Competition 1 - Open Prints 27 November 2018   
For the first Open Print competition of the season the judge was John Randall from Andover Photographic Club. John has been a photographer and judge for many years and has a wide range of photographic interests. He prefers to judge ‘cold’ and so only has a brief look through the prints before they are commented on individually and awards decided.
Just 45 prints entered as sadly there is a trend towards less members printing images nowadays which is a shame as they miss out on the thrill of seeing a print emerging from a printer or even opening the package of a commercially printed image! The judge said the standard of prints entered was very high and many were judged to be technically spot on which made it difficult to finally choose the awards – he commented that if he was marking with points many of the images would have been awarded a 10 out of 10!
There were some of the usual comments about distracting light spots so members please check over your images carefully as this mars the image. John said images were all about the lighting and he also liked images with good composition that drew the viewer through the image from front to back.

MS bikeIn the Beginners section John had only 13 images to look through so could spend time pointing out the good and poor points of each print. Six prints were held back to be looked at again and finally John chose his four prints for awards.
DW winterAs a motor sports enthusiast himself John pointed out the difficulties of photographing fast moving machines and said that ‘Lap of Honour’ left by Mark Somerville was an excellent example. The correct shutter speed blurred the background and wheel spokes to give a sense of speed while showing the bike and rider in sharp focus and awarded the monochrome print first place.
Second place went to a silhouetted image of a deer against an evening sky titled ‘Deer Hunt’ by Helena Chambers.
The judge said that the photographer had done well by getting down low showing the colourful fungus up well against background trees and awarded third place to ‘Forest Fungi’ by Richard Blackbourne.
‘Bird on a Stick’ by Mark Somerville was a tongue in cheek title because judges often dismiss images of a bird sitting doing nothing and want some action but in this case the kingfisher was very well captured and gained a highly commended.

Only 12 entries in the Intermediate section with a range of colourful landscapes and wildlife subjects. Two very different images of kestrels caught the judges eye both by David Wilkinson – finally ‘Winter Arrival’ right was awarded first place. This image showed the bird almost hidden in a snowstorm which the judge found very effective as only parts of the kestrel were visible – David’s other image was awarded an HC.
In second place was a monochrome image by David Lock titled ‘Corridor’ which effectively showed interest right through the image with the interesting light on the pillars and a lamp in the far distance. PM rosesThird was a letterbox shaped misty seascape by Steve McCarthy which the judge said showed good lighting and texture.

After the break the twenty Advanced prints were shown being mostly landscape and wildlife prints. Other subjects included monochrome townscapes, aerobatics, flowers and a Victorian street scene.
After picking out his favourite 10 prints John had to deliberate for some time over which 6 of them would gain an award. Finally, an image titled ‘Claire Austin Roses’ left by Pam Mullings was awarded first place. This was a very simple image of a cluster of white roses with the judge commenting on the good focus and composition.
John took some time to decide which of the two red squirrel images was second – ‘Red Squirrel on a Pine Tree’ by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP gained the award. The judge liked the rendering of the snow on the tree and the flakes of fresh snow on the squirrel. The other print was ‘Red Squirrel in Winter’ by Gill Cardy FRPS EFIAP DPAGP was awarded third place - the judge saying that it showed every hair.
Robert had 2 HC's and Gill 1 HC for their other prints.
Many thanks to John for giving his judgement and opinions on all the prints and for pointing out in some cases how they might have been improved. Thanks also to Competition Secretary Roly Barth for organising the competition and to all those members who entered. PM

See full results                           The awarded images can be seen in the Galleries