Out In all Weathers
Event Photography with Helen and Stephen Jones, 19th February 2024

It is always a good Club Night when our own members take centre stage and this was no exception.
Helen and Stephen are very well known for their “Eventful” Lives and have honed the many skills required to produce the goods no matter what the weather does to put them off. Somehow they always come back with pictures to please everyone, the organisers, their subjects, social media even the press and last but certainly not least their Camera Club .

Helen started by telling us their aim to capture the spirit of an event with candid photography showing atmosphere and those special, never to be repeated moments between people or people and animals, Their style is informal and spontaneous although Helen will often wait for ages to get the right colour combination to ‘make’ the photo. This talk documented the year most of us were only too pleased to see the back of, Dec 22 – Dec 23. While many of us were struggling to find things to photograph Helen and Steve were taking thousands, then rushing home to process, select and send to the organisers within the shortest possible time. Helen emphasised they do this ‘just for the fun of it’ it also gives so many people a lot of pleasure.

Their title 'Out in all Weathers' was very well chosen. When I think back to last night the images that immediately spring to mind is the frosty hair and eyelashes of runners and the runners splashing their way through waterlogged routes. The runners were keeping warm but the photographers were more concerned about keeping their cameras dry, even when one man and his dog tried his best to bowl Stephen over with the dog lead acting more like a low level fast moving garotte. Both camera and Stephen survived, plus he managed to get the picture.

The most difficult conditions, appear to be snow and fog both making focussing an art form in itself.

The Dorset and Devon County Shows were full of opportunities, they have both done their homework, know all the signs and signals that that special moment is coming. The glances, the animal sounds and behaviours, plus the layout to get the best angles, sometimes, from Stephen’s description this means clambering over obstacles with the skills of a contortionist. Even the Poo Lorry was given its moment of glory.

Using similar skills they took us to Folk Festivals. Traditions, Music & Song & Dance . wide shots showing locations and atmosphere, then the more intimate closer pictures, facial expressions, fabrics and patterns. Through years of conditioning the Morris Dancing Teams now know them well are not put off by their very close proximity during some routines.

The finale was a trip to Womad, the Jones’s equivalent to a holiday where they enjoy listening and taking part as well as photography. They always seem to summon the rain gods here but true to form the cameras were still very busy.

In addition to the projected images we also had a selection of very powerful prints to enjoy. It really was a super Club Night.

If you missed the talk or just want to see more from Helen and Stephen check out DorsetbaysPhotography on Facebook etc.

- Penny Piddock