Jan 2019 Judy Longthorn

Welcome to our monthly focus on one of our Society members.

For January 2019 we talk to Judy Longthorn.

Hi Judy!

Can you tell us what first got you interested in photography?

I can’t really remember.  I’ve always taken photos ever since I was given a Kodak Instamatic when I was about 9 years old. I think I’ve always wanted to try to preserve or capture the memory of the fantastic things I see around me without having to rely solely on my memory. Since the emergence of digital photography I’ve had the freedom to experiment and explore what I wanted to do as much as I want.

What type of photographs do you most enjoy taking?

I very much enjoy both nature and landscape photography with a helping of abstract thrown in. A huge part of that enjoyment is simply being out in the country surrounded by the sights and sounds and just forgetting about everything else; a great way to lift the spirits. We have some amazing scenery and wildlife and I just have to try to capture some of the sense of wonder it evokes for me.

What type of photographic equipment do you use?

For landscape photography I use a Canon EOS 6D camera on a Manfrotto Junior geared head. For nature photography I use a Canon EOS 7D MkII with the 100-400mm USM IS MkII lens, often with a 1.4x converter. This is most often used handheld but also with a bean bag or gimbal tripod head. I regularly use ND filters for both landscape and nature photography to slow down the shutter speeds.

Can you identify some photographers that have inspired you?

I have attended workshops with a couple of UK nature photographers, Paul Hobson and Mark Sissons, and also have books produced by them. I found both very knowledgeable and helpful on their workshops. Also Philip Price in Scotland (company Loch Visions) is one of the most enthusiastic photographers I’ve had the pleasure to be taught by. As for landscape photography I love the work of David Ward, especially the intimate abstract shots, and the black and white photography of Paul Gallagher, another enthusiastic workshop leader. I also love the abstract flower photography of Sue Bishop.

How do you see your photography developing in the future?

I want to increase the amount of creative photography I do but preferably using in-camera techniques at the time of taking rather than in post-processing e.g. long and multiple exposures. I’m also considering having a camera converted to infrared to explore the possibilities of monochrome infra red.

Can you show us a selection of your photographs each with a short explanatory paragraph ; what inspired you to take the photograph or process it in the way you have?

Birch Wood

On a recent trip to the Lake District I spent a few days in dripping woodland trying to capture the feeling of being immersed in the environment, taking a number of shots of this group of birch trees. This one is probably my favourite.

Ocean Wanderer

This is not at all the image I was intending when I took this shot. I was just doing my usual trying to get birds in flight but when I saw it on the computer I loved the simplicity of the single bird, multiple reflections and subtle bands of colour in the sea. The only processing was to enhance the blue of the sea slightly as it was a pretty grey day out on a whale watching trip.


This shot reminds me of the patience needed for nature photography. My knees were killing me as we had been crouched/kneeling on this same spot on the beach for above 4 hours while a group of sanderlings, dunlin, knot and even a whimbrel worked their way along the beach towards us until finally they were close enough to get some lovely frame filling shots. They were so untroubled by our presence they continued right past us and off down the other end of the beach; too close to focus on with a long lens for a while.

Feeding Frenzy

This is an example of the type of creative nature photography I really enjoy. Greedy gulls, a thrown slice of bread, slightly slow shutter speed, keep your finger on the shutter button and you never know what you are going to get. Most of the images are not very good but the occasional one just works.

Thanks Judy for sharing these thoughts and images.

Just a small sample of the amazing photographs of Judy’s that we have been treated to over the years at the Society meetings.