Meet the OUTLAW – George Reilly

First Camera – Agfa 110, First SLR – Praktica LTL3 & 50 mm lens

Loosely speaking, I bought my first camera, an Agfa 110 compact, in the May of the 1976, the year I joined the RAF. Armed with a couple of films, I had ideas in my head that I would be in the next edition of National Geographic and I would tabloid news. It may come as a surprise to some, it is to me, that National Geographic have still never heard of me!

A couple of years later I was introduced to the world of real photography by a colleague of the time. A chance conversation resulted in a get together out of work and a serious review of my photographic skills ensued. I can still see the tears trickle down Dave’s face as he laughed so hard at my efforts, but the message came across loud and clear, it’s not the camera, although that’s not helping much, it’s you! Sadly my early images never really stood a chance and after admitting so, I had to agreed with him that there was, no composition, they were blurred, poor light levels, pretty much like they are now, really and you had to feel sorry for the chemist trying to make quality printing out of that lot, even though I blamed them every time. When Dave stopped laughing, a very productive critique followed and even I could see where I was going wrong. With his support and advice, the purchase of the Praktica LTL3 was my investment in to my future lifelong hobby.


In the years that have followed, I have owned and played with many modern and vintage cameras, Canon’s, Nikon, Mamiya, Rolliflex, Kodak’s etc. etc. Each one has been a learning tool and I have had some great times taking Images. After the RAF, I made friends with a very good photographer named Paul and we became lifelong friends He taught me darkroom skills, something I had never dared to venture in to. In each person I meet, I never fail to learn something from him or her.


Late 2008 saw the transition from film to digital. A purchase of a Canon 40D with kit lens and a few additional items, I was now on the road to modern photography. I’d arrived, late as usual, in the digital age. My thoughts at the time were, “How hard can this be”? I inserted a fully charged battery, a formatted memory card of reasonable capacity and speed, switched on the power, lens cap off, and away I went. The results stirred distant and deep buried memories of an Agfa 110 and the nightmare began.


I can fix it I thought, but the shock of post processing was worse. I though of taking the memory card to a chemist and I could then blame them, but that fell through quite rapidly. No it’s no good, it’s me that has to fix them. You see, up to this point, Photoshop was the place in town to purchase camera bits and pieces; Lightroom was a place in John Lewis’s which sold lampshades and bulbs. Add to this, the fandangle features of the camera and I had to admit, I’d bitten off way more than I could chew. I needed some help!


To the rescue came the Nottingham Outlaws Photographic Society (NOPS). I checked out their website, arrived for a meeting, they said I wasn’t beyond redemption, although I bet they might want to re consider than now and they have been my saviours ever since. No question is a stupid one. We all have to learn and so long as you put the effort in, they provide the support and the technical know how. They’ve all been my teachers, friends, and pupils as we share our collective knowledge. It’s without doubt the best step I’ve ever taken in photography. I now take some moderately good images, although some competition judges seem to have difficulty identifying these fine works of art.

I’m getting to grips with post processing, and more importantly I get to showcase my work in both internal, external and fun night competitions and I have a little bit of success now and again which is a real confidence boost. I don’t have a particular genre into which I fit neatly, preferring to try and capture almost anything at any time. I’ve established that if the subject is stuck, frozen, parked or static in some way I stand a reasonable chance. It just needs to keep still long enough for me to do it. I am a Canon user with the 7D being the flagship of my fleet. My favourite lens is the Canon 70-200 f2.8


Without Dave in 1978, Paul in the 1980’s and NOPS in 2009, I could imagine that I would never have bothered and might still own an Agfa 110. Who knows where the journey of discovery will go to next…..

Invalid Displayed Gallery