Secrets of Photography

Tonight we welcomed Rob Cuss back to the club to give his talk on Secrets of Photography. This was a digital presentation which was split into three sections and was aimed at providing us the hints and tips that we would be unlikely to read in standard photography books and magazines.

The first half of the meeting was dedicated to Robs pursuit of capturing the ideal shot of an Osprey; in fact Rob had eight specific shots he wanted to capture. Rob explained how he has made six visits to a hide in Rutland where the Osprey would feed on the fish in one of the ponds at a trout farm. He explained that he either needed to be there in the early hours of the morning or late into the night and it would entail sitting for at least 4 hours wearing through netting in an attempt to see the bird making a dive which would be over in a flash. He included some humorous stories from the hide including one hot day when all his companions were stripped off to their underwear to combat the heat.

Rob showed us many images of Osprey that were blurred, too big in the frame, dull or just not very good in order to convey to us that, just because you are sat in a hide where the bird was almost guaranteed to visit, didn’t mean you would get a good shot. We could see how Rob learnt not just about the birds habits, but also about his camera and lens and shooting in different conditions. Rob has some stunning shots of the Osprey but it was clear he would be going back to make sure he captures all eight images he wants.

After the break Rob turned to his love of underwater photography and how he wanted to capture images of Auks swimming. Much like his talk on Ospreys, Rob took us through the bushcraft needed to achieve the desired shots. This involved several visits and dives at St. Abbs, his favourite place to dive, and the Farne Island with us again being shown many failed shots whilst learning the best way to get the required results. Rob explained how Puffins were difficult to capture, mainly due to size, Razorbills were rarely swimming close, with Guillemots providing the best opportunities.

Rob concluded this part of the talk by showing us his image “Scatter” which was commended in the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2019 British Waters Wide Angle section – Well done Rob.

The evening was rounded off by Rob showing us how he uses a variety of different photographic techniques in his roll at The British Geological Survey as a Rock Mechanics and Fracture Flow Specialist. These included the use of a 1000 frame per second camera, time lapse photography, X-rays and micro photography and the images were fascinating.

We would publicly like to thank Rob Cuss for providing us with a thoroughly entertaining and informative evening and we hope to see him back at the club again in the future.

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