I had a great evening last night when I went over to Stranraer to announce the winners of the club’s 2nd Open Photography Competition, which I have been judging.
I have been doing this now for the past three years and the idea is that I try to go through as many of the entries as possible in front of the whole club and explain exactly why I arrived at the decisions I made while judging the images. I am always very aware that photographers of all levels can be very sensitive when it comes to any form of criticism – this is their creativity on display after all – but I stress right at the start of the evening that I am actually on their side – a really want them all to succeed and improve.
Well, they keep asking me back to judge the competition, so I cannot have offended anyone too badly.
The standard of the club’s photography gets better ever year – and of course that makes the judging all the more difficult – but no matter, the club is going from strength to strength with several new members joining this year. They even have a new website
Husband and wife Sheila and Jim Butcher, cleaned up with joint First places in the Advanced section by each producing superb, but very different photographs. Sheila’s shot of nesting kittiwakes was just immaculate. Winner of the Intermediate section wasColin McMeckan with a cracking picture of a ‘laughing’ swan
One element that seemed to be more prevalent this year in both the Intermediate and the Avanced sections of this Open Photography Competition, was the use of Photoshop – or rather I should say its overuse. Over-sharpened, over-blurred, and over-saturated images images cropped up quite a lot. In some cases I actually had to mark down some otherwise beautifully-captured photographs because of this.
It is a great shame when over-worked pictures lose some of their impact and visual appeal because the photographer did not know quite when to stop tweaking the image in post processing. Photoshop is wonderful, in fact it is an essential tool in digital photography. But knowing how to be subtle is vital.
I know that the photographers at Stranraer Camera Club have taken on board my few words of caution when it comes to post processing and I know that their standards, which are already very high, will improve yet again. Well done everyone.