Natural theme for big event

One of Barry Payling's pictures.
One of Barry Payling's pictures.

Morpeth Camera Club

ON Tuesday, November 12, the club held its annual ‘Spectacular’ at Morpeth Methodist Church, where Rotherham-based professional photographer Barry Payling treated an audience of about 120 to an excellent and entertaining presentation entitled Wild Britain.

He started by explaining that he practices the art of ‘pure’ photography – he only uses a mechanical camera without any of the ‘aids’ seen in modern digital cameras such as auto focus, auto exposure, image stabilisation and zoom lenses.

He showed his Hasselblad camera that uses film to produce 2¼ inch square images (the same size as that produced in many of the old roll-film box cameras).

However, with this high-quality camera and lenses, Mr Payling produces slides that are both colourful and extremely detailed.

He also explained that from his extensive experience and knowledge of his equipment, he is able to quickly produce well exposed images without needing to use light meters or any computer manipulation.

Mr Payling’s philosophy has always been that, rather than manipulate an image using a computer, the essence of the whole picture taking process is to actually be there and capture the moment as it was at that time.

While his presentation was witty and included many amusing anecdotes, he was also able to illustrate his knowledge and skills by projecting images of some subjects from different angles and under different lighting conditions to show the importance of having good observational skills, the ability to vary the composition and use different lighting conditions in the production of attractive and sometimes dramatic images.

He explained some of the techniques he used when exposing his film, eg to avoid the need for special filters to create pictures with a dramatic sky, how he produced a soft focus effect by gently breathing on the camera lens (or clear filter) and that by positioning the camera carefully, how he avoided some problems like glare from the sun and potential distractions in his pictures.

Before the main part of the meeting and during the interval, members of the audience had the opportunity to see an excellent display of about 70 black and white and colour prints produced by members of Morpeth Camera Club.

These covered a wide range of subjects, including landscapes, buildings, people, birds, flowers and some abstract images produced using smoke trails.

Also during the interval, donations were made to the Henry Dancer Days charity.

This good cause, the chosen charity of Morpeth Mayor Joan Tebbutt for 2013-14, provides assistance to improve the well-being of and relieve hardship for families that include young people with osteosarcoma, a disabling and sometimes fatal form of childhood bone cancer.

Mr Payling’s intention was to appeal to both novices and professional alike and he encouraged aspiring photographers to work on improving their camera skills. His message was that amazing photographs can be produced when using the simplest of equipment.

Examples of his work can be seen at

Club Chairman Steve McDonald thanked him, the club’s committee and members for their contribution to the night and those who kindly donated raffle prizes.

Thanks also went to Ken Stait for his support.

For further information about the club, including its programme, gallery and events, visit www.morpethcamera