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Blackpool Daleks

An Evening with Bill Collett

The engineer in action!
I suppose that with his professional roots in, and an enduring passion for engineering, we should not be surprised that our long -time member, Bill Collett, is so creative in his photographic endeavours. We were treated to his annual presentation on Thursday, in which he illustrated just how true this continues to be. Whilst he routinely seeks out local subjects in and around Radstock and the Southwest, Bill often travels to engineering exhibitions further afield, and always stops off along the way to seek out a range of other subjects.

One such excursion led him to Blackpool, where the illuminations gave him plenty of scope to explore the angles of the elevations as well as the vibrant colours inherent in the ever-changing lights and the restless movement in the streets of the city. Bill sees reflections everywhere, and there was no shortage of these in his images. They ranged interestingly from those in the highly polished chrome of motor cycles, the glass in the towering architecture that draws him like a magnet, to those rendered indistinct in the puddles, streams and floods created by the ever-present rain. Bill even threw in the odd reflective image that he had inverted to challenge the senses and keep us on our toes.

Record shots of places visited- York Minster and Hardwick Hall as well as views of St Ives and Plymouth were often more conventional in terms of subject matter, but rarely in terms of post processing! Bill is something of an expert in the use of creative filters. These he uses to enhance the images he feels are less inspiring. These are particularly effectively illustrated through those he further renders in black and white, where shape and shadows dominate, together with unusual points of view. He makes especially good use of equalizing and posterizing features of the software he uses, so that ordinary scenes are transformed through pointillism and more extreme abstractions into something beyond the realism so often captured by others in similar locations.

Bill’s other fascination is the effect of slow shutter speeds, and he uses this technique when recording athletic or sporting events, as well as the more usual effects of waves and moving water. The Bristol Triathalon 2023 afforded him many opportunities to explore the actions of the swimmers, runners and cyclists as they passed, and whilst many of us have seen his efforts in this genre previously, there is no doubt that he revels in experimentation and continues to hone his existing skills! Towards the end of his well-organised presentation we also enjoyed the photos taken at the 2023 Priston Music festival- again undeterred by the relentless rain! We thank him for showing us how to push the boundaries and just get out there and take photos.

Next week we gather in the Hall to hear Simon Caplan’s judgements on our Pictures of the Year.

Jenny Short. 19.01.2024