Annual Exhibition 4th-6th February 2004

As ever a bevy of club members turned up on the Wednesday morning to erect the stands, mount the prints on them, set up the continuous Slide presentation system, set out the trophies, and set up the Audio and Visual systems for the exhibition.

After a difficult journey from Southport, L&CPU President Keith Suddaby arrived in a nick of time to bring Southport's entry to the inter-club digital competition and to officially open our annual exhibition. Before presenting the awards (listed below) Keith was complimentary about the work of NCPS and the high reputation the Society has earned in the L&CPU.

We were pleased to welcome Keith Brown, our exhibition judge, to the first day. Even those who received no awards felt he had done a good job!

Interclub Digital Print Competition

President Joyce Streets thanked Keith Suddaby for his kind opening words. She read out the list of competing clubs. This included clubs from as far afield as Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man. She then welcomed David Butler as our judge for the evening, and the competition began.

A problem with all print competitions is that, though the folk on the front row have a good view of the prints (some as small as A4 size) those nearer the back may strain to get a decent impression. Previously NCPS has provided a video camera and projector to give an enlarged view of the print. This year, a state of the art digital projector was borrowed and all entries photographed with a digital camera on receipt. The digital images were transferred to a computer and the images projected on a large screen to coincide with the judge's consideration of each print. The images projected were a great improvement on the previous system and were welcomed by all present. The audience could see the colours of the print on the print box and simultaneously observed the detail of the print on the digitally projected image. Peter Redford and Tony Redford (plus other club members) worked hard (and rapidly) behind the curtain to photograph images, some of which only arrived moments before the opening of the Exhibition. Not only were the prints projected on cue but thumbnail images with their associated marks, and cumulative totals, were digitally displayed to maintain the momentum and anticipation of the evening. As ever we are grateful to Peter Redford for sacrificing some of his holiday entitlement to help us put on such a good show.

Judge David Butler had a difficult job assessing 90 prints from 18 clubs from cold in the short time available. David kept his audience engaged with his considered (and humorous) comments. The results are presented below. Southport Club triumphed in the inter-club competition, whilst Robert Devenish of Hoylake PS was congratulated on producing the best print ("Tsunami").

The Alan Adshead trophy was presented to the Southport PS representative by Alan’s Daughter, Jill. Robert was presented with a Jessops £25 gift token. Results of the Interclub Digital Print Competition. Additional report.

North Cheshire Challenge Trophy

On the Thursday evening, again donning the Presidential Red Bowler Joyce Streets, welcomed everyone; announced that 21 clubs were competing in the Inter-club slide competition; and introduced the judge, Bob Underhill from the Midlands Federation. Bob had 105 slides to judge in the limited time of two hours. After a quick run-through of all slides Bob began his comments. 51 slides were lost in the first round, 26 in the 2nd, 14 in the 3rd, 8 in the 4th and 3 in the 5th round. This left 3 slides from which to choose a winner. As always any of the 3 could have won but finally Bob plumbed for a slide "Spiral" by Gwen Charnock of Wigan 10 Foto Club. This club was then declared the winner of the competition and Bob Underhill presented the trophy to David Butler, the club's representative.

In her vote of thanks to the many people involved Joyce Streets again drew attention to the wide geographical spread of the competing clubs. She again thanked our sponsors for their support and hoped that Bob Rigby who had provided a photographic stand for the event had found it worth-while. She drew attention to the many club members who had helped to make the event so successful and singled out Gordon Robson, our Exhibition Secretary who had put in so much work behind the scenes. The smooth running of the event was due, in no small measure, to Gordon's attention to detail. Results of the Interclub Slide Competition for the North Cheshire Challenge Trophy. Additional report.

A Moment in Time

Despite problems with torrential rain and the renumbering of the M60 junctions Andy Harmer arrived in a nick of time to deliver his talk entitled "A Moment in Time". After a brief overview of his native Frodsham, Andy illustrated how industrialisation had not been a wholly bad thing for the wildlife. Andy illustrated his open and enquiring mind in a variety of ways. He told of his initial experiments to produce a self-triggered image of birds using home made apparatus based upon his small son's wireless controlled toy car. He noted the various incongruities he had observed: the all-day breakfast only available til noon; and the garishly colourful floating scarecrows he had spotted in a lake reserved for fishermen. Apparently these fishermen were allowed to use the lake so long as they did not spoil the scenery. They claimed that the scarecrows were to keep off the herons and Canada geese, but Andy's photograph showed the same geese swimming blithely amongst the scarecrows!

Andy showed a few "failed photographs, including Santa Claus apparently without a head, and a picture of an elephant and keeper, in which the elephant appeared to be eating his keeper.

Andy introduced us to his "hide" and recounted his many adventures with it. He noted the importance of having a friend to walk conspicuously away from the hide once it was assembled, thereby convincing the bird that humans had left. The hide had then to be picked up from the inside and moved slowly (over many hours) to get close to his target.

Andy is known for his "flash photography"! His initial experiments at self triggered shots failed because the basic delay of tens of milliseconds between the trigger and the operation of the camera was much too long. His alternative was to keep the shutter open and self-trigger a large flash of light. This could be achieved in less than one millisecond. However keeping the shutter open for long periods before the flash inevitably led to night photography. Powerful flashes were required of very short duration. This necessitated the use of large high-voltage capacitors, which could be lethal if mis-handled. But many of his resultant images, of Owls and Kingfishers, for example, had sold well and justified the initial expense.

His audience warmed to our speaker and thoroughly enjoyed his talk. In her vote of thanks Joyce Street noted how very entertaining it had been. She thanked him, thanked our audience for turning out on such a wet night, and declared the 2004 Annual Exhibition closed.

All that remained was for our team of Stalwarts to turn up early on the Saturday morning to dismantle the exhibition, and congratulate themselves on another fine Exhibition.

Bill Chadband