Reports 2018-19 – DO NOT DELETE may be the only version

Reports for the 2018-2019 Season

The Society’s Annual dinner was held at the British Hotel on North Quay in Douglas this week, where 30 members, partners and friends enjoyed an excellent social evening.

The arrangements worked perfectly – the chosen meals being served by the staff, with side dishes set out on the tables. A multi-part quiz, set by our President and his wife provided much discussion and entertainment – with Nigel Owen, Tim Norton and their wives plus Jiri Podobski emerging as winners with a top score of 46 out of 60 – very well done considering the severity of some of the questions.

Meanwhile, a slideshow of the annual competition entries provided visual entertainment and the opportunity to see all the entries, not just those selected by our visiting judge.

A raffle on behalf of the Ocean Stars Trust, a charity working with schools in Sri Lanka, raised the wonderful sum of £93 – a big “thank you” to all who supported this activity.

Andrew Barton, our guest of honour, awarded the trophies to those attending the event – Geoff Atkinson, Janet Henry and Claire Schreuder in the Intermediate group, Nigel Owen and Jeremy Broome-Smith in the Advanced.

The evening concluded with the official handing over the chain of office from out-going President, Chris Blyth, who thanked all members and committee for their support during his term – to the incoming President, Jeremy Broome-Smith, who looked forward to serving members to the best of his abilities.

By Chris Blyth

The Annual Competition – Prints

The IOM Photographic Society held its Annual Print Competition on 11th April , and was delighted to have Jeremy Malley-Smith LRPS DPAGB BPE2* to judge. Jeremy is an accredited judge with our federation, the Lancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union, and brings particular expertise in the subjects of wildlife, macro and landscape.

He faced a major task, as he was presented with more than 210 images submitted by our members, who are split into Intermediate and Advanced groups, with their entries judged in the five different genres of Open Colour, Open Mono, Nature, Creative and Record. Given the sheer size of entry, the morning session was spent selecting those images chosen as winners, to be shown during the usual evening meeting, time not permitting comment on every image. However, eventually some 75 images were selected covering the 10 sections being judged – each section usually being awarded a first, second and third place plus commendations as necessary. In the Intermediate group, Claire Schreuder shone, winning four of the five sections – open colour with a well lit still-life image of soup ingredients being made ready for cooking, the open mono with a street musician backlit against some shops, the creative with an image of nuts and bolts seen in close-up as though a city of sky-scrapers, and the record section with a stained glass window image. In contrast, Steve Johnstone swept the board in the Nature section, taking all three winning positions, a stunning shot of a greenshank wading in shallow water and beautifully reflected in the surface earning him first place. Geoff Atkinson, Beryl Quayle, Richard Shafto, Jonathan Carey gained commendations in various sections.

In the Advanced group, honours were more evenly spread, albeit in hard fought competitions. Jeremy Broome-Smith won the open colour section with a delightful long exposure shot of a beach scene, Ruth Nicholls the open mono with a wonderful Italian church interior, Sue Blythe taking first place in nature with a very close-up and detailed image of an approaching tiger, and Ron Shimmin showing his experience and expertise winning both the record section with a shot of the altar in Westminster Cathedral and the creative with an imaginative treatment of a collection of umbrellas.

The evening finished with our judge showing a selection of his wildlife shots taken in Scotland.         These included otters, ospreys, pine marten, and eagles, all shown with helpful advice as to equipment required, the techniques and time needed to get close to the subjects and to get “the shot”. What was readily apparent throughout the evening was Jeremy’s enthusiasm and enjoyment of photography in all its forms – a joy shared with our audience and who appreciated the opportunity to see his work.

The Society’s season of weekly meetings is rapidly coming to a close, but our members will have opportunity during the summer to practice their skills with field trips and social events – details will be found in due course on our website Members of the public interested in attending these events should make contact via the website for further details.

The IOMPS thanks the Arts Council for their continued support.

By Chris Blyth

Abbezzia Sant’Antimo by Ruth Nicholls gained Best Mono Print in the Annual competition

The Annual Competition – Digital Images

The second evening of the Annual Competition for the IOM Photographic Society saw the judging of digitally projected images by Jeremy Malley- Smith LRPS DPAGB BPE2*, our visiting judge and one accredited with our Federation, the Lancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union. As with the print competition the previous evening, members – split into the two groups of Intermediate and Advanced – had submitted more than 210 images in the five classes of Open Mono, Open Colour, Nature, Creative and Record for consideration. Jeremy’s specialities include landscape, natural history and macro – so well qualified for the task, and one he tackled with immense enthusiasm, someone who clearly enjoys photography in all its various genres.

First up were the Intermediate group with a high quality set of entries, but unlike in the prints, the awards were this time more evenly spread amongst the group – Richard Shafto winning the Open Colour with a lovely shot of two kittens (an “aaahh” moment!), Claire Schreuder taking both the Open Mono and the Creative sections, the latter with a composite of a face intermingled with coloured smoke swirls as though hair (very imaginative”), Steve Johnstone repeating his success in the Nature category with a delightfully composed shot of a stag in the mist, and Janet Henry taking honours in the Record with a shot of a Rome bridge flanked by an intriguing statue in the foreground.

In the Advanced group, placings and commendations were well spread amongst the group, but the awards were dominated by Jeremy Broome-Smith, winning three of the sections – the Open Mono with an image of two motorcyclists in close competition on a dirt track, the dust ensuring focus on the riders (and which also won Best Digital Image in competition), the Creative with a detailed (almost weird!) composite involving a waterfall, a lighthouse, a twist of land and much else besides, and the Record with a quite beautiful Islington church interior. Nigel Owen took the Open Colour section with a wonderful close-up of a sunflower centre, pin sharp and with vibrant colours , whilst Sue Blythe completed the group with a win in Nature, this time of a kingfisher emerging from water with a minnow in its beak, again highly detailed and with excellent colours.

The evening finished with our judge, Jeremy Malley-Smith giving a presentation of a recent photographic safari to Botswana, taking in the Okavanga Delta and the Chobe National Park – and resulting in some stunning shots of the wildlife (elephants, lions, hippos, bee-eaters, rollers, antelope etc) – all much enjoyed by our members. Yet another excellent evening of photography!

The IOMPS season of weekly meetings is now coming to a close, but our members will have opportunity during the summer to practice their skills with field trips and social events – details will be found in due course on our website Members of the public interested in attending these events should make contact via our website for further details.

The IOMPS thanks the Arts Council for their continued support.

By Chris Blyth

 ‘Fighting it Out’ by Jeremy Broome-Smith gained Best Digital Image in the Annual competition

Three Way Battle with Oldham and Rochdale

For some years now, the IOM Photographic Society has annually held a three-way digitally projected image competition with the Oldham Society and the Rochdale and District Camera Club.

It is a very special competition in that each club submits 25 images, whilst one of the Oldham members videos the competition on our behalf and we get to show the result a few weeks later as a film show – the only such event in our calendar and one much anticipated as the video is always of a very high standard. There are also the added benefits of being able to watch a (usually very well qualified) UK judge comment on our images as well as compare our skills with two similar clubs from the other island. We have only won this competition once, the Oldham Society otherwise having been the winners each year – they are a very competitive club with a number of members winning at UK national level.

All images are marked out of a maximum of 20 points, the usual judging process being a quick review without comment of all the entries, followed by an in-depth analysis and the award of a score. Images of particular interest demanding closer examination are normally held back till later – usually for the award of a high mark, and adding considerably to the suspense. At the half-way stage with those images scored, we were in close touch of Oldham with Rochdale already lagging somewhat – but Oldham had more images in the “yet to be scored” category. As these later scores emerged, Oldham moved into a decisive lead, the eventual result giving Oldham a score of 416 versus IOMPS with 400 and Rochdale on 380. As Club President Chris Blyth pointed out, the key to such a competition is strength in depth – scoring just three-quarters of a point more on average per image would have given a different result.           As it was, an image from our own Jeremy Broome-Smith of a buzzard eyeing a wasp flying close by was awarded the “best image of the evening” and a maximum score of 20 – we just needed a few more of that quality ! Maybe next year….

Common Buzzard by Jeremy Broome-Smith

Two Way Digital Battle 20th March 2019

A “Two Way Digital Battle” with the North West Bristol Club was the subject of this week’s meeting of the IOM Photographic Society – an event which has been running for a number of years and one always keenly fought between two broadly equivalent clubs. The event is unusual in that the event is judged at both clubs – thirty images from each club being entered, each with a maximum score of 20 points – with the scores of the two judges being amalgamated to decide the overall winning club. Fortunately, the judges have always agreed which club has won although the scores of individual images have obviously varied, sometimes quite significantly.

Our judge was Steve Babb, well known local photographer, a media arts teacher, and Chairman of the Western Society – so well qualified to assess the images being presented. He duly performed above and beyond all expectations, with an enthusiastic and knowledgeable commentary which held the attention of our members. He had very clearly studied all the entries in great detail, and provided a full justification for all his scores – assessing each with an excellent eye and a real appreciation of the opportunity taken by each photographer to “get the shot”, and of just how each might have been improved.

At the halfway stage, our home team had a modest scoring advantage – but any image thereafter scoring a low mark could have had a major impact on the result, so suspense remained high. However, our final entry – appropriately titled “Saving the Best Till Last” – saw Jeremy Broome-Smith’s image gaining the only maximum score of 20 on the night and ensuring the win for the IOM Society – a club total of 492 points to Bristol’s 470. The Bristol judge happily agreed with the result, having scored the competition overall in very similar fashion 482 for the IOMPS to Bristol’s 461 – though with 4 of the IOPMS entry getting a maximum score from the Bristol judge compared with just one for their team.


3rd Assignment Competition, After Dark.

The IOM Photographic Society held its third assignment competition this week, the set subject being “After Dark”, a theme in part inspired from an earlier presentation from the Astronomical Society where night shots of the moon, stars and the Milky Way had featured. It was also intended to “stretch” the skills of our members with the need to understand the technical requirements for such a theme – of longer exposures or higher iso settings when compared with daylight work.

Our judge was Ron Strathdee, an island based photographer with his own website “””) featuring several hundred images of the island, including night-time shots – so well qualified to assess our members’ work, as indeed his well-paced commentary showed.

Claire Schreuder dominated in the Intermediate Print section, taking honours in the monochrome section with “Sax in the City” – a delightfully back-lit shot of a saxophonist against a shopping centre backdrop – and similarly in the colour section with a super night shot of Wawel Castle in Krakov. A larger entry in the Advanced class saw close competition. In the monochrome, Sue Blythe and Jeremy Broome-Smith vied for the award, both scoring highly but Jeremy’s print of the Milky Way from Niarbyl having the edge. In the colour section, Chris Blyth and Sue Blythe both scored maximum marks, but Sue winning the judge’s eye with a beautifully back-lit image of the “Fab Four” taken on Liverpool waterfront, and which deservedly gained the judge’s preference as the print of the evening.

The Intermediate digital entries saw Janet Henry getting the judge’s preference in both monochrome and colour sections – a lovely shot of a bench in the park lit by moonlight in the monochrome, and an atmospheric and misty shot of “Stevensons Way” in the colour. The Advanced class was again highly competitive, with Ruth Nicholls, Sue Blythe and Barry Murphy all awarded a similar score in the monochrome section, but Barry’s pub image of a pint glass of Guinness “One for the Road” gaining favour. In the colour section, Ruth had two images with high scores, her shot of a shopping centre and the reflections off wet pavements and street-side cafe tables being preferred. Janet Henry’s image “Bench in the Moonlight” was awarded digital image of the evening.

27th February “Magic of Africa”

It was the turn this week of Graham Harvey to make a presentation to the IOM Photographic Society with a selection of over 200 digital images entitled “Magic of Africa” – and he did a superb job, to the great enjoyment of our members. Graham is well known for his work both in the IOM Lions Club and at the Curraghs Wildlife Park, where he takes responsibility for stimulating corporate sponsorship and managing the volunteers in helping develop and maintain the facilities. He also now spends some of his time volunteering at the Kariega Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth in South Africa – making annual trips for the last five years – which has given him privileged access to the wildlife there and providing the opportunity for some close-up photography.
Graham’s presentation split neatly into two halves – the first being of the wildlife where his images were spectacular.           Antelope such as springbok, kudu, blesbok, water buck and eland featured, as well as predators such as lions, serval, and cheetah, rhinos, hippos, and giraffes – often in the company of their young offspring and making for some delightful shots. Birdlife was also shown with a number of images of unusual and very brightly coloured species such as the narina trogon, glossy starling, and malachite kingfisher, but also including predators such as secretary birds and fish eagles. A more serious problem was finding a highly poisonous boomslang (literally “tree snake”) in one of the bedrooms……perhaps a close encounter of the wrong kind!
The second section was of a more serious social nature, covering the charity work with the local Xhosa people and particularly with a school and a soup kitchen providing food for the children in the local township of Ekuphumleni. The images were fascinating. and revealed much about local life and the issues facing modern South Africa – poverty, education, social inequality and unemployment – issues very clearly exposed with the power of photography.

13th February 2019 – 3rd Open Competition

An abundance of top quality images being judged by Andrew Barton, well known local professional and a great friend to the IOM Photographic Society provided the activity at this week’s meeting.           Members had submitted nearly 100 entries for our third Open Competition, where the images can be of any subject. A gargantuan task, and unusually, Andrew had chosen to make his decisions “on the fly” – judging on the night without previous knowledge of the entries. It proved very successful, his comments helpful and given with great aplomb, whilst his selections were well accepted.

Print images were judged first, with Jeremy Broome-Smith vying with Barry Murphy for the top position but taking the honours in the Advanced colour section – his “Atlantic Coast” being a lovely pastel composition. The monochrome section was particularly difficult with high marks for images from Sue Blythe, Sue Leeming, Jeremy Broome-Smith and Barry Murphy, but the latter taking the judge’s eye with a well printed image of Worthing Pier. In the Intermediate group, a lovely profile shot of a red panda earned Claire Schreuder the win in the colour section, with Geoff Atkinson and Jonathan Carey in close pursuit.  A silhouette shot of the Ben-My-Chree against the Tower of Refuge. and a lone walker on the beach in the foreground gave Jonathan the edge in the monochrome.

In a closely contested Advanced colour digital section, Jeremy was again the one to beat, with two of his images receiving top marks, the image “Passages 100 Years On” of barnacle encrusted ruins in shallow water against a sunset sky being the judge’s favourite, both of this section and of the evening. Di McCudden produced a beautifully composed image of the groynes at Glen Mooar to gain the award in the Advanced monochrome section, again in a close contest with four other members. The Intermediate colour digital saw Beryl Quayle and Claire Schreuder both get top marks, with Claire’s image being the judge’s preference – a lovely portrait of Angelika, the lighting very well handled. Pat Larkham, Jiri Podobsky and Jonathan Carey were all in close pursuit.           Claire repeated her success in the Monochrome, this time with a close-up portrait of a chess competitor in deep concentration of her next move.

January 23rd 2019

The latest meeting of the IOM Photographic Society provided lots of interest for our audience – the first half being an assignment competition on the set subject of “Sports and Leisure”, and the second half the showing of the results of our monthly “fun project”, this time the December theme of “reflections”.

Our judge for the assignment competition was Geoff McCann, MD of a local copier and print company with considerable experience of photography and, perhaps understandably, with a stated affection for print rather than digitally projected work. His comments were brief, sometimes humourous, but very much to the point, with an expectation, for example, that images for the subject required “energy” and “movement” to create atmosphere, emotion and impact, and to draw the viewer into the image.

The Advanced Colour Prints were first up, with Jeremy Broome-Smith gaining selection as the judge’s favourite in this section – a motor bike shot “Me and My Shadow at Church Bends” where the rider and bike were clearly in motion and with the shadow defined against the background scenery.           Sue Blythe demonstrated her expertise with the award in the Advanced Mono Prints – a lovely canine action portrait, “Dog Agility”.   In the Intermediate Group, Claire Schreuder took the honours in both Colour and Mono Prints, a delightful and pin sharp show-jumping image “Eyes Forward” in the colour, and an image of a child hanging upside down from a swing in the mono, “The Isle of Upsidedown” – a “different approach” to quote our judge.

The Advanced Colour Digital again saw Jeremy Broome-Smith in favour, a superb (if nervous) selfie of his legs in a kayak, a curious seal very obviously taking a very close interest in his toes! In the Advanced Mono section, Barry Murphy emerged with the award, a striking and characterful portrait “The Mechanic” taking the honours. Mike Howland’s image of a trials biker climbing a steep grass bank was the stand-out image in the Intermediate Digital Colour whilst Beryl Quayle’s image of a kite surfer at Port Erin gave her a well deserved award in the mono section.

January 16th 2019

Two very talented photographers (as it happens, husband and wife) – two presentations, both travelogues and both highly enjoyable – provided the programme for this week’s meeting of the IOM Photographic Society.           And, like a school essay question, our audience had the opportunity to “compare and contrast” their styles and their work.

First off was husband Chris Nicholls presenting travel shots of Slovenia – a “broad brush, macro” approach starting in the port of Piran, a well preserved mediaeval town with narrow cobbled streets, its historical relationship with Venice evident in the architecture of the church and houses. We then traversed Slovenia, taking in many images of churches, caves, castles and countryside. The church at Hrastovije with wonderful fresco paintings dating from the 12th Century, whilst the deep limestone gorge and resulting caves at Skotchan and nearby Predjama Castle were particularly impressive. We then moved on to the Julian Alps – with wonderful mountain scenery – and onwards to the popular destination of Lake Bled with its iconic church on a small island in the middle. A side trip to Lake Bohniji included images of a typical village with hay barns, wood stores and old houses – some very evocative. It was a well considered and presented traditional travelogue.

By contrast, wife Ruth Nicholls took a more “micro” approach, concentrating her presentation on the town of Rovinj in nearby Croatia – again a port with an attractive harbour, a church perched high on a hill overlooking the town, and narrow streets. As well as giving us a detailed view of the town and harbour area, the presentation was very much a “photographers tour” – yes, a travelogue but with a definite artistic slant, with interest in both the wider picture and in the smaller scale detail. There were shots of the same (or very similar) scene taken at different times of day or night to show just how the mood and feel of an image changes with the light – for example, the “blue hour” around the dawn with a slightly “cold” feel, the “golden hour” near sunset when everything has a much “warmer” hue – all beautifully shown and explained.

Both photographers have recently changed their camera systems to Fuji – and the realistic colours and pin-sharp images throughout both presentations were noted in a well deserved vote of thanks given by the club president, Chris Blyth.

December 2018

The IOM Photographic Society is this week in its mid-winter break for Christmas and New Year, so this is perhaps an opportune moment to reflect upon our season so far – and we’d like to think, a very successful one!

The highlights have been many – some excellent and well-received presentations, several practical sessions, and our programme of regular competitions well supported with a myriad of high quality entries – all contributing to a balanced range of activities to be enjoyed by our members.           Presentations so far have included ones by Shan Fisher (on portraiture), Carmen Norman (landscape) and Jake Huxley and Kevin Deakes from the Astronomical Society (astrophotography) – all representing popular genres and ones which our members have been keen to understand and to improve upon.

The practicals have covered some fairly basic techniques but ones for which many members would have had limited experience – each being led by more advanced members. The first was on macro (close-up) photography using for example, some thinly sliced fruit back-lit to show structure and colour or bubbles in oily water for some colourful pattern shots. Our most recent session included model portraiture using either flash or continuous lighting in typical studio sets with a range of backdrops.

A particular satisfaction has been the level of participation in our various internal competitions with the quantity and quality of the entries being excellent in both our Intermediate and Advanced groups – and resulting in some very close contests. The 3 Way Digital Battle with the two other island clubs was a much anticipated and enjoyed event, bringing together many of the island’s photographers in our annual social challenge – the resulting win therefore a big morale boost.

Members have also been encouraged to show their work in non-competitive “monthly assignments” set by Barry Murphy – and the wide range of images resulting has been a very clear demonstration of the artistic talent in the Society – something the committee is particularly keen to continue.

The next meeting in our formal season will be on Wednesday 9th January when Club President, Chris Blyth, will be giving a presentation of his work. The Society meets on Wednesday evenings at the Art Society building in Withington Road, Douglas, starting at 7:30pm. Meantime, we would wish all our readers a “Happy and Healthy New Year”.

Chris Blyth

Second Open Competition – 5th December 2018

“My Boy Pixel” – by Janet Henry

The IOM Photographic Society continued its programme this week with the Second Open Competition of the season, where the author is free to choose the subject matter for their images. An excellent – and competitive – evening was ensured, with the membership providing more than 100 entries, as usual split between prints and digitally projected images, between colour and monochrome, and between our Intermediate and Advanced members.

Judging is no easy task when the images are of high quality and with widely varying subjects. Fortunately, Mike Radcliff, a locally based professional photographer proved well up to the requirement – his comments were necessarily concise but relevant, his marking consistent, and his awards at the end of each section well accepted.

In the Advanced Colour Prints, three authors with 5 images between them – Jeremy Broome-Smith, Sue Blythe and Annette Slater – all gained top marks of 20, but it was the latter with an image of a woodpecker close-up who got the judge’s favour. In the Advanced Monochrome Prints, Sue Leeming competed with Sue Blythe for the honours, both again having been awarded top marks for their entry, but Sue Blythe’s portrait – “The Look Of Love” – of a Mum and Dad with a new-born baby in their hands and excellent lighting gained preference. Claire Schreuder dominated the Intermediate Prints in both Colour and Monochrome sections – two beautifully composed and lit cookery still-life images gaining maximum marks in the Colour section, whilst her shot of Rome’s Colosseum gained award in the Monochrome.

The digital sections proved extremely competitive with a wealth of top quality images. The same three authors who dominated the Colour Prints again proved the ones to beat in the Digital Colour – Annette Slater, Jeremy Broome-Smith and Sue Blythe all gaining maximum scores of 20 and all with natural history images. However, Sue Blythe took the award with a really close-up shot of a tiger, the whiskers and teeth pin sharp. Annette again proved very competitive in the Monochrome, vying with Nigel Owen for the award, both with top marks. However, Nigel’s image – of a bowing iris almost in silhouette – gained preference. New member Janet Henry emerged smiling in the Intermediate Colour section with a delightful image “My Boy Pixel” – a dog in a woodland surrounding – gaining maximum points, with Geoff Atkinson, Steve Johnstone and Claire Schreuder all in contention. In Monochrome, Geoff’s lovely shot of the Point of Ayre lighthouse against a beautifully captured cloudscape took the judge’s eye for the top award.

Chris Blyth

Photographing the Night Sky – 28th November 2018

The wonders of the night sky – and how to photograph it and them – provided the IOM Photographic Society with the subject matter for this week’s meeting – from satellites to the International Space Station, from far-off galaxies to eclipses and the beauty of the aurora borealis.  Given one of our assignment competitions later in the season is “After Dark”, it was a particularly relevant topic for our members, and one we had eagerly anticipated.

We were therefore delighted to welcome two expert speakers from the IOM Astronomical Society to present to us – Jake Huxley and Kevin Deakes, the latter a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.    Both had very clearly tailored their presentations to our audience of keen photographers, with a wealth of superb images of the night sky, each carefully explained in terms of its context and science.  Jake started our evening with a particular focus on eclipses – partial and total, with images from a number of eclipses from around the world.  Clearly a widely travelled man, his fascination with eclipses and the associated solar flares and sun spots provided us with much to enthuse about.

For the second half, Kevin Deakes was kind enough to explain that many of the images to be shown were shot with quite basic camera equipment, and – perhaps surprisingly – shot from his garden here on the island.  The message was clear – some great shots are possible given the commitment (images necessarily taken when most people are sound asleep in bed !).   A rapid explanation of his kit – a digital camera with a range of fairly standard lenses and a very firm tripod plus a knowledge of the stars (perhaps assisted with some “apps” such as “stellarium” on a mobile phone or computer) – and we were off on a tour of the possibilities for night-time images.  Eclipses, meteorites, satellites, the International Space Station, the aurora borealis, even deep space galaxies were all beautifully illustrated and clearly explained.

Chris Blyth, President, gave a deserved vote of thanks on behalf of the membership.

3 Way Battle

As current holders of the title, the IOM Photographic Society was this week delighted to host the Annual 3 Way Digital Battle with the island’s two other camera clubs, the Southern and the Western Societies. The event was held at the South Douglas Old Friends Association – it proved a very popular venue, the room allowing an excellent view of all the images for our large audience.

Our judge for the night was Ian Aldcroft ARPS, President of the Lancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union (the federation to which all three clubs belong) who was invited in particular as it has been some years since the last visit by a member of the L&CPU executive. Ian has had a distinguished career in the photographic world, his monochrome portraits in particular being classic images of high quality and beautifully lit. and which gained him the ARPS qualification. In justifying his scores (all being out of a maximum of 20), his commentary was affable, softly spoken and knowledgeable.

All three clubs have a membership of excellent photographers so a very competitive evening was assured, with 30 images from each club being judged. The key to such a competition however is strength in depth – of having a mix of entries across the board which all gain a good to high score. And so it proved on the night.  The IOMPS entry included 3 images gaining maximum 20’s (from Sue Leeming and Jeremy Broome-Smith). These were matched by 3 images from the Southern also gaining maximum scores, one of which ( from Andrea Thrussell – a lovely sunset seascape with kayaks returning to shore) won the Judge’s favour as the individual image best meeting his own preferences – he confessed during the evening to enjoying sunsets, cats and portraiture. 

Heading home by the SPS

However, the IOM Photographic Society had established an early overall lead, never gave it up, and ended the evening with a winning score of 533 points to the Southern’s 508, and with the Western on 493.

Chris Blyth

Assignment Competition Landscapes 21 November 2018

The first of our Assignment Competitions provided the subject matter for this week’s meeting of the IOM Photographic Society – the assignment being “‘Scapes”, meaning any variation on themes such as landscape, seascape, townscape, skyscape etc – a very open topic with a variety of interpretations, but one chosen specifically to attract a wide entry. The resulting entry of 62 digital images and 45 prints, spread over both monochrome and colour sections, and split between both Intermediate and Advanced members, gave our judge a particularly onerous task.

Fortunately, we had the pleasure of welcoming Dorothy Flint ARPS AFIAP BPE4* from the Western Society to judge for us – one of the most experienced and qualified photographers on the island who proved well up to the task. She has an excellent eye, takes enormous effort and time to consider every image presented to her, and whilst her comments were necessarily brief, they were very much to the point.

The prints proved particularly competitive, with very high quality images across the board – albeit a real difficulty for our judge in differentiating her marking. Jonathan Carey’s entry in the Intermediate Colour Prints of a well balanced and busy image of the Port of Livorno narrowly winning favour over two images of Venice from Claire Scheuder. However, Claire then took honours in the Intermediate Mono Prints with another image from Venice, this time of the Basilica of Santa Maria Dell Salute, with Beryl Quayle closely following with two images from a trip to Liverpool. In the Advanced Prints, a number of images were awarded top marks of 20 in both the Mono and Colour sections – Sue Blythe and Jeremy Broome-Smith in Mono and both joined by Ruth Nicholls for the Colour section. However, Dorothy chose images by Jeremy in both sections as her favoured selections for the evening – a landscape in the Colour section (“View Over Conors Pass”) and a lakeside image in the Mono (“Ashness”).

View over Conor’s Pass by Jeremy Broome-Smith

It was a similar story for the digital sections, with the same authors always in close contention for the judge’s preference – Jonathan Carey’s lovely image of the blue domes of Santorini scoring highly in the Colour Intermediate section, with Janet Henry and Beryl Quayle providing close competition, whilst Claire Schreuder won favour in the Mono section with another image of the Basilica in Venice with Richard Shafto and Janet henry close behind. In the Advanced section, Jeremy Broome-Smith completed a clean sweep of all sections, his image of Scarlett Point gaining preference in the Colour competition with images from Ruth Nicholls, Sue Blythe and Nigel Owen closely following, whilst Jeremy’s image of the Dingle Peninsula took honours in the Mono, with images from Sue Leeming and Sue Blythe providing close competition.

Club President Chris Blyth gave a well earned vote of thanks, with special thanks to the competitors for providing a really excellent set of images for all to enjoy and for the judge to ponder on.

Chris Blyth

Report for 7th November 2018

The First Open Prints competition (where the photographer is free to choose the subject matter) provided the entertainment for this week’s meeting of the IOM Photographic Society – with Dennis Wood from the Western Society proving to be a very discerning and knowledgeable judge, forthright in his commentary on the near 50 images presented in competition. Dennis has been a regular judge for our Society, respected because of his expertise both behind the camera and in his understanding of “post-production” digital processes such as photoshop, and the manipulations they make possible on a computer. Members will have learnt much from the very detailed, almost forensic analysis of each image, and particularly the need to check each entry to ensure the judge has little to critique and much to admire…..

Four sections were judged – the two member groups (Intermediate and Advanced)  encouraged to enter both monochrome and colour sections.  With a scoring system based on a maximum of 20, and with the judge able to award this score to multiple images, we no longer refer to “winners” but to the “Judge’s Selection” or “Preference” in each section. A strong entry in the Advanced Colour saw Jeremy Broome-Smith’s image of a Peregrine carrying its prey in its talons was favoured , with a deserved maximum score – the bird flying straight towards the camera and the image pin sharp. There was an equally strong entry in the Advanced Monochrome with our judge selecting Annette Slater’s image “Best Viewed From Above” as his preference – a very detailed, pin sharp landscape of a valley, the mist and low clouds on the hills in the background, and a dog highlighted on a crag in the foreground making a bold impact on the image.

The Intermediate Colour selection saw the judge prefer new member Claire Scheuder’s still life of fruit and vegetables “Casserole Tonight” – a well organised and beautifully lit shot including garlic, onions and grapes on a black background. The evening finished with the Intermediate Monochrome and Richard Shafto’s almost (but not quite) silhouetted image of a line of cormorants sitting on posts near shore getting his approval.

The Society meets at the Art Society Building (Thie Ellyn) in Withington Road, Douglas, with all meetings starting at 7:30pm. Our next meeting on Wednesday, 21st November       will be the judging of our first assignment competition – ‘Scapes (meaning landscapes,, seascapes, townscapes etc).       Meetings are open to the public, and all will be given a very warm welcome. Full details of our programme can be found on our website at

Chris Blyth

Report for 31/10/2018

The latest meeting of the IOM Photographic Society came in two halves – the first comprised a session of members’ images taken either on Society outings during our “summer break” or on two non-competitive assignments set by Barry Murphy to encourage the use of a camera during idle moments….

This proved very successful with a wide range of excellent images from the membership – the outings included visits to Tynwald, the Gaiety, Kentraugh Mill, the Ayres Nature Reserve, and a day trip to Liverpool – and resulted in some almost iconic shots. The two challenges – “summer activities” and “images taken within 100yards of your house” – required members to submit two images on each assignment and provided a wide range of interpretations, some taken inside the house, some outside – some lovely images of leaves in bird baths or plastered against a wet window for example were particularly noteworthy, whilst Richard Shafto’s image of derelict properties in Spain (the result of their financial crash since 2009) was quite dispiriting but an excellent example of “reportage” current affairs style.

The second half was the showing of a folio of 60 images from the Lancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union, which for the first time was shown as digitally projected images rather than as prints. This gave the immediate benefit that all members had a good view of the image and were able to appreciate the skills exhibited in the various images – and led to a good discussion of the strengths (and sometimes weaknesses) of each image, important for members in developing their awareness of image quality and of being able to critique an image to identify possible improvements.

Our next meeting on Wednesday, 14th November will be the Island Three-Way Digital Battle between the IOM Photographic Society (current holders of the title) and our rivals at the Western and Southern Clubs. This will be held at the South Douglas Old Friends Association in Finch Road, Douglas.  Meetings are open to the public with an entry fee for this special event of £4, and all will be given a very warm welcome. Full details of our programme can be found on our website at


‘Moods in Landscape’ presentation by Carmen Norman 24th October 2018

From time to time, members of the Society have the opportunity to hear an experienced guest presenter from the adjacent island. So, it was a particular pleasure when our Vice-President, Dr Ruth Nicholls, invited us to give a warm welcome to Carmen Norman LRPS, CPAGB from the Keswick Photographic Society in Cumbria recently. Carmen had titled her presentation ‘Moods in Landscape’ which was filled with basic educational and useful advice on landscape photography, in which genre she has won awards and had work accepted for publishing in various photo magazines. In fact, from her base in the Lake District she also runs various landscape photography courses and workshops which receive rave reviews! Moreover, she has also had published a set of field notes on how to derive the most from your chosen location and viewpoint.

Carmen began by giving details of the type and range of equipment she normally uses for her land and seascapes, before proceeding to project examples of her work. She then gave a simple demonstration on how she had used software to enhance her images in order to focus the viewer’s attention by highlighting the key features. Her easy presentational style made for an interesting evening during which you could have heard a pin drop as she illustrated a step by step guide to processing RAW images. Her advice on perspective, exposure compensation, the rules of composition (Thirds and Phi), and on setting different modes of White Balance, depending on the desired results, were particularly instructional and well received.

This was an extremely high quality presentation, broken into broadly 6 segments before and after refreshments, which gave just enough detail without becoming overly technical. She also drew on a few relevant quotations from a number of notable people as diverse as Sir Robin Knox-Johnston CBE RD, the oldest yachtsman to complete a round the world solo voyage, and American poet and educator, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. She had decided to close with a short video accompanied by appropriate background music.

It fell to one of the Society’s Life Members, Brenda Shimmin, to propose a vote of thanks on this occasion which she did in her customarily eloquent style and which drew an enthusiastic response from the enthralled audience.

By Antony Hamilton

First Open Digital Competition 17 Oct 2018

The latest meeting of the IOM Photographic Society proved a very successful introduction to the competition programme with over 70 entries for the first Open Digital. The evening also saw the introduction of a new scoring system, with all images given a score out of 20. There were 4 sections being critiqued – Intermediate and Advanced groups each split into mono and colour images. Our judge for the evening saw the return of Doug Allan – a long-term favourite of the Society who has judged on a number of previous occasions. His comments are always carefully considered, concise, well researched and supportive of the entrant whilst his scoring was well calibrated and consistent.

The first section – Advanced Colour – saw a series of extremely high quality images, particularly of natural history subjects – with 5 images from 4 different authors (Jeremy Broome-Smith, Sue Blythe, Dianne McCudden and Barry Murphy) all gaining a maximum score of 20, the judge unable to separate them in terms of technical excellence. Only on the judge’s personal preference did Jeremy’s image “Peregrine with Prey” get the winning nod.

The Advanced Mono section was again won by Jeremy with a sports action shot of two grass track motor-bikers racing neck-and-neck. A superb image from Sue Blythe of a tiger’s face very close-up and with every hair clearly seen ran a (very) close second place, in turn hotly pursued by images from Sue Leeming and Barry Murphy.

The Intermediate Colour section saw new member Claire Schreuder winning on her maiden outing with a colourful image of two ladies taking a picture of flowers decorating two houses, their dresses mirroring the colours of the walls. Lara Howe’s red squirrel feeding on a wet day took second place.

The final section – Intermediate Mono – saw two images gaining scores of 19 – an old lady accordion player by Jonathan Carey and an image of the Steam Railway engine “Kissack” from Mike Howland, with the latter gaining the judge’s favours. Beryl Quayle as always proved a strong competitor with effectively the third place score.

Whilst Jeremy’s image of the peregrine taken on the island was judged the overall winner on the night, the close competition – in all sections – and quality of the images augurs well for a highly competitive season with some great shots in prospect. Doug Allan’s performance as judge also gained a well-deserved round of applause.

Our website at includes full details of our programme. Meetings are held at Thie Ellyn (the Art Society building) in Withington Road, Douglas on Wednesday evenings starting at 7:30pm, with the next on 31st October being a digital presentation of a folio from our federation, the Lancashire and Cheshire Union, to be followed by members showing some of their images from IOMPS events. All meetings are open to the public, non-members with a modest entry charge, and all will be made very welcome.           We look forward to seeing you there….

Chris Blyth

Presentation by Shan Fisher 10/10/18

Another delightful evening this week at the IOM Photographic Society, with Shan Fisher – a well known and award winning photographer on the island – presenting her work as a portrait / wedding / maternity / babies / and fashion photographer.

Some 15 years ago, Shan was a member of the society – young but very successful in our competitions. She then disappeared for some years to London to complete her studies but has now carved out a career here on the island, with an enviable reportoire of skills and a portfolio of images of the highest quality.

She believes the secret to her success lies in building a rapport with her clients, and in preparation, planning and organising the events – a comprehensive plan which times in considerable detail the various elements of a photographic shoot and the shots the client would like, but always with a degree of flexibility – baby’s feeding times or naps for example necessarily cannot always be anticipated ! She also believes very strongly that one should always strive to improve – to be the best at whatever you choose to do (a “life choice” drilled into her by her mother) – and to share an empathy with other people. For her, images are highly emotional – a record to cherish and to love as a permanent reminder of life’s events. Her presentation was richly illustrated with promotional videos and images of her work – and deservedly got a well earned round of applause at the end of the evening.

Our website at includes full details of our programme and a map showing our location.           Our meetings are held at Thie Ellyn (the Art Society building) in Withington Road, Douglas on Wednesday evenings starting at 7:30pm. Our next meeting on 24th October is a presentation by Carmen Norman entitled “Landscape Moods”. She is a well known landscape worker from the Lake District – with all that beautiful scenery right on her doorstep, it is certain to be a fascinating and stimulating evening. All meetings are open to the public, non-members with a modest entry charge, and all will be made very welcome.  We strive to be the island’s meeting place for all with a love of photography.   We look forward to seeing you there….

Chris Blyth

Macro Photography 03/10/18

The latest meeting of the IOM Photographic Society proved a major success as members were given a demonstration of macro (close-up) photography followed by the opportunity to practice the use of their own cameras and to get “the shot” for themselves.  In particular, the evening required members to use purely “manual” settings on their cameras rather than the default “automatic” setting with which most of us are happy to use most of the time.

Three set-ups, complete with the necessary lighting arrangement, were provided by our Competitions Secretary, Jeremy Broome-Smith who was ably assisted by Nigel Owen for the evening.  The first was of a glass dish filled with an olive oil and water mixture, back-lit and fitted with various coloured backgrounds and when suitably agitated, provided the opportunity for some colourful and surprisingly vivid images of bubbles.  The second arrangement enabled the photography of thin slices of fruit such as kiwi, orange or lemon – again back-lit with a light panel.  No excuses on these set-ups as the bubbles and fruit don’t move and the photographer has complete control of the arrangements!  The third set was also a very simple one – a clear glass vase filled with water into which a strawberry or a lemon slice was being dropped, the idea being to capture the “splash” as the fruit hit the surface and the bubbles as it descended through the liquid.  Here timing was everything – too soon and the fruit was still in the air, too late and the shot was missed.

Much banter ensued amongst the members as they explored the various arrangements – and whilst not all the shots were necessarily perfect, the intent was to stimulate and provide ideas which could then be replicated at home.  Assuming ownership of a camera and a flash-gun, none of the arrangements required specialist equipment or would be difficult to set up – just a certain amount of time and the enthusiasm to “have a go”.

Our website at includes full details of our programme.  Our meetings are held at Thie Ellyn (the Art Society building) in Withington Road, Douglas on Wednesday evenings starting at 7:30pm.  All meetings are open to the public, non-members with a modest entry charge, and all will be made very welcome. Our next meeting on Wednesday 17th October is an “Open Digital” competition.  If you enjoy photography in any or all of its forms, we’d be delighted to see you…

Chris Blyth

Summer Shots!  (for 26/9/18)

It was a spectacular start to our new season, with more than a dozen of our members showing their enthusiasm by taking turns to show images of their “summer” activities.  The intent was to have a “social evening” and the opportunity to chat and reminisce – and it turned out to be a much enjoyed evening.

Holidays and travel obviously featured large – with Chris and Ruth Nicholls showing images of life in rural France as well as a major wedding anniversary celebrated on a break in Annecy on the Swiss border. Jonathan Carey also celebrated an anniversary, sharing some excellent images taken on a Mediterranean cruise around Greece, whilst Ron and Brenda Shimmin, threatened with strike action in France, took the opportunity to switch their destination to Genoa.

Closer to home, Sue Leeming enjoyed kayaking and time on the Calf of Man, Beryl Quayle showed a love of natural history shots as well as an evocative image of Archallagan in the mist, Barry Murphy enjoyed shooting kite surfers at Ballaugh, whilst Richard Leach demonstrated a multi-talented range of skills, including both cake-making (we look forward to a practical evening?) and his fitness, having completed a 15km marathon swim on the Thames. But Jiri Podobsky is possibly our fittest member, showing images of his exploration of the manx countryside using a hybrid scooter/bicycle – a scooter with bicycle size wheels and capable he says of more than 30mph and on which he has so far travelled more than 1000miles.

“Projects” were well demonstrated, with Bill Callow wandering the streets of Ramsey looking for dogs and their owners to photograph, whilst Martyn Parnell continued to show his TT bike expertise as well as the image quality possible with an 800mm ultra-telephoto lens – a shot of Kates Cottage taken from Douglas Head was pin sharp and very detailed.  At the other end of the photographic world, Jeremy Broome-Smith enjoys macro work and his images included several close-up images of a very hairy jumping spider – some in the audience thought it “cute”….. others perhaps not so sure !

Richard Shafto provided the “aaah” moment of the evening with a lovely shot of two kittens whilst the Red Arrows and their Italian counterparts provided several members with action shots including Mike Trout.

The Society meets at the Art Society Building (Thie Ellyn) in Withington Road, Douglas, with all meetings starting at 7:30pm. Our next meeting on Wednesday, 10th October will be a presentation by Shan Fisher on her portrait work.  Meetings are open to the public, and all will be given a very warm welcome.  Full details of our programme can be found on our website at

Chris Blyth