With the AGM upon us on Tuesday night, the season will officially end. However, for this season we have at least two more club nights after the AGM, and from 2019-20 the AGM will be moved out two weeks to lengthen the season. Most camera clubs run through to mid April at least, so we felt we should do so also.
With the prize giving on Tuesday though, it seems appropriate to have a look back over the season. It also provides an opportunity to thank Ken Ness in particular, for the work he put in preparing the programme for this season. It was unfortunate that Ken had to stand down as president midway through the season, but other commitments meant it was the right move.
I was, and remain, very proud to have been selected as the new president, and hope everyone feels I've done an OK job thus far. Juggling the presidency and competition secretary has not been easy at times, but the committee are great, and we have some great ideas and ambitions going forwards.
Weary by Hayley-Jane Stanley - Mono POTY winner
The most notable thing from my point of view, with my competition secretary hat on, is how much the quality of photography has improved throughout the club, and the swell of enthusiasm among members. We have a trophy - The Brechin Arts Festival Trophy - for the most improved photographer, and it is usually fairly straightforward to select a winner - but not this year!
The Old Lock by Iain Wilson - Div 3 winner 'Rust'
In a previous post, we celebrated the choice of Jock Elliott as winner of the trophy - but it is also worth mentioning one or two other names - Iain Wilson and Jim Carr who progress into Division 2 next year, along with Andrew Hall, and Hayley-Jane Stanley who not only gains promotion to Division 1 for next year, but also won BOTH the Colour and Mono Print of the Year competitions. Sally Mack won the Mini Panel competition with a terrific set of images.
Simple Straight Lines by Sally Mack - Mini Panel winner
James Anderson won the Division 1 title - not for the first time - but was pushed all the way by the pack. Interestingly, the Annual Image Competition threw up a different winner in each round in both Divisions 1 and 2 - testament to the level of competition.
Several members have become somewhat hooked on wildlife photography - sales of telephoto lenses have skyrocketed in Angus this year. It is in this genre in particular that I think we have seen the greatest jump in standard, and the progress shows no signs of slowing down.
Little Egret in Flight by Jim Carr
Lesser Redpoll by Jock Elliott
The Angus Cup and John Senior Trophy are always a good marker of how the club is doing, and to retain the John Senior Trophy and come so close to winning the Angus Cup shows that we are doing pretty well!
Pasque Flower by Beryl Woodger - 19/20 in the John Senior Trophy
Blue Tit by Dennis Forman - 19/20 in the John Senior Trophy
We've had some great speakers this season too. It's important to strike a balance between competition, practical and instructional nights, and purely inspirational nights. In most cases, guest speakers will aim to provide the latter.
Dianne Owen kicked the season off with her presentation of her creative prints, Brian Clark presented his amazing landscape photography work, Gordon Rae showed us some inspiring wildlife photography from all corners of the world, and David Sadler showed us work that was definitely completely different. Add to that the demonstration of wet plate collodion photography from Simon Harbord, and an introduction to A/V from David Pickford, there really was something for everyone!
Members' nights have a been a mix of topics and ideas, and we have loads of ideas for next season brewing already, including more work with Carnoustie Photo Group to make the 20/20 exchange a more constructive and collaborative process.
Securing a substantial grant from the National Lottery, thanks to Ian Hastie's efforts, made a massive difference to the club too. The ageing projector and laptop have been replaced with state of the art gear, allowing much greater scope for tutorials and supporting the membership in learning more about photography. Some clubs are centred on competitions, some have mostly guest speakers, and some shun both for workshops and project work - we have all the resources to do all three at Brechin!
Farewell by Iain McLachlan - the last image from his winning Main Project
The programme for next season has been completed, and we have some great evenings in store - including Marko Trebusak from Slovenia, and Judy Boyle from Ireland - both internationally renowned photographers. This has been made possible by cooperation with other clubs who meet on Mondays and Wednesdays, to share the costs of speakers allowing a three stop tour. Huge thanks are due to Dawn from Dundee Photographic Society for setting up both of these speakers for next season.
It's not easy running a club these days - we are bombarded television and in particular the internet that absorbs so much time (and can offer much in the way of constructive photography content) - but we have embraced this and spent more time and effort on growing the club website and social media pages - including our private facebook chatroom which is increasingly popular. We now have a fortnightly contest to have the cover image on the group - such is the level of participation in the group. The continuing growth of camaraderie within the club is also great to see, with many members continuing to meet up through the summer to take photos together.
While we have taken pre-arranged club outings out of the programme for next year - this is to allow us more flexibility. We have plans for summer outings, and more meetups through next season too. We would like to return to the Isle of May this summer, and also have plans to hopefully attend a re-enactment at Thirlestane Castle in August - which our own Lindsay Cameron will be involved in.
Puffins on the Isle of May by Ian Suttie
All in all, I think we have a lot to be proud of at Brechin Photographic Society. We have a massive amount of potential, and next season promises to be even better than this one!