On the great estate that is photography the house has many rooms and last night the members of Whitchurch Photographic Society had an opportunity to look into one or two of them. Audio visual presentations have a strong history at the society and we were treated to an entertaining and fun night as both the aficionados and the debutants vied to demonstrate their skills.
Chris and Marian Goody kicked off with a documentary telling the story behind Chris’s successful “Brown Bears Chasing Salmon”; if Spielberg did home movies they would look like this - probably! The early scenes built our expectation of the drama to come and we saw some amazing shots which exposed the sheer size and strength of these amazing creatures. The presentation cleverly cut between live video and still photographs and we began to get a sense of just how difficult it was to capture the images that we see in the final edit. Then to the strains of “Rights of Spring” the dramatic chase as the two bears competed at high speed to take the salmon with the sound of the shutter firing off in the background. The sequence closed with a shot of the prize winning image. Marian brought us back home with a relaxing collection of animals’ eyes which underlined the wealth of material that Chris and Marian have captured over the years.
Geraldine Stephenson gave us a wonderful display of images captured during her safari to the Masai Mara; what she described as the achievement of a lifelong ambition. Delivered in a much more traditional style (something of which we were to see more during the course of the evening) she treated us to image after image of eye popping colour and natural history which covered eleven days of animal tracking across Africa’s spectacular landscape ranging from cute lion cubs and moments of maternal warmth to the dust and heat of the crossing and wildebeest being attacked by crocodile.
Following the break Patrick Miles continued the travelogue theme with a gentle presentation covering his trip to India. These were beautiful images that captured the unique light of that vast country and showed us some of the people, the local colour and the spectacular temples and hill forts. A clever choice of music lulled us into the heat and languid pace of life of that amazing country. Patrick’s presentation was slick and cleverly put together.
To top off the competitive part of the evening John Edge gave us a master class in how to do it the old way. Using a set of images played straight from the projector and a sound track controlled manually from a portable music player John provided a live commentary about how he supports charities using his beautifully restored Triumph Stag; specifically his trip to Eaton Hall in Cheshire as the invited guest of the Duke of Westminster. A fascinating story set to images that captured the scale and grandeur of this historic estate. John finished off his session with images to music where he showed a collection of floral images captured in a variety of styles including using a lens the wrong way around via a small adapter. This provided some stunning pictures with a unique depth of field and allowed John to show off his skill in using natural light and composition.
While the scores were totalled Howard Hilton entertained us with an unplanned showing of a documentary about volunteering in North Western Spain as part of a church based project. Lovely images which gave us a sense of the rural nature of the Spanish countryside interspersed with short anecdotes about the people involved and the people who benefitted from the work. He finished off with images to music that illustrated a 30’s song, “Miss Otis Regrets”, with photographed drawings and at the same time made a strong social comment; who says photography at this level can’t make a statement?
And the winner is...? It was all for fun but the winner was John Edge in both the documentary and the images to music sections. While his presentations were unashamedly old style in more ways than one it demonstrated that the experience that members bring to the club something from which all of us can learn. On the night the many rooms of the house gave something special to the house with many rooms. Thanks to everybody who helped setting up the equipment and matching the variety of file types to the software needed to run it and the laptops needed to run the software; there were moments of understated mayhem but we got there in the end.