Having arrived at The George Hotel in remarkably good time in spite of the driving conditions, we were extremely grateful for the comforting and warm welcome we received.
Once the projector equipment was set up for an introductory presentation the next day, we relaxed in the comfort of the cosy lounge area and greeted some familiar and new faces to our event before a delicious evening meal created by award winning chef Ben Handley. Had we known the true extent of the culinary temptations which lay before us for the weekend I think we would all have fasted for the week prior to arriving!
The forecast looked remarkably good for us when we awoke on the Saturday morning and we decided to revise our itinerary and get out and about while the rain held back. Nick Garbutt kicked off proceedings with a presentation entitled ‘Camera Basics’ – (Understanding exposure, apertures and shutter speed), and then we all jumped in cars to drive the short distance into the moorland and a location called Padley Gorge. Being a local, Chris Mattison already knew that this particular area with its ancient forest, stream and waterfalls, would provide excellent subject matter for practice.
Nicks overview had been particularly beneficial, particularly to us novices in the group, and we were able to practice shots with varying shutter speeds and apertures to get to know our cameras. (Some results better than others!). Chris and Nick were on hand for all advice and set up some examples using their own camera and tripod equipment.
Although the rain had stayed at bay, the cold started to bite into extremities after a couple of hours – snow was lying on the highest points after all! We were keen to sample the delights of the buffet lunch and headed back to The George to warm up.
In the afternoon, Chris Mattison treated the audience to a selection of some of his work and presentation entitled – ‘Close up Photography – the basics’. Here he dealt with relevant equipment and achieving required results, whilst outlining how he had managed to get some of his own results. We had another window of opportunity to practice ‘en plein air’ and headed off this time to the Stanage area. Here we were free to experiment and Nick demonstrated the use of the ‘depth of field preview button’ on his camera to show how the different settings information may not always appear through the viewfinder. It was a lovely scenic location but the cold started to bite and we were soon tempted by the thought of tea and cakes at The George. Chris continued with a further presentation ‘Close up Photography – problems and solutions’ which dealt with some of the situations which customers may be confronted with in a mixed light rainforest location like Madagascar.
We all looked forward to a well earned drink before another delicious dinner.
Sunday predictably came with more rain but as this had been anticipated we kicked off the last day with Nick presenting ‘Creative Flash Techniques’. Showing some of his own superb pictures our minds were expanded even more by Nick as we attempted to amass all the different techniques and associated equipment/settings etc. We were then set to try our own skills by photographing roses by using first natural light, then total flash and then fill-in flash. Everyone was able to work at their own pace and ability whilst benefiting from the advice of the experts.
A Sunday lunch fit for a banquet ended an extremely informational and enjoyable weekend break.
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