Overall 1st Place
"
Peeping at the Mountains through the Clouds"
by Peter Kent

It was a close run thing but my overall favourite image was Peeping at the Mountains Through the Clouds.

Peeping at Mountains Through the Clouds.

It was a real pleasure to spend time looking at the images in this exhibition. I have been asked to choose the best picture in each section and then arrive at an overall winner. In some ways this is a contradiction as it turns an exhibition into a competition, I am sure the four photographers whose work I have selected will be delighted but remember it is only my opinion - another judge will almost certainly have chosen a different four. What I liked about the whole process was that the exhibition represents the Camera Club’s members’ own choice in each of the four sections. There was no initial selection taking place.

I thought I would explain how I approached the task and then add a few sentences about each of the sections before announcing my overall favourite. I think it is important to spend time over the process, so over a fortnight I looked regularly at the images. I then, in each class selected 5 or 6 images which I thought were the strongest. Left it for a day before returning to those images not in my “possible” file just to make sure I hadn’t missed a gem. It was then time for the final decisions!

Landscapes.

This was a really strong section. The members showed their love for a huge variety of different areas. You have a choice of portraying an easily identifiable place or an emotional response to a specific landscape. The second isn’t as straight forward as the first but each will require good light. I was particularly taken with your local lighthouses and the portrayal of “Autumn Mist”, “Morning Frost” and “Bluebell Woods”. The image which resonated most with me however was “Peeping at the Mountains through the Clouds” (Peter Kent) The joy of climbing high to view the landscape came over strongly and the choice of monochrome was right.

 

Open

The open section always opens up possibilities for photographers to pursue their own interests which I think are well displayed. Personally, I have a love of monochrome which featured strongly in initial choice. I also like images in which the photographer uses a technique in a creative way. I liked the link between drawing and photography, the use of infra-red and a superb night shot of WSM. I narrowed my choice down to 2 monochromes both of which exploited a limited depth of field. Although I loved the idea of the prowling kitten my final choice was “Empty”(Claire Lewis), which really made me think.

 

Portrait

This is a really difficult section. A good portrait should capture something of the personality of the subject. Backgrounds can be distracting as can jewellery and lighting has to be spot-on; artificial light has specific problems with colour casts. There is also the controversy over accepting animal portraits but I decided to accept them. It was too easy to slip into the camera club judge role here and be tempted into listing faults. I was taken by the serene feel in “A Natural”, the use of colour in “Blue is the Colour” and the posing of the model in “Waiting for Direction”.
However the lighting on “Sonny the Bunny”(Claire Lewis) made his personality shine through and is my choice.

 

Still Life

Another subject which may appear straight forward but is actually deceptively difficult. Again lighting is crucial to the success of an image especially if you are mixing colour temperatures. There is also the difficulty of  handling the junction between the base and back drop. Many people make the mistake of having too many objects in the image. Simplicity is the key to success and deciding exactly what the story is that you are showing. Four images  did this really well, I though. Commitment, Rock paper and Scissors, Tea and cake and End Game. I have once again chosen a monochrome image but like the story told in End Game (Tony Stringer) a complete picture constructed by the photographer.

 

It was a close run thing but my overall favourite image was Peeping at the Mountains Through the Clouds.