MID Cheshire Camera Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Five decades ago the popular club started life as Winsford Camera Club in 1974 and now has 34 members.

The budding amateur and professional photographers meet between September and the end of April each Wednesday evening at 7.45pm at St Andrew’s Church in Winsford.

Club member Karen Swift said: “It was founded in 1974 as Winsford Camera Club.

“We joined the L&PCU and PAGB in the early 1980s and in 1986 changed the name to Mid Cheshire Camera Club to broaden the catchment area.

“During the 1990s, the club met at The Arts Centre on Dene Drive, where they built their own dark room but relocated to The Dingle Centre in 2002 when the town centre was redeveloped.

“When The Dingle Centre closed due to Covid-19, we relocated again to our current home of St Andrew’s Church.”

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the club ran regular Zoom competitions and had guest speakers join them each week.

Attending meetings via zoom is still an option for some camera club members.

We spoke to three of Mid Cheshire Camera Club’s members to find out what sparked their interest in photography, where their top spot is for taking pictures and see their favourite photographs.

Anyone for ice cream by Richard Breland

Anyone for ice cream by Richard Breland

Richard Breland lives in Middlewich and has been taking photographs for five years.

He said: “I think people have two sides to their nature - the scientific/technical side and the artistic/creative side.

“I come from a technical/computing/scientific background and I really wanted to see if I could improve the artistic side of my brain - photography is a great way to do this.”

Richard’s favourite places to take pictures are The Peak District and North Wales for landscapes and seascapes and New Brighton in Wirral, Blackpool, Liverpool and Manchester for street and architectural photography.

Richard said: “We are very lucky, living in Cheshire, having all these great locations within a two hour drive.

“I really like landscapes and seascapes and we are spoilt for choice in the UK.

“I think my next trip will be up to Scotland for the amazing scenery and hopefully some great images.

“One other place that I am really interested in visiting is Iceland for its unique features and potential for amazing photos.”

Richard’s favourite photograph is ‘Anyone for ice cream’ which was taken on Black Rock Sands near Porthmadog in North Wales in April 2018.

Richard said: “It is a really simple photo with great colours.

“The blue sky matches the blue ice cream van, the clouds are just in the right position within the frame and the orange toned sand compliments the teal blue sky perfectly.

“It looks great printed big and hung on the wall!”

Lone tree on a limestone pavement by Colleen Ashley

Lone tree on a limestone pavement by Colleen Ashley

Colleen Ashley lives in Winsford and has been taking photographs for more than 20 years but didn’t ‘get serious about getting better’ until the start of the Covid-19 pandemic when she retired.

Colleen saw an advert for Mid Cheshire Camera Club and she is just coming to the end of her third season.

Colleen said: “My photography has developed immensely with the feedback from competition judges and support from some of the more experienced members, who are thankfully happy to act as sounding boards and answer some of the more obscure questions our members think of.

“My favourite place to take photographs is when I’m travelling.

“Thanks to the meetings being held in person and over Zoom, I have been able to participate in club competitions from all over the world including Scotland, Montenegro, Croatia, Spain and France.”

Colleen would love to take long exposure landscape photographs in West Ireland but her favourite photograph is of a lone tree on a limestone pavement in the Yorkshire Dales.

She said: “I love this photograph for two reasons - I had to find and climb up into the middle of nowhere to take this photograph and I think it’s great that, against all odds in such a stark environment, this little tree manages to survive.”

Into the mist by Petar Sobic

Into the mist by Petar Sobic

Petar Sobic has lived in Tarporley for more than 40 years and has been interested in photography since the age of 12.

Petar said: “My interest in photography was stimulated at the age of 12 by my father, a post WWII immigrant from the former Yugoslavia, who did wedding photography as a side-line to his main job.

“My first camera was a basic 35mm film Kodak camera with a fixed focal length as a ‘reward’ for having my tonsils removed!

“Although my father did his own developing and printing, this side of the experience never attracted me.

“Over the years, I have dabbled with 35mm format film cameras, taking snaps of my children growing up and holidays, amassing boxes of prints that occasionally get poured over in moments of nostalgia.”

Petar’s true passion for the creative art took off with the dawn of digital photography and the use of post processing technology.

Petar said: “My interest in the natural world in all its forms - landscapes, wild-life, trees and birds - has been unleashed with literally thousands of images consuming gigabytes of computer memory in the quest of a unique and magical photograph.

“Important to me is the emotional connection I have with the natural world - very ethereal and difficult to describe but non-the-less almost a Holy Grail I strive to capture in my work.”

Petar joined Mid Cheshire Camera Club just last year and has enjoyed meeting fellow photography enthusiasts and seeing their work.

Petar said: “There are so many talented individuals in the club who inspire me to strive and expand my own skills, taking on other genres such as portraiture, street photography and more abstract images.”

Petar’s favourite photo was taken with a long telephoto lens from Tarporley looking towards Buckley Hill.

Petar said: “I love the misty layers and golden light which diffuse the image and make it slightly mystical.

“It’s a favourite image which was a spontaneous snap made in early morning by me in my dressing grown - and it worked!”