Back in 2004, I was one of 9 founding members for what became known as the Southern Highlands Photographic Society Inc. SHPS (as it has become affectionately known as) continues to be a thriving Photographic Society at East Bowral in the Southern Highlands region in NSW, Australia. Currently, they have approx. 50 members.
I moved further away in 2013 and in 2016 sadly relinquished my membership due to an inability to get to any meetings due to business and other reasons.
Last weekend, we ventured down to Bowral to see (not only the Tulip Time Festival) but SHPS’ Annual Tulip Time Photographic Exhibition which is held in the Old Bowral Town Hall, Bowral. It was finishing that day.
Put simply, the Exhibition, in terms of quality gets better and better each year. There was a stunning array of subject-matter and treatments in the 3 sections, Monochrome, Colour Print and Projected Digital. There were 120 images on display.
One of the great things about the Exhibition was that 83 of the images were mounted prints in frames. In these days of imagery, where most of what we see is on the Internet, it was so refreshing to see images hanging on a wall.
I can see SHPS being around for many, many years to come. There is such a wealth of photographic and artistic experience there and it is certainly a place where one can be inspired and educated to improve their Art and Craft.
If you are looking for a progressive Photographic Society to visit and/or join, may I wholeheartedly recommend visiting SHPS.
Please visit the website below for more information on SHPS, including their newsletter, ‘On Photography’, Galleries and Programme details.
Southern Highlands Photographic Society – Dedicated To The Art Of Photography
It suddenly occurred to me this weekend whilst visiting the Succulent Garden at the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens again, that I had never written any articles on this Blog in relation to my interests in Succulents.
My interest in Succulents blossomed out of a gift from my Aunt Beryl when I was 14, back in 1977. It was a Euphorbia, which sadly passed on some time ago, not being as hardy as Aunt Beryl who is still going at 92 years of age.
From then on, Succulents were around in one form or another at home. I started to group them together in large, flat pots when I was in my late teens and imagined one day of having a sprawling Cacti and Succulent Garden.
It would be a good time to point out that Cacti are Succulents, but not all Succulents are Cacti – but that is another article for another time. I particular favour Cacti but love all Succulents.
When I married in 1997, we bought a property that was 5,609 square metres (1 1/4 acres) about 100km (62 miles) South West of Sydney, Australia.
I ended up with a 35 square metre (42 square yard) Cacti & Succulent Garden with up to 120 plants in it. It was a labour of love to construct and I tinkered with it over the 16 years we lived there.
Currently, I have approx. 80-100 plants which are currently in pots, where we currently reside. When we buy our next place, I feel sure that David’s Cacti and Succulent Garden 2.0 will become a reality and I am surely looking forward to that!
My Wife’s parents live on 100 acres 25km SE of Goulburn, NSW.
Every time I go down there I take photos and with each visit, I always challenge myself to try to come back with something different. Like any place on Earth, its seasons present different challenges.
Goulburn can be bitterly cold with a hard-driving wind in Winter; very hot in Summer with a wind that is equally annoying. Autumn and Spring are gentler and invariably prettier.
They have a few dams on the property, some sheep and of course, Kelpies (a type of Working Dog for those that are unfamiliar with the breed).
Snakes are a problem (they tell me) in the warmer months, but in the 20 years I have been photographing down there I have not seen any, though Mum & Dad have had quite a few confrontations with Tiger and Brown Snakes. Perhaps they avoid me, which is a good thing. 🙂
I still take precautions though and must look a sight in Summer, when I am walking around in Gumboots, thick Jeans taking photos.
The dams hold a particular fascination. I love the way the light hits the grasses and the contrasts between the reflections and the grasses always attract my attention.
I am fortunate that Mum loves Nature the way that she does as 20 years ago they planted all different types of trees, evergreen and especially deciduous. What self-respecting photographer can resist a backlit Autumn leaf?
Perhaps the best way to finish this post is to talk about my absolute favourite time of day at the property, Sunset. I have experienced this enjoyment many, many times.
Even though the property is less than 2 hours drive from where we live, the quality of light is so different there, softer. A photographer’s paradise indeed.
Written by David Johnson
8 April 2018
Photography has been a passion of mine for 35 years, though since 2010 (when I did a basic Drawing course and started dabbling in Painting), Drawing and Painting have been slowly increasing in interest for me.
For the first time ever, this year, I have spent more time painting than I have photographing… Wow!
They are two very different mediums, with some similarities, particularly since Digital impacted photography. Painting cannot compete with the immediacy of photography, however, photography (since the Digital onslaught) has become almost machine gun-like, in that where a lot of photographers churn out numbers in the hundreds and the thousands when they go out to take photos.
There are or course photographers who do not take this approach to photography. They give serious consideration to the idea before they even pick up their camera to shoot the image or image series.
These photographers remind me of the painter who gives serious consideration to the idea and plans the painting accordingly. They need to decide on the composition, the story, the colours and the lighting etc. They pre-visualise just like the Black & White/Monochrome Darkroom photographers of yesterday did. Some still do.
Sitting in front of a computer (for me) editing image after image just isn’t as exciting or as fun as sitting in front of the canvas and creating.
This did surprise me somewhat, being a passionate photographer for as long as I have been. Recently, a photographer friend went on an overseas trip for a few weeks and took 8,000 digital images. 8,000! Having to review that many images from the trip are a real turn-off for me.
I’m still passionate about photography, though in different ways than above.
So, why I am attracted to Drawing and Painting?
- They slow me down. They force me to think about what I am doing, what I am endeavouring to create, much like using an old TLR (Twin Len Reflex) on a tripod and taking the time to explore a scene with the eyes and the mind instead of firing off shot after shot with a DSLR…
- It really takes you back to basics i.e. just using the mind, the limbs, pigments and paper/canvas. It is a challenge to create something uniquely yours without the high-flying technology. This excites me!
- We, humans, spend our lives these days ‘tied to technology’ via our ever-present mobiles (cell-phones), tablets and other digital devices. Sitting in front of the canvas or creating in my Journal allows me to disengage.
- I was thinking the other day that one can’t get much closer to the raw beginnings of hand-made Art than Drawing, Painting (or indeed Sculpture). The cave-dwellers picked up a rock or some other pigmented material and started to draw/paint.
Drawing and Painting takes one back to the early days of Art, the person, tool, pigment and the imagination.
What you draw, paint or photograph depends on your genes, your environment, what influences your thoughts and actions and your beliefs etc just like those cave-dwellers.
In that respect, only the tools and Mankind’s thoughts and advancement have changed.
In regards to drawing and painting, I am in the early stages of my journey. I feel it’s a journey that I will be on for the rest of my life. Exciting times are ahead!
Written by David Johnson
30 December 2017