The trip around the M25 to reach the M3 on Tuesday was one of the slowest on record for me. I had allowed an extra half-hour for traffic and an equal amount to allow me to arrive early, and only just managed to make it with five minutes to spare. Not an auspicious start!
On the bright side, literally, the weather was wonderful for this time of year, and I did not consider it cold, the parking and meeting up with the welcomers was excellent; the red umbrellas were only needed for recognition, not for fending off British weather for a change. It was suggested could leave our kit in the vehicles to walk to the Treehouse, but with the benefit of hindsight I could have popped a memory card into my pocket. It was interesting to note that the walk to the Treehouse was obviously to inform us that Landscape Photography was always going to involve some trekking; we were not going to expect to take such images by casually leaning out of a car window – an interesting subliminal message to presage the talks to follow.
On this walk I met two other attendees, and upon arrival we were met by another who had stepped out of his car to ask where the venue was, and there was no way we were going to let him think he could park up and just walk in, when we had just made the trip on foot, which gave us a giggle! There was no place to park here I hasten to add.
After a gathering for tea or coffee we headed for the room for the talks, this time for me taking the route via the rope walkway; I am not sure my traverse helped others feel particularly well-balanced and I was reminded of that movie of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
The two talks with a break between for food and drinks were both excellently delivered with some magnificent examples of David Noton’s work and his tales and reminiscences from his colleague Jon Gooding were well chosen to illustrate the amount of preparation and understanding of his subject that had gone into what sometimes had been only moments when the scenes could have been captured and present their beauty. Both talks were illuminating and humourous and were much appreciated by the audience whose numerous questions showed their keenness to learn more from this extremely talented yet self-effacing photographer and good speaker.
After queuing to borrow from the vast array of both camera bodies and lenses and in my case to take a brief look at a pre-production EOS7D MkII we set off back to our vehicles for the journey to Pigbush our location for the afternoon. Both David and Jon took small groups to discuss filters and techniques, and a few split up to put their newly-acquired knowledge into practice. I had chosen to borrow a Tilt-Shift lens and a body, both of which were unfamiliar, and this resulted in my missing a rainbow which appeared in the scene I was trying to capture, illustrating the necessity of understanding one’s kit – I promptly decided to continue using kit I knew intimately and the few pictures I subsequently took were a personal disappointment.
However I learned a lot and found the day rewarding despite my personal poor performance. In handing back the borrowed equipment, I also managed to have a chat with Frankie Jim from canon, who was able to tell what fault had developed in my 300mm lens which I had hoped to have delivered for repair. The journey back though not speedy was a vast improvement over the journey down.