Trains and Kittens

An overview of competition evening styles/types.

Our own internal competitions - so called as they take place indoors and also include just club members - are a simple affair whereby attending members cast a secret vote for their favourite 3 images. The votes are totted up with scores of 3 points for 1st, 2 points for 2nd, and yes 1 point for 3rd.

The overall scores are then totted up and the 5 top-scoring images placed.

Obviously voting etc is subjective but in recent years we have tried to include some post-vote critique into competition evenings, and also run specific critique evenings so that members might actually take note of the technical aspects of an image and how well it has been taken.

When I was but a lad and a new member of HCC I was occasionally bewildered by the images that were deemed competition winners - well, not deemed actually, they did win internal competitions.

So, although voting is meant to be anonymous, I did, at the end of one competition, decide that I wanted to understand the thought process a little more.

I asked the attendees if they would not mind admitting to voting for an image of a Steam Train which, in my most humble opinion, was lacking in just about every department when considered technically.
One member confessed "Yes, I voted for that"

I then asked "Was it the composition of the subject within the image, or perhaps the detail and exposure of the subject that particularly enthralled you?" I paraphrase as this was some time ago and the original questions would have been deliberately longer in order to attempt to prove my point.

"Well, I like trains" was the response.

t is in my opinion so important that we do not return to the KIttens & Trains (or KIttens on trains) approach of yesteryear. Whilst it may be difficult, surely an image should be judged on merit - not whether it is the voter's favourite genre.


As the name may suggest, these are competitions where Hagley are competing with other local clubs - most of which to be fair are a tad more interested in the idea.

Again, when I first joined, the competitions often represented the work of just a handful of club members as it was deemed that us lowly newbies were not of sufficient standard. Hagley would on occasion win a competition but, in my opinion, there was no club spirit and as such only very few cared about the result.

Over a period of time, we managed to vary the situation so that wherever viable the majority of the membership is represented. Sometimes this does mean that we are not necessarily putting forward our very strongest images and as such we now win even fewer competitions BUT we are certainly now more member-based and as such members have more interest (even if we are not too worried about coming 4th of 4 (or 3)) and even "away" competitions are now generally well supported.

Unlike our own in-house competitions, inter-club comps are Judged independently by a circuit Judge. Even if you do not agree with the outcome and/or the Judge's comments it is generally worth attending as part of the learning process - and please remember when your favourite image is panned, it's only someone's opinion!


Please see the full "rules" for this interestingly different competition. Thanks to Stourbridge Photographic Society for those and also for invisint us along for the last couple of years.