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Jan Reilly Trophy

I dunno, late again

OK, yesterday evening we had our first trophy of the season, the Jan Reilly Trophy.

Jan loved to travel, dragging Kev to the ends of the earth in her wanderlust.

So that was/is the topic of this competition.


Basically, stepping outside of your front door means travelling. So, really & truly, anything goes. Our job is to convince the judge that our photo conveys this.

For example, I submitted a a photo of two angel monuments, taken in Abney Park in East London. Next to me at the time of taking stood Jon Lane, since deceased. We also lost Cathy this year, so my photo was a tribute to the both of them, marking their final journey up into the heavens.

The judge however was ignorant of this. He saw two statues, said he would have preferred three statues (three is a magic number) but he didn’t know which statue I wanted him to look at. He did compliment me on the quality of the photo, but to him, it was just a record shot of someone else’s work and gave it an eight. I was comfortable with this because it was shot for me, but we the club, did invite him to adjudicate, and he explained why, in his opinion, this photo failed to win the overall prize.

Our judge was the lovely David Portwain. He has been a regular here for years and hopefully, will continue to grace our humble abode. I’ve seen David about a couple of times and I know he can handle a camera. He has an ARPS after his name and you don’t get them lightly. So he does know a thing or two about photography.

We put 52 images up for him to adjudicate and his comments, not designed to hurt but to educate, can sometimes seem cold. Why did you take this and how. He claimed the only thing you can’t control is the weather. If it’s shoddy, you have to go back and try again. Tonight’s homework is to make it better.

We had all the useful tips, get closer, use the camera at a lower level, make better use of the crop feature in darkroom. Make better use of the title (it’s there to guide the viewer) and make it snappy, put the viewer in the right frame of mind and you’re half way there. Should it be colour or mono, the world is in colour, does a mono image add anything. Don’t forget to include humans for interest. If it’s a moving subject, give it space to move into. Mobile phones are great for getting everything in focus, but aperture choice can really make the subject stand out in the shot. And don’t forget to watch out for distractions. Hopefully, we’ll take some of this on board and our competition entries in the future will benefit.

Though please, don’t stop taking the stuff that pleases you.

We have maybe ten competitions a year, some forty photos that you have to entertain a judge, the rest are for your own amusement.

Our judge asked to see thirteen images again with the first image getting held back, one of two for Dave. There were also double hold backs for Tony, Chris & Nick.

Steve, Maddy, her Dad Rob, Selva and Big Kev producing the other holds.

After a second run through, Mr. Judge gave nines to both of Dave’s and Chris’s efforts, also Maddy, Kev, Steve and one of Nick’s.

He reserved tens for both of Tony’s, Selva, Rob & Nick.

After much heart wrenching he called it in favour of Tony’s ‘Paddy Fields’

narrowly beating Selva’s ‘Thurne Windmill’ into second place.

Third, Tony again with ‘Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast’

And highly recommended for Rob’s ‘On the Rails’ and Nick’s ‘Trip to London’

Overall, Mr. Judge seemed happy with our progress (I did say he was a regular) and he can see great things ahead for us. Though I think that comment was just to give him a head start out to the carpark!

A few notes taken during the judging of the winning shots, to show there is still room for improvement, perhaps a vignette for ‘Paddy fields’ and a little less luminosity in the yellows at ‘Thurne Windmill’ (which by the way he said, would make a great print to put up on the wall)

That’s it


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