Category: Awards

Nov 09 2012

More Winners!

In Rehearsal, Dud Muurmand practicing before Gothla UK Friday Showcase in 2012

In Rehearsal

This photo, of Dud Muurmand ‘In Rehearsal,’ won first place in Competition League Round 4, Open DPI category, at Shepshed and District Camera Club on 2nd October this year.

The photo was taken at maximum ISO on my Canon 5D mkii as Dud tried out the stage prior to the Friday Night Showcase on July 13th at GothlaUK 2012, The Y! in Leicester.

I also took 3rd place in the Themed Print category, ‘Snow,’ with ‘Frozen Pond on the River Lin,’ taken in early February this year.


Frozen Pond on the River Lin

Frozen Pond on the River Lin

Jul 09 2012

Winning At Photography

Perhaps it is only the truly creative person who labours long in isolation to perfect his or her craft. The rest of us like to have some acknowledgement and appreciation as we go along.

So it is with my photography. The Open University’s interactive ten week course encouraged its students to upload to a common pool of photos each week and to comment helpfully on each other’s efforts.

Most of us felt bereaved after the course had finished. Whatever could we aim at in the ensuing weeks? We had made helpful online contacts. Although we’d never actually met, we valued each other’s opinions and constructive criticism.

We continued to support each other via flickr groups. But there comes a point when either interest wanes, or  you feel that you want to test your ability further. That is the point when you join a competitive camera club.

I’ve been a member of Shepshed and District Camera Club for 18 months. I’ve entered the competition league and submitted entries for all contests so far this year, being elected Assistant Competition Secretary somewhere along the way.

I have learnt a lot from judges’ adjudications, which has encouraged me simply to go on taking photos. Familiarity with equipment and technique shows in the quality of work that you produce.

I’ve also been placed with at least one entry in most competitions and am making a small dent in the club’s league.

My biggest success to date has been with a view of the skyline at Garendon Park, just east of Junction 23 on the M1. A landowner in the 19th century had a folly built on the skyline, which we locals nickname The Temple of Venus. Evergreen trees resembling cypresses were also planted along the ridge. In winter, in the right sunlight, the viewpoint is remarkably Tuscan. Which is why I strayed on to private property one very cold winter afternoon in mid-January, in the golden hour before the sun went down, to take a photo entitled Tuscan Landscape in Loughborough.

Tuscan Landscape in Loughborough

Tuscan Landscape in Loughborough

Not only has this photo taken first prize in a club contest, it has also been used several times by my local newspaper, the Shepshed/Loughborough Echo, to illustrate stories about the fate of Garendon Park, notably on the front page of the edition dated June 15th 2012. The editor rang me personally for permission to publish!

I was also very gratified when three of my prints were displayed at the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Jubilee photographic exhibition in June.

I have finally succeeded in assembling photos taken in Oman in January and March 2004 into an entry into the camera club’s slideshow challenge, which was very well received. The club will be introducing an annual slideshow contest from next year.

Please enjoy Journeys in Oman.


Jun 22 2009

Sue Hutton – Competent Communicator!

Sue Hutton receives her Competent Communicator award certificate from President John Cox

Sue Hutton receives her Competent Communicator award certificate from President John Cox

Less than two years after becoming a founder member of East Midlands Speakers, a local club affiliated to Toastmasters International, I have become a Competent Communicator.

This means that I have made ten speeches in front of my peers following a programme set out by Toastmasters. Each speech had a particular theme, such as Get to the Point, Vocal Variety or Persuade with Power. As I progressed through the programme, each speech became progressively more demanding.

I spoke on topics as diverse as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dancing on the Dark Side (gothic bellydancing), Information Access and Water Usage in the UK. Although the schedule was interrupted for major hip surgery in February 2009, I managed to finish the programme in good time to contribute to the club’s bid to become a President’s Distinguished Toastmaster Club.

One of my favourite speeches was Number 6, He Who Must Be Obeyed! a humorous take on what it’s like to be a member of a choir.

By the time I reached the tenth speech, which required the speaker to Inspire Your Audience, I had very clear ideas of what was needed to make a meaningful presentation.

  • Passion
  • Enthusiasm
  • Interaction with the audience
  • Knowledgeability
  • Rehearsal
  • Presence

I am more than ever convinced that people wanting to make effective speeches and presentations could learn a very great deal from the skills of acting and performance.

You need to be able both to connect with and care for your audience to get your message across.

What do I mean by caring for your audience? Speak to their needs. Know your subject. Look them in the eye. Make your voice interesting. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

If you would like to know more, please contact me. I aim to write in more detail at a later date about using performance skills in speaking.

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