ONE of Ribblesdale Camera Club’s most interesting, unusual and, at times, touching meetings comprised presentations by members Steve Proctor and Garry Williamson.
Both presentations were notable for their professional standard use of Photoshop. Steve started with an update on his recent talk on conservation and photo ethics, talking about the sharp decline in the African Rhino population due to poaching.
Although not an endangered species, current trends will see rhino deaths exceed births by 2016.
The main reason is the use in Chinese medicine of powdered Rhino horn. As he said, horn is only keratin and you may as well eat hair or chew your finger nails. Turning to the UK, he said the bird population had declined by nearly a quarter since 1970 and some species by 75%. It was vitally important not to disturb nests, whether by photography or otherwise.
Garry Williamson then talked good humouredly about his part-sightedness which, through an inherited problem, left him from the age of 18 with colour blindness and only blurred peripheral vision. As a navy marksman, this changed his life dramatically.
He then set a quiz for members, showing a series of pictures which he had modified to show what he sees. It was a problem to guess many things until he showed an unmodified image.
As Garry has difficulties in seeing what is happening, he does not use Photoshop. Even when he has a shot right and the camera on fully automatic, he cannot see if someone walks into his shot. He takes the picture a few times until he thinks everything is correct and identifies the best one by taking a picture of his hand as the next picture. He uses black-and-white frequently as he cannot see colours.
His final picture was of his wife as he sees her, an emotional moment for those who had no idea how anyone with Garry’s disability can both take good photographs and stay so cheerful and smiling.
A joint presentation rounded off the evening. This was showing how the club members could set up and show their best work as a joint gallery on Flickr. A lot of interest was shown as a possible supplement to Secretary Dean Weaver’s competition winning photo galleries on the club’s website (www.ribblesdalecameraclub.org.uk).
The website also has details of the club’s programme and how to get involved, with new members of all abilities made very welcome.