Insights - Annette Beardsley, 31 Jan 2021

Insights - occasional articles about our club members - Annette Beardsley, 31 January 2021
'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. This time, the life in photography of Annette Beardsley.

In her younger days Annette was quite the ‘outdoor girl’ enjoying walking, canoeing and cross-country skiing, but she just had a simple point and shoot camera. She didn’t really know about digital cameras, until one day one arrived on her desk at work. Not so much from a kind-hearted soul, but as the Technical Manager of a pathology lab, one of the Consultants thought it would be a good way of recording the appearances of surgical specimens that arrived in the lab. She eventually figured out how it worked and was very impressed with the results. In her dreams, she thought that one day when they became a lot cheaper, she would like to invest in one.

As with so many of us, retirement came and eventually the chance to travel. She had always wanted to see the Aurora and one day saw an advert for a trip to Iceland. If she was going to travel, Annette decided she needed a ‘proper’ camera and bought a Canon 1100D. Over the next few years she visited Iceland several times, eventually upgrading to a Canon 7D Mark II. Annette was hooked!

Initially she shot mainly landscapes, but at home became fascinated by the detail of flowers and bugs. Dorset Wildlife Trust camera group beckoned and she was inspired by some members who specialised in macro. Having spent much of her working life gazing down a microscope it seemed a natural progression. There were also a huge number of readily accessible locations in Somerset and Dorset.

Before Annette ventures out, a check of the local weather forecast helps - rain showers are OK, but high winds are not. Otherwise a run-through of her kit and she sets off, preferably very early or late.

Along her photography journey, the best piece of advice given to her, has been simply ‘concentrate on what interests you and what you like’. I think that can be said for most of us!

With her many trips to Iceland, one produced a real magical photographic moment in January 2018. It was a beautiful, clear night and the Aurora came early. She was staying in a hut near Lake Myvatyn and was treated to extraordinary views for several hours. Suddenly there was a massive finale, so vast that it felt like an out of body experience. The light show then gradually faded and it was back to her cabin knowing she had experienced something special.

For Annette – and I’m sure many of us – it is not so much ‘that’ image, or even a favourite one, but the feelings experienced during the shoot and the memories associated with a particular image that are important.

Having started with Canon, Annette has remained faithful to the brand which she loves, but it can be very heavy to carry around, so she has recently invested in the new Canon R6 plus 24-105 kit lens. It is a revelation - so light and with so many technical improvements and amazing quality.

With the cancellation of all trips last summer, Annette decided to try and use the time constructively. She has never really enjoyed processing. Lightroom she has coped with, but Photoshop is a definite no no! That said, determination has been the order of the day and to overcome this fear, she has enrolled on several RPS advertised courses and lectures. As a result, she feels much more competent, but still does not enjoy it! Her motto – “Better to get things right in camera and keep processing to a minimum”.

Annette joined Dorchester Camera Club five years ago and eventually felt inspired to attempt LRPS. It was a steep learning curve, but she received loads of help and guidance from various club members. She eventually submitted an assortment of prints and passed 1st time! Congratulations.

Initially she felt inspired to go for ARPS, but has since abandoned the idea. Photography for Annette is a relaxation and not to be taken too seriously. She is happier taking shots that please her, not what she thinks a judge would like.

With her Labrador, Poppy, Annette spends a huge amount of time walking which provides the opportunity to spot potential macro material, although lockdown has put restrictions on that. Alongside her hobby, she also finds time to grow plenty of vegetables and flowers and even keeps chickens.

The photo attached with this article was taken in Iceland in June 2015, when she was staying in the Western Fjords and went out late one evening to photograph the huge Puffin colony. The Puffins completely ignored her and continued with their courtships allowing a unique and magical experience.

~ Janine Scola
Puffin Courtship by Annette Beardsley