Friday 17th February 2012 – Tuscany Travellers

Gerry, Peter, Trevor, Hugh and John

For a few hours on Friday night stormy rain-soaked County Down was transformed into the rolling hills and cypress-clad valleys of Tuscany as four members of the Bangor and North Down Camera Club relived their photographic odyssey to their favourite region of Italy. And whilst they travelled as part of a larger group and visited the same locations they each brought back a different recollection of the beauty of the countryside .

Hugh Rooney, who enjoys architectural challenges displayed some dramatic monochrome prints of the historic cities of Pisa, Sienna and Florence; his finely executed tonal variations complementing the angular beauty of centuries old cathedrals and towers. The hillside town of Montepulciano, set amid the encircling vineyards featured strongly in Hugh’s lens as did isolated Tuscan farmhouses nestling in halos of sunflowers and hay bales.

Gerry Coe adopted a completely different approach to his picture gathering; leaving aside his professional quality gear he opted instead for the comparatively simple hardware of the camera in his Iphone. Using various applications downloaded for the purpose he enhanced and manipulated the images of country lanes and lone trees and so successful was the enterprise he exhibited the end product in the recent Royal Ulster Academy of Art Exhibition – to much acclaim!

Peter Gibson evoked much mock sympathy from the audience with his tales of sacrifices such as rising at five o’clock to catch the early rays of the sun. However the applause for his sensitive digital projected images was genuine ; Peter wove a varied collection of richly hued images into an entertaining Audio-visual presentation  complete with suitable music.

John Miskelly illustrated yet another different approach by showing a mega print of a typical Tuscan landscape which had been “stitched “ together from twenty eight different pictures. This panoramic approach, while painstaking and difficult to perform can produce a minutely detailed representation which can be enlarged to almost any size required. The visit to Tuscany, John explained, was yet another stage of a journey towards landscape perfection.

Trevor Craig used his images almost as a mini masterclass aimed towards the beginners of the club. Showing two images of one scene he was able to illustrate the value of seeking the correct lighting conditions – the “Golden Hour” which is found at dawn and dusk.  Shown side by side it was easy to appreciate the benefits to shape and texture to be had under the correct lighting condition .

Perhaps the only things missing from a very entertaining evening were a slice of pizza and a glass of Chianti.

John Bennett


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