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.

May’s Monthly Theme is ‘Working Colours’

April 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

This monthly I’m inviting you to show us some of your photographs that demonstrate how colour can be used compositionally in photography. Will you want to explore the power of red or go for the cooler blue hues. Colours can create a mood and atmosphere and lead the eye around the frame. It would be useful if you could explain why the colours work for you so we can all learn from images.

April’s Monthly Theme is One Subject – Three Different Photographs

March 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

The Monthly Theme for April is ‘One Subject – Three Different Photographs’. The idea is for you to experiment photographing something from different angles and using different techniques to see how different your photographs look. You could try using different lenses and different camera settings and discuss the results with fellow members. This is an ideal topic for still life fans who can experiments with different lighting and angles. Very often the first photograph you take isn’t the best so try a few different angles and setting until your happy with the result. Then share your thinking behind it with other members.

Two Exhibitions: Fay Godwin & RPS Members Biennial

March 18, 2017 in Information

Seaside groynes look like people or intertwine, new with old. The sinuous branches of glenside trees shine and mingle with the many mountainside torrents. A piece of plastic flaps, trapped in barbed wire, echoing the shape of a white horse which gazes out (one imagines forlornly) on a new motorway construction. Misty flowers and leaves make abstract shapes under discarded sheets of glass. Fay Godwin is perhaps most remembered for her monochrome images of the land and her work with many committed writers, poets, conservationists who loved her immersive, telling photographs. She was a soulmate in their campaigns and interpreter/reflector of their words.

All Fay’s books are presently out of print but the man who owns the bookshop in Machynlleth  has a few. He curated the exhibition at the MOMA Wales Gallery just up the street where you can have the inestimable pleasure of viewing a few new prints from Fay’s negatives and rather more out of the National Library Archive, though the latter are in a darkened room (for conservation reasons). The bookshop has the best photography section I have ever seen, together (while the show is on) with a few prints by people like Paul Hill and John Blakemore who worked with Fay Godwin from time to time.

Altogether a wonderful experience. You have only until 1 April to enjoy it.

MOMA Machynlleth  Gallery Bookshop Fay Godwin website

 The RPS Members Biennial Exhibition in Stafford is a treat too. Naturally, as a collection of work from many individuals you don’t have the background to the works ,but every one repays some careful attention. These are not “six-second wonders” but thoughtful, well-crafted works which reward that attention.

You have even less time to get over to Shire Hall in Stafford City centre – the exhibition closes on 26 March.


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).

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.

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