Club Night, " Its all in the Print " - Tuesday 6th February 2018.


On Tuesday 6th February, John Thompson, ARPS, EFIAP, CPAGB, a long time member of Morpeth and Alnwick Camera
Clubs, gave a presentation entitled ‘It’s all in the Print’. John began his talk by saying that since he had ceased entering
competitions, and to satisfy his need to take photographs, his focus had been to embark on short projects, staying close
to home. Scenes that he had photographed many times before had begun to seem ordinary so John set himself a new
challenge to revisit places and photograph them in a different way. Limiting himself to two cameras, an infrared Canon
and a prime lens Nikon and no tripod his project would include shots taken from Berwick down the coast to Tynemouth
and to include the local countryside. Starting near Berwick the audience enjoyed infrared shots of limestone pavements
against dark skies with wispy clouds, then Holy Island with scenes of Lindisfarne Castle framed by upturned boats and
work sheds. John said that he enjoys making pictures, takes advantage of not only bright contrast but of low sun which
creates long shadows. Infrared photography, he continued, brings out the detail in clouds but is also dependant on good
clean light, and with different light conditions one is never sure what the outcome will be. Pictures of Bamburgh Castle
below dramatic clouds and surrounded by wind blown marram and reed grasses, all elements of which reflect well in
infrared photography, were perfect examples of the genre.

Stunning photographs included Dunstanburgh castle miniaturised by black skies and textured clouds, storm clouds over
rocky coves at Rumbling Kern near Howick, sun beams through billowing clouds at Druridge Bay, rocky outcrops at low
tide in Newbiggin & at Blyth, stark white wind turbine blades set against almost black sky. Late evening shots of Seaton
Sluice and wide angle shots of Tynemouth Castle from impressive alternative viewpoints concluded this collection.

‘Nostalgia’ followed, so named because he hasn’t printed in colour for a long time, John described them as ‘these are
where I’ve been’ pictures, which included Harbottle castle and parkland in autumn hues contrasting with azure skies.
Simonside hills with furrowed black lined fields in the foreground, and gentle rural scenes of the Coquet Valley with its
rolling hills, winding roads and peat coloured water with golden reflections from the dried grass. In John’s opinion, the
drawbacks of colour photography is that it detracts from seeing the structure of the land, and was perfectly illustrated
by his monochrome Infrared images which highlighted every detail in the landscape. Alwinton in late summer with farm
gates, fingerposts and lanes leading to sweeping hills in the distance, John described the Cheviots as so different, with
small, rounded and intimate hills unlike any other. The audience enjoyed pastoral scenes of grazing sheep in soft early
morning light, the luminosity of back lit majestic trees surrounded by storm clouds, provided an amazing atmospheric
quality; foliage in silver against black skies and trees resembling fluffy bouquets, enhanced by the use of infrared were
a delight in monochrome.


‘The Dark Period’ followed with interior shots of Belsay, rooms with eerie shadows and shafts of light; atmospheric river
scenes on the Wansbeck at Morpeth and night shots in the city which were all taken using only the existing light sources.
To conclude the evening John’s final photographs were taken near to home, the station at night with passengers boarding,
moonlight over the tracks at level crossings, brightly lit petrol stations, and finally, street lights receding into the gloom,
conical halos of light creating geometric patterns.

Throughout the evening John generously shared his technical expertise together with anecdotes of situations and people
he has come across during his photographic expeditions and left the audience with the advice that one should always
challenge oneself to find a different approach, to make your own pictures because if you let the camera do all the work
then you will end up with ordinary pictures.

Chairman Mark Harrison thanked John for an impressive evening of stunning photography after which coffee was enjoyed.