Of Competitions and of Crops Feb 2012

Two things here. First of all I entered 3 images for a landscape competition at the Camera Club, and the judgement fell yesterday evening. Marked out of 20, my best effort was the picture of Brimham Rocks, which rated 16, which was encouraging. To keep that in perspective there were, out of about 40 images, 3 that rated 17 and one each at 18, 19 and (the winner, obviously) 20. So a 16 was not something to be ashamed of at any rate, but leaves room for growth!

My Peak District image looked awful on the screen, oversaturated to the point of garishness and somewhat soft of focus. It rated 14, which was generous, but more interesting, not to say mysterious, was that it looked totally different to what I see on my monitor and to the A5 print that I had with me. Talking (in very friendly fashion I might add) to the judge afterwards, he agreed that the print was almost a different image and of much better quality than it’s projected manifestation, which was some consolation.

I’d also put in an image of the Rochdale Canal which he scored at 14. I think this looked a little worse for wear on the screen too, but he made a couple of suggestions about cropping which he thought might improve it, and I’ve tried to explore them a bit here. So first of all here’s the original…….

1. Rochdale Canal - original

I still quite like this as it is. The puddles and the empty mooring bollard have a part in the story I think, and the whiteness of the Silver Birches balances the sun-bathed facia of the building opposite them. He suggested cropping them out, feeling that the puddles were to him something of a distraction, and that there’s not actually very much going on in that bottom right hand corner.

So – crop 1 – more or less to a square format.

2. Rochdale Canal - Crop 1

The emphasis is now very much on the left hand side, though there is some balance in the Narrow Boats moored on the RH bank, and the distant Wainhouse Tower is somewhat right of centre. There’s less of the admittedly uninteresting sky and the reflected brightness in the canal itself is rather more “front and centre”. It loses the “journey” of the towpath, and I did like those Silver Birches, but maybe it benefits from being more compact? Looking again though I have a slight sense of being cramped – not much shoulder room!

Crop 2 is a compromise of sorts.

3. Rochdale canal - Crop 2

We still have a Birch tree opposing the building, and we still have a towpath. The two opposing Narrow Boats are now in the foreground – the one real annoyance to my eye is now the Wainhouse Tower which suddenly looks a touch phallic in the centre of the image.

I think I still like my original, for its width and spaciousness, and that towpath journey which is somewhat from dark to light. Interesting exercise though.

Second thing is an upcoming “4 on a Board” competition for which I’ve just settled my offering, using some images from the walk on the first section of the towpath of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. While I can’t show the layout here, the images in order are:

1  Unlocking Leeds. Along the towpath towards the city, the firmly closed lock gates have the potential to let us into the mysteries of the buildings beyond, which are already reflected in the water. The tree on the right hand bank, coupled with its reflection seem to be bowing us on our way.

Unlocking Leeds

2.  New and Old. There are some striking new buildings in Leeds, dramatic in their shapes and colours. This precocious barrier though can’t quite conceal the heritage of the ages suggested in the domed roof of the Town Hall that peeps over them, and indeed the jumble of debris from which they seem to rise.

New and Old

3.  Work in progress. I don’t know what used to be here, but it’s plain that the renaissance of Leeds is by no means complete yet!

Work in Progress

4.  The Leeds Skyline. This panorama still contains hints of the past, and the faint lines of the crane to the right are suggestive of the future. Here’s a line though which is strong and confident and of the present and the future.

The Leeds Skyline

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