We’ve heard a lot recently about photographic competitions and judging. Rosemary Wilman gave us a wonderful insight into the many aspects recently and for all our members as individuals, there was much to encourage us to get involved.

Meanwhile, as a club, Photocraft has also entered some competitive events this season, albeit at late notice. The headline above gives the good news that we have just won the South London Federation Inter-Club Plate, which was held on 17th February, the same night Simon Van Orden was taking us on a tour of the Northern Lights.

You may well then be wondering what is this all about? Well, to be in the Plate Competition means you did not make it into the Final, i.e. Photocraft was eliminated in round one. And therein lies the point of this post.

In round one, there were six clubs involved, the other five being:






Only the top two qualified for the final. How did we do, you may ask? I will tell you. We came sixth. That means we came last, bottom. The club entered eight images and these were scored as we see in a PDI competition evening, with the totals added up for the club’s overall score. We scored as follows:


Photocraft Total: 64½ 6th

Clown Fish with Anemone – Dave Stoneleigh 9½

Midnight Encounter – Dave Stoneleigh 8½

Seaside Retreat – Alfred Clarke 8½

Predator – David Pelling 8½

Goldfinch Collecting Nesting Material – Mandy Byatt 8

Curiosity – Martin Faiers 7½

American Falls, Niagara – Brian Connolly 7

Chalet Man – Flight to Simplicity – David Harford 7

It was a huge disappointment. Many of the individual images had previously been successful in similar competitive events and I am sure all are familiar to you. We felt rather flat and some of the judge’s comments were less than complimentary. Still, we reminded ourselves that what we saw and heard were the views of that judge, on that one night. There would be another chance.

So what should be done for the Plate competition? New work or one more time? We decided to enter the same eight images. Brave or foolish? We would have to see.

On 17th February, we were up against six other clubs for the Plate, some of which have fearsome reputations to uphold in this environment. Bear in mind, we had not been involved with the SLF for some time so, in effect, we were seen as newcomers. The other clubs were:







We scored as follows:


Photocraft Total: 73½ 1st

Gulls over American Falls Niagara – Brian Connolly 10

Chalet Man – Flight to Simplicity – David Harford 10

Goldfinch Collecting Nesting Material – Mandy Byatt 10

Midnight Encounter – Dave Stoneleigh 9½

Clown Fish with Anemone – Dave Stoneleigh 9

Curiosity – Martin Faiers 8½

Predator – David Pelling 8½

Seaside Retreat – Alfred Clarke 8

Well done to us! It was a great outcome and we received lots of compliments from the other clubs, with a fantastic 5 of the 16 held back images belonging to Photocraft!

You will see that David H and myself went from “zero” to “hero” with our images (a quick note here. I changed the title of my image for the Plate event as the first judge dared to suggest I may have added the gulls and that made him turn against it, hence the 7. I have added nothing at all, by the way).

David H’s “Chalet Man” is a winner of one of our own “…Of the Year” competitions and yet it was only 7 one night and then 10 some weeks later.

Mandy grabbed our third 10 and that overall score meant we dropped just 6 1/2 points out of the 80 available!

And therein, ladies and gentlemen, for us all to see, learn and understand is how judging works. It’s the view of one person, on one night. We should not fret over a low score or feel discouraged by some random comments on our work. The next time the very same image is seen, it might well soar to the top of the chart! I do think that entering competitions helps you improve your work, both with the taking and editing of your images. It will be great if we get more members involved in our competitions. There really is nothing to fear.

And to end with, here is our winning set of images again, in order of their scores in the Plate competition. Next time, we can hopefully make the final!

Thank you.

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