A strange, uncharacteristic reticence descended on the Bangor and North Down Camera Club on Friday night. Normally the conversation flows, the questions rattle forth and the opinions are offered effortlessly but Chairman Harry Watson had to admit that when he tried to enlist a group of volunteers to stand up and give an account of their photographic influences he failed signally. A good psychologist could probably have come up with a diagnosis of the condition but sadly the club doesn’t appear to have one on the books at the moment!
A quick reshuffle was required and thankfully,such is the depth of experience and expertise amongst the senior members a last minute replacement was eased in for the evening – and the substitution was of a quality most Premiership football managers can only dream about. Hugh Rooney’s illustrated amble through some of the magical mysteries of Photsohop was pitched at exactly the correct level to offer instruction to the newcomers yet be entertaining and memory-jogging to the more experienced users.
The esoteric niceties of burning, dodging, selective sharpening et al were deftly introduced and demonstrated before Hugh moved on to lay bare some of the secrets the glossy magazines employ to make their models appear flawless. Minor blemishes disappeared under his deft touch, skin tones glowed with a seemingly peach-like texture and teeth were magically whitened to a toothpaste-ad sparkle.
Turning his attention to landscape photography Hugh demonstrated how a pleasing scene could be enhanced to competition standard by a few little “tweaks”. Increasing the saturation or contrast of a particular area could emphasise a feature of the picture while a decrease in brightness or softening of focus could point up and emphasise a chosen feature. The secret, as he pointed out, is not to overdo the tweaking.