It was another landmark evening for Photocraft. We were back in the hall after a long absence. We provided live streaming for those uncomfortable about meeting face-to-face (after a few initial technical wobbles). We held the first print competition for over a year. We started using our brilliant brand-new print stand (thanks to Alan Marchant’s labours). And we inaugurated fundraising raffles at our evenings (well done to our winner, Steve H and many thanks to David and Barbara for donating the Prosecco!). Thank you and congratulations to everyone who made this ground breaking evening possible, including our guest judge for the evening – David Lloyd LRPS.

The new print stand in action

I was watching on Zoom, so had the rather surreal experience of not being able properly to see the prints that were being judged until after the break. It was rather like watching the football commentary on terrestrial TV late on a Saturday afternoon – we had to imagine the images, based on the judge’s commentary on what he was seeing!

There were 39 entries and standard class had been merged into advanced class, because there had been so few standard class entries. The scores were highly unusual – nothing below 8 and seven 10s. Either we had a very duff judge (which wasn’t the case!) or the scores reflected the very high quality of the entries, in plenty of different styles and genres. The judge complained that we were making his job very difficult and that we ‘must have been holding on to these for ages’.

In fact, we had seen many of the images previously as we had, temporarily, because of the pandemic, allowed resubmission of images already entered for PDI competitions. So, entrants could be reasonably hopeful that their images would score highly again, this time as prints. But it must be an all-time record at Photocraft that 46% of the entries were held back by the judge to be awarded scores of 9 and above! Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was Barbara A’s well-deserved victory as overall winner. Barbara usually submits her images in standard class. Tonight, she eclipsed everyone in advanced class, which testifies to the fine standard of her photography.

I like to think that it’s a two-way process for judges – we gain from their wisdom and expertise and they pick up some new ideas for their own photography as they travel around different clubs. That seemed to be the case this time, as David Lloyd remarked that he’d never used UV light to photograph flowers and that he’d ‘have to go home and try that one!’ We’re grateful that he blazed a trail as the first of our ‘live’ judges for far too long a time!  

Winning entry

Photocraft Camera Club - After the Rain by Barbara A
After the Rain – Barbara A – 10+ – the judge said this still life had the feel of a painting; he liked the glossy sheen and the circular composition, held by the leaf at the centre

Other high scorers

Photocraft Camera Club - Lockdown ! by David A
Lockdown! – David A – 10 – the judge felt this captured well the pressures of being locked up for twenty months
Photocraft Camera Club - Growing In All Directions by Brian C
Growing in all Durections – Brian C – 10 – the judge felt the shallow depth of field worked very well, as well as the diagonal layout, and there was a nice colour contrast against the background
Photocraft Camera Club - Nasturtium half-flower by David P
Nasturtium half-flower – David P – 10 – the judge liked the way the image brought out the colour, structure and detail of the flower; the exposure was well-controlled and the composition was good, with the flower leaning into the image
Photocraft Camera Club - Beneath the fountain by Philip R
Beneath the fountain – Philip R – 10 – the judge said this was well-seen and well-processed; there were lots of interesting shapes and the single brown-red leaf just off-centre worked well
Photocraft Camera Club - Ceropegia Sandersonii UV Fluorescence by David P
Ceropegia Sandersonii UV Fluorescence – David P – 10 – the judge liked the composition; the image was nice and sharp with lots of detail and the colours toned and blended across well
Photocraft Camera Club - Black eyed susan by Alfred C
Black eyed susan – Alfred C – 10 – the judge felt that this still life was well thought through, and ably captured and printed; the lighting was good and subtle, with nice shadows

“A photo that isn’t printed is like a script that is never performed, or a musical composition that is never played” – Mat Coker, Digital Photography School

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