A night to remember with Ian Pinn

06th February 2015
Ian Pinn's visit to Retford on January will be remembered for a long time for more than the quality of his talk and work.

Ian, a photographer of some forty years since his wife to be bought him a camera as an engagement present, brought a selection of his prints to illustrate his presentation entitled 'It's Your Turn Now'. As a judge and competitor nationally and internationally! Ian realised that there was scope for a talk giving the audience a chance to question and critique when he was challenged by a club member who asked how they knew he even took photos, never mind good ones.

Ian established a good rapport with our large audience and discussion was flowing when proceedings were interrupted by the lights going off. After a few moments of surprise and realisation that there was a a widespread power cut, members soon responded with a very modern day solution illuminating the display stand with the torch apps on their phones and small personal torches. Ian rose ably to the occasion and carried on. How fortunate he was not relying on a projector!

We had a reminder of the vast impact of digital photography and personal printing on costs when Ian showed a print taken from a slide in 1990 which had cost £10. Now in the digital age he encouraged us to 'work the scene', having made the effort to go to a great landscape, to take maximum advantage of it with different viewpoints, different exposures, orientation and changes of light. He revealed how he may adjust landscapes in subtle ways placing branches in strategic positions or tossing pebbles into shallow water to create interest. At the same time he suggested occasionally imposing a discipline to make every shot count or to take just one camera and lens.

Members compared notes on kit, and it was clear that a dedicated photographer needs a substantial amount of personal kit including waders and mountaineering wear as well as the more obvious range of tripods, bodies and lenses. Serious outdoor photographers are hardy folk, getting up to climb hills before dawn in Arctic conditions or standing thigh deep in freezing water and lashing rain seem essentials to enjoy.

With no electricity the hall was cooling down, but Ian retained everyone's interest with his informative presentation, tips and discussion. One enterprising member managed to slip away and conjure up a cup of tea for him as he continued without the usual break. Sadly his flask couldn't warm us all.

Back on the computer Ian suggested trying different crops, desaturation of the colours or turning to monochrome to explore the full range of pictures within the images captured. He gave a great illustration of finding a small section of a sporting picture which once cropped and processed became a much more powerful image. A deer which formed a small part of an image shot with a long lens was another demonstration of the right crop.

A recent judge had commented on the colour of mounts and Ian had helpfully brought the same image framed in both black and white. It was a striking demonstration of the difference the mount can make. He suggested having 'L' shaped pieces of different coloured card to see how a print looks before committing to mounting it.

Another seldom discussed aspect of prints is the paper used and again Ian brought the same image on a selection of papers to illustrate the effect this can have. Shots of nature work well on textured art paper, which gives them depth.

As Ian neared the bottom of his last box of prints the lights came back on to applause from us all. Ian left us with a final picture in our minds of a colleague who was so comprehensively drenched on a photo shoot that he walked into a lake for a better shot, confident he would get no wetter!

The thanks and appreciation expressed to Ian at the end of a fascinating evening were heartfelt as with his excellent discussion and members' help on the lights we had barely missed the power.

Hopefully over the coming weeks when we have short presentations from members and two competitions to judge members' portfolios of photos in different styles, we shall have no more unexpected turns of events. If you would like to come and see for yourself, why not