Hashtag #WelshotIsBack seems a very apt way to title this very first blog written by Welshot Academy Members to celebrate being able to meet up with our cameras after months of lockdown… As life returns to a more relative sense of normality, Welshot are preparing to open up once again for photographic workshops and events in a slow and cautious manner. Hence the three ‘practice run-throughs' – AKA… A Welshot Photographic Reunion. Since March 2020, when the pandemic hit, Welshot has continued to help motivate, inspire and support those who love photography during these isolating months, all brought together using hashtags #LearnWithWelshot and #WelshotOnline but nothing quite compares to being able to hold our photographic workshops and events in real life.
A Photographic Reunion – What our Members thought…
Victoria Smith – Sunday 9th May
Not that Welshot actually ever went away!
#WelshotOnline has kept us all on our toes with daily/weekly/monthly photographic themes consisting of 1hr challenges and the ultimate pub quiz throughout three lockdowns and with so much uncertainty the friendships across the Welshot Facebook groups and page have been consistent and constant.
But… There is nothing better than being out with your camera with like-minded photographers. A walk along the Llandudno promenade with a treasure hunt list in hand certainly blew out the cobwebs and reminded me why I joined Welshot in the first place. Help and advice, laughs and wonder of wonders chips! Join Welshot and you will soon understand the importance of chips. The promenade is wide and flat, allowing for social distancing, perfect for the first event of the year.
I came back with aching legs, (lack of lockdown walks) and a couple of memory cards of photos. Making the most of the Zoom online post processing sessions courtesy of #LearnWithWelshot has given me a few new things to try, and this was an opportunity to put a few into practice.
Seeing events now being planned and posted is another step out into the “after you know what”. Seeing the care and thought that has gone into the planning of these, sums up Welshot, people first, photography second, chips third and the rest to follow… The Welshot photographic workshops and events schedule for the next 12 months is promising to be a good one, as a Welshot Member we get to hear about them first, event before they hit the website.
Photographic Workshops and Events – It's great be back!
Louisa Crossley – Sunday 16th May
I was pleased to be invited to a Welshot reunion and have some socially distanced, outdoors fun, practising my photography. Most of the group met at the church in the centre of Llandudno and there was a buzz in the air at being able to get out and meet with others again. We all had our raincoats on because the weather’s been so unpredictable recently and we speculated about whether we would get a soaking.
As we walked up the prom to meet a couple more people, it was spitting and the Great Orme in the distance was cloaked in a fine mist. Eifion had created a treasure hunt style challenge and we were all given handouts with printed images for us to find and attempt to recreate…. First the RNLI Lifeboat Station, then some railings with the Little Orme behind.
I started well, doing my best to work out where the subjects of the images were and what angle they had been taken from. However, I kept getting distracted by beautiful views and ideas for trying out the settings on my new ‘camera’, otherwise known as an iPhone! I want to use it when I’m cycling because bouncing over potholes is upsetting my Olympus camera. Therefore, I’d decided to bring it to try out portraits and long exposures and learn how to use focussing and exposure compensation. Just one problem… I’d been out and about taking photos all day and the battery was getting low!
It wasn’t in the challenge, but there was a single boulder on the end of the slipway, with the waves washing over it so I had to try a long exposure shot. The three lines of the sky, sea and pebbled beach, were also a good subject for trying intentional camera movement. Portraits were next, learning how to change the aperture setting on the phone. I loved the contrast in colours between this rusty pipe and the sea and sky
We wandered along the prom from the Lifeboat station towards the pier, heading in various directions to find the images for the treasure hunt, and chatting, mainly about photography and the Covid restrictions… I wonder if we’ll ever get back to a time when Covid isn’t the main topic of conversation! By now the sun was shining and we were all overheating and regretting the waterproofs! We couldn’t believe how much the weather had improved, and how wrong the forecast was. I later discovered it had been raining at home all afternoon, just 30 minutes further along the coast.
After meeting Lee by the Mad Hatter statue, we continued along the prom chatting and taking photos, until we got to the pier. Once there, we stopped for a break and something to eat and drink, grabbing a few tables together. The hot dogs and chips looked delicious, but I just ordered a coffee because my husband was cooking dinner for me later. While the others ate their meals, I decided to be brave and ask if I could recharge my phone in the hut selling doughnuts. As the young lady agreed and refused my offer to pay, I decided it would be rude not to buy a doughnut from her. It was delicious!
I’d intended to head home at 6 but I was enjoying myself so much, I texted John and asked if it was ok if I stayed longer. He hadn’t started making dinner yet, so it was fine, and I wandered up the pier, taking photos along the way, pleased that my battery was now half full and I could use my phone camera to my heart’s content. I got carried away taking shots of the pier and the seagulls.
There were dozens of seagulls waiting for unsuspecting tourists to drop food, or even give them the opportunity to take the food from their hands. Unfortunately, nobody obliged while I was watching though, and I didn’t get the chance to try an action shot as somebody’s ice cream or chips disappeared!
All too soon it was time to head home. Lee called us all together for a socially distanced group photo, then I set off back to the car. It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon with sunshine, good company, lots of time to practise new techniques, and Eifion on hand for anyone who needed help. What more could a photographer want?
Rain Won't Stop Welshot's Photographic Workshops and Events!
John Bradburn – Sunday 23rd May
We all met at Trinity Square in Llandudno (home of the Welshot Photographic Academy) for a 3.00pm start to the Welshot Reunion Day; a welcome idea after a year in and out of lockdown. The weather had other ideas though throwing all the rain it had at us spitefully trying to ruin the event – but that did not defeat the Welshotters. We were a small group – Leader Eifion, and Welshotters Rod, Pippa, Mike and John and Chris (John’s wife who had been very kindly invited to the day).
After a warm and reviving brew with introductions to each other, interesting discussions on photographic techniques and ideas the group ventured out into the elements. Our route started from the iconic Mad Hatter, along the promenade, up and down the pier and culminating in a short climb up to the Camera Obscura on the flanks of the Great Orme. This awarded fabulous panoramic views enhanced by the effects of the rain and moody lighting.
There was a warm and friendly amicability amongst the group with each member recounting interesting photographic experiences and adventures and taking a variety of photographs: black and white; street photography; landscapes and seascapes and with much experimentation. What a perfect place Llandudno is for inspiration. Eifion kept us all informed on the local history and landmarks of the town and monitored and helped Welshotters throughout the day. At the end of the pier, we all indulged in a steaming hot brew in the café and enthusiasm and spirits were as high as ever as our cheeks glowed in the warmth and water dripped from our waterproofs.
This was a day to batten down the hatches but thanks to Welshot we all got out to explore the opportunities around practice photography and meet other folk. It was a positive experience where you enjoy yourself so much you forget how much you are learning and at the end of the day you feel euphoric. Then, the icing on the cake is reliving the day through all your photographs and looking at everyone else’s.
So, that was the our, let's see if we can get our Welshot Photographic Workshops and Events back up and running tester sessions – We do hope we will see YOU soon at one of our in real life events, we'd love to help you get the best out of your camera…
Let us know in the comments below what you think about Victoria's, John's and Louisa's day out.