External Competition Round-up with a Silver Lining, 28 Oct 2022

A Silver Lining - a round-up of the PAGB Inter-Club Print Championships and the Wessex Battle.
PAGB Inter-Club Print Championships

Helen and Stephen travelled north to Blackburn on 22 October for the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) Inter-Club Print Championships. This is the 'Premier League' of club print photography and involves the two successful print clubs from each of the UK photographic federations, plus eight finalists from the previous year's competition - 34 clubs in all. Representing the Western Counties Federation were Dorchester, Nonpareil (qualifiers) and Bristol (2021 finalist).

The event takes place in a school in a leafy suburb of Blackburn and it's a great social occasion - a chance to meet old friends and make new ones before battle commences. Breakfast and lunch was laid on in the school restaurant and this was a great place to meet before the start.

In case you were wondering how a print competition works in front of a large live audience, we had the benefit of a live-view projection. This method was necessary because of the format of this competition - it worked well but the image quality was not as good as projected digital images, and certainly not as good as seeing the prints directly. The projection screen was carefully positioned so that the three judges Gwen Charnock, Des Clinton & Richard Spiers were only able to see the prints and not the projection screen.

The competition started with a first round of 12 prints per club, after which each club's scores are added up and the clubs ranked in order. The top-scoring clubs (nine this year) went forward to compete in the final. Before that there was a plate competition involving the remaining 25 clubs.

So how did we do?

First the successes - congratulations to Tim Downton, who was awarded a Silver Medal (Judges Choice by Des Clinton) for "Glossy Ibis tossing Grub"; congratulations also to Jane Lee, awarded a tin of Scottish shortbread for her "Blue Tit with Nesting Material" as the unanimous choice of the back room print-handling team (have a look at the gallery to find out why).

Scoring overall was generally low and averaged 11, but we scored 13 with Jane Lee's "Fence Line", Stephen Jones's "Walking Out" and Susan Buckland's "Ringed Plover Pulling out Lugworm". Tim's "Glossy Ibis tossing Grub" scored a maximum 15 in the Plate.

As a club we scored 137 in the first round and were ranked equal 16th. In the plate we scored 95 and finished equal 8th. Our overall result was very similar to previous years, although we should take credit for our first round score and ranking - our best ever. In 2021 our ranking was higher, but the competition format was different. Congratulations to overall winner, Catchlight, and the winner of the plate, Chapter Six.

See the Gallery for the PAGB Inter-Club Print Championships.

The Wessex Battle

Back in Dorset, several club members made the journey to Wareham on 25 October for the return of the Wessex Battle - the first since 2019. This is a friendly competition between nine clubs from the "Wessex" region and this year it was the turn of Wareham Camera Club to host the evening at the Wareham Parish Hall.

We selected our images from the placed and highly commended images in the recent Open Digital club competition. The format of the competition is a straight battle with eight images per club and this year our judge Sue Sibley gave each image a very thorough critique and scored fairly and consistently.

It wasn't our year. Scoring was tight and we finished in 7th place - a few extra points would have made a big difference, but not enough to finish in the top three. Congratulations to the winners, Wimborne Camera Club, closely followed by BH Photographic Club, then our hosts Wareham in third. The individual winner was Gordon Chamberlain of Wareham with "Reed Bunting Feeding"

There was a silver lining for Dorchester - with Jenny Warr's "Meadow Pipit Singing" held back and awarded a top score of ten.

See the Gallery for the Wessex Battle.