22nd February - Open Competition No. 5

Dancing Practice by Bill Preston
Can you believe tonight marks the last of Mid-Cheshire Camera club’s (MCCC) Open Competitions for 2017. One definitely wonders where the year has gone. It didn’t seem that long ago we were all congregating for the first meeting of the season.

With the ending of the Open Competitions marks the start of the lighter nights and more opportunities to get out and build our portfolios for the next season.

Our buffet of images for tonight’s meeting consists of sixteen prints and forty-six projected digital images. In the wings, poised and ready for his evening of critiquing is our Judge for the night – Mr Bill Preston (CPAGB) from Ellesmere Port Photographic Society.

Bill has been judging photographic competitions since 2007. His personal preference is studio and composite photography but as he enjoys taking images of people, this interest occasionally allows him to get involved in street photography. Bill finds people interesting - stating that ‘we humans like watching humans’. This makes sense when you think about how much reality television we all watch.

“...we humans like watching humans”
Bill Preston

As this is an Open competition, members are able to submit images from any genre. Genres from tonight’s selection of images include: Portraiture, Sport, Composite, Still Life, Landscape and Natural History.

Bill provided a focused critique of each image and had an uncanny ability to verbalise each author’s work - his trained eye not missing anything. He was consistent in his feedback discussing points and offering advice in relation to distractions within an image and ways to minimise – whether taking the shot from a different perspective or using post processing skills to remove the offending subject. Bill added, that the clever use of depth of field to blur out a background could work in a lot of situations to help reduce background distractions. Bill’s experience shone through when he discussed focal point. He needed his eyes to rest somewhere within the image. He didn’t mind his eyes having a journey through the light to get to the focal point, so long as there was one. Interestingly Bill was the first judge this year to make a comment on the ‘Rule of Odds’ as a compositional technique. We are so used to hearing about the rule of thirds – very few people ever talk about the rule of odds. Bill, at the time was critiquing a motorcycle racing shot where the author had taken the image involving four bikes racing around a corner. Bill made comment stating the balance of the composition was not quite right - adding the image would have looked compositionally better, if there were only three bikes in the shot. For some reason, our sub-conscious prefers to see groupings in odd numbers – 1, 3, 5 and so on. Other points Bill made comment about related to scale, having a base within your image and lastly but just as important – what is the story within the image. Bill was sensitive in his critique allowing all present to take something positive away with them.

Discuss the results
Focusing back on the competition, the results were in

Advanced Prints
1st: Ray Girling – Take Off
2nd: Ray Girling – I Think the Fogs Clearing
3rd: Kath Hill – Cornering at Speed
Advanced PDIs
1st: Ian Whiston – Cheetah Siblings
2nd: Ray Girling – The Gambler
3rd: Veronica Nicholas – Damselfly

Beginner PDIs
1st: Peter Tasker – Valentine Rose
2nd: Peter Tasker – From My Back Garden
3rd: Joff Trotman – Palace of Spend

Congratulations to all the winners and runners up and a thank you to all the members taking part. A final big thank you to our Judge – Bill Preston who provided sound and honest feedback throughout the whole evening.

For more information about the Mid-Cheshire Camera Club visit its website or come along to a meeting on Wednesday evening at 7.45 for 8pm at the Dingle Recreation Centre, Winsford.

Paul Wilcock
Press & Publicity Officer