Photography – my Passion (10-May-2012)

The theme for tonight was a presentation by 3 club members about their photographic passion. When planning the evening we decide to encompass different areas of photography – slides, image manipulation and something we rarely see – underwater photography. We also had a few visitors this evening – Trevor from Noarlunga Club, Peter on his second visit, and Audrey – acting as Arthur’s driver.

Thankfully (thankyou Audrey), our slide expert Arthur Farmer was able to attend, despite his difficulty with travel at the moment  – and it was worth the effort.

As Arthur pointed out, slides have a two of useful advantages – they have longevity and are quite easy to store.

In his work, he now uses Velvia and also creates his amazing black & white slides with normal black & white film, then sends it to the US for processing into a slide. We were told about a passion for studying decay (odd for a surgeon), which produces some fascinating composition which lends itself to both colour and B&W. He has found that simple structures & textures lead the eye. Also utilising low light (early and late in the day) and getting in close to create a composition means that its not just a photograph of the subject – an important point.

In many respects, this philosophy is inspired by the great artists such as Heysen and Titian, who used out of focus areas to draw the eye to the focus of the image. Whatever the inspiration, we can always be assured that Arthur will produce images that make us think!

Our next speaker was Eric Budworth who told us how, as a film spooler in London, he was bitten by the bug – although he was also a train spotter!

In 1958 he bought his first camera at the Brussells World Fair. Then in Spain, he bought a Voigtlander camera with a 50mm f2.8 lens. He later sold it, but got it back when the purchaser said it didn’t work – it just needed some film.

Eric also entered the digital world early, with a Nikon D1 – a 2.7Mpixel camera that produces some great images. Though it was a bit large, it had the advantage of a 1/6000s shutter speed and access to great glass. He still uses a Nikon digital, but points out that he stores his old slides digitally by photographing them – just need a bellows and a slide holder.

Photographically, Eric like to play around – no special subject for him – although he does like still life. He enjoys the way digital lets him manipulate things, and subscribes to the UK magazine “Digital Photography” from which he gets many ideas and tries them out. The advantage of this magazine he finds is the clear step by step explanations provided.

Eric is inspired by things around him as well, getting ideas from the magazines and trying them out. He gave many examples of how he took the images displayed in the video at above, including bolting a camera and flash in his car whilst driving, how he created the image of the jigsaw using a template and perspective translation tool in photoshop, and the penwash of the two prints – turning a fairly uninspiring image into something special as I’m sure you’ll agree.

The final set of images are a template Eric obtained to create calendars to share with his friends overseas – a pretty impressive set of images.

Personally, I find Eric produces many great images that challenge us (and the judges) – and coupled with his ever present wit is an inspiration to try new things.

The final speaker for the evening was Richard Wormald. Unknown to many of us, Richard is both a keen photographer and a diver. He has coupled these two hobbies into one – although he admits his diving is less freqent than it used to be. He even spent time as a diving instructor with the mottono conditions were too bad! . His inspiration for diving came from the TV program Sea Hunt (does that show his age?) – you can see the similarity between Richard and Lloyd Bridges can’t you? By the way, I had to rope him into this talk at short notice, but Richard dutifully scanned many of his slides in and shared them with us – apparently reviving many good memories (as his wife Jenny told me!)

So onto Richard’s presentation which firstly described some of the difficulties in underwater photography including refraction, object magnification (making focusing even harder), particle scatter (clouding the image), colour absorption (ever notice that blue cast? Red has been lost!) making it necessary to use a high power flash, and importantly that fact that you can’t change lenses – so is going to be a macro day or not?

Still, he obviously overcame a lot of those issues with some superb images of corals, filter feeding animals, nudi banks, anenomes, clown fish (Nemo!), feather stars and basket stars. Wow! Amazing creatures and so colourful and textured! Richard told us stories of trips to the Great Barrier Reef – 70km off shore and swimming with the risks of white tip sharks (not aggressive in the area they went to but they are elsewhere), sea snakes (like the Olive snake – super venomous – but with short fangs thankfully), using the anchor line to get back as divers tire, infection from the warm humid environment (don’t cut yourself on the coral). He also shared the story of Humphrey – the Groper, and that image of the giant clam they staged (check out the slides above).

We also heard stories of cave diving, including the need for dry suits (it’s mighty cold down there), safety lines (visibility is minimal if you stir up the silt – 120 feet is usually the maximum distance), and the categories of cave. Not to mention more snakes, and the tiny spaces divers squeezed through – pushing air tanks ahead of them.

But the take home memory here was Richard descending into a hole on a ladder into a huge cave! Many of the cave images were stunning – and I’m glad Richard shared them with us along with those great images of the Great Barrier reef dive.

So a fascinating night – seeing what fires the passions of some of the clubs photographers. Many thanks to all three of you for sharing your work – and we look forward to seeing some more!

Chris 😉

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