I am available for virtual talks at clubs or societies of any sort. I have five topics:
The Art of Macro - insects & other minibeasts
Flora - flowers, other plants, and fungi
Seeing - the eye, how we perceive, how seeing evolved
Scapes 1 - rural, coastal & astrophotography
Scapes 2 - urban & creative
See below for details. The presentations will involve the use of Zoom video conferencing, or another platform if you prefer.
I hope this will be useful to clubs during the Covid-19 crisis. However I will continue giving remote lectures after it is over.
FEE: £75 (for an approx. 100 minute online talk, not including break)
When we return to normality, the following will apply:
I am available for talks at clubs or societies of any sort. I am free most evenings except Mondays, when my own club meets (South Manchester Camera Club, based in Didsbury, Manchester).
I will travel up to 45 minutes from my home in Fallowfield, Manchester. The fee depends on travel time: for up to 30 minutes it is £75, and for 30-50 minutes it is £90. I will determine the travel time in advance using Google Maps.
1. The Art of Macro
This talk is about my experience and knowledge of macro photography in the field, shooting insects and other invertebrates. It covers my philosophy and approach to photography as an art. I will of course show lots of my best macro images, but the talk is about far more than a set of pretty pictures.
The topics covered are:
1. A brief introduction to me, my background and experience, and why I chose to focus on macro
2. The aims of my photography, in terms of style and purpose..
3. How to create beautiful macro photos. This is the main substance of the talk, and it covers 7 challenges in macro and how to overcome them:
i. Finding and getting close to the subject
ii. Depth of field
iii. Camera movement
iv. Subject movement
v. Shutter speed/light
vii. Post processing
If asked I can provide a free handout to anyone who is interested with a summary of all these tips, as well as details of my workshops. I will also be happy to take questions.
In this talk I share my best plant and fungi images. These include a wide variety of flowers as well as leaves, trees and grass, and plenty of fungi.
At the same time as showing a broad range of species, I cover many techniques and styles, explaining different approaches and the importance of several factors in this sort of photography.
Subjects and styles include:
i. the flowers, grasses, fungi and leaves which can be found outdoors at different times of year, and how to shoot them
ii. the plant species (especially flowers) which work well for studio photography, and how to shoot them
iii. macro approaches, including focus stacking and soft focus
iv. the effects of light, colour, angle of view, composition, depth of field, and bokeh
v. techniques such as multiple exposure, long exposure, ICM, collage, and droplet refraction
vi. using equipment such as lightpads, LED panels, reflectors, reflecting perspex sheets, spray bottles, tripods, clamps, and backdrops
v. post processing to bring out the best in flowers and other subjects
My aim in this talk is to do two things - entertain and inspire you with a varied range of beautiful images, and provide ideas, tips and techniques for you to experiment and learn new photographic approaches.
This is a talk with a difference. As photographers, our main sense is our sight, whether we are taking shots, processing them, or appreciating them. This talk focuses on our faculty of vision - how we see, and how this all important ability evolved. The topics covered are:
1. The human eye: its anatomy and function (this is the major part of the talk)
2. How the eye is similar to, and different from, a camera (including focusing, aperture and light detection and processing)
3. How the brain processes the signals from the retina leading to perception, with a look at several amazing optical illusions which shed light on this process
3. The variety of eye types in the animal kingdom
4. How and why seeing evolved, with a focus on colour vision, and a look at why most mammals do not have full colour vision, and yet we humans do
The presentation is richly illustrated with photos and graphics. There are also lots of activities you can take part in, to learn how the eye works and why various aspects of vision evolved.
I am confident that anyone with a camera will find this talk both fascinating and fun!
3. Seeing - the Eye and the Evolution of Vision
4. Scapes 1: Rural, Coastal & Astro
In this talk I showcase the best of my more traditional landscapes and provide a few tips and techniques, especially for the more challenging genre of astrophotography. I also relate a few anecdotes about the locations and experiences of shooting the scenes.
I mention some of my inspirations, including my friend Kieran Metcalfe, who also has a talk on landscape photography.
In addition as we go along I will discuss what I see as the main challenges of landscape photography and how I overcome them. Overall though the focus is on entertaining and inspiring the viewer with plenty of good images rather than talking at length about each one.
The talk is structured as follows:
1. Introduction and gear used
2. Rural and coastal landscapes - from a variety of areas including the Peak District, Lake District, Yorkshire, Scotland, Snowdonia, and a few locations in Italy, La Palma and Santorini.
3. Live demo of how I process images in Lightroom
4. Astrophotography - images of the Milky Way, including the image shown here which won Practical Photography magazine's Outdoor Photo of the Year, as well as star trail photography.
5. Scapes 2: Urban and Creative
As with Scapes 1 I share some tips and techniques, as well as anecdotes about the locations and experiences of shooting the scenes. I also mention some of my inspirations, including Sandra Bartocha and Pep Ventosa.
As we go along I will discuss some important themes in these genres of photography, such as when to convert to mono and when to go with colour. We will also look at when images benefit from the presence of people.
The talk is structured as follows:
1. Introduction and gear used
2. Urban landscapes, from locations including Manchester, London, Italy and India. Images include traditional cityscapes, night shots and light trails, and street photography.
3. Creative images - multiple exposures and ICM shots of the urban environment, some including people.
4. Live demo of how I create one of my urban creative images.
Get in touch
44 Whitebrook Road
Manchester M14 6EF
Tel: 0161 224 6445/07754 406422
My Background in Education
I am confident your members will enjoy the talk, because I have many years' experience in a variety of educational backgrounds. I have spent countless hours not only in teaching but in designing workshops, talks and activities to engage people - to ensure not only that they enjoy the talk but that they learn from it too.
1. BSc in Psychology, University of
Nottingham, 1st class, 1988
2. MEd, University of Manchester, 1994
3. MSc in Developmental Psychology,
Penn State University, 1997
4. Graduate assistant at Penn State,
including lecturing and academic
advising of undergrads
5. Graduate Minor in Educational
Theory, Penn State University, 1998
6. History teacher, 11-14 year olds,
Washington DC, 1999-2001
7. Time Trips history and science
workshops in primary schools,
8. DSLR photography since 2016
Reviews of Talks
ZOOM TALKS - SCAPES
'Thank you very much for a well received and excellent talk. As you heard, it was well received by our members and we covered a lot of fabulous images and several subjects. The talk was very well presented and the opportunity to see live editing in the middle was very good to see. As I said earlier, in addition to your landscape images, I found your multiple exposure images very interesting and different to ones I’ve seen before. Your also shared your experiences, and gave valuable advice to members to help inspire them.'
- Gerald Sorenti, Prog Sec, Cheam CC
'The format of your lecture was well received by your audience. It was great to hear from someone who has created so many wonderful images without necessarily having all the top end gear. In addition, it was really helpful hearing about your photographic journey as well as providing some hints and tips throughout your lecture.
'I have received really positive feedback from the evening. In particular, having the small section where you demonstrated your post processing techniques made quite an impact. In addition, I did notice there was a good number of questions from the audience. Thank you for taking the time to answer these.
'There is no doubt you have definitely inspired our membership to think about multiple exposure photography. We have a creative competition on our syllabus and following your presentation I am sure there will be an increase in the number of entries, if not for that competition, then some of our other ones.
Hoping we can encourage you back to PCPC sometime in the future.'
- Fiona McFetridge, Secretary Paisley Colour PC
'Over all I thought it was excellent and well presented with plenty of excellent photos and advice. I thought it was well structured and welcomed the short introduction and description of his equipment. It was good to hear Tony tell us that he didn't use loads of expensive glass and cameras. I liked his down to earth, waffle free style and that he told us of photographers who'd inspired him. He showed many excellent landscape photographs and told us how and where they were taken and the importance of doing research and planning the shoot. He also told us of the useful apps he uses.
'I thought his coverage of Lightroom was about right and he explained the logic of his workflow well. Tony gave us good advice on simple and effective picture building all the way though. I'm glad he spilt the talk up into three sections of landscapes, astrophotography and urban/street photography as it gave it plenty of variety and inspiration that we could try. He encouraged us to experiment and gave us some starting points on using techniques like multiple exposers and ICM. If it was 2 hours of one theme, it may have got a bit of more of the same.
So I really enjoyed it and there isn't much I would change.'
-Peter Robinson, Crewe PS
'Thank you for last night's talk, I thoroughly enjoyed it and as I mentioned at the end I really didn’t expect to get that much content. I’ve already had a couple of emails from members saying how much they enjoyed it. As a keen landscape, macro and astrophotographer myself I enjoyed every part of the talk, and it was great seeing so many of the fantastic locations that I have also visited (Surprise View, Padley Gorge, Bamford and Curbar Edge, Afon Lloer (looking towards Tryfan), Dinorwic Quarry, Holme Fell to name a few.'
- Paul Hill, Crewe PS
ZOOM TALKS - SEEING
'thank you very much indeed for your presentation last evening at Battle Photographic Society. I was keen for us to try this talk for just the reasons that you mentioned at the start- that we have all heard lots of talks on Macro photography and there are many different photographers giving talks on that subject - but no other talks I am aware of on the subject of last nights talk. '
For me the talk became more and more interesting as it went on, finding the matter of the advantages of being able to see colour- with your illustrations of the red berries - a fascinating eye opener that I hadn’t ever thought about before ! I felt that the thoughtful comments and questions at the end of your talk meant that the membership were equally pleased to have heard this talk on such an unusual subject for a camera club talk.'
- John Lethbridge, Battle PS
As the Membership Secretary at Bramhall Photographic Society, I’m sure I can speak for everyone who saw your superb presentation tonight. It was inspirational, such beauty and artistry in all your images. I also enjoyed the details you went through in explaining the process of producing these fabulous photographs. I do hope we have the opportunity of seeing more of your work sometime in another presentation. I did say I felt like throwing away my camera, knowing I could never produce work anything like yours! But no, I will persevere and concentrate on improving my own style.
Regards, Heather Carslake LRPS'
'Tony inspires any newcomer to macro photography, he delivers a dramatic original presentation of the exciting micro world all around us. His artistic imagery is accompanied by instruction and tells of a secret world of creation and composition. Highly recommended.'
- Christopher Davies, Chairman, Holmes Chapel Photographic Society
'Thank you very much for your talk last night and for showing us some gorgeous pictures. It was good of you as well to share with us some of the tricks of the trade in a very logical, interesting and informative way making the whole evening enjoyable for those at all levels of photography.
Thanks for preparing the handouts - very professional. I thought the inclusion of graphics to help with the understanding of the points you were making was a good idea and they were wonderfully quite straightforward to understand. I am sure you inspired many members to continue to try and perfect their macro photography.'
- Tony Renshaw, VP Huddersfield Photo Imaging Club
'I really enjoyed your visit to the Bramhall Photographic Society with your fascinating talk on macro photography. Thank you so much for all your information and fantastic photographs. It was a truly remarkable evening.'
-Carol Stansfield, Bramhall Photographic Society
'We were very grateful to Tony North for stepping in when our expected speaker had to cancel on Monday 23rd September. Tony presented us with an excellent, very interesting and informative talk on Macro Photography. He is an expert in this field and shared with us the do’s and don'ts involved, camera settings and lenses he uses, local sites he visits to obtain his competition entries, many of which have won him prizes. All present gained a greater understanding of macro photography and look forward to members trying it out and entering competitions.'
-Bramhall Photographic Society Facebook Page
'I really enjoyed your presentation to Bramhall Photographic Society. I could tell from the content and the delivery that a lot of thought and work had gone into it. I thought it was well structured and flowed well. The examples you chose backed up and reinforced your talking notes. Your passion for the subject was obvious and so your delivery had presence and authority and added to the enjoyment of the topic.
Again from a personal perspective I really enjoyed your talk. It has inspired me to get out and try out the skills you demonstrated, so really appreciate the handout, a very thoughtful addition.'
-John Colburn Bramhall Photographic Society
ZOOM TALKS - MACRO
'On behalf of everyone in my club I want to thank you for a superb evening last night. Your presentation more than met our expectations, and, judging by the feedback I have collated from our members it was a resounding success.
'You covered everything a photographer might need to know, from equipment, settings and fieldcraft. I have long been an admirer of your macro images and follow your progress with interest. May it continue! Here's a sample of the feedback I've received already:'
'I was most impressed with the images last night, Tony has mastered a skill which I certainly envy, as will most photographers who have dabbled in macro.'
'Amazing quality images and informative and that I don’t need to buy fancy macro flashes, just a bit of silver card.'
'Super speaker and some inspirational images last night. Tony epitomised getting out of photography what you are prepared to put into it. His research was first class and he put it over in a very honest and humble manner.'
'Excellent zoom presentation with Tony North. I learnt so much and am out looking for possible areas this morning. I can't recommend it enough.'
- Marilyn Roberts, Positive Image CC
'Thanks a million for this evening Tony, very much enjoyed by all our members, and has inspired people to look closer at the wee things, and even better: has shown us how to plan to shoot, and how to actually capture their beauty, when many of us have found it so hard to do so, to date. I know that your tips will resound in my mind for years to come as I am walking through nature...'
- Elaine Butler, Palmerstown CC
'Hi Tony, I just wanted to send a note to thank you for your superb presentation last night. We had really positive feedback from our members who thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Not only are your images beautiful but the way you shared your set-up and techniques was really insightful and so interesting.
'I think everyone in the club, from beginners to our most experienced members, will have learnt much from you. We have a macro monthly competition coming up next season so hopefully many members will be able to put some of your tips into practice!'
- Christine Lowe, South Liverpool Camera Club
'Thanks very much for the wonderful talk on Wednesday! Very enjoyable with amazing photos, and I also liked your use of technical slides, in particular the one demonstrating depth of field in regard to the subject plane.
Here’s what people left on our Meetup event page:
“ Thanks so much for organising this. It was really interesting and informative and I will definitely be trying out the focus stacking.”
“Very good event, glad I joined. Well done all.”
“A very good presentation, beautiful photos and I really appreciated the technical tips. Looking forward to his landscape talk!”
“Wonderful images and very informative talk. Really enjoyable.”'
- Dion Hitchcock, Fun & Friendly Meetup Group
'What an informative and enlightening first class talk last night from such a modest no bull**** presenter. From my own practical experience of chasing butterflies around trying to master Macro I could understand and appreciate every point you made. There's a trick in every trade but I would never have thought of enticing
a butterfly on to a cut wild plant and then clamping it on to a stand to get the shot.
'I'd often wondered how those superb artistic images of insects were achieved without background clutter and clearly that method allows you to keep good distance between the subject and the background giving you good bokeh and at the same time allowing you to use a relatively narrow aperture of say F10 to maximise depth of field and keep the subject in focus.
'I thought your shots were superb and all achieved with a crop sensor (admittedly Nikon) but as you say hardly top of the range camera. I for one would love to hear you on another genre maybe Landscape and would certainly welcome you back. ----- total respect!'
- Mike Dyment, Hawarden PS
'Many thanks Tony for a very enjoyable and informative talk last night. A really good start to our macro module and some fabulous images.'
- Ray Derkacz, Witney Photo Group
'I just wanted to thank you for your presentation yesterday evening. It was interesting and very comprehensive and, as one of our members said afterwards, any questions she did have where answered by the end. Your images have set a high bar for us to aim at and given us an insight into how we go about achieving this.'
- Jan Wilding, Chester PS
'Wonderful talk – one of the best on macro – many thanks. It was very well structured and very clear and concise. Most enjoyable and very informative.'
- Peter Seaman, Chair, Hay CC
'Tony North’s photography was exceptional. Thoroughly enjoyed every minute of his talk. Thank you for an inspirational evening.'
-Lin, Hay CC
'Tony, brilliant presentation, fantastic images. Personally, I liked the range of your talk which will have interested both beginners and more experienced photographers. Raising the problems and then providing practical suggestions on how to overcome them was very effective and well received. We had lots of good feedback over the phone at the end of your talk particularly on the quality of your photographic images. Great inspiration for budding macro photographers.'
- Stephen Mika, Chariman, Wantage CC
'Many thanks for last night's session. The feedback has been very positive on both the outstanding quality of the images and of your explanation of the technical aspects you use when preparing for a shoot. This was our club's first speaker Zoom session and you have set a high bar for others to follow.'
-Arthur David, Ashby CC
'Thank you so much for your very informative talk last night. The images of your butterflies in particular were really impressive and so beautiful. We really enjoyed looking at them and the bonus was your generous sharing of your techniques.
We loved your landscapes too. Good luck with the award [APOY] - you deserve to win!'
-Stella Bellem, Uckfield CC
I must thank you for last night. As we pointed out, it was a record attendance for one of our Zoom meetings. We were all anticipating an enjoyable evening and we weren’t disappointed. The positive feed back I’ve been getting has been overwhelming.
Your talk provided something constructive for all of us, from our more experienced Macro workers who learned a few new wrinkles, (we never stop learning) to our novices who have been inspired to go out and try out your methods and advice for themselves and the Q&A afterwards was also most helpful, thanks for taking that extra time.
This is a talk we wouldn’t normally have been able to see as we are at opposite ends of the U.K. but Zoom made it possible and my, was it worthwhile. So a hearty thumbs up from all of us at Leighton Buzzard and I would urge anyone using the Zoom platform to book you for an evening. I know they’ll be more than satisfied, as we were.
- Mike Kitchingman. Chairman & programme coordinator, Leighton Buzzard Photographic Club
'...his talk was well prepared, easy to understand and beautifully illustrated' - see full write up here
- Sherborne Bradford Abbas Camera Club Website
'I'd like to say how much we all enjoyed your talk the other evening. Your images are stunning! It was a most interesting and informative talk; we can tell how much thought and attention to detail goes into composing your macro shots. I’m certainly going to watch the recording and jot down some of your useful tips – plenty of food for thought there. How you managed to get the beautiful atmospheric landscape images, up in Scotland, whilst Storm Dennis was raging all around, I do not know!'
- Heather Green, North Norfolk Photographic Society
'Thank you so much for the zoom presentation last night, it went extremely well and I think Jeremy said it all in his vote of thanks. The pictures were superb and the explanations clear and concise and very helpful for those of us who want to improve our macro skills.'
- Val Brierley, Dorchester CC
'Hi Tony, I sat in on your talk last night and wanted to thank you personally for your very enjoyable talk. Stunning images and packed full of information on all aspects of how you capture your photographs, which i found really interesting. Something that some guest speakers sometimes leave out!'
- Peter Downton, Dorchester CC
'Very many thanks for giving the club such an enjoyable and informative presentation. There have been some very good comments reaching me throughout the day from members which have included brilliant, excellent, a great evening and I feel I learnt a lot etc. Your images were stunning and it would be lovely to see more of your landscapes.
I have a feeling that Zoom is going to be with us for some time and the way your presentation came across has encouraged the more sceptical brethren to take part!'
- Bill Norman, Programme Secretary, Shaftesbury CC
'Many thanks for an excellent presentation last night. Stunning photography throughout.'
- David Lampard, Chairman, Shaftesbury CC
'What a great evening thanks to Tony North, South Manchester Camera Club. Watching Tony’s presentation via Zoom worked brilliantly as he took us through his approach, philosophy and technical expertise. Full of information, wonderful macro images, pictorial and creative – much food for thought. As a bonus, Tony shared some of his magnificent landscapes with us. An inspiring evening enjoyed by all.
Feedback from members has been extremely positive ... ‘enjoyed the talk and very much admired the work..‘ ‘most enjoyable and a subject I love...’ ‘Thanks for last night it went really well..’ ‘amazing what he has achieved in just 4 years..’ ‘great talk, well structured, plenty of info..’.
Many thanks to Tony for helping to make our first online talk a success.'
- Julia Wainwright, Harrow CC
'Hi Tony, just to say another thank you for last evening's super presentation. The Art of Macro - I think we all really enjoyed the art input into your philosophy of photography. The images you shared with us were gorgeous and give us all something to which to aspire. Thanks again for an enjoyable, interesting and inspiring talk.'
- Hilary Bailey, Amersham PS
Facebook comments by members of Watford CC
'I am just watching Tony North from Manchester delivering a macro talk via zoom to Watford CC. Great talk, great images, great presenter. 10/10 and dead jealous of his fantastic images.'
'Excellent presentation. Lovely images.'
'Good presentation, useful information.'
'Good clear style by the presenter and a cracking set of images.'
'Great images and tips on Macro.'
'Really enjoyable and his photos were very inspiring'
'Brilliant! Thoroughly enjoyable.'
'Tony is an excellent photographer and speaker, I really enjoyed the evening.'
'I really enjoyed that, fantastic photos, I’ll be out tomorrow having a look for insects.'
'Loved every image, stunning, thanks.'
'Fabulous photographer. I was in awe. Loved the landscape shots too'
'Excellent images & nice that he told us about how he gets them plus other hints & tips.'
'Brilliant macro images and the landscapes were simply mind blowing.'
'Best bit is he didn’t speak jargon and I could get everything he said. And the bonus of landscape images was great too.'
'Liked the honesty in how some of the shots were set up, and the references he gave to other photographers who inspire him.'
'Despite both genres not being my preferred type of photography, I thoroughly enjoyed it. His candid style was refreshing.'
'Fantastic photos and very informative and inspiring - loved the fact that there was a ‘how to section’ included'
'Great talk on Macro, think I may give it a try tomorrow.'
'Very enjoyable and inspiring images. I liked his friendly and informative style.'
'Where did that hour and a half go? Loved every minute. Great photos and the level of detail and explanations were right on the button.'