From Normandy to Norway and from New Zealand to Alaska – during the course of a couple of hours Mark Allen indulged in a spectacular spell of globetrotting to entertain the members and guests of Bangor and North Down Camera Club last weekend. And although the subject of his presentation was travel photography, Mark nevertheless indulged himself and delighted his audience by nipping off on quite a few interesting little tangents along the way. He began by recalling his early experiences behind the lens – including the time his father bought him his first camera. Mark promptly took it to Tollymore Forest Park for a picnic – and left it there!
Recovering from minor hiccups like this, as a teenager he went on to secure some close-up images of the Queen- at the same time securing a terse comment from Prince Philip about his uninvited proximity to the royal personages. The Belfast Telegraph filled a page with the pictures Mark took that day.
Later the exigencies of being a husband and a father meant that his hobby took a back seat for a time- for quite a few years in fact until he joined Bangor Camera Club five years ago. Since then he has won the coveted Photographer of the Year competition on two occasions and has served a spell as Chairman of the club.
Always a lover of travelling Mark has been able to combine this with his interest in photography and most of his trips have provided some memorable images. In fact so impressed has he been with some of the venues that his wife and he have returned to the same locations on more than one occasion to add even more dramatic captures to his bulging portfolio. A few years ago he became interested in producing audio-visual displays of his work and he approached the new medium with enthusiasm and insight. In fact one of his first efforts, a record of a cruise into the Arctic Circle won first prize in the Northern Ireland Audio-Visual Festival. He has since gone on to offer advice and comments on audio-visual presentation to interested members of the club. In fact,given his knowledge and expertise with computers mark is generally in demand for all sorts of digitally based help and assistance.
Visual records of some of his holidays then brightened the gloom of the encroaching winter evening as he took us, through his lens to the snow-bound majesty of Yellowstone National Park in the grip of winter and then to the stunning fissures of the Antelope Slot Canyon where the walls of the gorges had been blasted clean and smooth by a natural sandstorm. A trip across northern Canada by train was followed by a cruise through the Alaskan glaciers and from there, via digital projection a high speed flight to Normandy before forsaking the Northern Hemisphere for the mountains of New Zealand in an invigorating Google Earth odyssey viewed through the polished glass of one man’s camera lens.