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Meeting Reports 2018-19 Season

6th February 2019

'The Natural World' was the topic for Alnwick & District Camera Club's set subject projected image competition, judged by Malcolm Kus. The attracted a very varied selection of entries which was praised by Malcolm for their overall quality. The images on show certainly showed how broadly the subject could be interpreted, from close-up macro shots to wide angle views of landscapes, astrophotography and wide range of flora and fauna, all creatures great and small.

Commended went to David Burn for 'Soaked Robin', which Malcolm particularly praised for the perfect placement and size of the robin within the picture space. Also commended was 'Fly On Dahlia' by Dave Dixon - a simple study of a fly resting on Dahlia petals which Malcolm remarked could be regarded as art photography as much as nature. Final commended was awarded Jane Coltman for Wave Power for a very well-timed capture of a crashing wave, showing that the natural world is about more than just flora and fauna.

Andy Kewin was awarded Highly Commended for 'Holy Island Garden', a colourful view of that island's most famous garden with the castle as its backdrop. The other two Highly Commended awards went to Dave Dixon; one for a detailed macro image 'Noon Fly', and another for 'Male Toad Courting Female' which featured a male toad hanging on to his potential paramour.

Margaret Whittaker picked up a 4th place for 'Little And Large', a very well taken image of a swan and cygnet. This was followed by another of Margaret's images in 3rd place, 'Rig And Furrow With A Hint Of Snow'.

David Burn has done very well in club competitions this season and he continued his run in this competition with a 2nd place for 'Barn Own', a beautifully captured image of a barn own in flight

The winning image was another of Jane Coltman's, as she was awarded 1st place for Howick Aurora which captured the colours of the Aurora Borealis over the Bathing House at Howick. A worthy winner in a strong field of entries.

The evening was completed by a gallery of prints by Stanley Trafford, taken on his travels around Peru.

Report by Dave Dixon

16th January 2019

Alnwick & District Camera Club welcomed David Ord, a regular visitor to the club, as he joined them to judge the Set Of Three Prints competition.

This competition presents some interesting challenges, as not only must the photographer concern themself with producing high quality images, they also need to consider how they sit alongside each other when viewed as a set.

First of the awards, a Commended, went to Malcolm Kus for "Monumental Cemetary". These three delicately coloured studies of details of details on monuments provided an excellent illustration of how careful arrangement of the images in the panel can maximise their overall appeal.

Carol McKay's set of landscapes taken in Glen Etive showcased the highland landscape, with the colour palette perfectly matched across the three images.

Highly Commended also went to Jim Kirkpatrick for "Gannets", three fine photographs of gannets captured in their natural habitat.

The final Highly Commended was awarded to Dave Dixon for a set of urban images, taken in Newcastle's Manors Car Park, which made use of light and shadows to arrive a some atmospheric views.

Margaret Whittaker's "The Salesman" featured images, taken in sunnier climes, of a seller of shell jewellery and ornaments - three rather different images which still worked together very well as a set, telling a story.

Third place went to Laine Baker, who had ventured along the country Durham coastline to capture three colourful abstract images at Blast Beach. This was another set where the judge pointed out some subtle details which made these work as a set.

A very distinctive set of three almost abstract images of details in a pond, by Alastair Cochrane, were awarded second place. These were each cropped to very narrow/tall vertical shape and presented on relatively small mounts, to great effect.

First place went to David Burn for a set entitled "Terns Of Inner Farne", three excellent natural history photographs of terns both in flight and on the ground - a worthy set of winning images.

Report by Dave Dixon

12th December 2018

Alnwick and District Camera Club held one of their regular knockout competitions this month.

Well supported it is an evening of not only outstanding photography but one of great humour.

There was a huge selection of images to view and the evenings events were as usual conducted by Laine and Jane whose double act is as always informative, humorous, and entertaining. Much appreciated by Members.

Images ranged from Scottish landscapes to infrared black and white images, wildlife, seascapes, still life and very much more with many images taken from places far away. The quality and standard of the images was high thus making voting in several rounds very tight.

The final rounds ended up with the following results:

4th went to Lady in prayer by Margaret Whittaker

3rd a very fine infrared view of a Pennines farm by John Thompson

2nd place went to Boulmer Steel by Dennis Hall - a stunning country landscape.

But first place went to Geoffrey Bradford with a black and white still life image entitled ‘Collection’ featuring a fine display of a feather, rope and boody in a box.

Report by Margaret Whittaker

5th December 2018

We welcomed Stephen Fowler to judge our digital Set of Three competition. The rules state 'A Set of three related images, which must be titled individually and as a group. Images must have been taken during the preceding 12 months' and it was following this brief that Stephen gave us his considered opinion of our images. He also took into account how the images related to each other within the set as well as the merits of the individual pictures.

There was a great variety of subject matter on show and the first to get an award was 'Evening Sun, Blyth' by Valerie Atkinson which was awarded a commended and was a set of pictures from the harbour featuring warm evening light.

Another commended was given to Gerry Simpson for 'Through Station Windows' , a set of well-seen images featuring detail from railway station viewpoints.

'Flying Visits' was the title of the set from Dave Dixon which featured close-up images of different types of fly on different types of plant. This set was awarded a Highly Commended.

Carol McKay entered a set called 'Derelict Boat'. Taken in Scotland they featured the same boat in each image but taken from different angles. The hues of the boat were echoed in the snowy mountains that provided the backdrop. Fourth place was awarded to Carol.

Third place went to Jane Coltman for 'All About Sheep' - three monochrome images taken at the Kelso Ram Sales.

'Farne Island Puffins' was a beautiful set from David Burn. It's a subject done many times before but these prints oozed quality and were awarded second place.

The winning set caught the judge's eye from the moment he saw them. 'Autumn Bounty' by John Whittaker featured close-up images of conkers on the woodland floor. The colour was wonderful as was the detail with water droplets glistening on the shiny conker surface. A well-deserved first-time win for John - well done.

Report by Jane Coltman

28th November 2018

For the second time in just a few weeks our guest speaker was from Whickham Photographic Club.

This time our speaker was Sue Hingley, ARPS.

Whickham obviously has a great deal of talent in it's membership as we were treated to another excellent evening of photography which Sue delivered in an informative and enlightening fashion.

Me and My Camera was the title of the talk in which she explained how she used her camera as an extension of herself and as a tool to communicate with.

Along her photographic development she discovered the pleasure of capturing images of people spontaneously and in their natural environment.

Her photographic trips are generally unplanned and she just sees what she is drawn to, often using one of her favourite prime lenses - and enjoying the discipline of sticking to one focal length.

In the first part of the programme she showed UK images including nearby venues and events such as The Hoppings, Paddy's Hole and Durham Miners Gala.

We were then taken further afield as Sue showed us pictures from her travels including America, Vietnam and Cuba.

Throughout the evening it was apparent that Sue was a great communicator with her camera and showed a series of very 'real' images that conveyed people's emotions as well as their environs.

It also came across that Sue loved trains - not just photographing them but as a means of transport - and delighted in her travels on any type of locomotive.

As Sue's talk came to an end we passengers had certainly enjoyed the journey and the many wonderful sights we had seen along the route.

Report by Jane Coltman

21st November 2018

We had a globetrotting adventure during the judging of the first colour print open competition of the season.

'Death in Paradise was a Caribbean beach scene, Maltese Fishing boats, Alaskan waterfalls and a Tuscan street were some of the far flung places we were invited to admire, while closer to home we viewed scenes from Beadnell, Smailholm and Hauxley.

We welcomed back our friend Dave Phillips who had travelled up from the deep south (Hartlepool) to join us.

His considered and constructive comments made it obvious he had taken a considerable time studying the images before him.

There were 46 entries and the first of the Commended's went to Carol McKays's Sun Setting Over The Eildon Hills, followed by Jane Coltman's Longstone Helipad and Richard Stent's Spring Time Sing Time.

Highly Commended's went to Musician - a candid portrait by Valerie Atkinson. Andrew MacKie's delightful red squirrel image Hazel Nut Cracker and David Burn's Steetly Pier - a place well known to the judge.

Black dogs are not easy to photographs but fourth place went to Judith Snaith who handled the light very well on her touching portrait of Loki.

Andrew Mackie's image of Neist Point in Skye was a beautifully lit landscape which made the most of some glorious sunlight and it gained third place.

Jane Coltman took second place with Carrion Crow, an animal portrait featuring very detailed plumage.

Again the light was crucial in Hauxley Dunes, an eye-catching image bathed in morning light by David Burn showing that getting out of bed early can be worth it. A very well-deserved winner.

Report by Jane Coltman

14th November 2018

Inspired, enthused, motivated.....some of the comments from members following the presentation by Peter Dixon at Alnwick and District Camera Club.

Monochrome printing is Peter's 'thing' and over the evening he showed us he really is a master of his craft.

Peter works on projects and themes to create his panels of prints. The panels tell a story and these projects can last between a couple of hours such as a trip to Paddy's Hole, or be ongoing - such as his work at Beamish.

Photographers may be complimented for having 'a good eye' and this is certainly the case with Peter who showed his ability to turn an ordinary subject that many people wouldn't even notice in to a beautiful image. Examples of this included the end of an arm on a tatty sofa or a twig lying on the ground.

He also showed traits common with many photographers such as preferring a wet and overcast day to one with blue skies and sunshine, and a delight in finding debris and decay......if you are a photographer you will understand why too!

As well as the subject matter a picture can portray a mood depending on the way it is printed and much of Peter's work displayed his preference for dark and graphic images that oozed atmosphere and showed his printing skill.

We appreciated Peter's friendly chat and he told us about his methods as well as the subject matter. He suggested members may want to check out Serge Ramelli on YouTube for tips on processing with Lightroom and Linda.com.

Thanks for travelling up from Whickham to visit us Peter and for giving us such an enjoyable evening - we hope to see you again before too long.

Report by Jane Coltman

7th November 2018

It's been quite a while since the Camera Club hosted a practical evening so we were unsure how members would react to a macro night - well there was no need to worry - the evening was a resounding success!

Chris Goddard started the proceedings by showing us some of his macro images and explaining a variety of the practical aspects involved. The procedure of focus stacking was explained and whilst sounding quite technical hopefully some members will give it a go.

Tripods erected, light tents assembled and a variety of lighting options at the ready.....on we went to the practical part of the evening.

There were about eight workstations which were set up using some club equipment but mainly items brought in by members.

Lighting is crucial in macro work and there was a range of options to experiment with. Barry Robertson guided members through using the clubs studio lights and other types included a variety of lightboxes, lamps, LED's and torches.

Subject matter varied greatly from flowers and gin bottles to coloured pencils and snail shells.

It was great to have such a positive buzz in the rooms and members enthusing about what they were doing. There was some very good feedback and the consensus was that more practical evenings would be appreciated.

Thinking-caps on as to how we could develop such sessions - all suggestions welcome!

Report by Jane Coltman

31st October 2018

Nobody appreciates a good monochrome print more than David Hall so Alnwick Camera Club members were delighted to welcome their old friend back to hear his opinions on their entries in the First Monochrome Print Open competition.

David's comments were given in a positive and constructive manner and it was obvious he had spent a considerable time looking at the images. As always his judging was delivered with a touch of humour and we were delighted to see the white gloves make a couple of appearances!

There were 43 entries and the first commended went to Jim Kirkpatrick for Floating Skull - a finely detailed animal skull against a stark dark background.

Another commended went to Gerry Simpson for Light On The Past, a beautifully lit street scene with a timeless quality.

Margaret Whittaker's Grand Cascade-High Winds impressed David with it's abstract qualities and contrasting light so it too gained a commended.

Three highly commended awards were given.

Firstly to Dave Dixon for Duddo Stones - as David Hall said it showed it was still possible to get memorable images from places that are a favourite with photographers.

How Thick Is This Ice? was the title of John Whittaker's picture of a person standing on an ice covered lake but it was the use of light in the image that the judge thought made this image an award-winner. Valerie Atkinson impressed the judge and club members with her originality. Window Reflections was a small print mounted on a piece of material which was then mounted on paper and then surrounded by the card mount - very effective.

Raggy Doll by Ian Atkinson was awarded fourth place. A relatively simple subject of a rag doll hanging on a wall but the quality of the light and printing impressed the judge.

Alastair Cochrane showed that small is beautiful with After The Fire - a beautifully constructed toned image of dead wood - and it was placed third.

Bamburgh Castle by David Burn took second place. This must be the most photographed spot in Northumberland but the control of the light and quality of printing was excellent.

Sometimes less is more and this was the case with the winning image by Malcolm Kus. There were only two elements in A Place To Rest - a tree and a bench - but it was this simplicity that helped create a wonderfully atmospheric image and a well-deserved first place.

Report by Jane Coltman

24th October 2018

Members welcomed Joe Sheridan, BA (Photo) ARPS to the club where he told us about his journey into photography which resulted in him obtaining a degree from Sunderland University, but when he started his journey he had no idea of the route it would take and the hurdles he would have to pass along the way!

After getting his first DSLR just a few years ago Joe, from Washington, was keen to learn how to get the best from it and undertook a variety of courses, each of which he enjoyed and they whetted his appetite for the next step.

After gaining his 'A' level he committed himself to a foundation degree and after gaining this he thought his photographic path at university had come to an end as he didn't have enough time to commit to a BA degree while still working. Fortunately he investigated further and realised that the hours were not as rigid as he had anticipated and because of his willingness to do a lot of work in his own time he took the plunge and signed up for the course.

The images he showed to club members were the product of his exhibition work for the degree.

As a child his mother often took him to art galleries where the Old Masters made an impression and this was the basis for his degree show. Joe chose Beamish as the location and it took a lot of work to recreate the natural lighting that is a feature of the famous paintings. Perseverance paid off and thanks to the patience of the volunteers and his technical abilities he eventually created images he was happy with.

Careful consideration was given to the printing and the mounting - where his tutor favoured a more modern approach but Joe stuck to his guns as he knew just what he wanted.

This paid off as his show went so well that images were chosen to be included in an exhibition in London.

Thanks Joe for mapping out your journey for us - we enjoyed the ride.

Report by Jane Coltman

17th October 2018

For Members' Night at Alnwick & District Camera Club, members were invited to bring along some images to share, and to talk about projects that they have been working on recently.

Gerry Simpson got the evening off to an excellent start with a selection of astrophotography. These images were take at the Calvert Trust at Kielder, where Gerry had captured some dramatic views of the Milky Way, and he took some time to explain the technical aspects behind his photographs.

Next was Dave Dixon, who showed the technique behind photographing matches at the point of ignition. These images were taken at very short exposure times, freezing the movement at flames emerge from the match head, rendering some fascinating shapes which generally move too fast to be seen by the naked eye.

Denise Metcalf showed a selection of photographs that she had taken of squirrels in Scotland. Her images captured the features of the red (and a couple of grey) squirrels very well.

Geoffrey Bradford has been learning to fly in a fixed-wing microlight at Eshott, and he shared a variety of images, including the airfield, some views from the skies and also some artwork that he had created inspired by his experiences.

Seasoned traveller Ian Atkinson showed a selection of photographs taken on a trip around Iceland. These included views around Reykjavik as well as some dramatic views of the country's amazing landscapes, waterfalls and geysers.

There as an audio/visual presentation from Peter Ayres. He enjoys taking pictures of, in his own words, mundane things - in this case documenting roadworks that had taken place in the main street in Wooler. These were set to music which complemented the images very well.

Finally, Richard Stent shared some work he has been doing with infrared photography. Richard is a dedicated film photographer and he explained the science and photographic technique behind capturing light from the infrared part of the spectrum onto specialist film. He showed his images which he admitted charted various stages in his experimentation, and it was interesting to compare his infrared shots side-by-side with images he had taken at the same time using traditional black and white film.

Report by Dave Dixon

10th October 2018

There was light-hearted competition at Alnwick & District Camera Club for the projected image knock-out.

In this competition, a selection of images from members' were shuffled at random and projected in pairs. The audience had a few moments to compare the images, and vote for the one that they preferred, with the winning image going through to the next round.

With no set subject, there was a wide range of subjects amongst the entries, and some very strong images. This made for some tough choices for those having to vote for their favourite.

Before the final vote for a winner, there was a vote to decide third and fourth places. John Strong's image of a fieldfare amongst some foliage took fourth place, while John Thompson took third place with a colourful shot of a lavender field, taken from a very effective low angle.

In second place was a photograph Newcastle's High Level Bridge taken by Dave Dixon, who had used monochrome to emphasise the strong geometric shapes in the structure.

The winning image was a fine landscape view of a lone tree at Buttermere, by Dawn Groves. This was a very atmospheric view, with soft colours and low cloud falling over the hills in the background.

The evening's competition was complemented by a gallery of members' prints, on the general theme of water. This theme had been interpreted quite widely, and there was a great variety among the photographs on display.

Report by Dave Dixon

3rd October 2018

"Aspects Of India" was the title of Alan Judd's presentation to Alnwick & District Camera Club, where he showed a variety of images taken in an around Mysore.

Alan had travelled to India with his wife. She was attending an event for Knit For Peace and the Charities Advisory Trust, and while she picked up her knitting needles, Alan went out and about with his camera. He was taking photos for hs own enjoyment, but also took a number of pictures to document the work of the charities who were organising the event. He admitted that the latter took him out of his photographic comfort zone with some subjects but he showed the audience that he was nevertheless able to capture some excellent images.

The presentation covered architecture, street photography, people, nature and landscape, giving a flavour of this part of India. Alan also touched on some technical details of the photographic techniques and post-processing required to create the photographs,

His tour started in the city of Mysore itself, with busy streets and markets, and architecture ranging from ancient temples, through to early colonial and on to modern-day structures. It is a city with some vibrant colour, but also some not-so-well illuminated corners, and Alan explained how he had performed some basic image editing in order to show as much detail as possible.

People also featured heavily in the presentation. By his own admission he is not a photographer of people, however he displayed a fine range of candid and posed portraits of individuals and family groups. He had also photographed people at work on a number of projects organised by the Charities Advisory Trust.

Alan's main photographic interest in nature, and the presentation concluded with a sequence of images of insects, birds and other wildlife, many captured at Nagarhole National Park and Kabini River Lodge.

Report by Dave Dixon

26th September 2018

This week members welcomed back an old friend to judge the club's first competition of the season, the 1st Projected Open.

Jim Welsh, LRPS CPAGB APAGB, from Blyth Photographic Society had obviously spent a great deal of time looking at the images and delivered his considered and constructive comments with his wonderful Northumbrian dialect and by using his unique descriptive phrases.

He appreciated the honesty of the pictures, noting there was little evidence of Photoshop manipulation.

Commended awards went to Liz Gordon for Men On A Sculpture, a strong and graphic monochrome image, David Burn for Hauxley Green, a seascape with a vibrant lead-in of seaweed covered rocks and Laine Baker with Burj Khalifa where architecture and sculpture were enhanced by strong sunlight hitting the metallic structures.

Jim gave Highly Commended awards to Margaret Whittaker for Nosedive, an expertly executed image of a diving bird about the enter the water, with a wonderful watery reflection, Jane Coltman with her intensely colourful Damselfly and David Burn with Tewet Tarn, a winter landscape with snow-capped hills reflected in a pool of still water.

Platform 2, Haymarket Metro Station, gained third place. This atmospheric Dave Dixon image used converging lines and underground lighting to their best advantage.

Second place was awarded to Sandscape by Alastair Cochrane. This abstract image used camera movement to create wonderful shapes and vibrant lines of colour merged in an impressively creative way.

Top spot went to Jane Coltman for All Is Calm - Tighnabruaich. A high key minimalist image of a misty moment with a moored yacht and buoy against a fading peninsula of land.

Report by Jane Coltman

19th September 2018

Questions, questions, questions.........when Alan Brown from Sunderland gave his presentation to club members, he invited them to question, debate and comment on his images.

The first section the evening focused on his prints, mainly based on 'street photography' in it's widest sense.

At times he invited the audience to state their preferred image, not because he was seeking compliments - indeed he stated that it didn't matter if you liked the picture or not, but he was curious about the reasons why people preferred certain images and not surprisingly the audience gave him a range of different answers.

His mantra could be based on the three 'C's':Content, Composition and most importantly Communication - does the picture say anything to the viewer?

He then touched on issues abut GDPR and privacy. Discussion with the floor brought about a variety of comments with one member asking if the problems we faced were a reflection of our society and why other countries didn't appear to encounter the problems we face in the UK.

The second part of the evening was a digital presentation based around his images from galleries. Images included the artwork and people engaging with it but yet again we were invited to question what we saw. Alan stated that while we may not know the answer we should know the question!

Many of his images worked because of irony and juxtaposition and what he said was serendipity - others may say skill!

Looking at his images one could come to the conclusion that we all look at the world differently but isn't it this that makes us human?

An interesting and thought provoking presentation - and some great images too - thanks Alan!

Report by Jane Coltman

12th September 2018

'What I Did This Summer' was the theme for the first members night of the season at Alnwick and District Camera Club. This is a regular feature in the club calendar, and always promises to showcase a varied selection of photographs from club members.

Liz Gordon got the evening off to a great start with a selection of photographs taken at a family wedding, plus a selection of images which had enjoyed success in the recent Longframlington Show.

Next was Dave Dixon, who showed some landscape images from his travels through Cumbria and Yorkshire, as well as photographs of churches at Kiln Pit Hill and Thockrington in Northumberland.

Denise Metcalfe shared some wildlife shots of dolphins (taken in the Bay of Biscay), seals and birds at the Farne Islands, and deer in Richmond Park. These were capped with a lovely sunset from a recent trip to Longstone lighthouse.

With his presentation, Geoffrey Bradford showed two sets of images from a trip to Greenland. Both sets, featuring dramatic views of icebergs, came from the same intial shots, but had been processed differently to give colour and monochrome images. It was up to members to decide which they preferred.

Peter Sutcliffe described his selection of images as 'telling a remarkable story'. From a chance discovery on a trip to Fountains Abbey, his photographs brought things closer to home as he related the story of the Settlers Society, with images from the Northumberland village of Swarland.

Stanley Trafford is a keen astronomer as well as photographer, and he showed two images he had taken through his telescope of comet Giacobini-Zinner on its recent passage past the Earth.

A varied selection of photographs from Val Atkinson's presentation featured holiday memories from Provence and Carcassone in France, and images of family and friends taken at various locations in England, plus a couple of images from club Wednesday Wander evenings.

Finally, Jackie and Richard Stent shared some family photographs of their new granddaughter. These were taken variously with smartphone cameras, Jackie's iPad and Richard's more sophisticated camera.

All in all, a varied and entertaining evening.

Report by Dave Dixon

5th September 2018

Alnwick and District Camera Club’s new season started in the traditional manner, with a presentation by the club Chair. This season, that role is being taken by long-standing club member Laine Baker.

Her presention was split into two sections, the first being a look back at some of her older photographs. Laine has invested in a slide scanner, allowing club members to enjoy some 'analogue' photographs from the 1960 to much more recently. A wide variety of locations featured, both in the UK and overseas. Laine is a keen traveller, and enjoys capturing images from places she has visited, whilst also trying to find something just a little bit different. The pictures she showed demonstrated that you don't need the latest digital technology to get a good picture - it's the photographer and the subject matter that count.

The second half of the evening featured some more recent digital images taken on a holiday to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These showcased art and architecture, and showed some interesting contrasts between the old and new aspects of these cities.

The presentation was accompanied by a varied gallery of prints from Laine's travels with her camera.

A very entertaining evening, and an excellent start to the camera club season.

Report by Dave Dixon

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