Reports 2016-2017

IOMPS Reports During September 2016

29th September 2016 – IOMPS New Season Underway

President Tony Curtis welcomed both old and new members to the first evening of the new season on Wednesday 28th September

Following a busy summer of outings which included visits to an aircraft hanger, Lorne House, Jurby race days and the Calf Sound, Wednesday 28th September was the first meeting of the 2016/17 season of the Isle of Man Photographic Society.

The evening was an informal meeting and included a slideshow of the previous year’s digital annual entries. Visitors were also able to pay their annual membership and view examples of ‘print panel’ submissions – a competition which is held in December.

The club meets every Wednesday at Thie Ellyn with a 7.30pm start time, guests are welcome and there is a £1 entry fee for non-members. This year’s schedule runs until 26th April and features a variety of open and themed competitions, critique sessions, guest speakers and presentations.

This season’s themed competitions are: ‘Old & New’, ‘Song, Book or Film Title’, ‘Man & Machine’ and ‘Something Manx’. Competitions are judged by a selection of well-known photographers who provide extensive feedback on the images submitted.

Guest speakers this season include Phil Kneen on the 30th November and Dr. Jeremy Paul on the 8th February.

We are always looking for new speakers so if you are a local photographer who may wish to present to the group please do get in touch via our facebook page:

The full programme can be viewed here:

By Hazel Walsh

IOMPS Reports During October 2016

27th October 2016 – October Digital Open Competition

Best Image in the first digital Open competition of the season was “The Puffin” by Barry Murphy

On Wednesday evening 19th October the Isle of Man Photographic Society held an Open Digital Competition at Thie Ellyn, off Withington Road, Douglas.

Our President, Tony Curtis, introduced Ray Kelly as our judge for the projected digital images. There were 34 entries in the three classes.

Before judging any pictures Ray remarked that there were no bad images in tonight’s competition. He also commented that an extraordinarily high proportion of the images entered were natural history photographs – about half of them had birds, animals or insects as their subject.

Results for the Standard Class:

3rd: “Look No Hands”, a monochrome image of a surfer balancing on a surf board by Tim Norton.

2nd: “Flying towards the Sunset” by Kevan Osborn. A distant bird flying into the sunset with Bradda Head in the background.

1st: “Cormorant, Douglas Harbour” by Michael Howland, a very sharp and nicely posed cormorant on an orange buoy. Ray commented that the photo would have been better if the buoy had been a different colour, but there was nothing the photographer could do about that!

Results for the Intermediate Class:

3rd :”Angel Wings” by Sue Leeming. A beautiful sharp action shot of a gull in flight.

2nd: “Quarry Falls, Laxey” by Barry Murphy. A very attractive long exposure shot of this small waterfall, including a rainbow.

1st: “The Puffin” also by Barry Murphy, a pin sharp photograph of a puffin in profile, with lovely colours.

Results for the Advanced Class:

3rd: “Horse Play Time” by Chris Nicholls. A dynamic and colourful action shot of the white horses in the Carmargue. Ray commented that the picture could have been improved if more of the water in the foreground could be included to show fully the reflection of the horses.

2nd: “Flying Puffin” by Sue Blythe. A good image of a puffin carrying fish flying directly towards the photographer. Unfortunately the weather had been cloudy, so the colours in this picture were quite dull.

1st: “Chukka Chase” by Bob Servante. A beautifully timed action shot taken at a polo match in the Isle of Man this year. The horses were pin sharp, and remarkably the shot was timed so that all eight hooves were off the ground!

The Best photograph of the evening was judged to be “The Puffin” by Barry Murphy.

Unfortunately none of the three excellent photographs of puffins shown were taken in or around the Isle of Man.

By Richard Shafto

20th October 2016 – October Open Print Competition

Open Print Winners with Judge Seamus Whelan

The IOM Photographic Society was this week treated to an Open Prints competition, the first of our regular competitions in the new season just started. Our judge was Seamus Whelan who proved an able and confident judge with a keen eye for composition – obvious distractions in the image or empty spaces which failed to contribute to the overall image were quickly picked up, as were mono images which lacked contrast.

Rather disappointingly, the …standard group entry was limited to images from just one member Jonathan Carey, who thus automatically won both groups – a pleasing portrait of a bearded male in the mono section, and a lively street scene in the colour. The intermediate group however rose to the challenge, and in a very competitive group, it was Barry Murphy who emerged the winner in both mono and colour sections – a very strong portrait of a rambler against a stone wall winning Barry the mono prize, and a delightful and very well composed image of church pews in lovely light winning the colour. In the advanced section, a good entry also ensured keen competition, with Sue Blythe winning the mono section with a lovely and very sensitively printed image of a pier leading the eye to a lighthouse at the end, and demonstrating excellent depth of field and composition. Janet Servante proved the benefit of attending club outings, winning the colour section with a superb portrait of one of our models at a recent studio lighting demonstration held in the Douglas Market Hall, her hair beautifully caught in a cascade effect.

Our President, Tony Curtis, gave Seamus a well-earned vote of thanks.

“Tom Jackie” by Barry Murphy gained Best Image in the first Open Print competition of the season

Our next meeting on 26th October will include presentations from Ruth Nicholls (Croatia) and husband Chris Nicholls (Italy). IOMPS meetings are held at Thie Ellyn (the Art Society building) in Withington Road, starting at 7:30pm. Meetings are open to the public – non-members with a charge of £1 – and all will be given a very warm welcome.

Results: Standard Group. Mono Prints – Jonathan Carey (1st). Colour Prints – Jonathan Carey (1st). Intermediate Group. Mono Prints – Barry Murphy (1 & 3), Joy Brodie (2), Sue Leeming (4 & 5), Richard Shafto (6). Colour Prints – Barry Murphy (1 & 5), Shirley Lotfy (2 & 6), Richard Shafto (3 & 4), Beryl Quayle (HC). Advanced Group. Mono Prints – Sue Blythe (1 & 3), Bob Servante (2 & 5), Chris Blyth (4), Ron Shimmin (6 & HC). Colour Prints – Janet Servante (1), Ruth Nicholls (2), Chris Blyth (3 & 4), Bob Servante (5), Ron Shimmin (6 & C), Sue Blythe (HC). Best Image in Competition – Barry Murphy with “Tom Jackie”.

By Chris Blyth

13th October 2016 – Studio Lighting and Lightroom

Mike Trout’s image of a drag racer at speed won the fun competition which was the result of a recent IOMPS outing to a drag racing event held at Jurby

This week’s meeting of the IOM Photographic Society was something of a “mix and match”, with a variety of topics being covered. Club President, Tony Curtis, was at one end of the hall presenting a well-prepared session on studio lighting– with himself, when necessary, as the model. The session covered one and two light techniques, lighting for both male and female models, and the positioning of the lights to create various shadow effects on the …face – a very helpful and confidence building presentation for those not familiar with studio lighting.

At the other end of the hall, Richard Leach was demonstrating Lightroom – a digital software package much used by photographers and which has a wealth of features to explore. Richard’s expert presentation, delivered in a very clear and confident manner, majored on the “library” module – essentially a cataloguing system for all the images which build up in one’s computer system over time. The important element – a proper filing system to enable speedy and easy access to any particular image – was stressed, with the essential element in that process being a consistent and recognisable structure to the filing. Thus this might include date, location (or GPS details now available on many modern digital cameras), a colour tag or star rating to show important features, the camera or lens hardware being used, or “word tags” in the metadata (such as clouds, rain, seascape etc)– any or all of which might enable the easy recall of specific images. The presentation also covered some information on batch processing and presets – intended to simplify and speed up image processing for the photographer.

The meeting closed with Tony judging a number of entries to a print competition based on a recent drag racing event at Jurby and which had been the subject of a club outing. Whilst a number of entries were similar in viewpoint and style, Tony’s winning selection, an image by Mike Trout, was of a drag racer at speed on the runway, the background nicely blurred by camera “panning” to emphasise the movement.

Our next meeting on 19th October will include the new season’s first Open Digital Images competition – certain to include some excellent images. IOMPS meetings are held on Wednesday evenings at Thie Ellyn (the Art Society building) in Withington Road, starting at 7:30pm. Meetings are open to the public – non-members with a charge of £1 – and all will be given a very warm welcome.

By Chris Blyth


IOMPS Reports During November 2016

24th November 2016 – November Open Print Competition

“American Great Blue Heron” by Chris Blyth gained “Best Image” in the November Open Print Competition

The IOM Photographic Society this week enjoyed an Open Prints competition, the second of our regular open competitions in our season just started (“open” in the sense that any subject matter is permitted rather than being a specified assignment topic). Our judge was Eddie Fryer, a regular and very popular judge from the Western society, who can always be trusted to give a comprehensive and well considered assessment of our efforts – and with a disappointingly small entry of just under 40 images, Eddie was able to take full advantage of the time available to give a very full and constructive commentary on each image.

Thomas Carr won the Standard Mono section with a river-side image of rocks and rushing water, whilst Jonathan Carey took the colour section with a quite stunning image of an alleyway filled with windows, washing, TV aerials and air conditioning units – a jumble of distracting items but executed with real aplomb and to a very high quality. Barry Murphy’s portrait of an elderly man won him the Intermediate Mono section, the image handled with sympathy but loaded with character and with all the signs of age and experience, whilst a strong close-up shot of an Iberian Wolf earnt Richard Shafto a first place in the Intermediate Colour section.

In the Advanced section, Bob Servante topped the list with a lovely image of a sheep shearer hard at work, the fleece falling around his ankles whilst the next sheep waiting its turn could be seen over the fence. In the Advanced Colour section , a subdued and understated image of an american great blue heron with its catch in beak gave Chris Blyth a first place and perhaps surprisingly, the award of “best image on the night”.

Our President, Tony Curtis, gave Eddie a well-earned vote of thanks, pointing out that for the first time in many weeks, all sections had been won by male competitors – but perhaps a situation unlikely to be repeated anytime soon!

Our next meeting on 30th November will include a presentation from well-travelled and well-known local photographer, Phil Kneen – sure to be a stimulating and interesting experience. IOMPS meetings are held at Thie Ellyn (the Art Society building) in Withington Road, starting at 7:30pm. Meetings are open to the public – non-members with a charge of £1 – and all will be given a very warm welcome.

Results – Standard Group. Mono Prints – Thomas Carr (1), Jonathan Carey (2). Colour Prints – Jonathan Carey (1), Thomas Carr (2). Intermediate Group. Mono Prints – Barry Murphy (1 & 5), Joy Brodie (2), Richard Shafto (3), Sue Leeming (4 & 6). Colour Prints – Richard Shafto (1), Joy Brodie (2), Sue Leeming (3 & 5), Barry Murphy (4 & 6). Advanced Group. Mono Prints – Bob Servante (1 & 5), Ron Shimmin (2 & 4), Chris Blyth (3). Colour Prints – Chris Blyth (1 & 3), Bob Servante (2 & 4), Janet Servante (5 & C), Ron Shimmin (6) Best Image in Competition – Chris Blyth with “ American Great Blue Heron”

By Chris Blyth

17th November 2016 – The Farne Islands and Bamburgh Castle

Puffins in flight by Mike Trout, one of many excellent images taken during a trip to the Farne Islands

This week the Society was treated to a talk by Bob Servante and Mike Trout on the Farne Islands and Bamburgh Castle. Bob and Mike, another member of the Society, visited the Northumberland coast earlier this year to see the nesting sea birds. Although the weather was too rough on the Saturday they made the most of it by spending the rest of the day wandering around the harbour at Seahouses before heading up to Bamburgh Castle. The Castle is an impressiv…e site with its great fortifications and the great hall with its high wooden ceiling. Bob even managed to get a photograph of a blue tit coming out of the castle wall.

Thankfully the weather calmed on Sunday and they made the rough crossings to the Inner Farne Island and it was worth the wait. They were surrounded by hundreds of seabirds flying around them as they travelled over, such as geese, shags, cormorants, guillemots and gulls. Once they landed they were ‘welcomed’ by hundreds of artic terns diving bombing them, protecting their chicks. Luckily the rest of the wildlife was more welcoming.

Bamburgh Castle by Bob Servante

Although they only had an hour to explore the small Island they managed to see most of it and visit not only the wonderful wildlife but also some of the historic building that still remain, such as the lighthouse and St Cuthbert’s Church. They were witness to thousands of puffins, watching them bring in sand eels for their hungry chicks hidden in their burrows. In addition to these charismatic birds, various other sea birds were seen including shags, guillemots, cormorants, razorbills and several species of gulls many of which also nest on the Island. The Farne Islands also support a notable colony of around 6000 grey seals and many were seen hauled out on the rocks around the coastline.

The second half of the evening was a showing of the L&CPU Portfolio. This contained around 60 photographs taken by other photography clubs in the north of England. The portfolio contained both colour and black and white images, providing a great visual experience for our members. There was a vast variety in the subjects photographed from nature to people to landscapes. It certainly gave out members something to aspire to for future competitions. The overall winning photograph was of a surfer riding a large wave. A wonderful image and a worthy winner.

By Lara Howe

10th November 2016 – First Assignment Competition ‘Old and New’

‘The New Blue Dress’ by Hazel Walsh gained Best Digital Image in this season’s first assignment competition ‘Old and New’

Wednesday 2nd November was the first of the season’s themed competitions – with the theme being ‘Old and New’. The judge for the evening was former member Ray Davies, a keen judge who very kindly explained his judging process to us before he commenced with his comments. This was very valuable and helps members to understand what to look for when taking and selecting their competition images. Ray explained several of the aspects he fo…cuses on including impact, technical quality, manipulation (if any), storytelling, subject matter, lasting interest and the images title and presentation.

In the prints section there were no standard entries, but in the intermediate section mono first place went to Beryl Quayle for her image of old townscapes contrasting with a modern coach of tourists in Stockholm. In the colour section the winner was Barry Murphy with his clever image ‘The Old & New Testaments’ which depicted a well lit image of a kindle alongside prayer books in a church pew.

In the advanced section the mono prize went to Bob Servante for his image ‘Cunningham’s Camp Entrance 1934/2016’ which cleverly interspersed an old photo within a current image of the camp entrance. In the advanced colour Chris Blyth took first place for his image ‘As it was then and As it is Now’.

In the digital section first place for the standard group went to Tim Norton for his image ‘Mother and Chick’. In the intermediate the winner was Hazel Walsh with ‘The New Blue Dress’ and in the advanced section first place went to Sue Blythe for ‘Dale Grimshaw’s Street Art (2016) at Brick Lane (1800’s).

‘The Old & New Testaments’ by Barry Murphy took Best Print in the ‘Old and New’ assignment

In both the print and digital competitions the award for best image went to the intermediate members with Barry Murphy winning best print and Hazel Walsh winning best digital image.

It was a busy week for the society as Thursday 3rd November was the annual three way battle that takes place between Isle of Man, Western and Southern photographic societies. The judge for the event, held at Peel Football Club, was David Kneale who provided comprehensive feedback on the 90 images entered. Western took the trophy once again this year scoring a total of 493 points with IOM scoring 477 and Southern 465.

The prize for the best image in the competition also went to Western for ‘Marsh Rider’ by Dorothy Flint.

The society’s next meeting will be on Wednesday 16th November and will feature an Open Print competition. Meetings start at 7.30pm at Thie Ellyn in Douglas and all are welcome.

By Hazel Walsh

3rd November 2016 – From Tuscany to Croatia

Ruth and Chris Nicholls

Last week, members were treated to two high quality presentations by that well known double act, Ruth and Chris Nicholls.  Chris began with his images of Tuscany and Umbria, surely one of the most picturesque areas in the world.  The show depicted popular tourist destinations like Pisa, the walled village of San Gimignano with its distinctive towers, Sienna, and Orvieto, but also revealed the delights of quite a few lesser known Italian towns. 

Villa Belvedere by Chris Nicholls

Chris started at Pisa, with its leaning tower, Cathedral and wonderful Baptistery, a World Heritage Site.  He then moved into rural Tuscany, where we were shown views of the Villa Belvedere, often featured in photographic magazines.  Perched on a hill, the villa’s iconic image shows the mist rolling in at the start of the day and Chris had waited patiently early in the morning to capture it.  The tiny hilltop village of Pienza featured next, commanding spectacular views across the Orcia Valley and then San Quirico, a charming walled town on the northern edge of the Valley amid a sweeping rural landscape.

Zadar sunset by Ruth Nicholls

After a brief stop at the charming little Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta and the Benedictine monastery of St Antimo, dating back to 1770, we arrived in Siena with its magnificent medieval architecture and the Piazza del Campo – another World Heritage Site – where the Palio horse races are held.  The stunning Gothic cathedral was shown to good effect.  

Tuscany landscape by Chris Nicholls

Further excursions off the beaten track eventually led us to the city of Orvieto with its narrow streets and magnificent 13th century Duomo, the city’s most dramatic focal point.  The striking black-and-white façade and its intricate carvings contrasted with the austere interior.

The Stradun, Dubrovnik by Ruth Nicholls

Ruth then took over and gave an excellent presentation on Croatia.  It quickly became clear that this country remains something of a hidden treasure to many as we were first shown the wonderful sight of the old town and harbour at Dubrovnik, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The images of the walled city were truly spectacular.  It is such an atmospherically beautiful place, especially in the evenings after the cruise passengers have departed.  There was as short visit to the small, traffic free island of Lokrum to view the Benedictine monastery.  Ruth then moved us north to Hvar Island, Starigrad, Zadar and historic town and harbour at Trogir before reaching the beautifully dramatic waterfalls at in Plitvice Lakes National Park.

On the 9th November at 7.30 pm at Thie Ellyn, Bob Servante will present ‘The Farne Islands’, and the entries for the next Open Prints competition will also be due in.

By Antony Hamilton

IOMPS Reports During December 2016

29th December 2016 – 2016 Review

The Stradun, Dubrovnik by Ruth Nicholls from her presentation on Croatia

The IOM Photographic Club takes a short break over the Christmas period, so perhaps this is an opportune moment to review progress so far this season – it has certainly been busy and enjoyable so far, and with lots of good things to look forward to in the new year.

The programme as always has been a mixture of events – of presentations, plus our usual run of competitions, topped off with various practical activities – all designed to provide a varied package of events to ensure there is something in the programme for everyone. Presentations have included a fascinating evening with Phil Kneen, well known local photographer with a very wide and enthusiastic audience of followers. His website says he “shoots people” so a lot of portraits were shown, but mixed with many travel and reportage images (he has worked for national papers such as the Independent and the Guardian, reporting for example on “the jungle”, the refugee camp at Calais). His photography, as I hope he would agree, is “different”, with an almost unique feel to it, being based on film rather than digital imaging, often with out-of-date film with sometimes unpredictable results – he proved an excellent speaker with a sense of humour and anecdotes to ensure his audience’s!

Other presentations have come from our own members – Ruth and Chris Nicholls, both excellent photographers, showed travel images from Croatia and Italy respectively, and Bob Servante and Mike Trout presented some superb natural history shots from a trip earlier this year to the Farne Islands – a bird watching paradise during the summer.

Activities have included a practical with studio lighting techniques, and a “critique” session when two members volunteered to act as judges of a range of images, with active participation from other members from the floor – and which ensured the task and difficulties faced by our judges in actual competitions were better understood.

Competition-wise, we have had the usual “cut and thrust” with a number of members vying for winning positions – but currently all classes remain wide-open, with everything hanging on performance during the final part of our year. But to date, our standard group shows Jonathan Carey and Thomas Carr trading places in the print competitions, whilst in the digital classes, any of Tim Norton, Michael Howland, Peter Keena or Kevan Osborn are currently in the running. Barry Murphy is doing well in many of the Intermediate classes, and depending on the section, Richard Shafto, Hazel Walsh, Joy Brodie, Beryl Quayle and Sue Leeming providing strong competition. Meanwhile, Sue Blyth leads in three of the advanced section competitions, with Bob Servante leading another two, and Chris Blyth the final section – but with Ron Shimmin, Ruth Nicholls, Chris Nicholls and Janet Servante all having a chance to turn the tables in one or more sections.

IOM Photographic Society meetings are held on Wednesday evenings at Thie Ellyn (the Art Society building) in Withington Road Douglas, starting at 7:30pm. Our meetings are open to the public, with a nominal charge for non-members. All will be made welcome.

By Chris Blyth

22nd December 2016 – Print Panel Competition

Sue Leeming’s winning print panel “Endings”

It was the last club night for the year so it was a relaxed evening with an informal print panel competition followed by a social night of catching up and discussing the latest photography projects. The committee had decided that the images would be judged by the club members with a score of 1 to 5 for each print. Giving a maximum score of 110. There were eight print panel entrants, each with a very different theme but all of a high calibre.

The compe…tition was a close contest with only 18 points between the top three positions. In third place was Richard Shafto with “The first six”. A colourful panel showing the first six bikes off the Grand Strand. A nice presentation of the images. In second place with Ron Shimmin with “Street Art” taken in London. Another colourful panel with an original presentation. The edges of the prints were torn adding to the overall impact of the arrangement. However, in first place, another original panel of images was Sue Leeming with “Endings”. A collection of images depicting the demise of a box of eggs before being cooked or eaten. Each egg had a face of terror drawn on it. A very original and well thought out concept. An “eggcellent” example of creativity and a worthy winner.

Sue Leeming with her winning panel

The evening finished with nibbles, a chat about all things photography and the plans for next year. The Club wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Any one is most welcome to join us on a Wednesday night. The New Year starts on 4th January with a presentation by the Vice President John Phipp. A great start to the New Year.

By Lara Howe

15th December 2016 – ‘Song, Book or Film Title’ Assignment

Some ‘Song, Book or Film Title’ print winners with Judge John Keelan

Wednesday 7th December was the second themed competition of the year – ‘Song, Book or Film Title’. The judge for the evening was John Keelan, previously president of the Southern photographic society and a member of the Western Photographic Society. John was an excellent judge, providing thoughtful and thorough commentary on each image and giving hints and tips for improvement.

Upon first viewing each image members were given the opportun…ity to guess at the song, book or film title that the image was related to, whilst some were readily interpreted others required several guesses and clues for the audience.

The evening commenced with the advanced print entries. Third place in the mono section went to Bob Servante for his study ‘Guitar Man’, a well lit image of another of our members in concert. In second place was Sue Blythe with a landscape scene of a lake titled ‘What lies Beneath’. First place went to Bob Servante for ‘Polo Solo’ – an excellent shot taken at a local polo match.

In the colour section third place went to Sue Blythe for a long exposure taken on Westminster Bridge and titled ‘London Calling’, second place went to Bob Servante with ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’. In first place and winning best image in the print competition was Sue Blythe with her natural history image of a Polar Bear on the ice – ‘Wild Thing’.

Best Print in the “Song, Book or Film Title” assignment was awarded to Sue Blythe for “Wild Thing”

In the standard section there were 4 entries all from Thomas Carr, second place in mono was ‘The Big Wheel’ and in first place was ‘Oh, Christmas Tree’. In the colour section second place went to ‘Toy Story’ and first place to ‘The Lighthouse’.

In the intermediate print mono section third place went to Sue Leeming for ‘Gone with the Wind’ and Sue also won first place with ‘Ebony and Ivory’ a close up study of piano keys. Second place went to Barry Murphy for his image ‘The Fallen’.

In the colour section there were ten entries. In third place was Shirley Lotfy’s image ‘Baby its Cold Outside’, and in second place was Barry Murphy with ‘Another Brick in the Wall’. First place again went to Sue Leeming for her cheeky image ‘Free Willy’.

In the standard digital section first place went to Peter Keena for his humorous image ‘Help!’ showing a rubber glove emerging from a pond. In the intermediate section first place went to Sue Leeming for ‘Light my Fire’, a clever image of two matches igniting – this image also won best in competition in the digital section. In the advanced section first place went to Sue Nicholls for ‘The Railway Children’.

A full list of competition results can be found on our website and here you will also find the societies programme for the rest of the season. On the 4th January there will be a presentation by vice president John Phipp and we will view another section of the L&CPU portfolio.

By Hazel Walsh

8th December 2016 – An evening with Phil Kneen

Phil Kneen with one of the images from his presentation

The final meeting in November was listed in the Society programme simply as–‘ a presentation by Phil Kneen’. As Monty Python might have said, the evening proved to be a case of “…..and now for something completely different!” In an age when most photographers have been converted to the delights of the digital age, Phil has taken a very personal decision to reject that medium in order to work almost en…tirely with film.

Phil started out working in his teens for that old Manx firm, Keigs, and later for Island Photographics. However, it is only in the last 10 to 15 years that he has taken his photography seriously. Self confidence and a willingness to give anything and everything a try has enabled him to establish his own particular style and to progress.

Describing himself as a freelance photo-journalist who “shoots people”, he shuns flash in favour of using natural light wherever possible. Even in poor lighting conditions, he perseveres by up-rating his film to its tolerance limits. He has completed commissions for the Guardian and the London Times, as well as for several magazines and posts many of his images on social media sites where he has found a market for them.

Phil’s presentation was varied and illustrated his creativity to good effect. One rather fascinating sequence showed life in the migrant camp (‘The Jungle’) in Calais. The dreadful, muddy conditions in which as many as 7,000 people were living in makeshift huts and crude tents proved to be rather shocking. He said only a minority could be classed as genuine refugees, with the vast majority being economic migrants trying to reach the UK to work or claim benefits. Living on this beautiful Island of ours, it made us realise just how lucky we are!

His persistence with film, most of it well passed its use by date, gave the images a slightly unusual appearance which he described as ‘natural’. Though he talked rather disarmingly about his work, he is serious about what he does and is currently studying for his Masters in Photography. His simple belief is that if you take a photo of something you like and you enjoy the image, then it’s a good photo! He certainly left us all with much to think about, as President, Tony Curtis, observed in his vote of thanks.

The next meeting, apart from the Christmas social evening on the 14th December, will be on the 4th January, 2017 when we have Presidents Evening, and a L&CPU Portfolio. The print entries will also be due that night for the next ‘Open’ competition. Guests will be made most welcome on payment of a nominal charge.

By Antony Hamilton

1st December 2016 – Critique Session at Thie Ellyn

Beryl and Jeremy with a selection of images which were put forward for the recent critique session

On Wednesday evening 23rd November the Isle of Man Photographic Society held a Critique Session at Thie Ellyn, off Withington Road, Douglas….

This was a departure from the format of our normal Wednesday meetings, when there is usually a competition or a presentation, This members had been invited to bring in any wildlife photographs – or anything else – that they would like the members to comment on. Many of the pictures brought in had been previously been criticised by various judges, and the photographers wanted a second opinion from the membership. Any member was allowed to comment on the pictures, but two informal judges (our thanks to Beryl and Jeremy) were appointed to lead the discussion, which they did very effectively.

The first half of the evening was devoted to a viewing of prints. Unsurprisingly the members disagreed among themselves on how each image could have been improved, but there were a few exceptional works that everybody admired.. A number of excellent macro photographs of insects were presented and for these shots pin sharp focusing had been a challenge. This led on to a detailed discussion about macro photography and the technique for using a flash for a macro shot. Most members had never tried this.

The most frequent comments from the audience were about cropping – they felt that most of the images presented could have been improved if part of the picture had been been cut off. Some prints were criticised for being poorly mounted and others were criticised for being too dark, but under better lighting they might have appeared better.

The second part of the evenings entertainment involved a slideshow of digital images. As in the first part of the evening, most of the images had wildlife as their subject. This time comments were often about how Photoshop could have been used to improve the image. Many images were criticised for distractions which the photographer might not have noticed – either in the background or foreground.- or bits at something at the edges which caught the eye.

The slideshow ended with a couple of spectacular photographs of fireworks at this years TT. True, the images were not perfect, but they made a tremendous impact on the audience.

Our President Tony Curtis brought the critique session to a close and summed up the evening. Although the number attending was less than usual, it was felt that the evening had been a great success, as everyone had felt able to make a contribution

By Richard Shafto

IOMPS Reports During January 2017

26th January 2017 - January Open Digital Competition

Best overall image in January's Open Digital Competition was "Doggy Paddle" by Barry Murphy

The judge for our January 'Open' Digital Competition was the well respected photographer Andrew Barton LBIPP LMPA. Andrew had plenty of constructive criticism for the 50 or so projected images, but also praise for the really excellent photographs. The standard of the very best images, Andrew really liked, but he was still able to make some additional points. Each entry was given equal attention and it was true that many of the photographs could have been improved by taking more care when the shot was taken or by judicious adjustment of colour, contrast or lightness/darkness when the image was processed.

The competition started with the showing of images produced by the Standard Group. The winner of this section was Richard Leach who had entered a spectacular shot of the fireworks taken at the 2016 TT. Pictures by Peter Keena, Monument Valley 3rd place, and Michael Howland, Villa Marina Arcade 2nd place, also received many compliments from our judge.

The images submitted by the Intermediate Group were of a very high standard. Andrew pointed out that many of the images needed to be "warmed up" by the appropriate increase of yellow in the colour balance. But there were some stunning images which Andrew admitted he liked a lot. The first three places were "Puffin Perch" and "Star Light" both taken by Sue Leeming and the winner was "Doggy Paddle" by Barry Murphy. This winning shot was a dog, with its head not in the frame of the picture. The dog's head was only visible reflected in the water in which it was paddling.

The Advanced Group also provided some spectacular images. There were a few images that were near perfect. In third place was Ruth Nicholls' "The Fugitive" - a dreamlike vision of a masked fallen woman in black and white. Second was "Horse Fight" by Chris Nicholls. "Beautiful Blue Tit" by Sue Blythe was the winner - an extraordinary image of a tiny bird, with its head pin sharp and much of its body slightly out of focus. Andrew found little to criticise in this image which he found to be technically perfect.

"Doggy Paddle" by Barry Murphy was judged to be the best digital image of the evening.

The Society's next meeting is on Wednesday 1st February, 7.30pm at Thie Ellyn, off Withington Road, Douglas, and will be the Assignment competition 'Man and Machine'.

Meetings are open to the public with a nominal charge for non members. New members and guests are always welcome.

By Richard Shafto

19th January 2017 - January Open Print Competition

Some of the Open Print winners with Judge Patricia Tutt

For the January ‘open’ print competition, Dr Patricia Tutt RIBA, ARPS, CPAGB, returned as our guest judge and was given a warm welcome by the membership. Patricia is a well known architectural historian and authoress, and a stalwart of the Western Photographic Society.

It became clear from the outset that she had adopted a painstaking approach to the task of judging. Her comments on each entry were meticulous, constructive and enlightening, revealing the research she had carried out to assist her understanding of them. She complimented the entrants on the presentation and quality of their images, in both colour and monochrome, which she had enjoyed viewing in both natural and artificial lighting.

Less than 40 images had been entered, much fewer than normally expected, but perhaps members were still recovering from the excesses of the festive season!

Patricia’s perceptive comments covered composition, sharpness, and the importance of producing the full tonal range in monochrome images. There was a wide range of subject matter before her, but she had found the variety pleasing.

After completing her critique, she announced the following awards:-

Best image in the January ‘Open’ Print competition went to ‘Caribbean Spirit’ by Chris Nicholls


Standard Class Mono – 1st ‘Down the River’ by Jonathan Carey.

Standard Class Colour – 1st ‘Every Penny Counts’ by Jonathan Carey; 2nd ‘Bridge in Calgary’ by Kevan Osborn; 3rd ‘Pretty Flamingo’ by Kevan Osborn.

Intermediate Class Mono – 1st ‘Glen Mooar Groynes’ by Sue Leeming; 2nd ‘The Shelter’ by Barry Murphy; 3rd ‘Till the Cows Come Home’ by Barry Murphy; 4th ’Leading Light’ by Sue Leeming.

Intermediate Class Colour – 1 ‘Where the Fairies Meet’; by Barry Murphy; 2nd ‘Tholt y Will’ by Sue Leeming; 3rd ‘I’m a Big Softie’ by Richard Shafto; 4th ‘Topiary garden’ by Richard Shafto; 5th A Brief Pause’ by Sue Leeming; 6th ‘The Lilies’ by Barry Murphy.

Advanced Class Mono – 1st ‘Baker Street’ by Sue Blythe; 2nd ‘No-One About’ by Ruth Nicholls; 3rd ‘Classical Scholars’ by Ron Shimmin; 4th ‘No Connection’ by Chris Nicholls; 5th ‘Indoors People’ by Chris Nicholls; 6th ‘Passing the Time’ by Sue Blythe. Bob Servante was highly Commended for ’Helena Andreyevna Serebryakova’ and Commended for ‘Earnley Church, West Sussex’.

Advanced Class Colour – 1st ‘Caribbean Spirit’ by Chris Nicholls; 2nd ‘Old French Brasserie’ by Ron Shimmin; 3rd ‘Evening Light, Lake Bled’ by Ruth Nicholls; 4th ‘Bike Art’ by Dave Welsh; 5th ‘Salmon Fishing, Katmai National Park, (Alaska); 6th ‘Stuffed’ by Sue Blythe. Highly Commended were ‘Best Mates Together’ by Dave Welsh; ‘The Ice-Breaker’ by Sue Blythe; and ‘The Gig’ by Bob Servante. Commended were ‘Church by The Sea’ by Chris Nicholls and ‘Child’s Play’ by Ruth Nicholls.

The best overall winning entry on the night was judged to be ‘Caribbean Spirit’ by Chris Nicholls.

The Society will next meet at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 25th January at Thie Ellyn, off Withington Road, Douglas, for a Critique Session when new members and guests (for a nominal charge) are always most welcome.

By Antony Hamilton

12th January 2017 - Bali Presentation and L&CPU Folio

IOMPS Vice President John Phipp

The second half of the seasonal programme of the IOM Photographic Society got under way this week with a “sandwich” – the first part of the evening being an audio-visual presentation on Bali by our Vice President, John Phipp, and the second part a showing of a print portfolio from the Lancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union.

'Bali Girl' by John Phipp

John’s digital presentation was delig...htful, well put together and included a wide selection of images based on a visit made in 2006. It covered many scenic shots of the local landscape, including the terraces cut into the hillsides to enable the growing of rice and other crops, images of the many picturesque temples as well as of the local people and their brightly coloured attire, all accompanied by an informative commentary. Following John’s presentation, Antony Hamilton shared his experience of Bali and confirmed the attractiveness of the country and the people with details of his own visit.

Bali landscape by John Phipp

The L&CPU print portfolio comprised more than 60 images, largely of natural history shots but also including other genres. The images are selected competitively from entries submitted by the nearly 100 clubs in the federation – and assessed by a panel of three judges on the basis of a maximum score of 5 points per judge – and a top score therefore of 15. To be included in the portfolio usually requires a minimum score of 12 points (though an occasional 11 creeps in, if of an interesting subject) whilst the maximum score of 15 is a rarity. One such was titled “The Ice Lady” – an image of a woman in an ice-blue dress against an snowy background – absolutely stunning, beautifully printed and well worth its maximum points. The portfolios are highly aspirational and hopefully motivational, showing some of the best images currently being taken – and setting a standard for club members to aim for.

The Society meets at the Art Society Building (Thie Ellyn) in Withington Road, Douglas, with all meetings starting at 7:30pm. Meetings are open to the public, and all will be given a very warm welcome. Our next meeting on Wednesday, 18th January will include an open digital competition.

By Chris Blyth

5th January 2017 - 2017 Preview

Bamburgh Castle by Bob Servante from his presentation on the Farne Islands

Following the usual Christmas break, the second part of the winter programme for the IOM Photographic Society has now started. The programme through to the end of April when we break again for the summer months, is pretty intense - loaded with a full schedule of weekly meetings covering a range of competitions, some "activity evenings", and a number of presentations. Highlight events with external s...peakers include an evening with Dr Jeremy Paul - with images under the title "Travels of a Wildlife Artist" - always a very popular speaker and always with a superb selection of photos to illustrate his work, whilst later in the season several members will also be showing their work, including Di McCudden, Chris Nicholls, Sue Blythe and Club President Tony Curtis - and certain to cover a wide range of subject matter to interest other members.

Two competition evenings worthy of particular mention are the Two Way Digital Battle with the Bristol Club, and the Three Way Battle with the Rochdale and Oldham Clubs. In the Two Way Battle, both clubs submit a range of images which are judged locally at both clubs under a points scoring system - and the marks are added together to reach a final overall winner. Fortunately, I cannot remember an evening when the two judges reached a different result in terms of the winning club, though the scores awarded to individual images have sometimes differed significantly ! In the Three Way Battle, we are blessed with a particularly skilled videographer at the Oldham Club who videos the competition for us, and then sends us the recording - always a fascinating evening as (apart from our Annual Competition) it is one of the few opportunities for our work to be judged by an accredited L&CPU judge and to be measured against two equivalent clubs from the adjacent island. Whilst we have historically always come second to Oldham (who have some exceptional photographers in their membership), we hope to make them work hard for their success!!

Lastly, the major event of the competition programme is our Annual - the biggest competition in the calendar and the one with lots of silverware at stake.... A highly qualified UK judge is invited to preside over the images presented over two evenings (one for prints, and one for digital images) and to comment on the winning images, and the evenings finish with the judge giving a presentation of his or her work - again an excellent opportunity to understand just what is happening in the wider world of photography enthusiasts......

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.

By Chris Blyth

IOMPS Reports During February 2017

15th February 2017 - John Keelan - "Taylorian Musicals"

John Keelan's excellent images from his presentation on photographing Taylorian Productions dress rehearsals

John Keelan was the Society’s guest last Wednesday evening and his subject was listed in the programme as ‘Taylorian Musicals’. John, a stalwart of the Southern Photographic Club, was making a welcome return to Thie Ellyn and gave four short audio-visual presentations of images he had captured inside the Island’s Victorian Gaiety Theatre in Douglas. These covered the dress rehearsals for four shows staged by Taylorian Productions. This theatre company was formed in 2007 by th...e late Patrick Taylor, an English Solicitor and benefactor, with co-founder John Cumberlidge, Artistic Director.

Any photography in a darkened theatre presents many challenging technical and practical difficulties and is only ever possible with specific prior permission. John had been commissioned by the theatre company to undertake these assignments but, in doing so, he quickly realized that the Directors can be very demanding and quite formidable. Consequently, dark clothing and soft shoes had to be worn to avoid any distraction for the cast and crew. Multiple lenses, a back-up camera and a selection of varying camera angles were required. He explained that camera settings need to be as silent as possible, especially using digital media, and fast shutter speeds combined with a high ISO were essential, since flash cannot be deployed. Above all, the photographer had to be able to work unseen and unheard – and to get it right first time!

John’s images of all four shows - ‘Cats’, ‘Evita’, ‘Oliver’ and Sunset Boulevard’ - were atmospheric and colourful, with the beautiful costumes, superb facial expressions and drama being captured to great effect. The musical accompaniment added to our enjoyment and John was thanked for sharing his knowledge and expertise of this specialist art form so openly with the membership.

Attention was then turned to planning the Society’s 2017 Summer outings. Two of our members, Ian Lumsden and Barry Murphy, each gave a short digital presentation based on two recent group events, namely a walk around Scarlett to view the various rock formations and disused lime kilns and a boat trip from Port St Mary to the Chicken’s Rock Lighthouse. Another member, Bob Servante, had brought two monochrome prints to display featuring wildlife around the Sound and a local polo match.

This was the first time ideas for outings had been sought by the Committee in this way and it proved to be highly successful with a list of helpful suggestions being compiled for consideration over the next three months.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, Wednesday, 1st March at 7.30 pm when there will be a presentation titled 'Filming the Isle of Man' by Charles Guard, reflecting on 30 years of making documentaries. As always, guests are most welcome on payment of a nominal charge.

By Antony Hamilton

19th February 2017 - Assignments for 2017 - 2018

The assignment topics for the 2017 - 2018 season are:

Natural History


Human Anatomy

The Isle of Man Bank Cup assignment is:

Manx Ruins

16th February 2017 - Dr Jeremy Paul - "Travels of a Wildlife Artist"

Dr Jeremy Paul with one of his many excellent images

From far and wide they came, some even queuing outside Thie Ellyn an hour before the start time! All were eagerly anticipating the latest presentation by local photographer and artist, Dr Jeremy Paul. So, by 7.30 pm, there was another full house and we were pleased to welcome ‘fans’ and guests from other photographic clubs for this special evening.

Bison, Yellowstone National Park by Jeremy Paul

A former Marine Biologist and researcher, Jeremy has been a wildlife artist for almost 30 years and has a string of prestigious credits to his name, including BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year on 3 occasions. In spite of having a well-earned reputation, making him much in demand, he has long been a good friend to the Society to which he gives generously of his precious time to visit us periodically, for which we are most grateful.

Yellowstone National Park by Jeremy Paul

Under the generic heading ‘Travels of a Wildlife Artist’, Jeremy had brought two contrasting presentations to share with us, featuring opposite ends to the climatic spectrum. The first covered a February 2015 visit to the Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, sitting on one of the world's largest calderas, where he and other intrepid photographers, led by an expert guide, had to endure temperatures as low as -23 degrees! Here we saw images of elk, moose, American bison, antelope, otters, red foxes, beavers, bald eagles, and trumpeter swans, the largest waterfowl species native to North America. We even glimpsed elusive gray wolves, hunting in packs, and their smaller cousin, the coyote. Through the images, we were able to appreciate the quality of the amazing natural light in the Park and also witnessed the strange phenomenon of snowing from the ground upwards!

Green Heron, Costa-Rica by Jeremy Paul

The second presentation was from a February 2016 visit to tropical Costa Rica in Central America. This republic is 40% national park where it was over 30 degrees in the rain forest! This country is home to a rich variety of animals and over 800 species of birds. Jeremy showed images which included capuchin monkeys, the two and three-toed sloth, and venomous snakes. We viewed the Cloud Forest Reserve, the Arenal volcano and Lake, and the more remote Osa Peninsula. As expected, the pictures of brightly coloured birds, reptiles and other animals were superb, in spite of the canopy shade and high humidity!

Elk, Yellowstone National Park by Jeremy Paul

Both presentations managed to create an atmosphere which conveyed to his highly appreciative audience a feel for the wildlife in its natural habitat and the Society thanked him with a donation towards the work of the David Shepherd Foundation, which he supports.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, Wednesday, 22nd February at 7.30 pm when we have an Open Digital Competition. Guests are always most welcome on payment of a nominal charge.

By Antony Hamilton

14th February 2017 - Opening of the IOMPS Exhibition at the Hodgson Loom Gallery

IOMPS President Tony Curtis, Hodgson Loom Gallery Curator Julia Ashby-Smyth and the Hon Steve Rodan at the opening of the Exhibition

In a very well attended ceremony, the latest annual exhibition of works by members of the IOM Photographic Society was officially opened on 11th February at the Hodgson Loom Gallery in the Laxey Woollen Mills. Introduced and welcomed by Club President Tony Curtis, the Hon Steve Rodan, President of Tynwald and Member of the Legislative Council, opened the exhibition, paying tribute in his remarks to the e...xcellence of the images and congratulating the authors for the skill and talent being displayed. The exhibition comprises more than 80 prints, mostly in a framed A3 format, and covering a range of genres including natural history, landscapes and creative. Most of the images are for sale, and all at a very reasonable cost.

The Hon Steve Rodan opening the Exhibition

The gallery makes an excellent venue for an exhibition, with a mix of natural light and cunningly placed spotlighting, whilst the open layout encourages viewing of the prints at both distance and close up. Julia Ashby-Smyth, as curator for the gallery, has as always done an excellent job of arranging the display. The gallery is open from 9am until 5pm, Mondays through Saturdays, and the exhibition runs until Saturday 11th March, with entry free of charge. A visit to the gallery will prove a rewarding artistic experience and well worth while – visitors will be intrigued and stimulated by the quality of photography in the exhibition, and perhaps inspired to “have a go” themselves!

6th February 2017 - IOMPS Exhibition at The Hodgson Loom Gallery

The Hodgson Loom Gallery at the Laxey Woollen Mills will be home to a selling exhibition by members of the IOM Photographic Society, open to the public from Saturday 11th February until Saturday, 11th March. The Gallery provides a superb display area – warm, intimate, and with excellent lighting –and as always, it will be carefully curated by Julia Ashby-Smyth, allowing the works to be shown to maximum advantage. The IOMPS is delighted to have the opportunity for the exhibi...tion which is now in its sixth year at the gallery.

The exhibition will include both a wide range of subject matter (, portraits, natural history, landscape, and architecture) and features the work of a wide number of members of the society – some only recent recruits, some long-term contributors to the society. Amongst the better known names of those exhibiting will be three of the society’s “life members”:

Dr Ruth Nicholls LRPS DPAGB BPE3* EFIAP – has had her work accepted at numerous exhibitions both nationally and internationally, her landscapes and floral studies in particular of the highest quality

Ron Shimmin LRPS – a long-time member with an enviable record for producing highly artistic images with a meticulous attention to detail, whether architectural shots or street reportage

Sue Jones CPAGB – another long-time member, now a full-time professional working with Andrew Barton LBIPP LMPA, and who produces top quality images in a wide range of genres

A total of eighteen members of the society are included as exhibitors, each showing some of the best of their work, and all contributing to what will be an exceptional display of photographic talent, and making a visit to Laxey well worth while.

The Society currently meets on Wednesday evenings during a season running from late September through to April at the Art Society Building (Thie Ellyn) in Withington Road, Douglas, with all meetings starting at 7:30pm. The summer break usually includes a series of outings and workshops allowing members additional opportunities to socialise and to develop their photographic skills. Meetings are open to the public, and all will be given a very warm welcome.

3rd February 2017 - Andrew Barton Photographic Workshop

Andrew Barton Full Day Studio Photographic Workshop to be held on Saturday 11th February 2017.

Places limited to a maximum of 15.

Call 817817 to book your place.

2nd February 2017 - Second ‘Critique’ Session of the Season

The three ‘critique’ session judges: Patricia Tutt, Ray Kelly and Steve Babb

On Wednesday 25th January the Isle of Man Photographic Society held its second ‘critique’ session of the season. On this occasion the society were fortunate to have the assistance of three of the Islands judges – Steve Babb, Patricia Tutt and Ray Kelly.

In traditional terms ‘critique’ means ‘a detailed analysis or assessment’ and this was certainly provided. It was a fantastic opportunity for members to gain an insight into the judging process and to hear the judges discuss ...different aspects of the images. Steve Babb had also kindly provided alternative edits of the images to demonstrate the different effects that adjustments in brightness, contrast, or colour could create.

Members had submitted images for the judges to evaluate and the three judges took it in turn to discuss the merits of the images and suggest ways in which they could be improved – including cropping, editing, colour balance, brightness and contrast and change of viewpoint. With no scores involved it was a great informal way for members to test out images and receive feedback on them.

Next Wednesday 8th February the society will host ‘Travels of a Wildlife Artist’ – a presentation by Dr Jeremy Paul. This is always a highlight of the season and visitors are welcome – indeed you are encouraged to arrive early to get a good seat! The talk will begin at 7.30pm at Thie Ellyn.

The following Saturday sees the official opening of the society’s annual exhibition at the Hodgson Loom Gallery in Laxey at 2pm, again all welcome to view this display of members work with many images available to purchase.

By Hazel Walsh

IOMPS Reports During March 2017

30th March 2017 - IOMPS wins battle against Oldham Photographic Society and Rochdale & District Camera Club

One of the images which scored the maximum of twenty points in the IOMPS v Rochdale v Oldham battle was "Blood Moon" by Sue Jones

For the past five years The Isle of Man Photographic Society has competed in a three way battle with the Photographic Societies of Oldham and Rochdale. Each Club submits 25 of their best digital images for this competition. President Tony Curtis introduced the battle and explained that although the images had been judged earlier in Oldham, the video of the event had been received only a... few hours before the meeting, so nobody had seen them or knew the result.

We were in for an extremely good evening's viewing of the best photographs submitted by photographers of the IOMPS, RDCC (Rochdale) and OPS (Oldham). The judge, Keith Barber, first told us that he rated images that had the greater impact more highly than others which, although technically excellent, did not have such immediate impact. We viewed all seventy five images with the judge' comments and 24 of them were rated as "excellent" and were then held back for the highest marks. When the best 24 were finally reviewed the Isle of Man had some notable successes. 11 of the photographs that scored 18 points or more (out of a maximum of 20) were from the Isle of Man. The following images scored 19 points for the IOMPS:

"The going down of the sun" and "Brown bear with salmon at Katmai" by Chris Blyth

"In Another Place" by Nigel Owen

"Last Catch" by Sue Blythe

"Painted Lady" by Sue Leeming

Another images which scored the maximum of twenty points was "The Leap" by Sue Blythe

Three of these, the best images, were awarded the maximum 20 points. These were:

"Blood Moon" portrait of a vampire, by Sue Jones

"The Leap" a leaping polar bear, by Sue Blythe

"The Bone Collector" a sinister individual, by Hazel Walsh

"The Bone Collector" by Hazel Walsh also scored twenty points in the IOMPS v Rochdale v Oldham battle

Because so many of our images scored highly the IOMPS won the competition by a margin of 5 points, the final scores being:
Isle of Man Photographic Society: 424

Oldham Photographic Society: 419

Rochdale and District Camera Club: 373

There will be no meeting on Wednesday 5th April as the Annual Competition will be judged on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th.

Meetings begin at 7.30pm at Thie Ellyn, off Withington Road, Douglas and are open to the public with a nominal charge for non members. New members and guests are always welcome.

By Richard Shafto

16th March 2017 - Chris’s fun and informative talk about Manx Curiosities

Isle of Man Bank ceiling detail by Chris Nicholls from his Manx Curiosities presentation and quiz

It was another great night at the Club with an interesting and humorous presentation and quiz entitled Manx Curiosities by Chris Nicholls. The quiz involved identifying photos Chris had taken around the Island and he provided some interesting information about each caption along with the answers. One of the earliest images was of the three legs of Man at Nobles hospital. Not only did we have to know where the image was t...aken but also whether the legs were facing the correct way or not. This proved to be quite controversial and much debate ensued with the members debating the correct direct. Eventually we all came to an agreement, rightly or wrongly, that the legs should be running towards Ireland and away from England.

Another question of the night was who are the 6 Celtic nations? The majority of the members managed to note Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the Isle of Man of course but struggled with the last two, which of course are Brittany and Cornwall. Other fascinating facts came out through the night such as the name for the standing stone in Douglas - the white lady; the whipping stone in Onchan for tying witches to before whipping them; the rocket house in Castletown named for using rockets with ropes attached to fire across the harbour to stricken vessels in need of rescue to enable pulling them ashore; and many more curiosities.

Chris produced some beautiful images including three photographs of old decorative ceilings with members having to guess their locations. They were of the Isle of Man Bank, the Gaiety theatre and the Villa Marina. Reminding us all to look up the next time we go to a show or event.

Site of the old Tynwald by Chris Nicholls

A vote of thanks was given by the Chairman Tony for Chris’s interesting and fun quiz. Clearly a lot of effort had gone into producing the quiz and the photographs were of course of high standard.

After the tea break and more discussions about the quiz the members were treated to a L&CPU Portfolio. This gives members a great opportunity to see the standard of other clubs from the north west of England and maybe great some ideas and inspiration. The standard of images is always high and this portfolio was no different. There was such a mix of images from natural history to landscapes and portraits. A great collection that all the members enjoyed. The winning image was a beautiful heard of wild Wilder beast on their migration. A deserving winner.

By Lara Howe

9th March 2017 - An Evening with Charles Guard and IOMPS President Tony Curtis

Charles Guard and IOMPS President Tony Curtis

The latest meeting of the IOM Photographic Society proved to be a most enjoyable and very relaxing evening. The first half of the evening comprised a presentation by Charles Guard – an eloquent and accomplished speaker, and as became very evident during the evening, a man of many talents – music composer, film producer, editor and presenter, for example, and all done with apparent effortless ease. The second half ...saw our Club President, Tony Curtis, showing a range of images taken over the past several years and displaying his talent as a photographer.

Charles Guard gave a fascinating and entertaining evening with his presentation on thirty years of filming documentaries both on and off the Isle of Man

Charles’s presentation was essentially though not exclusively around “Filming Of The IOM” – and he has a wealth of experience of his subject, having been involved since the late 1960’s in producing and presenting films and videos for both the government and for the private sector, many of which are available to this day. But the presentation wasn’t just about the films, interesting and fascinating as they are. The story was often more about the background to the films, usually delivered with some amusing anecdotes – of the actors and their quirks, the shooting of the scenes, the difficulties and costs in making the films, equipment or features on the island now disappeared, the “happenings” which did not (and often could not) appear in the subsequent film. Meantime, as technology has developed, the equipment used has changed dramatically – from the heavyweight film cameras to the lightweight OSMO 4K quality videos camera today, and to the drones now being used for aerial shots and a very different viewpoint – but again all demonstrated with real technical expertise and knowledge. Tony Curtis gave a well-deserved vote of thanks for a very polished performance!

IOMPS President Tony Curtis with one of the images from his presentation

A very difficult act to follow, but Tony then finished a most enjoyable evening with a display of digital images to demonstrate his photo skills, together with his commentary explaining the reasons for taking the shot. These covered a wide range, but highlights included shots of the Ramsey Lifeboat, a superb shot of a full crescent rainbow over Douglas Bay, some TT motorbike images, the moon, storm waves over the Fenella beach in Peel, and an entrancing shot of the tree reflections in the Injebreck reservoir. All in all, an excellent evening greatly enjoyed by our audience.

Our next meeting, on 15th March will be a print competition for the IOM Bank Cup – one b&w image and one colour image per competitor – on the set subject of “Something Manx”. Details of the IOMPS programme can be found on the website Meetings are held at Thie Ellyn (the Art Society building) in Withington Road, Douglas every Wednesday during the season starting at 7:30 pm, with all meetings open to the public (with a modest charge) and all – whether photography beginners or more experienced - will be made very welcome.

By Chris Blyth

2nd March 2017 - February 'Open' Digital Competition

February 'Open' Digital Competition Judge David Killip

The judge for our February 'Open' Digital Competition was a past IOMPS member David Killip.

When judging the images David had not found an obvious graduation of quality between the Standard, Intermediate and Advanced groups. There were excellent images in all three sections. In fact David found a lot of good points in every image and occasionally suggested ways in which he thought each image could be improved.

In the Standard Group Peter Keena took third place with "Log Chapel in the Rockies", which conveyed the atmosphere and feel of the subject in vivid colour. Richard Leech claimed second place with "Poppies", a well composed shot of the display at the Tower of London in 2016. The winner of this section was Peter Keena with a photograph of (possibly) the roughest sea on the Island entitled "Towering wave" crashing over a breakwater.

The images submitted by the Intermediate Group also came in for more praise from our judge. David was a great lover of monochrome photographs and he especially liked the "Landing Stage", a fine landscape with much fine detail by Shirley Lotfy, which he placed third. Second place went to "Into the Surf" by Barry Murphy a spectacular view looking into the setting sun across a rough sea with the sunset reflected in the wet sand. First place also went to Barry Murphy for "Forever Together" a strong image of two puffins, with no distractions in the background.

Best Image in the Competition went to 'Slippery Catch' by Sue Blythe

As expected the Advanced Group provided some extremely good photographs. Third place went to "Lavender and Grass" by Chris Nicholls. This was a beautiful image that looked like an oil painting. Although simple it had huge pictorial qualities. Second was "Stripes" by Chris Blyth, a photograph of several zebras with no background, which of course was all in black and white stripes! The winner "Slippery Catch" by Sue Blythe was a sensational photograph showing the head of a cormorant just after it had caught a fish. Both the fish and head of the cormorant were in perfect focus and the shot had been timed so that although the fish was in the beak of the bird, it was not actually in contact with it. David had no hesitation in giving this image the award for the best photograph of the competition.

Next Wednesday 8th March, will be a presentation on 'Manx Curiosities' by Chris Nicholls and an L&CPU Portfolio beginning at 7.30pm at Thie Ellyn, off Withington Road, Douglas. Meetings are open to the public with a nominal charge for non members. New members and guests are always welcome.

By Richard Shafto

20th April 2017- An Evening of Lighting and Lightroom

Richard Leach and Tony Curtis who presented the ‘Lighting and Lightroom’ evening

The meeting on Wednesday 12th April was an evening of two parts. The first hour took the form of a studio lighting set up under the guidance of Tony Curtis and the second part of the evening involved processing the images taken using Lightroom which was demonstrated by Richard Leach.

Tony Curtis had converted part of our meeting room to a photographer’s studio with four lights set up in very different positions to demonstrate their effect on the images produced. Tony’s camera was connected directly to a projector, so that all the pictures taken were projected onto a screen and were then immediately visible to everyone. There was continuous discussion with the audience while the photographs were being taken and we all learned something from this practical experience.

One of the images of model Sue Leeming taken during the ‘Lighting and Lightroom’ evening

The technical aspects of lighting a subject to get the best photograph were demonstrated at length. A basic set up of three light sources was used to begin with: lighting from both left and right sides and from above. The intensity of the lights and their position were all adjusted to show the effect on the image. Getting the model’s hair to look good was resolved by placing a fourth light (a bright spotlight) directly behind the model’s head. Our thanks to member Sue Leeming for being the model for the evening.

Richard Leach then took over for the second part of the meeting and demonstrated some of the many features of Adobe Lightroom to improve the pictures. For example, it was quite easy to make the background completely black and eliminate areas which were in fact shades of grey. All the processing steps carried out by Richard were made clearly visible to the audience by using the projector that had earlier been connected to Tony’s camera for the studio session.

The “Studio”

Tony wound up the evenings proceedings by thanking Richard for his demonstration of the Lightroom program. In turn, he received a vote of thanks from all present for the work he had done to set up the lighting.

Our final meeting of the season will be the Annual Dinner and Prize Presentation at Creg Ny Baa on Wednesday 26th April.

By Richard Shafto

13th April 2017 – Annual Competition 2017 – Prints

IOMPS President Tony Curtis presents our Annual Competition Judge Christine Widdall, MPAGB EFIAP FBPE with a clock encased in locally sourced wood

The IOM Photographic Society held its Annual Print Competition this week, and the members were privileged to have Christine Widdall, MPAGB EFIAP FBPE, President of the Oldham Photographic Society and a long-standing senior executive member of the Lancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union as their judge. She is an acknowledged expert photographer with years of experience, charm and charisma, and loaded with enthusiasm – so a packed audience eagerly awaited her commentary, and she did not disappoint! An entertaining and often amusing commentary with lots of helpful asides passed all too quickly.

As the sole entrant in the Standard section, Jonathan Carey’ s entries were judged as a group, his “Every Penny Counts” – a pleasing and well printed image of a young boy donating to a street musician – deservedly gave him a first place. In both the Intermediate and Advanced sections, the awards were well spread out, and demonstrated the wide range of talent in the Society. Barry Murphy swept the board in the Intermediate Mono section with a 1, 2 and 3, his portrait of “Tom Jackie” proving the winner. Hazel Walsh showed her skills, winning both the Colour section (with “The Bone Collector”) and the Creative (with “Man and Machine”, a composite of a rider and his motor-cycle). The Natural History section was won by Sue Leeming with her shot of a heron in Douglas Bay, whilst Shirley Lotfy completed the Intermediate group by winning the Record section with “Street Art, Belfast” – an image exactly as titled.

“Truelips of Man” by Nigel Owen was awarded Best Monochrome Print in the IOMPS 2017 Annual Competition

The Advanced group proved very competitive, with a large and high quality entry, particularly in the Mono and Colour sections. Nigel Owen showed yet again his mastery of Mono with “Truelips of Man”, a delightful shot of three tulips, the stems “bent” into the Manx triskele. Chris Blyth took the Colour section with “Frozen”, an image of two roses frozen into an ice block, whilst Sue Blythe’s beautiful shot of a mother polar bear and cub won her the Natural History section. A “Vase of Tulips” gained Ruth Nicholls the Creative section – the flowers given a very soft, diffused finish in a highly artistic treatment. The competition concluded with the Record section, Ron Shimmin taking both first and second place with two of his meticulously printed shots, the winner being “Lamentation Panel – the Louvre” a bas relief image of a sculpted marble panel, almost 3D in its effect.

Christine completed the evening with a presentation of some of her own images – with an emphasis on her joy at photography, and the fun aspects of her work. Reluctant to go anywhere without her camera, she made clear that the essential point was not to produce “competition standard” work but to take advantage of the light and whatever the weather conditions, to take images to enjoy – and just maybe, with serendipity, some exceptional images as a result – and which her presentation clearly showed. Landscapes of Saddleworth Moor (her home), Snowdonia and of the Lake District, pets at play in the river, architecture at Salford Quays all demonstrated high technical skill with a great eye for an image. Tony Curtis, Club President, gave the vote of thanks.

“Polar Bear and Cub” by Sue Blythe was awarded Best Colour Print and Best Natural History Image in this years Annual Competition

Results – Standard Group : Mono Prints – Jonathan Carey (VHC). Colour Prints (Woodbourne Cup) – Jonathan Carey (1 & 2). Intermediate Group : Mono Prints (Ballure Cup) – Barry Murphy (1,2 3 & 2xC), Sue Leeming (VHC & HC), Richard Shafto (C). Colour Prints (Coombe Cup)– Hazel Walsh (1 & C), Barry Murphy (2 & C), Sue Leeming (3 & 2xC), Joy Brodie (VHC). Natural History (Ballaragh Cup)– Sue Leeming (1,2 & VHC), Richard Shafto (3, VHC and C), Barry Murphy (C). Creative (Carnane Cup) – Hazel Walsh (1). Record (Lezayre Trophy)– Shirley Lotfy (1 & 3), Beryl Quayle (2). Advanced Group : Mono Prints (Bridge Cup)– Nigel Owen (1), Jeremy Broome-Smith (2), Sue Blythe (3 & VHC), Ruth Nicholls (2xVHC, HC & C), Bob Servante (HC & C). Colour Prints (Sanderson Cup) – Chris Blyth (1), Ruth Nicholls (2), Sue Blythe (3 & C), Jeremy Broome-Smith (VHC & HC), Bob Servante (VHC & C), Chris Nicholls (VHC), Janet Servante (HC). Natural History (Caraghan Cup) – Sue Blythe (1,3 & VHC), Jeremy Broome-Smith (2 & VHC), Chris Blyth (C). Creative (Snaefell Cup) – Ruth Nicholls (1), Jeremy Broome-Smith (2), Nigel Owen (3). Record (Glenrigh Cup)– Ron Shimmin (1 & 2), Chris Nicholls (3). Best Mono Print In Competition (Mackie Cup) – “Truelips of Man” by Nigel Owen. Best Colour Print (Redwood Trophy) – “Polar Bear and Cub” by Sue Blythe.

By Chris Blyth

27th April 2017 - Annual Competition 2017 - Digital

‘In Safe Hands’ by Barry Murphy gained Best Digital Image in this years Annual Competition

The annual photographic competitions are the high spot of the year’s work. Because of the importance of these competitions, a highly qualified judge from the Lancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union (L&CPU), to which the Society is affiliated, is invited to scrutinise the entries.

As was reported in the Courier recently, making a welcome return visit to the Island and to the Society, this year’s judge was Christine Widdall MPAGB, EFIAP, FBPE, a former President of the L&CPU.

On day two of our Annual competition Christine judged the Digital Projected Images. Being keen on personal development, she began by suggesting various ways in which the skills of club members generally might be improved. She then proceeded to give her personal opinion on the images she considered worthy of an award or special mention. Her natural enthusiasm and easy sense of humour shone through as she explained why these images had given her particular pleasure. She delighted her audience by saying how pleased she had been with the very high standard overall.

Her preferred approach was not to look specifically for weaknesses, but to concentrate on the positive aspects. She had been pleasantly surprised by the level of skill in handling the available light sources and her assessments on each image reflected their emotional appeal to her and the story the photographer was trying to convey. She had not found it easy to rank the entries because of the high standard but her choices were delivered with such clear authority that her conclusions were understood and accepted.

In the Standard Group, Patricia Larkham cleaned up with first, second and third in the colour section, her ‘Wells Cathedral’ taking the top honours. She then took first place in the natural history section with ‘Kingfisher’ and her ‘Christmas Altar’ came first in the record section. Michael Howland’s ‘Super Moon’ was awarded first place in the monochrome section.

In the Intermediate Group, Barry Murphy’s image of ‘A Grand Day Out’ was placed first in the monochrome section, whilst his ‘Puffin’ topped the natural history section. He won the colour section with ‘In Safe Hands’, which was also judged to be the best overall digital image across all sections. Beryl Quayle’s ‘Golden Eyes’ won the creative section and her ‘University Building, Liverpool’ was judged the best record shot.

In the Advanced Group, there was little to choose between many of the entries, such was the consistent standard. However, ‘Smokey Old Town’ by Chris Nicholls was selected as the best colour entry and his ‘Indoors People’ as the best monochrome image. Sue Blythe maintained her successful year by winning the natural history section with ‘Polar Bear Jumping’ and Ruth Nicholls came first in the record section with ‘Holocaust Memorial Venice Ghetto’. Jeremy Broome-Smith completed the list by winning the creative section with ‘Splash’.

The second half of the evening allowed Christine to impress us with a range of images featuring her own work, some of which had done well in national and international competitions.

Tony Curtis gave the vote of thanks for two entertaining days and presented Christine with a suitable memento of her visit.


Standard Group :

Colour –  (Henry Roy Welsh Memorial Cup) : Patricia Larkham (1st, 2nd and 3rd). 

Mono –  (Barrule Cup): Michael Howland (1st and 2nd).

Natural History –  (York Trophy): Patricia Larkham (1st).

Record –  (Atlantean Trophy): Patricia Larkham (1st); Michael Howland (2nd).

Intermediate Group :

Colour –  (Brockenhurst Cup): Barry Murphy (1st and 2nd plus HC); Beryl Quayle (3rd and VHC); Sue Leeming (VHC, HC and C); Hazel Walsh (C).

Mono –  (Glen Darragh Trophy): Barry Murphy (1st, 2nd, 3rd and VHC); Sue Leeming (VHC and C).

Natural History –  (Jensen Trophy): Barry Murphy (1st and C); Joy Brodie (2nd); Sue Leeming (3rd).

Creative –  (Sheiling Cup): Beryl Quayle (1st); Hazel Walsh (2nd and 3rd).

Record –  (Summerhill Cup): Beryl Quayle (1st); Shirley Lotfy (2nd); Joy Brodie (3rd).

Advanced Group :

Colour –  (Andrew Barton Cup): Chris Nicholls (1st, VHC and C); Sue Blythe (2nd); Jeremy Broome-Smith (3rd and C); Ruth Nicholls (VHC); Bob Servante (C).

Mono –  (Glendown Trophy): Chris Nicholls (1st); Sue Blythe (2nd and 3rd); Jeremy Broome-Smith (C).

Natural History –  (Kelly Cup): Sue Blythe (1st and VHC); Chris Blyth (2nd) ; Jeremy Broome-Smith (3rd); Ruth Nicholls (VHC).

Creative -  (Malew Cup): Jeremy Broome-Smith (1st and C).

Record –  (Dreeym Beary Trophy): Ruth Nicholls (1st); Chris Nicholls (2nd).

BEST OVERALL DIGITAL IMAGE : Barry Murphy with ‘In Safe Hands’ (from the  Intermediate Section).

By Antony Hamilton