The East Sutherland Camera Club’s move to Dornoch has brought in many new members from Sutherland and Easter Ross, writes club secretary Andy Kirby.

Many of them took part in the first of the club’s monthly competitions and demonstrated their photographic talent.

The competition was “open” and therefore had no specific subject.

Judge Piers Hemy of the Cromarty Camera Club gave a detailed analysis of each image, outlining ways in which it could have been improved either when the image was taken or when evaluating it afterwards.

It was agreed that his comments were very fair and that he provided good advice that everyone could take into account, whether or not it was their image that was criticized.

It was especially nice to see the work of new members being showcased.

First up in the color section was ‘Barny’ – a stunning image of a barn owl in flight by new Migdale member David Baker.

David Baker’s “Barny” took first place.

David caught the owl in a perfect flight position in his beautifully exposed and well-focused image. The picture couldn’t have been bettered and was a very worthy winner.

New Tain member Nickey Fraser followed up the avian theme with a compelling and appropriately titled owl image, “Look into my Eyes,” which earned her second place in the color section.

The eyes sucked you into the picture and were beautifully framed by very sharp plumage.

Your eyes suck in this image shot by new photo club member Nickey Fraser, Tain.
Your eyes suck in this image shot by new photo club member Nickey Fraser, Tain.

Club chairman Alan Butcher of Golspie came third with ‘Pit Stop’.

The image not only showed a beautiful color combination of greens and purples, but also a blurred background and crisp insect and flower heads.

Golspie's Alan Butcher won third place in the color category for 'Pit Stop'.
Golspie’s Alan Butcher won third place in the color category for ‘Pit Stop’.

Tain’s Peter Smith came fourth with his ‘Reflected Glory’, a well-seen reflection of a traditional building in the glass facade of a modern building.

'Reflected Glory' by Peter Smith.
‘Reflected Glory’ by Peter Smith.

The monochrome section generated a set of images well suited to the monochrome genre. Too often it’s easy to just convert a color image to monochrome, but the real test is whether the image performs better in monochrome.

All of the first four have demonstrated that they fully justify this treatment.

Nickey Fraser once again showed his photographic strength with ‘Contemplating’. This charming portrait was placed first.

The top of the monochrome section was
The top of the monochrome section was “Contemplation” by Nickey Fraser.

“Dark Crystal” by Zoe Gray of Portmahomack was a simple but highly effective composition demonstrating careful control of line and form with strong black and white tones.

Zoe Gray's Black Crystal.
Zoe Gray’s Black Crystal.

Alan Butcher was in contention for top honors again with his third place “Power, Black and White”. It was a simple composition but well observed and captured. Simplicity can say a lot.

Alan Butcher:
Alan Butcher: “Power, black and white”.

Fourth-placed David Baker’s “Tranquility” expressed just that. He used the technique of infrared photography which gives the images an almost surreal quality.

David Baker used infrared photography to give his image,
David Baker used infrared photography to give his image, “Tranquility”, a surreal quality.

For more details about the club and to see the winning images from the competition, visit

Results: Color – 1 ‘Barny’ by David Baker; 2’Look Into My Eyes’ by Nickey Fraser; 3 “Pit Stop” by Alan Butcher; 4 “Reflected Glory” by Peter Smith. Monochrome – 1 “Contemplating” by Nickey Fraser; 2 “Dark Crystals” by Zoe Gray; 3 “Power, Black and White” by Alan Butcher; 4 “Tranquility” by David Baker.

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