Get the picture?

Posted on 01 May 2019

Ten official members of the Southwest Georgia Photography Club meet regularly on the first Thursday of the month at the First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall. The club first organized in June, 2012, and over the last seven years, some members have come and gone, but the core members: Mitch and Becky Miller of Lake Seminole, Jerry Pollock and Ansley Johnson have held strong to their purpose—to learn to be better photographers.

But, in addition to learning what settings to use and how to enhance their photos with the right filters, they have discovered their memberships bring many additional benefits.

A couple of times a year (spring and fall) they take a field trip to some interesting location—usually to some wildlife preserve or another scene of natural settings. They have made trips to St. Marks and St. Vincent where they observed the regular migration of birds and the return of red wolves brought in to control the exploding deer population. One trip, a bit out of the ordinary was to the Car Museum in Tallahassee.

A road trip to Grand Bay, a wildlife preserve near Valdosta, is the most recent trip. It included accessing their final destination by boat.

Becky Miller says, “We learn a lot of other information when taking photos. You learn the many great national resources that exist.” They share tales of animals they have seen and photographed, such as Eagles, black bears and more.

Newcomers to the group often ask, “What is the best camera for me to use?” to which the answer is, ”The one you have. Just keep shooting.” One member, Paula Chambers, is said to love using her I-Phone, while Jerry Pollock expounds on his love of using panorama on an I-Phone. He shows the group panorama shots he made of the Courtroom in the Decatur County Courthouse using his I-Phone. The depth perception is amazing.

Another question is “What would you advise people who are just learning and developing an interest in photography?”

The answer provided by the professionals is: ”Get off auto and start using manual. Experiment with aperture and different shutter speeds.”

The group agrees that they have all learned more about editing photos and using photo shop.

The group has a yearly exhibit at the Firehouse Arts Center, and are also welcome to submit works to other Artist Guild shows.

Some individuals are taking their photographic skills to help and serve others. One has been asked to take the portraits for their church membership book and wondered if others could give some tips on that job. Becky Bardin said she had done photos for her church, and she had some tips on posing people, especially family shots.

Bardin has really taken photography to heart. She has shown photos in the North Florida Fair Art Show, winning first place in black and white; and second in color.

She has also taken all the steps to become a certified professional photographer and has her own photo business.

The Millers commented on how much photography has changed in the last ten years or so. “We used to take pictures with film and took them for development. Now we all shoot digital,” commented Mitch.

Becky said the rules have been tightened up about showing photos of children on U-Tube. “We don’t show faces of children anywhere without permission.”

Mitch said he discovered photography during his career in law enforcement in Tallahassee. The police department had a dark room and he began to get interested in developing film there. “Becky bought me my first 35 mm camera, and I would often use it at a crime scene I was investigating,” he explained.

Individually they bring their thumb drives and display them on a screen for all members to see and critique.

The club is open to all (beginners and professionals) who want to learn more about photography. Yearly dues are $24.

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