Last week I was thrilled to be invited on a one day photography course, with Mary, a friend, for her birthday. What a treat - I am certainly no photographer ( just snap happy at times) and I do not have a brilliant camera; its not SLR standard, and has been dropped so many times that I'm amazed it is takes photos at all. That said, it was a magical day. My very poor memory has managed to take on board a few tips if I have the common sense to apply them in future. Ian, our tutor, was wonderfully informal and informative with endless patience and a very warm personality - although he said that he is less patient and much stricter with commercial students. But we were on a bit of a jolly as the weather was fine and sunny. The day began with a scenic drive from Hereford to Builth Wells where Ian has his studio/ office. He apologised for giving a very brief powerpoint presentation in the morning - no need it was succinct and helpful with examples of near perfect photos and, 'photo mistakes' ( Now I can point to almost everyone of my own photos with fine critique! )Then we went out on the 'shoot'. Mary wanted to go to bluebell woods and Ian wanted to go to the Elan Valley Reservoir. We ended up doing both, using our own cameras.
I am quite pleased with my reservoir photo (above) and could see why Ian wanted to take us there. The water was as still as a mill pond; you could clearly see the reflections.
When we came back it was a lesson in 'Lightbox' photo doctoring! Although not the brightest pupil, I would recommend Ian as a tutor who has a wealth of practical, technical and creative experience, happy to share his knowledge, infinite patience and a passion for his art that shines. He was never overbearing or patronising and time was no object. If we hadn't been tired at the end of an eight hour day I'm sure Ian would have gone on into the evening. As it was 5.30pm, long enough for our power of concentration, we called it a day. Ian gave both of us two superb prints of our efforts. Ian's own landscape prints are superb He can be found here www.builthwellsphotography.co.uk
These two photos were taken in the bluebell wood - the thrill was not the photography but the birds themselves, that not one of the three of us had seen before.... blackheads, grey backs and a pretty ginger -brown underside and tails that quivered in flight.. There were four of them flitting around us with quivering tails - I just stood mesmerised. I knew I could never photograph them in flight or get a really good photo without a powerful lens but I just had to take it to help identify these unusual birds. When I looked them up later, they turned out to be redstarts in courtship. Apparently somewhat common, but new to us.
Thank you Mary....thank you Ian....It was a rare treat. .... and a memorable day.
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