Review - "Off the Top of my Head" - An Evening with Tim Downton, 02 Mar 2020

A review by Helen Jones - "Off the Top of my Head" an evening with club member, Tim Downton
Wow! What an evening! Tim is one of our own members and an incredibly talented photographer.

He took us on a journey through his recent catalogue. He enjoys photographing sport and action and we saw some stunning shots of motorsport, horse jumping and polo. He also demonstrated that he could go out of his comfort zone with some nudes from an RPS workshop and portraits from a studio sessions, along with some arty work and a seaside photo which did well in our recent street competition much to his surprise! We also saw photos from his recent snowy trip to Scotland where he tried his hand at some landscape photography ... but he admitted nature was where his heart lay and although he enjoyed trying other genres, he always returned to nature.

Tim showed us many photos taken locally – Arne, Radipole, and Lodmoor and then we went a little further north to Ham Wall in Somerset, and further east to Norfolk. Absolutely stunning bird photographs at every location that left us gasping! Tim showed us that there were opportunities to get wonderful photos on our doorstep and that British wildlife could be just as beautiful as exotic species found abroad. I especially loved his Dartford Warbler photos.

Tim then took us on holiday with him and Sue to Hungary and Romania, explaining how they had to make their way to hides in the dark before sunrise ... and would then be shut in until after sunset! The results were well worth it – not just for the photos of birds that we associate with Tim but also bears, close up! Tim and Sue went on a boat trip as well and again took stunning photos of different wading birds, and Tim entertained us with an amusing account of their experiences on board.

Throughout the talk Tim showed his versatility with photos of birds in their environment; birds displaying behaviour; birds feeding; birds mating and with young; close-cropped photos of birds and fish; photos of insects; photos of other wildlife …there was so much variety and Tim is such an accomplished photographer. Furthermore Tim is a very careful photographer and does not disturb the wildlife he photographs. The welfare of birds and their young is his main concern and he does nothing to risk upsetting or disturbing them.

Tim also had his successful ARPS Panel on display as well as a selection of prints accompanied by a description of the settings he used which a lot of people found very helpful.

Many people had spoken to me beforehand saying how much they were looking forward to this evening; many people spoke to me in the interval and afterwards saying just how amazing they had found it and how lucky we are to have a photographer of Tim’s calibre in the club. And not only is Tim a very accomplished photographer, he is a great mentor and teacher, always willing to share his knowledge and take other club members out with them to teach them field craft and nature photography skills.

Throughout his talk Tim displayed his usual good humour and made us laugh – we really felt we went on his holidays with him - can you take us all next time, please Tim!

Thank you, Tim, for one of the best evenings we have had! I realise this review is full or superlatives but it really was a night of superlative photography.

~ Helen Jones
Tim's photo of a Dartford Warbler taken at Arne