March’s Monthly Theme is ‘Light and Shade’

February 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

The theme for March gives you the opportunity to spring clean your photography by getting creative and producing something a bit different that might end up being competition winners. At this time of year the days are getting longer, but the sun’s still low giving long and photogenic shadows. These can transform a normal photograph into something a bit special so now’s your chance to spring into the new season.

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.

February’s Theme is Portraiture

January 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

Dave and Sharon Barton’s well received talk on portraiture inspired me to choose it as February’s theme. All photographers enjoy taking portraits and have healthy collection of them in their files. Why not share them with fellow members and see what they think of them. It’s a great way to learn and improve your portrait skills.

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.

Delhi to Kathmandu

January 5, 2017 in Crewe PS news

Stephen and Judith gave us a multi sensory presentation of their Indian/Nepalese journey. Their words, pictures and music gave us a wonderful feel for the life, society, colour and religious devotion they experienced, and they dressed for the occasion too; Judith becoming an Indian lady and Stephen a Nepalese.

Probably least expected was that it was a gustatory experience too! Judith had made a wonderful cake which reflected Indian cuisine – the real thing, she said, would have been far too rich for our taste. Well, it was culinary delight; easily worthy of Bake Off!

The photo shows two of the beautiful sari materials Judith had with her – 5 m or so makes one garment.

1600 and all that!

January 4, 2017 in Crewe PS news, Information

I earlier reported that the L&CPU are following the PAGB lead in requiring 1600 x 1200 PDIs from July. I now find that the L&CPU will require 1600 x 1200 PDIs for the Club Annual in MARCH.

The problem the L&CPU will have is that the 2017 PAGB Inter-Federation Competitions will presumably ask for 1600s (although the entry is in June) and if the L&CPU do not change their rules they will only have 1400s to submit.

The problem is being passed down the line and now we will not have 1600s to submit. It would have been better for us if the change had been made at the L&CPU Individuals Comp in May, especially since individual members are responsible for entries in that competition.

We now have the choice of not entering PDIs at all, or chasing members for 1600 versions of PDIs we want to use, or putting in images which are 25% smaller than their 1600 rivals..

Longer term, please note that the 1600s will display satisfactorily on our projector and there is no need for a new machine. Whilst we would see more detail with 1600s displayed AT 1600 we will not see any difference on our 1400 projector but we can continue to enjoy the very good standards we presently have for as long as members wish – (a new projector is £2,500). We must change to 1600 next season, otherwise submissions to external competitions will not be competitive; 1400s can be entered but will be 25% smaller when viewed by the judges through a 1600 projector – an obvious disadvantage and probably completely spoiling any chance of an image being selected to represent the L&CPU in the PAGB competitions.

Remember that you can reduce an image size with no problems but enlargement degrades the image. This degradation is lessened by using specialist software but the fact that new pixels are being added to the image inevitably means lost detail compared to a 1600 made in the normal way.

All other PDI standards remain the same.

NOTE added 8 January – At the Exec Meeting yesterday the L&CPU decided that, for the Club Annuals, all projections will be at 1400, so the 1400 entries will not be at a disadvantage.

CPS News

January 2, 2017 in Crewe PS news

Happy New Year everyone and best wishes for the New Year.

Unfortunately, I have to start with some sad news. Mary has been in touch with Margaret Smith, wife of our treasured long term member, Ron Smith. Mary sent me the following message.

‘I have spoken to Margaret this afternoon. She is very frail and has had a fall recently. The district nurses are treating her. Ron has been in Station House for 3 weeks. He is very frail and his condition varies day to day he needs 24 hour care now. Margaret said he was happy to stay in Station House. She visits when friends can take her.’

Let’s hope Ron and Margaret can make a speedy recovery.

We start again on 5 January 2017 with an exciting offering from Judith & Stephen Coyne. They are much travelled and their talk Delhi to Kathmandu promises to be a highlight of the season. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again.

Don’t forget that our third print competition is fast approaching and takes place on 25th.January. John requires that the PDIs of the prints be passed to him by Sunday 8th January and the prints need to be in by Thursday 12th.January. The dropbox link for the PDIs is: here

Make a new year resolution to keep yourself up to date with the forum activities. A lot of work is done in keeping it up to date and new items are regularly added. Have a look at the events page which has been updated with details of interesting local talks by Glyn Dewis and Doug Chinnery at North Cheshire Photographic Society. There’s also the Three Countries Exhibition at Keele University.

Don’t forget to show us your seasonal photographs in the forum’s monthly theme.

See you on Thursday.


January’s Monthly Theme is ‘ Pictures of the Season’

December 31, 2016 in Uncategorized

Happy New Year everyone and best wishes. We’ve all just had a Christmas break and are looking forward to a positive new year so here’s a opportunity for you to share your Christmas and seasonal photographs with members.. It’s not just about Christmas and New Year celebrations, perhaps you’ve taken some seasonal landscapes or sporting events or even the crowds in the season’s sales. Just show us what you can come up with. I have a New Year’s resolution to improve my photography and will use our website to help me achieve that goal

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