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Smartphone snappers from East Sutherland Camera Club in frame with stunning shots

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PHOTOGRAPHERS from Ross-shire – and at least one shot taken in the county – were in the prize-winning frame at a camera club competition with a twist.

East Sutherland Camera Club discovered what members could do armed with just the smartphones in their pockets, as secretary Andy Kirkby explains.

We all know that statistics cannot always be relied on but many sources suggest that worldwide 57,000 photos are taken every second and 93 per cent of them are taken on a smartphone! It is also a well-known saying in photography circles that the best camera is the one you have with you and most of us always have one with us – the smartphone.

Any subject matter was allowed as long as the image had been captured on a smartphone.

Post-processing was also allowed as this is a regular feature of smartphones which have both internal apps and some very sophisticated ones that can be downloaded from an app store.

The aim of the competition was also to stimulate discussion about the features now available on smartphones and how to make best use of them. With over 50 submitted images members amply demonstrated their smartphone skills.

New York school bus by Duncan Meecham.New York school bus by Duncan Meecham.
New York school bus by Duncan Meecham.

In the colour class Duncan Meechan, Milton, came fourth with New York School Bus. A very striking image where the bus filled most of the frame but the street added perspective away into the distance. It also demonstrated the ability of smartphones to work well in city night time conditions. Using a traditional camera would have been quite difficult to capture the same atmosphere.

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Third was Tessa Palmer, Dornoch, with 2nd Green. This was a very graphic image which had simplicity at its heart. In essence the only colour was the yellow flag which stood out from the threatening sky. An excellent example of always having a camera with you whenever you are out.

2nd Green by Tessa Palmer2nd Green by Tessa Palmer
2nd Green by Tessa Palmer

Second and first places went to landscapes. Mountain High by Jan Charge, Culrain, was a beautifully peaceful shot of Loch Torridon. New member, Christine Brodie from Golspie scooped first prize with Beautiful Colours of Luskentyre. A very well composed wide screen image which captured the subtle colours of a Harris seascape.

Mountain High … by Jan ChargeMountain High … by Jan Charge
Mountain High … by Jan Charge
Beautiful Colours of Luskentyre by Christine Brodie.Beautiful Colours of Luskentyre by Christine Brodie.
Beautiful Colours of Luskentyre by Christine Brodie.

Emma Deeth from Tain came fourth in the monochrome class with her detailed shot of a mushroom. This image demonstrated how low angles from near ground level could be easily achieved by turning the phone upside down. She had chosen a square crop which also worked well.

Mushrooms by Emma Deeth.Mushrooms by Emma Deeth.
Mushrooms by Emma Deeth.

Jen Holdsworth from Tain had also chosen a square crop for her soft sepia toned portrait, Shoulder to Cry On. The whole image had gentle and appropriate lighting.

Shoulder to Cry on by Jennifer Holdsworth.Shoulder to Cry on by Jennifer Holdsworth.
Shoulder to Cry on by Jennifer Holdsworth.

Pathfinder by Jan Charge told a winter’s story of farming and the common sense approach of sheep! Like all good monochrome images it had an excellent tonal range from black to white with detail in the snow which can so easily be lost.

Pathfinder by Janet Charge.Pathfinder by Janet Charge.
Pathfinder by Janet Charge.

First prize went to Andy Kirby, Dornoch, with his Creature of the Sky. A momentary capture of beautifully illuminated storm clouds over the Dornoch Firth.

A moment that could not have been planned or repeated and required a couple of quick shots before rapidly heading home to avoid getting wet!

Creature of the Sky by Andy Kirby.Creature of the Sky by Andy Kirby.
Creature of the Sky by Andy Kirby.

East Sutherland Camera Club meets in Dornoch on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month and, in addition, is running basic camera skill training over Zoom on other Tuesdays. All welcome. For more details about the club see and where the wining competition images can be seen.

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