One of the obvious delights of being a member of SYPC is the opportunity to be with like-minded enthusiasts and to have your favourite camera in your hands, this thrill was further enhanced last night as our Local professional, Richard McDonough, led us on a most informative tour from Old Sodbury Church and then down to Chipping Sodbury car park taking a circular tour through Brook street, up the steep hill to the top of the High street down the High street back past the church to the car park.At the start of this shoot Rich reminded us all of what he described as a few basics – this stretched to about 13 excellent tips e.g. remember to maintain a level horizon when photographing the setting sun, think about the lens’s dynamic range to include the sky and the foreground, retain some interest in the foreground (this was achieved using crosses, headstones and a small plastic blue tit that he had brought along – who would have thought of that?). His expertise stimulated the 18 members who turned up to think intelligently about their camera settings and, of course, composition!
The second part of our shoot brought us to Waitrose’s car park – here the challenge was to take a worthwhile atmospheric image of the store. Taking Rich’s advice, a setting of f4 was used to capture as much of the available light as possible, A ‘P’ setting a high ISO value and, using manual focusing on the store’s name sign, re-align to produce an interesting shot.
At the bottom of Brook street we paused to shoot the sweeping incline of “cardiac hill” which lay in front of us, members drifted of the pack to provide some interest to the shot. We were reminded to keep our eyes open for all opportunities and in no time a black cat was seen at a cottage window. We were, quite rightly, reminded to respect people’s privacy in strolling around in the dark.
As we emerged to the top of the hill by the new bakery shop another opportunity presented itself as the olde sweet shop was brightly lit and the walls of the intervening houses provided a frame for the image. Cars sweeping by added interest along with one of our members volunteering to walk across and a resident walking his dog, all of these things add to the main subject.
We turned down the High street and photographed the Horseshoe pub and the Moda hotel, no doubt our more observant members saw dozens of other sparkling opportunities.
One of Rich’s current challenges is to video headlight trails down the high street, his efforts so far have not been successful so our attention focussed on long shutter times to provide single images with car headlight trails – at one stage there were 7 members set up on the central reservation in order to capture this shot (without being run over!).
This nerve-wracking procedure continued down to the clock tower – pleased to report no casualties. Our next challenge from Rich was to see if we could catch the two post boxes, the telephone booth and the clock tower in a single shot (getting the tower in focus proved tricky). One of our group acted as the model (wearing red) and posed opening the phone box door, again more interest.
To conclude the evening a few of us found ourselves in licensed premises where Rich really demonstrated his enthusiasm for his chosen career, he talked, with knowledge and a genuine passion of his work, his wedding photography and his new camera. We were in the palm of his hand. A really enjoyable night despite the cold, a valuable session and well worthwhile attending.
Many thanks Richard – to find out more follow him on Facebook Rich MCD – visit his website at –http://www.richmcd.co.uk