Speaker – John Beatty ‘Adventures in the Wild’

Wilmslow Guild Photographic Society – Wednesday 15th November

John Beatty ‘Adventures in the Wild’

Tonight we had a superb evening with John Beatty, speaking about his ‘Adventures in the Wild’. John has been a photographer for over 35 years and told of his aim to capture the ‘beauty and simplicity of the natural world’.

John started by telling us of his links to Wilmslow, showing a photograph of himself as a young boy sailing his boat on Lindow Common and also explaining how he taught for 7 years at a local Secondary School – indeed he was the PE teacher of our very own Dave  Swann and Ian Wilson.

John’s expeditions and adventures have taken him all over the world. One of his first expeditions was to the Antarctic, to South Georgia, just before the Falklands War, and he was lucky enough to have the only photos of South Georgia, that graced the front pages of our newspapers, when the war broke out.  He also visited the Arctic, skiing 400 miles across the Greenland Ice Cap, whilst hauling a leather sledge, and also spending time on the island of Spitsbergen, only 600 miles from the North Pole.

Some of John’s other adventures included trips to: the Himalayas; the source of the Ganges; the deserts of Africa and Asia; spending time with an African tribe and witnessing a healing ceremony that lasted all night; living in a yurt with the nomadic Eagle Hunters of Kazakh Mongolia; trekking the tributaries of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon with his family and also a visit to Alaska. His love of mountains and wild remote places was evident throughout his talk and it was all accompanied by stunning images and video clips, which emphasised the beauty of the natural world.

He also told of his encounters with wild animals including grizzly bears, polar bears, lions, walruses, and meerkats and he spoke of ‘ that special moment when a wild animal looks you in the eye’. His talk contained many interesting anecdotes: the time he witnessed the ‘birth of a mountain’ when a volcano erupted in Iceland; the time he had high tea in a remote Buddhist Monastery in the Himalayas; the time his friend fell off an ice face and he managed to hold onto the rope for 18 hours until rescue arrived!

John ended the evening telling us about his home and his love of the  Peak District. He showed some incredible images that he had taken in that ‘five minutes of special light as dawn breaks’, thus showing that we don’t have to travel to the other side of the world to take a brilliant image, we just have to look around us – and be up early! 

Thanks to Dave and Ian for suggesting that John come to give us a talk and to Adrian for arranging it.  We look forward to a return visit from John to hear more about his ‘Adventures in the Wild’ and to see more of his outstanding images.