Chesterfield Convention, 2011

“I felt that the Chesterfield Convention was the best I have attended” is how one member described this year’s convention and sums up the comments made by many others. The weekend was a great success attended by 82 members, the majority resident in the Chesterfield Hotel, which proved to be a very suitable venue. (With day visitors on the Saturday the number of attendees increased to 92).

Quite untimely the hotel was in the process of changing owners the day we arrived, but the new management and existing staff did everything they could to make our visit as pleasant and trouble free as possible.

The programme for the weekend revolved around three evenings of 3D projection with a variety of shows chosen to exhibit our own members work and give a taste of shows from other countries. Most of the shows were modern digital creations, but a number were recent digital copies of film based shows some members will remember seeing in the past and were able to enjoy again in their new digital format. All the 3D projection was digital using the societies high resolution projectors onto our large 10ft x 7.5ft silver screen, which thanks to the height of the hotel ballroom was able to be mounted at its highest position giving the audience every chance of a great view.

The 3D shows varied from historical stories like “Those who will, may win” by Barry Aldous to surreal fantasy images in “A Fractal Odyssey” by Jerry Oldaker and John Hart from the USA. As well as our own society exhibition shows other member’s images took us from the mountaintops of Snowdonia, to whale watching in the Pacific. One of the most entertaining shows was when David Burder handed out union flags, so the audience could wave along while watching his 3D video of the crowds gathered in London watching the Royal Wedding procession and the Royal Kiss in 3D.

Saturday morning began with the society AGM followed by a display of members’ workshops and sales tables where members found many bargains. The workshop tables spread the knowledge of digital 3D, including macro photography using attachments for the Fuji cameras and 3D video using the JVC camcorder. Steven Bowers joined us from JVC UK and demonstrated their 3D camcorder plugged into a large 3D TV so we could see the results.

During the Saturday afternoon workshops Paul Lund showed us how he photographs insects in flight and David Robinson explained his methods for scriptwriting writing AudioVisual (AV) shows and the art of sound recording. David then showed us how he has put this into practice with his show “Two Eyes Best”, a short AV show he presented at his local camera club to spread awareness and understanding of 3D and our society.

After the workshops the afternoon continued with the AV5 competition, an audience judged competition organised by Barry Aldous to encourage members to produce 3D AV shows, with the requirement that they be no longer than 5 minutes. We judged seven members’ shows, which covered everything from mysterious garden Gnomes appearing in the Australian woods to Bernard Brown’s recent hip operation with several fascinating but gory images. The winner was announced on Saturday evening as Ray McMillan’s excellent “Train”, showing an unusual brick monument of an A4 Pacific railway locomotive.

Saturday evening included some classic Pat Whitehouse wildlife shows and we were also joined by Pat’s daughter and granddaughter; Anne and Mairi (see Anne’s comments below). During the evening a number of awards for the society exhibition were presented and also this years Martin Willsher Award for recent technical contributions to the society was presented to Barry Aldous who among many other things is responsible for digitising many of the Pat Whitehouse shows.

Sunday was our traditional coach outing which this year went to the local attractions of Crich Tramway Village museum and Lea Gardens – a growing rainbow of colours, famous for its displays of rhododendrons and azaleas.

With the successful conclusion of another annual convention the majority of people said their good byes over breakfast on Monday. However about twenty remained on for an informally arranged day out to Chatsworth House which is very nearby and proved very enjoyable.

Andrew Hurst