Our promotion, this season, of the work of local, professional photographers climaxes on Monday evening with a much-anticipated presentation by the self-taught, Lancaster based professional, landscape photographer, Lee Metcalfe. Lee has an impressive and expanding list of national and international clients and commissions. He is a perfectionist with a passionate interest in the changing impact of weather, the movement of the sun and the changing seasons on our familiar Lancashire and Cumbrian landscapes and on the much wilder and rugged landscapes of Skye and the north west of Scotland. Much of Lee’s work is captured on film using a Fuji GX617 panoramic film camera. Lee will introduce us to his camera, his working practices and camera craft, and his rich portfolio of panoramic images. www.leemetcalfelandscapephotography.com
On Monday evening we welcomed the external judge, Mike Davis, who had spent the previous 2 weeks looking at the 94 colour and mono images selected for entry into Competition 5, ‘Industrial and Urban’. Mike succeeded where many others judges fail, by giving equal attention to every image submitted for competition, and providing friendly, carefully considered and helpful thoughts on their respective strengths and weaknesses. The growing strength of the club and the participation of talented, new members was reflected in the many high quality and imaginative images on show and the award of ‘highly commended’ and ‘commended’ status to both established and more recent members.
Our season of guest speakers hit unprecedented heights on Monday evening when we were entertained by the self-taught, fine art photographer, Neil Hulme. Neil introduced members to his all-encompassing passion for photography, red wine and malt whisky with an entertaining mix of comic anecdotes, intriguing, practical insights into his camera and digital darkroom craft, and his rich gallery of long exposure, mono images. Neil’s work has a strong signature, driven by his desire to share with others his unique response to familiar and often mundane natural and man-made, structures and places.
His images engage and surprise by revealing hidden beauty. They are thoughtfully constructed, contemplative, otherworldly, and hugely inspirational. Neil’s visit to Lancaster Photographic Society will live long in the memories of its members and will, undoubtedly, influence and enrich their work and working methods, both in the field and in the digital darkroom.
On Monday evening we were introduced to the thoughts and conclusions of the independent judge appointed to examine the images entered into our annual, inter-club competition by our own members and members of the Peterhead Club, in the North East of Scotland. Our members were rewarded with a convincing victory and welcome confirmation of their continuing development technically and artistically as photographers. Our growing confidence as a club is now reflected in increasing interest in extending our involvement in inter-club competitions and preparing individual members for participation in regional competitions.
Jono Symonds, who is a valued supporter of the Society, provided a much-anticipated introduction to the art of portrait photography. With the helpful assistance of David, Jono provided members with an insight into the working methods of the professional photographer, both during the shooting stage and in post-processing with ‘Lightroom’ and the plugin ‘Nik’ software. Jono was extremely generous and helpful with his advice, practical demonstrations and practitioner's tips and we thank him for his time preparing and delivering a presentation which members will see as a timely foundation for the society’s emerging programme of weekend workshops on studio photography.
Our Judge, Alan Hartley, entertained and informed members with a thoughtful and carefully assessed critique of the images presented for judging in the inaugural, ’Group of Three’ competition.
This opportunity to present 3 individual images and a fourth composite image attracted 34 submissions, containing many inventive ideas, a great deal of technical skill and in our judge’s words, ‘images he could sell’. Alan, who is a member of the society and has considerable success in selling his work, succeeded, where many judges fail, in providing well supported and convincing judgements that will influence positively the photographic work of our members.
This form of competition gives members an opportunity to share more of their work with members and will, surely, become a continuing feature of our seasonal programmes.
During the first half of our meeting Members scored the 70 images, longlisted for entry into our forthcoming competition with the Peterhead Camera club and our shared evening with Morecambe Movie Makers. Members scored each image out of 20, the scores were added together, and the top scoring 25 images were identified and despatched to Peterhead.
After lively discussions over tea and coffee, we trialled the projection and sound system with videos providing an insight into the working methods of the revered, landscape photographer, Micael Kenna, www.michaelkenna.net/ and the intriguing philosophy of the pioneering, documentary photographer Pedro Meyer, www.pedromeyer.com/. The videos proved to be a welcome addition to our Monday evenings and we will seek to make further use of the video projection facilities.
It was good to hear from a former member of the Society. Nick captured our attention with a thoughtfully illustrated, upfront and personal story of his brave move from a corporate world supported by colleagues and structured professional development into the very different world of self-employment in a new, untried profession.
I guess we all concluded that Nick was never going to fail. His presentation brimmed with a passion and talent for photography, raw ambition and a determination to succeed, an analytical and goal led approach to business development and a natural ability to communicate with clients and build trust and reliability.
As we wandered off to the White Cross pub there were whispered comments, ‘that was the best night this season!’, and silent thoughts, ‘could I follow in Nick’s footsteps? ’.
On Monday evening George Steele provided members with a thoughtful, step-by-step approach to macro and close-up photography, based on his experiences over many years and his view that success in this genre can be achieved with inexpensive equipment, creative use of everyday, lighting appliances and short-haul flora and fauna expeditions into our gardens and immediate surroundings. George’s presentation was a taster for a series of future events involving club workshops and further presentations by professional photographers specialising in product photography.
Our fifth club night of the season and our first night in the new venue. Proceedings kicked off with a review of the images selected for inclusion in the Fauna and Flora competition and member selection of the best mono and colour images. Allan Hartley then introduced members to his collection of photo books, the companies he deals with, and the simple and rewarding process of bringing treasured images out of computer files and into attractive and desirable, coffee table, books. After a noisy tea and coffee break, John Aldred instructed members on the assembly of the society’s studio lighting equipment. John demonstrated the way the equipment can be arranged, used and triggered wirelessly from SLR cameras. John also gave members an interesting insight into the way lighting equipment is advancing through improvements in LED technology. Our thanks to Allan and John, and also to Brad, Dave and Alan Phillips who assisted members with composite image making.