Crewe PS v Alsager CC 18 January 2018

 

Judge Conor Molloy ARPS CPAGB presents the trophy to our treasurer Sharon Barton.

Both clubs had submitted a  superb set of images and our victory was a narrow one of 10 marks (507 to 517). At half-time after the prints had been judged, we had a lead of just 3 marks. Could we hold that lead with 30 projections to go? When we had more photos held back for the higher awards than Alsager there was always a chance that things would turn out in our favour – and they did.

But a victory is not all that it is about; it is such a delight to have our friends from Alsager over to see what sort of work they are doing at present. We also had the pleasure of seeing one of our members, Ralph Browes, get the best image in both the projections and prints. One of those photos is our Image of the Week.

All credit to the Crewe team for putting on a great show. Sharon operated the computer and projector absolutely faultlessly (she stepped into the job at the last minute). Dave Lucas helped with print presentation with his usual consummate skill.

Thanks also to my fellow selectors;Dave Barton, Dolores Williams and Ian Whiston and, of course all those members whose superlative work gave us the edge over our talented friends.

It seemed fitting to ask Sharon to accept the trophy on our behalf.

But what of next year?

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The ‘Battle of Nantwich’ 27th. January

On Saturday 27th.January, Nantwich will commemorate the English Civil War battle of Nantwich which took place in 1644. Nantwich was a Parliamentarian strong hold in Cheshire and was besieged by Lord Byron’s Royalist forces. Every yearhundreds of the Sealed Knot re-enactors from all over the country invade Nantwich in their civil war uniforms and arsenal.

I’m a veteran of the event myself, not as a re-enactor, but as a photographer. I’ve seen it grow from a small group of soldiers who stood around the square for an hour to the big event it is today. These days activities start in the morning before the troops arrive with Morris Dancers and singers entertaining the crowds. I enjoy talking to the knowledgeable Sealed Knot to learn about the history and way of life during the Civil War. Then I’ll watch the troops do their drill and engage in a mock battle.

It’s always been quite a challenge to photograph the event due to the large number of people there and the distracting backgrounds.  If you get there mid morning you’ll be able to warm up photographing the Morris Dancers. They’re a friendly bunch who enjoy actively dancing and like to pose for portraits as well. I liked to try using a variety of shutter speeds to capture them sharp and also get some blurry movement. Around midday the Nantwich Players Theatre will put on a short performance in the square where a scandrell  is found guilty and marched down the stocks in Pillory Street where the children throw lettuce at him.

The troops will march from Malbank School down Welsh Row around 1pm into the church square and wait to be inspected doing their drill. There’s also a wreath laying ceremony to remember everyone that died during the battle. The troops will be there for about 30 minutes and you’ll have an opportunity to photograph them. It gets very busy with many spectators and photographers at this time. Of course, the way you photograph the event depends on what type of pictures you want. I always like to get a general view of a line of soldiers using a wide angle lens, with the church in the background, but it can be difficult to get without spectators in. Then with a longer lens look out for some of the many characters there who make great portraits. Using a wide aperture can help diffuse the background. Also keep an eye out for when the regiments doing their drill as you can get some good photos looking down the pikes or barrels. Don’t forget to focus on the eyes.

After the drill the soldiers will march down to the Mill Field by the River Weaver to re-enact a mock battle. They will engage with cannon fire, muskets and pikes to gain territory. Due to the camber of the land slopping to the river, it can be difficult to see if you’re not on the front row so it’s a good idea to get there early to get a good spot. It’s probably best to use a lens in the range of 70-200mm as the action could be across the field or closer too. They also have a secondary barrier that you’ll need to photograph over. Be prepared for the loud bangs the cannons make when they’re fired. Trying to capture the moment of them firing is difficult so you could try a rapid fire technique. It’s good to take a variety of photographs of the flag wavers, the drummers, the musketeers and the pikemen in combat. Sometimes smoke drifts over the scene which adds to the atmosphere.

I’ve found this schedule of the days events:

RedShift Stage – Town Square – 10am – 1.30pm

10.15am – Sinead D’abreu-Hayling

11.00am – Nantwich Young Voices

11.30am – Tim Lee

11.55am – Nantwich Players Theatre

12.45pm – Sealed Knot troops leave Malbank School to parade along Welsh Row

1.00pm – Troops arrive into Town Centre

1.15pm – Wreath laying ceremony at War Memorial

1.30pm – Troops parade to Mill Island to battle

Nantwich Museum – 10am – 12.30pm

10.00am – Civil War tour

10.30 – 11.30am  – Musketry demonstration with Sealed Knot

11.30 – 12.30pm – 17th Century music from Forlorne Hope

Mill Island – 1.45 – 3pm

​​1.40pm – Troops arrive

1.50pm – Artillery Demo (BIG BANGS!)

2.00pm – Battle reenactment begins

Around Town – 10am – 12.30pm

Mollies / Plough Witches / Street entertainers

Doomsday Morris Dancers

 

Good Shooting, Peter

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January’s Monthly Theme is Shadows

Happy New Year everyone. Are you looking for a New Years’ resolution? How about submitting a photograph to our Monthly theme. Start this month by showing us how you can photograph shadows to create dramatic photographs. Members can then give constructive feed back which will benefit us all and improve our photography.

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L&CPU Folios 7 December 2017

We had a very rewarding discussion based around  the L&CPU Folio C last night. These included tips from Paul Hill on photographing landscapes including the Milky Way and from Ian Whiston about checking your commercial monochrome printing and effectively darkening areas in a photo which are too bright and lacking in detail.

John talked about what to do with nature images which may not satisfy the new FIAP rules and how the L&CPU and PAGB are checking entries in their competitions for duplicates.

We went on the review the highest scoring images in this season’s competition with a view to use in the Great British Cup.

John demonstrated the cropping guide in Lightroom and then finally showed a selection of images from Flickr which he thought illustrated some powerful features of street photography; arrangement of figures, echo, perspective tricks, colour harmony and wit.

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Alan Challinor Trophy 2017

This year Crewe PS hosted the competition, which pays homage to the quality monochrome prints which have always been the mainstay of photographic. Monochrome was regarded by all as the only medium for serious photography until probably the 70s when improved chemistry and the work of photographers like William Eggleston gave colour prints more credence. Although colour was difficult to process some club workers feared it taking the place of their beloved monochrome. One such person was Alan Challinor, who created this competition to help to keep mono alive.

Although we are grateful to Alan (who died in 1991) for giving us the chance to show off our printing skills he need not have feared the demise of mono, which is alive and well, thriving even, in every sphere of photography.

Five local clubs compete (Alsager CC, Crewe PS, Mid-Cheshire CC, Nantwich CC and Sandbach PS) and the competition is referred to as the Five Towns Monochrome Print Competition.

On Thursday night (30 Nov 2017) the highly respected judge Jane Lines MPAGB LRPS BPE5 presided over the competition and kept to the spirit of it in paying particular attention to print quality. A quality print is, of course, of little interest if what it shows us is doesn’t capture the heart and mind and Jane seemed to find the right balance as she commented on the pictures.

In the end Alsager CC and Nantwich PS tied for first place and that had me scurrying for the rule book to check that Nantwich could be declared the winners because they had also won the Best Print Award.

Above you can see Jane making the presentation of the Best Print trophy to David Luker and the print itself; Underneath the Arches.

The full results can be seen HERE 

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December’s Monthly Theme is ‘Favourite Photos’

As a festive treat for all of our members I’m asking you all to enjoy sharing your favourite photos with fellow members and say why you like them. There’s no time limit so feel free to go through your archives and dig out those special memories. Hopefully it’ll start off an interesting discussion.

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PDI 2 2018- Rob Millin MFIAP FBPE EFIAP/p MPSA

If you wanted to know how your pictures would perform in a national or international club competition who better to ask than our judge tonight Rob Millin? He has more top distinctions than anyone I know; MFIAP, FBPE, MPSA – the number of acceptances needed to achieve these awards is just staggering.

His choice of winners in each category appears above; authors Ian Whiston, Ralph Browes and John Royle, for Nature, General and Mono respectively. Unusually, the mono section was not so well supported.

With a relatively small field of 60+ images we never felt under pressure over timing, and so we could sit back and enjoy the photographs.

The results can be found here.

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November’s Monthly Theme is ‘Leading Lines’

As we enter a brand new month we have a brand new theme to challenge our members. The theme for November is ‘Leading Lines’ which nicely follows on from October’s compositional theme of balance. So show our members how you can use different techniques to lead the viewer a long an invigorating path to you main subject. Don’t have too many obstacles on the route and make it flow naturally. Show us what you can do and we can discuss your image.

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P1 2018 – First Print Competition 2017-18

Our prints got off to a fine start on Thursday 26 Oct with many excellent prints on show. The judge was Diana Magor MPSA FIAP/b CPAGB LRPS BPE3 who, together with husband Brian is a great fan of the Photographic Society of America competitions. These are worldwide, as are the FIAP supported ones, but offer an interesting alternative, attracting, through their categories, perhaps a wider range of work. Diana and Brian had just returned from the USA where they had attended a PSA conference.

The three category winners are seen above; Martin McGing’s Rhythmic Gymnast captures a beautiful moment of poise, whilst Paul Hill’s monochrome Cwmorthin Quarry positively chills you to the bone and Bob Brown’s Emperor Dragonfly egg laying give us three for one, with a couple of damselflies in attendance.

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Ian Stewart ARPS DPAGB

Ian is well known to us at Crewe; having judged and lectured numerous times over the years. He helped us to apply for our first Lottery Grant in 2003(?) which enabled us to get ahead of the crowd with a projector, laptop and a copy of Photoshop.

This week (19/10/17) he visited us with a small box of his prints and entertained us with reminiscences and tips – just what was promised! Although many of the prints were produced in the days of film the comments about taking them were still just as relevant in the digital realm of today. It made an interesting evening. In contrast to a talk centred on older work Ian is presently working on one about the use of drones in photography, which will be available in 2018. I hope our syllabus secretary is taking note.

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