I was prepared to be impressed… and I wasn’t disappointed! This week’s presenter was Rosemary Wilman Hon FRPS AFIAP BPE5, who is a past-President of the Royal Photographic Society. Her images took us to the Greek island of Santorini in summer and then on to Yellowstone in winter – Photocraft’s modestly-heated meeting room helped us identify especially well with the extreme cold of Yellowstone! After the break we continued to the Outer Hebridean Isle of Harris and then finally to the Kelpies horse sculptures at Falkirk.
These were all stunningly beautiful images, accompanied by a fascinating commentary, with plenty of tips to take away. Rosemary’s favourite format is square. She enjoys moving around her subject to discover interesting compositions and playful juxtapositions. Her images ably demonstrate that ‘less is more’ – she keeps them simple and often homes in on a particularly photogenic detail that others might not notice. She is drawn by simple designs and by patterns that stimulate the imagination (who would have expected to see an outline of Queen Victoria on the beach at Harris?).There weren’t many people in the images, partly because we were looking at snowbound Yellowstone and other places not overrun by tourists. The pictures were simple and uncluttered and often serenely beautiful.
Rosemary said that she prefers to get it right in camera. She does very limited post-production – just enough to recreate what she originally saw. One of her most intriguing images was a collage in which she juxtaposed pictures of Harris Tweed with pictures of the local stone and flora that inspired each of the Tweed colour variations. Most of the images in the presentation were projected, but some were also displayed as prints. I thought the prints on the titanium lustre paper were especially stunning. I believe the lab Rosemary mentioned was DSCL in Manchester. When using their pricier fine art papers, one price-saving trick she suggested was to have several images printed onto one of their larger sheets.
There were plenty of other useful photography tips. These are just a few that I took away:
- always look around the edges of your frame, to see what you’re including/excluding;
- always watch your exposure on the histogram;
- if you’re processing very light images (eg, the snow of Yellowstone or the freshly painted white walls of Santorini), don’t use a grey background – turn it white or you might risk making everything grey!
- don’t forget to colour-calibrate your monitor;
- snow images may sometimes be best in monochrome, if snow crystals catch the light this can start to look like digital artefacts;
- landscapes with very blue sea may look better with a greyer sky;
- watch where you tread, in case you leave footprints or crush what you want to photograph;
- feel free to break the ‘rules’ of photography, once you’ve understood them;
- don’t just take a single image – explore the subject thoroughly (but, if the conditions are too bad or the animals are too fierce to get out of your vehicle, make do with where you are!).