Members were treated to an evening of presentations by Greet, Rhea and Jill
Greet took is on a photographic trip from the south to the north of the Shetland Isles where she had two family holidays in 2012 and 2018. She managed to get close to birds to get good shots of fulmars, which had young on the nest, black guillemots, a Shetland wren, buntings, waders and Artic terns. Greet also managed to catch sight of orcas – killer whales – swimming close to the beach but as swiftly as they appeared these fast swimmers quickly moved on. There were some beautifully colourful reflections of birds in the calm water of Lerwick harbour and one particularly striking shot of a fulmar flying low over the water. Then she took off to the Isle of Noss for shots of gannets with young on the nest and also shot of them diving into the clear water.
Greet also showed the big views and big sky landscapes of Shetland and atmospheric shots of a brooding storm approaching West Burra. She had panoramic photos of the hills of Foula, an island in the far west. Foula is compared to St Kilda due to its high sheer cliffs of solid rock towering from the sea. There are colonies of skuas on the grassland, still some puffins on the cliffs in August, eider ducks and gannets.
The final part of her journey was on the northern island of Unst with large numbers of gannets on the rocks and fulmars and great skuas. Greet also had a great shot of a starling perched on the back of a sheep like a cattle egret. She also managed capture an otter eating a crab it had just caught in the beautiful colours of the sea at low tide.
Rhea was next and gave us a presentation about her slow shutter/big spotter photography. This was all about slowing down, stillness and solitude which allows Rhea to get away from her hectic work in the NHS. She started with the tale of loosing two cameras due to leaving them on a rock unaware how fast the tide comes in near a lighthouse on the Isle of Mull. Lighthouses would feature in her talk.
There were shots capturing the motion of wind in vegetation and in the water of Scottish lochs, sun going down at Staithes, North Yorkshire, and the swirling sea under a pier in Northumberland. Rhea had very bold black and white graphic images of the beach at Embleton Bay looking towards Dunstanburgh Castle. She also showed images on the theme of space and open spaces including a shot of the Pilgrim’s Way to Holy Island. These images raised the perennial issue of whether to crop or not to crop, which is probably best answered with the phrase ‘the crop tool is in the eye of the beholder’.
Rhea then took us to the south west and Cornwell. Her uncle used to be a lighthouse keeper in Cornwell and had been a keen photographer and Rhea spent many happy summers holidays in Cornwell. With her big spotter Rhea went for shots of space, simplicity, minimalism and did this through slowing down, relaxing and in solitude. She captured images of the rocks of Hartland Quay with the milky motion of the sea water contrasting with the sharp jagged hard edges of the rocks. In Dorset Rhea also managed to capture sea birds on the beach using her big stopper making them appear ethereal.
Finally Jill gave us what she called ‘something completely different’. Jill works for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students and is asked on many occasions to take photographs for the organisation. This can range from ‘product’ shots and events to ‘head’ shots of people who the organization works with, many of whom are quite remarkable. From a former student in Cameroon who ended up being the head of the country’s customs department and managed to add more than a percentage point of gross national product by cleaning up what was a corrupt departure to a former student in Burundi whose actions prevented widespread killings.
As many of the students the IFES support live in countries run be repressive regimes sometimes Jill is not able to show the faces of the students due to safety concerns and has to find creative ways to photograph them and their activities.
Jill used to work for the Leprosy Mission Scotland and showed us images from Bangladesh which told the story of people living with leprosy. The first signs are a patch on the skin and Jill had photos of a small child being examined with such a patch. Catch it early and leprosy can be treated, but this costs money and leprosy is, like TB, a disease of poverty. Poor people in Bangladesh cannot afford to pay for medical fees and medicine. Unlike TB, which affect the lungs, leprosy affects the nerves and sufferers of the disease can lose hands and feet. They lose their sense of touch and this can affect the ability to grow food. Jill had a shot of a hand running across what looked like blades of grass but was both grass and rice. To remove weeds from the rice farmers feel the blades to see which one had rough edges. If they do not have a sense of touch then they cannot weed the rice fields.
Jill showed photographs of people who had been hit by the disease but, thanks to some help from LMS, managed to beat the disease and were proud of their achievements.
An uplifting end to what were wonderful images and excellent presentations by all three of our members. Many thanks to Greet, Rhea and Jill.