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Ann Kelly
By Hilary Barton
Posted: 2023-03-21T23:00:00Z

Ann describes herself as a "Gill of all trades" with more than 30 years experience as a technician, a photographer and a teacher.

She told a scarcely believable story about how she started as a 16 year old convent school leaver who fought and strove to be trained as a dark room technician, printer and photographer's assistant. She worked incredibly hard and long hours for magazines, film studios and many of the famous names in photography. She described printers as the heroes of the analogue era rescuing poorly exposed but fascinating and now famous images.

Motherhood brought increased responsibility, and Ann settled down to a "proper job" working in a local university, first managing the dark room, but eventually teaching photography to the staff, student and at summer schools. At the age of 40 (and dyslexic), she was told that she had to get a university degree to continue teaching, which she achieved in 2 years. At the same time, digital photography arrived when the university bought an early Kodak digital camera, and Ann found herself relearning all her processing skills for the digital age.

With three sons by now, she decided to move to a safer location in Hertfordshire and became self-employed again. She built up a varied and successful photography business to support herself and her 3 sons. In her photography she always strives to tell a visual story and to achieve different and intriguing images by constantly experimenting, communicating well and collaborating artistically with her clients.

Having learnt digital photography herself she then discovered that many people need help with how to use their new digital camera, and developed her next career as a photography teacher. She now offers virtual learning as well as photography trips. Her philosophy is to empower her students to think through any photographic situation themselves so they can cope with any eventuality in the future, i.e. she teaches people to "do it themselves", and strongly encourages experimentation.

You can find Ann's courses on her website:


After the break, Ann gave us a long exposure workshop. She gave us a good app to download to our phones (search for "Long Exposure Calculator", the icon is a black camera on a white background). You set your camera on Aperture priority, set the ISO to highest quality, e.g. 100, and the aperture to the "sweet spot" of the lens, e.g. f/11 or f/16, and see what shutter speed the camera calculates. You then enter this shutter speed into the app, dial in the stops from your ND filters, and read from the app the new shutter speed. So, for example, if ISO100 and aperture f/11 suggested a shutter speed of 1/125, adding a 10 stop ND filter would give a new shutter speed of 8 seconds. You then put your camera on a sturdy tripod, focus the lens on the subject, turn off the auto focus and the noise reduction filter, close the eyepiece or use gaffer tape to block stray light, add the ND filters to the front of the lens and open the shutter using a remote trigger for the calculated time.

You may be lucky with the first image you take, or you may find that the lighting conditions change while the shutter is open, such as the sun coming out or going behind a cloud. Or you may decide that the image does not match your visualisation, for example, to have deeper shadows and more contrast. At this point you should use your judgement to increase or decrease the time that the shutter is open. Again look at the results and continue to experiment until you have the image you want. This is definitely "slow photography" and is best practiced alone "in the flow".

What a fascinating evening! Debbie has put both of Ann's slideshows ("All About Me" and "ND Filters") onto the website. Log in to the website and then navigate to Member Info - Documents - Society Events. The recording will be posted in due course in Member Info - vMeetings.

With many thanks to Paul for his creative portrait of Ann.

 Copyright Warning  The copyright of all images on this site is retained by the photographer, and they may not be copied or used without permission.