A good photography club is about so much more than competitions (although they play an important part).

Sidmouth Photographic Club’s programme of events also includes regular practical and critique sessions, trips, workshops and visiting speakers. Talks given throughout the club’s current season by guest photographers have covered diverse topics, projects and techniques.

Back in September, SPC was treated to an enjoyable evening of nature/wildlife photography when joined by guest speaker and photographer Kirsty Peake for her presentation entitled ‘Yellowstone - The World’s First National Park’. Kirsty, an Animal Behaviourist, dedicated much of her time to researching wolf behaviour between 1999-2020 and for many years shared her time between the US park and her Devon home.

The speaker for November was Marko Dutka, who has visited the club several times as a competition judge. Marko’s presentation entitled ‘At the Going Down of the Sun’ was inspired by lines from a famous 1914 poem and featured images of war graves taken between dusk and dawn. The collection has previously exhibited in Bristol Cathedral and was a fitting topic, so close to Remembrance Day.

During January, SPC were invited to join two online sessions hosted by Exmouth Photo Group. The first event was on the topic of ‘ICM’ by presenter Gordon Aspland – also a well-known local competition judge. ICM, or Intentional Camera Movement, is a simple, no-rules, creative effect that transforms ordinary scenes into abstract works of art by making deliberate movements during the image exposure. The second session, ‘Visual Jukebox’, was presented by photographer Mike Bennett from Lincolnshire. Mike’s interests include street photography, documentary, sport, nature and portrait. Both online presentations were enjoyable and inspirational.

The most recent guest speaker to visit the Sidmouth club was Dorchester based Malcolm Macnaughtan, with his talk ‘A Land of Mountains and Flood’, recounting his photographic journey and experiences producing monochrome prints - predominantly of the Scottish landscape - using traditional developing and printing darkroom techniques.

This month’s showcase from SPC are images from two of the club’s recent internal competitions which were judged by Bruce Robinson from Plymstock Camera Club (Competition 3, January) and Norman Marsh of Dorchester Camera Club (Competition 4, February).

More information about the SPC programme of weekly meetings and activities can be found at www.sidmouthphotoclub.org