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How to Make an Impact - David Clapp

Renowned local photographer, David Clapp, was warmly welcomed by Dawlish & Teignmouth Camera Club members for his talk on Images with Impact.

David is a very accomplished landscape and travel photographer whose philosophy is to use the camera as a vehicle for adventure. However, with restrictions on travel over the last couple of years, he has had to re-evaluate what he can meaningfully do with his photography. The more time he spent experimenting, the better his photography became - and it was with this mindset that he invited members to get out of their comfort zone and try new things. His inspirational talk could not have been better-timed as invariably when the year draws to a close people reflect on what they have/have not achieved and make bold plans for the year ahead.

One of his little experiments involved taking several portrait format images and stitching them together in post processing to form a stunning panorama of locations on Dartmoor. He then demonstrated that a strong main image could be sub-divided in order to provide additional and alternative compositional images.

David explained that the majority of popular landscape scenes have already been photographed many times before, so encouraged members to think about what they could do differently in order to make their image stand out from the crowd. He recommended spending time assessing a scene by walking in and out of it and looking from different angles and heights before even lifting a camera to the eye. The results from these visualisations can dramatically alter the perspective and give a very different dynamic to the photograph.

The Taj Mahal at Agra © David Clapp
The Taj Mahal at Agra © David Clapp

His use of infrared photography to re-imagine iconic landmarks, such as the beautiful Taj Mahal, has produced some astonishing results - greens are seen in delicate shades of pink and red, whilst monochrome images take on a ghostly appearance.

As a complete contrast, David then went on to show his series of minimalist images from the wintry landscapes of Iceland. Eschewing the obvious must-see locations, David instead chose to follow electricity pylons to a remote farmstead, and he admitted that his prized Icelandic picture is not the majestic Skogafoss waterfall, but the airport roller and torn windsock that was on the other side of the road! He set out to prove that trying something different and taking a risk will give you images that people have not already seen a hundred times before.

He shared his own views about the downside of social media where images are merely glanced at for instant gratification. This has led him to move away from the single image and instead focus on a series of images which he then uploads to his website. To illustrate this, he shared some of his latest work showing the coastal landscapes of Cornwall in a distinctive style - a 16:9 ratio and using infrared photography.

David rounded off his inspirational presentation with a call to action for members to set themselves a project, giving a sense of purpose to the photography and how the images will be presented together, rather than just a single image at a time.

If you have been inspired by this guest speaker, see the programme for the New Year and find out how to join the Dawlish & Teignmouth Camera Club.

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