Launceston Camera Club – winners of APOY’s first Camera Club award

February 8, 2022

The Launceston Camera Club have won the inaugural APOY Camera Club Award in 2021. Here they explain the secrets to their success


When was the Launceston Camera Club founded?

The Launceston Camera Club was founded in December 1976 with 12 members and our Honorary President, Dennis Madge, was a founding member of the club. Our members average between 35 and 40 and we try to cater for everyone from all walks of life, with a catchment area ranging from North Cornwall to West Devon. As in many clubs, there is a shortage of young members. We have a few, but we would like to encourage others to join us and gain experience from our most capable members – and they also have a lot to teach us.

Penguins Nigel Watson through a window

An unusual travel photo earned Nigel Watson fourth place on lap 8

How would you describe yourself as a club?

We are a small but very friendly group of enthusiastic photographers, ready to share our experience and knowledge with any new or old member. We run monthly summer outings around the coast or moorlands of Devon and Cornwall.

What form do your meetings take?

We try to cover and encourage all aspects of photography throughout the year, consisting of hands-on evenings, before and after workshops, quiz nights and arranging for guest speakers to show us their work and give us encouragement and advice. Two highlights this year were The Lone Kayaker with Rupert Kirkwood and Personal Projects by Glyn Dewis.

We have eight contests throughout the season, digital and print, still and monochrome, and the final is a grand slam at the end of the season. We have interclub battles with other clubs and we just have the joy of sharing each other’s images. We also compete in regional and national competitions, encouraging club members to enter our own Cornwall Photographic Alliance, Western Counties Photographic and (PAGB) Photographic Alliance of Great Britain competitions. We also organize summer outings throughout the summer at various locations and only for the social side.

Heather Bodle Launceston Camera Club black and white waterfall image

An atmospheric capture of Heather Bodle, who was shortlisted in round 6, Movement

What are the most popular photographic genres among your members?

I think one of the reasons why Launceston has done so well with the APOY photo club challenge is that we have members who specialize in a wide range of subjects including landscape, portraiture, wildlife, the astro, the drop of water and a member who does fine art using only black. & white film. But the important thing is that if new members want help, they know where to go for help on that specific topic.

How has the lockdown affected you?

Lockdown was difficult at first, then we noticed on Facebook that other clubs were using Zoom – so we bought it and were able to continue with digital competitions. The sad thing was that we couldn’t do a print contest. To keep us motivated, one member started bi-monthly contests on Facebook, where the winner of the previous topic picked the title for the next contest and was also the judge.

We thought this would give members who were unsure about judging images a chance to practice. Since returning to meetings at the club house, a number of our members have chosen not to attend in person at this time, although they continue to send in digital images for competitions.

Nick Bodle reached fifth place in round 4, Landscapes

As a club, did you already have experience in entering and succeeding in competitions before APOY?

We’ve had a few competitive successes in the past, but nothing as big as this! When Chris Robbins decided to participate in the first round, he suggested to the members that it was worth taking on the camera club challenge even though he knew we were punching above our weight (being a small club). Then he managed to get club secretary Hugh Letheren on board and as soon as we had some pre-selected footage
under our belts, the whole club then started to get involved.

In which categories were you particularly confident?

I think round 10 (close-ups) was good, because we have several members who do macro, and because we were at the top of the leaderboard at that time, almost everyone tried it! And we got no less than five shortlisted images in this round.

Chris Robin

As with all shortlisted images in APOY, Chris Robbins received 10 points for his shortlisted images in Round 2, Natural World

What was your strategy?

I think it was due to teamwork. We are a friendly club, so if anyone thought another member had an image that would be ideal for the next round, they would call them and persuade them to enter.

When did you realize you had a pretty much unassailable lead?

I think as soon as we were at the top of the standings we realized that it was possible to win. We knew we had to increase the pressure by encouraging more members to participate and at that time they were eager to be a part of it.

Portrait by Ian Smith Launceston Camera Club

Ian Smith came second with this portrait in round 7 – the highest position achieved by a member of the Launceston Camera Club

How did club members react when they learned they had won?

Overjoyed and amazed, we realize that it is thanks to the large number of members who helped us win. Since our victory we have had publications in several local newspapers and our secretary has been interviewed on BBC Radio Cornwall.

How did you decide how to spend the right MPB and what did you buy with it?

A member gave the club £500 for the voucher, and the money will help us upgrade our public address system. Members who have difficulty hearing often miss sessions with guest speakers and judges, so improving the sound system will allow us to be more inclusive. The member intends to purchase a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with the correct MPB.

Val Carpenter, member of the Launceston Camera Club

Val Carpenter’s street shot was shortlisted in round 9

What effect has the success of the club had on the members?

It was a huge boost for the club. The best thing was those members who were reluctant to participate because they thought they weren’t good enough and seeing their enthusiasm when they were shortlisted, or even in the top ten.

What advice would you give to a photography club considering joining this year?

I think that’s our secret (kidding). I think it’s about encouraging their members to participate, because that’s what photography is all about: having fun and enjoying pressing the shutter.

Close-up of a dragonfly by Launceston Camera Club member Mike Stickney

The club had five images shortlisted in round 10, Close-ups, of which this snap of Mike Stickney is one

Do you intend to participate again this year?

Yes, we will be participating again this year, and we hope there will be different topics for us to think about. I don’t think we need to change our strategy except to encourage members who didn’t participate last year to give it a try.

What are the Launceston Camera Club’s plans for the future?

To build on the success of the club and encourage more like-minded people to join us. As a club we are quite small and we need to keep the life force, enthusiasm, encouragement and new ideas alive. We need and thrive on the interaction of others.

Russ Molding's dog Launceston Camera Club

Round 3, Home, received a wide variety of entries, and Russ Molding’s dog portrait received 10 points for being shortlisted


Launceston Camera Club

The Launceston Camera Club meets every Tuesday evening from September to April at the Tregadillett Community Hall, Prouts Way, Tregadillett, Launceston PL15 7PS, except Christmas and New Years. For more information visit www.launcestoncameraclub.co.uk .

Find the details of your nearest photo club and sign up to receive club news HERE.


2022 Amateur Photographer of the Year

Are you a member of a photo club? Submit your images to the 2022 Amateur Photographer of the Year for a chance to earn points for you and your club – a fantastic opportunity to have your work seen by a wide audience and an experienced jury. Plus, great prizes are also available!

SIGN UP FOR THE 2022 AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR HERE


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