Alnwick, Camera Club

The beautiful display of spring flowers at Bowburn Park beside Alnwick Castle.
Picture Jane Coltman
The beautiful display of spring flowers at Bowburn Park beside Alnwick Castle. Picture Jane Coltman
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My Camera as my Brush was the title of local photographer Andy Gray’s presentation when he visited Alnwick and District Camera Club.

Andy admitted that this was the first time that he had given a public talk, but any nerves he may have had were overcome by immense enthusiasm for his personal kind of photography.

As his first few pictures showed, Andy is a fine landscape photographer, but he is always looking for something new. He has experimented with high dynamic range, infra-red and long exposure, amongst other techniques. Two techniques that he has made his own are intentional camera movement and multiple exposures.

The first involves moving the camera while an exposure is being made. Andy uses neutral density filters to prolong exposure times so that he can move his camera to a greater extent to produce interesting effects. Results are unpredictable and many attempts are often necessary to achieve success. However, he has mastered this to a fine degree.

In the case of multiple exposures, Andy merges the images digitally to produce a single picture. Sometimes he uses the two techniques in combination to produce highly imaginative results. He is willing to spend many hours enhancing his images digitally and enjoys post-processing.

He has taken years to refine his work, researching the methods of other photographers and studying online tutorials, and this has paid dividends. However, it still requires enormous creativity and artistic appreciation to produce work of this calibre.

Andy showed a fine range of his pictures demonstrating these techniques. They included many memorable and beautiful abstract landscapes. Some featured high key, faded images, suggesting a past age, while others conveyed a dream-like, painterly atmosphere, with fine use of form, light and colour.

His approach to photography gives him a sense of freedom to express himself and many of his pictures have a very personal feel. Andy pointed out that this kind of photography does not require expensive equipment as any basic camera with manual controls can be used, but warned that waving a camera around in public is liable to create unwanted attention.

His instructive and inspirational presentation demonstrated that using your camera as a paintbrush can produce amazing results.