A Night of Nature, 6th November 2023

Twenty nine members of the Nature SIG (Special Interest Group) put on an amazing show.
The hall was full, which also gave us the wonderful opportunity to remember Frances Underwood, our dear friend and fellow photographer, who died after the devastating diagnosis of MND. The presentation of a cheque to the MND society with donations collected at our recent Exhibition was made, with Penny Piddock giving us a resume of Frances’s many achievements. We were delighted to welcome Bob - Frances’s husband to the celebratory evening.

The Great Nature Show ‘rolled into town’ led by Tim who explained the origins of the group over two years ago with Jane Lee’s suggestion of a SIG for Nature. It has grown and thrived as we were about to see.

Four members of the group began with a few of their chosen images to talk about and share a story or two. Phil Whiffing with the glorious location of Donna Nook and the engaging pictures of seals, older grey seals and with plenty of the ‘aww’ factor for the newborns! Sarah McNulty and her amusing stories of the conversational starlings on a wire and followed by Pete Yendell and his early travels in his favourite African destination of Botswana as well as the time he was attacked.. no not by a lion, but by a Red Grouse whilst walking in Swaledale and who was very put out by Pete’s proximity! Jayne Brook’s knowledge of the many butterflies she has photographed as well as the wild life on Bempton Cliffs, the beauty of the Atlantic gannets and their adaptations to diving at speed into the sea was superb; and then the wild dog at the antelope kill waiting for his mates to arrive. Always a story somewhere..!

A slideshow followed with a huge range of subjects in a wide number of settings; local reserves, gardens with their own ponds, beaches and seashores in the UK and abroad. The first half completed with a beautiful AV of one of our favourite birds, the puffin. The sound effects allowed us to feel we were in the burrows and on the cliffs with these endearing birds, and noticing how many of our photographers have been to these places to get those images. Brilliant.

The second half gave us a showcase of images of such high quality that we were spoilt for choice. Butterflies and their various stages of development; birds common and not so common, with the noticeable photographic skill of finding those beautifully muted backgrounds and making the exposure just right; the mating snails, the spiders (with avert your eyes Jane warning!); bears and hummingbirds; such a variety of dragonflies and chasers all with their correct names; to the autumn fungi and the deer peeping through the bracken. Just a plethora of Nature.

Thank you to all the Nature group for sharing your expertise… there could be some additions to the SIG with all the inspiration you have given us!

Jane Tearle