FROM "L-Plate" photo- graphers to masters of their craft, Grafton Camera Club members put their photographic skills to work inspired by the Upper Clarence Valley's natural beauty at the weekend.
Well-known local artist Graham Mackie hosted 21 budding photographers for a photo camp at his Coombadjha Art Studio, perched among rolling hills by the pristine waters of the Mann River.
"I run an Art Camp every September and I approached the camera club to do the same thing," Mackie explained. "I thought half a dozen would come but instead 20 came out.
"We did something similar in about 2005 and throught we'd resurrect it. On Saturday night we camped by the river, had a big camp oven dinner and had a good night sitting round the campfire."
Throughout the day the majestic landscape, farm animals and native wildlife provided the perfect backdrop through the lens, then the group was treated to an interesting portrait session at night using both studio lighting and torchlight.
"We were encouraged to unleash our creativity and think beyond the traditional photography ideals to achieve some interesting artworks using techniques that we may not have considered before," Grafton Camera Club president Michelle Thornton said.
"All in all it was a great weekend of friendship, learning and copious amounts of laughter.
"Thank you to Bob for being our model."
Mackie prepared club members with a presentation of his artistic collection at a lecture in Grafton before the weekend.
"Some had L-plates on and some are really keen with top-of-the range cameras," he said.
"But all were very enthusiastic and had a crack at it and improved, which was fantastic.
"I just wanted them to step outside the square and experiment with being more creative."
It is hoped the workshop will become an annual event, with Mr Mackie signalling his plans to invite other guest photographers next year.
Every spring Mr Mackie hosts Art Camp (on which the latest camp was based) and it will be held on September 15-17.
For more information check out his website visit www.graham-mackie-artist.com
Mackie said he believed photography was as popular as ever due to its accessibility.
"There's a huge interest, it's never been bigger," he said. "Because everyone from a three-year-old to 103-year-old can take a photo with heir I-Phone or whatever.
"But there's a difference between a snapper and a photographer."
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