Islandhill, nestling on the shores of Strangford Lough between Newtownards and Comber, was a picture of calm serenity when suddenly the skies shimmered and sparkled in the reflection of an amazing spectacle. A flock of knots had chosen that moment to rehearse their intuitive miracle of intricate,in-flight swooping and soaring and even though, individually, knots are rather nondescript little birds when they gather in their hundreds and mount their synchronised skydance they command attention.
Watching their mesmeric movements was Patricia Pyne, a former teacher and recent graduate in Medieval and Modern Languages at Queen’s University. During her studies she had developed a love of photography and was looking for an outlet and a direction for her enthusiasm and growing expertise. As she watched the amazing aerial ballet that afternoon Patricia realised that Strangford had just become her Swan Lake.
The Lough was to be her “patch”; both the violent stormy days and the calm soft peaceful ones were to be the backdrops for her pictures. She captured images of lapwing, plover, whooper swan and the myriad other indigenous and visiting species which frequent the fertile feeding grounds . All the time she was working on creating and developing her own style – putting her personal stamp on every image . Through time this evolved into a pictorial philosophy of soft-toned monochrome images set against subtle uncluttered backgrounds. The essence of the pictures was movement – egret, wimbrel and tern in flight, mute swans wending their majestic way through the reeds and Brent Geese on the wing as they arrived and departed their holiday home in the sheltered waters.
In time Patricia added another dimension to her photography by contrasting the constant movement of the birds with the statuesque immovable nature of megaliths. Standing stones and dolmens, some over 5000 years old, abound in Northern Ireland and Patricia’s studies have taken her to most of the major sites in recent years. The pictures she has captured form a large part of her very impressive catalogue.
She is now very much in demand as a guest speaker and earlier this year mounted major exhibitions in the Linenhall Library in Belfast and the Graffan Gallery at Castle Espie. Her work has also recently earned her an Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society.The members of the Bangor and North Down Camera Club were delighted to welcome her as their special guest on Friday.