Fortunately, the speaker for our November meeting, Steve Cale (above), was not struck down with any covid related constraints. Steve treated to a talk covering his recent trip to Africa entitled, Wild Ethiopia: Wildlife on the Roof of Africa. Some excellent pictures, mostly covering the astonishing variety of birds found in that region, accompanied his talk. In addition to his presentation Steve bought along a selection of his limited edition prints and a selection of cards for members to purchase.

Our competition results for the November meeting were as follows:
Fruit and veg: 1st. Hazel Dunn, 2nd. Laura Lincoln, 3rd. Liz Head.
Flower: 1st. Chris Dalton, 2nd. Julie Brown, 3rd. Angelika Langley.
Photo: 1st. Nigel Lincoln, 2nd. Sue Thomas, 3rd. Laura Lincoln.

In spite of our success in actually having a meeting as scheduled, we feel that getting a little more organised in case of last minute cancellations might be a good idea. After all, the quality of ‘last minute’ productions is so much better if there has been a serious amount of preparation done in the previous weeks. The last time we had this problem, Nigel was able to put together a very good presentation on his bees – and even had some honey to sell.

But the next time we have a cancellation we must be able to drop something in at a moments notice. This will probably be a slide show and this is a baton that I have volunteered to take up. For some reason I have always liked to ‘record the happy scene’ and have owned cameras most of my life. This goes way back to when I was working in a tax-free part of the world. Like the other blokes I bought kit I would never aspire to in Blightly. And, I might to add, having had no repairs in the years since 1965, still works as new (see below).

But then came digital and I, with many others, banged on about how you couldn’t beat film. Well, of course, you can. Thirty-six exposures are now replaced but a thousand and more – and they cost nothing. Also, the quality is superior – by a lot. Now, I am told, the average mobile phone can capture images in far more detail than any celluloid camera ever could. Indeed, one newspaper has a weekly feature with the best picture taken on a mobile phone. And having examined the evidence, I have concluded that this is true.

But for me, this is where I get off. For some reason, whenever I try to take a photo on my phone, I find the screen contains a blurred image of my fingers and I have to spend time adjusting my grip when I should be taking the picture. From what I see, most users do not suffer from this problem, as everything they take is with the phone held upright, portrait mode. I don’t like this; I find that an image of most subjects, landscapes for example, are a little irritating in portrait mode. They didn’t invent cinemascope for no reason. Then there is the problem that a mobile phone is trying to be a number of things, and usually mine is hell bent on doing one of those other things just as I am trying to capture a magic moment. Over the years none of my cameras have ever thought it a good idea to show me an advertisement for retirement homes or to suggest directions to somewhere I have never heard of, just when I trying to take a picture of something only likely to happen once in my life. No, I do not like to rely on a phone for photography. Not only that, but it seems that the pictures most people take remain on their phones, whereas I like them on my desktop in order to see them in their full glory (or not). What is the point of an instrument capable of high definition images if you only ever look at them on a weeny phone screen?

Now, with a camera I can take the picture, transfer the memory card to the desktop, and the job’s done. The phone? Apparently I should be able to ‘wirelessly’ transfer the pictures, but again, for some reason this technology has moved beyond my ability to operate it. To get round this I can buy an adaptor (for ninety quid) to connect the phone to a memory card and then another adaptor (I think I can use the same one) to connect the memory card to the computer. But connecting it is not enough: downloading the pictures involves negotiating a labyrinth of options and I have lost pictures more than once. So I stick to the simplicity of a camera.

Back to the slide show. So now I have my images on a computer and can connect it to a projector and give the folks a presentation. So I connect the projector to my old desktop, and, there it is, working, wonderful. But wouldn’t it be better if I could do the same with a laptop? So much more portable. When I connect it to the projector, two days of trying will not persuade it to work. The technology has again been improved to the point where, unlike my 1965 camera, it doesn’t work, at least for me. Progress! Oh well, I will just have to lug the desktop in. So that is basically it: when I come across something that works, I am reluctant to be lured away by something that claims to do it better. That something, for me at least, never seems to happen. A variation on the first law of maintenance: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Our next club meeting is our Christmas party. It will be held at Hockham village hall on Wednesday 14th December at 1400. It’s usually a jolly event; everybody pitches in with a plate of scoff. I think I will be doing a quiz, but I am trying to keep it simple. For example, the first question will be, what bloke invaded Britain in 1066? And the second, what sort of tree has candles on it? So nothing too demanding. I’ll let you know how they got on.

Oh, and don’t forget our Wreath Making workshop, Saturday 3rd December, 0900 – 1200, Great Hockham Village Hall, £15.00. Sharing the creative process & taking home a handmade, wreath of your own making.
We supply: The “how to” demonstration, wreath ring, wire, ribbon, dried fruits, etc. and Christmas refreshments.
You will need to bring: Foliage, scissors, secateurs, cones, berries, small twigs, a little money in case, and Christmas cheer!

For more information and to book your place

Edward Szczepanowski: Secretary, Great Hockhan Gardening Club.

Sunrise Over Swaffham by Ed Szczepanowski