A tripod? Who needs it?!

Photographer George Reekie returned to entertain the club recently with a medley of images and a philosophy that a good photograph is one that you like. This was a refreshing message as it did away with a focus on the technical sides of photography and the jargon that sometimes goes with it. Tripods? Why use them as they often get in the way. Discussions about which ISO to use? Not an issue – just stick to what you know. Backgrounds? Make sure they don’t distract from the main subject. Bad light? Make use of it. Equipment? Buy and pack only what you will use.

Now this kind of strategy might be considered too simplistic if it were not for the fact that George backed all this up with some stunning pictures.

Starting with some very dynamic images of the white-knuckle challenges of the zapcat competitions in Newquay which were replaced by moody railway and steam train pictures it could be seen that this was a philosophy which was very well grounded and held up well through years of experience an acceptance at many salons. Perhaps George’s best images were his natural history shots where patience is necessary but not always rewarded. Recounting a time when he sat for 30 hours in a bird hide only to emerge with six usable pictures caused some amazement.

But many of George’s other images were not dependent on waiting for what might turn up. Indeed in the second half of his talk he stressed the need for research and having an expectation of what you want to achieve when you go out on a photography shoot. In that way pressing the shutter is less likely to be a random event leading to unusable images.

Although George said he was not a landscape photographer he did include several which showed what can be done even in bad light or when what you have in mind needs some creative manipulation in the post-processing an image. Such a shot was one of a murmuration of starlings over St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall. This was a great picture in which the starling cloud was itself a virtual bird shape and set against the setting sun and the shape of the castle perhaps was the image of the night.