Blind Veterans UK held a photography week in Sheffield from the 11th to 15th March for members of the charity. We’re featuring guest blogger Keith Harness, who is a keen photographer and one of the members who attended the photography week.
Blind Veterans UK photography group at the start of the week.
Photo by Eddie Taylor
Monday morning saw members participating bare the recent wintery weather and poor travel conditions start to arrive at the Sheffield centre in time for a late lunch, keen to take part and eager to start in the weeks activities. After lunch, during the initial introductions it became clear that many members of the group had varying photography experience with both young and old exchanging their knowledge, each having much to offer and share with the group and hoping to achieve different goals throughout the week.
Photo by Mark Pile
For some it was about taking part in the activities and improving their photographic skills, were as other members had personal goals they were aiming towards. After introductions were completed and each member had been given the opportunity to explain the type of camera they had chosen to bring along and what they were hoping to achieve during the week members took part in an in house exercise, capturing images of several different floral displays, whilst discussing and adjusting any camera settings and functions they were unsure of.
During the course of the afternoon members were shown opticular glasses by Kate and Paula (Rehabilitation Officer in Sheffield) explaining the way in which visual aids could help members not only when they need to adjust any in camera settings but also when they are using the LCD screen to capture images. Thereafter those members who were interested and it was felt would benefit from these visual aids were given the opportunity to have a 1 to 1 assessment to look at their requirements in more detail.
Photo by Olga Eagle
Tuesday morning began with a film, giving members an introduction to both the different aspects of light and its important role within photography along with composition of images using different techniques and rules before setting out after the morning break on their first field trip of the week to Chatsworth house, where the group were able to capture images of the abundant choice of exhibits and architectural details found within the rooms of the main building, adapting to the changes in the lighting conditions and surroundings as they went. On our return to the centre, once refreshed members were given the opportunity to review and discuss their images they’d captured so far before selecting their favourite image.
Photo by Pauline Dutton
Wednesday was spent in house with the group taking part in different aspects of portrait photography. Firstly as an insight listening to an enhanced audio book with pictures, before visiting photographer Luke Holroyd led a group discussion on portraiture and after taking into account the type of portraits members were looking to achieve in the future went on to set a number of exercises which would be taking place throughout the remainder of the morning and afternoon using both a natural light with a reflector and artificial lighting a flash and strobe light to enhance shadows in the face, when capturing portraits close to a window.
Photo by Peter Bartholemew
Members were able to look at capturing portraits from different angles and lighting capturing images of Lucy, a Photography student who had kindly agreed to model for the group. Each member had to overcome their varying degrees of sight loss when capturing portraits and finding a way which most suited them.
Thursday morning saw the group take part in an in house exercise capturing close up still life and floral images set within various displays. After morning break setting out on their second field trip of the week firstly to the Parish church of Our Lady and All Saints in Chesterfield, where the group started to capture images of the famous twisted spire and grounds before heading inside to take in and capture images of the many carvings, statues and bright colourful windows, adjusting to the lighting conditions as they went. Following this the group set off to Hardwick Hall a short drive away. After a short lunch break we set out to explore the grounds and main house, where despite the difficult lighting conditions the group still managed to produce some great images.
Photo by Edward (Ted) Lincoln
Friday seemed to come around very quickly leaving some members of the group asking themselves where the week had gone. The group took part in final discussions whilst final printing of their selected images was taking place giving their feedback on the exercises activities before exchanging contact details and having a fish and chip lunch.
Our thanks go to all of the staff at the Sheffield centre for their help, guidance and assistance during the week.
If you’re interested in taking part in the next photography week please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org. More photographs from the week can be viewed on the Blind Veterans UK Facebook page.