entries were marked by members on a scale from 0 to 10, in advance, through the PhotoEntry system.
Brian saved disclosing the winners until the very end of the evening. Images were picked out at random and the photographers invited to say a few words about them, followed by comments and discussion by other members. The evening seemed to whiz by with plenty of good-natured chatting between members. Wasn’t it nice to meet in room where you could hear and be heard without a struggle?
Steve Crawley made a comment that some entries showed poor alignment of the pictures and recommended using a grid to ensure accuracy. It reminded me of a reaction from my old woodwork teacher when I presented him with my attempt at a pipe rack hoping he wouldn’t notice that it was a bit out of square. He screwed up his eyes and said “Remember Pellin’, the oy is a very accrit instr’mnt!”. Be warned!
Brian thought he had run through all 28 entries and given everyone a chance to say something about their work, until that is, he came to announce the overall winner of the competition, which somehow he had managed to miss out. The winning average score by a clear margin went to Mandy for Flight of a young Robin, three stills of a juvenile Robin flying towards a branch to land. Congratulations to her.
Joint second place went to Chris for Grand Canyon. Dividing a wide sweeping landscape into three bite-sized section just seems to work somehow.
The other second place went to David P for Ivy Mining Bees at work. This species of bee first made its appearance in the South of England in 2001. It feeds mainly on Ivy flowers and nests in burrows, in very large colonies in some places.
Third place again went to Mandy for Grey Squirrel leaping tree to tree, three sequential shots of this fearless creature taken using a fast motor drive.
A really enjoyable evening all round boding well for future meetings at St Patrick’s and helped this evening by an impressive number of impressive panels entered by members. Well done everyone. Maybe we should do that again some time.