Onyx even

Wow, Wow & thrice Wow.

Tonight we entertained, or was entertained by Roger Hance (with a bucketload of letters after his name) and tonight's show was about, I'd have to say close up nature photography. It wasn't just macro, although his 100 macro did play a part, as a lot of the shots were done on a 100-400 lens. One of the shots he put up was a group of 'togs with about twenty grands worth of long lenses, tryin to catch a swallowtail butterfly.

Roger eased us in gently, showing his kit and how he'd recently sidegraded from a full frame system to a four thirds one for portability, and how his trusty Benbo now only came out on special occasions, making way for a butchered carbon fibre model.

The photos though, Wow again. Patiently explaining that if you want to try this kind of photography, then the first thing you need is an alarm clock. You need to be out there before the insects wake up and realise the whole damn world is gunning for them. How you should start with flowers and fungi (they don't move that quick) and giving us tips on exposure, lighting and flash (though he preferred flash only as a last resort) depth of field and how to hold the buggers still while you are trying to focus.

Then we went on to moths, who conveniently sleep when we're up and running, making the successes come faster than trying to race after a butterfly, high on nectar, who don't really want his photo taken. From there it was more on depth of field, showing how the backgrounds could be improved by swapping lenses, then Spiders & Dragonflies & Mayflies & Ants & Adders & Grass snakes & Frogs & Toads & Mice, before a small quiz where we had to guess the studio set up. Which one of ten shots was staged. Yeah, nobody spotted it, which led to a short bit on studio set ups, and the best way to subdue your stars (not in the fridge, by the way!) then on to a special tank for underwater stuff and a lighting set up to suit. These revelations led us back outside to the fungi where we came in and how 'gardening' around the subject can vastly improve your shots.

Did I mention the Orchids? Loads of orchid shots from around the country.

Have you ever seen that Jurassic Park film where they're running for their lives through the jungle, your hearts racing and they run out on to the beach and they are all saved, and you think, noooo, much to quick. Well that was what it was like tonight, I'm sitting there enjoying the show an he says "Ok, that's it.

This man has put a lot of work into his photography and thoroughly deserves all his letters after his name. Well done sir!


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