This time last week my wife and I took part in a photography workshop called the ABC of Camerawork which was run by Andy Beel FRPS, a Bristol based photographer who is renowned for his black and white photography. The course took place in the beautiful city of Bath in Somerset.
As well as my wife and I, there were four other particpants all from Dorchester Camera Club. We met up with Andy in the cafe above Waterstones bookshop in Milsom Street. Over coffee and a croissant he introduced himself and soon established our photographic abilities and what we would like to get out of the day. From my point of view I was keen to use depth of field in a more creative way.
Andy gave each of us a card to remind us of the ABC of Camerawork. There were three versions depending on our ability. Beginner, intermediate and advanced. The ABC included: A – for attraction, B – for background, C- for composition, and so on. I have to say this simple mnemonic did make me think more about what I was doing and why, although if I am honest I didn’t refer to the card as often as I should have done during the day. Nevertheless Andy kept reminding all of us of what we should be doing and gave hands on advice to all the participants. He never cramped our style and was always available for good practical advice. He encouraged us to experiment, take plenty of shots, try different settings, in other words to challenge our normal approach. He was a very good host.
Andy explained that we would be visiting various locations in and around the city which would hopefully provide a good variety of subjects to photograph. To start with we headed towards The Circus and then onto the famous Royal Crescent. We walked through the streets lined with attractive buildings before stopping for lunch in an Italian Restaurant. During this break we swapped cameras to see what others had been shooting in the morning. Despite visiting the same locations, our eyes see things differently, so we all had a variety of shots. To me that’s the joy of photography. It’s applying your own personal vision of the scene or subject in front of you. No two photographs will ever be the same. Unfortunately time was marching on and the light was beginning to fade, so the sticky toffee pudding stayed in the kitchen.
In the morning we enjoyed bright sun, which isn’t always the best lighting for black and white photography. From my point of view I love shadows, so for me these lighting conditions worked in my favour. The afternoon was overcast so a different approach was required.
Andy is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society so I was keen to talk to him about how I might go about achieving an Associateship. He expressed his views but was keen to spend more time with me so that we could discuss the topic in more detail as he would like to see examples of my printed work. I have already confirmed a place for Andy’s ‘Monochrome Masterclass’ in March and I may well arrange a 121 with him before then so that I can benefit from some personal tuition.
All in all an excellent day and a week later I have processed a number of the files which I have included in this post. Andy requested that we send him some images which hopefully might be chosen to appear on his own website or blog.