George puts the focus on community life

Derwent Reservoir, County. Durham. Red Squirrels at woodland near Derwent Reservoir, County Durham.' Photo by George Ledger Photography)''.
Derwent Reservoir, County. Durham. Red Squirrels at woodland near Derwent Reservoir, County Durham.' Photo by George Ledger Photography)''.

Morpeth Camera Club

On October 31 guest speaker George Ledger gave a talk entitled My Photography.

A member of Hexham and District Photographic Society, George is a freelance photographer, based in Consett. His talk included images of landscapes, sport, nature and people.

Many iconic landscapes, such as Durham Cathedral, Sycamore Gap, the Kelpies and the Selfridge building, have all been photographed before, but he prefers to take alternative shots.

The landscape section included images of icicles on Hill End rock face, limestone formations, waterfalls, Sycamore Gap in snow, infra red shots of ruins, and sunset at cottages reflected in the river.

Nature shots followed, with George demonstrating how he captured a Brimstone butterfly, which, when lit from behind, captured the fine detail of wing veins. His yellow flower covered in dewdrops was achieved by using focus stacking, taking a series of images at different focal lengths, which are then blended together, ensuring that every detail is in focus.

Images of damselflies, toads, lizards, adders, seals, a wet mink, red squirrels and moorland birds followed. George explained that a good opportunity to photograph birds of prey can be found at release centres.

The audience enjoyed photographs of George’s family and studio shots of fellow club members, which were dark, characterful and skilfully lit.

George was involved with a Consett Area Project in which all aspects of life were recorded – community characters, allotment and pigeon men, market traders, rugby players and a veteran showing his medals.

From this, George was asked to produce recruitment posters depicting volunteers for the Army Cadet Force, together with photographs to promote Search and Rescue dogs, taken with their handlers on training sessions.

Images of police dog drug training, riot squad exercises, flames ignited from Molotov cocktails, community support officers working with children, boxing and hula hooping all captured the essence of Consett.

George dreamt of being a professional sports photographer and after retirement he emailed sports establishments to be allowed pitch-side. It led to him attending events such as the Six Nations, speed skating, Durham cricket and Newcastle Racecourse.

He was commissioned to take poster shots for The Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), and a big part of his life is taking photographs of Consett Rugby Club.

George ended by showing the panel of photographs he submitted to obtain his Distinction from The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (DPAGB), which included natural history, Goths, interiors, still life, portraits, landscapes and wildlife.

A second panel for his Associate of the Royal Photographic Society accreditation followed. He submitted work on sports photography, and his shots of speed skating, mountain biking, canoeing, hurdling, high jump, gymnastics and football were successful.

George provided a very entertaining evening, which included anecdotes of his experiences and advice on camera settings and equipment.

Chairman Mark Harrison thanked George for his presentation.