Her work was getting to be known and arousing interest around the town ever since she’d approached a couple of places about displaying a few of her photos. Places like the pub, the bookshop, one of the coffee shops and the garden centre. In each case, when she’d been visiting as a customer, she’d taken her portfolio case with her and asked to see the manager . The images she’d shown had been twenty inches by sixteen – in each case different scenes around a theme. Ones that the local library had agreed to display had all been in black and white.
Most of the places had allowed her to display a brief biography on a piece of A5 card beside her images. In other places, paper copies of her bio were available near the till. The bio sheets didn’t mention whether the photos were for sale or at what prices – she felt that it would have been cheeky – but her email address and the fact that she worked at Hannays were mentioned. She’d sold several copies that way already.
Only the previous week, the local museum had contacted her about contributing to an exhibition together with three other local photographers.
Late October – Grizedale Forest
As things turned out, not as many members as usual had signed up for the day out. It might have had something to do with the long-range weather forecast, which had predicted rain and high winds, though some members had booked for holidays abroad to coincide with school mid-term holidays. Jamie had booked a sixteen-seat minibus plus driver that would be fully adequate for the ten members who’d booked for the day.
A national supplier of neutral density filters had expressed interest in accompanying the group. At first he had expected the shop to pay him for his attendance, but he’d been talked out of that and had even been persuaded that a donation from him towards the cost of the coach would secure both goodwill and potential sales for his product.
Terry, the supplier’s brand ambassador, was pleased with the turnout – despite the forecast, the day had started as a crisp morning with clear blue skies, and everyone who had booked had turned up. He was in his early forties, balding and beginning to run to fat. He didn’t particularly dress like a sales-rep, in his Barbour jacket, white polo-necked pullover, cargo pants and walking boots. On the way up, in the coach, he’d been plied with questions about the various uses of filters in general. It was a good start for him.
Mel had distributed copies of the walk that the Group would be following and had talked them through it, answering questions as she did so. A couple of members had said that they’d already done that walk and wanted to do their own thing. Mel had advised them that, as they were adults and not prisoners, if they chose to find their own route, that would be their choice. She suggested that they would miss the opportunity to get some excellent advice and guidance about long-exposure photography from Terry. She also cautioned them that, if they were not back at the Visitor Centre by four that afternoon, she would assume that they’d be making their own arrangements about getting home that night.
A cry of ‘Ooooh!’ went up from several people, and one member asked if she’d be getting a whip out if anyone misbehaved.
‘It’s in my backpack – for now.’ She countered.
‘So, unlike our Jamie,’ another said – but it was all good-natured ribbing.
Arriving at the Visitor Centre car park in the heart of the forest, the conversation of the members mainly centred on the views they had seen on the roadway through the forest. There was lots of eager anticipation. As could have been expected, many of the group had visited before, but for most of them, this was the first time they’d been without a family, who’d had no or little interest in photography, to consider. This time they could spend a whole day undisturbed on their hobby.
As usual, the outing began with a visit to the shop to get cups of tea, leaflets, and maps of the various walks. While the Group were doing that, Mel checked the pick-up arrangements with the driver. He’d be doing another job before returning for them. After the twenty minutes that she’d allowed for refreshments, she rounded people up and led the way. She’d taken the precaution of recruiting one of the younger members to act as a ‘back-marker’ to keep an eye on stragglers.
There were quite a few places with lake views, whose sheltered waters offered mirror-like reflections of the stunning colours of burnt orange, deep reds and amber tones of the forest trees. Terry used these occasions to demonstrate, how to obtain spectacular effects by effective use of polarising and neutral-density filters – separately or together.
He showed, in detail, how to choose and mount the filters, and allowed some eager volunteers to try them on their own cameras. He explained and demonstrated the benefits of using step-up rings to adapt different sizes of lens to the filter holder to keep costs down. His presentations went down well. Mel took aside a smaller group where, using her own camera and filters, she provided a similar demonstration, but ensured that she would have her personal photographic record of the day.
Terry did get a few people asking why anyone should choose his product brand rather than some of the better-known varieties. Some members already used competing makes. At this point, he came into his specialist subject. Mel listened with interest since she was thinking of updating her own set of filters but had been considering a different brand.
Even before the appointed time, all but two of the Group were back at the visitor centre enjoying a drink and a snack, ready to leave and, in some cases, tired by the exercise.
When the stragglers finally arrived, a cry went up, ‘Where have you two been?’ Mel, get the whip out.’
The shamefaced pair blustered their excuses. Mel shook her head, laughing.
During the journey back to Codmanton, she was gratified to receive praise for how well she’d managed the day. Several of the Group were interested to know how she was enjoying her role, and she used the opportunity to explain some of the services the shop would be providing in the months to come.
Terry thanked Mel for involving his company in the outing. It had been a profitable day for him since four of the group had placed orders for sets of his filters and filter holders. She mentioned to him the ideas she’d been considering for magnetic rather than drop-in filters, and ended the day less sure about what to buy than when she had begun it.
This is the first of a collection of the architecture shots that I took that afternoon. I took this photo on arrival that afternoon. It’s the interior of Liverpool’s Lime Street Train Station.
For all the street shots, I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera twinned with a Pentax 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 mm lens at an ISO of 100. The EXIF data for this photo were 1/30 secs @ f/9and 16 mm.