Synopsis of January 9th 2020 meeting.

Every year the first 30 minutes of our first meeting of the year is taken up by the AGM, where the accounts are scrutinised and new and past committee members are elected / re-elected. This year’s AGM included one notable event. Being awarded a Honorary Life Membership is is rare event in our Club – to date only three people have been awarded this prestigious honour. So I’m delighted to report that we have a new Honorary Life Member – our Vice President Keith Brown FRPS! Keith has a string of photography related distinctions – too many to list in this web-post, and has served our club for many years. This new honour reflects the esteem that members hold for Keith and the work that he’s done for Castleton & Hope Valley Photographic Society!

A New Year in our photographic society brings a new Chair. So after the formalities of the AGM, Ian Stanyon handed over to our 2020 Chair – Joan Clough. From memory (not always reliable at my age) Joan has been a member of our Club for at least a decade. Joan, aided by the projected screenshot shown below, talked about upcoming events:

Then, as is the tradition, our new Chair talked about her interest in photography, showing images of her family and places near and far. Joan attended university in Newcastle, and later spent some years with her husband Tony in Canada. More recently Joan revisited Newcastle with members of her family, and talked about the new Newcastle Quay, with its new bridge (shown below) to supplement the historic bridges that cross the River Tyne. I’ve selected four of these images simply to give a taste of the topics Joan covered.

Synopsis of 14th November meeting

Ian Stanyon, our 2019 Chair opened the meeting by welcoming Peter Williams, talking about the donation that we’d given to Valley Care, and then giving details of forthcoming events.

Peter Williams’ illustrated talk on his wildlife adventures We welcomed Peter Williams as our speaker for the evening giving his print presentation on his wildlife adventures locally and further afield.  Peter is well known in Castleton and as many of our members will attest he makes some wonderful homemade fudge which he sells in his village shop opposite the Cheshire Cheese.

Peter clearly has a passion for wildlife starting at a very young age.  He went on to rescue amphibians and has been a bird of prey handler in his time.  Peter is fairly new to serious photography having played with his Dad’s Box Brownie in his formative years progressing to digital cameras as recently as 2006.  Peter was very generous on the evening passing his camera gear and prints around the audience. 

Peter talked enthusiastically and with a style of humour that visitors to his shop will know.  He clearly enjoys looking at wildlife all over the United Kingdom and has spent hours perfecting his skill in taking photographs of his subjects.  Peter organises his year around the different bird migrations or deer rutting time and makes sure that he is well placed in visiting these spectacles.  Peter’s patience clearly shows in his photography which the members really enjoyed.  Peter delivered his presentation as if he was talking to the individual; it was personal and not delivered to a script.  I think that this worked really well and I am sure that he audience really enjoyed the evening as much as me.  Peter was generous enough to let us know the location of several local bird spotting sites, but please be respectful both of the birds and avoid sharing these locations on social media

Peter declined to take a speaker’s fee for himself in his not unusual beneficial style but agreed that he would contribute a donation to his favourite charities Great Ormond Street and to Crones disease research.

Charity donation to Valley Care

Following our successful coffee morning hosted in Hope during August, Ray and Keith paid a visit to Valley Care in Bradwell to pass over a cheque for £70, part of the proceeds of the day.  Both Ray and Keith spent time chatting with the staff to express their gratitude for the support that they have recently been given.  We can hopefully make similar contributions to other charity organisations in the future if coffee mornings or other similar fund raising events are as successful as this year.

Synopsis of 10.10.19 meeting

Ian Stanyon, our 2019, Chair opened the meeting by welcoming two guests, then made a number of announcements – shown below.

Then the main event – actually ten events – opened, split 50:50 before and after the tea break. Namely 10 images, presented by 10 members of our society. All to be shown within 10 minutes, on our new high resolution projector.

Synopsis of September 11th meeting

We welcomed several visitors to the showing of this special event run by Kate and Keith Brown of their audio visual presentations.  In particular we were privileged to welcome Roger Thorpe of Castleton Garage and Les Lennon of William Lennon and Co. – boot makers. Both of whom were stars of the audio visual presentations called ‘Grease, gaskets and gears’ and ‘These Boots’, respectively shown during the presentation.  We also welcomed other visitors locally and from Sheffield.  There was an excellent turn out with the hall being all but full.

We were treated to a wide selection of AV’s, some of which have been aired before and a couple of new ones to the audience.  As usual these all went down well and feedback from the audience was that it was probably the best AV showing yet.  Some of theAV’s spoke for themselves images accompanied by music, other AV’s being narrated.  The audience was clearly appreciative and from earshot it became clear that some members are tempted to have a go at making their own AV too.

The interval saw us treated to not only biscuits but also cakes as well.  Things are definitely looking up; the society is well attended with prospective new members in the sidelines, a good range of presentations from visitors and members and we have also recently purchased a new projector and better display stands which means we can show off members’ images to their very best.

As a reminder, there is an informal evening arranged for Tuesday 17th September at the Anglers’ rest in Bamford.  If anybody would like to go, can they please let David Allwood know before Monday 16th.

Synopsis of August 8th meeting

A night of four parts: Firstly our Chair for 2019 – Ian Stanyon – opened the meeting and using his innovative monthly calendar, projected onto a screen, gave details of activities and things to see/visit over the coming month:

Ian then presented the certificates to members who had achieved recognition in our Annual Competition. With the exception that Ann Smith had to step in and present Ian with the certificate that related to his image. The results and some of these images were shown an earlier post (scroll down to the synopsis of June 13th’s meeting to see the results). MANY thanks to Club President Ray for producing (as usual) top class certificates, which included a copy of the relevant winning or commended image.

Bob Stone, who has lived in the famous ‘plague village’ of Eyam for 10 years, showed images from a project he’s running for 2019, to illustrate all of the many community events that run from New Year’s Day onwards.

After a break for a chat and coffee, Wayne Hallam, who is an accomplished cricketer, visiting many many cricket matches each year, presented a collection of ‘decisive moment’ bowling, batting and catching (or dropping the ball) images.

Here’s a few images to illustrate what happened during the evening:

Our 6th Whatever the Weather (27-7-19) and the induction of Denis Thorpe as our Honorary Life member

Denis, showing off his new Honorary Life Membership Certificate, flanked by our 2019 Chair (Ian S) and Club President Ray

C&HVPS’s ”Whatever the Weather’ social event has, according to tradition, always been held at Orlecar Cottage. Six years ago my wife Chris(tine) named the event ‘Whatever the Weather’ to take account of the unpredictability of Hope Valley weather. Over the past five years every WtW morning in our garden has dawned bright and sunny. But we knew our sixth annual social event on Saturday 27th July was likely to defy the fair-weather odds; as that morning it started to rain, with the rain increasing in intensity by the hour. So Chris & I decided to alter plans and set the fallback ‘wet weather’ indoors routine in place.

This year’s event was graced by a special guests: Denis Thorpe and his daughter Lucy. Denis, a renowned, respected and now retired award-winning Guardian photojournalist, has covered assignments across the UK, Europe, the Middle East, China, India, the Soviet Union, etc. Over the years Denis has given three presentations to members and guests of our photo society, filling the hall to bursting point each time. Recently Ray (our Club President) came up with the idea of inviting Denis to become an Honorary Life Member of our Club. We were delighted that Denis accepted this invitation.

Chris had worked hard, baking cupcakes and scones – ladling on clotted cream and her home-made redcurrant jelly onto these scrumptious scones. Other guests brought cakes and edibles, as shown in some of the photographs. Chris had also prepared her traditional quiz – this year requiring the eagle eye of competitors as they searched for clues indoors – instead of being scattered around our garden. The friendship and fellowship of our members and their partners counteracted the grey day and heavy rain.

There were two special events during our WtW afternoon. The first being President Ray’s presentation to Denis, of his Honorary Life membership. Ray Had thoughtfully purchased (at his own cost) a silver frame, enclosing the membership certificate. The second was the presentation by Denis, of his Denis Thorpe Trophy to this year’s winner – Keith Brown. Given good luck and a fair wind (and hopefully sunnier weather) next year Denis will present his trophy to the 2020 winner of the Denis Thorpe Trophy – possibly in sunshine in our garden at next year’s Whatever the Weather.

The man himself, presenting Club Vice President Keith, with his Denis Thorpe Trophy for the best monochrome image entered into our 2019 annual competition

Synopsis of 11th July’s meeting – Erica Oram presents

We welcomed Erica Oram CPAGP, AFIAP, BPE2 as our speaker for the evening giving her print presentation titled ‘Making the most of any opportunity’.  Erica is a well respected photographer from Sheffield PS and was our judge during the previous year’s competition so well known to our members.  She planned on splitting the evening into two subjects, street photography and landscapes.  Being the enthusiastic talker she is, we only managed to get through her prints showing her ventures into street photography, leaving us with an opportunity to invite Erica back to talk about her landscape images at a future meeting.

It seems that Erica is able to take her full size DSLR into any situation and somehow not be noticed.  Some of the images she showed would have been difficult to take with a discreet compact yet alone the larger DSLR.  What really pleased the audience was the handing around of prints after first showing them on the front stand.  It gave us a real opportunity to see the photographs close up and to see exactly the detail that Erica was talking about.  Perhaps this is a format we could adopt with our own images at members presentations, it certainly went down well and sparked fruitful dialogue between Erica and our members.

Synopsis of 13th June’s meeting – Judging Night’

Our Chair opened the meeting by welcoming members and guests, particularly our judge Peter and his wife. We couldn’t have been honoured by a more qualified judge as Peter Cheetham Hon PAGB. Peter and his wife have both been Presidents of the PAGB, with Peter also being President of NEMPF! Peter told me that he’s been judging for 40 (yes 40) years! If you look at the snaps I’ve inserted in this web-post you’ll see that Peter must have started judging as a young man.

Before getting down to the judging, Ian announced forthcoming events, encapsulated below.

The first half of the evening was devoted to Peter judging the “General Competition” images, followed by tea/coffees, before Peter judged this years competition theme” ‘It Gives Me Joy’. I was impressed with the time that Peter spent in examining each competition image – giving shrewd and positive feedback, whilst also giving hints and advice on how a slightly weaker image could have been improved. Such feedback is invaluable, as it allows the exhibitor to see how her or his image is viewed and appraised by a more experienced eye. I’ve included a selection of images, both showing Peter casting his eagle eye on each competiton image, as well as Peter’s final sift of those who were awarded a 1st, 2nd or 3rd, as well as commendations. We now have two addition categories: The Catherine Cup, awarded this year to Stephen Elliott for the best colour competition image, and the Denis Thorpe Trophy awarded this year to Keith Brown FRSP for the best monochrome competition image.

I’ve attached a list of the competitors and results below.

Synopsis of May 9th meeting

It’s been a sad time for everyone in our Club. As nearly two weeks ago Pat Fowler, the wife of our President Ray, passed away. Joan Clough gave a moving tribute covering Pat’s time in our Club and so many other parts of Castleton life. Pat had been a member of our Club from its formation. Working behind the scenes (as well as behind the camera) in so many ways; including serving tea/coffee and biscuits for so many years during the break in our meetings. Pat was a pillar of Castelton; for example Pat was either President or Secretary of our local WI group for 40 years.

For the first part of the evening Alison gave a presentation covering her recent safari. Sarah, the wife of one of our members had lived in Kenya for 17 years, remarked that she was deeply impressed with Alison’s images, and how close that Alison had been to some of the game. Being completely quiet and not moving a muscle, rather than relying on long reach lenses. Alison has more courage and nerve than me, as I’d have been running in the opposite direction from lions, leopards, elephants, etc.

The second half of the meeting was presented by Erica, who talked us through the process of assessment days, for those who want to qualify for the RPS Licentiate Distinction.

Anglers Rest informal evening 16 April 2019


It was the first Pizza night of the year but we did manage to discuss some photography topics too.  A select crowd made up of Alison, Bob, Susan and Ian S. managed to fill the evening out talking about portrait photography and while we originally intended to do some actual photography we instead looked at a selection of Ian’s images to offer both critique and learn the different qualities we might expect from portraits.  It was agreed that we would like to put on a session for taking portraits and we will endeavour to set up an evening or weekend date to that end.

It was interesting to explore the use of lighting, whether natural light or additional light sources.  We all agreed that natural light has a really lovely quality compared with electronic sources but that additional second and even third light sources can help balance a picture where the single light often gives the Rembrandt look.  We even started projecting images onto a reflector which gave some very interesting results; perhaps a theme for a future evening?

The next informal evening is Monday 17th June.  So make sure its in your diary and we will look forward to seeing you there.