PSCC Round No1..PDIs 10.9.2020…Judge Steven Galvin. (LRPS) by Dave Hipperson

Date Published 
Sun 15 Nov 2020
Report by Dave Hipperson
After some practice with remote Zoom Conference based PDI nights at the end of last season the
technique was firmly in place for the opening event. We had booked Steven Galvin, a judge that we
had not used before and right from the start it was clear that he was a polite guy with enthusiasm, an
agreeable manner (not so easy to project well via a screen) and a solid grounding in photography.
Between himself and Jeremy the decision had been taken that Steven would run the night from his
computer so that he could use a pointer and better handle the holdbacks and final scores. In practice
this worked fine but did throw up some issues – more of which anon.
He had time to view our images for a few days which is a luxury that most of the judges are
enjoying. Despite this he still wanted to hold a handful back that certainly made a slightly more
dramatic conclusion to the evening but is in a way unnecessary bearing in mind what ‘holding back’
was meant to do in the first place. Makes my reporting job easier however – so thanks.
Scoring the remainder to 18 and scattering a few right down in the 12 and 13s spread the score
usefully. The highlights that didn’t quite ‘make the cut’ were Chris Gilbert’s “Iris”. A beautiful
classical study of a perfect single bloom with Chris’s trademark background technique in evidence.
Some may have thought it should have got more. Normal Marshall’s “Reflective Points of View”
caught his eye and he was enthusiastic enough about it to examine it very carefully and intimate that
he might be having a go trying something similar. High praise indeed. Sue Anderson had captured a
clever five-way reflection of St Pauls marred only by single security camera and the obligatory blue
hoarding. When will they finish mucking about with all the digging and white vans in London?
Finally and actually the last image shown, Jeremy presented the striking “Lunar Lockdown.” A side
lit dead tree with a large quarter moon filling the vacant sky space. Great composite but Stephen had
spotted that the light on the moon was on the opposite side to the light on the tree. As the light itself
was really a big feature in this is was quite a glaring error but almost forgiven because of the
powerful composition.
There were eight held back three of which scored 19. They were “Just Two Left”. A touching family
group of three Cheetahs from Jacqui Taylor. Then another of Chris Gilbert’s, “Mutant Tulip” a
monochrome treatment of a strangely distorted bloom and Terry Day’s “Single Horned Rhinos”.
Despite some issues with slightly intrusive white patches and disappointment with the over obvious
title (Stephen suggested “Madonna & Child” and why not?) Terry still managed a 19.
The Hippersons brought up the rear guard of 20s and have, I see, been kindly awarded HCs since the
event it would seem! Both quite simple ideas but they caught the judges attention. Sue had taken
from underneath a perfect blooming “Cow Slip” against a patchy grey sky but for the composition it
was just right. She admitted later under questioning that she had picked it and held it in one hand
and the camera on the other. The image was indeed as it came out of the camera I know as I was
there when she took it and viewed it a few seconds later! Mine “Smile?” was simply a fallen Bay
leaf arranged on a cream textured card appearing to be two lips. The trick being to round the corner
of the card to simulate a chin.
David Butler’s moody yet tranquil rendition of Cromer Pier at dusk was a treat. This image greatly
enhanced by the muted red sign over the pier’s main building as well as the artificial light falling
softly on a kiosk further along. Sea state calm, visibility good – 3 rd ! To compensate for a mear 19
for her Cheetahs earlier Jacqui was 2 nd with “You’re Too Close”. An action shot of a ground nesting
bird frantically protecting her eggs from a very large approaching lizard. Chris Gilbert won it with a
great picture which began as a snap of a line of coloured dresses in a Spanish market. With some
gentle effects this was lifted into something much more grand. A beautiful piece of street
photography.
During the wind down, Stephen seemed to be determined to include everyone in the discussion
which is very good even though it went on a bit. (Perhaps we should guard against huge over-runs
despite the honest intentions.) He explained that although he didn’t, as a general rule, examine the
PDIs he is sent by ‘going in close’ which of course is now both possible and very easy to do. He was
happy to explain some of his scores via this method which suggested he had actually done it quite a
bit! I thought that this was both slightly uncomfortable for the authors concerned as well as setting a
dangerous precedent. However his further explanation of what was also possible was decidedly
frightening. He showed us how easy it was to draw up from the meta data the author’s name and a
lot of information about where when and how they took the picture including lens and make of
camera. I think we all, including him, felt uncomfortable with this. The issue being that to know
possibly that some one used a phone might subconsciously interfere with what the judge thought of
an image. It has always been the image and not how it was taken nor how difficult. It could remove
another of the building blocks of competitive photography – anonymity! We have a slight problem
here forced on us by the new remote system we are using and we are not alone. All clubs should be
aware of these shortcomings and the CACC will hopefully suggest a solution. I have already made
mine to our Committee and club members should not be over worried about this taking hold. Next
Thursdays judge Pete Cox has already assured me that he will not be doing anything like it.
It’s a shame as otherwise the remote system is proving most effective and efficient particularly when
coupled with judges that can project a bit like Steven. However possibly a more alarming aspect of
the evening was none of the above but more the widespread disinterest bearing in mind it was first
of our PDI events. Only a modest handful of faces appeared on screen. This new remote system is
much LESS effort for the individual members and is working well across the CACC with many
clubs reporting increased interested and new members, some, many new members. First however
existing members of Park Street must show some sign of wanting their club to continue otherwise it
might not.