L&CPU Annual Individuals’ Competition 2019

The print entry

On Saturday 11 May our prints were taken to join the rest of the entry for the L&CPU A I C. Pictured are most of the boxes after being emptied for the sorting of the prints. The judging of them takes place next weekend.

This year club members could make their own entries via the L&CPU Portal. They will be able to view their scores after the judging too. They met with one or two small problems but it worked well on the whole. Members were able to see part of what is now almost complete computer control of L&CPU administration and is such a boon. Those who visited the Club Annual in March saw the system in action, faultlessly receiving and recording results, even reading the titles. The coding of all this is the work of L&CPU General Secretary, Adrian Lines.

Crewe members entered 23 prints and 63 PDIs. The entry can be seen at Resources>Results and, after next weekend, the scores will be on there too. Last year we had 2 prints kept for the exhibition, 3 for the folios and a third place plus a commendation for Ian Whiston, whose work also went to the PAGB Inter-Federation Competition.

The competition has a rather clumsy title and you may wonder why it isn’t simply called Members Competition. The reason is that individual people are not members of the L&CPU, their clubs are.

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Crewe v Nantwich Inter-club Competition – 16 April 2019

Our highest scoring print, from Paul Hill – Windermere Reflection – not first this time but a 19. It had first place in our own competitions and was also -Print of the Year

We always expect keen competition from Nantwich and enjoy seeing their new work. Tonight’s meeting was presided over by Rob Millin. Rob’s list of distinctions is one of the longest in the business and in fact Nantwich had not got them quite up to date; MFIAP, FBPE, EFIAP/p, MPSA, DPAGB, SPSA, GPU Hermes.

Rob tackled the judging very proficiently and it was soon tea-time with the prints done and Nantwich one mark ahead. Would we pull that back with the PDIs? We didn’t have to wait long, Rob was through the PDIs in no time – yet we still had a good look the pictures. I was genuinely surprised by our win, because it felt neck and neck but those 19s, coming thick and fast at the end, were mainly ours and we were 12 marks up for the round! Leaving us winners by 11 points. A super performance against such a strong team.

It was a great success for our selection team too. Martin and Dolores were mainly responsible for this one. Selection is not an exact science but the team are making good use of the data collected from our regional and national entries; all the L&CPU competitions and the Great British Cup = more than most clubs in the federation.

So, hats off to you members for the excellent work and hats off to the selectors for doing such a good job.

The results are now on website now . Paul Hill’s Windermere Reflections was our highest scoring print, with 19 and in the PDIs Ian Whiston’s Cheetah Siblings withMum got the 20 with Stephen Coyne’s Halong Bay Scene, Ray Hill’s No Bones Broken, Wallace Baxter’s Jamie Lewis on Pommel Horse and Paul Hill’s Kelly Hall Tarn all got 19 – little wonder we finished so strongly!

Although we enjoy everything associated with the competitive aspect of these meetings the real value is in the opportunity to meet our friends from the other club and see their latest work.

One member of ours remarked that it would have been good to have viewed the images again with the authors name displayed. It is easy for the organisers to forget that most of the audience have no scoresheet and often don’t even know which club a particular image is from. There seems to be a trend against reading out at least the club name after each image has been marked, why this is I do not know.

Best PDI: Ian’s Cheetah Siblings with Mum
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Portrait Competitions, 4 April 2019

There was much interesting debate a while back on our Forums about what constitutes a portrait. We never agreed, but I think the debate informed our indecision! For the purposes of our two portrait competitions this year we kept to adopting the Taylor-Wessing Portrait Prize definition of a portrait being about a person – a nice, open definition which permits both character studies and the more purely descriptive as well as the experimental.

Our 37 PDI portraits vying for the Howard Edwards Trophy and the 13 prints in the Maurice Ashwin came under the scrutiny of Tillman Kleinhans, justly one of the most popular judges on the circuit. Tillman is a delight to listen to drawing you in to look at the work in the same way he does, frequently making you realise the subconscious effect of details you had not realised were there. It is all a world away from a catalog of dreary negativity.

Tillman had no easy job, with so many really good photographs in the line-up. The quality was a tribute to the strong standard of work in the club. There were one or two more experimental ones, always good to see, but the majority were what you might call traditional studies.

In the end Dolores Williams dominated the PDIs with a first and second place. It is great to have Dolores entering work again, she has that special quality in a portraitist of drawing out that something extra in her model; capturing a feeling of the person rather than a mere likeness. Then she tops it all by processing her work to bring out its strengths.

The hidden battle in the competition was over who would be Photographer of the Year, with the best three scoring images being the last contribution to the total scores. Peter Robinson and Wallace Baxter were pretty close before this event but Peter managed, in the end, to pull ahead with good scores for one of his jaunty shots of King Charles(!) and a beautiful mono PDI called (prosaically) “Muscular Mike” and a crisp print called “Army Photographer” (who was holding an immaculate rangefinder Contax).

Before ending I must mention someone who has progressed so well this year it is heart-warming to see – Keith Mulliner. Keith did really well in this competition, with a 19 for “The Eyes” but all year we have seen strong work from Keith and I wonder what 2020 will bring.

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April’s Monthly Theme is ‘Spring’

That’s the season, not what you sleep on! I know I’m a day early but I’m off on travels soon so I’m posting this now. If you still wish to submit a Kitchen photo before 1st.April please do. However, Spring is such an exciting time of longer, warmer days with new growth and the feel good factor. Show fellow members what Spring means to you.

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The Print Annual 28 February 2019

Our judge this year was Rob Millin who holds almost every exhibition based distinction that exists, and to the highest level. He was very decisive, dealing quickly with each print; praise first, then a criticism, then a judgement.

It fitted the situation perfectly. These were prints on their second outing, and our members choices from their year’s entries.

Of course Rob didn’t see any of the other work our members have produced this year and one of my favourites is Paul Hill’s Kelly Hall Tarn, seen here. I hope that the adverse comments made about the picture by another (far less experienced) judge wasn’t the reason that Paul didn’t enter it and it was actually that he has such riches to choose from. Nevertheless it was good to see him win the Best Print for the calming Windermere Reflection, seen on the front page this week.

Ray Hill & Wallace Baxter had the other two section winners and there was much good work snapping at their heels too. An excellent season. We are proud of the super quality of our print work, something which sets club photography apart from internet snaps. There is something special about making a more tangible version of your work.

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March’s Theme is Kitchens

Have you ever thought just how photogenic your kitchen can be? You can take a wide variety of photographic styles there. Still lifes, macro photography, property photography, patterns, food photography and lifestyle. They’re just a few ideas for you to challenge yourself.

So if you have the appetite for some creative photography conjure up a colourful recipe and share it with fellow members.

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February’s Monthly Theme – Curves

Hello Members,

Your assignment for the month of February is to look for curves and make them work for  you in your composition. We are all surrounded by curves so you don’t have to go far. The trick is to spot them and use them to construct your image. They don’t have to be a physical line, but could be a range of tones or series of objects receding into the image.

I’ve posted some more guidance and resources about using curves in your photography in the Forums post so be sure to check them out. I’ve also removed the pesky ‘Attachment’ button that confuses some members so to upload images now there is just the mountain icon to the right of the menu bar. There are some notes at the beginning of the post to direct you.

I look forward to seeing your images or comments.

Good Shooting, Peter

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all CPS members.

I’m sure we’re all looking forward to enjoying our photography in 2019. What better way to do this than to have a tasty meal. However, just before you eat it why not take an appertising photograph of it and enter it in January’s Monthly Theme of Food Photography. Why not share you meal with fellow members and tell them the ingredients for a successful food photograph. However, be careful not to over cook it in post processing. Have a look on the Forum’ Monthly theme for some good advice on photographing food then put it into practice. I’m getting hungry to see you images already.

Just in case anyone missed it we had a Christmas message from our cherished member, Ron Smith. This can be seen on the Forum at Ron Smith’s Christmas message

Happy New Year, Peter


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December Theme – Still Life

I hope our recent open meeting where we had a look at table top photography has given you an appetite for experimenting further with the topic. Getting started in Still Life Photography is easy as all you need is your camera,  a subject and a table by a window. The key to successful still life photography is to plan the shoot carefully before hand. Preparation is everything. Take your time to decide your set up then lay and test it out. Make small modifications one at a time and build it up until you’re happy.  It’s a good idea to use a tripod to discipline yourself. It’ll help you to slow down and check the setup as well as keeping camera square and in focus. A cable release will eliminate camera shake if you’re using a long exposure.

Window light is good but it limits you while using artificial light gives you more control. The two main artificial light sources are flash and constant light. Don’t forget that tungsten light has a warm colour temperature while flash is balanced to daylight. Constant light makes it easy to see what the light is doing to your subject while flash can be more powerful, but you’ll have to check your camera’s display to see its effect. Studio flash lighting has the advantage of having a constant preview light that simulates the flash, but it’s bulkier and less easy to manoeuvre. Flashguns are more portable and can be positioned easier to direct the light.

Whichever light source you use they can all be modified with reflectors or diffusers. Diffusing the light with an umbrella or translucent makes it smoother reducing the contrast and reflectors help to fill-in the shadows. A black card can be used to hide unwanted reflections.

While any camera can be used for still life photography it’s the lens choice and settings that determine its success. Generally speaking wide angle lenses aren’t used due to their distortion and they cover too much background. Lenses between 50 and 100mm tend to give better results. I would recommend using your camera fully manually. Focus on your chosen point then switch the focus to manual before recomposing. Set your exposure manually based on an exposure meter, a grey card or accessed by the camera’s histogram. this will prevent the auto exposure being influenced by a light or dark areas in the image.   The choice of aperture depends on the effect you want. Use a narrow aperture to get as much in focus as you can or a wide aperture to concentrate on a small detail.

Backgrounds area personal choice but it’s wise to use a neutral or subtle one so that it doesn’t over power the subject. A dark background can help to hide any shadows.

So get creative with your lighting and focusing and show your fellow members what you can do on your table top.


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Romania: John Morton 29 November 2018

A relaxed style and a peppering of dry humour made John’s talk especially enjoyable. It was always bound to be interesting because we all know that he has an intimate knowledge of Romania, gleaned from numerous visits and inspired by a genuine love of the place.

Haunted forest glades, the shock of bears rummaging in suburban rubbish, the inscrutable road signs, empty petrol stations, ‘Will o’the Wisp’ alight, relics of Vlad the Impaler, colourful street art; were all to be seen in this travelogue with a difference.

John started with an apology, for his photographs. He meant that they were not exhibition quality. Thank goodness! The lifeless perfection that sometimes means would not have conveyed the truth, sparkle and colour these shots did.

A memorable evening.

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