18 November 2021 (Connecting with the Coast through Photography)

This week Kim Grant visited the club virtually and gave us a Zoom talk entitled “Connecting with the Coast through Photography”. Many members were familiar with Kim’s work through her YouTube channel, where she describes her adventures as a landscape photographer and gives hints and tips for other photographers:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvkiZKobeYV4qO-KSvrL_9w

Kim also has her own web site, where you can see more of her work and find out about her training programme:

https://visualisingscotland.co.uk/

Kim began by describing her love of the Scottish landscape, which inspired her to take up photography and start her YouTube channel in 2017. She then explained how there was so much to see in the landscape even if you narrow the scope to just coastal photography. The coast can be viewed in different ways. You can take panoramic views from a clifftop. You can take wide angle views from the beach, showing the shape of the coves and rocks, or show people and activities. There are rocky beaches, sandy beaches, caves, lighthouses, coastal villages and harbours. You can take a wide angle shot showing the sweep of the landscape, or zoom in and highlight one intimate detail on the beach, such as an object washed up by the tide or the striking shapes and colours made by a group of rocks or a patch of seaweed.

Kim described how the timing and weather might dictate what kind of photographs you take. The very best time to capture a wide vista of pristine sand is when low tide happens at sunrise. The tide will have washed away all the footprints from the previous day. An early morning low tide is also the best time to find interesting objects washed up on the beach. Low tide also offers the chance to photograph rock pools and capture beautiful sunset reflections. If you stay a while after sunset you can capture lovely twilight shots during the “blue hour”. And if you are really lucky you could capture an image of the Northern Lights over the sea. Low tide is also the best time to photograph caves. High tide is the best time to photograph harbours and coves, which will be full of water, and the boats will be floating. In calm to moderate weather you can create serene, minimalist seascapes by using an ND filter and long exposures. You can also use Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) to create abstract images which enhance the colours and shapes. Kim recommended experimenting with different exposure times and amount of movement, as you will never capture the same shot twice. Bad weather brings the opportunity to photograph crashing waves and perilous scenes, contrasted with the shelter offered by a coastal village.

Kim ended the evening by showing us some of her favourite coastal shots, followed by a long question and answer session. All in all it was a very enjoyable evening, and Kim gave us all inspiration to go out and photograph the Scottish coastline.

23 September 2021 (Into the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods)

On 23rd September, George Robertson visited the club to give us our first face to face talk for more than 18 months. Two thirds of club members came to the Fisherrow Centre to see George’s talk, with another third joining remotely by Zoom. George is a member of Milngavie and Bearsden Camera Club and runs a guided mountain walking company called “MountainTreks” (see below).

http://www.mountaintreks.co.uk/

He guides clients through mountaineering adventures, and his photography began from a need to give clients a visual record of their journey. George’s photographs have won him awards, the most recent being the ‘Urban Life’ category of ‘Landscape Photographer of the Year’ 2017 and 2020 awards. George’s work can be followed on his photography site:

https://www.mountaintreksphotos.co.uk/

The title of George’s talk comes from a book by Galen Rowell, containing a photographic record of his attempt to climb K2 in 1975. The book inspired George to travel to the Baltoro Glacier in the Karakoram mountains of Northern Pakistan. We had the privilege of leafing through the book and seeing the fantastic photographs contained within it.

George described to us the awe-inspiring journey he had made around this glacier a few years ago while escorting clients to the basecamp of K2. The group had to carry everything they needed for the trip, so there was little room for photographic equipment. George was limited to just a camera body, a single 18-200mm lens and 6 camera batteries. There was no point in attempting to fit a filter or change the lens because the environment was very hostile and dusty. The main purpose of the trip was to look after the clients, so there were only limited windows of opportunity for photography.

Despite the limited time and rigours of the trek, George still came away with a fantastic photographic record. We were treated us to a feast of staggeringly beautiful mountain images: bright snow; stark mountain peaks contrasting against a bright sky; threatening clouds wrapping around the peaks; the striated curves of flowing glaciers; and “mushroom” rocks balanced on stumps of ice. George’s photographs also described the story of the trip: the local towns and run-down buildings; the rough and broken roads; the river crossings; and the tiny tents clinging to a huge mountain landscape. There were also some great portraits of George’s group and of the local people he encountered on the way.

We ended the evening utterly gobsmacked by the quality and beauty of the mountain photographs. Very few people get to travel to these remote and inhospitable places. Thank you George for bringing us a flavour of this amazing scenery.

George Robertson’s talk coming this Thursday

Our first face to face talk of the season takes place at 7:30pm this Thursday, 23rd September 2021 at the Fisherrow Centre. George Robertson will giving a talk entitled “Into the Throne room of the Mountain Gods”, describing his challenging mountain photography journey around the Baltoro Glacier in the Karakoram mountains of Northern Pakistan.

George won the ‘Urban Life’ category of ‘Landscape Photographer of the Year’ 2017 and 2020 awards. Check out the following links to see some of George’s work.

http://www.mountaintreks.co.uk/

https://www.mountaintreksphotos.co.uk/

Come along to the Fisherrow Centre room G3 on Thursday to meet with George, or alternately connect remotely by Zoom to see George’s talk from the comfort of your own home. If you have joined the club, or are thinking of joining, and have not yet received the Zoom link to our club meetings, please contact the club chair at StevenMBeard@aol.com