The past few days have been ones of incredible Light and beauty. Dorset is a magnificent green area of rolling hills and gorgeous scenery at the best of times, but when the light is right it really is spectacular. I spent a very early morning just after dawn near a village called Stokeford and after trudging through dewy long grass and over a few fences I found a place I had discovered before. A somewhat derelict fence-line with snarled old trees and shadowed grass with bluebells. I got there so early I woke up a flock of sheep on the other side of the fence! A couple of days later we all headed up to a magnificent area right on the border with Devon, a place known as Lewesdon hill. The national trust own the land and its a wonderful place for bluebells in spring and also for its Autumn colours.(That will have to be another time) It also happens to be the highest spot in Dorset, at a touch over 945 feet you can see the coast of Devon seven miles away. We had a lovely few hours here and used the opportunity to not only photograph the landscape, but shoot a few frames of the grandchildren. To finish the day with a colourful flourish, there was an incredible dusk on the Wareham quay! Just perfect.
I am having a few weeks vacation time with family down in Dorset England, but you never really put the camera away, even when you go out on a picnic! I have reached for my camera on a few occasions and photographed both of my Grandchildren as they relax and play and find delight in the spring weather and what if offers. My Grand-daughter Molly in particular, takes absolute delight in the spring blooms and runs into a field of them every time an opportunity arises. My favourite was today, when she saw a field of buttercups, some as nearly high as herself… naturally I got my camera out and snapped a few as she picked them and squealed with sheer joy as she ran in amongst them. I don’t do portraits often and high key work even less! but these shots were so good I found this kind of treatment to be the best way to finish them.
The famous words “Oh to be in England now that May is here” keeps ringing in my head every-time I head out to capture the wonderful spring light that sweeps across the countryside here in Dorset. I have visited some of my favourite haunts again and some new ones. The banks of the Stour river are always wonderful and so is the coastline. Here are just a few examples I have captured in the past week and it was an added bonus to still see some bluebells out in bloom as they are usually gone by the end of April. It’s all about the light and I am chasing it again with fervour.
The culmination of the five week advanced course that I ran at the SSPS clubrooms was a short practical lesson on filters, lighting, exposure compensation and basic compositional suggestions at Cape Schanck. We had thirty eight attend the classes and so everyone had the opportunity to come down to Cape Schanck both for an afternoon session towards dusk on the Saturday and a first light session on Sunday morning. We were favoured with some lovely light and I want to thank all those who attended this years course for their attention and commitment to the class. Here a couple of images I had time to grab in between helping all those who attended. My sincere thanks is extended to Greg Earl, Frank Pisani and Bob Clothier for helping out with such a large contingent of photographers!
The AIPP National and State awards are two of the very few remaining photographic competitions to actually judge the finished print and they do so using a panel of 5 judges for every section, who are all deemed experts in their respective genres and accredited as Masters of Photography through their years of success in photography. Prints are judged in a controlled lighting environment and assessed for their content, originality as well as technical craftsmanship. All the prints are scored out of 100 with images judged less than 70 are deemed not to professional standards. Prints judged between 71 and 79 are considered strong professional standards. Those images judged between 80-84 are awarded a Silver and are considered strong professional practice of an award standard. Scores of 85-89 are given a Silver with Distinction and demonstrate superior imagination, craft and skill. Prints judged 90-94 exhibit excellence in visual communication, craft technique and skill. And finally those rare few images that reach 96-100 are considered to have exceptional vision, creativity, innovation, master craftsmanship and skill. Very few prints score Gold awards in these competitions and only a tiny proportion of entries ever reach the top tier of Gold with Distinction. I entered 10 images this year with 7 achieving silver and one being awarded gold. The other 2 images I entered received 78 and 79 respectively, just missing the silver award by a fraction.
My sincere thanks goes to both Landon and Stuart at the Print Bureau in Prahran, for the wonderful job they do with all my work and especially in the choosing of the fine archival papers that suit each particular print.