We were delighted to welcome Mark Hamblin, leading nature photographer, presenting his superb Scottish wildlife photography as our Keynote speaker for 2020, on 24th February at St Joseph’s Academy, Kilmarnock (Fiona Wallace reports)
After a few concerns about the recent awful weather, our eagerly anticipated keynote speaker event went ahead without problems. Billed as one of Scotland’s foremost wildlife photographers, Mark Hamblin most certainly did not disappoint and we were delighted by stunning image after stunning image. A very relaxed and polished speaker, Mark gave us lots of “where, when and how” information. He also made the point that outwith those he takes in his work capacity, he takes the bulk of his images for himself. This was particularly interesting as I am sure many of us have found ourselves on occasion taking shots more with a competition in mind rather than for our own pleasure. I do admit that I find the idea of roaming a hillside photographing whatever luck puts in my way really quite appealing.
The variety of images was superb as Mark went between nature and wildlife shots and fabulous landscapes, on occasion incorporating video snips. His landscapes were moody and atmospheric and portrayed Scotland and in particular the Cairngorms as a magical mystical area—indeed these were among the main reasons why Mark moved up there from England all those years ago. Mark also outlined his involvement with several major conservation and environmental projects, including Scotland: The Big Picture.
Judging by the conversation at his book stall later, the public were very interested in this aspect, which hopefully will have a spin-off benefit. The evening got a massive thumbs up from club members. One said: “Besides being a great orator, his images were beautiful and I loved that he made them for himself primarily. We should all take a leaf out of his book in that respect. I also loved his approach by working with organisations over long periods of time and totally respecting the animals he was photographing.“ Said another: “There was something for everyone to be inspired by.” All in all the evening followed on what must now surely be seen as our tradition of great keynote speakers. Well done to Alan for booking him. And a massive well done to the committee and all those who helped get the room set up and then broken down in what seemed like a Formula 1 wheel change time. In fact, a resounding “pure dead brilliant” all round.