N.W. Fed. Round 1 ….. Park Street v Harrow and Ealing - Judge Colin Southgate -11.11.2021

Date Published 
Sat 13 Nov 2021

The good run continues. Up against Harrow and Ealing we at Park Street might have felt somewhat out gunned at the first North West Fed. round. However once again our judge, in this case Colin Southgate found in our favour and this time he wouldn’t have seen any of our images beforehand as he hasn’t been to the club for a while. Clearly the Print/PDI split was attenuated by the fact that out of necessity, using Zoom, all the images were in fact PDIs. A little odd then that the latter section, the actual PDI s, should get substantially higher marks than the ‘virtual’ Prints.

The modest number of images is designed to allow organisations and judges plenty of wriggle room and time and so it was quite a relaxed evening. As expected a relatively high overall standard so Colin’s remarks rarely entered the technically critical domain but there were some. In the main he entertained us with interesting phrase like the ‘stuttery effect’ on Jenny Fenton’s multi exposure ‘Ludlow Lane’ image and little quips about his not being able to get about so much now since his ASBO order!

Three clubs, six images from each club in both Prints and PDI sections. The first eighteen were the prints. By half way through the only two 20s were both ours. John Jenning’s ‘Bearded Barge Master’ and Jacqui Taylor’s ‘On The Move” cheetah and wildebeest image. Chris Gilbert’s ‘Three Plus Three’ scored 18 as did Jeremy F-M’s ‘Alp di Siusi’. Support came from another of Chris’s ‘Still life with Pears’17 and Sue Hipperson’s ‘I Wonder were he is’16. The other stand out image in this section belonged to Harrow’s Julia Wainwright - ‘Pensive Ethiopian Man.’ Cleverly capturing his expression with considerable but very real looking detail and not over done as so many of this style are nowadays. The clever cropping also allowing a landscape format unusual for a face portrait, very comfortable to look at for a long time. Another 20 and starred along with John Jenning’s ‘Bearded Barge Master”. Julia has achieved considerable success since she started in competitive photography on exactly the same day as I when we both joined Harrow CC. Julia made no secret of her intentions. She retired immediately and devoted all her time to photography and getting good at it. Courses, foreign trips, seminars - the result now being her regular appearance high up in all levels of competition and of course her FRPS, MPAGB, BPE2 and a forthcoming BPE3. I on the other hand chose the Dark Side and went into judging!

Park Street had topped the print section with a seven point lead over Harrow. Both Harrow and Ealing however had managed to submit their entries in this section without recourse to any author having to show more than one image. I firmly believe that to encourage club member participation this ‘strength on depth’ should receive some sort of recognition at inter-club events.

The PDIs were tighter. Our pictures all managed to stay out of the 16s which is usually a winning formula. Seventeens for John Jennings’ ‘Dark Horse’, Dave Hipperson’s ‘Smile' and Jeremy F-M’s ‘Hell bent for Leather’. Chris’s ‘Gate Keepers’ was warmly awarded an 18 and miraculously Colin loved David Butler’s ‘Common Toads Mating’ (19) and gave another point still to Chris Gilbert’s very minimalistic ‘Black Coffee’ (20). That was enough to snatch that round from Harrow by a point and tie with Ealing. The latter having been most unlucky to have their ‘Duo Cosmos’ by Kirstin Mason scores as low as 16. The other 20 came from Ealing – John Alexander’s excellent natural history action shot of the Wildebeest migration in monochrome called ‘Leap of Faith’. This was starred along with Chris’s Black Coffee.

By way of the very tight scoring in the PDIs 16 -20 that section was tant amount to a draw. However Park Street had already taken a large lead in the Prints with two 20s ands two 18s so the night was ours on aggregate by a clear eight points!

I have mentioned before the advantages we judges have with this preview facility possible since using Zoom. I have also mentioned how so often many don’t seem to be using it when it comes to the night. Firstly they should not be scoring off the Zoom images anyway - that is part of the reason for instigating these full resolution previews, but clearly many still are. Secondly advance notice allows a smooth spread of scores whatever the range, I now do it every time I judge. No need to have to think fast on our feet - it can all be done in advance.

We don’t want to start looking a gift horse in the mouth here as Colin’s performances are always lively, sensitive, amusing and educational especially when they go in our favour but scores are terribly important and I think I can say this more powerfully bearing in mind we did so well here. On this occasion one could easily have been led to believe that Colin was deciding his scores as he went along which is the one thing judges really don’t have to do anymore, particularly as the firm guidelines laid down for NWF judging are 15-20. That presumably also means some of each. Colin left out the 19s entirely in the print round and in so doing distorted the scores considerably. There was also a 14 - not such a problem apart for the club that got it - Harrow. Then the PDIs didn’t have any 15s at all scoring only 16 – 20. This could have been so easy to avoid. Surely this is simple arithmetic. We aren’t asking anyone to calculate a trajectory to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere here! Colin Southgate was on the panel at my first judging course. I am beginning to wonder if it’s me that’s out of step here. If so where?

On a lighter note Chris Gilbert has to be congratulated on his achievement in getting a most interested and interesting potential member along, Brendan Ellison by name. He turned out to be eloquent and informative to the extent that in no time the poor guy was being asked if he could do us a talk on his favourite 360 style of photography! Hopefully that hasn’t frightened him off too much and he will come back.

Dave Hipperson.