For this special anniversary event, Reading Camera Club opened its doors to other local camera clubs, friends and relatives in order to enjoy a very special evening presented by nationally and internationally recognised wildlife photographer, Robert Canis. The event took place at a larger venue in Caversham in order to welcome many guests.
Robert comes from North Kent, and specialises in photographing the wildlife on the marshes there, and also travels further afield to Scandinavia, Iceland and other European countries in search of still more stunning shots. He also runs courses and workshops and his website is well worth a visit.
For this particular evening, he presented ‘North Kent to Northern Finland’, and in the first half, featuring Kent, we were treated to some absolutely superb images of the birds and mammals that live on the marshes. What made this so different was the brilliant usage of early morning and evening light, largely contre jour. Robert likes to present the birds and animals to show their surroundings i.e. the vegetation and ambient lighting conditions, avoiding the record shot approach. There were also some short video sequences interspersed with the stills to show birds in the air and in particular boxing hares, these being some of the outstanding images of this section. When necessary, Robert resorts to lying flat on the ground, finding holes to stand in, and makeshift hides in order to get the best shots, not to mention using a netting face cap to make him less visible. He is also prepared to go out in the middle of the night and wait for dawn – dedication indeed!
We then moved on to Finland in the winter, a snow wonderland, where the images concentrated rather more on landscapes and snow scenes. There were fascinating images of snow ‘sculptures’ formed on bushes and trees, and of course an amazing video sequence of the aurora borealis. Bears with cubs featured together with some unusual bird life. Robert described some of the problems encountered when photographing in these conditions, the camera becoming frozen to the tripod, lunch having to be thawed out, and spectacles becoming frosted up.
This was indeed a presentation with a difference, and Robert’s entertaining style of speaking kept everyone riveted. The quality of his work is on another level to what is normally seen in clubs, and comments afterwards reflected this. It was an evening that will be long remembered.
Report submitted by Dorothy Wood