The Start of a New Year

It was the start of a new competition year this January and to kick things off we had a judge, Trevor Rudkin LRPS, to run the rule over our efforts in the Open category and the set subject of “Hands”. Trevor had been to us before to give us tips on what makes a good competition photo: tips which some of us had rather forgotten! Nevertheless, he gave constructive and helpful pointers while talking about our work.


A new year brought little change to fortunes in the open as the current cup holder won again, making it an impressive five in a row for Mark Blaber with his shot “Can He See Us?”

1st in Open: “Can he see us?” by Mark Blaber

In the set subject of “Hands” we saw several takes on playing cards as well as actual hands in various configurations or activities. The winning entry was judged to be “Hand Fitting” by Phil Roseblade, which combined both human hands and the hands of a watch face.

1st in Theme: “Hand Fitting” by Phil Roseblade

Cups of good cheer

A highlight of the Christmas social was the presentation of our competition cups to the current champions and this year both cups had new names engraved on them.

In the Open, Mark Blaber was presented with the Peter Saul Cup, and Ray Barnes was presented with the Andy Stewart Cup for winning the Theme league.

Chair Richard Hollingum (left) presents the cup to the winner of the Theme league - Ray Barnes

Chair Richard Hollingum (left) presents the Andy StewartCup to the winner of the Theme league – Ray Barnes

How hard can it be to take a couple of pics of cup presentations? Well, firstly when deciding to grab a not so often used camera out of the bag do check it has a charged battery inserted [Check]. Secondly, check you haven’t removed the SD cards to use as spares on a recent holiday {Not Checked!].

Chair Richard Hollingum (left) presents the Peter Saul Cup to the winner of the Open league – Mark Blaber

Then, when relying on a mobile phone camera do check that you are not getting a nasty green glare being reflected by the light cast from the running projector.

So, having not shot RAW, in desperation convert the image to black and white and claim it as a homage to Mark’s recent excellent and winning monochrome images.

Season Finale

A quick check of the standings before the final round of competition revealed three possible winners of the Theme league and two possible winners of the Open. 

Results on the night ensured that new names would be added to both the Peter Saul Cup (fOpen) and the Andy Stewart Cup (Theme ).
Theme honours on the night  – in the theme of “Night” – went to Richard Hollingum with his composite shot of the moon and figures “On the Bridge in Moonlight”.

1st in Theme: “On the Bridge in Moonlight” by Richard Hollingum

Overall, the new name on the Andy Stewart Cup will be Ray Barnes. Two previous wins, and a second place on the night, secured his first cup win.
Shepherd's Delight

2nd in Theme: “Shepherd’s Delight” by Ray Barnes.

In the Open, a fourth straight win saw Mark Blaber run away from the field with the Peter Saul Cup, winning on the night with a shot taken from the Shard.

The Train now arriving

1st in Open: “The Train now arriving” by Mark Blaber

Pictures at an Exhibition

There was a good turnout at the first Spratton Open Photography Show, despite storm Callum somewhat dampening proceedings on the Sunday.


Visitors view the exhibition in St. Andrew’s church

A total of 63 prints were entered for display around the church, and a fifteen minute slideshow of digital images ran in a continuous loop on both days.

Entries were from Spratton Photography Group members past, present and hopefully future. Special mention and thanks must go to West Haddon Photo Club who entered 15 prints and also lent some of the display boards.

Other notable entries came from Brixworth Photographic Society.

Visitors were suitably impressed by the quality, variety and interest of images displayed.

Special thanks too to Spratton Local History Society who also lent display boards.



Back in the Swing

Back in the Swing

After our summer break we returned to (Spratton Primary) School for the penultimate round of our competitions.

Mark Blaber took his third win a row with a shot seen in Wales and now leads the Open.

Looking for Shelter

1st in Open: “Looking for Shelter” by Mark Blaber

In the theme of “Emotions” Zsolt Benedek made good use of a memento from MacDonalds and some flour to create his winning entry.
Face of a Vinner

1st in Theme: “Face of a Vinner” by Zsolt Benedek

Please see all the placed entries under the “top images” menu.

A walk around the houses

The view toward Brixworth

The view toward Brixworth

Our July meeting was walk around the village with guests from the West Haddon Photo Club. SPG member John Hunt led the walk around parts of the Spratton heritage trail taking in buildings of historic interest, some gardens, and landscape views.
There was a good turnout, it was a glorious evening and the light in some cases was quite magical.
Images below by Ray Barnes

Abstracts and Street Cred

June bust out with an Abstract look to the theme competition with members again judging and talking about their images. Some weird and wonderful efforts were topped by Ron Wykes with his ‘Foil Square Mosaic’: a triple exposure (3 shots), with the subject being moved slightly between shots. The base layer was then duplicated. The new layer was colorized, zoom blur was added and, finally, a radial mask was applied to reveal the original image.
Foil Square Mosaic

1st in Theme: “Foil Square Mosaic” by Ron Wykes

In the Open, Mark Blaber was rewarded for roaming the streets of London with his ‘Brick Lane Communications’.
Brick Lane Communications

1st in Open: “Brick Lane Communications” by Mark Blaber

This was taken during a street photography course and had to be taken on a camera phone, as was his other placed effort “Seeing Both Sides”.
Seeing both sides

Highly Commended: “Seeing Both Sides” by Mark Blazer

Every Picture Tells a Story

Our speaker in May was James Corbett, giving a talk about the use of narrative in photography.

DSC_0046 (1)

James Corbett

James has a degree in Fine Art and worked for a number of years as a photojournalist (including on the Chronicle & Echo).

He showed examples of how sometimes just one picture can tell the whole story, but often you need many images to illustrate what’s happening, whether in a boot makers or the aftermath of a war zone.

When he was starting out and building his portfolio the hardest part was getting editors to trust him. He had to show that he could get the shots to illustrate whatever the subject matter was.

He now makes his living teaching photography at Tresham College as well as photographing documentary themes, fine art and weddings.

Quite a shower judging in April

Our April meeting was a competition evening but with no judge available it was up to us to argue among ourselves as to what was the best image in the Open category and also in the Theme of “Motion”.

Authors were asked to speak about their images and to give some detail about their capture.

Final Straight

1st in theme: “Final Straight” by Ray Barnes

Ray Barnes, who won in the theme category, said his image was taken on 30 November 2017 at Towcester Races and he explained:.

“On that day I tried panning for the first time and this was an example
of the shots I captured. I like the dynamic positions of the horse and
the jockey and I feel it conveys a sense of motion as the horse galloped
towards the finishing line on a sunny but raw day.”

“My settings were: f22, one fifteenth of a second shutter speed and an
ISO of 100. I shot in Shutter Priority, with an exposure step of minus
0.3 and a focal length of 175mm.”

“Post processing involved cropping and lighting.”

Camouflage for a lazy day

1st in Open: “Camouflage for a lazy day” by Mark Blaber

Mark Blaber, who won in the Open, said his image was taken when he was holiday in Wales earlier this year on a beach in Cardigan Bay. He said:

“We had been walking on the beach and I
became aware of someone lying on the rocks fast asleep. A number of
people went up to make sure he was ok because he was completely
oblivious to the activity going on around him. I was taken really by how
well he was ” camouflaged” against the rocks. He was fine, just enjoying
a nap.”

“My settings were f 4.5, 27mm, 1/50sec. ISO 100.”

March models and tabletops

Lee Miller (left) sets up the lights on Deb Darby

This month SPG member Lee Miller (LM Photography) marched in with a vast array of lighting equipment to set up both a portrait studio and a tabletop area for members to shoot in.

To add a welcome touch of spice to the proceedings two “Star Now” models, Deb Darby and Luke Trevillion attended the session to give us some real people to point our cameras at.

Both models were very cooperative and forgiving of those of us not so used to doing portraiture. The evening would seem to have been a success (not a mad March ‘hare brained’ scheme) and something very worth repeating in a our next programme.

Some shots from the night can be seen below.

SPG members discuss the finer points of portraiture