Members were very pleased to welcome back Ralph Snook ARPS DPAGB EFIAP to judge the Annual Nature competitions. Ralph is a renowned wildlife photographer himself and so was highly qualified to judge and pass comments on the club's nature entries.
With over 80 Print and Projected images to look over Ralph commented that the standard was generally very high. With his comprehensive knowledge of wildlife from both Britain and abroad Ralph knew how the subjects could be best portrayed - he was looking for the subjects to be sharp and the colours harmonised and with the uncluttered backgrounds. Subjects should show their particular behaviour against a suitable habitat. There were some stunning insect studies, interesting mammals and birds and also some wild flowers.
The rules are quite strict with images taken in the wild and with modification limited to minor retouching of blemishes, cropping and contrast adjustment. Encouraging wild creatures to pose against an uncluttered background proved to be rather difficult in a lot of cases and Ralph remarked that other images would have been better presented with a tighter crop or in other images the subject needed more space around it.
Many congratulations to Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP who was awarded both the Nature Print and the Nature Projected Image trophies for his stunning images.
The print 'Springbok Browsing Acacia' (left) by Robert featuring a rather unusual close up caught the judges eye - the colours and the position in the frame made a striking image and it was awarded first place. In second place was an excellent shot of a Steller's Eagle in flight by Gill Cardy FRPS AFIAP DPAGB and in third place was a close up of a rather sad faced Proboscis Monkey taken in Borneo by Dave Gray.
After the break Ralph gave his detailed comments on the large entry of projected images. Amongst the many close ups of insects Roberts 'Southern Hawker Dragonfly' (right) impressed the most and gained him first place.
Gills image of Black Grouse displaying at a lek in the snow was awarded second place. A beautifully coloured close up of a damselfly by Caroline Wright was placed third.
There were 15 Highly Commended awards given with a special mention going to Kyra Wilson, Heather Collins, Peter Eley, Steve Hardman and Sue Wadman who are fairly new members of the club who all were awarded HC's with their very highly regarded nature images so it bodes very well for the club to have many high quality competition images in the future.
Thanks to Ralph for taking the time and trouble to look so carefully at all the entries and to give such expert comments and judgement. Thanks to all the members who entered and made it such an interesting evening. Also do not forget all the work undertaken by Competition Secretary Caroline who has the difficult job of checking that all the entries were correct and complied with the rules.
Full results All the awarded images can be seen in the Galleries