• Iain McGowan FRPS

    For our first meeting of 2018 we were delighted to welcome Iain McGowan to our club this week and were greatly impressed by the quality and variety of the print collections he brought to show us. Entitled "From the Garden Shed", Iain began his presentation by explaining that he had been a late convert to digital photography - only six years ago - and had made up his mind at the outset to avoid all computer-based digital processing and produce pictures by directly plugging the memory card from his Panasonic compact camera directly into his printer. In his approach, Iain aims to exploit all his camera settings for the subject and conditions in order to achieve his very individual yet amazingly inspirational approach to photography.

    Iain held us spellbound throughout the evening with an amazing variety of print collections, which he explained and displayed initially using the club's light box and then passed around among his audience to enable us all to fully appreciate them at close hand. This was particularly appreciated as the many were small pictures mounted on large mounts and collages composed of twelve square prints.

    Among the collections, we saw some very colourful pictures taken at the marathon in Hastings with the camera set on 1/4 of a second showing close-ups of competitors moving against a blurred background. Other sets included twelve picture collages mounted on A1 boards showing close-ups of a very rusty skip, Beatles inspired graffiti in Liverpool, a collection of close-ups of the side of old boats at Dell Quay, an advertising board in Cromer, fruit and vegetables and close-ups of the bark of a long dead tree in Somerset.

    Iain went on to explain how he particularly enjoys taking pictures in wet windy weather, and showed us a set taken on such a day through the windscreen of his car in the Scottish Highlands and another collection of close-ups of various items on a seaside stall in Skegness through a rain-soaked polythene cover. Evidently this caught the attention of a nearby stall holder who took a dim view of Iain's photographic activities !

    Following the interval for refreshments served by Debbie Platt and Louise Satturley, and the usual raffle organised by Beryl James and Bob Hoare, Iain presented further inspirational print collections including misty views of the Royal Crescent and Circus in Bath, reflections around Birmingham's New Street Station, views around Accrington overprinted onto pictures of an advertising hording in Blackpool, a collage of a 1940s themed weekend on the Severn Valley Railway and finishing with a wonderful collage showing a variety of images taken of the ground immediately below the photographer on a visit to the Isle of Harris.

    Iain is a truly gifted and creative photographer who produces fantastic prints from situations that many will find hard to see. He finished by answering questions and urging us all to be impatient to enjoy our photography wherever it may take us.

    This most inspirational evening concluded with a heart-felt vote of thanks from Club President David Nicholls and a rousing round of applause from those assembled.

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  • It's a Knockout - 18th December

    In the final meeting of 2017, eighteen members gathered together this week for our traditional pre-Christmas "It's a Knockout" event.

    This is a competition in which members' prints are judged - two at a time - by a show of hands from everybody in the audience. The winner of each pair passes through to the next round and the loser (as the competition name implies) suffers a " Knockout ". Following successive rounds, the last print standing by the end of the evening is traditionally declared the winner, gaining a bottle of wine for the member concerned.

    Twelve members brought in up to six prints each at the start of the evening, and these were sorted by Dick Read to ensure that two pictures by the same member weren't displayed together when placed in the lightbox by Dave Johnson. One exception was a very large picture of a huge wave brought in by Martin Thomas and entitled "THE FACE OF IMOGEN". This was obviously far too large for the lightbox but even so managed to win through to the third round.

    The first two rounds of the competition took nearly forty minutes to complete, after which we were more than ready for the half time break and a welcome "cuppa" and mince pie kindly served by Debbie Platt and Louise Satturley. This was closely followed by our fortnightly raffle organised by Beryl James and Bob Hoare.

    It was most interesting to view each pair of pictures, but as the evening wore on, it became increasingly difficult to choose a favourite. However, by the end of the evening we were left choosing between Dick Read's picture of two aircraft climbing vertically at high speed, and Richard Clarke-Adams' monochrome street scene taken in Lewes. After a few moments of careful consideration, hands went up and were counted for each picture, and by a small margin Richard's picture was declared the winner.

    This most enjoyable evening concluded with a warm round of applause for Richard Clarke-Adams and the presentation to him of a bottle of wine by the Chairman.

    We wish all of our members a very Merry Christmas and a photographically successful 2018.

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  • John Sayers Landscape Cup

    Twenty three members attended this week's meeting to enjoy a fascinating collection of landscape images submitted by eighteen fellow club members. Altogether an impressive eighty four PDIs had been submitted originally but that had to be reduced to seventy, making a more manageable number for a club night and for the judge to consider. (Members entering the club maximum of five images were asked to exclude one each).

    We welcomed our judge for the evening Dick Saunders from Middleton Camera club, who gave his expert opinion on each of PDIs taking part in this popular annual competition.

    Following a preview of all the images, each one was brought up on the screen for us all to see and for Dick to comment upon and give a mark out of twenty. As always, it is fascinating to view the work of fellow club photographers, and I believe we all learnt a great deal from hearing Dick's interesting and helpful feedback.

    Dick drew attention to a number of compositional factors affecting the quality of landscape pictures including the importance of the foreground, middleground and background each showing something of interest. He commended landscapes that reflected the "Rule of Thirds" and the addition of a person or people in the landscape to give a sense of scale. Dick also stressed the importance of "Lead-In Lines" starting from a corner of a picture and taking the viewer's eye into the picture rather than out of it. Dick also suggested cropping out areas of a picture that didn't greatly contribute to its overall quality.

    By the end of the evening, seven pictures had been awarded eighteen marks or more as follows:

    With eighteen marks, the following qualify for a bronze certificate of merit:

    FRESH AIR by Richard Clarke-Adams

    SKOGAFOSS WATERFALL by Joan Taylor

    With nineteen marks, the following qualify for a silver certificate of merit:

    THE MILL ON THE HILL by Richard Love

    ANCIENT ANATOLIAN LANDSCAPE by Tony Storey

    With twenty marks, the following qualify for a gold certificate of merit:

    HALNAKER by Dave Johnson

    MEANDER TO THE MOUNT by Michael Marrinan

    PURPLE HAZE by Steve Newman

    After further careful consideration, Dick announced that the overall winner, and eventual recipient of the John Sayers Landscape Cup, should be Steve Newman for his very atmospheric picture of the since demolished Selsey Lifeboat House entitled "Purple Haze". Warmest congratulations to Steve who has now won this competition for three consecutive years !

    The evening concluded with a vote of thanks to Dick Saunders from Club President David Nicholls and thanks also to all the contributing members for giving us a most a most interesting evening.

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