Gateway to the Stars and Action Photography

John Baker from Exeter Camera Club showed us very different images this week, while generously sharing the specialised techniques he uses to good effect. The quality of his work is rewarded by frequent publication and recognition around the world.

Through Hardship to the Stars, the first half of the evening, comprised his interest in the niche astrophotography. Why niche? Spend up to 3 hours in complete darkness on the edge of a cliff, having calculated the position and strength of the Milky Way and Moon. Your extreme wide angle fish-eye lens is hopefully in focus. Then it's Photoshop to remove curvature in the image. Results though are stunningly beautiful. Pictured was Durdle Door, apparently in daylight but with moon shadows from the arch and stars in the sky. Superb and so different.

Second half was a whistle stop of action, human and animal. The range of John's subjects covered birds with wings outspread to fly, bitingly sharp, to hill climbing vintage motors enveloped in clouds of oil smoke. He makes his images special either through exceptionally fast shutter speed - 1/8000th second from his professional DSLR, or much slower - 1/60 to 1/120th to give strong impressions of speed. Quality always outstanding with masses of impact.

In the West we are blessed with an International Dark Sky Reserve and numerous water sport and hill track venues; perhaps John will have inspired some of us to have a go. A very enjoyable evening.