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Chalk It Up!

August 26, 2017 in Crewe PS news

Crewe Ps members are helping Cheshire East and Crewe Town Council document some of the events which they have helped to stage in Crewe in recent times and on Saturday 26 August the two-day event Chalk It Up started with the artists getting to work on their creations. Thankfully a warm, dry day was promised as they sketched things out. There were a variety of approaches from the geometrical construction to the impressionistic splash – all looking great. It will take all day and perhaps  more for some of the more detailed works to be finished but by midday there was already plenty to see. In the afternoon a major work will be underway outside the Lyceum which you are all invited to contribute too, while on Sunday youngsters especially are invited to have a go themselves in a pavement artist competition.


Gold Medal at the PAGB Inter-Club PDI Championships 15 July 2017

July 16, 2017 in Crewe PS news

Ian Whiston’s Cheetah with family was the Gold Medal winner in the PDI Nature section of the 2017 Inter-Federation Competition and his award was presented at the PAGB event yesterday. In the picture he is photographed by Terry Donnelly (himself an award winner (in fact THE award winner with “best in Show”) while PAGB President, Gordon Jenkins, in his over-exposed white shirt, finds his place in the script.

It was another great event and marked by being the tenth anniversary of switching to PDIs from slides. Smethwick were the winners (Wigan 10 second) and the “second division” Plate Trophy was won by Dumfries CC.Marking was high (pushed up by the judges being told not to award anything less than 3) which actually made things more exciting!

Explanations: 1) The Inter-Federation competition is an annual competition, organised by the PAGB, between all 15 Federations – the number of entries based on the size of the Federation. How the selection is made is up to each Federation but the L&CPU entry is selected from the Annual Individual Competition images. The prints are exhibited at various venues during the coming year and the PDIs are available on CD.

2) The Inter-Club PDI is also for all Federations, this time two clubs are selected (in the L&CPU case from the Club Annual successes) and they take part as a team. There are two opening rounds, using 8 images each from each club. The top 8 scorers then compete for the CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY in a further larger round and the rest of the clubs compete for the PLATE TROPHY in a further single round. The top 8 that year are automatically invited to take part the following year so this year the L&CPU had 4 clubs; Wigan 10 and Chorley PS because they were finalist last year and North Cheshire and The Evolve Group as the two selected clubs.



L&CPU Exhibition 2017

July 9, 2017 in Crewe PS news

Ian Whiston receives his gold medal from President Garth Tighe while Comp Sec Bob Robinson prepares the remaining medals.


July 8 2017 brought the opening of the 2017 L&CPU Exhibition and the presentation of awards for successes in the Club Annuals in March and the more recent Annual Individuals’ Competition.

The exhibition includes prints by Wallace Baxter and Kath Hill. My “Connoisseur” is also there, having been used in the 2016 PAGB competition.

It is at Urmston Library and parking is easily available in the adjoining Sainsbury’s car park, which is free for 3 hours. You will get an excellent impression of what does well in regional club competitions these days – and there were many genres represented.

After inspecting the prints we were assembled to see the awards presented and the highlights for us were the Commendation to Stephen Coyne for “That Cigar Moment” and the first place and gold medal to Ian Whiston for best performance in the nature digital section.

Urmston Library, 34 Golden Way, Urmston, Manchester M41 0NA until 29 July. Open Mon – Sat 10am to 5pm Except Tuesday and Friday when it closes at 7pm and Saturday 4pm.

The panel which includes Kath’s eventing picture (bottom, right).

Panel including Wallace’s print (top, right).

L&CPU Individuals Annual Competition

May 21, 2017 in Crewe PS news

Crewe member Ian Whiston has won the PDI Nature section in the L&CPU Annual Competitions which took place last weekend. He has achieved this three times in the last 5 years, tying for first on another occasion. The image of Ian’s seen above gained a silver medal too.He was not our only success in this NW region event; Stephen Coyne gained a Commendation and Wallace Baxter had work selected for the exhibition and the folios which are circulated round all the clubs next season. The results for all our work can be seen here.

The rather clumsy title for the competition stems from the fact that it is intended for the members of the clubs of the L&CPU and they are NOT members, their clubs are (there are about 100 member clubs and those clubs have about 4000 members altogether). This year the entry for prints was down considerably but my own impression (having helped to sort them) was the general standard was higher.

At Crewe we still maintain a high level of participation in our print competitions, which is pleasing because it represents, historically, a paradigm of club photography.

Crewe v Sandbach – 9 March 2017 – Judged by Roger Evans MPAGB FBPE EFIAP

March 10, 2017 in Crewe PS news

The thoughtful still life by Sandbach member Stephen Cooke which won the prints section of the competition.

It is just coincidence that our last two judges have been highly successful SPORTS photographers. It is with some trepidation that we submitted our sports work to the expert gaze but, it fared quite well.

It is the first time we have asked Roger to judge (he has not been on the list for very long) and we were impressed with the surefire way he dealt with the photographs; comments were confident and always made good sense. He was anxious for the members to come and look at a few selected image to see the details he had referred to in them. Altogether a super job and helping greatly in making a successful evening.

Crewe took the lead in both prints and PDIs but Sandbach acquitted themselves extremely well, showing us some interesting work and a nearly 100% turn-out!

The final scores were: PDIs Crewe 262, Sandbach 246. Prints Crewe 267 Sandbach 243. Overall Crewe 529 Sandbach 489. The individual scores are here.


The L&CPU Club Annuals 2017

March 7, 2017 in Crewe PS news

Gordon Jenkins receives one of the many awards won by Chorley PS at the Club Annuals from Russell Lindsey.

The L&CPU Club Annuals took place at Lowton School this year, over the weekend of the 4/5th March. The Judges were the Lindseys (Barbie and Russell) and Bill Hall.

The whole event was very well organised, particularly thanks to Adrian Lines’s computer software (which even reads out the titles) but largely because of the hard work members of the L&CPU Exec and their assistants put into the management of the competitions.

It is a pity that so few of you see this event, you would realise just what we are up against in terms of work from other clubs and how the work is actually marked. I timed the judging over a period and it took on average only 3 seconds for the first judge to register their mark. So there would be no time, for example, to admire the way that Koudelka confidently disposes geometrical shapes in his work  or even to comprehend anything but an image which had absolutely obvious content. The immaculate and the meretricious are the winners here.

Still, I love the people and don’t even mind looking at the work; which only occasionally possesses true wit or emotional power but often display a clever capture or superb technical quality.

We did well; 11th in the PDIs out of over 40 clubs and about 900 images and 10th in the prints out of 29 clubs and 635 prints.

If you look in detail at the marks you will find how fickle the whole business can be. For example, Wallace’s “Splits on the Beam”, bronze medal winner in the Bebington got 10 (though it was here as a print, not a PDI) and Ian’s very successful “Lionesses Sparring” also got 10, the same as my “Parasol” which was there as a space filler (you have to have 5 nature authors and we struggle to achieve that with current work. These marks are out of 15.

So, why do we do it? Well, it keeps us in the frame, keeps us known in the region so judges and speakers are even happier to come to us, it keeps us on our toes if success with club photography means anything to you and it gives me a chance to fraternise with all my mates!

Our individual results are posted in Downloads>Results, the club positions are on the L&CPU website.

The photo features: (L to R) At desk Bob Robinson (Comp Sec, obscuring Adrian Lines (General Sec)), Bill Hall, Barbie Lindsey, Gordon Jenkins (Treasurer LCPU and Chorley PS), Russell Lindsey, Garth Tighe (LCPU President) and Henry Mullarkey (Past President). Ian Alcroft is taking a picture (with an immense armoury of flashguns and an XT1).

The Bebington Salon 2017 – 23 Feb 2017

February 24, 2017 in Crewe PS news

Tom Jones (L) receiving his silver medal from Bob Dennis and the CD featuring his weight-lifter picture.

Crewe PS has been one of the venues for the showing of this national exhibition for almost all of its 15 year history. Bob Dennis APAGB CPAGB AFIAP BPE4 organises the exhibition and takes the show on the road. This year he has set himself an even more punishing list of showings but his enthusiasm and sense of humour never fails. This year I thought the quality of the display was even better – one has to be awestruck at the work Bob puts in, making sure that members in the audience have their work displayed if they were successful in the competition.

Our friends from Alsager CC join us for the evening. Geoff Reader from Alsager CC and Tom Seaton, Stephen Coyne and John Royle from Crewe PS all had acceptances and John’s photograph, the Connoisseur gained a Highly Commended award. This was John’s second award of the week having also gained a HC in the Keele Three Counties on Tuesday! Highlight of the awards though was to our good friend Tom Jones from Nantwich CC who gained a Silver Medal for his image of a weightlifter, which graces the cover of the CD of the Salon.

Our member Ian Whiston DPAGB EFIAP BPE5 was one of the three judges of the Salon, there especially for his skills as a nature photographer and judge.

One sad note is that Bob Dennis is leaving the L&CPU executive this year, after 27 years service. Having served on that committee myself for a mere 6 years or so I can tell you that they will miss Bob’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the club’s and their members. I am just glad we will see him when he presents the Bebington again.

If I might just add some observations. The nature and landscape sections contained work of the very highest order  which were a delight to see. I also really like Bob’s determination to keep montages etc in a group of their own where we can admire the compositing skills without feeling that they are displacing the photographs. Other sections were not so universally pleasing; there was a marked tendency to over-process images, leading to an unreal and distinctly “digital” look which could be positively harsh. I assume (I do not follow nationals as closely as I used to) that this is fairly typical of the 22 BPE competitions. I was certainly not alone in my concern; members from both clubs talked to me about this at the break. It is perhaps time judges recognised that they are encouraging club photography down a route which induces disdain from the rest of the photographic world. Nature, with its strict rules about processing is so much the richer as a result and that section was universally well received. There were, of course, many fine pieces of work in all sections.

So come on judges, if these over-processed images start failing to get the 12s they need for acceptance they will soon disappear. I know it is hard to rock the boat but it is high time.

Trouble is, it is not quite so easy. The crucial thing (for an acceptance) is whether each judge gives a 4 or a 3. It is the 5s which distinguish the potential award winners. It is easy to give a good but over-processed image a 4 rather than a 5, but not so easy to give such an image a 3 rather than a 4. So they will keep getting in until the culture changes.  However, I do feel that some good shots were marred by poor processing to such an extent that I would have pressed the 3 button. Quite a number of sports shots had backgrounds inexpertly blurred and I remember a horse jumping shot where haloes round the leaves on the hedge were so marked it was practically the first thing I saw. In these cases the treatment had detracted and I’m sure the judges had noticed, but the marking instrument is too crude. The judges also have to think about parity with the other BPEs too. One thing which may, however, happen is that a particular image may get into some exhibitions but not others.

The whole subject of nationals and their influence over club photography is an important one and for a number of reasons. I may go into this in a later post.


Third PDI League Competition 16 Feb 2017

February 22, 2017 in Crewe PS news

A safe pair of hands is a cricketing term used to describe a reliable and talented fielder and it came to mind when I  was thinking of a way of introducing Darrell Oakden, our judge for this competition. Darrell has had a lot of success with his own work in nationals and internationals and has fairly rocketed into the upper echelons of those distinctions which are so revered by club photographers; DPAGB, AFIAP and BPE3*. But he shows an appreciation of all types of photography and not just his own genre. He is very good at articulating what it is about a photograph which make it attractive to us and he can pick out those things which might benefit from a bit more attention. All this is delivered in a relaxed and friendly manner. There are never any “What does he see in that!” moments  either (not that that happens very often at Crewe!).

Of course the material he had was good too; a fair exhibition of the quality and range of our work. Altogether a very enjoyable evening. It was good to see the large number of members who distinguished themselves and especially one member entering for the first time and another getting his feet under the table with a win in one section.

Alsager CC v Crewe PS Inter-Club Competition 19 January 2017

January 27, 2017 in Crewe PS news

Alsager CC have their venue at a Golf Clubhouse which has no course. Whether this means it is a permanent

 19th hole we didn’t stop to ask as we piled into the end room to start proceedings. Alsager now sport a beautiful new print stand and (causing even more envy) a new full HD plus projector. These bits of gear ensured that the battling prints and projections were seen at their best. Daryl Giles CPAGB was the judge and he brought along another judge and lecturer Sheila Davies – shortly to become Mrs Giles! Congratulations to them – you could not find a more likeable couple. Likeable or not Daryl dished out some quite low marks which always causes consternation in a competition like this because a 14 is hard to make up for. It was all I could do to stop my Fitbit calling for medical assistance at times!

30 Projections and 30 prints later and Alsager had victory by 7 marks. They are now a very competitive club, having been invited to take part in the PAGB Championships this year, so we did well to get so close to them.

At half time all the top  prints were on display and two of ours, Ray’s Red Deer and Tom’s Arcade drew a lot of admiration, although they were both pipped by Geoff’s Reader’s excellent portrait for the best print award.

Portrait Evening with Sharon and Dave Barton (12 January 2017)

January 27, 2017 in Crewe PS news

Sharon and Dave kept us well entertained with a light-hearted review of a club trip to Oxford followed by some tutorials on studio lighting by Mark Cleghorn. Mark runs the professional training school which Sharon and Dave recommend to us. As a member you have access to a massive catalog of training videos on a wide variety of subjects which you can run. It is a slick set-up and of particular interest to those who want to turn their hobby into a business – though, of course, all can benefit from the training.

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