Great Night at the Thomas Heaton Big Speaker Lecture EveningMelvin Nicholson
Thomas Heaton Big Speaker Lecture Evening – Friday 15th Sept 2017
Following on from organising several previous big lecture evenings in Lancashire which have featured professional landscape photographers such as David Noton, Colin Prior, and David Clapp, last night played host to current YouTube landscape photographer sensation Thomas Heaton. I booked a huge 200 seat hall at the gorgeous Bolton School after Thomas had kindly accepted my offer to have him come and present a lecture for the evening. I approached several national companies to come along and sponsor the event and have them bring their photography related goods for sale whilst offering advice to those who were attending.
I was delighted when Toby Herlinger, Managing Director of Fotospeed agreed to bring a stand displaying their superb range of photographic paper (I just happen to use as them). Phil Norton Nisi Ambassador also agreed to attend and he brought the range of Nisi filter systems on show and Mick Ryan and Stuart Holmes of FotoVUE brought a well stocked stand of their outstanding range of landscape photography location guide books.
Before the main evening got underway, raffle tickets were on sale to raise money for my chosen charity, the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team in the Lake District. A seriously worthwhile charity run by brave and hardy volunteers (including FotoVUE’s very own Stuart Holmes who lives in Keswick) who risk their own lives rescuing people on the fells and mountains of the Keswick area. I personally spend a lot of time in the Keswick area and I can only hope that I never have to rely on needing them to rescue me but I know that I am as safe as can be knowing that they will be there if required. That is worth all the money that I can raise.
I am delighted to be able to announce that we raised £459 in total so a genuine HUGE THANK YOU to all those who bought tickets. There were some fantastic prizes on offer including a signed framed print from Thomas himself, £100 gift vouchers from Fotospeed, Nisi filters and Melvin Nicholson Photography as well as six books from FotoVUE. A rather BIG THANK YOU too all the event sponsors for supporting the raffle too. It was very much appreciated.
The doors opened at 6pm with plenty of time to wander around the trade stands before the main show started at 7.30pm. I personally wanted to build some time in before Thomas started his lecture so that people could meet, chat and catch up over a drink. Many of these kind of events allow friends to socialise and this was important to me so allowing 90 minutes beforehand seemed the best approach. 7.30pm arrived and it was time to introduce Thomas to the lectern where he presented a selection of beautiful images whilst recalling some of the stories that accompanied them. For me listening to the story behind why someone took the photograph is as interesting as looking at the photograph itself and it somehow adds an extra dimension to the finished capture.
Thomas spent the first half of the evening recalling the stories that accompanied the images he showed which those attending enjoyed very much (judging by the comments made to me). Thomas went on to explain that his YouTube channel (which generates quite an incredible 700,000 visits a month from his near 154,000 subscribers) allowed him to build up such a loyal following from those who subscribe and watch his entertaining videos twice weekly (6pm Wednesday and Sundays) (me included) that it has presented him with a wealth of opportunities to travel the world courtesy of several large organisations and companies. Thomas has recently made the transition to go into landscape photography full time which affords him plenty of time to dedicate to his craft. Both he and I are ‘living the dream’ as we get to travel the world, assist fellow photographers with their own photography through running workshops as well as generally enjoying all the benefits of immersing ourselves in this fantastic and wonderful world that is landscape photography.
The second half of the evening had Thomas go into detail about how he films and edits his YouTube videos as well as the business side of become a full time landscape photographer. Naturally I was very interested in hearing Thomas speak on this subject since I turned professional almost four years ago now. As Thomas confirmed, working as a full time landscape photographer is very hard work and we’re often spinning several plates to not only deliver a quality product to the client but also in trying to push the business forward in visiting new locations for future workshops and all that it entails.
Sadly 10.15pm rolled on by all too quickly and it was time for Thomas to finish and in doing so, he received a rapturous applause (much deserved too I must say). The only job left to do before leaving was to draw the raffle and there were several very happy people who won a variety of prizes on offer.
So that was another very successful Big Speaker Evening over and done with and I have to say a few thank yous to some very important people whose support made the evening possible.
- Firstly Thomas Heaton himself for very kindly scheduling some time to join us for the evening. It was an absolute pleasure meeting him.
- Alex Fowler, Assistant Event Manger, Bolton School. Superb communication with Alex and the event ran so smoothly with plenty of staff on hand (including the brilliant bar staff) and the school itself is so beautiful including the Main Hall that we were located in. I shall definitely be using them again.
- Mick and Vonda Rawcliffe for manning the ticket desk and selling the raffle tickets. Their support ensured that we raised £459 for the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team
- Tony Higginson, professional wedding photographer who very kindly agreed to be the event photographer at very short notice. Many thanks Tony for capturing the evening on camera. Much appreciated.
- Toby Helinger, Fotospeed / Phil Norton Nisi Filter Ambassador / Michael Ryan & Stuart Holmes FotoVUE books for attending, sponsoring and supporting the event. It was fantastic to have you along for the evening.
And of course to all of you who bought a ticket and attended. Without you all, the event would not have been half the success it was so a genuine HUGE THANK YOU from me for coming out and supporting the event. Perhaps I will run another one next year but who to ask to present a lecture? Let me know if you would like to see someone attend on the night.
Until next time, keep shooting, keep smiling.