Inspiring images on photographic travels

The Aurora Borealis by Jed Wee.
The Aurora Borealis by Jed Wee.

Morpeth Camera Club

On the first evening of the new season Morpeth Camera Club was treated to a talk and projected presentation entitled A Photographic Journey, by Jed Wee, ARPS.

A much respected photographer with a Masters in the Photographic Image, Jed spent ten years as a working photojournalist. He has been published in the UK and as far afield as New Zealand and China.

A member of Durham Photographic Society, Jed has also conducted workshops and talks for various organisations and held solo exhibitions in Singapore and the UK.

His photographic articles and equipment reviews are highly regarded, and he is a regular judge and lecturer in the Northern Counties Photographic Federation.

The evening commenced with photographs taken in Sicily, where the volcano Mount Etna is part of normal life. Farming and agriculture depend on its eruptions, which produce fertile soil for growing olives, oranges, prickly pears, almonds and lemons.

Photographs of villages nestling in hilly enclaves, glowing in the sunset, townscapes of colourful stacked houses, dramatic panoramic shots of the Taormina Amphitheatre, abandoned outbuildings on the slopes of Mount Etna and the water eroded hills of the Calanchi badlands featured.

Dramatic shots of the volcano, with billowing clouds and red steam creating a golden glow over the townships, with a backdrop of starry skies and orange lava flow with steam and sparks followed, with anecdotes of his trip, including facts about flow rate and his photo techniques.

Then it was on to Morocco, with scenes of Marrakesh with its bustling spice market and stories of the production line of pushy locals and guides vying for business.

Images of busy tannery workers contrasted with calming abstract images of shadows on old clay brick buildings.

In a welcome escape into the interior with the help of an excellent guide and a 4x4, Jed took images of goat herders in the desert, 200m high sand dunes at sunset forming wonderful curves and shapes in the evening glow, and palm trees silhouetted firstly by the sunset and then by the spectacle of the Milky Way.

His journey continued to New Zealand where he visited the Remarkables with their triangular peaks and vertiginous rock faces.

He pictured dramatic waterfalls of Doubtful Sound, vineyards and rolling hills bathed in evening light, forest patterns taken in infra-red and landscapes of autumnal oranges contrasting with turquoise-coloured glacial lakes.

Unbelievably beautiful images were projected of the Milford Sound waterfalls, which Jed explained were far more dramatic after rain, which is not rare in New Zealand where they measure rainfall in metres.

Together with rainbows and wind-created mist patterns, Jed’s images perfectly captured the beauty of the country.

Jed then took the audience to Iceland. He explained that although it was very stark, there was plenty to explore off the beaten track. With its challenging lava fields, geysers and ice lagoons, this area was used to prepare for the moon landings.

Stark images taken on the Snaefellsnes Peninsular, snowy ridges caught in evening light on the strangely shaped Anastape Mountains, and steamy hot springs in the snow where the steam freezes, provided the audience with a new perspective of Iceland, thought by many to be a flat wilderness.

Charming images of horses gave scale and context to the massive landscape, together with beautiful shots of icicles, giant crystalline ice blocks washed up on black volcanic beaches, rainbows, water tumbling through crevasses and the stunning Bruarfoss waterfalls.

Brilliant images of the Aurora Borealis followed, with questions answered regarding shutter speeds and ISO settings.

Next came Norway, which is Jed’s “current passion” as the country has plenty of trees and interesting foregrounds to work with.

On the Lofoten islands we enjoyed images of dramatic mist swirling though the fiords and stormy horizons in late evening light producing a soft orange glow. There were red-roofed churches and farmhouses miniaturised by the mountains, bronzed autumnal foliage reflected in shallow still water, colourful boathouses and flickering aurora through the stars.

To end the show Jed entertained with two short audio visual presentations using time lapse photography. It was not unusual to take 3,000 photographs, which would only cover three minutes of play time.

The first entitled Land of my Birth, Singapore, showed a city in motion, pedestrians on walkways, clouds and river craft shooting past at high speed and 12-lane motorway traffic leaving light trails, demonstrating the fast lifestyle of this vibrant city.

The second evoked the calmer atmosphere of the North East, with tides ebbing and flowing, moorland daisies fluttering as the sun set and low mist sweeping through the Lakeland fells.

Jed explained that he enjoyed alternative travel photography, rather than the standard exotic variety, and the audience were certainly presented with a feast of inspiring images.

He was duly thanked by Mark Harrison, our new chairman. Coffee and much discussion concluded a brilliant opening night of the season.