7th. September 2020 – Ian Wade “Photographing Wildlife on your Doorstep”

We were thrilled to welcome a young, enthusiastic and determined photographer to speak to us, last night, on Zoom. His topic of presentation was local wildlife and as he lives in Brislington we could all identify with his surroundings and the apparent challenges that face him.
We were clearly going to be in for a special evening when his first image was a huge spider that had set up residence immediately outside his lounge window. Many of us would have been pleased to photograph the arachnid in its web and, perhaps, try to encroach for a macro image……. this is not the style of Ian Wade! He recognised that on the adjacent TV different scenes gave different light to enhance the view of the spider, more images showed wonderful back lit shots of the web as well, but this is not enough for the author – he seeks the image that has NEVER been done before and so next evening, having bought some fairy lights he strived to enhance the opportunity even further, this was still not enough so 5 sets of fairy lights were then used and even sections of mould on the camera lens intensified the mystery and setting of the entire composition – this is a man on a mission.
A bigger leap of subject could hardly have been made when next we saw a standard view of a bloom of the common campanula bell flower. Here lay another challenge to bring about a dreamy painted effect of the petals – using a wide angle F 2.8 lens actually entering into the blooms, with an insect eyes view the flora was brought to life, using the changing colours of the day and changing the white balance setting to Tungsten (who would have thought of that?). Persistence to break new boundaries is Ian’s bye word.

From spiders to flowers…..what next? Snails of course. Here we saw the great creativity of a thoughtful artist as a snail in the foreground, pin sharp and the author’s house in the background in twilight – a unique set up. The wide angled macro lens was only 5mm from the snail’s eye, requiring a high standard of dexterity to achieve such clarity.
In keeping with all serious photographers a sharp eye revealed a frog sitting in a downpipe outlet – close observations revealed the frog was using this as cover to obtain a meal of flying ants as they emerged from the nearby ground the scene was captured and the frog never returned – lesson never miss an opportunity.
In a nearby venue, Nightingale Valley, Ian used his Go Pro in a small brook to actually catch a frog sitting on an old abandoned skateboard, the shot was taken from the emerged camera showing a super partition between water and open air – a piece of skill achieved by Ian’s other great passion buying cheap items (in this case a make-up bag) that contained the camera, completely dry, for £5.00. we would hear more of his ability to fashion and create expensive equipment at very little cost. He also uses his smart phone underwater in a similar way and has achieved high honours for his efforts.

Great patience can often be required to achieve the right moment, how impressive therefore is his on-going project throughout the year to photograph from underwater up into the tree canopy, giving a 3600 image and the photographer cannot be seen. Not being content with that he wants the shot to be framed in bubbles, taken from the same position every month of the year! Watch this space. We were introduced to the Venus Optic Wide Angle Lens used in conjunction with the Canon 7D/Mk2 camera to photograph a snail with a penchant for LED lighting, these atmospheric shots with pin-sharp snail and the outline of the church behind were so subtle and atmospheric, using easily portable and flexible LED lighting has become something of his speciality.
Close images of frogs, which Ian has taken in a prone position, soaking wet, waiting for hours have become something of a trademark for him. Coupled with the ultra violet light and exceptional angles we saw some unique strangely coloured images which he set out to portray under the 1950’s horror movies genre. I feel these might well polarise people’s view of his ingenious work.
The final section of this informative and thought-provoking evening took place in surrounding areas and Bristol’s floating harbour itself. An opportunity had arisen to study a dog fox, a vixen and their 4 cubs. This species being, principally, nocturnal had caused Ian to leave home at 4: 00a.m returning home two hours later and then back again in the evening from 8:30 until 10:00p.m. This, coupled with work has demonstrated the efforts that he is prepared to go to for the superb shots that we saw.

These included Dog fox in monochrome taken through grass, the vixen sticking her tongue out and the cubs gazing into the sky distracted by circling marauding sea gulls. Regrettably this family group had become too well known and less skilful photographers had caused unnatural behaviour and the interest from our speaker had, understandably, declined. Also featuring in this section were cormorants in the docks, grey squirrels and crows in Brandon Hill. A surprise request from the Royal Crescent Hotel offered a chance to study some hedgehogs and Ian’s preparation and care allowed him to take some perfect images which would only present opportunities once and, as we would expect, he had come up to the mark.
The last captivating, totally unexpected, shot was the selfie, taken using a submerged camera striking a scary pose – If ever a picture was destined for millions of viewings then this is it – I commend this wonderful creator of images to you and suggest you go immediately to his web sites. http://www.ianwadephotography.co.uk/


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