Award winning photographer Colm O'Laoi is giving his time and talent to Brightlingsea's WinterFest, by offering a free on-line photography workshop on Saturday February 13.
Colm has also contributed a dramatic image for the festival's on-line art gallery and his photos will also feature in a book being collated during this year's WinterFest. He will be passing on invaluable tips to photography enthusiasts on getting the best from digital cameras during the fact-packed Zoom talk and demonstration, which starts at 10am.
The workshop is among WinterFest's 22 on-line events taking place throughout February, aimed at banishing winter gloom and promoting community spirit.
Living in Brightlingsea has inspired Colm to develop his expertise in photography, particularly his speciality, maritime images. He said: “I'm passionate about the sea and, between my job as skipper of the Kent and Essex IFCA (Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities) Fishery Patrol Vessel and my other hobbies of boating and paddleboarding, I spend a lot of time on the water. Hence a lot of my photography has a nautical flavour to it.
“I've always had an interest in photography, but it was only really when I came over here that I began to develop a passion for it.”
Colm, 51, moved from the fishing port of Howth in Dublin to Brightlingsea 10 years ago. His wife Sarah and their two children, Mairéad, now aged 14 and Cormac, 12, were able to join him in Brightlingsea six months later.
“I was quite lonely being separated from my family for that six months and photography was a great way to stay positive through that time. I just kept working at it and trying to improve from then on,” said Colm. “I don't do photography commercially, though I have sold an occasional piece, it's purely for enjoyment and I share a lot on social media as I hope others will enjoy it too.”
He has become recognised for his photography and an aerial shot taken by Colm of a traditional sailing smack won a top prize at a recent competition run by National Historic Ships.
No booking is necessary for the free workshop he is running for WinterFest and people can take part in the session or just listen. Colm said: “I got involved with WinterFest because I believe it's a great initiative and it's important that we help each other as a community, especially in these difficult times.”