At the Speed of Life; as Conwy Camera Club Celebrates Its 60th Birthday, David Powell Looks at Some of the Best That Amateur Photography Has to Offer
Byline: David Powell
IT'S that time of the year again when everyone reaches for their camera. Whether it's weddings, holidays, graduation ceremonies or simply that the garden looks lovely, we all want to capture it on film.
But while most of us are happy to settle simply for shaky family line-ups and grainy pics of our pets, there's a whole bunch of enthusiasts out there with higher standards, So whether it's a photograph of a flashlit owl clutching a dead mouse in its talons, a portrait of a decorated naval hero or a timeless Snowdonian landscape, you can safely bet a camera club member has captured a picture of it at some time.
North Wales' first photographic society was Conwy Camera Club (CCC), which this year celebrates its 60th anniversary.
It was initially set up in 1945 to cover the whole region, but cheaper cameras post-war and more recently digital cameras lead to the creation of clubs in most towns.
One of CCC's longest standing members is Ernie Kingman, 77, of Glan Conwy, who joined it as a 17-year-old in 1945.
'We would meet in a back room at The Castle Hotel in High Street, Conwy,' he recalls.
We'd be set subjects like landscapes to photograph and would develop our own black and white pictures, sometimes in the bath!'
Members including stalwarts like Walter Harris would try their luck in places like Llangollen and the Horseshoe Pass on club outings.
Ernie recalls: 'It used to be quite friendly. We'd drive to a photostop, everyone would pile out, you'd get the gadgeteers changing their lenses and filters and it would be click, click, click.
'Walter would have his battered old, single lens Roliflex camera and wander off round a corner or up a path' Someone would ask 'See anything interesting, Walter?' and he'd nonchalantly reply 'Oh, yes, I might have seen something'. Then in the October there would be a competition for the best picture on a camera club outing. And he'd produce a superb landscape shot!'
In more recent decades, membership declined, but since the rise of digital photography, it has quadrupled. …