Report - David Cromack with World Class Birds, & Major Natural History Print Competition.

The New Year got off to a “flying start” with a very special lecture by David Cromack, former editor of ‘Bird Watching’ magazine. He showed a collection of projected digital entries from the prestigious ‘International Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ competition. There were fantastic images of all sorts of bird behavior - tenacious aerial combats; a meadow pipit defending her nesting territory from a predating cuckoo; endearing young owls, heads nestled together; just to name a few. In many cases the birds’ surroundings were included and those images were just as descriptive as full frame birds.

It is fair to mention that the Club is privileged to have wildlife photographers amongst us who have somewhat of a reputation with visiting judges as being “top drawer” material when it comes to optimum quality levels, and some of these members have also enjoyed international success.

Our Major National History print competition took place last week and the result was a win for Tony Kinder with Red Grouse, showing amazing detail on its head and outstretched wing as it cruised gracefully through the air. Tony also came third with That Time of Year, an elegant pair of courting Great Crested Grebes, standing in the water with nesting vegetation. Then, for good measure, he was Commended for a cormorant image named Drying Time. (Tony is currently top of the Prints league table and 2nd in the Projected Images table.) Runner Up was Alan Battersby with Brown Bear Fishing, which sprayed cascades of sparkling water as it jumped about. Alan was also highly commended with Coyote. Very highly commended were Linda Battersby with Greenshanks, Will Knight with Dunnock and Rob Gough with European Otter. Rob was also highly commended with Farne Islands Puffin and Red River Hog. Commended was Sonja Haig with Robin, and Mandaren Duck, now making her runner up in the League.

We left the Digital Group Meeting last week “rarin’ to go” on numerous fresh projects, as our Webmaster had armed us with a store of informative data. First it was tuition on calibration equipment to ensure colours are accurate. This was followed by various useful programmes available to download without charge, such as picture editing, the shredding of digital files and fast search facilities. He then showed us how to make creative page layouts of our photos which can be purchased on line in book form. These books make unique and professional looking gifts and keepsakes. In the second half, in readiness for our forthcoming competition, the Chairman of the Group gave an interesting demonstration on creating a montage, where elements of photos are imaginatively used to form a new image.

The classical beauty of Peakland Landscapes is the subject of tomorrow night’s show, 22nd January, when landscape and environment photographer, Fran Halsall, BA Hons. LBIPP, is our Presenter. The venue is the Dove Room, SMDC offices, Leek at 7.30pm and visitors will be very welcome, entrance £1.

Report by Ann Sharratt

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