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Message from Liakat Parapia - ACC Club President

We are about to commence our new syllabus for 2019/2020 which is available on our website.
We kick off with our summer competition headed ‘My Yorkshire’. The closing date is 17th August for both Junior and Senior Prizes. The prizes will be awarded on 11th September on our Open Evening.
We have an exciting programme for the year. The membership remains the same at £40 for the year. There is a reduction for junior membership.
On 1st September we will be participating in the Children’s Gala at Parkinson’s Park, plus we will be exhibiting our pictures on our locality on 21st September as part of the Heritage Week at Guiseley Theatre.
We have a very full programme with invited speakers, workshops, competitions and visits. The membership is open to all whether they are beginners or very experienced amateurs. Full support will be given to all new members.
We look forward to seeing everybody on the Open evening. Refreshments will be available.
I would be happy to answer any queries via our website.

Liakat

Below is an excellent summary of Competition Notes authored by Bill Butcher

A few members have asked for more clarity to help them prepare their images for competitions. As far as guaranteeing winning entries, this is impossible but here are some points worth bearing in mind.
First of all, listen to the judges! The purpose of competitions is to help us improve and refine our photography. Judges have a great deal of experience and - although you may not always agree with their aesthetic judgement - it is worth noting what they have to say; they often pick up on details we may not have noticed in the excitement of creativity!

Have you entered your images in the correct competition category?
The subject areas we use generally match the Yorkshire Photographic Union’s categories; make sure you are aware of the rules for each subject area and that your entries match the criteria. You will find the full rules on the club website but here are brief descriptions:
• Nature: Possibly the strictest category, this is for images of wild animals and plants but also landscapes clearly aiming to show particular geological features. Domesticated animals and garden plants are not allowed but animals in places such as safari parks are permitted as are plants in botanical collections. (Some judges will query images of animals in zoos - that is their prerogative!)
• Architecture and General Record: Another fairly strict category, this covers photographs of buildings and objects (large or small) where the image aims to be a clear record. A useful definition is that it should be possible to use the record shot in the recreation of the subject. (Although clarity is key to this category, judges often seem to appreciate pictorial elements)
• Photojournalism: Entries here can include action shots, images of events, sports photography - people doing things!
• Portraits, People & Figure Studies: This category is for portraits and images where the concentration is on people. It can include studio-type portraits, street or candid photography or images of people in their environment (i.e. someone at work). It can also include domestic animals such as pets.
• Monochrome: Essentially images of any subject in any genre in one colour on white - traditionally black and grey on white but also images that mimic sepia toning, calotype etc. This category does not include colour photographs of subjects that happen to be monochrome. (Monochrome images are also allowed in other categories)
• Pictorial: A general category which might include landscapes (including urban), floral photography, still life, abstracts - in other words, anything not covered by the other categories.
For new members, there are separate classes in all these annual competitions for beginners. Should you wish to enter these classes, please make this clear in your labelling.

The following are not Annual Club competitions and are open to all club members regardless of age or length of club membership.
• Three Images on a Theme: This is for a set of three images on any subject which are presented and judged as a set and which relate to a common theme. Digital images should be presented as three separate images and a fourth file where all three are presented. Print entries should be three separate images, clearly numbered in the order they are to be presented.
• Audio Visual: This is for AV presentations - which can include sound, music or commentary - of around 5 minutes duration.

Presenting your images
• Projected Digital Images: These should be a maximum width of 1920 pixels and a maximum height of 1080 pixels: square format images should therefore be 1080 x1080 pixels and upright or portrait format images should be 1080 pixels high. All images should be in SRGB colour. Make sure that the category, title and your name are clearly indicated.
• Prints: Maximum size for prints is 500mm x 400mm overall including the mount. All prints must be mounted - either flat mounted on board or window-mounted; this is important to protect your work when being handled (although some judges have a habit of sticking their fingers on prints when pointing!) If you window-mount your images, it is a good idea to use a backing board. In all cases, make sure you work is mounted securely. Clearly show the category, title, and your name on the back of the mount: if you use a label make sure it is securely stuck to the back of the print.
For all annual club competitions, you are allowed to submit up to three entries. However, occasionally we have too many images for one judge to handle in an evening, in which case we need to cut down on entries. Please make sure you have numbered your entries from one to three to indicate your first, second and third choices.

General points about judging
Judging photographs is necessarily a subjective process - judges are as different in their likes and dislikes and tastes as the rest of us - but there are certain objective requirements which are common to most judges.
1. Does the image fit the category (see above)?
2. Is there a good range of tones in the image? Most judges will expect highlights to have some tone and shadow areas not to be completely black - unless you have deliberately produced a high-contrast image or low- or high-key images (in which case you are on your own!).
3. Is the colour of your image natural? Unless you have deliberately gone for a colour cast or other colour effect, colours should be natural and not over-saturated. Another point to check is fringing, - colour and tone changes most often seen between very dark and very light areas (e.g. bare tree branches against the sky) - and this can be lessened in most processing applications
4. Is the border appropriate? Borders are often included in both digital and print images; some judges have strong opinions on this! Generally, on digital images a thin white border can be included, especially when an image is dark at the edges and ‘bleeds’ into the surrounding area of projection but thick white borders are usually criticised for dominating the image. The same goes for dark borders on prints.
5. Is your print image presented appropriately? Think about aspects such as the colour and texture of the mount; the position of the print in or on the mount (usually slightly more border at the bottom than at the top looks better).

Common criticisms
You may not agree with their decisions but most judges try to be as fair as possible. However, there are some points that judges have picked up on over the years.
1. Is the horizon level? Funnily enough, this is one of the most frequent criticisms!
2. Is everything that needs to be in focus actually in focus? Judges will pick up on any image which is even slightly out of focus; you can - sometimes - get away with this in a small print but it will show on larger prints and projected images. Shallow depth of field in an image is great but it must be deliberate.
3. Is there ‘noise’ in the image? Using too high an ISO or long exposures can sometimes produce a grainy effect, as can trying to lighten an image too much. Always check for this; there are remedies available in most processing applications which will cut down on noise.
4. Is the image over-enlarged? It may be tempting in, for instance, a wild-life shot to enlarge a small part of an image so that the tiny Warbling Dart Crest fills the photograph; do not forget that everything else (noise, blur, camera movement) will also be enlarged.
5. Is the image overworked? It is all too easy to go ‘over the top’ with image processing! Too much saturation of colour, skies which are unnaturally heavy, over-sharpening will all be picked up by the judge and, unless done deliberately, will mark your image down. (Some judges see HDR images as being a step too far!)
6. Are there distractions in the image? Areas in an image that are very light will draw the eye; if there is something, particularly towards the edge of the image, that is very light and has little to do with the main subject it will mark you work down.
7. Is the image cropped appropriately? It is better to crop your image so that any object towards the edges is either left complete or cropped out all together. Most processing applications will include tools for ‘removing’ these objects.

No one can give us a guaranteed formula for winning images - people (especially judges) have different and (sometimes) strange ideas about what makes an interesting, well-produced photograph.
Your work should show deliberate creative and technical choices and always remember this:
The best rule for submitting successful images is
‘Check once, check twice, check again - then ask somebody else to check it!’