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John Chamberlin gets us thinking- a good start to 2019

Long-standing member of the Bristol Photographic Society, John Chamberlin, began the New Year programme at NRPS with a highly entertaining and colourful presentation entitled “Images Near and Far". John has an enduring love of travel, and many of his wonderfully composed images recorded and illustrated this to good effect, but equally demonstrated that there is much to discover and delight in closer to home. The intriguing presentation kept a packed house mesmerised for the evening providing something for everyone.

The images were derived from an extensive and impressive stock, covering the period between 2014 and 2016, during which John travelled extensively with his wife and friends, often to the USA, South America and Europe. Many of his images depict the flora, fauna and wildlife that are his passion. However, John is equally fascinated by the textures, shapes and designs to be found in the environment and he glories in lingering and exploring in detail all that remote and tranquil rural areas provide.

We were taken first on a reflective journey through strangely haunting images of swaying grasses and meandering rivulets of water captured at dawn and dusk in Yellowstone Park, returning later to marvel at the ever-changing colours of the seasons. The early morning mists and the unpredictable geysers, together with rising springs and blooming algae, provided colour and patterns that changed endlessly. Here John found many opportunities to capture, in magical light, an amazing range of birds, often frozen in flight. These ranged from native woodpeckers , finches and eagles to Blue Jays having a bad hair day, and any number of pairs strutting their stuff in full display mode. Adventures in the Amazon Basin provided more colour and interest in the form of exotic birds together with portraits of indigenous people in their unique environments so different from our own.

Perhaps the most stunning images were landscapes captured in the spring and autumn sunlight of Pelouse, an area on the west side of the USA in Washington State. Here John’s kills in using viewpoint and composition came to the fore, the dramatic skies and wilderness of the Tuscany-like landscapes affording a wealth of opportunities, providing even more variety and impact when rendered in black and white.

Closer to home the playful and mischievous Red Squirrels of the Scottish Pines were captured in close up against the dark forests and the wonderful reflections of the calm, clear waters. Equally inspirational, simple close up, well composed images of leaves and trees explored colour, texture and form. These complemented and contrasted with the more graphic images taken in Sweden where the stark , linear compositions showed off John’s considerable skills in the use of light and shade. It was a wonderful journey and the narrative gave us much food for thought that will hopefully feed into our own efforts as the year progresses.

Next week members who attended Jenny Short’s practical evening in December are invited to show the work that resulted from the studio sessions, and we have an evening with Graham Nicholls planned for the following week before the annual awards are presented at the club dinner at the end of the month.

There is much to celebrate! Happy New Year!.

Jenny Short 11.01.19