Annual Theme Competition - Street Photography

Bill Preston 2018
Parking my car outside the Dingle Recreation Centre I looked up at the sky, the evenings were definitely drawing out. That was a good thing. Signs of summer on its way and the end of a long dark winter. I looked forward to hearing the sound of leather against willow followed by cries of “Howzat!”, The fragrant smell of a chilled fruity Chardonnay and the wondrous sight of a yellow Rapeseed field against a blue sky – it was good that summer is on its way.

Walking into the Centre, it was difficult to hide my excitement. This was Mid-Cheshire Camera Club’s (MCCC) the last PDI competition of the year and the deciding competition that would see the crowning of the PDI Photographer of the Year. I had a good reason to be excited or was it nerves? I was leading the field by 8 points with our Chairman, Ian Whiston a close second and our External Competition Secretary - Ray Girling a very determined third. The night had all the hallmarks of a Formula 1 finale. Twenty-two members were here to watch the showdown. After paying my money and making pleasantries with Kath, I took my seat and waited for the festivities to start.

This is a theme competition, which was set last year. Our theme is ‘Street Photography’. With the best part of a whole year to prepare for this meeting the standard of images should be excellent. Judging our competition tonight is Bill Preston (ARPS, DPAGB, BPE5*) from Ellesmere Port Photographic Society. Bill has been involved in photography since 1984. He has been judging for 8 years and his preferred genre is ‘People’. Bill believes in the ethos that ‘Less is more’, adding that he wants to see clean edges and space around the subject. With 21 prints and 36 Projected Digital Images (PDIs) Bill will have plenty opportunity to look for clean edges and subject space.

3rd Place - My Wet Feet
3rd Place - My Wet Feet
The competition started and Bill got right to it eyeing up the images from different positions, initially taking his time to get his comments and feedback right. Bill started off with cropping advice, giving the audience pointers about leaving space around the subject. From an early point he informed us all that he was looking for impact and a wow from an image and any photograph lacking was reflected in the points awarded. Bill continued with comments about ensuring our verticals were actually vertical and giving advice on de-cluttering backgrounds with the use of cloning tools. To assist with explaining impact, Bill offered advice about blurring out backgrounds for differentiation with the subject. Bills experienced stood out as he was able to review the whole image in a short amount of time, seeing things that my eyes did not pick out – whether we agree with the comments from our Judges or not, there is definitely a true art to Judging. A lot of the images taken were of people but Bill added that they were of the backs of people rather than the interesting part – their face.

Focusing back on the competition, the results were in.

Advanced Prints
1st: Through the Fountain – Ray Girling
2nd: Stepping Out – Kath Hill
3rd: Different Culture – Ray Girling

Advanced PDIs
1st: Down Across Up – Ray Girling
2nd: In the Pack – Bill Browne
3rd: My Wet Feet – Paul Wilcock

Beginner PDIs
1st: An Umbrella Organisation – Dave Cutting
2nd: Sweet Cafe – Dave Cutting
3rd: Morning After the Party – Dave Cutting

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.

As for me, leaving the meeting - I tried working out the math in my head to understand the final tally. I just couldn’t think – doubt hit me like a base ball bat to the head – did I submit the right images? Could I have processed them better? It was too late for my doubts and I would just have to wait for Ray Hill’s email to see how I fared. All I can say is, what a fantastic end to a great season for all the members. As a small club we definitely punch well above our weight, which is well evidenced from our inter-club and external competition results. What does this all mean to me - well, it makes me proud to be a member of Mid-Cheshire Camera Club.

For more information about the Mid-Cheshire Camera Club visit our website at 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