So, What Do Camera Clubs Do?

Palouse Rolling Hills, by Nancy Thoma

Have you ever wondered what goes on in a camera club? What sorts of activities are available? What kind of equipment do the members use? How good does a photographer have to be to join? Hopefully, this article will answer those questions.

As a young professional musician, I was given what turned out to be the best advice I ever received from an older and more experienced colleague. He said, “If you want to improve your playing, you need to play with other musicians who are better than you are.” He was right. And that same advice applies to most other endeavors, including photography. One of Sun Lakes Camera Club’s (SLCC) bi-monthly meetings is generally devoted to a presentation on some aspect of photography. One can only learn so much from online tutorials. Interaction in a live group that has experienced photographers willing to share their expertise can give you so much more. SLCC also offers formal classes for members and non-members who wish to learn more about the fundamentals of photography.

Another great way to improve one’s photographic skills is by being exposed to the work of other photographers and by having your own photos evaluated and critiqued. If you want to improve your work, you want feedback from people who know good photography. SLCC devotes one monthly meeting to that activity. Those members who wish to submit photos in either digital or print form for a rating by a panel of three experienced judges may do so. Honest, constructive feedback on images submitted, as well as exposure to the images of others, is worth a lot more than 100 likes and compliments on a social media site.

SLCC members run the gamut from very experienced photographers to beginners. The equipment used by our members is equally diverse. Great meals are not made by great stoves, and great photos are not made by great cameras. Regardless of the equipment being used, it’s the photographer who creates an image. It might surprise you to learn that even some of our more experienced photographers often use cell phones to take their photos. This is beautifully illustrated by a photo taken by member Nancy Thoma with her cell phone.

Finally, SLCC also organizes field trips to various locations, both near and far, giving members the opportunity to shoot interesting subjects. In the field, if members need advice on camera settings, composition, or other aspects of image-making, there are other members to help. You can pay for workshops with professional guides to take you to interesting places to shoot, but in a camera club, you can go more often and much less expensively, as well as have the fun of sharing images and having a shared experience.

For more information about the SLCC and its activities, call SLCC President Lynn Thompson at 480-734-0040, or past President Jan Ballard at 602-621-3344, and visit our website at