Insights - Glynn Grylls, 12 Aug 2020

Insights - occasional articles about our club members - Glynn Grylls, 12 Aug 2020
'Insights' is a series of occasional articles about our club members. We hope you have been enjoying reading these short articles about some of our members and their journey so far in photography. On this occasion, here is an insight into Glynn Grylls.

My grandfather was a keen photographer who had his own darkroom and from about ten years old, I often helped him out developing film and printing his pictures. He was involved in a local camera club in Grantham, and a postal portfolio. Every couple of months a box of prints would arrive in the post, similar to those we use today, accompanied by a form to complete with comments on the images. He took his print out and replaced it with a new one - I loved reading all the comments on his pictures, and giving my views on the others (although I suspect none of them got passed on!). I remember he had a Leica camera, but my first pictures were taken on a Box Brownie which he helped me develop and print.

Over the years I’ve tended to be drawn to landscape photography, but will have a go at almost anything (except portraiture!) As a Graphic Designer, I am very aware of shapes and colour, so love to make something out of the simplest of pictures. My favourite ones are really almost a graphic image, rather than a true representation of what I photograph, with a limited colour palette and striking lines and shapes.

When I get inspired to ‘get out there’ with my camera, I will have some idea of what I want to shoot and select the best time of day, look at the weather forecast etc. However, although I know I should, I don’t often go to the extent of checking tide tables and sunrise times etc. (I’m rarely up at sunrise anyway!) I always go with an open mind though, and look around me, often finding myself photographing something completely different to what I planned. In spite of being retired, I seem to live such a busy life that I don’t have the time to go out on specific photography trips, and most of my pictures are taken on dog walks, in the garden etc. I keep saying I must put one day aside a week dedicated to my photography.

I admire painters such as Mondrian, who somehow manage to get an odd collection of colours and shapes to work so well together, or Turner, who somehow can give such emotion and feeling to what appears to be the simplest image.

So, whilst I strive with that idea in mind, the amount of editing I do varies a lot. I will always clean up, remove distracting items, adjust contrasts and colour etc, but if I want to attain a particular feel, I am quite happy to do a lot more and spend 3-4 hours working on a picture, which ends up looking nothing like the original.

I think over the years, we all try to get better ‘with practice’ and given time! But the best bit of advice I have received is that if you are happy with a picture you have taken, then that is what is important – whatever a judge says about it!

Whilst I have been talking for this article, it has made me remember a rather disastrous day! I was on a seven-day trip to Arran with friends from my previous club, when rather unfortunately, I succeeded in ruining my main lens and tripod on the second day! I managed to slip standing on rocks near the bottom of a waterfall, and crashed to the ground holding my camera in one hand and tripod in the other! (Like you do!) The camera hit another rock and the lens broke off leaving the mount in the camera body. I then found myself in freezing water, with a broken tooth, but managed to keep the camera still in hand, whilst watching the lens slowly roll down and end up in several feet of water! I also realised that I’d attempted to use the tripod to stop myself falling and managed to land on top of it, breaking one leg (of the tripod!) My friends just watched and laughed … don’t blame them really - quite a sight to behold! For the rest of the trip I had to use my 100-300 lens only and no tripod. I did get the lens replaced and the tripod repaired on the insurance though!

After such escapades, you do end up with one or two favourite images. I’ve shown one in particular at the club and think it is in the book we produced a couple of years ago. It’s a seascape taken in a light mist, so the horizon has disappeared, with a hint of sunlight on the water. The picture really has no detail at all, is blue throughout and so simple, yet I feel gives a wonderful impression of what it was like to be there.

I think most of us started out with a Box Brownie and then progressed to ‘one of the big names’ and I moved to Canon equipment. I currently have a 6D MkII camera, 100-400mm, 24-105mm and 100mm Macro lens. The reason? Well I just bought Canon equipment as my first SLR (Canon EOS5) in 1992 and have stuck with Canon since then, particularly as I’ve been able to upgrade bodies without the expense of changing lenses at the same time.

I would love to be a bit more adventurous and try something different “out of my comfort zone” and I do when I can, particularly recently, with the club’s virtual friendly competitions I have responded to the challenge set by the club, but am not as brave as I should be! Having said that, I have just bought the 100mm macro lens (used) and will be giving that a good go in the next few months, as I did quite a lot of that in the 80’s/90’s (using extension tubes) and really enjoyed it. Sorting out focus stacking will be a big part of that … I’ve done a couple of experiments so far, which were not very successful, but its early days.

~ by “Camera Shy"