Tuesday 12 October meeting – members show their photographs close to and far from home

Ivor showed us photographs he had taken over the past seven years, and many in the last few weeks, all within 20 minutes ride from his home in Eynsham. Some 120 of the photos he showed were taken in his garden.


He gave away his secret of how he gets those stunning shots of birds reflected in water. All you need is a few planks of wood and a pond liner, along with some carpentry skills, and you can do the same by building a ‘reflection pool’. But first you must attract your subject to your location. The key to get them to come is daily feeding. Every day Ivor feeds the birds, whether he is planning to photograph them or not.


Ivor also has various perches and props in his garden – branches, old farm gate etc – which he baits with a mixture margarine and peanuts and he sits in a hide and waits for the birds to come. Always the innovator he has even used a syringe to put bait up the petals of a ‘red hot poker’ flower. He also had a good tip on attracting insects to your garden – grow cat mint.


Away from his garden he showed a striking image of a thistle festooned with cobwebs and bejewelled in dew one early morning in Otmoor, the light on it was spectacular. There were also shots of orchids at Bernwood Meadows and his favourite flower, snake head fritillaries, taken from numerous locations.


Ivor went on to show what he called ‘environmental shots’ of butterflies where he framed the butterfly within its surroundings rather than filling the frame. He also showed great shots of dragonflies, darters, damselflies, many taken at Tar Lakes near Witney.


Besides his own garden Ivor has shot buzzards, red kites, deer and more in Helen W’s garden who he thanked for her generosity to club members in opening up her garden for photoshoots.


Ivor’s message was that you don’t have to go far to get great shots, you just have to get out and take them.


Ivor’s talk was followed by John Boteler showing some recent photos taken in Blenheim, again not far from home. There were some infra-red shots, which included a long row of trees near Coombe gate, the green foliage great in infra-red. John had some infra-red shot of Blenheim’s cascade of water which he felt on balance didn’t work as well in infra-red. He also managed to get a close up of a Harris hawk, which is hired out to stop pigeons from nesting in the palace’s roof.


Adrian then showed a slideshow set to music of photos of a sunset walk close to where he lives. The shots well captured the ethereal nature of dusk. The sequence of images effectively portrayed the atmosphere of a sunset walk.


Finally Dave M showed photos very far from home: the mountainous town of Sa Pa in Northwestern Vietnam. This is home to four ethnic minority groups – the Hmong, Dao (Yao), Giáy, Xa Pho, and Tay – who are distinguished by the costumes they wear.


Dave showed shots of what looked like a chaotic and fascinating cattle/buffalo market which seemed to be taking place on an enormous and barren rockery. Elsewhere there were also markets where clothes were being sold, shoes being repaired and made from the back of a motorcycle, vegetables of sale and pork butchered, while a digger got on with building a new road.


The town’s main attraction is the Fansipan cable car which takes tourist to the top to the nearby mountain. Unfortunately on the day of Dave’s trip on the cable car there was low lying cloud and he could not see the promised spectacular views from the ‘roof of Indochina’

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Oxford Photographic Society