In our new virtual existence, the opportunity has been created to invite some guest speakers we’d struggle to get to Weston Turville in normal times. Whilst we’re stilling getting used to operating meetings through Zoom, it’s definitively one positive opportunity.
On Tuesday 14th April, we were joined for our evening meeting by expert landscape photographer and tutor John Gravett, from Lakeland Photographic Holidays. John both lives and teaches workshops in the Lake District (and abroad) and having lived in the lakes for the best part of 20 years, he has a fabulous knowledge of the area. He started as a sports photographer in the 1980s before moving into photographing gigs, theatre, architecture, commercial and landscape.
John presented a pictorial journey through the four seasons of 2018 in the Lake District. Alongside stunning imagery, John talked about critical elements of composition, his approach to picking the right lens, his use of filters and why using a tripod isn’t just about getting a steady shot but actually slows you down and gives you time to really think about what you’re capturing. John’s compositions are a combination of a great eye for shapes and details but also his ability to pre-visualise a photo and to use the tools (camera, lens, filters) in the field to capture the best quality image data.
We were reminded of the importance in looking all around the frame to make sure what we include in photos, is what we intended. Something we should all be familiar with from judges’ critique! Equally John talked about not being constrained by what a judge might use as a rule, sometimes it is more than OK to break the rule of thirds, to put the key focal point or the horizon in the middle of a shot and to have a gate shut (rather than open). The photo you capture should be something that pleases you above all else. John touched on elements of post processing too, particularly when to consider black and white conversion (but why to always capture photos in camera in colour).
The final shots from the winter season included several taken on a phone, amongst which were John’s images with the highest number of views on photo sharing platform Flickr. A good reminder that it isn’t all about having the most expensive gear, its more about having a camera at your disposal and using it.
A great evening of stunning photography and a real education as well, many thanks to John and hopefully everyone that joined took away some great tips and put the Lake District on their must visit (or must visit again) list for post lockdown.
For anyone interested in John’s workshops, checkout https://www.johngravett.com/. John was also a contributory photographer to the acclaimed Lee Filters book “Inspiring Professionals” and in 2017 published a book on “PhotoShop for Landscape Photographers” by Crowood Press.