The Annual battle with Ross P.S. was due to be held on 20th March 2020. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak all meetings have been cancelled, and the judge, Martin Cooper LRPS kindly agreed to score the images at home and give written critiques of each image. Each club submitted 10 prints and 10 Dpis.
The scores were as follows:
Total scores for prints - Monmouth 170, Ross 169.
Total scores for dpis - Monmouth 162, Ross 169
Final Total - Monmouth 332, Ross 338.
So yet again Ross are the winners. Congratulations Ross, a brilliant set of images. However it was a close call and we can hold our heads up high! Well done to all who had images entered.
Our highest scoring images were: Melancholy by John Crowland scored 20, Feeding Time by Lyn Sharples scored 19, Apache on the Warpath by John Crowland scored 19, Harvest Time by Iain McCallum scored 18 and Artichoke Head by Alison Stace scored 18.
All the images from Monmouth and Ross are shown below, with the judge's comments and score.
Beach Dog Walkers - Monmouth - Score 17
This is a very artistic image with quite an impressionist feel to it and a good set of complementary colours. The group of people and their dogs is appropriately positioned on the RH third and the proportion of beach vs sky is just right. It is well presented and printed on a well-chosen textured paper to support the artistic nature of the image.
Architectural Rocket - Ross - Score 18
This is a very bold shape on a well-designed composition. It’s quite contrasty but that suits the subject. The square format suits the shape and positioning of the building well. I find the combination of gentle curves and straight lines to be very effective. I like the slight diagonal attitude of the building. Pure symmetry would be boring. Well presented. Running Before the Storm - Monmouth - Score 16
First impression is of a classy looking image, largely due to the presentation. It just shows that you do not need to aperture mount every image. Flush mounting can work well. However, whilst some images work very well when presented small on a large mount, I feel this one goes too far in that direction for me as I don't think the image itself is strong enough for this style of presentation. I feel it should be bigger. Not massive though. The image itself, however, is pleasant and well processed with a strong foreground and a strong sky. The boat is ideally placed on a third and stands out well against the backdrop of the hills.
On Shed - Monmouth - Score 15
Curious title! A strong image with a dreamy appearance to it. There is a very limited colour palette here with more than a hint of gold in it. Nice change from the mono treatment this type of subject usually gets. A slight problem for me is that the loco seems to be leaning backwards a little, probably due to the photographer's position.
Turning the Wheel - Ross - Score17
A lot of thought has gone into the composition of this image with all the elements having an important part to play within the overall frame. The four wheels tell us that this is an engineering workshop where the operator has been positioned ideally in the space between the wheels and is seen to be concentrating on the job in hand. I’m pleased he is not looking at the camera. The movement in the upper set of wheels adds interest to the image. DoF is perfect.
Feeding Time - Monmouth - Score 19
A simple image but well seen and very effective. The triangular shape formed by the sheep around the feeder is very strong. DoF is such that the background has been defocused enough to form a strong backdrop for the sheep and pile of hay but there is still detail in it. Nicely cropped with space around the main subject to help it "breathe ". The fact that three sheep are looking straight into the camera lens gives the image life.
The Unsinkable Shed (sorry no image available) - Ross - Score 16
Fascinating subject! Nicely captured, full of interest and detail and the print is beautifully presented. The tonal range is not as wide as I would like as the whites look a bit flat to me resulting in a rather grey effect and, whilst I recognise the need to vignette the top left and right corners of the sky, I find it a bit harsh for my taste. Excellent choice of paper.
Melancholy - Monmouth - Score 20
Cute, very cute. The image is pin sharp exactly where needed ie around the young lad's face, hat etc. In fact, everything forward of his shoulders is sharp while everything behind his shoulders is nicely blurred. I like the wistful look on the lad's face. Shows you don't need direct eye contact for a portrait to work. The square format is ideal. I'm not usually a fan of gloss paper either but this works.
Contained - Ross - Score 20
What fabulous colours! Love the contrast between the bold, brash colours of the containers and the gentle misty landscape behind. There's a lot of interest in the varied shapes of the industrial bits and pieces and these lead the eye into the indistinct mountain beyond. One thing I would do is a slight tweak to the perspective to make the sides of the outermost containers parallel to the edges of the frame. Snowdon - Ross - Score 16
Great light, great colours, great sky. Best of the light is on the peak so good timing on the part of the author. I know most landscapes are littered with man-made objects but the pipeline in the bottom left of the image jars a bit with the rugged beauty of the landscape. My eye keeps going to that instead of the mountain peak.
Sunrise - Monmouth - Score 15
This is a landscape with great depth and where your eye naturally moves through the image as a result of its strong composition. It has a real atmospheric feeling brought about by the aerial perspective caused by the receding mist. I feel the immediate foreground is not as sharp as it ought to be however.
Asian Butterflies - Ross - Score15
A very striking image beautifully presented, fit for anybody’s wall. Although I admire it greatly, it does have a “manufactured” feel to it. The butterflies, obviously the intended subject of the image, are beautiful, as are all the other components and they all come together well as a whole but I struggle a little with the purpose of the image. It is not, and cannot be, a natural history image. A pictorial image? Yes it is but then it is down to personal taste and, unfortunately, it doesn’t do it for me.
Dunescape - Monmouth - Score 16
This image is a beautiful combination of colours: blue and yellow always go together well and this is no exception. The riot of yellow in the foreground is balanced perfectly by the blue of the sky which has some very nice cloud formations in it. The building is placed perfectly on the LH third to produce a very conventional but striking image. One question: where are the dunes?
The Devil's Chapel - Ross - Score 14
Deep in the forest, seemingly miles from civilisation …. that’s the feeling here. That massive root system takes centre stage providing a great deal of interest and impact. I would prefer to see the highlights on the root toned down somewhat as I find them distracting. The gully to the right of the root leads the eye to the forest beyond and there is some lovely light to be had there. Colour-wise, green dominates a little more than I would like. Fed Up, Tired Out - Ross - Score 19
This is a nice little cameo that tells a story. I would usually say that one of these ladies would need to have eye contact with the camera to bring life to the image but here there is absolutely no need. They are clearly knackered and eye contact would spoil that part of the story. You have achieved a great tonal range from blacks to white and all stations in-between. Perhaps a touch less DoF would be useful in order to defocus the area beyond the railings a little more but that is just a minor point. This is a good example of composition being just as much about what you leave out as what you include. Cardinal Fritillary - Monmouth - Score 17
I find the square composition to be very pleasing on the eye here and, with the butterfly placed exactly on a golden mean, the image comes over very appealingly. The butterfly itself is pin sharp, which it has to be, with the background thrown into bland defocus to help the insect stand out. Colours are realistic. All in all, a well-executed natural history image.
The Lonely Tree - Ross - Score 16
A very strong sense of composition is apparent in this image with the tree placed very traditionally on the LH third and against a stunning landscape behind. You have captured some stunning colours in the landscape but I find the reflection of the sunset a little off-putting as it is brighter than the actual sunset. If I can offer another couple of suggestions: I would like to see the tree stand out a little more boldly from the background and the colours of the trees on the RH side would benefit from a little enhancement especially in terms of luminosity. Harvest Time - Monmouth - Score 18
You don’t see many aerial shots in club photography so this makes a welcome change. I like this image for its composition. The combine harvester and its accompanying tractor and trailer might be a bit central in the image but I find that OK here as it allows space for the trail of dust behind. Also, the curves at the LH end of the area of harvested corn add further interest to the pattern. The splash of green provided by the tractor and trailer provides a welcome and complementary relief from the ochre colour of the field. Nice and sharp but that’s only to be expected when minimum DoF is required.
The Abbey - Monmouth - Score 17
There’s some really attractive lighting in this image. Once you move past the fairly dark foreground, you emerge into an area that is bathed in light and has been rendered very well by the author. If I’m honest I find the foreground a bit too dark simply because there is some real interest there which a little subtle processing would enhance. DoF is good with sharpness retained throughout the image. I’m really not convinced about the choice of paper however. It looks like Permajet Ultrapearl, the sparkly nature of which, for me, does not suit this subject.
The "Trots" - Ross - Score 18
Action! And lots of it. Lots of interest in this image: nine horses’ heads to look at; nine riders only some of whose faces are visible but check out the expressions on those that you can see. Then look down at the track – flying grit everywhere. The composition of the image is very accurate, very deliberately and carefully done. But is it too tight in the frame? For me, it’s not because this image is all about action. Move away and you remove the feeling of involvement. Technically, the shutter speed used is appropriate; your aperture and resulting DoF is good and the colours are realistic. DPIs:
Come With Us - Ross - Score 14
I like the strong triangular composition of this image and the two young ladies sitting on top of the pile, with their smiling faces, bring a smile to my face. The light, however, is very strong and, therefore, contrasty which has led to some very deep shadows.
No 85 Freight - Ross - Score 17
A very bold portrait of the loco with some very rich blacks in this mono conversion. The steam provides a perfect background for the loco to stand out against while the tracks in the foreground, with the sunlight catching their upper surfaces, provide a sound base. Great DoF has been achieved together with sparkling detail in the loco.
Transport for London - Monmouth - Score 16
The combination of the static gent and the moving tube train works well – a tried and tested formula. The colours are very much representative of the title and you have done well to capture the image with two whole doors. The fact that the gent is looking down at his phone, even though this is probably his train, adds appeal to the image. Technically, an appropriate shutter speed has been used to capture the movement of the train.
Tuk Tuk Tuk me Up - Ross - Score 15
This cute little chap knows he’s being photographed and is clearly fascinated by the camera. And therein lies the charm of the image. There’s mystery too: he appears to be on his own. Why? There’s no answer to that question. Love the colours and the busy nature of the image. People passing by in the background add to the environmental feel of the image.
No Bikes - Monmouth - Score 14
It’s always tempting to take a photograph when there is contradiction at large. No bikes means no bikes but apparently not here! So we have a simple image - not a lot of content but humour instead. The image appears to be a little noisy which is OK for the textured areas but I would like and expect to see a “cleaner” effect in the bike itself. A strong vignette has been applied which I feel is a little too strong in this case.
Vintage Hot Rod on Pendine Sands - Ross - Score17
Images such as this either appeal to one’s taste or they don’t. I am always impressed by photographers’ creativity and this is a good example of that. Clearly there was more going on when you saw this image but you have decided to vignette away most of the outer edges of the image and it works. The wet sands have been shown effectively. Below the car but what I particularly like is the hint of an horizon in the background together with the inclusion of a spectator on the far RH side. The muted colours of the hotrod are very attractive. The driver’s shoulders are just visible; it’s just a shame you cannot see a hint of his face.
Grizzly with Catch - Monmouth - Score 16
This is a pin-sharp image of the bear with minimal DoF to throw the background into full defocus. He is looking at the camera as if to say “My fish!”. There is some action in the splashing of the water and space has been left on the RH side for him to move towards. I like the bloody appearance of the fish as it shows the bear has already started on it.
Symmetry - Ross - Score 20
Symmetry says it all – absolutely perfect, or near enough. I find this image very striking not just for its symmetry but for the subject matter and the tonal range achieved by the mono conversion. This is as much a pattern image as much as it is a rowing image – full of straight lines and interesting angles. The dark water provides a perfect backdrop for the design of the boat and the choice of monochrome enhances that design very well.
Artichoke Head - Monmouth - Score 18
Another bold mono image with more than a small degree of symmetry. Created purely for the sake of design – hence the pure white background – I like the spiky ends of the artichoke and the natural curls in the sides of each petal (for want of a better term!). So, lots of pattern, design and texture in a fine mono image.
Paperweight - Ross - Score 15
Very dramatic lighting has produced some very saturated colours in the paperweight together with a corresponding shadow and interesting coloured shape behind it. The rich colours of the paperweight and the mottled effect of the background are about as saturated as they come! Additionally, the four air bubbles in the paperweight add to the overall design and the fact that they are on a golden mean adds to the design aspect of the image.
Fireworks - Ross - Score 18
An excellent fireworks image with some great colours and patterns. This is almost certainly a combination of several images brought together to form a more complex symmetrical image. Great quality has been achieved and a very attractive image. Very skilfully done and well composited.
Riding the Wave - Monmouth - Score 16
There is a clear sense of action in this image which has been cropped to great effect into a letter-box format. The surfer is perfectly placed one third into the frame and is facing the direction he is going. Compositionally, I cannot fault it. You obviously cannot change what the surfer is wearing but his dark cozzie doesn’t stand out from the dark background at all in spite of the obviously bright light. Where the quality of the light is really working is on the wave, making it really sparkle. And the reflections of the wave in the foreground water are very attractive.
Battle of the Giants - Monmouth - Score 16
Two giants locked in a tussle making a very strong triangular composition. The texture in the elephants’ hide has been rendered well and I appreciate the fact that I can see the LH elephant’s eye although I would like this to be brightened a little. Talking of bright, I feel the background undergrowth would benefit from toning down somewhat especially in the top RH corner.
Fruit Cascade - Ross - Score 17
This is a great collection of colours with all the fruits arranged expertly in the air. I particularly like the colour and texture in the fruit bowl, a rich brown with lots of natural patterns. All in all, a very vibrant and well set-up image.
Apache on the Warpath - Monmouth - Score 19
A very atmospheric image; clearly an airshow re-enactment showing this mean machine in action. You have shown the drab camouflage colours of the Apache very realistically and I like the diagonal positioning of the helicopter in the air. Shutter speed is difficult in this situation because, ideally, I would like to see an equal amount of blur in both the tail and main rotors. However, because they rotate at significantly different speeds, the blur effect is always going to be different. The blur in the tail rotor is perfect. I would (ideally) like to see a bit more in the main rotor. However, I still think this is a fine image.
Know Where You Stand - Ross - Score 18
Porthcawl, photographed from the “other side”. This is a perfect place for storm-watching and, if the spray coming over the sea wall is anything to go by, there is quite a swell on the other side. As a result, the juxtaposition of the spray and the anglers comes over as quite dramatic and the two people hiding behind the wall on the RH side is quite amusing. So, the composition works well, with plenty of interest and the mono processing has achieved a good range of tones and it is a good quality image. However, if you look at your horizon on the LH side, you will see that it is sloping down to the left. This should be straightened.
Wild Flowers - Monmouth - Score17
Wild flowers grow randomly and this shows that admirably. However, there is order in the composition in the shape of the inverted triangle formed by the centre poppy and the white daisies above it. I really like this arrangement, so much that the poppy in the bottom LH corner is really superfluous to the composition. Colours are great, realistic and believable. DoF is perfect and throws the background into a suitable degree of defocus.
Rain on the Pier - Monmouth - Score 14
Apart from the crazy golf to the left of centre, this is perfect symmetry. Very bold in its tonal range which, for my tastes, has been taken a little bit too far. The resulting highlights in the rain-soaked areas of the decking have burned out pretty much completely but you have retained a suitable amount of texture in the dry areas. Also, there is a surprising amount of detail in the underside of the canopy so well done there.
Faringdon Folly - Monmouth - Score 16
Another aerial shot which shows very well the benefits of getting up high when the light is dramatic. Here the effects of the rising (or is it setting?) sun are there for all to see whereas at ground level the view would not be so expansive. The mist in the background is also very attractive although I would try to darken down the top third in order to even out the exposure.
Christmas Cast-offs - Ross - Score 18
This image works well in black and white largely because colour would be distracting in a case such as this. The mannequins are all set up completely differently, contorted in fact with arms and legs going off in all different directions so the mono treatment allows you to concentrate on the shapes without the interference of colour. The addition of stripes, bold and not so bold, adds to the overall design of the image and the difference in lighting levels between left and right, for me, adds to the drama. Even the leg in the bottom RH corner is an amusing addition.
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