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Photographic distinctions – the PAGB scheme

October 25, 2016 in Information

The PAGB distinctions of CPAGB, DPAGB and MPAGB are gained by presenting a selection of your best work to a panel of judges who mark it much as a set of competition entries is marked. If you gain the required number of marks you are granted the award. CPAGB is “good club photography” standard, DPAGB is about the standard needed to gain acceptances in national competitions and MPAGB is the highest standard in club photography.

You can also gain distinctions by accumulating points for acceptances in accredited competitions, the FIAP and BPE schemes are like that, but they can be a long journey and many like to prove their competence in one test, such as the PAGB scheme. Since requirements overlap somewhat, many do both.

For some years now the L&CPU have been running a mentoring scheme to help you prepare for the PAGB distinctions. They are NOT tuition schemes, they are not intended to teach the skills needed but to help you appreciate what standard is required to achieve success.

The scheme has been very successful and similar approaches have now been adopted by other Federations. Though we can help members in trying for these distinctions we highly recommend  joining the L&CPU Mentoring Scheme because the people running it have, in many cases, direct experience of the assessment and certainly direct experience of the process.

We have just had details of the next mentoring scheme meeting, as follows…

Please bring the following information to the attention of your members.
The L&CPU mentoring team is running an Awards for Photographic Merit Seminar (advisory day) and mock adjudication at Oldham PS on 4th December 2016 at 10 for 10:30 until about 4 pm. It is suitable for:
  • Candidates who are already being mentored and wish to try out their images in front of six LCPU/PAGB judges before committing to the “real thing”.
  • Candidates who are sitting their real assessment with the PAGB this autumn and want to try out images, at the next level up, in a mock adjudication.
  • Club members who are thinking about sitting the PAGB Awards soon but have not yet begun the process. 
Note: You must have completed at least two years of entering your own club events before you can enter the PAGB Awards at the C level.
You may enter prints or PDIs for the mock adjudication, but not both; 10 for CPAGB; 15 for DPAGB; 20 for MPAGB. Your images can be assessed on the day even if you cannot attend in person. Registered candidates will be sent full information at the end of this month and images will have to be uploaded (for PDI and for print entry) via a link given in the email

You can find out all about the awards at

22 September : Martin Berry LRPS – The Warrington PS Lantern Slide Archive

September 23, 2016 in Crewe PS news, Information

screenshot-2016-09-23-09-48-17Martin gave us a light-hearted presentation made all the more engaging by his genuine enthusiasm for preserving and enhancing this valuable collection, dating back to 1886.

It was interesting to see how subjects for club photography had not changed a lot given the restrictions of the old technology, though the sheer quality of these large format pictures was very impressive.

Martin has made great efforts to discover the exact location of the street scenes and get them re-photographed so that we could see the changes.

For me, though, it was the people depicted who were the most interesting. Turn of the 20th century club groups looked like country house shooting parties, with tweeds and spats, chauffeurs hovering in the background, whilst the most moving (and surely of great significance and value) were the photos taken in the slums with a “transportable camera”. How fiercely the conditions those poor wretches lived in contrasted with those of our privileged photographers!

Thank you Martin for a very thought provoking evening.

Member Focus : Ken Last

September 17, 2016 in Crewe PS news, Information


Ken Last can be relied on the get the shots of local events, and our event of last week was surely the Tour of Britain Stage 3 which came through Crewe on Tuesday 6 September. Ken managed to capture one of the stars, Sir Bradley Wiggins and  got the shot into the local papers like a shot too! Ken also loves to create his images on the computer as well as get in camera shots like this and his montages are always a feature of our competitions. With his fascination for camera equipment old and new too, Ken keeps himself very busy with all aspects of photography.

Member Focus – Tom Seaton

September 11, 2016 in Crewe PS news, Information


We always eagerly anticipate Tom Seaton’s entries into our competitions, his work is always among the most memorable of the year. He is able to make those resonant images from the most unpromising subjects; a few people on a beach, a disused lido, a window, a door, even a chink of light though a gap in the curtains. Impressive images abound these days and they seem to flick before our eyes, just briefly holding attention. Tom’s pictures are memorable, repay closer study and thought precisely because they don’t just show us what something looks like, they intrigue because they show us something in a different way, often with beautiful lines and tones which delight the eye.

British Portraits by Niall McDiarmid at Oriel Colwyn

September 10, 2016 in Crewe PS news, Information

Niall has a growing reputation now and it is in no small part due to this project which started as little more than an afternoon’s entertainment and has now gained international recognition. He simply went out with a vague idea of taking portraits of people he met on his walk one Sunday afternoon. Quite quickly it developed into tripping round the country taking portraits of people he met, people who interested him because of their dress and/or personality, a record of the British people in the second decade of the 21st century. That would be interesting enough but Niall’s wonderful sense of colour harmony, his special style, make these photographs totally captivating and far, far more than a mere record.

Niall has used a medium format film camera. Use of film contributes to the beautifully detailed yet smooth appearance of these pictures; there is no unpleasant “edginess” to the image rendition, There is also a uniform “look” too, which gives a group feel. The medium format contributes  in giving a more limited depth of field, blurring the background and helping to subdue it, so it is a scene setter, a backdrop, and not a distraction.

I hope you can manage to get to the exhibition. We are told it will be touring, but when and where is not known and it may never be nearer than Colwyn. The gallery is upstairs at the Theatre in Abegele Road and though it says it is open every day it is a good idea to ring to check because the gallery sometimes runs courses and is closed for viewing. Cambrian Photography, a real camera shop, is just down the road and you can eat at Isaac Simeon’s very cheaply!

You can read a bit more about Niall and this project HERE and on Niall’s Website.On until 14 October 2016

Oriel Colwyn, Upstairs at Theatr Colwyn, Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay, North Wales. LL29 7RU Tel: 01492 577888 Gallery website.

Niall Oriel Sept 2016web


Peter Bainbridge

August 22, 2016 in Information

Aerobatic-Ascent_Peter Bainbridge

Although Peter Bainbridge specialises in photographing aircraft he often turns his lens on wildlife too and we sometimes see his landscapes and so on. Last season gave us one of the best talks of the season where he described his subjects beautifully and had his audience enthralled. For a competition picture, however, you need something that requires no explanation and Peter knows that, which is why he chose this one Aerobatic Ascent as an entry last season. You do not need to be an aeroplane enthusiast to appreciate it, the clearly visible pilot helps a great deal in keeping attention.

In his talk Peter came out with the quote of the season “I like to try and show how they [the planes] make me feel” – a quest that many photographers could set themselves.

Nature Photography – Robert Brown

August 14, 2016 in Information

Dartford Warbler Robert Brown

Patience, fieldcraft and the right equipment go a long way in getting you shots like this. Today’s cameras will take many frames per second but good timing, even anticipating the action, is still paramount. Of course nature provides us with many beautiful subjects, not all as small, lively, rare and wary as the Dartford Warbler pictured here by Robert Brown, but you can start without specialist equipment if you choose the right subject. If you get into this particular type of photography then at a club you will find people who can help you on your way.

Bowler Man by Peter Robinson

August 5, 2016 in Information


We are bound to feature successful photographs on our front page but at times we have the pleasure of presenting those works which perhaps didn’t fare so well in competition, yet are more than worthy of attention. Such an image is Peter Robinson’s Bowler Man, which he entered into our portraits competition at the end of last season. Peter may have lightened the eyes slightly and darkened the background but to good effect, making the figure stand out a little more and adding a twinkle to the eyes. This surreal effect is not overdone. There is a certain quality to the image, a kind of luminance and detail which I like but there are two further things which lift it; the visual design (the pose and the triangular shadow behind which echoes it) and the curious nature of the hat itself – surely not made of felt or silk! Above all though that look communicates.

Liverpool Library Rooftop – Morgan Griffiths

August 1, 2016 in Information


This work is by Morgan Griffith member of CPS and independent film maker. I think it makes a very good photograph because there is plenty of visual interest there and yet it is ordered, clean. It is not just a record of what this piece of architecture (Liverpool Library roof) looks like, the way Morgan has framed it makes it quite abstract and you can begin to look at the items in it, and their shadows, in a new way. The granite seats seem to lead us up to the wall as an entry into the picture, helped by the fact that they start out of the frame (in it they would just be another of the items, interesting but functionless). It is frequently said that landscapes do not do well in competitions, perhaps because a general vista, unless very well captured and carefully constructed is easily and quickly appreciated with items too small to get into as we can here.

This was our Picture of the Week 25/7/16.

Promotional Video – Elia Locardi

July 17, 2016 in Information

Yes, it is a promotion but I’m sure many of you will enjoy watching the very well produced video by landscape photographer Elia Locardi as he talks about shooting in Iceland and then takes you though an introduction to his method of processing his photographs.

He starts with Lightroom to make some basic adjustments and then takes the image into Photoshop to duplicate the image and then exports it to NIK Colour Effects Pro, finally back to Ps to be sharpened using the high-pass filter.

See the video  HERE.

(Elia doesn’t seem to like sharpening in Lr. On the basis of a very quick test this morning I can’t say I would abandon sharpening in Lr and use his method, which is a commonly used one employing the High-Pass filter. It may work better for landscape with a Nikon camera but my Fuji files look just as good straight out of Lr.   Remember there is a default of 25% in Lr, so unless you adjust it down you are always be applying some sharpening. The Fuji X-Trans sensor has no anti-aliasing filter.)

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