January 23rd saw Keyworth Camera Club visited by Alex Hyde who gave us a presentation called ‘Close Encounters’. Alex specializes in macro photography, especially of the natural world. Even today he is still struck by the wonders of discovery when viewing insects or spiders through his macro lens as details are revealed that would otherwise be missed by the naked eye.
The club room was packed with one of the largest audiences we’ve ever had for a visiting speaker. Club members and visitors were awestruck by the stunning beauty of the images shown and Alex’s clear, entertaining, and often humorous commentary. Many tricks of the trade were explained, and supported by photographs showing just how it was done – whoever knew an orange juice carton could have more than one use?
Alex took us to Borneo and Madagascar during the first half of the evening. His images of insects supported by landscapes and plants which showed the environment he was working in beautifully. Technical problems were explained as were the solutions along with engrossing information about the lives of his subjects. A few larger creatures were shown too, such as the Borneo’s Bearded Pig, and Madagascar’s Fosa and Red Fronted Brown Lemur. A wide variety of fungi, lizards and spiders were mixed in with the mesmerising insects. Among many others we saw a Giraffe Necked Weevil, Stump-tailed chameleon, ant-mimicking jumping spider, Violin Beetle and Pill Millipedes.
The second-half of the evening concentrated on British wildlife, again supported with many hints and tips on both finding and photographing your subjects. Alex pointed out a number of times that you don’t have to go far to find insects and similar creatures – your garden contains a wide variety to choose from year-round and the inside of your home is also another hunting ground. Moths, butterflies, spiders and wasps all graced our screen as did a rose thorn and the stinging hairs of a nettle.
Alex revealed the secrets to getting either a white or black background when out in the field, or in his car in one instance. All questions were answered knowledgably and clearly, such as how to keep insects still long enough to photograph them.
This was a fascinating evening and we’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Alex for a talk that enthralled, amazed and thoroughly entertained the very appreciative audience.