Oh What a Night!

Our November theme of “night” was judged by James Corbett, a documentary and fine art photographer,  James  is also Higher Education course leader and lecturer in photography at Tresham College, and lectured us with some insightful comments on our images.

Richard Hollingum had a very successful night in the theme taking both first and second place. Phil Roseblade took third, but who else expected to see Iggle Piggle in his picture of the night garden?

1st in Theme: “Wet Night at the chippy’ by Richard Hollingum

Richard’s win in the theme wasn’t enough to change the destination of the Andy Stewart Cup as Anne Blaber was already confirmed as the winner with 43 points to Richard’s 39.

Another “unlucky” winner was Ron Wykes who took first and third in the open but fell just one point short of overtaking Alan Roffey who saw the light in black and white to just keep ahead. A moody Gerald Davies took second with an image taken on a walk near Maidwell.

1st in Open: “In the Spotlight” by Ron Wykes

So after a gap of seven years and two bouts of cancer Alan gets his name on the Peter Saul Cup again. 

See all the placed Theme images: >>

See all the placed Open Images: >>

Wet in Wales / October 2021

Our October meeting was judged by John Lewis of Daventry Photographic Society. 

In the penultimate Theme of Running Water one of our newest members, Gerald Davies, scored his first win with an image captured in  his native Wales. Gerald reports it was taken very recently  between heavy showers, so plenty of running water!  

1st in Theme: “Nant Lwyd” by Gerald Davies

Richard Brown splashed into second while Richard Hollingum flooded into third. All of which means despite not scoring on the night Anne Blaber is confirmed as the winner of the Andy Stewart Cup as she can’t now be caught.

In the Open  things are much tighter. Ron Wykes made a late dash for the line with his second win of the competition.

1st in Open: “Physallis (Chinese Lantern)” by Ron Wykes

Ron could conceivably keep hold of Peter Saul Cup if he wins next month with no scores for the current leaders. This would be his fifth win overall, so the engravers must know his name by now; would “ditto” marks  be acceptable? 

Gerald Davies took second with an image taken from the Galloway coast while Ron also got us into a spin and took third playing with his USB turntable.

So it’s all to play for in the Open next month with less than ten points separating the top three.

See all the placed Theme Images: >>

See all the placed Open Images: >>


Nice to see you again – Zoomless

We met in person for the first time this year thanks to Spratton Hall School allowing the use of the Hunter Hall, a venue we previously used  for hosting the Badby Challenge. The Hunter Hall has plenty of seating allowing us to meet in a socially distanced manner.

Brian Pere of Duston Camera Club filled  in to judge on the night at short notice due to the original judge being unavailable.

In the Theme of “Reflections in a Mirror” Anne Blaber triumphed  for the fourth time in this competition giving her a very strong lead. Anne had to take inspiration from the internet for this latest win. Richard Hollingum took a self-portrait which he hardly appeared in to take second while Veronica Johnson-Roffey winged into third. It’s not over yet, but Anne is in a very strong position.

1st in Theme: “Would you Like Lime in That?” by Anne Blaber

In the Open the night belonged to Alan Roffey taking both first and second place and having a further two commended entries; which left Richard Hollligum’s sparrow hawk looking  rather bedraggled. Having been three points behind Alan is now three points ahead but there can be no resting on laurels until the fat lady sings.

1st in Open: “Meadow Brown on Daisy” by Alan Roffey

See all the placed Theme images 

See all the placed Open images

It’s all here – in Black & White

After last month’s bravado about there is still everything to play for in the Theme competition, Anne Blaber scored another 10 with her excellent shot of apartments at Westward Ho! as well as getting a third place for her picture of Barnstaple Pannier Market. Clearly we should all be going to Devon for our hols! Both of Anne’s images were in black & white which only served to emphasised the structure of the buildings. Second place went to Richard Brown’s picture of the cathedral and the prison at Lincoln, entitled Saints and Sinners. Richard also got Highly Commended for Sulgrave Manor as did Veronica Johnson-Roffey for her shot of a shoe factory now used as offices. Judge Alan Edwards was very instructive in his comments and no doubt many of us will be putting his advice into practice.

Interesting Architecture – Interesting Shadows
Anne Blaber

Keeping up the Blaber-factor, Mark won the Open Competition with an intimate close-up of a Young Blackbird, a lesson in getting the depth of field right with the soft background a perfect foil for the clarity of the head. Another close-up, this time by Richard Hollingum, of a young Emperor Dragonfly, got him second place and Alan Roffey’s Walk Along The Rocks came in third.

Young Blackbird
Mark Blaber

So, quite a gap now in the Theme competition with Anne out in front on 32 and by a large margin before Richard Hollingum on 18, Ray Barnes on 16 and Brian Pere on 14. There are three more rounds to go though. our pundits won’t drawn into predictions just yet. A much tighter picture in the Open where currently Richard Hollingum is in the lead on 28, Alan Roffey is on 25 and Ray Barnes on 22. 

Unfortunately for SPG, we are about to lose Ray as he and Sheila move up to Northumberland, but we have managed to get a snap of Ray holding the Andy Stewart Cup. Due to the quirks of Covid-19 and the intervention of a cat, Ray never to got to have the cup in pride of place at home but I am sure he will be delighted, as we are, to have this picture as a memory.

See all placed Theme images >>>

See all placed Open images >>>

Harvesting the Points

The theme for June – Farming – clearly confounded many members as there were only 9 submissions. This didn’t stop SPG Chair Richard Hollingum from getting 1st and 3rd – in fact it probably helped him. Gerald Davies spotted some interesting machinery Out To Rust that earned him a 2nd place. In spite of Richard’s placing this month, Anne Blaber still leads the Theme League by 4 points but with four more rounds to go there is still all to play for.

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Getting the Harvest In
Richard Hollingum

Ray Barnes garnered the top spot in the Open category this month with Workplace Meeting, an atmospheric picture taken at Didcot Railway Centre. Alan Roffey’s 2nd placed I’ve Got Your Back led to a surge of interest in the tattooist’s art, and Red ‘C’ Scrolls, another of his striking abstracts, earned Ron Wykes a 3rd.

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Workplace Meeting
Ray Barnes

The Open League is currently much tighter than the Theme. Alan Roffey and Richard Hollingum, are both at the top with 21 points with Ray Barnes nipping at their heels with 20. Ron Wykes and John Hunt are not that far behind either so the picture could change over the next few months.

The judge this month was Ralph Duckett, an experienced judge who, although he confesses to preferring prints, did a good job with the on-line digital images. As in previous months, the images were loaded on to a secure Flickr page and sent to Ralph a week in advance of the competition. His comments were positive, encouraging and helpful, providing good detail and critique. He particularly emphasised the importance of clear focal points and impact, whilst avoiding or removing unwanted distractions.

See all placed Open images >>>

See all placed Theme images >>>

Our next event:
Monday, 5th July
Theme: Architecture

Phil’s On The Money

April’s theme had the potential to confound us but it was good to see so many attempts at interpreting Nostalgia. It appears that judge Chris Baldwin was also pleased, holding back 8 of the entries, but it was Phil Earle that stole the show taking both First and Second place. Apparently the Leica in the picture belonged to his father-in-law and was rescued from obscurity by Phil.

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Looking Back in Time
Phil Earle

The Open images continue to be a good selection despite the constraints of lockdown. Some members clearly have a vast back catalogue of the past two years from which to select a couple of pictures, whilst others turn to Mother Nature hoping that she will supply the winning shot. And this month’s winning shot was supplied by Ron Wilks, one of three he had placed. At a Good Clip is yet another abstract painfully created to bring energy and colour to the screen.

It was pointed out that if you want to be placed Highly Commended or above in the Open league, your first name has to begin with an ‘R’

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At A Good Clip
Ron Wykes

Feedback from Chris was comprehensive. He had downloaded the images and actually tried some of the changes he suggested, himself. The big message was to make more use of cropping to avoid unwanted or distracting items or colours. He also stressed how important a title is, something that became very clear in the Theme competition.

See all placed Open images >>>

See all placed Theme images >>>

Our next event:
Monday, 7th June
Theme: Farming

If non-members would like to join the evening  please use the contact form to ask for Zoom details. 

Meetings are currently held via Zoom conference usually on the 1st Monday of the Month except some bank holidays when usually meetings are held the following Monday. Usual start time 7.30pm. 

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Light, Shadow and a Lot of Bottle

The March Competition was judged by Catherine Knee who gave some excellent advice and guidance and was very realistic about how the limitations of the current situation can limit the opportunities for capturing good images. Having said that, the Open was full of pictures from trips around the country as well as nature nearer home. The Open was won by John Hunt with Winter Bird Food, a picture taken in his garden.

Winter Bird Food
John Hunt

The Theme of Bottles was well received by the judge and clearly a lot of preparation was involved in making sure that liquid did not accidentally drain on to the set! The Theme first place was taken by Anne Blaber with this atmospheric picture of lights inside a line of bottles. The judge commented that having the top of the nearest bottle cut off added to the interest and mystery of the image.

Bottles with Fairy Lights
Anne Blaber

Catherine’s feedback centred a lot around the use of light and shadow and how a wrongly-place bright patch can pull the eye away from the main subject of the picture. Unlike a lot of judges nowadays, she did suggest that there is a place for judicial use of the vignette tool to help dull bright edges and to pull the eye into the image – but don’t overdo it!

See all placed Open images >>>

See all placed Theme images >>>

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Our judge for February was Trevor Rudkin LRPS.  Trevor was quite sympathetic and provided good guidance and constructive comment while discussing our humble efforts.

In the theme of Leading Lines Ann Blaber took first place with a picture of the strings on her husbands’ guitar which she had spotted while seeking inspiration for the theme. That this victory pushed her husbands’ own theme image into second place may have caused some domestic strife or maybe it was just his guitar that gently wept.


See all the placed theme entries: >>

In the open Richard Hollingum nailed a buzzard to its perch like a Norwegian Blue so it stayed still long enough to get a cracking nature shot. 


See all the placed Open images: >>

A Start to 2021

Our judge for the first competition of the year was Graham Heywood EFIAP/p FBPE. Via Zoom, he had to assess our open images plus those for the set theme of “Eyes.” 

In the Open, a view from the battlements of Warwick Castle took first place, giving the author his first success in several years.

1st in Open: “Autumnal Colours” by Andy Holland

View all the placed Open images: >>

In the theme Graham was faced with human eyes, both adult and child, cats eyes, both big cat and domestic moggy, but what found his first place favour was a flower.

1st in Theme: “Oxeye Daisy” by Brian Pere

This gave Brian his first win since rejoining the group last year.

View all the placed Theme images: >>

2020 Finale

Our last competition round of 2020 was judged by Richard Cobby ARPS CPAGB. Dialling in via Zoom Richard had had a good look at our images beforehand, gave an informative commentary and provided some edited examples as to how they could be improved.

It was a very successful evening for our Chair, Richard Hollingum, scoring a first and third in the open and first place in the the theme of “Sport in Action”.  

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1st in Open: “With the Beatles” by Richard Hollingum

His efforts however could not alter the destination of the Peter Saul Cup as Ron Wykes had already built an unassailable lead winning the cup for the fourth time. 

See all the placed Open Images >>

It was a very different situation with the Andy Stewart Cup for the theme league.  3 authors, including the Richard, the current holder, were in contention for the prize depending on last round results. Richard’s win wasn’t enough to retain the cup as a third place for Ray Barnes gave him the league overall by one point.

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See all the placed Theme images >>