Courier Report 7th April 2023

Date Published 
Tue 4 Apr 2023

As the English philosopher and statesman, Francis Bacon, once said “Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety.”  Even today, such wise words are so true.  Unsurprisingly, therefore, variety has been paramount for the Isle of Man Photographic Society recently in devising a stimulating programme of events and outings!  For, as a deterrent to boredom, life is much more interesting and enjoyable when it includes different opportunities to stimulate our lives away from what might be regarded as the norm.

Consequently, the Society’s members (and guests) have soared the heights of the universe with an evening of Astro Photography, focussing on the wonders of the night skies: and wandered the dark streets of downtown Douglas for demonstrations of urban photography.

Pursuing this theme, our final meeting in the Programme saw us exploring the depths with an evening of underwater photography, led by one of our own members, Dr Lara Howe, a Marine Biologist and Marine Officer with the Manx Wildlife Trust, who is also a member of the Manx Basking Shark Steering Group.  Lara is a ‘local girl’, who learnt to dive off the Island’s coastline mainly, though not exclusively, from a dive boat.  Her excellent talk was both educational and instructional, clearly demonstrating her wide knowledge of this specialist subject and her passion for the diverse marine environment around the Island’s coastline.  Divers are so fortunate here to be able to experience such clear waters which nurture teeming communities of plants, crustaceans, and other marine species.

To begin, Lara summarised the diving code of conduct, including the vital importance of diving in pairs, plus an explanation of the lighting and other equipment she uses, some of which she had brought along for members to examine for themselves.  Many of the beautiful images of lobsters, crabs, anemone, algae, scallops, sea snails, and slugs had been taken ‘up close and personal’, using a macro lens, because the subject matter was so tiny, measuring as little as one centimetre or less in some cases.  Just imagine living organisms that small and hard to spot!

Lara concluded with a presentation of a colourful selection of her own high-quality photography and gave helpful tips to assist anyone interested in this genre to avoid the pitfalls of capturing images 20 to 40 metres below the waves.  Stressing “I am a diver first and a photographer second”, Lara modestly downplayed the difficulties involved, introducing us to the term “backscatter”, for example, but the dramatic, vibrant imagery on view left her appreciative audience wanting for more of this whole underwater world.

The Committee is currently seeking to finalise arrangements for an extra event in April, so those interested should monitor the Society’s website regularly for updates.  We continue to recruit new members, so please get in touch, no matter what your experience or present skills level, to find out more!  As the Society’s AGM is scheduled for 26th April, members will need to submit any ideas or suggestions for discussion promptly.

By Antony Hamilton