“A Photographer’s Journey” by Tom Stenhouse 10th January 2018

Tom Stenhouse has been  a member of the Keswick Photographic Society  for nearly 10 years. He very bravely submitted himself to a critique by his peers as he described the journey he has taken from then until now. That journey has been both geographic and technical, which made for an interesting evening.

When he submitted an early image of birds in flight into one of the regular competitions that the Society holds, he was advised  by the judge to make some alterations. He then lightened the wings as suggested, but this made no noticeable improvement. He became aware of the mantra, “You cannot make a bad picture good but you can make a good picture bad by too much post production work!”

Tom’s other interesting comment was that, sometimes, an image was better with some monochrome than all colour . A monochrome background can sometimes reduce the visual intrusion of the background on the main subject of the image.

By 2012 Tom had moved on to more adventurous applications within Lightroom and Topaz. A good example of that was a visit to the Golden Temple in Japan on a dull day in which he was able to bring out the golden aspects of the subject through the software that was now available. He was now regularly receiving commended and highly commended both in local and wider competitions and was able to use the software to enhance his images. One interesting image of 2013 was a view from Warnscale Bothy which unusually highlighted the visitors book in the window . In the same year he took some pictures of his daughter’s wedding – a stressful and not to be repeated exercise!

By now, his ability with the software was producing different results. Swapping backgrounds and improving foregrounds had led him onto still life. Smokin Joe did not go down too well with the judge, but the droplet sequence of photos showed great skill in the manipulation of the original images and were well received.

Geographically, we had moved from  the Western Isles, the Yorkshire Dales, Japan, New Zealand, Valencia,….to Ashness Bridge lit at dusk by torches!

Tom’s final set of images was the juxtaposition of the original picture of birds in flight with a recent sequence of birds in dispute over fish.

The comparison showed  how far he has come in his journey.

Meetings take place at The Friends Meting House, Elliot Park, Keswick CA12 5NZ on Wednesday evenings AT 7.30PM. There will be no meeting on the 24th January as the Society is visiting Morton Photographic Society and so the next meeting is on the 31st January a practical session on Still Life

Stephen Harris