An evening in the mountains.

The evening of the 11th January a large attendance saw a wonderful evening of images by Peter Leeming. It was preceded by a minute’s silence in tribute to our Competitions secretary Jack Bunn who died suddenly on the 9th January. Peter Leeming started his talk by explaining how he started rock climbing whilst very young and then pursued it whilst he was at Lancaster University. The title of the first part of his talk was “Mountain Landscapes” and he took us on a tour of a world not many of us see. There were spectacular shots of mountains and climbers in precarious positions, most of which the rest of us would never even contemplate! The tour started in Scotland but then moved to the Alps with ever more vertiginous slopes/cliffs and snow covered peaks and views that really conveyed what it feels like to look down on mountain ranges rather than looking up at them. Peter’s talk then moved to Peru where he and his colleagues tackled a previously unclimbed route up to a summit at 6000 meters. The images showed the sunshine and the cold, combining really detailed shots and evocative moody landscapes to convey the feel of the landscapes they were in. From Peru Peter moved on to Pakistan and the Karakoram mountain range, travelling via the Karakoram Highway, to attempt another unclimbed route which was again successful. Peter’s talk was always informative and humorous and did convey “spirit of place”, taking the audience with him on the ascents. The images in the talk were breathtaking. Even more impressive was that they were all taken using a compact film camera so there was no opportunity to assess the image on screen and retake it if necessary. Peter explained that digital cameras didn’t mix with snow, water and extreme temperatures!

After the break Peter concentrated on his approach to landscape photography. The talk was divided into small sections with a key phrase each illustrating part of his approach. As an example he feels that the photographer should be “open” to the landscape and try to be in line with it, so they are working to show the beauty it is presenting rather than trying to mould it into a preconceived idea of what the photographer wants. He feels that visual awareness is very important and to think of shape, form and tone like an artist. This can lead to interpretations of both wide vistas and close-ups of rocks. All these phrases could be used to make you think before taking the shot. Throughout there were was a constant parade of really impressive high quality images which were mainly drawn from Yorkshire, showing that you don’t have to travel the world to find spectacular landscapes. All of these ideas gave everyone plenty of food for thought for their own approach to photography.

Peter was always entertaining and showed a great deal of affection for the landscapes he travels in. He revealed the beauty of it all from clouds to streams and from mountain ranges to seashore pebbles. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening shown by the loud applause which concluded the evening. You can see his images on his website by clicking here.

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