Les Forrester, My Vision, My Photography, October 2nd 2019

On Wednesday 2nd October the guest speaker for Keswick Photographic Society members was Les Forrester, a photographer of some renown amongst the camera club fraternity.  He recently gained a First Class Honours degree in Photography, has a Diploma from the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain and is an Associate Member of the Royal Photographic Society.  To top it off he was recently invited to become a member of the prestigious London Salon of Photography.

Throughout his presentation Les demonstrated his distinctive personal approach to a very broad range of photographic genres.  What emerged was the degree of research he conducts before he visits a new location so that he knows both the subject and the effect he is seeking to achieve before he even takes his camera out of the bag.  He was quite candid, and speaking to around 35 photographers I suppose he had to be, about the post processing necessary to achieve the effects he sought.  A user of Lightroom, Photoshop and NIK software, Les shared with us some of his techniques as well as explaining the effects of using the many different photographic papers.  Knowing that many of the well-known favourite landscape venues had been photographed by hundreds of photographers over the years, he attempted to put his own stamp on them.  This was successfully achieved in a number of ways, but his current approach is to move away from the saturated colour image to the very much more muted colouring and by being bold in the use of large proportions of negative space thereby producing quite minimalistic images.

 

Les’ images ranged from the classic landscapes such as the Skye Cuillins’ Fairy Pools, various waterfalls and seascapes to the less well-photographed Hartlepool Chemical Works!  From farther afield, Les showed images of Portugal and explained that some of his landscapes had been accepted into the prestigious London and Edinburgh Salons.  Through his images Les explained his journey in photography which has led him to more monochromatic images and architectural images with either real or manipulated symmetry.

 

A lover of libraries for their internal organisation, we were shown a number of dramatic images from libraries across Germany, including Berlin, Hamburg and Stuttgart.

His portfolio for his degree was called ‘Equine Art’ and Les included within the presentation a number of quite stunning images of horses in unusual poses as well as macro images of aspects of saddlery.  He explained that for one shot he persuaded the handler to feed the horse an apple between its forelegs thereby getting the horse’s head in an unusual but very photogenic position.

Les’ deep interest and enthusiasm for developing a whole range of photography skills shone through as he showed masterful images from a fashion show, of sheep in winter, of landscapes close and far from his home, local harvesting, some sport, architecture, Underground railway stations and steam engines, to name but some.

 

But for a few exceptions such as flying birds, perhaps, Les finds the range of subjects to photograph endless.

He concluded his evening with us by showing photographs from his recent trip to Hong Kong.  It rounded off a thoroughly enjoyable and very informative evening.  His work is masterful and truly inspirational and more of his images can be seen at:  lesforrester.com

Julie Walker, Basic Creative Techniques, September 25th

Our last meeting featured a practical demonstration of creative photographic techniques lead by member Julie Walker.  As well as outstanding wildlife photography, Julie is renowned for her strikingly atmospheric creative images in which different photographic elements are brought together in a single image using Photoshop, a proprietary image processing software package in widespread use with photographers. Julie is skilled in exploiting this software to produce her award-winning creative images and was our entertaining guide to the techniques she uses. The information flow was enlivened by other knowledgeable members occasionally suggesting alternative methods of carrying out certain specific procedures. This exchange of know-how made for a lively interactive meeting.

Julie started off by introducing us to the use of texture layers to introduce interest into the backgrounds of images which would otherwise lack impact. The textures were abstract photographs of natural elements such as sand or stone as well as rust and even bathroom tiles. The textures were copied onto the image to be transformed and then selectively removed from unwanted areas to allow the subjects to show through and leave the texture only in the background. One of the examples which she showed was of some fighting stallions in the Carmargue region of France. On a dull day the background sky was featureless:

 

but by overlaying the texture below

 

the whole image gained impact and a painterly feel.

 

In another worked example, Julie produced a textured background for a portrait which was sympathetic in colour with the model’s dress and considerably enhanced the image. She also showed us how to change the colour hue of the texture to suit any image to which it might be applied.

 

Another example involved multiple textures layered on top of each other, some blurred or subdued in colour or detail to give the desired painterly effect.

 

All of this involved a huge amount of creative inspiration and we were in awe of Julie’s artistic vision which shone through in the finished image.

After the break, Julie showed us how she creates her composite images in which various photographic subjects are introduced into other backgrounds and contexts. The Carmargue stallions made a reappearance with three different horses being relocated to a forest setting. The horses were ‘captured’ using the selection tools available in Photoshop. After copying them into their new environment, considerable further processing work was necessary to achieve realism in the final image.

 

Julie emphasised the need to ensure that the lighting and shadows on the various subjects were consonant and that the colours of the subjects were in balance with each other and with the general environment of the image. It was also important to preserve a natural perspective by altering the sizes of subjects so that nearer subjects were larger than distant subjects and the furthest subjects were paler.  Her composite images often included layers of texture as well, so as to create her trademark painterly ambience. Indeed, what came over very much in Julie’s presentation was that the techniques that she tutored us in were the essential tools to be used to realise the creative vision which is the starting point for producing the photographic image. The audience were enthusiastic in their appreciation to Julie for introducing us to these creative tools and how to utilise them.

Tony Higginson, Versatility in the Landscape, 18th September

On Wednesday 18th September Keswick Photographic Society members were entertained by award winning photographer, Tony Higginson. Tony is based in Preston and although he makes a living from wedding photography, landscape photography is his passion.  In recent years he has won awards in both the Landscape Photography of the Year and the Scottish Photographer of the Year competitions. Tony also runs photographic workshops in Scotland and England through his company, Viewcapture.  Details of these can be found on his website www.viewcapture.co.uk.

Tony’s enthusiasm for his subject shone through as he treated members to images taken from his favourite locations in the British Isles including the Highlands of Scotland, the Hebrides, Northumberland, the Lake District and Dorset as well as some taken in Iceland and Austria.

 

The images included many taken in the South Lakes including atmospheric shots of a misty Windermere and Rydal Water:

 

The Langdales taken from Holme Fell:

 

and images of the River Brathay near Elterwater:

 

He also showed a number of seascapes taken at various spots along the Lancashire coast including one of an Anthony Gormley statue from his “Another Place” at Crosby. There were also several from the North East including a very evocative image of the Roker Pier and Lighthouse

 

It was clear that Tony seeks perfection in his images, waiting for half an hour or more at each location for ideal conditions, and sometimes returning to the same spot time and time again. He is also prepared to try different styles of photography including abstract shots of rock, sand and water:

 

Panned shots of waves and deliberately blurred images achieved by moving the camera slightly to achieve a painterly effect. Notably he relies on getting the image right in the camera as he prefers to capture a real moment in time and doesn’t like to interfere with the integrity of the image by making changes at the processing stage.

 

Tony was happy to share tips and advice on how to take good landscape images. He recommends shooting away from the sun at sunrise and sunset, ensuring that you are totally familiar with your camera and equipment and being prepared to persevere. He also advised members that to get amazing shots you have to get out in amazing conditions and suggested that you should only take photographs when your mind is clear to allow you to focus fully on what you are doing.

We all enjoyed Tony’s wonderful images and found his talk inspirational. Some of us may even follow his example and  try harder to get out at dawn when the weather conditions are ideal.

Kirk Norbury, Landscape and Timelapse Photography. September 11th

At the second meeting of our new season Kirk Norbury gave us a contrasting presentation in two distinct halves. Kirk is a professional photographer and timelapse cinematographer who now lives and works in Ayrshire.  He described how he his work has changed recently with more emphasis on commercial work, for example with several whisky distillers, and in his landscape photography with more emphasis on monochrome work.

In the first half of his talk he showed and talked about his monochrome images almost exclusively. We were shown a series of very atmospheric and moody images from the Scottish Isles, Ayrshire and Iceland.

 

Kirk demonstrated how concentrating on monochrome enable him to concentrate much more on composition.

 

Although his images are taken in colour and then processed to produce monochrome images, when taking his photographs he has his camera set up to only show a monochrome view on the rear screen. He also showed several monochrome images taken close-up to demonstrate the textures and effects of light. He demonstrated that in contrast to the usual practice of finding the best light at the beginning and end of the day, for his images highlighting texture the harsh midday sun is often more effective.

At the end of the first half he did show us some landscape photographs in colour including some beautifully evocative photographs of the Aurora borealis taken in Iceland.

 

The second half of Kirk’s talk was devoted to his timelapse photography. He showed us several of his timelapse films which varied from coastal landscapes to urban landscapes to commercial shoots of workers fitting new glass panels to a state of the art new build whisky distillery. Timelapse photography was new to most of the audience and Kirk demonstrated the techniques and equipment he uses. He explained why he believes he gets a superior result using timelapse rather then just shooting video in that with a series of high resolution images there is much more control over the quality of the final video. He did also refer to the downside of timelapse in that it, by definition, it involves standing next to your camera for often, hours at a time to obtain a result. However the quality and uniqueness of the timelapse videos Kirk showed us demonstrated how the result justified the time and effort he had put in. His timelapse videos can be viewed on his website at https://kirknorbury.co.uk/

Worldwide Photo Walk October 5th

One of our members, David Leighton, is leading a walk in Keswick as part of the 12th World Wide Photo Walk:

“The Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk, dubbed the world’s largest global and social photography event, has grown immensely in size and popularity since the inaugural walk in 2007. Last year, more than 24,000 photographers of all walks of life and skill level converged to explore their corners of the world through photography and social community. The concept of a Photo Walk is simple. Photo Walks are created by Walk Leaders in cities all over the world. Walkers meet up at a pre-designated location to spend a few hours socializing, capturing images, and sharing with like-minded people. At the end of the Photo Walk, most groups convene at local restaurants or taverns to share their images and experiences over food. In addition to the event, photo walkers will be able to upload their favourite picture to our popular Photo Walk contest for a chance to win prizes like a DSLR, gift cards, apps, and camera bags. We will also name a Grand Prize winner and 10 finalists to be selected by Scott Kelby himself! Every year, we encourage every photo walker to help support the initiative to “Walk with a Purpose” by donating to the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya! gofundme.com/2019-worldwide-photowalk-donations The event is free, but pre-registration is required.  Register at worldwidephotowalk.com, locate your city, and complete the free sign up form. Additionally, participants can connect socially before, during and after the event using the hashtag #WWPW2019 hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.”

For more information and to sign up for the Keswick walk pleased go to – worldwidephotowalk.com/walk/keswick-lake-shore-and-town/

Season Opening, September 4th

The 47th season of Keswick Photographic Society was launched on September 4th with our new chairman, David Woodthorpe introducing ten club members who would show and talk about some of their successful images from the competitions the society held last year. Just prior to doing that, however, he announced that we had achieved fifth and third places in the Open and Nature competitions respectively, run by the Photographic Society of America. These are prestigious competitions run over a number of rounds over the year and is open to all camera clubs from anywhere in the world. The fact that we have done so well against what the best of the world has to offer is a tribute to the high standards and strength in depth of our society.

David Woodthorpe started the main business showing three bird portraits taken locally as well as a quirky one of a white Mountain Hare cleaning his face with a hind paw, wittily entitled “Hare Washing”.

 

Our previous chairman, Keith Snell took us first to Scotland with a landscape shot of the River Orchy in spate, but also to far flung locations in Botswana and Svalbard with pictures that included a Juvenile Elephant stamping its feet in frustration and a delightful family portrait of Polar Bears.

 

Keswick’s doyenne of nature photography, Ronnie Gilbert, also transported us to exotic places in the Brazilian Pantanal, (Jaguar and Toucans), and India, (Tigers) but also Spain with Golden Eagles in golden light and most memorably a wonderfully caught encounter with the incredibly rare Iberian Lynx.

 

Next up was landscape expert, Ken Rennie, although in this selection, along with landscapes from Borrowdale, Skye, Brittany and north Spain was an atmospheric shot of a girl in a white dress and floppy sunhat surrounded by lavender plants. You could almost smell the aromatic oils and the magic was only slightly diminished when Ken explained that he had actually cloned out the girl’s outstretched arm and selfie-taking mobile phone.

 

 

Alan Walker showed expertly taken examples of a Grizzly Bear catching Salmon and a Polar Bear battling into a blizzard. He also showed three pictures based on studio portraits but transformed into intriguing stories with the addition of atmospheric backgrounds. His final shot was of an athlete splashing into the water during a steeplechase race, taken from a low perspective with a wide-angle lens.

 

Heleen Franken-Gill, a relatively new member of the society showed an ethereal landscape shot of Cat Bells and sunlit trees emerging out of the mist. Similarly striking was an artfully arranged collection of blue glass bottles on a window ledge, gently lit from behind. A monochrome close up of a Calligrapher concentrating on his work was taken in the historic Round Church in Cambridge.

 

Julie Walker took us to the Tetons with diamond dust glinting the air as four Elks picked across a thermally warmed river, Dalmatian Pelicans squabbling over fish on a frozen lake in Northern Greece and as change of temperature an aging rock star giving it his all at the microphone stand.

 

Ted Jordan reinforced his reputation after being given an award for most improved photographer last year and belied his rather self-deprecating remarks about just taking snaps with a variety of excellent shots ranging from a carnival performer in Gran Canaria, a classical view of Wast Water made special with fabulous light, to a Barbary Ape clutching a piece of fruit on the Rock of Gibraltar.

 

Marilyn Woodthorpe was similarly broad in her material with a gentle and evocative shot of early morning Varanasi taken from a boat on the Ganges through a wet Seathwaite Farmyard with a glimpse of the sodden fellsides and clouds beyond to a nicely observed close up shot of rusty iron work on an old gate.

 

Finally, but not least, one of Keswick’s other nature photographers, Carol Minks delighted us with two shots of a wonderful Great Grey Owl gliding in and plunging into deep snow, an imperious Golden Eagle standing over a Red Fox carcass, and much closer to home, a handsome Brown Hare, all twitching alertness in deep grass.

 

Keswick Photographic Society is a relatively small and friendly club and we welcome anybody, whether expert or beginner to our meetings, and we have set up a mentoring scheme to help everybody to improve their photography. Meetings are weekly over the winter and we meet at the Friends Meeting House just the other side of Booths car park on Wednesdays at 7.30. Our next meeting is a talk by professional photographer Tony Higginson about his landscape work

Edinburgh Festival Success

Congratulations to members Alan Walker and Keith Snell who have their prints exhibited in the 157th Edinburgh International Exhibition of Photography which is a part of the Edinburgh Festival fringe event. Acceptance into this exhibition is particularly prestigious because only 11% of the submitted prints are accepted. Alan did especially well, having two prints accepted for exhibition. The Exhibition runs until 25th August at 68 Great King Street in Edinburgh and of course the rest of the Edinburgh Festival is going on at the same time. Also worth noting is that the Scottish Parliament building is hosting the 2019 World Press Photo awards, a free exhibition of some stunning photojournalism photographs which is well worth seeing

“Whose idea was it to shelter here” by Alan Walker:

 

“Tree Sprite” by Keith Snell:

 

“Fish Frenzy through the Ice” by Alan Walker

 

Drumburgh macro outing July 2019

On Friday July 26th Tony Walker yet again led a select but intrepid group into the depths of Drumburgh Moss. They braved the ferocity of the local cleggs to capture macro images of the local wildlife.

Emerald damselfly by Ken Rennie

 

Hoverfly by David Leighton

 

Golden Hoverfly by Ted Jordan

 

Cicadella viridis by Tony Marsh

 

Southern Hawker by Wendy Jordan

 

 

 

NCPF Annual Competitions Results

The Northern Counties Photographic Federation Annual Competitions are held in the spring of each year. These are competitions for individuals primarily,  though awards are also given for clubs. Yet again KPS did very well with this year, members winning several awards and the club winning the awards for best club entry of colour prints and best club entry of projected digital images. The individual awards were:

Best Mono print: “Wild Tiger Family” by Tony Marsh:

 

Best Landscape: “Misty Morning Paddle ” by Tom Stenhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Nature Print: “Alert Brown Hare” by Carol Minks

 

Best Human Portrait PDI: “Christine in Mauve” by Julie Walker

 

Best Nature PDI: “Hare Washing” by David Woodthorpe:

 

 

Best Beginners PDI: “Retro in Rome” by David Leighton

Exhibition and Sale of Prints, May 11th and 12th, The Borrowdale Institute, Rosthwaite

 

We are holding an Exhibition and Sale of Keswick Photographic Society Members’ pictures at The Borrowdale Institute, Rosthwaite on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th May.  Doors open at 10am to 5pm both days.
There will be some fantastic mounted prints from worldwide Natural History to local landscapes.  It is free to enter. The sale of prints is to support and promote Keswick Photographic Society, currently one of the most successful photographic societies in the country, despite its modest size.  Visitors will get the opportunity to learn about the society as well as take away photographs at a fraction of their retail value.