Club members met on Saturday 19th November for the annual Open Digital Competition. The evening was hosted at Martyn and Sue Guess’s house, near Cranleigh, and attended by 25 members. Congratulations to all who navigated successfully to the venue, and for braving the inclement weather.
After the usual socialising and excellent food (thanks to Sue), 32 images were projected. The winners had been pre-judged by Simon Rogerson, Editor of SCUBA magazine. Unfortunately Simon could not attend but provided a set of notes which were read out at the meeting.
Thanks to all at Photosub for entrusting me with the task of judging your competition. Sorry I can’t join you tonight; anyone unhappy with my decisions will have to hurl your buns at me from longer distance than usual. There were plenty of lovely photos this year, and I did agonise over the placings before making my final choice. Take-home lessons? Beware of oversharpening, watch out for digital noise and if you’re entering a relatively common or ‘easy’ subject, the key to success is originality. Well, that’s enough pontificating from me. Have a great evening and if you didn’t win or get mentioned, don’t worry about it. Competitions are silly things… almost as silly as judges. Big love, and have a great Christmas.
The results were as follows:
1st Place: Rhinopias by Martin Guess
This is an object lesson in backlighting – a dramatic subject approached from the optimal angle and highlighted with multi-directional light. Some of the success of the image is simply finding the subject and this strong angle, but I have to say the execution is faultless, especially with the backlighting illuminating the ridge of the fins. I may be wrong, but I think there is a touch of front lighting here, all that is required to show off the amazing colouring.
2nd Place: Cleaner shrimp on moray eel by Joss Woolf
The flowing form of the eel’s head compliments the cleaners as they dance across its neck. The precision of the lighting and the elegant, natural composition made this a close contender. It’s impossible to get every detail in focus, but the softness of the eel’s eye was, for me, a slight imperfection that detracted from the overall effect.
3rd Place: Grey Seal by Gill Marsh
A popular subject, quality and originality is key to competition images of grey seals. In this case, it’s all down to the photographer’s success in capturing a wonderful mid-water pose. I wasn’t sure about the black and white, but it does have the effect of concentrating your attention on the subject. Always ask yourself: why does an image merit the B&W treatment… does it really reveal more about the subject?
Seahorse by Martyn Guess
A subtle and intimate portrait, with muted directional lighting. Shows similar photographic precision to that of the winner, but it’s been done so much the effect is diminished.
Squirrelfish and sponge by Joss Woolf
With its strikingly original lighting, I found its skewed symmetry memorable, but slightly disconcerting.
Hammerheads by Pash Baker
From the hue of the water and the lack of parasites on the sharks, I’m guessing this is Red Sea, where getting any sort of a photo of a hammerhead is an achievement. The image is sharp and nicely balanced, but what a shame the sharks can’t be persuaded to swim in a more attractive formation!
The Len Deeley Trophy
In memory of Len Deeley, founder and driving force behind the Photosub club, Pash Baker and Jo Horrocks have created a trophy which will be presented on an annual basis. The basis for the award has not yet been decided, but ideas so far include “valuable contribution towards the club”, “photo of the year”, or a criteria which could change on a year by year basis. Ideas from members are welcome and should be sent to the current chair, Bob Soames.
Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all those who took part for making it such a successful competition; to Simon for taking the time to judge the images, to Martyn and Sue for their hospitality, and to various others who helped leading up to and during the evening.