A Different View on Reality

On the evening of 5th March a large attendance was entertained by Peter Bayliss from York Camera Club, This is an evening was a “return match” following a visit by some of our members to York PS. The idea is for clubs to share their ideas about interests, specialities and skills. We took a few members over to York to give short talks about their particular interests (e.g. creative imagery, drone photography etc.) and to show York some of the work produced by members in Wakefield. This evening Peter came over from York to do the same for us. He introduced his talk by saying that he used to do a lot of conventional photography but then felt the need to try something different – creative photography.

He has a number of talks on the subject “Exploring Creativity in Photography.” which are meant as a set. In the first half  he covered “Intentional Camera Movement” with over 100 examples. Intentional camera movement is, quite simply, moving the camera in some way whilst the exposure takes place. This could be horizontally, vertically, in a circular motion etc. Each type creates a “movement profile” – the effect of that type of movement on the image. Peter talked us through some of the basics and the technical aspects covering aperture, shutter speed and type of subject. During this he illustrated his points with examples of images he had created. Then he started on a whole series of images showing the development of the techniques. They all gave a very painterly and atmospheric effect – as he said, not quite a normal image but not quite an abstract. They were very effective and did convey the essence of the a scene without actually being able to clearly see any one item in it. To start with there were a lot of very effective images taken in woods but then he decided to try some urban shots. Again some of these were very effective. It was made more interesting because Peter included some images where he felt the technique did not work illustrating that you had to be careful in choosing your subjects.

In the 2nd half Peter changed tack and moved on to “Digital Infra Red photography.” This was entirely an different kettle of fish demanding some specialised equipment or modification. When Peter first contemplated this type of photography he had a long debate as to whether to use film or digital but in the end decided on digital and had a camera modified with a full spectrum conversion. As an infra red camera sees colours very differently Peter decided to use a micro four thirds camera as the viewfinder shows a “live view” all the time. In other words he would see the output from the modified sensor rather than the real-life image. He talked a little about the use of various filters before embarking on a wonderful set of images. In many cases, in order to illustrate the effect of using infra red, he would take along a conventional camera so that he could shoot the scene with both and then compare the two, very different, versions. He showed us both and this really made his presentation all the more interesting. At first all the images were of landscapes with green trees and grass appearing as though they were covered in frost or snow. He then tried out infra red work in the centre of York and found some really arresting images. Just as in the the first half of the evening Peter showed examples of occasions where the technique did not work showing that it wasn’t always better. The images were very effective and in some cases quite startling, creating an almost surreal image which was far more engaging that the standard colour one.

It was a fascinating evening which gave the appreciative audience plenty of ideas of how to try out creative photography and move away from the conventional. Peter did admit, however, that competition judges may not share his enthusiasm! 

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