The NCPF Championship (AKA “Knockout”) has been long been a highlight of the photographic year and about half a dozen Durham members made the trip to see how we would fare on February 8th. Washington Camera Club has taken on the job of hosting it for a few years now and the effort their members (and others) put into it is admirable. This time there were no slides to be seen, which shows the way things have changed – just a few years ago it was exclusively a slide competition. The move to digital images, or “Electronic Images” as the NCPF calls them, hasn’t made such a difference as far as the viewer is concerned. We still see big pictures on the screen. Prints are more of a problem, though, as we are beginning to realize in our own club. Once you get an audience above a certain size the people at the back can’t see a print properly. Washington has tried to get round this by using a camcorder linked up to a projector and, although contrast picks up and the colour balance shifts slightly, the results from this point of view seemed better this year than last. It seems like we are all waiting for another leap in technology (and the price to come down) before we get a really satisfactory solution to viewing prints in a large hall. The Knockout is a long day – 9.30 until about 4.30 – but it is made worthwhile by being able to see a lot of excellent pictures (some of which we haven’t seen before!) and by being able to see and chat to fellow photographers from other clubs.
The results of the competition? Ah well, for Durham it will have to be “let’s wait until next year”. We just missed out on a place in the final in both projected images and prints, but at least we had the consolation of getting the judges’ choice for the top digital image courtesy of Gitte Edelman’s “Dancing through the Night” (not bad for an unsharp picture, Gitte!).