Photocraft hits the SPA!! plus our own Smartphone competition

by Oct 26, 2023

Brian, our host for the evening, began by formally congratulating our medal winners at last Saturday’s SPA Individual Print and PDI Competition. While Storm Babet hammered the roof of East Horsley Village Hall, our intrepid trio were taking the other SPA camera clubs (44 in all!) by storm, collecting no less than 6 of the 16 medals on offer. A remarkable achievement by any standard – great for them, and great for Photocraft’s growing reputation at the Surrey Photographic Association.

Our winners, with medal haul!
The SPA meeting at East Horsley

Then Brian went on to this week’s Smartphone Photography Challenge. Members were invited to submit up to five images taken on a smartphone or tablet. Any photo editing had to be done on the device used to take the pictures. Voting opened for members two days before the evening. We could mark the entries on a scale of 1 to 10 in half-points and were not able to vote for our own pictures.

There was an impressive number of entries, 60 in all. Fourteen members submitted images, and 16 participated in the voting. And wasn’t it fun? How relaxing not to have to fret about what lens to use and how to juggle shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings. Just let your hair down, point your phone and tap the button.

The most popular App for editing was Snapseed. Hardly surprising as it’s free, amazingly versatile, and easy to use.

Brian kept the final reveal of the winners until the last five minutes and spent the evening showing members’ entries as fairly as he could and giving them and others the opportunity to talk about the pictures. A fascinating evening and our thanks go to him for negotiating the evening so effectively.

There were six awards given and Brian emphasised that there were only 4 points that separated the highest and lowest totals between them. So here they are, starting with the lowest:

Commended: The Cold Old Man by Brian. A picture of The Old Man of Storr on Skye. A much loved and photographed landmark, with patches of snow in the landscape.

The Cold Old Man by Brian

Highly Commended: St Mary’s Lighthouse by Chris. Situated in North Tyneside on a small island and reached by a short causeway. Members commented on the beautiful sky backdrop and the importance of the lone photographer on the causeway.

St Mary’s Lighthouse by Chris

3rd: Raindrops on banana leaf by David P. The leaves have a hydrophobic surface, so the raindrops form nearly perfect spheres. The common name for this plant is ‘Yellow Lotus of the Earth mother’ – yes, really!

Raindrops on banana leaf by David P

2nd: Dahlia by Mark. Mark was too modest, saying the picture didn’t deserve to be up there. Clearly, the members thought otherwise. A lovely image.

Dahlia by Mark

There were three pictures that tied in first place. They were:

Tied 1st: Glass lamp abstract by Mark. This was a large multicoloured lampshade that caught Marks eye in a restaurant in Italy. He said he got some funny looks from other diners nearby as he took it.

Glass lamp abstract by Mark

Tied 1st: It’s coming to get you, again by Mark. He said the heat was intense from this larval flow taken in Iceland. Dramatic and scary.

It’s coming to get you by Mark

Tied 1st: So Sad by Brian. Taken about 4 years ago of the Sycamore Gap tree in Hadrian’s Wall, tragically cut down by vandals very recently. Words fail me over this event, made worse by the fact that the National Trust have had to move it to a secret location to stop souvenir hunters from hacking lumps off it.

So Sad by Brian

Shame to finish on such a depressing note. However, the competition was clearly popular with members and rightly so. Us camera users must concede that smartphone photography is now mainstream, and we really should include more events of this kind in our programme, don’t you think?

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