PDI Competition (PDI 1 2018) – Judged by Bill Preston ARPS DPAGB BPE5 – 28 September 2017

Here are the winners of our three sections in our first PDI competition of the season, held on Thursday 28 September. They are (top, left) John Royle’s Tomb (hope that isn’t prescient) , mono winner, then (right) Ian Whiston’s Cheetah Siblings then Martin McGing’s Team Breeze.

We had a splendid set of images, getting us off to a good start. Thanks Bill for presiding.

Technical note: The PAGB and L&CPU have changed their rules to 1600 x 1200p for PDIs and this was our first competition where that was our requirement too. The images were actually viewed at 1400 x 1050p (our projection standard) following extensive trials last season we found this quite satisfactory.


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Meeting 21 September 2017

Tonight we had Ray Thorley, a local photographer, to speak to us. Technical difficulties prevented Ray from giving his intended talk about landscape photography and instead Ray spoke very enthusiastically about his degree course in photography – which he embarked on after retirement! He clearly enjoyed it immensely – but I sensed a love of people drove it all. This was a good bridge to introduce the second part, which was a little item about James Ravilious. James’s photographed the people he lived among in north Devon; he charmed them, cared about them and became part of their lives. Their trust and cooperation enabled situations where James could get those photographs which form a portrait of Devon rural life in the late 20th century which will captivate us for ever. Perhaps, in the future, we could spend some more time looking at the approach that James, and others, had to photographing people in their environment.

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Meeting 14 September 2017

Crewe PS, together with nearly 100 other clubs in the North West, is a member of the Lancashire & Cheshire Photographic Union. They support their clubs in numerous ways, one of which is to organise 4 major competitions each year. A selection of the most successful and representative work is circulated to member clubs each year. This week we looked at the first of these selections of prints. We use it as a chance to learn from them how to present our work. No matter what we photograph most of us want to make sure we present it in the best light.

After the break we had a short presentation by member Stephen Coyne. Stephen is a much travelled photographer and when he offered the title “What I did on my holidays” some of us assumed he would have some new travel venture to talk about. Instead we were treated to a charming little item about how he pursued a project suggested in a magazine. It was a breath of fresh air and something to interest everyone, especially perhaps our newcomers.

Our picture of the week is by Peter Bainbridge and is of a DeHavilland Comet Racer. Peter is expert is an expert at getting this crisp, sharp shots of plans in flight and he even manages, very often, to show the pilot clearly. Peter gave us a talk a while back in which he said something we will always remember. “I like to show (with my photos) how I feel about the subject” – not a bad maxim!

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First Meeting of the 2017-18 Season

Our fist evening of the new season was a great success with a very high attendance and some new faces too! They heard two talks by members. Paul Hill gave his long-awaited presentation on macro photography, eagerly anticipated because we all know the high the quality of his work. He included a discussion of the image above, which we all greatly enjoyed a while back, and how sad it is that it doesn’t readily fall into any competition category. Too indistinct for “Nature” but too descriptive to be recognised as an artistic creation for the “Open” section.

In the second half of the evening Wallace Baxter took us on a (very calm) North Sea boat trip to watch the remarkable site of Gannets plunging into the waters like white arrows, gulping fish like, well, Gannets!




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Exploring the Forum

The above photograph is by Martin Munkácsi. It was taken in 1929 or 1930, and has long been known as “Three Boys at Lake Tanganyika”. Cartier-Bresson said it was the only photograph that influenced him: “In 1932, I saw a photograph by Martin Munkácsi of three black children running into the sea… [it] made me suddenly realise that photography could reach eternity through the moment. I couldn’t believe such a thing could be caught with the camera… I said damn it! I took my camera and went out into the street.”

Cartier-Bresson had spent years studying painting, including two years (1928/29) with André Lhote, who taught, in particular, figure painting – how to represent the human figure’s physical presence, movements, and expressions. Hence Cartier-Bresson’s astonishment that a photograph could do something that he’d thought only the plastic arts (drawing, painting and sculpture) could achieve.

Munkácsi learnt his trade as a newspaper photographer after the First World War. He specialised in sports photography, which at the time could only be shot outdoors in bright light. But he managed to do this with remarkable attention to composition, which required technical as well as artistic skill. And it was the meticulous handling of the plastic forms, expressing such spontaneity and joy in life, that had so impressed Cartier-Bresson.

Munkácsi summed up his approach to photography in an article called “Think While You Shoot”: never pose your subjects; let them move about naturally; all great photographs today are snapshots; take back views, take running views; pick unexpected angles, but never without reason.

In the early 1930s, Martin Munkácsi took a series of photographs along the west side of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on glass plate negatives. These pictures, combining architecture and people in the street, show the same meticulous attention to composition, to the flow and gesture of line through a picture, that had made such an impression on Cartier-Bresson a couple of years before.

(This post appeared on the Forum recently and is copied here to tempt you to view our Forums – and sign up if you are a member. In addition to illuminating posts like this one you will find posts about events, technical discussion and, of course, our popular Monthly Theme)


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An evening with Mike Lane

DUNNOCK or HEDGE SPARROW, Prunella modularis, UK

A dedicated wildlife photographer for forty years, Mike Lane FRPS is someone most of you will know. He was telling SECOS (South-East Cheshire Ornithological Society, founded by two Crewe PS members) last night that he now has access to the largest private woodland in England.

Felix Dennis was the country’s richest man and was dedicated to leaving a natural legacy – by turning as much of Warwickshire back to woodland as he possibly could. Mike, and a fellow photographer had made a small woodland their “patch” and had carte blanche to do as they pleased to advance their wildlife photography there. They were disappointed to learn a few years back that the woodland was to be sold. Fortunately Mr Dennis was the buyer and was happy not only to let them continue but offered them the entire estate for photography!

There were plenty of tips from Mike on photographing Kingfishers, Herons, etc and pictures of the many (wooden) hides and other devices he and his associate had constructed. Some subjects he regarded as easy; Kingfishers for example, readily perched on a stick introduced into their flight path. He also found that removing the stick caused them to hover for 30 seconds at the spot where it used to be, offering another opportunity for photography.

These tricks and tips make it all sound easy but they are in fact very very hard won and the underlying message was the supreme dedication which Mike has to his work. All more the pity that he can no longer make a living from wildlife photography – there are just too many wildlife photographers now! This was echoed by our friend Patrick, who was also at the meeting – he has a huge back catalogue of images with agencies which used to do well for him – they now earn a pittance.


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Chalk It Up! A Success for Crewe


Chalk It Up! in Crewe last weekend (26/27 August 2017) provided plenty of photo opportunities and members of Crewe PS were there to get the shots. This spectacular creation by the Mexican artist Adry Del Rocio (I guess a self portrait) took first prize as far as the public vote was concerned. There is an excellent movie of the event HERE. including some superbly managed drone shots!

A number of Crewe PS members were able to send images in to Crewe Town Council, Cheshire East and local newspapers to celebrate the success of this event.

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Chalk It Up!

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.


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September’s Monthly Theme is ‘Water’

As I’m way during the turn of the month I’m giving members advanced notification of September’s theme. So you can get your photographs ready early. You may even take some for the upcoming competitions.

water is a fascinating subject to photograph and can be captured in many different ways. Do you like your water to freeze or flow? It can make a good reflector or even a lens. Back lighting brings it to like and coloured filters can be very creative.  With the new season rapidly approaching here a good opportunity for you take and show some exciting photographs.

Please don’t enter your water photographs until 1 Sept, but you can still show us your garden photos in our August theme.

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CPS Members photograph an Alan Turing play

Members of Crewe Photographic Society who had registered as volunteers with Cheshire East were invited to photograph the preparation and the play about the trial of Alan Turing and Arnold Murray. The play is being held as part of Knutsford’s Heritage Open Days.

Alan Turing was a mathematician, code breaker and pioneer in computer science. He decoded German messages at Bletchley Park and it’s thought his dedication shortened World War 2 by two years and saved 14 million lives. After the war Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts with Arnold Murrey. “Gross indecency” was a criminal offence in the UK and he accepted chemical castration as an alternative to prison. He died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning thought to be suicide, but it has been noted that the known evidence is also consistent with accidental poisoning.

The play takes place in the actual courtroom in Knutsford where Turing was sentenced and explores the external pressures and the internal thoughts of the people in the courtroom.

Ian McNab and I were invited to take documentary photographs of the first rehearsal last Saturday in the courtroom recording the preparation and rehearsal. The photographs are to be used on social media to advertise the play and CPS will be given credit and a link to our website.  Some of the photographs have already been posted on the ‘Re-Dock’ Flickr site at Re-Dock Flickr Site

Their Twitter site is: Re-docks Twitter site

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