Coming Soon: Set Subject Competition C (Old Faces)

In one week’s time we will be trying something completely new and having a club meeting by Zoom teleconference! George Todd will present the results of our final set subject competition of the 2019/2020 season. Click the following links for a reminder of what happened in the previous two competitions:

09 January 2020 (Set Subject Competition – Travel)

13 February 2020 (Set Subject Competition – Wildlife)

George Todd,  Joe Fowler,  Anne Yeomans and Malcolm Roberts are all in a strong position. Join the competition to find out who will be picking up the trophy, and who will be judging next year.

In a few days I will send a meeting invitation directly to all members (it won’t be posted on the web site). If you would like to join and have not heard anything by Wednesday please email StevenMBeard @ aol.com and I will send you the invitation. In the meantime, you can prepare for the meeting by downloading the Zoom client from

https://www.zoom.us/download#client_4meeting

You can install a client on a computer or mobile device (but a computer with a large screen will give you the best view of the images). You will need sound to hear George, but a camera is optional. You don’t need to sign up with Zoom to join the club meeting. You can test that your computer can connect to a meeting (and check your sound is working) by clicking on this link:

https://www.zoom.us/test

I look forward to seeing you all again and trying out this new “meeting from home” format. This time everybody will be responsible for making tea!

 

Choosing a date for our final set subject competition.

George has agreed to present the results of our final set subject competition of 2019/2020 (“Old Faces”) by Zoom. We have 3 possible dates in June when George is able to present the competition (assuming we do it on a Thursday evening like any other MCC meeting).

Please use the following poll to vote for each of the date(s) you would prefer (multiple choices are allowed). If you can’t make any of the dates, please click the last option and suggest another date between 8th and 26th June (we can switch to another day of the week if nobody can make a Thursday). We’ll choose the earliest date with the most votes.

Result of the vote for the Set Subjects for 2020/21

The votes are in, and the final result of the online voting is:

  • Nature and Wildlife: 7 votes
  • Landscapes: 4 votes
  • Flowers and Horticulture: 3 votes
  • Abstract: 3 votes

Some recent votes for Landscapes have moved it into second place. There is a tie for third place between Flowers/Horticulture and Abstract. These two subjects were also suggested by 3 members each, so that doesn’t break the tie, so third place goes to the first suggestion I received. Looking back at the dates when I received the suggestions:

  • Flowers and Horticulture was first suggested on 3rd May 2020.
  • Abstract was first suggested on 4th May 2020.

Flowers and Horticulture was suggested first. So the set subjects for 2020/21 will be:

  • A: Nature and Wildlife, on 7th January 2021, judged by George Todd.
  • B: Landscapes, on 11th February 2021, judged by Jennifer Davidson
  • C: Flowers and Horticulture, on 25th March 2021, judged by the winner of the “Old Faces” competition (to be announced).

The 4th subject (Abstract) will be the theme of the Digital Knockout Competition on 25th March 2021.

Some members have asked for advance guidance on what the subjects include. While each judge has the final say in how closely each image matches the subject, here are some suggestions:

Nature and Wildlife: This is a wider category than the “Wildlife” subject we had this year. This category includes any image of the natural world. Like “Wildlife”, the image must not be altered from its natural state, but unlike “Wildlife” any natural scene is allowed, including farmyard scenes, wild plants, aquariums and zoo scenes. Click here to see the full SPF definition.

Landscapes: This category should be self-explanatory. Wikipedia says: “Landscape photography shows spaces within the world, sometimes vast and unending, but other times microscopic. Landscape photographs typically capture the presence of nature but can also focus on man-made features or disturbances of landscapes“. So, unlike the nature photography, a landscape image can include an artificial element, such as the Forth Bridges.

Flowers and Horticulture: The covers all images of flowers and plants, either arranged in a vase or still life or growing in a garden. It also covers images of gardens. Wild flowers and plants are not allowed unless they have been cultivated as part of a garden display.

Abstract: Wikipedia describes abstract photography as “a means of depicting a visual image that does not have an immediate association with the object world and that has been created through the use of photographic equipment, processes or materials“. In other words, it is an image where the shapes, textures and colours in an image are the dominant factor, rather than any specific subject. A close-up of the texture on a wall or a rusted bucket, or an out of focus image of Christmas tree lights are examples of abstract images. This is a subject you can really experiment with.

I hope these subjects will inspire you to be creative over the summer. Best of luck!

 

Set Subject Ideas for 2020/21 – Please Vote

Here are the set subject ideas received for the 2020/21 set subject competition. Each subject will begin with one vote for each member who suggested it,  so the poll will begin with:

Flowers and Horticulture: 3 votes
Nature and Wildlife: 3 votes
Abstract: 2 votes
Landscape: 2 votes
All other subjects: 1 vote

At the moment those 4 popular subjects are leading the poll. You can vote for only one subject, so it’s up to you whether to support  one of your own suggestions or lend weight to one of the 4 favourites.

This is the first time we have tried an online poll. If you can’t vote for any reason, please email me your preference (StevenMBeard @ aol.com) and I will add your vote manually.

 

Some news stories you might have missed

Here are some recent BBC news stories, with some great images, you might like to catch up on while at home. Click on the links to read each story.

Wildlife photos: Squabbling mice top ‘people’s poll’ award

Doctor wins landscape photography top award

Antarctic seal photo wins top prize

In other news, the closing date of the 2020 Landscape Photographer of the Year has been extended to 10th May 2020. Now could be a good time to look through your back catalogue of images from the last 5 years. Click on the link below for information.

Landscape Photographer of the Year 2020

I hope you are all staying safe and well.

 

Reliving Previous Club Meetings

I hope all our members are staying safe and well. While our club meetings may have been prematurely brought to an end, you can relive our previous meetings by looking up the Chairman’s Comments section of the website. One resource you may find useful is to look up the judge’s comments from previous competitions. Here, for example, are the comments from all the digital projected image competitions over the past 5 years (click on each link to bring up the page):

08 October 2015: Digital Images Competition

29 September 2016 (Digital Images Competition)

12 October 2017 (Digital Projected Images Competition)

11 October 2018 (Digital Projected Images Competition)

03 October 2019 (Digital Projected Images Competition)

The black and white prints sequence is also quite enlightening:

04 February 2016 (Black and White Print Competition)

12 January 2017 (Black and White Print Competition)

08 February 2018 (Black and White Print Competition)

13 December 2018 (Black and White Print Competition)

07 December 2019 (Black and White Print Competition)

Try looking through some of the other past competitions. Comments about distractions in the background and cropping come up again and again, but each judge also provides their own individual expertise and advice.

If you are a newcomer to the club I hope these meeting reports will help you catch up a little with what more established members have learned over the years.

Borders Digital Challenge 2020

The Borders Digital Challenge competition takes place on Sunday, 15th March 2020 from 2pm to 5pm at the Tower Mill Cinema, 2 Kirkstile, Hawick, TD9 0AE. The event is being hosted by Hawick Camera Club. Come and see our images projected onto a large screen. The Tower Mill Cinema is part of the Heart of Hawick, and there is a cafe on site. Can we win this competition a 3rd time in a row, and if we do will they let us come back next year?

Click here for information on the venue.

Click here for a map and directions.

The Final Set Subject Competition – Old Faces

Our third and final set subject competition of the season is open for entries. Please send your 3 JPEG images (sized up to 1600 pixels on the longest side and up to 1200 pixels on the shortest side) on the theme of “Old Faces” to George Todd by this Thursday, 5th March 2020. The competition will be judged on 26th March 2020.

Note that this Thursday’s meeting will be in the same large room at Fisherrow where we had the 3-way competition. We will be having a joint evening with Musselburgh Art Club.

27 February 2020 (3-Way Inter-club Competition)

This week Musselburgh Camera Club hosted the first of a new series of 3-way competitions with Beeslack Penicuik Camera Club and Haddington Camera Club. I was disappointed to miss this competition myself, due to a late night at work. I would like to (belatedly) welcome Beeslack and Haddington to Musselburgh and hope they enjoyed the homemade cakes that we usually lay on for such occasions.

The competition was judged by Doug Bernt from Edinburgh Photographic Society. I heard that Doug picked up on every detail that he thought would improve the images submitted. Each club submitted 5 prints and 10 digital images each, and the competition was split into 3 stages: 15 prints followed by the first 15 digital images, then the remaining 15 digital images. Musselburgh Camera Club submitted the best print (Taj Mahal “Before The Crowds”), but Haddington Camera Club submitted the best digital image (The Green Dress).  The final scores were as follows:

The top Musselburgh images were:

  • Taj Mahal “Before The Crowds” (print) – 20 points
  • Tanahun Priest (print) – 19 points
  • Loch Ard Boat (DPI) – 19 points
  • Pelican Reflection (DPI) – 19 points
  • Razorbill (DPI)
  • Magnificent Hummingbird (DPI) – 18 points

Thank you to Doub Bernt and well done to Musselburgh Camera Club for another decisive win!

13 February 2020 (Set Subject Competition – Wildlife)

This week we had the second of our 3 set subject competitions; this one on the theme of “Wildlife”.  Jim Todd had won last year’s “Abstract” competition but, as he was already judging the “Travel” competition, the judging passed to me in second place. Wildlife photography is one of the most strictly-defined categories. A commonly accepted definition is

Wildlife photography is a genre of photography concerned with documenting various forms of wildlife in their natural habitat.

Competitions such as the International Wildlife Photographer of the Year or Scottish Nature Photography Awards define strict rules along the lines of:

  • The photograph must include a wild creature and not a pet, a tame or farm animal. The creature must also be alive.
  • The photograph must be taken in the wild and not in a zoo, farmyard or any place where animals are in captivity.  N.B. A local park or garden is regarded as a wild place.
  • You must not manipulate the photograph in any way which changes the environment or animal but you are allowed to correct what the camera has done to the image. Cropping, colour correction, brightness and contrast correction, dodging, burning and removal of dust spots is allowed but cloning out distractions or composing composite images is not. Organisers will want to see the original RAW file from your camera as proof. So, if you capture a fantastic wildlife shot and are considering entering it for one of these competitions, keep your RAW file.

The club competition was not judged as strictly as these competitions. All images were accepted. Judging what was wild lead to a few controversial decisions: Is that curled up animal a domesticated cow or a wild deer? Did the photographer stalk that tiger, take a close-up photograph and survive, or was the image taken in a zoo? There were 45 images entered by 15 members. It was a hard competition to judge because all the images were good in some way. The strongest images were the ones which captured a wild animal showing natural behaviour, and where the background showed the environment but wasn’t too distracting from the subject. Photographs taken at eye level gave more engagement with the viewer than ones pointing downwards or upwards (although Mike Clark showed that rule could be broken with a shot of a Sparrowhawk looking directly down from a tree at the photographer). Cropping too tightly was a common fault. Some images were also take in harsh lighting. Correcting the exposure, dodging and burning can help some of these images, but choosing a cloudy day rather than bright sunshine would help capture a better image in camera.

The top-scoring images were

  • Red Squirrel (Jennifer Davidson) – 20 points
  • Where’s Dinner? (Joe Fowler) – 19 points
  • Female Green-Breasted Mango (Anne Yeomans) – 19 points
  • Robin Redbreast (Jennifer Davidson) – 18 points
  • Queens Of The Road (George Todd) – 18 points
  • Sparrowhawk Eyes Locked On (Mike Clark) – 18 points

The highest scorers were:

  • 5th place (47 points)
    • George Todd
  • 4th place (48 points)
    • Malcolm Roberts
  • 3rd place (50 points)
    • Mike Clark
  • 2nd = place (52 points)
    • Joe Fowler
    • Anne Yeomans
  • 1st place (55 points)
    • Jennifer Davidson

Well done to Jennifer Davidson, who wins the privilege of judging next year’s competition. The league table after two competitions has narrowed and now looks like this:

George Todd (55 + 47 = 102)
Joe Fowler (49 + 52 = 101)
Mike Clark (51 + 50 = 101)
Anne Yeomans (47 + 52 = 99)
Malcolm Roberts (50 + 48 = 98)
Lorraine Roberts (49 + 45 = 94)
Gordon Davidson (49 + 45 = 94)

Only 4 points separate the top 4 places, so there is everything to play for.  Entries for the final set-subject competition (on the theme of “Old Faces”) are due on 5th March 2020. Best of luck everyone!