Our final Open Print competition of the season, the night when those jostling for position near the top of the leader board learn their fate. It had all been pretty close and anything could happen.

Our judge for the night was Pat Couder CPAGB, BPE1*, QPSA, a member of Old Coulsdon Camera Club. Pronounced Coo. ‘I’m not a Cow!’, I remember her saying when she and her friend from the club, Ian Brash, entertained us last September in a presentation called The Pat, Ian and Mike Show. We remember the evening well.

Pat is fairly new on the judging circuit but gave an honest opinion on how she reacted to each image which was consistent with the marks she awarded. We will look forward to inviting her to judge again for us in the future.

There were 21 prints in all entered as a single class. Of these Pat held back 9 to reconsider at the end, finally awarding top score to four of them.

The overall winner awarded 10+ was Tudor Picnic by Dave S, so congratulations to him.

Photocraft Camera Club - Tudor Picnic by Dave S
Tudor Picnic

Interestingly, the first thing she said when the picture came up was a piece of advice. She said that if you had an image you liked but it wasn’t quite sharp enough, you could get around it by printing it small, mounting it on a large board to encourage the judge to consider it as ‘art photography’. Well it worked for Dave whether the image was sharp or not. It typified the genre Dave is good at – a seamless blending of a number of photographic elements to create a work more resembling a painting than a photo. Pat thought it was beautiful and marked it accordingly.

Congratulations too to Brian who was given 10 for two of his entries. Firstly, Colour Splash.

Photocraft Camera Club - Colour Splash by Brian C
Colour Splash

Said it on the tin, didn’t it. Pat liked the vibrant colours, the soft effect and the way it had been framed. It had a feeling of movement and the background worked well. She had no idea whether the effect had been produced in-camera or in subsequent processing.

Brian’s second 10 was for A Path to Memories.

Photocraft Camera Club - A Path to Memories by Brian C
A Path to Memories

A boardwalk, apparently over a pebble beach she thought taken at Dungeness. An old wooden seat with a bunch of flowers, pink, complementing the pink tones of the evening sky. Included, Brian’s signature lighthouse, without which Pat thought the picture wouldn’t have worked. A poignant image of beautiful quality.

The final 10 was for And the loser has to fall.. by Mandy.

Photocraft Camera Club - And the loser has to fall.. by Mandy B
And the loser has to fall…

A fast-action nature shot showing the outcome of a fight between two squirrels over the contents of a peanut feeder. The victor with its head thrown triumphantly back while the loser pitches headlong into oblivion. The feeder swings out making for a great dynamic composition helped by the out-of-focus background of autumn leaves. Well captured Mandy.

I am including some other high scoring pictures:

First another of Mandy’s nature shots scoring 9.5 Me! Me! Me! A Starling family.

Photocraft Camera Club - Me! Me! Me! A Starling family by Mandy B
Me! Me! Me! A Starling Family

Pat said the picture came alive under the light and was a great photo of animal behaviour. The three fledglings were well-captured with their beaks wide open, and the background gave just enough detail to show the environment without being distracting. A fourth fledging was about to fly into the picture but had to be shot – we can’t have even numbers in our pictures can we?

The King’s Armee by David M also scored 9.5.

Photocraft Camera Club - The Kings Armee by David M
The King’s Armee

It looks like some kind of re-enactment which she said was caught at exactly the right moment with a lovely arrangement of the participants. Taken in strong sunshine which is always a challenge for photographers but very well captured.

Chasing the Moon by Dave S scored a 9.

Photocraft Camera Club - Chasing the Moon by Dave S
Chasing the Moon

An intriguing and quirky picture. She thought the dragon looks as if it could swallow the moon in a single gulp. Pat had absolutely no idea of how the image had been put together, and neither have I.

Finally, Xenophobia – UV fluorescence of brown and white eggs by David P also received a 9.

Photocraft Camera Club - Xenophobia-UV fluorescence of brown and white eggs by David P
Xenophobia – UV fluorescence of brown and white eggs

Well, the picture speaks for itself doesn’t it? For the record, the egg fluorescing in red in the middle is the only brown one. All the rest are white and I had to hunt them out in Waitrose as all the other grocers sell only brown ones. For the geeks among you, the fluorescence is due to protopophyrin IX and there is much less of it in the shells of white eggs.

This final competition resulted in a rejigging of the order at the top of the leader board. So congratulations to Mandy for winning the open prints with a total score of 74.5 and to Dave S for climbing to runner-up position with 73.5. Commiserations to David H who was just pipped to a very honourable third place with 73.

Thank you Pat for helping make all this happen with some well-considered evaluations of our work.

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