Life above and below the waves

A colourful tropical frog. Picture by Larry Bedigan.
A colourful tropical frog. Picture by Larry Bedigan.

Morpeth Camera Club

On Tuesday, September 13, local photographer Larry Bedigan presented a projected digital image show of his photographs at the second meeting of the new season at Morpeth Camera Club.

Eel. Picture by Larry Bedigan.

Eel. Picture by Larry Bedigan.

Larry is a member of Tynemouth Photographic Society and has a wealth of experience in many different genres of photography.

Entitled Wet and Dry, he displayed a cross-section of nature images, both above and below the water.

Starting with a brief outline of the equipment he uses, he expressed a preference for long, focal length lenses with extension tubes. Using this method you can get closer to your subject, fill the frame with more of it and still focus. This was illustrated by a series of colourful butterfly shots taken indoors at a butterfly farm.

Staying above the water he continued with a selection of bird images, including great crested grebes, curlew, and barn owls, followed by action shots of a kingfisher catching fish and birds in flight. Beautiful images of gannets at Bass Rock, puffins at the Farne Islands and the aerial ballet of terns fighting demonstrated that Larry is a skilled photographer.

Moving on to a different type of nature shot, we saw a collection of small reptiles. Larry again explained the lighting set-up he used to capture amazing colours and great detail in his images of different breeds of tropical frogs and geckoes.

The show continued with landscape and seascape images, before another change of subject to a set of studio portraits in both colour and mono. Again the emphasis was on the importance of using the correct light to bring out the texture, shape and features of the human form.

Returning to his theme of wet and dry, a project called Collisions showed a series of images taken with a macro lens of water and milk droplets frozen in time, falling into other liquids or colliding into each other to form unique shapes.

In the final part of his presentation Larry stated that he had been a diver for over 35 years and that marine photography excited him most. A series of underwater shots followed, which not only recorded the diversity of the subject matter, but the lifestyle and behaviour of the subjects — cuttle fish fighting, moray eels darting out of holes, reef-dwelling clownfish in anemone, and the amazing camouflage of a stonefish.

Larry explained the cameras used, flash and strobe lighting, and how he dealt with the problems that shooting underwater created.

With images taken of wrecks in the Red Sea to hammerhead sharks in the Maldives, it was a different and captivating presentation.

He had stated earlier that he found the technical requirements to capture the colours and diversity of life in a marine environment to be a fascinating challenge, and after viewing his work it was clear that he had succeeded, with a set of excellent underwater images.

A question and answer session, followed by coffee, concluded a very interesting and enjoyable evening.